Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly Bulletin


LABBB Elementary Life Skills classes
Our Life skills classrooms at Francis Wyman Elementary School in Burlington have seen a new chapter unfold over the last 6 years. We have been encouraged by the Buddies group at the LABBB Lexington campus to start our own club. This club is made up of our LABBB student’s grades pre-school to fifth grade and the fifth graders here at Francis Wyman. The goal of the group is to build bridges and friendships. The children integrate daily during their recess period to allow all of the children to find ways to play and understand each other’s abilities and disabilities. The fifth graders give up one recess a week to come into the LABBB classrooms and interact in a positive way with the LABBB children. The Pals club started 6 years ago in 2008 with 10 LABBB students and 5 fifth graders and it has been growing ever since. This year we have 9 LABBB students and 44 fifth graders. Our motto is, “All friends are created equally.”

Our Francis Wyman Fifth Grade Pals

Lexington Symphony
Our Third Graders recently visited the Lexington Symphony to learn some music history and gain exposure to orchestral music.  It was a fabulous show and our students had exemplary concert etiquette. Please check out the music blog for more info.

Artist in Residence
Thanks to the FW PTO, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th  graders were able to work with Artist in Residence, Sharon Levy over the last few weeks.  Ms. Levy works mostly with clay and shared all her pottery expertise with our students.  Our younger students will be working with an Origami Artist this winter.  We are so thankful to the PTO and all its contributors for supporting the Artist in Residence program at Francis Wyman.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekly Bulletin

School News:
Once again this year, Francis Wyman School is  the proud recipient of a $500 grant from ExxonMobil Educational Alliance.  We are very fortunate that local business owner, Assaad Nasr of ExxonMobil 173 Bedford Street, thinks of us every year and applies to the grant on behalf of FWS.  These funds will be used for educational purposes, cultural enrichment, and classroom support.  Thank you Mr. Nasr for making education a prioity in our neighborhood.

Come Support the Burlington High School Boy's Varsity Hockey Team: Monday January 20th from 6pm-10pm at OrangeLeaf Frozen Yogurt. Orange Leaf will donate 15% of your purchase for anyone who mentions the team. BHS hockey is fundraising for a few cancer organizations. Come help them and enjoy some delicious yogurt. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt,1 Center St.BurlingtonMA 01803

Community News:
Meeting with the Planning Board to discuss medical marijuana in Burlington - Burlington must adopt a new bylaw to regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana in town.  Please come and share your opinions with the Planning Board as they prepare a warrant article for the May 2014 Town Meeting.  A meeting is being held Wednesday, January 22, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m at Burlington High School in the Fogelberg Auditorium.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekly Bulletin

School News:

The Burlington School System is privileged to incorporate the "Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together" program into some of our 4th grade classes.  This wonderful program pairs volunteer senior citizens with small groups of children in the classroom for an hour a week, over a 6 week session.  During this time, the children have the opportunity to get to know a senior and to learn from their experiences.  It is a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about a different generation and for seniors to have the opportunity to see how children learn today.  So much has changed in our schools and our approach to teaching.    For this program to be successful, we need seniors who are willing to volunteer an hour of their time once a week for a 6 weeks session.  Many enjoy it so much they ask to do more then one session!  Sessions take place at different times over the course of the second half of the school year. (Depending on the school).  If you know a senior, grandparent or neighbor, who would enjoy getting to know some fourth graders, please encourage them to fill in an application at the Senior Center.  An Orientation Meeting will take place January 6th.  Any questions may be emailed to Caroline Mallard at, list "Bridges" in the subject line.  For more information on this nationwide program:

BECC Open House
for the 2014-2015 School Year

The Burlington Early Childhood Center (BECC) will be hosting an Open House for new students on Friday, January 24, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The BECC is an integrated public preschool for children ages 3-5.  We support children of all abilities in both general education and special education settings.  We also provide support in the areas of speech-language, motor, and social skill development.

Our Open House will provide families with an opportunity to view the programs, meet the teachers, and pickup registration packets to enroll their children for the 2014-2015 school year.  Students must be 3 years old by August 31, 2014 to be considered for enrollment for the fall of 2014.  

For more information about registration/Open House, please call 781-270-1808.  For more information about our program, please visit the Burlington Early Childhood Center Website The BECC is located in Burlington High School at 123 Cambridge St.  Our entrance is at the back of the building between the two playgrounds.

We look forward to seeing you on January 24th.

