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ES Newsletter - January 2019

Principal’s Page

Happy New Year to all our Abby Kelley Families! It is off to an exciting start with our students in grades 1-3 completing the

i-Ready Challenge over the December break. Mrs. Giusto and I had lunch with the students who had the most i-Ready usage for their entire grade in both math and reading. Congratulations to all!

 

There were also 29 third grade students who have learned all their multiplication facts with 95% or higher. These students received a dress down day, donuts, and extra recess. Congratulations to them too! We will be having the same math fact challenge for grade two and grade one students with their addition facts. Please continue to reinforce math fact practice, reading, and i-Ready use for students in grades 1-3.

 

Along with academic learning, keeping our students safe is a priority for every school administrator. We have shared the third grade students' bullying survey results in the last newsletter, and with the students themselves. On December 19th, Ellen Miller, from the District Attorney’s Office, presented to all grade three students and separately to their parents. There was a morning presentation on the ways parents could be more proactive and involved when it comes to ensuring that their child uses the internet safely and responsibly at home. Students were also provided with some facts about being safe online, what is not acceptable online, and the importance of not giving any personal information out, etc. Informing our students with facts is another proactive step in helping them see the benefits of the internet, as well as, the dangers. We learned that many of them are already using the internet, chat rooms, and many have their own You Tube channel. Along with keeping students educated about online safety and bullying prevention, we will continue with our safety drills which include both fire, building evacuation, and lock down drills. We are still in process of the district-level roll out with A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), but we will continue to use our previous lock down procedure until ALICE has fully been adopted. Our school had our first school-wide practice lock down on January 10, 2019.

 

Jennifer Giusto our ES Assistant Principal, will be out on medical leave effective January 14th. Her last day of the school year was on January 11th. She is expecting a baby in the spring and she will need to be on bed rest. There was a separate email that was sent out on January 10th to families. We wish Mrs. Giusto and her family all the best in the months ahead. Ms. Amelie Tambolleo, ESL and RtI Coordinator, will be the acting interim Assistant Principal in her absence. You may receive calls from Ms. Tambolleo regarding school and student information. 

 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Amy Emma

Elementary School Principal

aemma@akfcs.org

508-854-8400 extension 3618

 

 

Thank You to This Month’s Newsletter Contributors!

Siby Adina, Michelle Champagne, Shelby Dame, Scott Daugherty, Amanda Durkin, Amy Emma, Ginger Ferraro, Natacha Geneus, Kelly Gould, Kaitlyn Greenwood, Melissa Joubert, Diane Mikulski, Tony Romniou, Sarah Roy, Jessica Shepro, Kate Stockwell, Jill Stone, Clare Sullivan, Amelie Tambolleo, Kendra Warhol, Joanne Wiggins, Michelle Vigneux

 

 

ENROLLMENT FOR THE 2019‑2020 SCHOOL YEAR

Applications for Grades K-6 for the 2019‑2020 School Year will be available on-line, beginning on Monday, October 22, 2018; the deadline will be on Friday, January 25, 2019.  Once our Enrollment Period opens, the on-line form must be completed for siblings of currently enrolled students and residents.  All applicants, including siblings and students currently on our waitlist, will need to reapply for admission on an annual basis. Enrollment preference is given to siblings of currently enrolled students and students residing in the towns designated in the charter: Auburn, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Sutton, West Boylston and Worcester. Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School is open to all Massachusetts residents. Applicants are required to submit reasonable proof of residency and sibling status at the time of admission. The school’s application process is not integrated with any school district.  Incoming Kindergarten students must be five years old by August 31, 2019 to be eligible for Kindergarten. Our Enrollment Lottery will be on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. in the High School Concert Hall. If you have any questions regarding enrollment, please contact the Admissions Office 508-854-8400 x3644 or send an email to admissions@akfcs.org. For our complete enrollment policy, please visit our website at www.akfcs.org. Click on Parents/Students, then choose Admissions.

 

 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Kitchen Cafeteria Team Member: Substitute position on call during the school year 6:45am to 1:45pm in our busy school district. Responsible for general kitchen cafeteria duties. Duties include, but not limited to, preparation, ordering, serving, cashiering, paperwork, and cleaning. This position requires working with others and children. The ability to lift, bend, stand, and walk are part of everyday life in the kitchen. Qualifications include a high school diploma or equivalent, self-motivation is very important, taking pride in a job well done, and kitchen experience is preferred but we are willing to train a motivated and positive person. To apply, please provide your resume and work history to Ms. Stephanie Ryder at sryder@akfcs.org.  

 

 

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE

Let’s fight the flu together! Influenza is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs) that can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and the worsening of other chronic health conditions. Flu symptoms may include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches.  The best way to protect your family from new influenza strains is to get vaccinated each year. The top five most virus-contaminated areas in the home are: 1) Telephones (have you cleaned your cell phone lately); 2) Appliances such as the refrigerator and microwave; 3) Faucets; 4) Light switches and door handles; 5) TV remotes. Follow good health guidelines: eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest to help boost your immunity to fight the effects of colds and flu. Wash hands frequently, do the elbow cough, and disinfect hot spots at school, work, and home. Please remember that children with a temperature of over 100.4 F, need to remain out of school until they are fever free, without the use of medication for a minimum of 24 hours. For questions regarding the AKFCS school policy for illnesses, please refer to the school handbook. Just another reminder about medications: Prescription and over the counter medications, CANNOT be sent to school or transported back home by the students. Medications should not be put in children’s lunch boxes. This is a safety concern for your child and their peers. Parents or guardians must drop off and pick up medications from the school. As always, please feel free to contact Mrs. Melissa Joubert, elementary school nurse, at 508-854-8400 ext.3604 or mjoubert@akfcs.org.

 

 

DISTRICT WELLNESS POLICY

The District Wellness Policy can be viewed on our website at www.akfcs.org/parentsstudents/health-wellness. Please familiarize yourself with the school’s sickness & medication policies on the school’s website. This policy is strictly enforced for the health and wellbeing of all students and staff. Please contact the Elementary School Building Policy Coordinator, Melissa Joubert, at 508-854-8400 ext. 3604 or mjoubert@akfcs.org if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

THE GUIDANCE COUNSELOR’S CORNER

During the month of December we had 4 WatchDOGS (dads of great students) volunteer for a school day, and spend their time in student’s classrooms, helping out and being a positive role model.   We would like to take this opportunity to recognize our volunteers by name: Eby Martineau, Sean Curren, Pedro Moreta and Mike Dirlinger.  We really appreciate the help and hope you enjoyed your time with us. If anyone is interested in signing up for a volunteer day, please feel free to call and set that up. Anxiety is a topic that is often talked about during a school year. Although our students are young they still experience anxiety just like adults do. Children often don’t recognize their anxiety for what it is. Instead, they may think there is something “wrong” with them and frequently focus on the physical symptoms of anxiety (e.g. stomachaches).  These thoughts might make them feel even more anxious and self-conscious. Therefore, the first step is to teach your child about anxiety and how to recognize it. How to do it: There are three steps to introducing the topic of anxiety to your child:

Step 1: Encouraging your child to open up about any fears and worries. Use quiet moments in the car or at home to ask your child about their school day and focus on anything that is concerning them. Step 2: Teaching your child about anxiety: Anxiety is normal and everyone experiences it at times. Anxiety is not dangerous. Though anxiety may feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t last long, is temporary, and will eventually decrease! Step 3: Helping your child recognize anxiety. For younger children, you can talk about how you will both be “detectives”, and how you will help your child in an “investigation” to find out more about anxiety. As detectives, find examples of how your child experiences anxiety in each of the three parts: physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, poor sleep etc) , anxious thoughts ("no one is going to play with me" or "I don't want to leave mom because something bad might happen"), and avoidance behaviors (trying to stay home from school because they don't want to face a test). Once your child has gone through these three steps, and is able to understand and recognize anxiety, your child will be better prepared to move on to the next stage - learning how to manage anxiety! As always, please feel free to contact the guidance department if you have any concerns about your child’s social or emotional development. You can call Ms. Woods at 508-854-8400, ext. 3647 or send an email to swoods@akfcs.org. You can also call Mrs. Stockwell at ext. 3688 or send an email to kstockwell@akfcs.org. Food Pantry Hours: 5:30pm-6:00pm on the first Tuesday of each month in the elementary school if there is a PTO meeting.

 

 

CHARACTER COUNTS!

Each month a specific character virtue is emphasized throughout our school. Each week,

students from each grade level are recognized for displaying that month's character virtue.

September:  Responsibility

October:  Truth

November: Citizenship

December: Fairness

January: Respect

February: True Friendship

March: Kindness

April: Perseverance

May: Self-Discipline

June: Courage

 

DECEMBER 2018 FAIRNESS CHARACTER COUNTS WINNERS

Kindergarten: Nyani Mondley, Keanu Henriquez, Savannah Ankrah, Raelyn Jedeon, Dariana Rivera Acosta, Rahnaya Madison, Mia Grullon, Mimian Le, Oliver Hendricks; First Grade: Kofi Duodu, Reginette Adongo, Heidi Thompson, Kaylee Mendia, Charlee Diagne, Michele Adu Gyamfi, Hillary Phan, Y'lana Bush Vasquez, Jessica Ikua, Brian Tram; Second Grade: Randy Marines, Katherine Appiah, Candace Ntim, Ayman Makroum, Jonathan Brooks, Karim Watson, Jr., Madelyn Pellegrino, Frankee Crehan, Gabrielle Acquaye, Gloria Awuah; Third Grade: Catherine O'Toole, Pedro Moreta, Lacie Martell, Joyceline Gyan, Makaila Anarfi, Bernard Boahen, Tomasz Borawski, Matheus Carvalho, Nathan R'Com, Ernesta Ngolle, Aina Kyeremeh Addo, Emmanuella Poku 

 

     PARENT PLUS PORTAL INFORMATION

If you need information on how to log into the Parent Plus Portal on www.akfcs.org please email itsupport@akfcs.org to get your username and password.  If you already have your log in information and need assistance, there is information on www.akfcs.org under “Parents/Students” called “Parent Plus Portal Information”.

