Friday, November 20, 2009

Principal's Message

December has arrived, and with it the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I am looking forward to the Winter Concert, where for an evening I can bask in the lovely voices of our children and enjoy the wonderful sounds of our bands.

My thanks to all of the families who monitored their children’s health as the flu season arrived. While we did have one day with 120 students absent, the numbers quickly took a downward turn back to normal. The efforts we have put into reminding students to wash their hands and/or use sanitizer seems to have made a significant impact on keeping kids healthy.

Teachers reported how much they enjoyed meeting everyone who attended parent conferences. I had several conversations with parents who praised the work of our teachers and related how much their children like school. Conferences are just one of the ways Ashford School works to keep parent–school communications lines open.

How many of you are aware of how learning at Ashford School at times occurs “outside”? In the past few weeks I have seen fourth graders outside measuring the amount of water displaced by submerging “pumpkins” in a large pail of water, students with Mrs. Moran observing how sun dials work, and eighth grade students on field trips looking for and identifying different kinds of fungi both in front of the school and on the nature trail. Ashford School is fortunate to have a beautiful nature trail behind the school that all grades have access to and which is used year-round.

As we move into the end of the month, my thoughts go out to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season.

Two Faculty Members Present at CTAHPERD Fall Conference

On November 19, 2009, Mrs. Hardisty attended the Connecticut Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CTAHPERD) Fall Conference where she presented on the topic “Character Education Should NOT Be Passe.”

At the same conference, Mr. Phelps presented on the use of TRYKKES at Ashford School in the vendor area.

Music Department News

Nineteen Ashford School students recently participated in a regional musical festival in Putnam, CT. The Quinebaug Valley Middle School Musical Festival (QVMSMF) began 4 years ago when area music teachers were looking for an opportunity for the students to develop and show off their skills in concert band and chorus.

Mrs Porri and Miss Dotson, Ashford School’s music teachers, selected student participants based ability as well as character. These nineteen students represented the top musicians and leaders in the school. Band students included: Caleigh C., Jennie R., Caitlin E., Tessa W., Megan M., Cassie H., Adam C., Joseph C. and Chris P.. Chorus students included: Brooke N., Erica M., Martha S., Matt S., Ben L., Kayla B., Sarah C., Jessica B., Shelby C.. and Laina F..

Ashford students combined with students from ten other communities for rehearsals on November 9th and 12th and then performed a public concert on the evening of November 12th. Despite very limited rehearsal time, both the choir and band performed difficult music with skill and excellence. Special thanks to all of the students for their dedication and hard work.

November Technology News Items

by Marji Roy, Technology Coordinator

Lexia Reading Update Invalid Code Info:

Many teachers have been using the Lexia Reading program in school and encouraging students to use it at home. Please note that when you download it at home you MUST include the dashes when you enter the school code. If you do not you will get a message indicating that the code is invalid and to contact your child's teacher. If you entered an invalid code you can fix it by launching Lexia and then immediately holding down the “a” and “s” keys. This will again direct you to the configuration page and you can correct the login code. Also of great excitement is that some of the stimulus money from the federal government is being used to update computers in grade 1 classrooms to better implement this new Lexia Reading program.

BOE Photo Policy Change:

Photos of school events will soon be appearing on the Ashford School web site ( The Board of Education has recently changed the policy banning all recognizable photos. We can now include photos and movies of students. They can only be identified using a first name. All parents were asked permission on the universal permission form that was distributed at the beginning of the year. We still will not publish photos for any student whose parents requested that we not do so. Teachers are excited about this change especially because we have been learning how to create podcasts and other multi-media presentations. Keep tuned!

Lunch Payment News:

Have you tried paying for school lunches online yet? This new service is operational and taking the hassle out of sending in lunch money. Refer to the guide sheet sent home in order to set up your account and pay for school lunches directly with your online bill pay. There is additional information about the process at the Lunch Info area on the school website.

Sounds Abound in Fifth Grade

Submitted by the Fifth Grade Team

If you know a fifth grader who attends Ashford School you may have had he pleasure of listening to a serenade on the pan pipes or a lively tune played on a “sound sandwich.” These handmade instruments are just one part of the exciting learning taking place on the fascinating topic of sound. Fifth grade teachers have been co-teaching with the enrichment teacher, Carol Moran, to present inquiry-based, high-interest, and hands-on lessons.

In September, the students explored vibration. They used tuning forks to strike a surface and designed and conducted experiments to see how different objects would sound when struck by the vibrating fork. The most entertaining part was watching the effect the fork had on striking a cup of water – splash! After learning that all sounds are created by vibrations, students analyzed the qualities of sound.

In early October, classes went outside and analyzed absorption and reflection at work. Sounds reflected (echoed) off smooth, flat surfaces like our school and were absorbed by items with rough surfaces like the trees in the forest near our playground. It is encouraging as a teacher to see that the children are natural scientists: questioning, everything around them, analyzing variables, and brainstorming future experiments.

Later in the month students were involved in an in-depth study of pitch. They identified high- and low- pitched sounds and examined factors that alter pitch. This led easily into connections with musical instruments. Many children demonstrated their background knowledge of instruments and how length and tension can change pitch. We examined xylophones and the length and position of the keys in relation to the pitch that they made. There are a great many web-based resources to enhance student learning in this area that are fun for students and families alike. Try out these fantastic sties to make “sounds abound’ in your home!

PreSchool Parent Information Night

by Mrs. Lusa, Preschool Teacher

On Wednesday, November 4th, a group of preschool parents gathered in the library for a presentation on what their children are learning in preschool. After a brief presentation on the Connecticut State Preschool Frameworks, the parents went to work on “being a preschooler.” Groups of parents rotated through four different activities and experienced some of the things that are done in preschool. They used blocks, playdough, lotto/puzzles and did some sorting and patterning activities. They were asked to look at a list of preschool skills and identify which ones the children could learn in each activity. At the end of the meeting, one parent commented, “When I ask my child what they did that day at school, they always answer 'I played'. Now I know why they say that.” Play is a young child’s way of learning!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kids With Character - Citizenship in the Form of Community Service

by Mrs Hardisty, Health/ Physical Education Teacher

Citizenship is alive and well in Ashford. There is a requirement for health class that is part of our Character Education program. Each student must complete a three-hour service project, outside of the school day. Students have a large variety of options from which to choose, and some choose a large variety. More than half our junior high population traditionally completes more than one service project, even though it’s not required. This reflects on their outstanding character and commitment. They recognize that others provided opportunities for them when they were small, and that they can do the same in return.