Around Town:
Spring Lacrosse Registration - Come play the fastest game on two feet!  Registration for Lacrosse is still open for all levels (Boys and Girls).  Spots are limited, so register soon.  Please visit the Burlington Lacrosse website for details and registration information.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Parent Tech Night "Parenting in the Digital Age" at MSMS January 14

How Do I Do That Blog.016

Twitter? Instagram? Snapchat? Vine? Parenting in the digital age brings with it many challenges. Our January Parent Tech Night will provide parents with information on the latest digital tools students may be using to connect and interact with others. Parents will walk away from this session with a better understanding of what they can do to help guide their children towards responsible digital citizenship and keep them safe online. Strategies on how to get the conversation started with students about their online activities will be provided.
Assistant Superintendent Patrick Larkin and Burlington High School Instructional Technology Specialist Jenn Scheffer will offer advice on how students can use social media to their advantage as they begin the college admission process. Mrs. Scheffer is also a former assistant director of admission. She will provide a unique insight into how colleges look at the digital behavior of our students.
Time during every Parent Tech Night session is also dedicated to technology related questions and support.

Fundraiser Tomorrow Night at Flatbread

HELPIS to Hold Fundraiser January 9 at Flatbread Company Bedford to Continue Ongoing Support for the Victims of the Lord Baron Apartment Complex Fire
HELPIS, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization built on the goal of creating a community of equals who provide whatever kindnesses they are able to the people they encounter in an ever-widening network of generosity, is pleased to announce that it will be holding a fundraiser on Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Flatbread Company in Bedford, MA. The proceeds of this event will be used to support the more than 85 residents of the Lord Baron Apartments in Burlington, who were left homeless following a fire in the complex on October 23, 2013. 

Math Night - Wednesday January 15

Francis Wyman Elementary School presents....
Our Annual Family Math Night
When -  Wednesday, January 15th
Time - 6:00 - 8:00
Where - Francis Wyman School

Why - Come, explore, and embrace Mathematics through  the eyes of your child.  Learn about our new Math program, enVisionMATH Common Core!

Monday, January 6, 2014

FWS Annual Report 2013

Francis Wyman Elementary School
Annual Report 2013

Francis Wyman Elementary School has continued on its journey of providing high quality instruction to assure student growth and achievement in a culture that CARES for all students. The Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics consist of rigorous expectations that require a strong curriculum and highly effective teachers. There has been a great deal of work done by teachers and administrators across the elementary schools to understand the standards and align our curriculum to meet those standards. A new mathematics program, EnVisionMATH, was adopted to address our curriculum needs in grades kindergarten through five. EnVisionMATH aligns to the Common Core Standards and is designed to meet the needs of all students. The writing program Explorations in Non- Fiction Writing was adopted for grades kindergarten through grade two this year with the hopes of possibly expanding it to grades three through five for next year. Non-Fiction reading and writing is a key component of the ELA Common Core Standards and this program will increase and improve instruction in these areas.

Francis Wyman Elementary School has developed an effective Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) instructional structure that meets the needs of all students in the areas of English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Our universal screening assessment tools include DIBELS, Symphony Math and I-Ready Reading and Mathematics. These assessments provide us with important information as to our students’ skill levels so that students can receive targeted instruction.  We continue to group across the grade for reading in grades one through five and for mathematics in grades four and five.   Kindergarten students are grouped for targeted reading instruction during the Intervention/Extension block. Again this year a team of teachers visited FWS to observe and discuss our RtI program. The teachers from Falmouth, Massachusetts spent the day visiting classrooms, reviewing our procedures, and talking to our teachers and left excited to implement RtI in their school.

This year teachers are being evaluated by a new state-mandated evaluation system. Teachers and administrators are learning how to implement the new system. The new system requires self-reflection, goal -setting, frequent unannounced observations by evaluators, and the collection of evidence to demonstrate meeting the goals and standards. Through this process, teachers and administrators engage in frequent dialogue around effective instruction and student growth. All teachers and administrators are focusing on student engagement as one of the top priorities this year.

The outcome of the 1:1 iPad pilot last year in grade one was most successful as teachers and students found that the device supported increased student engagement. With the opportunities for individualized learning as well as the capacity to develop creative projects, the decision was to move forward with a 1:1 iPad initiative. This year all students in grades one, four and five have a class set of iPads available to them in their classrooms. The plan is to complete the implementation next year with grades two and three. The teachers are finding it exciting to be able to plan and implement lessons that include interesting and authentic applications for using the iPads. Students are most comfortable learning the various aspects of using the apps and iPads. By carefully determining the appropriate use of the iPads along with more traditional instructional methods, the teachers are finding that the iPads enhance instruction and increase student engagement.