 

 

CONTENT MATTERS

Talking to and reading with your child are two terrific ways to help them hear and read new words. Conversations and questions about interesting words are easy, non-threatening ways to get new words into everyday talk. Here are some ideas to get you started. First, provide a simple, kid-friendly definition for the new word: Enormous means that something is really, really big. Second, provide a simple, kid-friendly example that makes sense within their daily life: “Remember that really big watermelon we got at the grocery store? That was an enormous watermelon!” Third, encourage your child to develop their own example: “What enormous thing can you think of? Can you think of something really big that you saw today? That's right! The bulldozer near the park was enormous! Those tires were huge.” Lastly, keep your new words active within your house. Over the next few days and weeks, take advantage of opportunities to use each new vocabulary word in conversation. Take the time to share new words and build your child's vocabulary. You'll be enormously glad you did!

Read the full article from Reading Rockets at Building Your Child's Vocabulary. Please contact Mrs. Kelly Gould, instructional coach, at 508-854-8400 ext. 3623 or kgould@akfcs.org if you have any questions or concerns,

 

CURRICULUM CORNER

January will be a busy month with midyear diagnostics for all our students. These include i-Ready Reading, Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), and i-Ready Math. K students would take i-Ready diagnostic between 1/22 and 2/8 and grades 1-3 between 1/28 and 2/8. The information from midyear diagnostics will be used to monitor student progress and interventions. You can help by encouraging the children to: 1) Try their best and try not to rush; 2) Try not to worry about questions they do not know; they will see some questions about things they have not learned yet; the test is designed intentionally to include prior and future content. For students in grades 1-3, please continue to monitor progress on online lessons. If any of the domains get shut off or they seem like they are out of lessons, check with the teachers. Sometimes, it is because the students need additional support in that lesson and at other times, it is because they may be significantly ahead of where they should be with that content. Thank you for your continued support. Please contact Mrs. Siby Adina, curriculum coordinator, at 508-854-8400 ext. 3670 or sadina@akfcs.org if you have any questions or concerns.

 

THE CHRONICLES OF KINDERGARTEN

Our students are working hard and are continuing to make progress. In English Language Arts (ELA), students are putting sounds with letter names and blending those sounds together to make words.  Students have begun to learn about capital letters and proper capital letter formation. Kindergarten students have also been reading high frequency words and writing with correct letter formation.  Please continue to practice the high frequency words at home. We will continue to practice writing simple sentences, starting with a capital letter, ending with punctuation and leaving spaces between words. In math we have added numbers together and worked on multiple ways to solve word problems.  We will be working on subtraction this month as well as decomposing and representing numbers to 5. In science, we are learning about forces, motion and gravity. All classrooms will learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. this month as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday January 21st. An important reminder about Homework: Students are expected to be reading every night. Please practice sight word flashcards every night. Practice math addition and subtraction facts with pictures, drawings, or math manipulatives. Students can always visit www.raz-kids.com/to practice reading to self independently. Please contact your child's teacher if you are unable to log into Raz-Kids at home. Kindergarten students will be having outdoor recess daily, weather permitting. Please be sure that your child has a warm coat, gloves, hat and boots. Please remember that boots are not part of the uniform policy and school appropriate shoes will need to be brought in and the students will need to change into their shoes. Snow pants are not necessary as we will not be playing in the snow.

 

THE FABULOUS FIRST GRADE

Welcome back first grade families! In science, we are learning about sounds and vibrations. In math, students are learning about graphing and data. We are using bar graphs, pictographs, and tally charts to read and interpret data. In writing, we are working on using graphic organizers to plan out our thoughts. In phonics, we are studying vowels that change sounds when it is followed by the letter ‘r.’ It is going to be a fun and busy month! Please remember to practice math facts and read every night with your child. If you don’t have your child’s i-Ready login information, please contact your child’s teacher!

 

2nd GRADE ROCKS!

January is a very busy month for us in 2nd Grade. We are working on Unit 6 in Phonics, so the students are working with words that have vowel-consonant-e syllables. In science we continue to work on and will be wrapping up soon, the unit on liquids and solids. Currently, we are experimenting with particles. In math, we are moving on to double digit subtraction using various strategies. January is assessment month as well. We'll be starting BAS reading assessments, taking i-Ready math and reading, and doing the winter writing benchmark. Please continue to have your student read to you each night, and work on i-Ready.

 

THIRD GRADE BEAT

Happy New Year!  Students have been working hard in Grade 3. In ELA, we are focusing on parts of speech and narrative writing. Students have also continued to read and respond using complete sentences and details from the text. In math, we are finishing up a unit on multiplication and division, and will be moving into fractions. Keep studying those math facts every day! In science, students will be investigating a unit on weather. We even have a meteorologist from WCVB Channel 5 coming to visit and talk to our students on Tuesday, January 22nd! Please remember to send your child to school with a snack each day and to send them with appropriate clothing. We try to send students out for recess as often as we can in the winter! As always, Grade 3 thanks you for your continued support. 

 

MUSIC

Happy 2019! In music we are getting into reading notes in our march toward using instruments in the classroom. Also, our morning instrumental program is off to a great start - we are learning on clarinet, flute and trumpet this year and there is little that is more exciting than opening up a musical instrument for the first time! We are beginning preparations for our spring concerts: please stay tuned for dates! Please contact Mr. Scott Daugherty at sdaugherty@akfcs.org with any questions about music in the elementary school.

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Warm Greetings! In physical education the students are reviewing the rules and routines for P.E. for the new year. They are working hard on collaboration and teamwork. All grades will be transitioning into learning skills for a true winter sport, hockey! Students will learn how to handle a stick and puck, as well as playing some fun floor hockey activities and games during the month of January. Please remind your student(s) to wear sneakers or running shoes on the days listed below. This will ensure that they are able to move easily and stay safe during rapid play time in the Activity Center. Please feel free to contact Ms. Kendra Warhol at kwarhol@akfcs.org with any questions or concerns.

Day 1 - Wasgatt, Shepro, Stone, Burns

Day 2 - Champagne, Young, Sullivan, Tenore

Day 3 - Stansky, Harshaw, Chicoine, Leahy

Day 4 - Marcil, Cunningham, Martunas, Magerowski

Day 5 - Joslyn, Lapierre, Rodriquenz, LaLancette

 

VISUAL ART

Kindergarteners are learning about Antarctica. They will create a winter penguin landscape using mixed media. First graders are learning about form. They created a snowman sculpture using clay and various materials. They will draw a portrait of their snowman. Second graders learned about the art of stained glass. They created their own faux stained glass evergreen tree using chalk pastels and glue. Third grade are working on an animal sculpture lesson using recycled materials and their imagination. Students will paper mache their creations and prepare them for paint.  Art supplies needed for the art room include newspapers, Q-tips, and paper towel tubes. Please contact Ms. Sarah Roy at sroy@akfcs.org with any questions.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Students in grades K-3 are continuing to practice intermediate keyboarding skills in each class. Technology allows students to complete research for class projects. Our kindergarten and first grade students are working on becoming familiar with the location of the letters whereas our second and third grade students are working on using proper keyboarding techniques.  In addition to this, kindergarten students are learning how to log into a keyboarding program.  Each kindergarten student was assigned an individual code to access the program.  This program allows students to use mouse skills, as well as, click, drag and drop functions to solve puzzles. At this point in the school year, kindergarten students are only requiring to identify and locate letters when using the program. These beginning-level skills are essential to learning because students will rely on these skills the older they get and the more technology they will be exposed to. Our First-grade students are also working to create PowerPoint’s.  Within their PowerPoint, students are writing about how to build a snowman using sequencing words.  Each student's PowerPoint will require the addition of new pages and images that connect to their writing. Students are also expected to use proper capitalization letters and punctuation.  In science, second-grade students are currently studying solids and liquids. In technology students gained an understanding of basic research by watching http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/jams/science/matter/solids-liquids-gases.htm. While viewing this video, students gathered information about solids, liquids, and gas.  Third grade students are using Google to create digital posters. Students learned that a digital poster is the same as creating a paper pencil poster, but using technology.  While creating their digital poster, each student is expected to showcase their knowledge of technology skills learned throughout the year, such as inserting shapes, images, text, changing font, adding and adding color. Please contact Mrs. Shelby Dame at sdame@akfcs.org with any questions.

 

LIBRARY

In library, we discussed the character virtue for January – Respect.  We talked about showing respect for people including our classmates, as well as showing respect for things. All read alouds centered on Respect including Yoko by Rosemary Wells,  Mo Willem’s Can I Play Too?, The Recess Queen, and The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners.  In Kindergarten we read A Pocket for Corduroy. We read How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food and How Do Dinosaurs Go to Bed and talked about polite ways to interact with our parents. Students wrote and drew words that begin with “D”.  We learned more new Mother Goose nursery rhymes and reviewed sight words in poems like “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence”. Students in grades 2 and 3 may take home their books. Third graders take out two books at a time.  Please check with your children to see if they have received any notices of overdue (late) books from the Abby Kelley Foster Elementary School library. Late books must be returned as soon as possible or replaced if lost.  Nothing is more enjoyable to your child than having you read to them routinely at bedtime. This rich experience will create lifelong memories of time spent together.  There are so many great books to read from picture book authors like Mo Willems to longer books by Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary. Public libraries are free!!  Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Joanne Wiggins at jwiggins@akfcs.org should you have any questions about the library and your child, or if she can be of any help to you.

   

ESL DEPARTMENT

This month, students who participate in our ESL Program will begin ACCESS for ELLs Testing.  ACCESS Testing is a state mandated assessment that measures your child’s language development and growth.  Students will complete testing in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Results of the ACCESS Testing will be released towards the end of May, and results will be shared with parents during our annual ACCESS Night in June 2018. If you have any questions regarding the ESL Department, our Program, or ACCESS for ELLs, please don’t hesitate to contact Ms. Amelie Tambolleo, ESL Coordinator or any member of the ESL Department.