So far this year students have volunteered at Family Fun Day, the PTO Ice Cream Social and the Halloween Party. PTO Chairpersons, Mrs. York from Ashford Park and Recreation and Mrs. McDonough from Ashford Youth Services all rely on older students to help run the activities at these community-wide events. They are not disappointed. Kids have also provided childcare services to staff for our half-day professional development and during parent/teacher conferences. An 8th grade girl manned the K-12 Early Alert table at Open House for two nights. Several boys volunteered at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as “bike valets” for those who rode 15 to 50 miles for a fundraiser. We also had one student and one staff member participate in the ride. We always have a strong showing at the Relay for Life. This year was not different. One young lady baked and then sold the proceeds during the Relay. She contributed $397.00 to the American Cancer Society. Another young lady helped at the Hartford Marathon and an 8th grade boy took on the messy job of cleaning up his road.

Two exciting projects are ongoing. Four 8th grade girls are working together on a “Mitten Tree.” They will be collecting new mittens, gloves, scarves, hats and socks to distribute both locally and regionally before the winter break. Five 7th grade boys have taken on the daunting task of raising the funds to purchase a kinetic sculpture by local artist David Roy. They hope to mount it in the lower lobby for all to see, wonder at, and enjoy during community events. Look for their fundraising ideas through the year and support them when you can.

Finally, not to be out done, the 6th graders accepted the annual responsibility of collecting for UNICEF. They always have a little help from junior high students, which is appreciated. With six boxes still uncounted, they exceeded their goal and reached a current total of $608.40. One student earned special recognition for his sole contribution of $333.80. Ben C. has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty!

Junior high students are ready, willing and able to perform community service to help Ashford School be the best little school possible!

Ashford School's Teacher of the Year

Colleagues have chosen third grade teacher Gail Christopher as Ashford’s Teacher of the Year for 2009-10. Mrs. Christopher has completed thirty-one years of teaching, thirty of them at Ashford School. Among her many contributions is her role as third-grade team coordinator and CORE coordinator for grades 1-3. Mrs. Christopher has worked on numerous curriculum committees. She is currently a member of the Science Curriculum Committee. Over the years Mrs. Christopher has overseen several student teachers. She has also volunteered in various PTO-sponsored events such as Family Fun Day and participated in the faculty variety show.

“I have taught third grade for most of my career and absolutely love working with eight- and nine-year-old children,”’ notes Mrs. Christopher. This dedication to teaching is highlighted by comments from students.

Nathan says, "She's awesome and teaches us a lot. She helps us so we can get better at stuff."

Faiths adds, "She's one of the best teachers and doesn't really yell that much. One day it was really hot and she gave us pops.”

PJ states, “She's an excellent teacher. Very smart."

And Katie adds, “"She always gives us pencils and rewards if we do something right."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Principal Johndrow's Message

On Friday October 9th I had the most wonderful day as two, quite professional gentlemen, took over as Principal of Ashford School. Josiah Caldwell and Cameron Albert were chosen out of 331 students to share this honor. Becoming principal for the day was the incentive for the Summer Reading Challenge. The “principals” checked on classes, asked if the nurse needed help, checked on Mr. Mellady to see if all was going well, reminded students not to lean on railings, and check how things were going at the primary recess. The three of us had lunch together and talked about discipline and school improvement. They felt things are going very well.

On one of the days I was working on this newsletter I looked out the window and it was snowing. Isn’t snow before Halloween a little early! This does bring up the reminder that at Ashford School we believe that children need to be outside as many day s as possible. Please check the weather and have your children dressed accordingly.

November is here and I want to remind you Conferences are on Thursday, November 12th and Friday, November 13th. This follows the Veteran’s Day holiday on Wednesday the 11th. You will have received the first report card of the year prior to the conferences, as well as, CMT scores and numerous assessments. This will allow for a meaningful dialogue with your child’s teacher (s).

I have visited every classroom and am so impressed with the learning occurring in all the classrooms. Many pieces of student work are on display on bulletin boards outside classrooms. During conferences I encourage you to walk the hallways and look at the marvelous work that are students produce.

Technology News

You should visit the Class Connections page ( at the Ashford School website and explore the links there. The teachers at Ashford School have put in a lot of hours first for training and then for creating class webpages and we are at almost 100%. Take a minute to explore what is happening at different grade levels or look at the informational pages put up by some of the resource and support service areas. . These resources can be a place for parents to get more information but also a place for you to explore things with your children. Check out Mrs. Moran's site for fascinating links to further enrich you students' experiences. Many teachers have added parent or family links.

New Software Connection:

Thanks to the efforts of Special Education Director Donna Hartigan, Ashford School has a yearlong complimentary license to two online skills development programs for students to access both at school and at home. We have implemented the Lexia Reading and Symphony Math software programs, teachers have received training and letters with download, login and password information have started going home. Lexia Reading helps students rapidly develop reading skills in an engaging and dynamic way. It has an initial auto-placement activity, which starts students at the appropriate level. The Symphony Math software helps students develop a solid foundation in number conceptualization and math operations. Symphony Math systematically helps students improve math concepts, fluency, procedures and applications. As an added benefit, these programs are available to students at home to extend their instructional time via its School-to-Home Connection. This extra time will help students achieve their reading and math goals at an even faster rate. We encourage you to help your children access these programs at home by following the specific download procedures for each program. This will allow them to work independently to improve their skills. Both programs suggest practice for twenty minutes a day."

Reading News

By Mrs. Trumbull, Reading Teacher Grades 5-8

Free-time reading is a relaxing way for your child to spend a few quiet minutes at home. This can be the time to especially enjoy one of the most treasured aspects about reading – choosing your own reading matter, author and/or book. Finding the right independent reading book means understanding at least 95 % of the words. A quick look at a few pages could confirm if it is a good match; or try the ‘five finger test’: if he/she hits five words that can’t be read in the first page, they should put down the book and find another one. Tip: When you are at the library, it’s also a good idea to check out an extra novel or non-fiction in case the first choice does not work out.

Older elementary kids today have other media available to gain information and to find enjoyment. These include the Internet, news and magazine articles, audio books, DVD’s, TV news stories, newspaper, song lyrics, and even movies. These other ways of gaining information are becoming more accepted in education today. They have value as a potential learning tool because they can sometimes more vividly and perhaps dramatically ‘get the point across.’

A tip for making media a learning tool is to have your teen practice summarizing. This is considered a fairly sophisticated strategy and therefore needs lots of different kinds of practice. If you approach this with a fun attitude, there can be lots of educational benefits such as better retention of information. For example, after you and your child view a movie or a news story, discuss the actions or contents and work toward your child summarizing it in his/her own words.

The following should be included in an oral summary:

• Important characters, events, themes, or ideas

• Some important or cool facts and detail

• A word or special language from the story or topic that can be discussed or looked up in a dictionary.

As an adult, you probably use this summarizing strategy without realizing it, in your daily conversations at work and home. Having conversations with your children, who are less experienced than you, will really reinforce this important strategy.

Have a wonderful Fall and ‘thank you’ for helping your kid(s) to enjoy reading, viewing, and writing as part of your family life!

Music Department News

Nineteen Ashford School students will be participating in a regional musical festival in Putnam, CT. The Quinebaug Valley Middle School Musical Festival (QVMSMF) began 4 years ago when area music teachers were looking for an opportunity for the students to develop and show off their skills in concert band and choir.

