With Many Thanks

It has been quite an experience for me since I transitioned to Winthrop Elementary School last summer, and I still can’t believe the school year has come to an end.  There have been days and events that stand out as absolutely stellar and memory making for our students, but it’s the day-to-day dedication of the adults in our community that I think about most often.

Specifically …

  • The commitment and concern of the dozen or so staff members and parents who came in last summer to meet with me and talk about Winthrop, both in terms of strengths and challenges.
  • The involvement of the parents – from day one to day 180 there were family members in our school, volunteering in the classrooms, the lunchroom, with projects, with parties, with field trips, with performances and special events, etc.
  • There were also plenty of volunteers who worked from home and helped with project prep, phone calls, emails, and our weekly e-Notices!
  • The experience of our teaching staff – Winthrop has very few teachers with under five years of service and that is a rarity in education these days!  There is a wealth of “institutional knowledge” and best practices within the school walls, and a variety of styles and approaches to teaching and learning.

So, many will say, “Why go?” and others will talk about the “mass exodus” of administrators in Melrose, and that’s the reasoning behind this post.  There’s a cliché … timing is everything, and the timing in my situation has been less than ideal.  I understand that my sudden departure may cause people to speculate on why I’m leaving.  Throughout the year, I have striven to be transparent and truthful, and in continuation of that I assure you I was not out looking for a new job, and had dully intended to help work Melrose through this transitional phase.  I think it is exciting to see new district leadership in Central Office positions, and am impressed with both Cyndy Taymore, and what I’ve recently learned about Dr. Adams.  I have been working diligently with Lincoln principal, Brent Conway, on how best to transition in three new principals for Hoover, Horace Mann, and Roosevelt, and continue to do so.

This late breaking opportunity to return to Tyngsborough was truly a family decision, and heavily debated and agonized over in the Herrera household.  Time is the number one detractor in our lives, with my husband’s hectic police schedule, having a soon-to-be 18-year-old college commuting son, two rambunctious dogs, and my busy principal life!  The ability for me to be home between the school day and evening events is the biggest time-gaining factor for us and weighed heavily in this decision.  Returning to the district where I grew in my teaching methods, and in my administrative style and practice was also a strong motivating factor.

I think Winthrop Elementary School is a fabulous place for students to be, and believe that the dedication of the adults who are part of this community makes Winthrop truly stand out.  I am thankful for a wonderful year, and will miss being part of helping Winthrop and Melrose grow and move forward.

Step-Up Activities

All students in grades K-4 “stepped-up” today to meet the team of teachers that will be at their grade level next fall.   At Winthrop this involves some staff moving into new roles and positions, so it was important for students to be able to match names and faces before receiving welcome letters in August!

  • Rising 5th graders met Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Lewis, and Mr. Yeaton
  • Rising 4th graders met Ms. Bruce, Ms. O’Brien, and Mrs. Ogiba
  • Rising 3rd graders met Ms. Bates, Ms. Hatch, and Mrs. Herook
  • Rising 2nd graders met Ms. Gorevitz, Ms. McElligott, and Mrs. Orlofski

and

  • Rising 1st graders met Ms. Hurwitz, Mrs. Twist, and Ms. Wilcox

All students were given information* to bring home about grade level supplies, and our almost 2nd-5th graders also received packets of information* regarding summer practice for literacy and math.  Having sat through each session, the resounding plea was for students to become more automatic with basic facts (addition and subtraction in the lower grades, and multiplication in the older grades!)  One teacher reminded students of their younger days when learning the alphabet.  The teacher asked the students to think about how hard they worked to recognize their letters, and how easily the alphabet comes to them now.   She then related that to practicing and becoming automatic with math facts!

Yesterday, children’s librarian Marianne Stanton presented to students and sent home information regarding summer reading, summer programming, and a suggested book list for Dream Big – Read!   The Melrose Public Library will not charge children this summer to replace any lost library card, and all were encouraged to visit Monday-Thursday from 10-8, or on Fridays from 10-5.  Books from the library are a great way to keep busy this summer, and an inexpensive way to reinforce learning and academics from the school year.

*All supply lists and summer packets will be posted on the Winthrop website within the next week.

“Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children tends towards the formation of character.” ~~ Hosea Ballou

End-of-the-Year Blues!

For those students not leaping with joy about the end of the school year, some web resources to help families work around anxiousness, worrying, and/or sadness:

I found all these sites by “Googling” and I’m sure there are many more!  Allowing your child simply to voice his or her feelings often goes a mile towards improving things, and these websites contain specific suggestions on how to do so.

The Great Book Swap of 2012

This year Field Day will also serve as the kick off for our summer reading push!  During a break in the games, activities, and performances, all students K-5 will be able to attend The Great Book Swap.   This new event will take place on the grassy area outside the main office, and will be run by Mrs. Herrera and some literacy loving volunteers!

The rules are quite simple – for every book a student donates (up to ten) he or she will be able to swap for the same amount of new reading material.  Students can bring in books from Monday through Wednesday, and there will be donation bags set up in each classroom.

Families with overflowing bookshelves or personal libraries may donate excess books (that is – over the 10 book student maximum) at the main office!  If we have enough “extra” donations, we’re anticipating every student will be able to go home with at least one new book to read over summer break, regardless of participation.

Just a reminder that field day is Thursday, June 7th.  All students who chose to participate in The Great Book Swap should have books to their classroom teacher by Wednesday, 6/6/12.

Further Book Swap 2012 Information