Dear Sargent Parents,
I hope you are well as we enjoy yet another Patriot’s Super Bowl championship! Nothing like winter in New England. Between the anticipation of snow days, cheering on our football home team, cold nights, fire in the fire place, sledding, skating, and other times with family and friends; it is an experience our children will hold dear in their memories.
This past JANUARY was a busy month. We began Understanding Our Differences (UOD) for our students. UOD is a district-wide initiative for grade 3, 4 and 5 North Andover students. Led by the NAPAC, volunteers came in to teach our students at various times during the year to teach students about understanding differences in society. It is an eye-opening experience for our kids. All grade 3, 4 and 5 students in North Andover participate in this programming and the next round of UOD.
Math-athlete Madness began again this month for our upper grades (3-5). Lower will be starting up in a month or so. Math-athlete Madness is where K-5 students (as grade levels) meet periodically with Ms. Lahey and others to participate in nontraditional, enrichment-type “math” games/activities! These non-traditional math games/activities can include physical education math games, computer math games, math projects, etc., etc. All games/activities are designed to sharpen and enhance students’ grade level math skills in a fun and nontraditional way! While these math games/activities are occurring, grade level teachers collaborate with one another to discuss and implement “best practice” math strategies in their classroom. Everyone wins!
Additionally, at our monthly RAISE Assembly, we “ignited” “Respect” throughout the Sargent School and Community by teaching the kids the letter “R” in sign language and having the teachers touch their finger to a student’s finger, who will touch the next student and so on and so on! As we see respectful behaviors happening throughout each day, we can acknowledge it without speaking by enthusiastically showing the “Respect Sign!” It is the hope of the Sargent School Climate Team that the result of this initiative is to increase respectful behaviors to improve the learning and social environment at the Sargent School.
We also started a couple of really neat after school programs: The Sargent School newspaper, Sargent in a Nutshell and a Sargent S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) after school program. Both have been well attended by our students.
Finally in January, we had our ALICE Parent Information Night which was very well attended. ALICE is (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) and is being implemented in all NAPSs this year. It is a new system developed to enhance lockdown/safety procedures in schools. To date, all NAPS staff members have been trained, all schools had their ALICE parent information nights presented by the NAPD and all students had grade level age-appropriate presentations. We will be having a school-wide ALICE drill for staff and parents sometime in the near future. Parents students and staff will be notified well before the drill takes place.
In FEBRUARY, we kicked off the month with our annual Winter Carnival. It was a great time had by all. What better way is there to spend a cold winter’s night. A special thanks to the PTO and the multitude of NAMS students and parents who volunteered to set it up, pull it off, and break it down (with the help of our superior custodial team)! It was a lot of fun for student and adult alike! The North Andover School Enrichment Committee will be working their magic again with assemblies put on for grade 3 (Museum of Science: Weather), grade 5 (Museum of Science: Science of Sound) and grades K and 2 (Zoo New England). We will continue our marvelous UOD workshops/presentations for the upper grades (see above for details). Math-athlete Madness continues in earnest (see above for details). We have one remaining Early Release Day this month: 2/15. Dismissal will be at 1:45 PM for all students. Our monthly student and staff RAISE Assembly will take place on 2/17 which is always a lot of fun! Students and staff go on February Vacation 2/20-2/24. And at the end of the month the NAMS music program will come “out country” to us to talk to our current fifth graders about music opportunities up at NAMS for them next year. Yes, always a lot of neat things going on at the Sargent School.
OTHER IMPORTANT SARGENT NOTES.
Again, the MCAS 2 will be a NEW test this spring for ALL students in the Commonwealth in terms of the specifics including guidelines, testing mode, training modules, practice tests, etc., etc. There is an understanding/expectation that it will take some time before teachers and students in the Commonwealth (and North Andover) become comfortable with this new test. We will all be working to familiarize ourselves appropriately with the new test over the next few months. Patience and understanding will be a virtue:)
All ELA and Math MCAS 2 tests will be done on computers. (This is the direction the DESE is going across the Commonwealth.) This is a change from how students have taken these tests in the past. In the coming months, grade 3-5 students will be begin to familiarize themselves with this testing mode by spending some time with basic keyboarding and using computers in school on MCAS 2 practice test training modules provided by the DESE.
All grade third, fourth and fifth grade parents are asked to please refrain from scheduling doctor’s appointments, family vacations, etc. during MCAS testing days/sessions.
I think that is it for now on news related to MCAS 2. Anything new that comes up I’ll share with you accordingly. Please let me know if you have any questions.
This year the School Council is working to find more ways to increase “rigor and relevance” for our students by instituting additional academic programming (like our afterschool STEM program and school newspaper) and utilizing parent volunteers to help enable students to access curriculum enrichment programs (via Chromebook usage during Math-athlete Madness and Junior Achievement) and enable our teachers to inform their practice by visiting/observing other classroom teachers in the school and district. Neat things afoot in the area of increasing “rigor and relevance” at the Sargent School.
Please remember that Sargent teachers and I are here to ensure that the Sargent children receive a quality education academically, socially and emotionally. To that end, no problem that comes up that is getting in the way of this education is too big or too small for us to know. If you have a question or concern, please contact us. Social media is a wonderful tool, but it does not take the place of a strong and open connection/relationship with your son or daughter’s teacher, counselor, principal and school. Contact directly your child's teacher, the counselor or myself with any and all school-related problems, concerns or questions about your child. The “Communication ‘Go To’ Information Chart” on the Sargent Website is another resource that can assist you with specific contact information. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to ensure your son or daughter has a successful experience at the Sargent School. Again, no problem is too big or small!!!
Annie L. Sargent Elementary School Principal