Mrs. Porri and Miss Dotson, Ashford School’s music teachers, selected student participants based on ability as well as character. These nineteen students represented the top musicians and leaders in the school. Band students included: Chris Pavliscsak, Caitlin Ecsedy, Jennie Rozenberg, Tessa Weidig, Caleigh Campion, Adam Cherepon, Cassie Hayward and Joseph Cherepon. Choir students included: Matthew Sibley-Jett, Erica Mahue, Kayla Bendell, Brooke Noel, Laina Fesenmeyer, Ben Lagasse, Martha Sherman, Sarah Caldwell, Jessica Bassett, and Shelby Colonese.

Ashford students will combine with students from nine other communities for rehearsals on November 9th and 12th with high quality conductors and educators from around Connecticut. The rehearsals will culminate with a concert to be held on Thursday, November 12th at 7:00pm in the Putnam Middle School Auditorium. This concert is open to the public. Guests are asked for a $2.00 donation ($5 max/family) and a canned good.

Congratulations to our Ashford students! We are very proud of your work and excited for your chance to participate in this festival.

This year, all Band and Chorus members will be required to wear black slacks/skirts and white button down shirts or polo’s for the concerts. Jazz Band already requires this and many other schools do, too. We think it looks very nice and gives the performers an added sense of unity. We want to give parents plenty of advance notice of this change.

We would like to start a "uniform bank" of slacks and shirts that families have outgrown to provide to students who need them. If you have such items, please drop off clean items in the music room, any time. If your child needs to borrow a uniform, please contact either Mrs. Porri or Miss Dotson to make arrangements, well in advance of the Dec. 10th Concert.

Cafeteria News

Beginning October 27, the tracking of lunches became “computerized”. A letter has gone home to all parents. The system will use children’s school identification number and will keep track of deposits, maintain a balance record and record money spent. In addition the system will keep track of food allergies and/or dietary requirements. Go to for more information.

PTO News

Wednesday, Nov. 4 is the next PTO meeting in the library. Childcare will be provided.

Thanks to Debbie Smith who organized our Fall Fundraiser which made over $6,000.00 for the PTO.

Thanks to Suzanne Schillinger and helpers Lisa Hassett and Kristi Halloran who made the Ice Cream social possible this year.

The Butter Braid order pick up will be on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 6-8pm in the cafeteria.

Please send your Box Tops for Education to school and have them sent to the PTO mailbox in the office.

The fall Book Fair will be 8 a.m.-8.p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, Nov.13 at the school.

Ashford School is participating in Stop & Shop A+ Bonus Bucks program October 9, 2009 through March 25, 2010. If you have registered in the past, you must re-register by linking your card either by logging on to to register online or dialing 1-877-366-2668 to register your card by phone. Cash will be awarded to the school based on participation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Principal Johndrow's October Message

As I greeted students getting off the bus on the first day of school it became increasingly obvious that the vast majority of students were looking forward to getting back to school. They were genuinely happy, chatting and laughing with their friends, comparing which teacher each had, and even talking about what they were looking forward to in school. Throughout the days that followed I made visits to every classroom and it amazes, but does not come as a surprise, that all of the classrooms were in full swing looking like they had been in school for a couple of weeks.

Fall has arrived. Driving into school, (I admit I have a beautiful drive in) the leaves are making huge progress turning into their beautiful colors. I noticed it again when I’m out watching the soccer games. October brings field trips to the firehouse, flu clinics, soccer games and WINGS for 7th and 8th graders. Already bulletin boards in the hallway and classrooms are filling up with student work.

Very likely you are hearing Mrs. Moran’s name a lot, She teaches enrichment classes in grades 1-5. This year we are delighted that in addition to her enrichment classes she is co-teaching at least one science class a week in grade 1-5. If you want to know about Monarch butterflies - ask a primary student!

I’d like to welcome Miss Erin Maloney who will be teaching fourth grade for the rest of the year while Mrs. Ramsdell is on maternity leave. Miss Maloney is an experienced teacher and integrates music into her language arts.

By now I’m sure that you have gotten into a routine for homework completion at “your house”. A quiet time, a special place, and your encouragement are what are required for students to develop good homework work ethics. Mrs. Dee Trumbull, our new reading teacher in grades 5-8, has good advice for the beginning of school.

PreSchool News

By Ginger Lusa

It is another new school year and we held some activities to help our preschool families make the transition to Ashford School.

On August 20th we welcomed our preschool families to Ashford School for a Playground Night. The children met their teachers and some new friends and took a short ride on a school bus.

On August 27th we held our Preschool Open House. The children had an opportunity to visit their classroom for a half hour and explore the materials in the different learning centers and get to know some new friends.

The preschoolers came to school on their own on Friday, August 28th and we are off to a great start!

Eighth Grade Update

By Jen Lindsay

As some of the “newness” wears off on this 2009-2010 school year, the eighth graders are settling in to their role as the leaders of the school. We would like to a take few minutes to let you know what we are doing and getting ready for as October arrives.

In language arts, students have finished a parts of speech review unit. This always proves to be a successful unit as we are reminded of the eight parts of speech and enjoy creating products that actually display our learning. Upcoming units include persuasive writing, research writing and the novel, Good Night Mr. Tom. Be sure to ask your student about the plot—it is a good one!

Eighth grade social studies began with a civics unit in which students review the United States Constitution and its impact on the country. The Civil War and Reconstruction are upcoming units. Stay tuned for information about the immigration project and class elections!

In math, students begin the year working with the Geometer’s Sketchpad. Students are also working on writing clear math explanations. Following this, they will use spreadsheets to explore square roots and sets of numbers. Watch for units on coordinate geometry, probability, percents and ratios, and the Pythagorean theorem this year.

Biodiversity conservation is the topic in science as the year begins. Eighth graders look first at bacteria, protists, fungi and plants. Areas of study include how these are classified, and how we can conserve biodiversity. Next, students will study the costs and benefits of genetically modified crops.

In addition to these classes, students continue to learn and explore in health, art, Spanish or reading and physical education. In October we all come together for two amazing days at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to step out of our comfort zones and accomplish things we did not know were possible at W.I.N.G.S.

Music Department News

This year, all Band and Chorus members will be required to wear black slacks/skirts and white button down shirts or polo shirts for the concerts. Jazz Band already requires this and many other schools do, too. We think it looks very nice and gives the performers an added sense of unity. We want to give parents plenty of advance notice of this change.

We would like to start a "uniform bank" of slacks and shirts that families have outgrown to provide to students who need them. If you have such items, please drop off clean items in the music room, any time. If your child needs to borrow a uniform, please contact either Mrs. Porri or Miss Dotson to make arrangements, well in advance of the Dec. 10th Concert.

