Walk to School Wednesday – 5/2/12

On Wednesday, May 2nd, Mass in Motion© and Chartwells School Dining Service, are encouraging Melrose elementary and middle school students to walk/bike to and from school in order to promote healthier lifestyles. Encouraging healthy changes in our everyday behavior will promote positive changes in our students, parents and community.

Did you know that students are encouraged to get 60 minutes of exercise daily? Just by walking to and from school with a parent can give students a chance to gain some exercise, fresh air and quality one-on-one time. This dedicated day is an opportunity for Melrose children to get even more active!

Are you ready for a breath of fresh air? Parents, this is a chance for some volunteerism while reducing some traffic congestion and pollution. If your student is old enough to walk to school without an adult please encourage them to walk with other students. Otherwise, please join your child if you can.

Chartwells will be rewarding participating adults with a hot cup of coffee and students with a healthy frozen juice treat when they arrive at school.  I hope to see you all out and about Wednesday morning!

Lunch Time Woes

Since we returned from the holiday break, I’ve been spending more time in the lunch room at Winthrop.  What I noted to be a small issue in the fall seems to be growing bigger and bigger each week – students not eating lunch!  This phenomenon isn’t restricted to our almost-middle-schoolers, there were even students in Kindergarten today who told me they weren’t hungry, or didn’t like what they had brought.

It’s understandable not to be hungry from time to time, but I stress to students that food is the fuel that allows their brains to work for the rest of the day.  While I certainly want their bellies to be full, I’m more concerned about their brain power for all the learning that takes place each afternoon!

They seem to know and understand this, but it doesn’t result in that many more kiddos eating what they brought.  Many students simply complain that they don’t like their lunch.  There are numerous ideas on how to pack a great lunch around the web, but a few I thought worth checking out are: netmoms, webmd, familyfun, and nhs.  However, the best suggestion I can give (as the principal, and as a parent of a 17-year-old) is to involve your child in the lunch packing process.  We have many students who bring a thermos and can tell me what’s inside before I even help open it.  That tells me they were involved in the creation of their lunch, and are invested in eating it.  Don’t get stuck in the “_______ isn’t lunch food” fight.  If they like it, will eat it, and the item(s) has some sort of nutritional value, it can be lunch!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ~ Virginia Woolf

What’s New at Winthrop?

This summer every classroom was fitted with a SMART Board, and elementary teachers across the district have had the opportunity for training with the district technology integration specialist, Mark Kelsey.  These trainings were a hit … Sold out!  Standing room only! … and teachers are excited to get back into school with new ways to promote learning and engage students.

Last year each grade level piloted a FOSS (Full Option Science System) unit and this year we will have full integration of FOSS, in conjunction with our newly aligned science standards.   The shift in our science curriculum transitions students from reading about science to actually doing science!  This hands-on approach requires higher level thinking skills through an inquiry based approach to science topics. 

A dedicated group of Melrose health and wellness providers worked last spring, along with district administrators, teachers, and parents, and chose Health Promotion Wave for a new comprehensive Health program.  Aligned to both the national and state standards, the Winthrop is excited to be the pilot elementary school for this new curriculum.   

As an elementary school we are always focused on literacy and math and this year will be no different.  As we are in science, in reading, writing, and math we will be working to focus on deeper conceptual understandings with problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Almost more importantly that any of the material items, or curriculum improvements, are the new and returning staff members who will be at Winthrop:

  • Ms. Liz Bates will be a new co-teacher working in 2nd grade this year.
  • Ms. Kim Dello Russo will be the new art teacher as Ms. Benski has moved over to the high school.  Ms. Dello Russo will be at the Winthrop on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays and at Horace Mann on other days. 
  • Ms. Susan Mayo is a paraprofessional who is returning to the Winthrop from the Franklin Early Childhood Center.  She will be working in 2nd grade.
  • There will also be a new Educational Team Facilitator, a new special education teacher (MSN), and a substitute guidance counselor (until November.)  Check back soon for more information on those positions!

In addition to all the incoming kindergartners, we also will be welcoming close to ten new students and families in grades 1-5 when school opens.  Please join me in helping them to become part of the Winthrop!