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, cmoran@ashfordct.org. For details of the CT Invention Convention go to www.ctinventionconvention.org.School’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 http://www.enrichmentashford.blogspot.com/. 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 http://sites.google.com/site/ashfordctgr8sci/Home/physics-overview/bridge-building. Mr. Rossi's site is always changing and worth a regular visit. Go to http://ashfordg7science.wikispaces.com/introduction 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 www.ashfordct.org 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 http://mansfiled.org/schools/vinton/internetsafety

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 jsaegaert@ashfordct.org. 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.