Starting Off the Year Stress Free

For many students, starting the year means new teachers, schedules, and new friends. In order to minimize your family’s stress level throughout the year, here are a few suggestions for you and your elementary and/or junior high school kids:

1. Get back in the routine. Have you eased back to the structure of the school nights by reestablishing reading and homework routines, mealtimes, and appropriate bedtimes with your kids?

2. Set educational goals NOW at the beginning of the year. Whether your student(s) is striving for an A, handing in homework on time, or preparing for a test – setting goals can help set the routine for the new school year.

3. Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher or teachers. Take the time to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher(s). They are the best source for information about scholastic and/or behavioral matters and can recommend ways to help your child resolve any difficulties he or she is having.

4. Create a homework routine and place. Choose and agree on a time and place that is free of distractions. Have tools such as dictionaries, calculators, erasers and extra paper available. A place without TV, computer or electronic devices can limit distractions.

5. Stay on schedule. Insure your student uses his/her planner to record assignments and due dates on a daily basis. Students new to junior high may need extra support in keeping track of multiple subjects, homework, teachers, classrooms and books. Planning ahead and developing a workable study schedule is a worthwhile skill that can be used now and later on high school or even college. Good organization limits late nights completing homework assignments or cramming for tests. This can greatly reduce your student’s anxiety about school.

6. What can you do to encourage learning on vacation breaks or at home? One way is to involve your student in real, authentic experiences that will use and reinforce reading, writing, and math skills taught in school. For example, if your family is thinking about possible family day trips—your older kids could use a map, plan the miles, estimate the costs of gas, food expenses and even possible fun activities.

Another idea is to ask your older child or teen to compare and contrast information before purchasing an item and to write why a particular item is better.

Lastly, following directions on a How-To project with you can also help kids develop critical thinking skills while also having interaction and fun at home.

7. Do you have any ideas you could share with others at our school? Let me know.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

September 2009 Newsletter


Where did the summer go! One might think that a school has less going on in the summer but that is not true. All summer long teachers have been in working on professional development in the areas of math, science, and reading. In addition, most of the grade level teachers and special education teachers spent professional development time with Kelly Doubleday-Bush learning about participating in data teams. Time was also spent on assembling class binders in which data on every student will be monitored and if needed will allow for immediate intervention. Refer to additional information in Dr. Longo’s article.

No school can shine like ours without the dedicated and hard work of our custodians. Floors shine, desks and lockers are all washed down, and new white boards mounted. That is only the tip of the iceberg as to their list.

I do admit though that what I miss the most during the summer are the voices of the students. I am looking forward to welcoming our students back, seeing how they have grown, listening to their tales of summer and providing all of our kids with the best education.


Gina Burnham joins the Ashford School Staff replacing Mrs. Schaffer as a fifth grade teacher. Hillary Borges will be teaching 6th grade (science in the afternoons) for Mrs. Knotts who is on maternity leave. Renee Therrien will teach kindergarten for Mrs. Dingler also on maternity leave. We have a new Reading Teacher/Reading Coach, Dee Trumbull, to teach reading in the middle school and to work with students in grades 4 and 5. Dianna Belliveau is our new special education teacher and Rebecca Driscoll completes our staff as Speech Pathologist. We continue to replace and expand our staff with the most qualified and interesting professionals


Teaching is eclectic. That’s a three-word sentence with a long explanation. What other profession asks me to also serve as a secretary, bookkeeper, nurse, guide, cheerleader, motivator, photographer, tech guru, psychologist, mediator, guardian, and so much more. Yet at the Ashford School I don’t have a single colleague who would choose to do anything else other than teach. This is our chosen profession. This is my chosen career.

After more than 30 years of teaching, I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m a veteran teacher. Wow! Four years in sixth grade, five years in seventh and eighth grade, twenty-two years in fifth grade, and they keep renewing my contract for another year. So I keep coming back and doing what I love doing; helping my students through the uncertainty of new topics to the light of understanding, to the moment of “aha”. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t always work out so neatly. But I never stop working toward that goal. And, although I typically shy away from giving advice, I’m now inclined to give it as more colleagues, parents, and others ask for it.

So what would I tell parents whose elementary school-aged children are now on vacation and looking forward to, or anticipating, or dreading the new school year? I would say what I have said for many years. You are your child’s first teacher and your preparation work at home goes a long way toward the long-range success of that child.

Involvement with your child on a daily basis is extremely important. Spend “quality” time with him or her. Play games that include an educational component, let your child be physically active whenever possible, and read with and to your child on a regular basis. Spend time discussing what you read by asking more than just literal questions. Try higher order thinking skills. ‘Why do you think that character made the choice they did?’ ‘Do you know someone who is like that or who would do the same thing?’ ‘What would you have done?’ The most important aspect of your involvement with your child is the regularity. It’s expected and it’s part of your family ritual. So what’s part of your family ritual with your children?

Finally, let’s talk about the anxiety of the first day of school. Kids are people too. They need the reassurance that going into the unknown isn’t as bad as they might make it out to be. I’m about to start my thirty-second first day of school, and I still get anxious and excited about that day. Why would I expect kids to be calm and confident on day one? Why not talk to them about it? Find out what their biggest fears are and reassure them that they will survive and be successful if only they show up and give it their best efforts. The first thing I do on day one is learn about my students as they learn about me. After all, they will be my family for the next ten months and I want all my students to have a sense of community, belonging, and respect. Shouldn’t we know a little more about each other and be glad to be where we are before we embark on that educational journey


Math packets were mailed home this summer for grades five through eight. Students received three sheets of math problems to complete by the first Friday of the school year - August 28, 2009. The packet was made up of a variety of problems representing the different math strands covered during the school year. In addition, the problems in the packet were designed to help maintain and practice existing math skills.

Students were encouraged to complete a few problems each day in order to finish the sheets by the beginning of school. The skills practice will continue though out the school year. The completed problems will count as an assignment for each student.

The math packets were the result of work done by math committee members representing grades five through eight. Next summer, the hope is to extend the packets to all grades.


Projector Mounts: Thanks to a generous donation by the PTO we are finally able to mount the projectors in the ceilings of the 8 classrooms that have Smartboards. This new setup is a huge benefit for ease of technology use and safety in the classroom. When you come to Parent's Night this fall look up in Rooms 23, 25, 27, 29, 29A, 31, 33 and 36 to see the new apparatus. We are also getting 2 new smartboards to continue expanding this valuable technology tool.

K12Alerts: We have contracted with a company to provide a better emergency announcement system. You will be able to register email addresses, as well as telephone numbers to receive emergency notices via both email and phone call. Watch for additional information on this and be sure to sign up.

New Lunch System coming: Ashford is getting a lunchroom computer system that will include online payment options. This cannot be installed until October but be on the lookout for additional information.

EETT Science Grant: Our participation in this grant is coming to a close. As part of the final completion we are sharing the technology lessons with other school districts via the web. Check out the website still under construction at to see the remarkable work completed by the Ashford School Staff and funded by the "Enhancing Education Through Technology" grant.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009, 7 p.m.