Our School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program is showing great promise in its effectiveness to promoting positive behavior throughout the school. This program is the foundation of our MTSS in the area of behavior and our CARES motto is the basis for all our goals. The CARES acronym stands for compassion, accomplishment, respect, enthusiasm, and self- reliance. Behavioral expectations have been identified for school-wide areas such as the cafeteria, hallways, bus dismissal, the auditorium, etc.  Students receive CARES coupons for demonstrating the expected behaviors in an effort to highlight positive behaviors. Classroom teachers have developed classroom behavioral expectations which are supported by classroom reward systems and grade level systems. These systems utilize the CARES coupons thus providing a consistent school-wide effort.  The rewards for CARES coupons vary but focus primarily on giving students public recognition and time spent participating in choice activities. Students enjoy earning individual rewards, whole class rewards, grade level rewards, and school- wide rewards.

The Accelerated Reader (AR) program has continues to grow in student participation this year. This web-based program is designed to support independent reading for all levels of readers. Students read books of their choice and then take quizzes to determine basic comprehension of the books. The program helps students identify their “just right” level of books based on the success rate of their quizzes. The AR provides thousands of quizzes for a variety of books which allows students a wide array of book choices. Students receive certificates to document their success. Each week, the names of students who have successfully completed quizzes are announced to the school and the students receive CARES coupons for their accomplishment. Students work toward meeting a school-wide goal set by the principal so as to encourage independent reading at school and at home in an effort to develop life-long readers. In February the students met the goal of reading over 2,000 books and by June they had read 4,200 books. This was a great accomplishment and was celebrated school-wide!

Collaboration among teachers is a key factor in providing the most effective instruction to our students. The grade level teams work closely with the mindset that all teachers are responsible for the progress of all the students in the grade. They share ideas and develop curriculum so that students receive consistently high quality instruction. Our students benefit from the collaboration of our very talented teachers. The new teacher evaluation system emphasizes collaboration among teachers and our teachers are ready to meet those expectations.

The PTO has worked tirelessly to support the school through fundraising activities and family events. Books, materials, field trips and enrichment activities are some of the benefits that the PTO provides through its volunteers and fundraising. The students enjoyed the special assembly by the a cappella group “Ball in the House” with their wide range of musical renditions all without instruments. Students also had the opportunity to enjoy the incredible story telling of “Odds Bodkin”. The Carnival is the highlight event of the year thanks to the enormous effort of the PTO. Although fundraising events vary from year to year, the PTO remains a constant and steady support to FWS.

There were a few teacher retirements this year. Special educator, Mrs. Stephanie Hackbath, and ELL teacher, Mrs. Nancy Todd retired and both had worked at FWS for many years. They were highly dedicated to their students and to the school. Mrs. Betty Morrison, Title I Math Instructional Assistant also retired. Betty worked at multiple schools in Burlington over the course of many years. Mrs. Kelli Stromski was hired as a special educator. Kelli worked as a special education assistant at FWS for the past two years. Mrs. Bonnie Leary took over as the ELL teacher. Bonnie had worked at FWS as an ELL Tutor for the past four years. Mr. Ben Schersten was hired as our Technology Specialist and has been a tremendous support to our teachers in the implementation of the 1:1 iPad initiative. Ben comes to us from Arlington where he was a third grade teacher with a 1:1 iPad classroom. His experience as a classroom teacher along with his technology expertise has been an asset to the school.

Francis Wyman School was the proud recipient of the Educational Alliance Math and Science Grant from ExxonMobil Corporation. This $500 donation will be used to support our math and science instruction. Thank you to the ExxonMobil station on Bedford Street for nominating Francis Wyman and supporting our students. The Ratner Companies, Hair Cuttery, recognized FWS as a school that CARES. We were one of five schools in Massachusetts honored. The Burlington Hair Cuttery presented us with a series of pencil drawings by the renowned artist, Paul Ratner, the brother of the CEO and Founder of the Ratner Companies, Dennis Ratner. The twenty-six pencils drawings of each letter of the alphabet are just beautiful!

Francis Wyman School is fortunate to have an active and supportive school community of students, teachers, staff, parents and area business partnerships that make our school successful and one that strives not only for high achievement but also one that CARES.

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan P. Astone

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No School Thurs. 1/2/14 or Fri. 1/3/14

There will be no school on Thursday, January 2, 2014 or Friday, January 3, 2014 due to the impending snowstorm.  See you back at school on Monday, January 6, 2014