Amelie Tambolleo, ext. 3664, atambolleo@akfcs.org

Lynn Scichilone, ext. 2677, lscichilone@akfcs.org

Bruce Rutherford, ext. 3642, brutherford@akfcs.org

Kaitlyn Perrin, ext. 2696, kperrin@akfcs.org

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORTS

Greetings from the Special Education Department! The home-school partnership is a key ingredient to ensure success in school. This month we would like to share some fun ways to help all students build academic skills at home; some ideas are adapted from primaryjunction.blogspot.com

Spelling: Check out www.spellingcity.com for some fun spelling games.

Math: Help students study and remember math facts by creating flash cards.

Reading: Read every day! Read to your child or have your child read to you.

Writing: Encourage your child to write each day about something they learned.

Please feel free to contact any members of the Special Education Department if you have any questions or concerns

Allyssa Boykin, Grade 1 Special Education Teacher, ext. 3652, aboykin@akfcs.org

Lori Gamache, Grade 2 Special Education Teacher, ext. 3650, lgamache@akfcs.org

Jen Derenas, Grade 3 Special Education Teacher, ext. 3696, jderenas@akfcs.org

Natacha Geneus, Grade 1-3 Special Education Teacher, ext. 3696, ngeneus@akfcs.org

Sarah Kaye, Grade K-3 Special Education Teacher, ext. 3696  |  skaye@akfcs.org

Jessica Neal, Speech-Language Teacher, ext. 3682, jneal@akfcs.org

Karen Harrington, Behavior Support Teacher, ext. 3603, karrington@akfcs.org

 

DRESS DOWN DAYS 2018-2019 FUNDRAISERS

Students have the option to dress down for $1 on the following days:

Friday, January 18th – NE Patriots Spirit Wear Dress Down Day for Free

Tuesday, January 22nd – NE Patriots Spirit Wear Dress Down Day for Free if the Patriots Win on Sunday!

Friday, February 15th – Grade 3 Fundraiser

Friday, March 15th – Grade 2 Fundraiser

Friday, April 12th – Guidance Department Fundraiser

Friday, May 3rd – Yearbook Fundraiser

Friday, May 24th – PTO Fundraiser

Thursday, June 13th last day of school – PTO Uniform Collection Fundraiser

Revealing clothing and clothing with offensive wording is not permitted.

Students wearing inappropriate clothing will call home for a change of clothing to be brought to them.

 

 

MCU SCHOOL BANKING PROGRAM

Millbury Credit Union is running the School Banking Program for AKF elementary school students every Wednesday from 8:30‑9:30 a.m. Please contact Mr. Tony Romniou, Branch Manager, at 508-852-7511 or aromniou@millburycu.com or visit the bank at 460 W. Boylston St., Worcester for information. Happy New Year! Save for the New Year! Save for the future!

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTO

Happy New Year from the PTO! We will continue to meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00 pm in the Library. We have begun planning for the Mother/Special Someone & Son event on Friday, March 29th. The Father/Special Someone & Daughter event will be Friday, May 3rd. We invite you to be a part of the planning! June will be here before we know it! That means SPREE DAY! Thursday, June 6th is the date and we need volunteers to help us plan and run the event! Spree Day is an all-day, outside event, weather permitting, for our AKF Elementary School students. Face painting, games, hot dogs and treats are provided. To volunteer you must complete a CORI with the school prior to May 31st. Elections for the 2019/2020 PTO Board will be held in June and we need parents/guardians to fill one of our five positions; President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Parent Liaison. Join as for one of our meetings, email us at espto@akfcs.org or contact a current board member for more information. It is required that you attend a PTO meeting prior to being on the ballet for a Board position.

 

CORI CHECKS

     Are you interested in volunteering at our school this year? CORI Check Request Forms are available at the

 front desk of your child’s school for new and renewing volunteers. If you have any questions, please contact:

Mrs. Amanda Durkin, adurkin@akfcs.org

508-854-8400 ext. 3627

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Friday, January 18, 2019:

NE Patriots Spirit Wear Dress Down Day for Free

Monday, January 21, 2019:

No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Tuesday, January 22, 2019:

NE Patriots Spirit Wear Dress Down Day for Free if the Patriots Win on Sunday

Third Grade Meteorologist Visit WCVB Channel 5

Wednesday, January 23, 2019:

EARLY DISMISSAL - Staff Development

School Banking 8:30-9:30am

Thursday, January 24, 2019:

Special Ed Staff Only PD 8:30-11:30am in the Teachers’ Lounge

Friday, January 25, 2019:

Enrollment Lottery Application Deadline for Grades K-6 (2019-2020 school year)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019:

School Banking 8:30-9:30am

Tuesday, February 5, 2019:  

Food Pantry 5:30-6:00pm

PTO Meeting 6:00pm

Wednesday, February 6, 2019:

School Banking 8:30-9:30am

Friday, February 8, 2019:

i-Ready Testing

Monday, February 11, 2019:

Writing Diagnostic Testing K-3

Wednesday, February 13, 2019:

School Banking 8:30-9:30am

Prepare for Report Card Deadline: March 4th

Friday, February 15, 2019:

Dress Down Day $1 - Grade 3 Fundraiser

February 18-24, 2019:

No School - February Vacation

For the complete 2018-2019 school calendar, please visit our website at www.akfcs.org.

 

ELEMENTARY ARRIVAL & DISMISSAL PROCEDURES

We would like to remind parents of our school hours and dismissal times for the 2018‑2019 School Year. The elementary school doors open at 8:30 a.m., and students are marked tardy beginning at 8:45 a.m.  Please plan accordingly.  The dismissal time for elementary school parent pick-ups on half days is 11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and dismissal time for parent pick‑ups on regular full days is 3:15 p.m.  The busses will leave the elementary school at 12:00 p.m. on half days and at 3:30 p.m. on regular full days.

 

There are several procedures that need to be followed during arrival and dismissal times:

▪       No Early Dismissals After 11:00 a.m. on Half Days and After 2:15 p.m. on Full Days.   If you are dismissing your child early from school, please arrive at school before 11:00 a.m. on half days or before 2:15 p.m. on full days.  Thank you for your understanding.

▪       Parents & guardians who are dropping off or picking up their students must proceed through the drop-off line, which enters through the back of the parking lot on Brooks Street and exits onto New Bond Street.  Parents and guardians should not be dropping off students on the opposite side of Route 12 in order to be escorted across the street.

▪       Our “Walker Line” which crosses Route 12 is only for those students who live within walking distance from school and who walk to and from home.  For safety reasons, please do not park on Route 12 and drop off your student.  That area has become quite congested and has become a safety issue.

▪       Elementary school students are not to be dropped off on New Bond Street in the morning.  Our busses enter and exit on New Bond Street, and it is dangerous to have students exiting their cars at the same time.

▪       U‑turns are not allowed on New Bond Street in the morning.  Parents & guardians who are dropping off Middle School students must take a right after the Middle School and exit onto Brooks Street.

▪       Please do not use our handicapped spots or any other parking spot as a drop off location for your elementary school student in the morning.  Please proceed single file through the drop off line and exit onto New Bond Street.

▪       When dropping off your child in the morning, please allow your child to exit their car once the car is along the sidewalk.  Please do not wait until you have reached the front door to allow your child to exit the car.  This helps to keep traffic moving.

▪       Staff members are outside to assist students as needed. To help the flow of traffic, please allow your child to exit the car without a staff member’s assistance.

 

Please Note:  As specified in our Parent/Student Handbook, which is available on the school website at www.akfcs.org, it is the parent’s responsibility to pick up students on time from school, from the school bus, and from school activities.  Students are considered a late pickup if they are not picked up from school by 3:30 p.m. on a full day, 12:00 p.m. on a half day.  Parents who are tardy in picking up their child(ren) after school will be charged a $25 fee (per child).

 

Parents are responsible for picking up their child at the bus stop or at school at the end of the school day.  They may also designate another responsible adult to pick up their child at school, or to meet their child at the bus stop.  Please notify the School before 2:00 p.m. if there is a change in the person who will be picking up your child(ren) from the school or at the bus stop, so we can inform the bus driver.  Parents or guardians should wait for the child on the right side of the bus, so the student will not be required to cross in front of the bus or behind it.  Parents/guardians must wait outside of their vehicles, near the bus at the bus stop, regardless of the weather.  This will allow the bus driver to verify that the appropriate person is picking up the students.  We appreciate your cooperation.  Please arrive at the bus stop 10 minutes before the scheduled time.

 

For the safety of our students, elementary school children will not be left at a bus stop if a parent (or other responsible party) is not there to meet them; they will be brought back to the school.  Students in Grade 3 may walk home from the bus stop if we have received a signed form from the parent/guardian, giving the child permission to walk home without an adult.  Students who are returned to the school more than three times because a parent (or other responsible party) is not at the bus stop to meet them will lose their bus privileges for the remainder of the year.  Parents will be charged a $25 fee (per child) when their child is returned to school on the school bus.  If the late fee is not paid, the child will lose their bus privilege. The safety of our students is a priority.  Please make arrangements to accommodate these requests.  Thank you.