Information on Flu Clinic will be presented.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

May-June 2009 Newsletter


This is our final newsletter for the 2008-2009 school year. The response to this endeavor has been very positive. Comments range from how nice to see a notice at all (this from a 6th grade parent) to congratulations for sending only one to my family. Everyone likes the information presented. In general I have received a thumbs up.


May and June are incredibly busy months. Teachers are accessing students to make sure that maximum learning and meeting grade level curriculum demands have been met. Students are completing their last projects, papers, and lab reports. As the days get warmer and the evenings get longer, I remind everyone that schoolwork still needs to remain a priority. All students need to leave in June feeling successful and accomplished. While these feelings can go on a short break over the summer months these positive feelings will surface in late August when thoughts once again turn to school.


On May 14, all seventh graders will travel to the Salmon River. The students will complete a river study that includes flow rate, pH, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. At this time Mr. Rossi's students will release salmon that they have been raising since January of this year.


Jennifer Gagne, a graduate of Ashford School, has returned to Ashford School to complete her student teaching in Mrs. Lusa’s preschool class. Jen is graduating this spring with her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Quinebaug Valley Community College. Miss Gagne worked two mornings a week in the classroom during the fall term and has been working 5 mornings a week for the spring semester. She has been invaluable to classroom activities and she will really be missed when she leaves. Jen plans to continue to take courses to work towards her Bachelor’s degree.
Good Luck Jen!


Blackhawk Helicopter Landing at Ashford School

Bob Mullady from the CT National Guard is bringing a VH60 Blackhawk helicopter to Ashford School on Monday, May 18. Our students and staff will be given the rare opportunity of witnessing a fly over and landing. After shutting down students will participate in an up close walk-around.


Our appreciation goes to Esther Jagodzinski and John Pease for arranging for Ashford School to receive a UTC matching request grant providing additional funding for our Enrichment Program.


Our spring concert will take place Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m., We are very proud that so many Ashford students are involved in our performing groups and that so many families come out to support the music program In order to make our concerts a pleasurable experience and out of respect for our student performers and for the safety of the audience, we have developed a set of guidelines that we ask everyone in attendance to adhere to.

Concert Guidelines
• Children must be seated with their parents at all times.
• Aisle ways and door ways must be kept clear at all times.
• The lobby must be kept clear during the performance.
• If you must enter or exit the gym, wait until the conclusion of a song.


Ashford Hydrogen Fuel Cell Team Wins Second Place in Regional Competition

The Ashford Science Bowl Team competed in the annual regional competition this past Saturday and walked away with TWO awards! This competition is held each year at the University of CT when schools from across the Northeast play a science quiz style game and build/race cars powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This year there were 11 schools competing, traveling from as far away as Boston.

During the day, Ashford's three-part team split up to compete in different areas. Two teams competed in the quiz game to test their knowledge of various science topics, while one went to the racing area where a "build and race" contest took place. Students were given a set of materials, two hours and a test track and instructed to build a car that would win the race.

At the end of the day, the fuel cell team walked away with the second place award, only beaten when the Two Rivers Magnet School inched ahead of them at the end of the race. The quiz teams made it to the sixth round of competition, winning recognition for good sportsmanship.



May 1: Class trip to Rhode Island
May 4: Visit to E.O. Smith
May 22: Field trip to UConn
May 27: Six Flags for qualifying students

June 3: SWINGS with grades 1 & 2
June 4: Tri Town Dance Activity, EOS
June 12: Graduation Dance
June 15: Class picnic at Holiday Hill
June 18: Class Night
June 19: Exit Assembly


2009 Ashford Baseball and Softball Schedule

Apr 29 Columbia Boys (Away) Girls (Away)
May 4 Stafford Boys (Away) Girls (Away)
May 7 Columbia Boys (Home) Girls (Home)
May 8 Willington Boys (Away) Girls (Away
May 11 Willington Boys (Home) Girls (Home)
May 14 Stafford Boys (Home) Girls (Home)
May 15 Mansfield Boys (Home) Girls (Home)
May 18 Mansfield Boys (Away) Girls (Away)

Baseball Coaches: Mr. Busse , Mr. Blume
Softball Coaches: Mrs. Borysevicz, Mrs. Hayward


Online Math Resources to Explore with Your Child:
By Marji Roy
Have you visited the numerous Everyday Math links located on the Ashford School Website? There are a slew of excellent online math games and exploration sites that align with the Ashford School Everyday Math series all organized for easy access. You can direct your Kindergarten through grade 5 student to these links and help them practice their math skills with targeted activities. Just click on the "For Students" link in the left navigation menu from the Ashford School Home Page at, then click on the Everyday Math Links. The Links are arranged by grade level and then by Unit. If your child needs additional support with a math concept you may find working together with him/her on these activities can help reinforce school lessons. (Note: Follow the same route "ForStudents" to "Everyday Math Links" when the new website launches soon!)


How Do You Build a Library Collection?
By Vincent Bologna, Ashford School’s Library Consultant

This is the time of year we usually embark on an important project that often gets overlooked. This is the time when we begin getting ready to order books for the beginning of next school year. The first stage in that process is assessing the current state of the collection to see what books should be “weeded’ from the collection. How do we decide which books should be weeded? One criterion is books that are beyond repair. Another criteria is the age of the book and whether or not the information it contains might be outdated and therefore incorrect.
Once we have looked through the books in the collection we decide which subject areas need updated material. We also look at the circulation statistics from the year to see which areas of the collection receive the most use and therefore could use some additional titles so books are available when students need them for reports and projects.
The money that is budgeted for library books is spent on non-fiction titles. Money for pictures books, fiction and young adult fiction comes the funds the PTO annually donates to the Media Center.

Since May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), we wanted to remind you about the dangers of noise abuse and how to protect your hearing-and the hearing of your children. Loud volumes associated with portable listening systems such as bipods and CD players, rock concerts, indoor sports events, and video arcades are prevalent throughout our society. Over 10 million Americans have hearing loss because of excess noise exposure. A Zogby International poll indicated that Americans listen to personal audio technology too loudly for too long, and the CDC reported that over 5 million youths exhibit some degree of hearing loss due to exposure to noise at hazardous levels. With the increasing popularity of personal audio technology, millions of adults and children across the United States are at greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss than ever before. It is important to teach your children to know when loud is too loud. Remind your children that it is too loud if:
• you must raise your voice to be heard.
• You have difficulty understanding someone who is an arm's length away;
• You have pain, ringing, or buzzing in your ears after exposure to loud sounds; or
• Speech sounds muffled or dull after noise exposure.
Below are some quick and easy guidelines you can follow to help protect your family's hearing:
• Be very cautious in allowing your preschooler to use any personal listening device with headsets or any form of earbuds. Before buying any sound-making toy for an infant or toddler, hold it up to your ear. If the sound causes your ear to feel uncomfortable (ringing, buzzing, or muffled speech), either immediately or after a short exposure, then the sound is too loud and the toy should not be purchased.
Follow the same rule for toys already in the home and either remove the batteries or discard the toy.
• If you and your children attend rock concerts, do lawn work for extra spending money or to help around the house, or attend indoor professional sports events, please get into the habit of using ear plugs (cotton balls will not protect you). Inexpensive ear plugs that you buy at the pharmacy can reduce the sound by approximately 15-30 decibels and can bring the noise level within a safe hearing range without affecting the ability to enjoy an event.
• When planning a large party where there may be a DJ or live band, tell the performers to limit their sound output to 85 decibels.
• Have the children turn down the volume on their Wii, Nintendo DS, and Guitar Hero games.
• If your children are learning to play the drums, electric guitar, or practice target shooting, have custom earplugs made for them to use when they are practicing or performing.
• If you have school-aged children who like to listen to music using a iPod, Discman, or a CD player, use the parental controls, if available, to set the volume at a low level.


