Monday, April 5, 2010

Principal Johndrow's Message

March and CMT’s have flown away! We are so appreciative of all the encouragement, the consistent bedtimes, the special breakfasts that so many of you provided for your children. In addition to yearlong CMT practice, one of the areas of focus was ways of motivating kids to do their individual best. It is universally accepted that one third of CMT scores are impacted in a positive way by the motivation a student has to do well.

We worked hard at motivational strategies this year and have evidence of initial success in this wonderful letter from a parent.

Dear Teacher,
“Poor David! He is very unhappy about missing school today because he did not want to miss the CMT’s. He managed to get dressed, said he would try to eat a little something at breakfast club, made it ¼ of the way to the bus stop and then stopped. He said that if he did the CMT’s this morning he would get all the questions wrong.
I think one reason David tried so hard to make it to school is those stars you have been giving the children. David is very, very proud of his and has them displayed on our new refrigerator. He tell us about the CMT’s each day and has enjoyed all of the (except the writing prompt.) Thanks for helping make them seem fun instead of something to worry about.” A Parent

Dress Code

As we get into warmer weather it is time to review the Dress Code with you child on pages 6 and 7 in the Student Parent Handbook.

Junior High Chorus Festival

By: Amy Porri

Our Junior High Chorus will be participating in the annual "Fly Up" Choral Festival held at EO Smith HS on Wed. March 24th. The festival provides the District 19 middle school students an opportunity to become acquainted with the high school choral program and director. The festival runs from approximately 9:30am-1: 30pm, during which the entire high school chorus combines with choral groups from Mansfield, Willington and Ashford. We rehearse a song with the choral director from each school. After lunch, each chorus performs a mini concert for the group. The finale of the day combines all 400 singers to "perform" the four festival songs.

This Festival has been going on under the leadership of Ms. Cathy Rowe for the last ten years. It provides our students with a great day of singing, listening and performing great choral music; which we hope will inspire them to continue their musical involvement when they reach the high school level.

Middle School Jazz Festival

By: Amy Dotson

On April 29th, 2010 the Ashford School Jazz Band will be participating in a new middle school jazz festival sponsored by the University of Connecticut's Community School of the Arts (CSA). Coventry, Woodstock and Mansfield will join Ashford School in this afternoon long event to be held at E.O. Smith High School. Each group will perform 20 minutes of music and spend 45 minutes with an adjudicator. After the adjudication session, students from all schools will be broken up by instrument and attend an instrument specific master class to be taught by a CSA faculty member. All students will then take part in an improvisation masterclass led by Topher Logan and finish the day with a concert by Connecticut big band, The Screamin' Eagles. The Screamin' Eagles concert will be open to the public and held in the E.O. Smith auditorium at 6:30; tickets are free for festival participants and $5.00 for the public. Any questions may be directed to Amy Dotson at

CMT Trivia

By S. Cunningham, CMT Coordinator

312 students in grades 3-8 were tested.

Connecticut Mastery Tests are given in the areas of Reading, Writing and Math. Students in grades 5 & 8 take a Science CMT as well.

New this year: State mandated online modified assessments for some special education students.

CMT testing was conducted from March 1 – 12.
Ashford students completed close to 1100 individual tests. School wide testing was completed on March 12. 120 individual makeup tests were completed by March 26.

CMT results will be available in September.


Ashford School Students Piloting Online CBAS Assessments

You may have heard your students mentioning a new online assessment system being used here at Ashford School. Students in grades 3-8 have been taking part in the inaugural year of Connecticut Benchmark Assessment System (CBAS), a new tool being provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education. It involves two tests given three times a year that are aligned to benchmarks in reading and math. The benchmarks are aligned to the Grade Level Expectations (GLE's) that "define the concepts and skills that every student should know and be able to do by the end of the specific grade level". This series of tests is different in that they are taken at a computer online allowing for them to be scored instantly providing the teacher with a printout of each student's attainment of GLE's the same day. This feedback provides teachers with real time information to help them in identifying both
problems and successes, allowing them to inform instruction immediately to better meet the individual needs of their class.

To date both the fall and winter assessments have been administered and teachers are using the data to fine-tune their teaching. The spring assessment is scheduled for May.

Going forward it is expected that these tests can be individualized to better meet the scope and sequence of lessons in our curriculum.

Science Bowl Teams

By Mrs. Perkins

The Ashford School Science Bowl teams represented our community with great respect, responsibility, and pride on Saturday, February 27th at the New England Regional Science Bowl Competition at UConn. Twenty-four teams from around the region came together despite snowy conditions to compete in the Academic Quiz Bowl and the solar car race. The Quiz Bowl Team, led by Captain, Erica M., was three and one after the morning rounds, qualifying the team for the championship bracket in the afternoon. Eighth grader Adam C. and seventh graders Erick B, Ron L, and James P. joined Erica as the team tackled three tough matches in this double-elimination round. The team won one against Teacher’s Memorial of Norwich, and faced Boston College High School’s middle school team twice, losing both rounds. The best part came at the end of the day, when, for the third year in a row, Ashford School’s Quiz Bowl Team won the “Spirit Award” for best sportsmanship and positive enthusiasm.

Our Solar Car Team, Captain Joe C. and sixth graders Aidden A. and Ashton L., were in first place going into the championship round. The team had a fast car throughout the day, but in the end, developed a tendency to veer right, taking the guide wire with it. Congratulations to the solar car team who showed great persistence, focus, and a positive attitude throughout a very intense competition, taking fourth place overall.

Congratulations to both teams for doing a great job!

Preschool Screening

April 28th and April 29th

The Board of Education, through the Ashford Preschool Program, is offering a free screening for three and four year old children. This screening includes hearing, vision, motor skills, speech, language and cognitive development. The screening will last approximately one hour. An appointment is required for this screening. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the development of your child. We urge you to take advantage of this service.

Children who will be entering Kindergarten this fall should not be brought to this screening.

WHERE: Ashford School Library
440 Westford Road

WHEN: Wednesday, April 28 - 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 29 - 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

To make an appointment for your child, please call 429-6419. If you have any questions about the development of a child below the age of three, please call the Preschool Teacher at 429-6419.