 

 

 

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ES Newsletter - December 2018

The Elementary School Newsletter
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School            December 20, 2018

Principal’s Page
It’s hard to believe we are already closing in on the winter holiday season. With the colder weather approaching, it’s important that students are dressed appropriately. We will try to get the students outside for recess whenever possible so please send them with warm jackets, hats, and gloves. If students wear boots to school, they must have school shoes to change into when they get into the classroom.
     Parent/teacher conferences took place last month and we were excited to see so many of our families make it in. We had a great percentage of parents attend from each grade level: Kindergarten - 91%, Grade 1 - 81%, Grade 2 - 82%, Grade 3 - 85%. If you did not meet with your child’s teacher, please contact them to set up a time to meet. Parent/teacher communication is vital to every student’s success at school and our staff are always open to discussing student progress.
     For those that are signed up for the Before School Morning Program, if we have a delayed start or school cancellation due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances, the Morning Program would be closed on those days.  There will be no refunds on days that school is delayed or cancelled; that money already paid cannot be applied to a different day. Please refer to your local news channel for updates regarding snow days and delays as well as the school's website and Facebook page.
     The Elementary School Book Fair was held during the week of November 26th and there was a huge turnout. All students had the opportunity to shop throughout the week and there was a Family Event on Tuesday the 27th as well. The Book Fair resulted in almost $6,000 in sales and gave away hundreds of dollars in free books to our raffle winners! Thank you to all of those who purchased books, parents who volunteered their time, and Mrs. Kelly Gould, our Instructional Coach, for organizing the entire event.
     As always, it’s important that the school have accurate contact information for your child in case there is a need to contact you. If you change or update your address, e-mail, phone number(s), and/or emergency contacts throughout the year, please be sure to let the front desk know so we can update it in our system.
     One of our Title I instructional assistants, Elizabeth Kelly, will be leaving Abby Kelley because she is moving to Wakefield.  Ms. Kelly has worked at our school for the past 3.5 years and will be very missed. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors! We are in the process of hiring a new Title I IA and will let you know who they are in the next newsletter.
     Winter concerts were held for K-3 students on December 4th and 11th. Students dressed up and many families attended. It's always great to see our students performing and showing what they've been learning in music class. Thank you to Mr. Scott Daugherty, our music teacher, for all of his hard work to prepare for the performances. We look forward to another set of great concerts in the Spring!
     At the end of November, Mrs. Emma, Ms. Tambolleo, Mrs. Stockwell, Ms. Woods, and I conducted individual surveys with each 3rd grade student. We have done this for the past few years with the goal of assessing their understanding about bullying and their feelings about safety in school. The information from the survey helps to guide our actions so we can be more responsive and proactive by providing targeted education and training to our students. Below is a brief synopsis of the student responses from the fall survey (we will give it again in the Spring): 100% of students said that they either always or sometimes feel safe at school; Over 92% of our students know that we have rules against and consequences for bullying; Over 95% of our students said that they would report bullying (of themselves or another student) to an adult at school or home; and 95% of students said that they have an adult at school they can trust to help them.
     We have looked at all of the students’ comments to analyze areas where we can be more vigilant such as recess. Our guidance counselors will also go back into classrooms in January to review that we have rules and consequences against bullying and to remind students to tell a trusted adult if they, or someone they know, are being bullied. They will also address any other questions or concerns that the students may have. On December 18th, we had Ellen Miller, a representative from the District Attorney's office, come to our school to meet with parents and then our grade 3 students. She discussed the importance of internet safety and provided students with additional information about bullying. Thank you to the parents who took time from their busy schedules to attend. Physical and emotional safety are priorities and we will continue to find ways to support our students and build on our current practices.
     On behalf of all of us here at Abby Kelley, we want to wish you and your family a joyful, healthy holiday and a happy new year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Jennifer Giusto
Assistant Principal

 

THE GUIDANCE COUNSELOR’S CORNER
     During the month of November we had 8 WatchDOGS (dads of great students) volunteer for a school day, and spend their time in students’ classrooms, helping out and being a positive role model. Thank you to Hector Calvillo, Carl Clermeus, Peter Anderson, Scott Reynolds, Carlos Barbosa, Manny Figueroa, and Benjamin Teixeira . If you are interested in being a WatchDOG and haven't already signed up, please call Kate Stockwell at 508-854-8400 ext. 3647 to pick a day!
     This month we are asking for canned soup for the food pantry. Any and all types of canned soup are welcome, we just ask that they have the pop-top which makes it easier for our students to open independently.
     The holidays are a wonderful time of year but they can also bring added stress to children and adults. The American Psychological Association offers the following tips for how to manage stress within the family.
Set expectations – Talk to your kids about expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Be open with them if money is an issue. Depending on a child's age, parents can use this as an opportunity to teach their kids about the value of money and responsible spending. And be realistic. Take small concrete steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with goals that are too far reaching for a busy time.
Keep things in perspective – Try to consider stressful situations in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing events out of proportion and teach your kids how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts they receive.
Make connections – Good relationships with family and friends are important. So, view the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Additionally, accepting help and support from those who care about you can help alleviate stress. Even volunteering at a local charity with your kids is a good way to connect with others, assist someone in need and teach your kids about the value of helping others.
Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities that you and your family enjoy and find relaxing. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body healthy and primed to deal with stressful situations. Consider cutting back television viewing for kids and instead, get the family out together for a winter walk. It promotes activity and takes kids away from sedentary time and possible influence from advertisements.
     As always, please feel free to contact the counseling department if you have any concerns about your child’s social or emotional development. You can call Ms. Woods at 508-854-8400, ext. 3647 or send an email to swoods@akfcs.org. You can also call Mrs. Stockwell at ext. 3688 or send an email to kstockwell@akfcs.org. Have a great holiday season!

CORI CHECKS
     Are you interested in volunteering at our school this year? CORI Check Request Forms are available at the
 front desk of your child’s school for new and renewing volunteers. If you have any questions, please contact: 
Mrs. Amanda Durkin, adurkin@akfcs.org
508-854-8400 ext. 3627


CONTENT MATTERS
Learning to write is a process. We encourage our youngest writers to practice putting their thoughts down on paper. This includes allowing them to write about topics that interest them, and adding lots of details! Then we ask them to make their writing come alive by adding description and dialogue. The last part of the writing process is where students look at their spelling, structure, and mechanics. There are some easy ways that you can support the growth of your student as a writer at home: Encourage them to write often; Gift them a journal where they can write to you and you respond in writing; Ask them to stretch out a word and try to hear all the sounds rather than telling them how to spell a word that they do not know; Comment on the ideas that they are writing about rather than correcting their spelling; Ask them to expand on their ideas by adding more details or description. Kids are excited when they learn that letters make sounds, sounds make words, and words make stories. You can help keep this excitement going! Please contact Mrs. Kelly Gould, Focused Instructional Coach at kgould@akfcs.org.

CURRICULUM CORNER
Extending Learning at Home
Writing: Sometimes it just takes a new piece of paper or a picture to get kids motivated. December presents so many fun ways to include writing - thank you cards, party invitations, to do lists, recipes for favorite dishes, stories, shopping lists, and so much more! 
Grades 1-3 and i-Ready: Continuing to practice over the December break will help with learning. How many new lessons can you complete in math and reading over the break? Can you do better than last week? Click on “My Progress” in the upper right to see how you did! Kindergarten: website www.abcya.com has a variety of learning activities. There are some arcade-like games too so make sure you check what they are doing. Starfall.com is another site with some free letter recognition and reading resources. Please contact Ms. Siby Adina, K-3 Curriculum Coordinator, at sadina@akfcs.org  with any questions.

i-Ready December Dash Contest
Are you ready for a contest? Who is going to have the most i-Ready usage in your grade level over the December break?
Log into your i-Ready account between December 21st-January 1st and pass as many reading and math lessons as you can! We will be looking for the students with the most time on math lessons and the most time on reading lessons in each grade. 
First place winners from each grade will get a special lunch on January 3, 2019 with Mrs. Emma and Mrs. Giusto.
Wow! Not only that, you’ll have fun learning!  We enjoy partnering with our AKF families to achieve academic success for all our students. Please contact Ms. Siby Adina, Curriculum Coordinator at sadina@akfcs.org with any questions.

THE CHRONICLES OF KINDERGARTEN
Kindergarten students have been hard at work, learning new skills and beginning to use those skills to read, write and solve math problems. In math, our students have been very busy learning about adding numbers and groups of objects up to 10. They are learning to use problem solving strategies, such as acting out, using manipulatives, using fingers, and drawing pictures. Our kindergarteners are also getting ready to read! They have been learning letter sounds, identifying and creating words beginning with a given sound, counting syllables, reading and writing high frequency words, using illustrations as well as the words to ask and answer questions about a story and they are beginning to blend sounds to read and write words. We are so proud of how hard they have been working! As part of this month’s social studies unit, the kindergarten classes have been traveling “around the world” learning about how people in different parts of the world celebrate the winter holidays. Each class traveled to the other kindergarten classes, listened to a presentation from each teacher followed by making a craft related to that country’s traditions.  We learned about holiday traditions in Brazil, England, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria and the United States of America. We discussed the background, customs, and different holiday traditions associated with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. We had a great time traveling and having our passports stamped! 

THE FABULOUS FIRST GRADE
Every December, the first grade students participate in a unit to learn about fairy tales and folktales. As a culminating project, students had the opportunity to decorate gingerbread houses and cookies! In math, students have been working hard to use their math tools to add and subtract within 20 using multiple strategies. Students will continue to work on understanding the language of word problems. Keep practicing those math facts! This month, students have been very busy adding details to their writing, including adjectives, bold beginnings, and conclusion sentences. In phonics, students continued writing words with digraphs, bonus letters, glued sounds and suffix “s”. The first grade would like to thank you for all your support. 

2nd GRADE ROCKS!
All of the students are working very hard and it really shows! In phonics this month, we have worked on suffixes and multisyllabic words. In writing, students have been working on entertaining beginnings and describing characters, objects and settings. They have also been learning on how to write a detailed main event. In reading, our focus this month is monitoring for understanding and backing up to reread when we make mistakes or need help understanding the text. In math, we are continuing to add two, two-digit numbers using multiple strategies to solve. We are also working on regrouping when the ones added together total 10 or more. In science this month, the students are continuing to work with our new Foss science curriculum. We are exploring solids and liquids within the states of matter. Please remember that second grade students will be going outside even during the snowy, winter weather. Coats, mittens, hats, and scarves should be worn daily and appropriate snow gear is welcome when needed. As always, we are here to work with you to make your child’s learning experience a positive one. 
      