School is coming to a close and summer is upon us! Please remember to pick up your child’s medication on the last day of school. Mrs. Flynn, School Nurse will be available the following few days during normal school hours if you cannot come on the last day of school. It is State law to dispose of any medications that are left on the premises. By law a student cannot transport medication. So, to save you money, please come in to pick up your child’s medication.
Enclosed in this Newsletter is the Medication Authorization form to be completed by both the parent and the physician and to be brought in by an adult at the start of the next school year, if medication will be needed. Doctor’s offices also carry this form.

Any questions please give me a call. Thank you, and have a happy, healthy summer. Mrs. Flynn.

A child is eligible to enter kindergarten if he/she turns five on or before December 31, and is a resident of Ashford. Call Michelle Bibeault at 429-6419 to have registration information mailed to you. All registration information must be completed before your child may attend kindergarten classes this fall.


Margie Chatey is looking for a couple of people to work with her on the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is responsible for finding people to fill open PTO Officer positions. Please call Margie at 487-0492 if you're interested.

The Father-Daughter Dance
Spring arrived at Ashford School the evening of March 28th as young Ashford girls and their fathers attended the 3rd Annual PTO sponsored Father-Daughter Dance. As girls donned colorful spring dresses and carnations, and cameras flashed, everyone enjoyed refreshments and danced to the music of DJ Wow. Thanks to April Basch, Tracey Campbell and Vickie Weidig for planning this wonderfully popular event.

Summer Programs _First Camp
Ashford Youth Services will hold First Camp for students entering and exiting first grade from June 29 the through July 2 nd. The camp will meet at Ashford School in the cafeteria from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM; the cost for the camp is $30.
Third Camp
Ashford Youth Services will hold Third Camp for students entering and exiting third grade from July 6 th through July 10 th. The camp will meet at Ashford School in the cafeteria from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM; the cost for the camp is $35.
First and Third camp include games, crafts, outside activities, snack and more! Look for registration forms to go home with your children or call school for more information.
Camp CONNRI _Ashford Youth Services is the contact for those wishing to send their child to Camp CONNRI this summer. Camp CONNRI is the Salvation Army camp located on Route 74 in Ashford. Children age seven to fifteen can attend this weeklong sleep over camp for only $35.00. There are three camp sessions this year, the first meets July 18 Th to July 23 rd and is for children ages seven to twelve. The second session meets August 3 rd to August 8 Th and is also for seven to twelve year olds. The third session of camp meets August 10 Th to August 15 Th and is for twelve to fifteen year olds. If you have questions about Camp CONNRI or would like to request an application please call Ashford Youth Services at 429-6419. Camp application must be returned to school before the end of the school year so don't delay in requesting an application!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

April 2009 Newsletter


We made it through March with the CMT testing and now welcome getting back into a routine. Mrs. Cunningham, CMT Coordinator, trained staff, and processed, labeled, and distributed over 1700 test booklets. In addition she coordinated the make up of over 120 tests and repackages everything to return to the state for scoring.

April brings warmer weather and the opportunity to experience wonderful field trips. “Instructional travel away from school grounds is recognized by the Board of Education as a significant part of the educational program of a school. All of our field trips are directly related to the curriculum and are a means of enhancing student learning.” On occasion a play will be performed in this area that relates directly to our curriculum. When this happens every effort is made to take advantage of it. Both our 1st and 8th graders enjoyed two wonderful theater experiences in March. Our 8th graders attended To Kill a Mockingbird, at the Hartford Stage. Mrs. Lindsay Language Arts students study this novel in their classes. First grade, thanks to money made available by the PTO, enjoyed Seussical at University of Hartford. We all know Dr Seuss books are enjoyed throughout the grades.

Here is a sampling of Field Trips for April. Grade 2 – Children’s Museum in West Harford, Grade 3 - This Land is Your Land at the Hyde Cultural Center in Pomfret, and the Wickware Planetarium at Eastern Connecticut State University, Grade 5 - Connecticut Opera presentation of The Magic Flute at Mansfield Middle School.


World Language
In the 5th and 6th grades student meet for Spanish one class a week. In the 5th grade we learn our colors, numbers, dates, and basic conversation. Also we learn quite a few songs! In 6th grade those topics are reviewed and we learn to tell time, classroom objects, and basic grammar including use of adjectives and verbs. In the 7th and 8th grades Spanish meets three times a week. We have vocabulary units on weather, clothing, sports, foods, media, as well as culture units on Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Chile, Argentina and Peru. At the end of 8th grade Spanish student who have a B or better may elect to take Spanish 2A at E.O. Smith.
Students going into 8th grade who meet certain criteria have the option of taking Latin, German, or French class during the first period of E. Smith High School schedule.

Multiply Your Options
Ten of our 8th grade young women were selected to attend “Multiply Your Options”. This event is held at UConn on April 9 and is supported by the Engineering Department. The students will explore employment opportunities in the fields of math, science, and technology.

Baseball and Softball
Baseball and softball season has arrived. During April there will be try-outs followed by several days of practice. Ashford School’s baseball team will be coached by Chris Busse and the softball team by Polly Borysevicz.
The first game is an away game against Columbia on April 29. Check the Ashford School website for game dates.

Science Fair
Congratulations to the following students who were recognized at Ashford School’s Science Night. Eighth graders Ethan Lippert, “ The Effects of Temperature on Battery Lights”, Paul F., “Calescent Catalyst”, Nicole W., “The Solution to Global Warming…” and seventh grader Jacob A., “Coefficient of Restitution”. The students scored well in the very competitive atmosphere of the state competition.

Small Ensemble Night Concert
The Ashford Music Department will present its 3rd annual Small Ensemble Night Concert on Thursday, April 16th at 7p.m. in the school cafeteria. Student musicians will perform in a variety of small instrumental and vocal groups. Donations may be made and will be accepted for the benefit of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Refreshments will be served. Please come out and support our student musicians, as well as a worthy cause.

