Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfect Attendance 2 Days in a Row

Congratulations and Thank you to the Third Grade for two straight days of perfect attendance - during MCAS testing!

Third graders should be proud of their dedication and hard work. I sure am.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spofford Pond Children are Buzz Worthy!

Each buzzing bee represents one action by a Spofford Pond Student that was above and beyond the Code of Conduct or have reliably done the right thing. These bees are from blue slips generated from September through January. Watch out for another invasion of bees when the teachers send in information about great behavior that has been happening all winter.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Dragons! Aaarrgghh Again!

See this post for more information about Ms. Dalton's art assignment.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guskey and Grading: Lots to Think About

In education, the rule of thumb is that if you can use one thing learned at a conference then you should consider it a success.

On March 10, four Spofford Pond School teachers, Sara H., Mary H., Stacy B., and Betsy G., joined Beth Y., Kathy C., many others from the Tri-Town, and me at a conference with Thomas Guskey. Dr. Guskey spoke about ways to make grading and report cards more effective and more fair. Much of his presentation was presented in his new book Practical Solutions for Serious Problems in Standards-Based Grading, He made our group think about our practice in a deep way. The group of teachers was so intrigued by what they’d heard that they all agreed to work with me to create a session on our grading practices with the faculty for the May Professional Development half day.

Here are some of his main ideas, in italics, with my thoughts interspersed.
  • 1. Why do we use report cards and assign grades to students' work?
  • 2. What purpose should report cards or grades serve?
  • 3. What elements should teachers use in determining students' grades?
  • We don't agree on the purpose of grades. That's the first problem. The various purposes are at adds with another.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Spirit Assembly to End March Madness

We had a rousing spirit assembly to end March Madness. But, before the rousing started, I spoke with the students about working hard and taking MCAS seriously (as they usually do). I also explained some of the changes to the Positive Behavior parts of the Code of Conduct.

The Student Council did a fantastic job cheering on the whole school.

Giant Map of Africa

Here all week! The National Geographic Giant Map of Africa has been on display and in use all week. Mrs. Sorensen has hosted classes from all over the school and even the second grade from Harry Lee Cole. Students must remove their shoes then get to participate in activities ON the map. They stand on Africa! Cool.

Thanks so much to Mrs. Sorensen for spending so much time teaching on this fantastic map.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness - Crazy Hair Day

Officially crazy hair day, some students and staff wore crazy hats to make for Tuesday. Here are just a tiny representation of the hair stylings of Spofford Pond School.

St. Patrick's March Madness

St. Patrick's Day/March Madness was a great way to follow Mother Nature's recent March Madness. These photos are a small sampling of the amazing amount of green found at Spofford Pond School yesterday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Madness Resumes

Really, we were planning on calling it March Madness before the weather made that somewhat redundant.

Anyway, here is the remaining March Madness Schedule:

  • Wednesday is St. Patrick's Day; be as green as you can be!
  • Thursday is Crazy Hair Day; dye it, twist it, spike creative!
  • Friday we will show our School Spirit by wearing blue and white (our school colors). It would be great if we can get everyone to participate!
Looking forward to seeing you all in green on Wednesday.
Larry Fliegelman
Principal, Spofford Pond School
31 Spofford Road, Boxford, MA 01921
978-352-8616  "since brevity is the soul of wit" (Hamlet)

Posted via email from Principal's Page attachments

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coins for Cures Update

As of this morning's announcements, Spofford Pond School had raised $1,027.98 for the Coins for Cures fund raiser to help Children's Hospital.


Calendar for 2010-2011 School Year

The Boxford School Committee recently approved this calendar for the 2010-2011 School Year.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Gift of Public School

I read a great article by Albemarle, MD Superintendent Pam Moran entitled, "11 Reasons I am Thankful for Public Education in the United States." While the statistics and facts are powerful, it was Mrs. Moran's ending that grabbed me.
11. America’s dreamers created the reality that all young people, regardless of class, gender, race, ethnicity or religion are afforded the right to a free, public education. This gift, I do not take for granted.
Public School is a wonderful gift to the American people. Nationally and locally, we do fantastic things for so many. I am proud to be a principal of an American public school.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Positive Behavior and the Code of Conduct

Since the roll out of the Code of Conduct last fall, there has been lots of feedback. Parents and teachers were surveyed, many parents emailed or called with questions, and the Behavior Team met repeatedly. A few weeks ago, we finished our revision, presented it to the faculty and reported out to the community.

While there were several tweaks to the Three-Tiered Discipline system (red slips), I am most proud of the work we did on the Positive Behavior Program (blue slips).

The first big change is that the Blue Slips themselves will not be displayed. We decided this when we realized that displaying the blue slip itself left students and parents studying the slips to look at the different kinds of reasons listed. Some were wondering why certain behaviors were worth a blue slip for one child but not another. Some realized that the standards for earning a blue slip were, in part, based on who was receiving the slip. Posting the blue slips had the opposite effect than we'd hoped. From this point on, instead of posting the blue slip, we will post a yellow Bee medallion, like the image here, with the student's name written on it.

We have also expanded the reasons 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dragons. Aaaghhh!

Dragons at Spofford Pond School!

Ms. Dalton's sixth grade art class is in the middle of creating these wonderful dragon masks. The two examples here show masks in progress. The first photo shows the frame that has to be created. The second photo shows the layers of plaster sheets used to form the facial details.

Without the plaster covering, by Maddie Taylor

Dragon with plaster covering, by Michael Lavoie

I will try to post photos of some finished masks in the future.

- Larry Fliegelman

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coins for Cures

We raised $603.36 in our first week of our student council sponsored Coins for Cures fund raiser!

Way to go Spofford Pond School. Your generosity is fantastic.