THIRD GRADE BEAT
Thank you to those who came out to celebrate our class concert on December 4th! The students and Mr. Daugherty did an excellent job! In reading, students are meeting with their small guided reading groups to read books of all genres. Students are being asked to describe characters, recount details from the story and identify the central message. In writing we have begun our unit on narrative story writing. Students will learn techniques to write an entertaining beginning, exciting main event and ending. They also will learn how to use elaborative detail throughout their story to help make a picture in the reader’s mind. In math, students are working hard on learning their multiplication facts. They also are solving word problems daily that involve the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). The next unit in math focuses on understanding division and using strategies to solve division problems. In social studies, students are learning information about the Pilgrims and Puritans way of life. Please remember to check backpacks nightly and their Boomerang folders for important information.  
Also, remind your child to study multiplication facts nightly and read for 20 minutes.


     PARENT PLUS PORTAL INFORMATION
If you need information on how to log into the Parent Plus Portal on www.akfcs.org please email itsupport@akfcs.org to get your username and password.  If you already have your log in information and need assistance, there is information on www.akfcs.org under “Parents/Students” called “Parent Plus Portal Information”.

MUSIC
Happy Winter! A big thank you to all those who made the concerts of the Elementary School successful! It would not have been possible without the hard work of so many people. Our students have been working very hard this year to learn many musical techniques and purposes for creating music. They have done a wonderful job and I congratulate them all! The start date for elementary school morning instrumental lessons will be Monday, January 7, 2019. Additional information will be communicated in the coming weeks. Please contact Mr. Scott Daugherty at sdaugherty@akfcs.org with any questions. Thank you and happy holidays to all and a safe and healthy new year!

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Happy Holidays! In Physical Education the students have been working on learning the proper techniques to overhand and underhand throwing. Students in grades 2 and 3 have been discussing and practicing when each style of throwing is appropriate while playing exciting games like Castle Knockdown and Battleship. Students in kindergarten and grade 1 have been applying their throwing skills while learning the beginning skills for volleyball using balloons. Please continue to help your student(s) remember to wear sneakers or running shoes on P.E. days. This will ensure that they are able to move easily and stay safe during rapid play time in the Activity Center. Please feel free to contact Ms. Kendra Warhol at kwarhol@akfcs.org with any questions or concerns.

VISUAL ART
Kindergarteners have been learning about color. They have been experimenting mixing primary colors to make secondary colors. First Graders learned about architecture and how a house is built.  They constructed a 3-Dimensional house using shape and form. Second Graders learned about Op Art and created their own optical illusion using line, shape and complimentary colors. Third Graders are beginning a sculpture lesson.  Students will construct a 3-Dimensional animal using   recycled materials. Please contact Ms. Sarah Roy at sroy@akfcs.org with any questions.

TECHNOLOGY
Kindergarteners are really having a great time exploring educational websites. Currently, students are demonstrating intermediate mouse skills by creating holiday themed images. We will print them out and have a small booklet.  After the break, students will learn how to log into Keyboarding without Tears. This is a program used in grades K-5 to help support keyboarding skills. Kindergarten students will learn to locate and identify letters on the keyboard. They will also practice clicking and dragging. First Graders studied American symbols in the classroom, and as an extension, we did some in the lab. Students were to insert shapes, resize them and color them in to create an American Flag. We discussed what the stars and stripes represent.  Some students may not have a completed project due to computer/human error, where the student did not save work properly. We are working on this skill. Second Graders worked in Google sheets to create an imaginary image. Students were to identify the word and find what color to make it. When they were done they had an image of a turkey. They are now inserting images, resizing them, and writing about the imaginary character they create. Third Grade students have been researching historical figures.  Students will be creating a digital poster about their historical figure.  Students will be adding text boxes, shapes, color, and images.  We just finished up our third wpm assessment.  I am blown away at how well they are starting to keyboard! Please contact Mrs. Shelby Dame at sdame@akfcs.org with any questions.

LIBRARY
In Library we read books about the character virtue for December – Fairness.  In Kindergarten we read The Selfish Crocodile and The Little Red Hen. We finished the month by reading Frosty the Snowman and then hunted for sight words in the lyrics. We learned four new Mother Goose nursery rhymes in December. In Grades 1 - 3 we read lots of books about fairness and we ended the month with lots of lift-the-flap fairy tales. We learned where the nonfiction books are in the library and about the Dewey Decimal System. Students in grades 2 and 3 may take home their books. Storing books in a special spot at home or keeping them in their backpacks each day after reading helps students to keep track of their Library book and to return it on time. Winter is a great time to snuggle up with your child and a good book. All children love to be read to (or read to you!) and nothing will help your student grow academically more than lots of reading and books shared in your home.  Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Joanne Wiggins at jwiggins@akfcs.org should you have any questions about Library and your child, or if she can be of any help to you. 

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE
As we know, the cold weather is here! Please remember to dress in layers and label each item of clothing. This includes both gloves, hats, scarves and any other additional items that come to school. We have many unclaimed, unlabeled, lost and found items every day. The flu season is approaching fast. Please encourage your children to wash their hands frequently and avoid sharing personal items. Kindergarten and 1st grade students have recently completed a fun activity, where they were able to see germs using a glow lotion and black light. This activity heightened their awareness as to where germs like to hide and where they should pay special attention to while washing. They all had a really fun time. Be sure to ask your kindergartener or first grader about it. I’m sure they would enjoy sharing what they learned. Grades 1-3, vision & hearing screenings were completed, and notices were sent home if your child did not perform satisfactorily on the screening. Please consider my referral to have further testing urgent! The Massachusetts requirement for Grade 1 BMI screenings have also been completed. Just another reminder about medications: Prescription and over the counter medications, CANNOT be sent to school or transported back home by the students. Prescriptions should not be put in children’s lunch boxes. This is a safety concern for your child and their peers. Parents/guardians must drop off and pick up medications from the school. Please remember to make the nurse aware if your child has had medication prior to the school day or if they will require medication during the day. As always, please feel free to contact Mrs. Melissa Joubert, Elementary School Nurse, at 508-854-8400 ext.3604 or mjoubert@akfcs.org.
     
ESL DEPARTMENT
Kindergarteners have started a unit focused on the academic vocabulary word identify. In this unit, students will be working with nonfiction text. They will be able to identify the topic of texts by drawing, dictating and/or writing. Kindergarten students are also working to blend and segments single syllable words also known as CVC words. Ask your child to tap out (identify each letter sound) and blend the sounds to read words such as, cat, bit, pop and cup. First graders have been reading a variety of fiction and informational texts in order to determine details and the main idea of the texts. Additionally, students have read and compared two texts with similar topics to identify and describe the connection between them. Second graders have completed their unit on describing. They learned about adjectives and character traits. We have started our unit on summarizing and students will have the opportunity to look at both nonfiction and fiction texts. We will be focusing on picking out the most important information to include in our summaries. Students will have the opportunity to take part in reader's theater and shared writing. Third graders are wrapping up the "Describe" unit. Students have been working on identifying language that describes time and sequence. They have worked on time in the past tense, present tense, and future tense. They have also been reading various fiction and non-fiction passages and working on identifying the signal words that show the order of events in each reading. Most recently, students read about a story called "A Zookeeper's Day" and then wrote about the sequence of events that occur in a zookeeper's day as their final unit assessment. If you have any questions regarding the ESL Department and our program, please contact Ms. Amelie Tambolleo, ESL Coordinator at 508-854-8400 ext.3664 or atambolleo@akfcs.org.

SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORTS
As the winter break quickly approaches, we would like to offer suggestions for activities for students to do over the break. The students are working so hard to learn new skills and retain new information. We want students to keep practicing these skills over the break to improve overall understanding and automaticity. It can be hard to get children to sit and practice math facts or read books when they are not in school, but there are many fun activities that promote learning without them even knowing! For example, you can have your children add up items at the grocery store, subtract crackers as they enjoy a snack, or measure while cooking dinner. We use math so much throughout the day and can help our children incorporate new skills into their daily activities. They can read labels and recipes, and can also add up the amounts. Repetition is important when practicing math facts or reading books. Children can read sentences or books to younger siblings as a way to practice reading skills. 
 

For the full newsletter, please see the version sent out via email!

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ES Newsletter - November 2018

Hello AKF Families,
 Creating a strong partnership with families is essential to our mission and to your child's success. Parent-teacher
conferences were held on November 19th and November 20th this year and provided an opportunity to discuss your child's
progress along with ways you can support their learning outside of school. Your involvement and encouragement make a
tremendous difference and we greatly appreciate the reinforcement of our school's character virtues, nightly reading, and math
facts practice at home.
 A resource the school has invested in for both school and home use is i-Ready, which is adaptive software that provides
us with information about each student’s proficiency level and areas to focus on for instruction. Currently, students in grades
1-3 have been using i-Ready instruction and all students have taken the diagnostics. We are fortunate to have the home
component for grades 1-3 and strongly encourage students to practice 45 minutes a week in both ELA and math. Research
supports practicing 45 minutes a week or more in each subject contributes to students making substantial gains over the
average student.
 Along with academic achievement, our school focuses on supporting students' overall well-being including social and
emotional growth. The ability to use effective coping strategies is something that students need explicit instruction and
opportunities to practice. We have several supports in place including Second Step guidance curriculum which was purchased
for each teacher and they complete the weekly lessons with students to focus on various social skill building lessons. Character
education is also integrated into the lessons taught in the library and our librarian uses stories to reinforce virtues. Community
Healthlink partners with our school and families to provide on-site counseling for students whose parents give consent. Our
guidance counselors offer social skills groups throughout the year in which they use games and other highly engaging activities
to reinforce positive social skills. In addition to developing social and emotional skills, we also encourage students to practice
self-advocacy in our emotionally and physically safe environment.
 We continue to have regular safety drills, yet we also want to make sure our school climate is safe. Each year, students
take a bullying pledge, an anti-bullying compact goes home for both students and parents to sign, and our guidance counselors
provide individual classroom presentations to educate students on what bullying is and what to do if they see or experience it.
During November, all third grade students will complete an online bullying survey administered by myself, the assistant
principal, or the guidance counselors. The survey results will inform us of areas where we need to be more vigilant, provide
an opportunity for our students to have a voice, and demonstrate how student feedback is used to make positive changes
within our school community. We will administer another survey in May to measure our progress in the areas of responding to
our students' social and emotional needs and feeling safe and supported in school. We will strive for excellence in this area
by making the needed adjustments and improvements based on our students' feedback. Parents are also encouraged to
reach out to your child’s teacher to report any concerns that happen in school or on the bus. We want to be vigilant and make
sure any student and parent concerns are addressed immediately. Our goal is to ensure students understand what to do if
they are feeling unsafe, being bullied, know someone who is being bullied, and most importantly what to do if they see or
experience bullying.
 Volunteers are always needed and appreciated. Please make sure you have an updated CORI on file or complete a
volunteer application at the front desk. Each year, our Guidance Counselors coordinate a program called Watch D.O.G.S.
(Dads of Great Students) www.dadsofgreatstudents.com. The volunteers are dads and father figures of our students. Our staff
and students love having these special guest volunteers in the building.
 We love to find ways to promote reading in our school. Many of our students, staff, and even our bus drivers participated
in a spirited and community building event called Book Character day on October 26th. Our fall Scholastic Book Fair was
open to families during conferences on November 19th and 20th. In addition, there will be a family shopping night on
Wednesday, November 27th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the library. Students will have the opportunity to shop with their
class during the week of November 26th to 30th
.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Sincerely,
Mrs. Amy Emma
Elementary School Principal
aemma@akfcs.org
 

For the full newsletter, please see the version sent out via email!