Invention Convention
Students in grades 1-8 are invited to create a unique invention to be displayed at the Ashford Invention Convention on April 15. Inventions will be judged during the afternoon, and families may view the inventions that evening from 6:30-7:30.

An invention is something that solves a problem or makes life easier in some way. Winners of the Ashford Invention Convention will join hundreds of student inventors from across the state at the Connecticut Invention Convention in Gampel Pavilion on May 2.

Students in grades 1-5 were introduced to inventing after February break during their enrichment period. Grades 4 and 5 will have several lessons on inventing; including what makes a good invention, a take-apart lab, and brainstorming ideas for inventions. Invention websites are listed on Mrs. Moran’s website, accessible under classroom links on the school’s website.

Students are encouraged to develop an idea that is meaningful to them and with minimal cost or using recycled materials. Ideas will be judged on originality, process, effectiveness, practicality, and need.

Information and forms for the Ashford Invention Convention are available at the school’s website or from Mrs. Moran, For details of the CT Invention Convention go to’s

Fascinating School Happenings on the Ashford School Website:
Marji Roy, Ashford Technology Coordinator, has been working for the past few months preparing to update the Ashford School website. (We are planning to implement the new site during April vacation when access during school isn't needed.) Before the main part can be operational many teachers needed to either move or update their websites. These are already operational and connected to our current website.

If you haven't been checking out class websites you might want to take a little virtual field trip today into some of the interesting things going on at Ashford School. Take a look at Mrs. Moran's site at She has great photos and explanations of some of the enrichment activities you might have heard your children talking about. Mrs. Perkins has been expanding the Grade 8 Science site with each unit and she has just uploaded a slide show of student bridge designs at Mr. Rossi's site is always changing and worth a regular visit. Go to and spend some time exploring.

This newsletter will be online and you can find the above links there for easy click through. Just go to the Ashford School website at and click on the new link for the Principal's Newsletter.

Internet Safety:

Mansfield Middle School is sponsoring an Internet Safety presentation on Tuesday, April 14, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. It will be held at the MMS Auditorium, 205 Spring Hill Road in Mansfield. They extended the invitation to all the Region 19 schools including Ashford. There
is no charge for the presentation. It covers the topics of Child Predators and Cyber Bullies and offers awareness regarding Internet threats as well as strategies for parents and educators to help protect children who use the Internet. Supervisory Special Agent, Thomas Lawler of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is presenting it.

For additional information visit Mansfield’s Internet Safety Resource page

Author Jan Brett’s book Comet’s Nine Lines is an enchanting book about friendships. Did you know that the smaller picture on the side of the larger picture on each page also tells a story? After you read the book to you child have them make up a story to go with these pictures. Older siblings might enjoy doing this also.


Is it common cold or allergies?
If your child has a temperature of 100 or over and coughing and sneezing, it may be a cold. Students may return to school when their temperature is normal and symptoms subside. If your child has itchy watery eyes, runny nose and general discomfort it may be allergies. Ask you doctor about seasonal allergy medications if needed
CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillation) training.
Over 20 staff members have been recertified.


This year, the Board of Education passed a new policy on Student Possession and Use of Electronic Communication Devices. The new policy has proved to be a welcome addition to keeping current with technology especially where the safety of our children is concerned. My gratitude goes to all of the parents who have reinforced the appropriate use of the devices.

A child is eligible to enter kindergarten if he/she turns five on or before December 31, and is a resident of Ashford. Call Michelle Bibeault at 439-6419 to have registration information mailed to you. All registration information must be completed before your child may attend kindergarten classes this fall.

The Board of Education, through the Ashford Preschool Program, is offering a free screening for three and four year old children. Refer to flyer in newsletter.

What questions do you have about the school that you would like explored? Email comments and questions to Mrs. Saegaert at She will collect and pass them to Mrs. Johndrow.

Breakfast Club
Each morning at school, staff and parents volunteer to provide a breakfast of cereal, milk, juice and baked goods. Breakfast is offered to all students who may not have time to eat before the bus comes in the morning, for families who are struggling to keep food in the house during these hard economic times, or just for students who need a bite to eat before class. We are currently looking for parents who are willing to bake bread or muffins for the breakfast program or who could volunteer to help with the program on a Wednesday or Thursday morning. If you are interested in helping with the breakfast program please contact Melissa McDonough at 429-6419.

Iparent Network
Iparent network is a broad based community coalition of parents, professionals and other community members from Ashford, Mansfield, and Willington. The mission of the group is to equip parents with the tools to be prevention experts so our youth develop in healthy and safe ways. Our long term goals is to reduce high risk behaviors such as underage drinking in our tri-town area by creating ways for parents to feel more connected to one another. The group is in the process of creating a networking website that will be designed for parents to connect with one another for support and information. If you are interested in joining this group they meet at the Mansfield town office building on the third Thursday of each month at 9:00 AM or for more information call Ashford Youth Services at 429-6419.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

March 2009 Newsletter

Principal's Message:

Welcome to Ashford School’s first newsletter. Not only will you find information that is pertinent to your child but also you will gain a better sense of all that goes on in school. We begin March with Connecticut Mastery Testing.

Connecticut Mastery Testing (CMT)

When educators, parents, and students now think of the month of March the first thing that comes to mind is March is the month when the State of Connecticut requires that all 3rd through 8th grade students be tested. This year students will be administered one test per day starting on Monday, March 2. Testing will end on Monday, March 16 providing “Old Man Winter” does not pay a visit. Included in this newsletter is the CMT schedule for all grades. All students in grades 3-8 take tests covering reading, writing, and mathematics. Grades 5 and 8 are also required to take science. Every year schools are asked to take supplemental tests. These are pilot tests giving information for future CMT’s. Note on the schedule that grades 3, 5, 7, and 8 will each do a supplemental test. Grades 4 and 6 are not assigned any. Talk to you child about how important the tests are as a means of seeing how much more they know this year over last year. Be positive, supportive, and encourage your child to do their very best. As usual, a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast and a high five on the way out helps.

Please Everyone Needs to Be on Time!

I cannot emphasize how hard it is on a student who comes in late and has to sit in the library during the testing and then 2 weeks later have to be taken out of class to make the test up. Everyone needs to be on time! Once testing begins students may not enter the classrooms.

Academics and Curriculum:

Writing is a requirement in every grade and in every subject. Teachers in all classrooms including teachers of art, music, physical education, world language, math, and science all require students to write throughout the year. Samples of student writing are submitted to me at different times during the year. After reading, I write comments and offer encouragement. It is one way in which we teach the value and importance of writing. Often the samples give a sense of what students think about a topic.

Sixth graders once again studied the Phantom of the Opera. This is a cross-curriculum project, where students study the time period in social studies and language arts, the masks and posters in art, the music of the period in music, and the dance and manners of the time in physical education. The Masquerade Ball held on Wednesday, February 11, was the culminating activity. Mrs. Hardisty chose as one of her writing assignments for the year a persuasive piece on “whether dance should be eliminated from PE.” Here are a few quotes taken from the writing samples. “It is fun to learn and would broaden the next year 6th graders. It makes you more mature.” “It is a good way not to be shy anymore. Studies show that most people who participate in dancing are more confident.” “Most boys are not dancing with girls because their friend might make fun of them if they do and if every boy gets to dance then no one will be made fun of.” “Dancing isn’t as important as learning school subjects and sports.” “I think it broadens a child’s horizon. It gives them a chance to try something new.”

Professional Development Day:

There is no school for students on Monday, March 23, as teachers participate in a Professional Development Day focusing on CMT achievement.

Awards and Recognitions:

• Superintendent/Student Recognition Award
In November, Andrea R. and Ryan D. were awarded the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents’ (CAPSS) Superintendent/Student Recognition Award for leadership service to the school, academic prowess, and service leadership to others in the community. Andrea and Ryan were presented the award by the Interim Superintendent, Len Lanza. Congratulations to both students.

• Tenth Annual Celebration of the Arts
On Monday, February 2, Patrick D. and Caitlin C. were recognized for outstanding citizenship, cooperative skills, and artistic ability in the performing and visual arts. Patrick and Caitlin along with their families, Ms. Dotson, Mrs. Dockendorff, and Mrs. Johndrow participated in the festival that was held at the Aqua Turf.

Clubs, Activities:

Ashford School MATHCOUNTS Team, coached by 8th grade math teacher Mrs. Backhaus,
traveled to the Coast Guard Academy in New London on Saturday, February 7 to compete in the 2009 MATHCOUNTS Competition. Team members Brent B., Kristina C., Paul F. and Zeke K. and individual competitors Emily G. and Ethan L. spent all day focused on solving math problems both individually and as a team. Special recognition goes to Paul F. who ranked 10th overall among a very competitive group. Congratulations to all for a job well done.

Baseball and softball tryouts will begin the last week in March.

Read Across America / Dr. Seuss Day
This day is celebrated nationally on March 2, and is a lot of fun. On the wall leading up the ramp to the Primary Wing you will see student drawings of their favorite Dr. Seuss story book characters. Certificates and bookmarks will be available in some classes. In addition, students in the upper grades will be reading to some of our younger grades. Opportunities like this are what make Pre-K through 8 schools special.

Invention Convention:
Carol Moran, Ashford School’s Enrichment Teacher, works with students throughout the entire school. Ellis Island and bringing younger students into the Science Fair are some of the activities she is involved in. In March, Mrs. Moran will once again encourage students to “be creative” and to invent something. An invention is something that solves a problem or makes life easier in some way. Ashford School’s Invention Convention will be held on Wednesday, April 15, in the cafeteria. Winners of the Ashford Invention Convention will join hundreds of student inventors from across the state at the Connecticut Invention Convention in Gampel Pavilion on May 2. Like many of you at past Invention Conventions I also wonder, “Why didn’t someone think of that before? “ Open viewing will be from 6:30 -7:30 on the 15th.

Technology News:

Tech Survey: In the fall a technology survey was sent home with report cards requesting information to help us in creating the new Ashford School Technology Plan Here are some of the findings. 186 surveys came back representing a return of 58%. 95.69% of our families have working computers at home and of those 86% are connected to high speed Internet. 51% would prefer to receive communications from school via online, 43% prefer paper and 6% had no response. During this transition time we see a need for us to use both online and paper. We are working hard on a new school website soon to be launched with a more informative front page and putting into place a better up-to date online calendar. I encourage you to log into to view the new look.

Google Sites Training: Our teachers spend a lot of time outside the school day learning new technology which translates into increased student learning. A group of teachers have been attending after school workshops presented by Marji Roy, Ashford School’s Computer Consultant. Teachers are learning to create their own websites and learning Google sites all with goal of sharing class activities with families.

February Institute: A group of teachers chose to spend part of their February vacation at school working on creating new technology lesson plans that combine technology with other curricular areas. Funding for this project came from the Enhancing Education Through Technology grant that was awarded to Ashford School for the purpose of creating “assured experiences in technology”. Marji Roy, Rick Rossi, Annie Perkins and Kelly Knotts were responsible for the crafting of this grant and all participated in the February Institute. Chris Busse, Michelle Bibeault and Carol Moran joined them.

Library Media Center:

The Media Center has a collection of periodicals (magazines) available for student and faculty use. These periodicals supplement course studies and provide articles that provide more timely information for students doing reports or class projects. Oftentimes reading a magazine provides the opportunity to learn something on one’s own. Periodicals are only available for use in the media center but articles are photocopied for student or faculty use. Listed below are periodicals in the lirbray.

Current Events;
  • Newsweek, Sports Illustrate For Kids
  • Geography/Social Studies:
  • National Geographic, National Geographic
  • For Kids, American History, Cobblestone,
  • Kids Discover
  • Ranger Rick
  • Current Science
  • Odyssey: Adventures in Science,
  • Cricket: The Realm of the
  • Imagination
  • Highlights
Professional Periodicals
  • NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Reports
  • Instructor
  • Cable in the Classroom
  • Science and Children
  • Booklist


Parents who enjoy science activities with their children I suggest the book Bite-Sized Science: Activities for Children in 15 Minutes or Less. This book offers parents many opportunities to share science lessons with their preschool child. (Grades K-3).

Health and Safety:

Did you know that Mrs. Flynn, our school nurse, processed over 800 student visits in January?
We serve 30-40 breakfasts each morning during the Before School Breakfast Club.

Policies and Procedures:

At school we recognize the importance of keeping physically active: but we must also remain safe. Everyday we plan to go outside unless the temperature is less then 20 degree. The wind chill is always factored into this determination.

Kindergarten Registration for the School Year: 2009-2010

A child is eligible to enter kindergarten if he/she turns five on or before December 31, and is a resident of Ashford. Call Michelle Bibeault at 439-6419 to have registration information mailed to you. All registration information must be completed before your child may attend kindergarten classes this fall.

Ashford Youth and Family and Social Services:
Heating Assistance:
It is not too late to apply for help for heating assistance for any type of heating source. If you think you may qualify call Ashford Social Services at 487-4417.
Stay and Play:
This is an after school activity for 1st through 4th graders. Each grade level gets to stay after school three Wednesdays in a row where they participate in fun cooperative games in the school ---Fourth grade stay and play is completed for this year.
Third Graders – Feb. 25, March 4, 11
Second Graders - March 18, 25, Ap.1
First Graders - April 8, 15, 29
Look for flyers and permission slips in your child’s backpack.

Mom’s Club:
New offering: A weekly group for stay at home parents. (Dads are invited too).This new
group will meet each Thursday from 9:30 to 11:00 in the lower level meeting room of
the town office building. Children will have weekly activities and parents will have a chance to socialize.

Board of Education: March 5th and 19th, 7 p.m., school library.
PTO: March 2 , 7 p.m. school library