Expand Content
ES Newsletter - October 2018

Hello AKF Families, Autumn is here! As the weather gets colder, it is important that students are dressed appropriately. They will go outside for recess unless the real feel temperature is below freezing. It is important for students to get fresh air as well as to expel their energy. Students may wear boots to school but must have a pair of black school shoes to change into once they get to the classroom. Students may not wear boots all day as they are not part of the school uniform. Also, please see the health and wellness section of our website at www.akfcs.org/parentsstudents/health-wellness for information on when to keep your child home if they are sick. Another part of the school uniform policy is that students are not allowed to wear nail polish and students in grades 2 and 3 should be wearing a belt if their pants have belt loops. Also, with the colder weather coming, it might be a good idea for students to wear a school sweater each day as the temperatures in the classrooms may vary. These are just some highlights but for the full uniform policy, please see the Handbook which is located on our school’s website at www.akfcs.org/parentsstudents/handbooks. Staff will reach out to parents whose children are in violation of the dress code. It is very important that we have the most up to date contact information for our families. If at any time throughout the year you discontinue using a phone number, change numbers and/or address, switch your work place, or have alternative emergency contacts, please call the front desk right away so that we can update it in our computer system and pass along the information to your child’s teacher. There are situations that call for us to get in touch with a family within a timely manner and we appreciate your cooperation. Parent/teacher conferences are coming up. They will take place on the two half days, November 19th and 20th . If you have not already set up a conference time with your child’s teacher, please reach out to them to do so. They are eager to discuss your child’s progress so far this year. The PTO recently wrapped up their first fundraiser. Thank you to everyone who participated in selling the Yankee Candle products. Each year the PTO gives funds to the grade levels to help offset the cost of field trips for families. If you are interested in participating in the PTO, please e-mail ESPTO@akfcs.org. The Elementary PTO meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6pm in the Elementary Cafeteria. Their next meeting will be November 6th . Our guidance department has the Food Pantry up and running. They are always looking for donations. For details, please see their newsletter entry on page 7. On October 1st the Worcester Fire Department came to run their first drill with us. All 500+ staff and students were out of the building in 2 minutes and 41 seconds. The Fire Department was very impressed at how quickly and quietly students evacuated. We will continue to have drills throughout the year. On October 9th, Mrs. Emma and I rewarded the students in grades 1-3 who had completed their Summer Math Packets by having a special breakfast outside and giving them some extra recess time. Thank you to the students who took the time to practice their math skills over the summer!

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Jennifer Giusto Assistant Principal

jgiusto@akfcs.org

508-854-8400 ext. 2628

 

For the full newsletter, please see the paper copy sent home with your student!

Expand Content
ES Newsletter - September 2018

The Elementary Newsletter
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School
September 28, 2018

 

Principal's Page
By Mrs. Amy Emma
508-854-8400 ext. 3618
aemma@akfcs.org

Welcome back to school! 
     It was wonderful to see so many families on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at our "Back to School Night!" You are always welcome at our school.  We depend on our home/school partnership to make sure students have a successful and positive school year.   The ongoing communication we have with you throughout the year, along with targeted instruction, helps to support that outcome. During the Open House, teachers included a sign-up sheet for Parent/Teacher conferences which will be held on November 19th and 20th.  Both are half-days of school for students.  If you did not have a chance to sign-up, flyers will be sent home with available times left.  You can also email your child's teacher to see what times are available.  
     Along with a strong home school partnership, we also value the time you have with your children.  We don't expect our students to be in school for seven hours and then complete hours of homework.  Homework should be meaningful and appropriate.  Our nightly K-3 homework will be focused on reading and math practice. Reading improves by the actual time spent reading or being read to, and it is a meaningful activity.  Students also need to be fluent with math facts and that also improves with practice. We want to keep things simple but purposeful. Both reading and math facts should be practiced each night. Reading and thinking should go hand in hand.  It is important that you ask questions as you read to your children in order to strengthen their comprehension.  
     Our Elementary School Parent/Teacher Organization (PTO) held its first meeting on Tuesday, September 4th.  There were some new faces and some familiar faces.  You are always welcome and can bring a friend to the meetings. There is no commitment just come to listen or share your ideas on ways we can support and enhance the learning experience for our students.  The meeting will be held the first Tuesday of each month in the elementary school library at 6:00 pm.  For more information, please read the PTO section of this newsletter.  Special thanks to our PTO members for the following events which occurred in August and September:  coordinating Abby's Attic, organizing student supply drop off, hosting the Boo Hoo Breakfast for new kindergarten parents, providing a new book for all kindergarten students, and purchasing flowers for our back to school night!  The PTO sponsors many wonderful things for our students and school and we are truly grateful for their time and continued support!
     Jill Stone, our former Administrative Assistant in the elementary school wanted to paint a mural in our library and leave her legacy after working 11 years at our school.  She volunteered approximately 80 hours over the summer and included many of our students’ favorite book characters in the mural.  She even created an "Eye Spy" for them.  We asked all the students to sign a giant thank you card for her.  
     School attendance certainly contributes to student learning.  We want children to be on time and in school as much as possible.  However, if your child is sick please keep him or her at home.  This will help to prevent the spread of colds and the flu to others.  We are required to report all absences to the state.  If students are absent more than 5 days per trimester, a computer-generated letter will be mailed home. There may be additional action taken by the school if there are excessive days of unexcused absences. If your child is sick, you are welcome to send in a doctor’s note, which will be placed in the student’s file. However, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not recognize excused or unexcused absences. We still need to document the student as absent when they are out.  Many families travel during the school year, however, we strongly urge you to schedule vacations in accordance with our school calendar.  School work and homework will not be given out ahead of time to accommodate a vacation that takes place during the school year.  
     Since school began, each class had a chance to practice a fire drill with their class.  We had our first school-wide fire drill in September.  We time how quickly and safely we exit the building and how quickly every student is accounted for.  We continuously reassure our students that these drills are for safety purposes so we know what to do in the event of an emergency.  Our staff recently completed A.L.I.C.E (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training in August.  Two staff members, Jenn Giusto, Assistant Principal, and Jess Martunas, Second Grade Teacher, completed training over the April 2018 vacation. They led a staff training along with two Worcester SWOT Police Officers during our back to school professional development.  The middle school and high school staff will also complete ALICE training this year.  There will be a parent night held to share more information about ALICE and an opportunity for questions.  There will be no practice Lockdowns until after the parent meeting.  
     The school needs all families to complete the emergency cards each year with up-to-date working phone numbers.  If you have not already done so, please update and return both emergency cards that were sent home in your child’s backpack at the beginning of September.  Please also return your student compacts to Mrs. Giusto if you have not already done so.  The compact serves as an understanding between home and school that you have read the handbook including our school's policies and procedures and will work with our school to reinforce the expectations.  
      I look forward to a successful school year.  Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or concerns.
~Mrs. Amy Emma, Elementary School Principal

Mark Your Calendars

•    Tuesday, October 2, 2018:
Food Pantry 5:30-6:30pm
PTO Meeting 6:00pm
•    Friday, October 5, 2018:
EARLY DISMISSAL
•    Monday, October 8, 2018:
No School – Columbus Day Holiday
•    Friday, October 12, 2018:
Picture Re-Take Day
Grade 3 Panoramic Class Picture Day
Kindergarten Field Trip
•    Monday, October 15, 2018:
Progress Reports (students of concern only)
•    Thursday, October 18, 2018:
Kindergarten Enrollment Info Session
•    Friday, October 12, 2018:
Rain Date: Picture Re-Take Day
Rain Date: Grade 3 Class Picture Day
•    Saturday, October 20, 2018:
20th Anniversary Gala
•    Friday, October 26, 2018:
Storybook Character Dress Up Day
PTO Family Movie Night Event
•    Tuesday, November 6, 2018:
PTO Meeting
•    Monday, November 12, 2018:
No School – Veteran’s Day Holiday Observed
•    Thursday, November 15, 2018:
Report Cards Sent Home
•    Friday, November 16, 2018:
Kindergarten Enrollment Info Session
•    Monday&Tuesday, November 19&20, 2018:
EARLY DISMISSAL–Parent/Teacher Conferences
•    November 21-23, 2018:
No School – Thanksgiving Holiday
•    December 21, 2018:
EARLY DISMISSAL
•    December 24, 2018-January 1, 2019:
No School – Holiday Vacation
•    Monday, January 7, 2018:
Kindergarten Enrollment Info Session
•    Friday, January 25, 2019:
Enrollment Lottery Application Deadline for Grades K-6 (2019-2020 school year)
For the complete 2018-2019 school calendar, please visit our website at www.akfcs.org. 

Curriculum Corner
By Mrs. Siby Adina
K-3 Curriculum Coordinator
508-854-8400 ext. 3670
sadina@akfcs.org

     Welcome back! I hope you had a great summer! Students are learning the routines of their new classroom and getting to know each other. Beginning of year assessments are underway to help teachers plan instruction and classes are easing into their lessons. 
     Like last year, we are continuing to use the adaptive i-Ready Reading and Math Diagnostics to see what the students are able to do and what their needs are. The reports help identify gaps which we use to provide interventions.
     In addition to the tests, this year we’ve purchased the math online instruction for all students in grades 1-3 and have bought reading instruction for some students. This provides personalized lessons based on how the students scored. Each lesson has a video that teaches a specific skill, guides the student through practice questions, and then gives a quiz at the end to see how student did. As they master the lesson, they go on to the next skills. 
     The i-Ready online instruction will be used as a supplement to the regular curriculum where students would get grade level instruction. Teachers will try to schedule them as centers for students to rotate through. About 45 minutes per week per subject is recommended. This is where we need your help. These lessons can also be accessed at home from a computer or tablet when classes are not scheduled for tests. Please encourage your child to work on their lessons at home. 
     Starting in October, we’ll begin our i-Ready morning support program which will go until June on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when school is in session. The program will be from 8:00-8:30 a.m. Based on data, certain students have already been given permission slips. If your child is in grade 3, did not get a permission slip for the morning program, and there’s an issue with computer access at home, please email me your child’s name and homeroom teacher’s name. If space is available, I’ll try to include him/her. Parents are responsible for dropping off students at school for the morning program no earlier than 7:55 am if your child is a part of it. 
     In October, I’ll be having a session for parents regarding MCAS and i-Ready. If there are other topics you are interested in, please email me. I look forward to working with you, your child, and our school team this year. 


The Chronicles of Kindergarten
By Miss Jenna Stansky
508-854-8400 ext. 3610
jstansky@akfcs.org

     The Kindergarten Team is certainly proud of all our new students and how well they have adjusted to the school and its routines. They are already becoming responsible and independent students.  Kindergarten students are already hard at work! They are learning to:   listen and follow directions, listen attentively to stories, participate in classroom activities, and follow the classroom and school rules. At the beginning of the year we focus on the importance of our names. Your child has been introduced to lowercase letters (their name and sounds) and rhyming words. In enVision Math instruction, we are counting to tell the number of objects and demonstrating the relationship between numbers and quantities. 
     School rules! Have your child tell you the three main rules and character virtues at Abby Kelley: “Be Responsible”, “Be Respectful,” and “Be Honest.”  We have studied these rules in Social Studies. 
     We are all looking forward to a great year and would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of our parents to take an active role in their child’s education. We truly are partners in your child’s development.  With this in mind here are a few ways you can support your child: 
▪   Take a few moments each night to review what comes home in your child’s communication folder.  Children value their efforts more when they see that you do as well.
▪   Establish a routine to encourage reading each night (read to self, read to someone, listen to reading), including a comfortable spot that is free from distractions.
▪   Please label your child’s clothing - first name and last initial.  It is much easier for children to be responsible for jackets and sweaters if they know which ones belong to them.
▪    Practice self-help skills at home.  Please help your child practice zippering coats and pants, buttoning shirts and pants, buckling belts, tying shoes, and tucking in shirts.
▪    Read to your children as often (and as enthusiastically) as you can.  This is a great way to spend quality time together! Research has shown that children who are read to frequently tend to be more successful readers themselves.
▪    Stay connected. Visit www.akfcs.org frequently to check for important dates on the calendar and updates from your child’s classroom.
     Please contact your child's homeroom teacher throughout the school year with any questions or concerns. We wish you and your child an enjoyable year!
~The Kindergarten Team


Fabulous First Grade
By Ms. Nancy Kennedy
508-854-8400 ext. 3663
nkennedy@akfcs.org

Welcome to first grade!  We are excited to start the new school year with you. We look forward to being partners with you in your child’s education!
     Building a foundation for reading and writing is key!  To teach reading, we will use a systematic, sequential, multi-sensory program that will offer the students the opportunity to have fun as they learn.  In order to differentiate our instruction and meet the needs of every child, students will be working in leveled guided reading groups.  We are also implementing a literacy program called The Daily Five during ELA.  This program fosters literacy independence while working through the five components of the program.  These components consist of:  Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work.
     We will continue to implement the writing program titled Empowering Writers this year.  We will be focusing on sensory writing and writing with elaborative detail.  In addition, students will be writing across the curriculum as they participate in many interdisciplinary lessons.  Students will have the opportunity to carry out their writing skills as they respond to lessons in writing journals.  Students will also take part in many shared and interactive writing activities. We look forward to our young children becoming enthusiastic about writing.
     This year in math, we will be teaching math in accordance to the Common Core State Standards. We are going to be using enVISION as part of our mathematics curriculum. This is a program that helps students learn by using visual learning strategies while customizing learning for each and every student. We will guide your child to become a strategic, mathematical thinker who can explain how he/she solves problems, rather than just arriving at a correct answer.  We will use math vocabulary and model mathematics by using various visual representations of numbers and problems.
      In science and social studies, students will participate in hands-on, interdisciplinary units that will offer them the opportunity to be actively involved in learning.  Working together is important.  Therefore, students will work in cooperative groups as they create many science and social studies projects.  Topics of study for Trimester 1 will consist of, but not be limited to:  plants and animals, sound and light, air and weather, community, and American symbols.
     Each week model students will be selected as a winner in character education, based on the character virtue of the 
month. We will review and teach character virtues, and manners throughout the entire day through modeling, literature, and class discussion.
     We are using many techniques learned through Responsive Classroom to build a strong community within our classes and across the grade.  We expect all of our first grade students to follow the school and classroom rules. Rules will be discussed in depth over the first month of school and then reviewed as needed throughout the year.  We will give students an opportunity to reflect on their choices and hold discussions on how to make positive choices.
     It is important for there to be a home/school connection in order for your child to be successful. We are not going to send homework home this year. However, we do expect you to read at least 20 minutes with your child to help them grow and learn. Please spend some time discussing the books that you read together with your child. We also expect students to continue studying their math facts every day. 
      We are extremely energized about our new school year.  Throughout the year there will be many opportunities for you to share exciting, memorable moments with your child.  Please be sure to check out the school website, we hope to make your child’s classroom and school activities more accessible to you.  We look forward to working with you and want to thank you for sharing your children with us.  Thank you to all parents/guardians who came to Back to School Night. Your continued support is much appreciated. We look forward to a successful year!
~The 1st Grade Team

2nd Grade Rocks!
By Mrs. Kim Rodriquenz
508-854-8400 ext. 3657
krodriquenz@akfcs.org

Welcome to 2nd Grade!  
     The school year has gotten off to a great start! The students have been working on getting to know 2nd grade and the routines and procedures within their classrooms.  
     We begin our day at 8:45a.m. with a morning meeting. During morning meeting time, the teachers have been doing games so that the students can get to know one another and their teacher. These games are meant to build a sense of belonging and community within the classroom. It is so important, in these first few weeks, that your child is made to feel welcomed and a part of their class. 
     We are in the process of doing beginning of the year testing and placement. This does take the whole month of September.  We also are slowly rolling out Daily 5 activities for math and reading. We continue to use Envisions 2.0 as our math program. We also supplement math lessons with math centers. 
     In reading, we are beginning guided reading and Daily Five. In writing, we have started the year focused on grammar. We will also be using quick writes to help students practice writing daily in addition to our traditional writing lessons that teach the parts of narrative, expository, and opinion writing. In phonics, we are beginning Unit 1 which is consonant digraphs and blends.  
     In social studies, students are learning about rules, laws and community building.
     As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher. We are here to work with you. 
 ~The 2nd Grade Team


MISSION STATEMENT
 

The mission of the Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School is to assist parents in their role as primary educators of their children by providing a classical liberal arts education grounded in the great works of Western Civilization and aimed at academic excellence, musical competence and character formation.

Third Grade Beat
By Ms. Kaitlyn Greenwood
508-854-8400 ext. 3661 
kaitlyngreenwood@akfcs.org


     The summer is over, and the school year is in full swing!  The third grade teachers are having a great time getting to know their new students, while third graders make new friends, review rules and expectations, and build a community within the school.
     This year students set personal goals for themselves by discussing their Hopes and Dreams for third grade.  Thank you to all the parents who took part in filling out their Hopes and Dreams for their son or daughter during our Back to School Night.
     The third grade academics are off to a fun start.  In reading, students are learning how to pick out a “good fit” book, learning how to ask and answer questions about what they read, and find the main idea and supporting details to answer a short response question.  Students are also starting to work in their small guided reading groups.  In math, students are reviewing place value, addition, and subtraction.  Please make sure your student is practicing their facts every night at home!  Students have also learned how to round numbers to the nearest 10 and 100.  In social studies, students are learning what history is and why we study it.  As we get more in depth in the book, students will learn about local history that will include topics on Massachusetts, New England, and the Pilgrims.
     Please remember to check backpacks nightly and their Boomerang folders for important information.  Please remember to also send snacks daily to school.  We look forward to a successful school year in third grade.
~The 3rd Grade Team


MCU School Banking Program


Millbury Credit Union will be running their School Banking Program for elementary school students, every Wednesday from 8:30 9:30 a.m. beginning on October 3, 2018.  Flyers and registration forms will be going home in student backpacks shortly.  Thank you.


Content Matters
By Mrs. Kelly Gould
Focused Instructional Coach
508-854-8400 ext. 3632
kgould@akfcs.org 

     What does a Focused Instructional Coach do? A FIC, for short, helps ensure that all students are provided with authentic learning experiences that are aligned with the standards in all subject areas. I help to provide professional development to staff, model lessons, design instruction, and anything else that helps move our students along the path to excellence.
     My name is Kelly Gould, although I have met some families that remember me as Kelly Lorion, which is the name I went by when I taught Math at AKFCS Middle School.  I left to work as an Instructional Coach at another district, but undoubtedly returned when there was an opportunity for me to rejoin the Abby Kelley Team!
     This newsletter is an incredible opportunity to share with you what students are learning and how you can support them at home. The Elementary Years can set the foundation for a love of learning and success in the classroom when families and schools work together!  We will be holding workshops this year on early literacy and math. I hope to see you all there! 
    Listed below are activities to engage in with your young learner. Try them all or pick your favorite!
For younger students:
•    Read books and nursery rhymes aloud together.
•    Talk daily about home and community life.
•    Sing, draw, and tell stories.
•    Bake together.
•    Play “I-Spy” with shapes.
•    Make finger puppets and use them when counting.
For older students:
•    Play word games.
•    Discuss word meanings.
•    Point out interesting or unfamiliar words.
•    Ask questions before, during, and after reading.
•    Graph stickers from your favorite fruits.
•    Play Math “Bingo” at the grocery store.
•    Have them estimate and then count the change in your pocket.
If I can be of any assistance, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!


 
Parent Plus Portal Information


If you need information on how to log into the Parent Plus Portal on www.akfcs.org please email itsupport@akfcs.org to get your username and password.  If you already have your log in information and need assistance, there is information on www.akfcs.org under “Parents/Students” called “Parent Plus Portal Information”.


ESL Department
Miss Amelie Tambolleo
ESL Coordinator
508-854-8400 ext. 3664

 atambolleo@akfcs.org 


Welcome back! 
     Although we are sad to see the summer come to an end, the ESL Department is extremely excited to start a new school year. We have seen new faces in the elementary school and are looking forward to getting to know our new students. If we were not able to introduce ourselves during Back to School Night, an ESL will be contacting you with in the next few weeks. 
     This year, the ESL Department will continue to focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking activities that increase academic language. If you are looking for fun ways to help build your child's language and vocabulary, we recommend the following websites and Apps:
•    https://esl.brainpop.com
•    http://www.vocabulary.co.it
•    The Kids’ Vocab app
•    The Flashcard App by quizlet
•    The Futba App by InKids
If you have any questions regarding the 
ESL Department and our program, please 
don’t hesitate to contact us:
Ms. Kaitlyn Perrin   ext.2696 kperrin@akfcs.org
Mr. Bruce Rutherford   ext.3642 brutherford@akfcs.org
Mrs. Lynn Scichilone   ext.2677 lscichilone@akfcs.org
Miss Amelie Tambolleo (see above)

ES PTO News
By Mrs. Michelle Vigneux
mvigneux@akfcs.org 
 

We're off to a busy start!
We had our first PTO meeting on September 4th. If you could not attend that meeting, your next opportunity is Tuesday, October 2nd in the Elementary School Library. We meet at 6 pm and offer childcare.
At the meeting we introduced this year's PTO Board:
•    Mary Mansoor, President    mmansoor@akfcs.org
•    Michelle Vigneux, Vice President
•    Eida Norford, Treasurer
•    Sarah Riveria, Secretary
•    Deb Sanborn, Parent Liason
We are looking forward to a great year of activities with our AKFCS families!
Our LARGEST fundraiser of the year, the Yankee Candle sale is happening NOW! Forty percent of ALL sales are donated back to the PTO, yup 40%!! If every student was able to sell one item at $20, we would earn over $3,000 which would give us a great start to paying for the busses for field trips this year! You have through October 9th. Thank you for your support! 
October is just around the corner...how is that possible?
Mark your calendars:
•    Tuesday, October 2nd PTO Meeting 6 pm
•    Tuesday, October 16th AKFCS PTO Dairy Queen Night 5-8 pm **DETAILS TO FOLLOW**
•    Saturday, October 20th Abby Kelley Foster's 20th Anniversary Gala 5:30 pm
•    Friday, October 26th ES PTO Movie Night **DETAILS TO FOLLOW**
Find us on Facebook:
Abby Kelley Foster Elementary PTO


BoxTops for Education


Please continue to bring in your BoxTops on the sheets or in plastic baggies with child's name and classroom teacher on it.  Please make sure that the BoxTops are not expired.  We still continue to collect Campbell's Labels for Education and can submit these labels anytime throughout the school year.  Thank you!

 

By Ms. Sarah Kaye
Grade K-3 Special Education Teacher
508-854-8400 ext. 3686

skaye@akfcs.org

Greetings from the Special Education Department! 
     We would like to take this opportunity to introduce our team to you and to let you know a little about the supports we provide to our special education students.  We work closely with our students and their classroom teachers to help them have a positive and successful school year.  We work with students in a variety of settings to support their progress toward achieving their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals and their access to the grade level curriculum.  We work with students within their own classrooms and in pull-out settings.  When working with students in the classroom we may co-teach, work one-on-one, or work with small groups to teach lessons.  We may work with students one-on-one or in small groups outside of the classroom to support IEP goals as well.  We collaborate with classroom teachers and other service providers (occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, guidance counselors, etc.) to ensure our students have their needs met in all areas.
      Here are some helpful tips for a great start to this school year for all learners!
      Developing your child's organizational skills is a key component to ensuring a successful school year. Here are some tips for supporting your child's organization and study skills at home (Adapted from LD OnLine, 1999):
 • Checklists:  Help your child get in the habit of using a "to-do" list. These lists can be used for assignments, chores, and routine reminders (ex. getting ready for school or bed). When an item on the list is completed your child can cross it off and feel a sense of accomplishment. For younger students and emerging readers, you can incorporate pictures or clip art onto the checklist to promote independence.
 • Set up a study space:  Set up an area in your home designated to homework, assignments, and studying. Make sure the space is set up with all the materials your child may need while working: pencils, paper, crayons, etc., so that your child does not need to take time locating and gathering these items. The space should be in a quiet and distraction free area. If you have younger children, create a space close by so that it is easy for you to check-in with your child and provide assistance and encouragement as needed.
 • Set up a study time:  Children thrive on routine and consistency. Set up a regular time each night for homework and studying. Try to include your child in the conversation when deciding what time to designate. Keep in mind when choosing your study time that students, especially younger ones, often benefit from a break and a chance to unwind when they first get home from school. Try to maintain this routine even when your child does not have a homework assignment; instead, they can read a book, work on a project, or review concepts they are working on in school.
       Please feel free to contact us at anytime with any questions, comments, or concerns.  We look forward to meeting with you in the year to come and building our partnership!
Alyssa Boykin, Grade 1 Special Education Co-Teacher aboykin@akfcs.org   ext. 3619
Lori Gamache, Grade 2 Special Education Teacher lgamache@akfcs.org  ext. 3650
Jen Derenas, Grade 3 Special Education Teacher jderenas@akfcs.org  ext. 3696
Sarah Kaye, Kindergarten Special Education Teacher skaye@akfcs.org  ext. 3686
Natacha Geneus, Student Support Teacher ngeneus@akfcs.org   ext. 3606


Lilly the Bookmobile
By Mrs. Joanne Wiggins
K-3 Librarian
508-854-8400 ext. 3685

 jwiggins@akfcs.org 

     “Lilly” the bookmobile from the Worcester Public Library will be visiting Abby Kelley Foster Elementary school one day a month this school year. 
     All Grade 3 students will be going on the van two classes per month. They can check out and borrow up to four books due in one month. Students must have their own Worcester or Worcester area library card in their own name. Applications for a borrower's card were sent home; the library cards will be sent to Abby Kelley and Mrs. Wiggins will deliver them to the students. The application for a borrower's card is also available on the Worcester Public Library’s website. Borrower’s cards are free to anyone.  
     All books can be returned to any Worcester Public Library branch, or given to Mrs. Wiggins in the AKF school library and she will return them to Lilly or bring them to the Frances Perkins branch library near our school.  Any questions, please call or email Mrs. Wiggins. 


The Counselor's Corner
Mrs. Kate Stockwell
508-854-8400  ext. 3688    kstockwell@akfcs.org
Ms. Sophronia Woods
508-854-8400 ext. 3647

swoods@akfcs.org
 

Elementary School Guidance Counselors  
     We are very excited to have the new school year underway and to see the students as they experience their new classroom and meet new friends. 
     As a guidance department we are hoping to have a lot of new and familiar programs to share with you this year. We started the year off with our annual BOO-HOO breakfast for Kindergarten parents. The attendance was wonderful and we hope everyone left feeling a little more informed and secure that their children were having a great day. Additionally, we had the WatchDOGs kick-off on Tuesday September 18th. Thank you to everyone who attended! If you are interested in volunteering during the school year and could not make our pizza night, please feel free to reach out to the guidance department. 
     The Abby Kelley Foster Elementary School is excited to be partnered with Fallon Health to supply some of our families with another great community resource. We will be sending home weekend backpacks called We Care Packs. 
     The We Care Packs (weekend backpacks) provide a supply of nutritious food for children on weekends or school holidays. Each food bag contains 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 snacks, vegetables and fruit. All food is nonperishable and provided to children free of charge. It is our hope these resources will support the health, behavior, and achievement of every student that participates. The program is run by the guidance department and is partially funded through a generous grant from Fallon Health who looks forward to working with staff, teachers, and you. Please know that all children are eligible for this program. If your family is interested in learning more about the program you can reach out to the Elementary School guidance counselors, Mrs. Stockwell and Ms. Woods, at 508-854-8400 ext.3688 or ext.3647.
     If you are interested in donating to the We Care Packs, we will be highlighting a different food item we could use each month. This month we are asking for donations of fruit that is non-perishable (things like cans of peaches or applesauce etc.) If possible, please make sure the cans are the ones with the pop-top, those are easier for little hands to open!
     We know it is not always easy to get your child to share about their school day. You might often hear the answer "nothing" when asking what happened at school that day. Below is a list of creative questions that might help start off a conversation that gives you a few more details. 
Questions to ask your child after school to get a conversation starting:
•    What’s the best thing that happened at school today?
•    What was the worst thing that happened at school today?
•    What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
•    Tell me something that made you laugh today.
•    Tell me about what you read in class today.
•    What did your teacher read to you today?
•    If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? Who would you not want to sit by in class? Why?
•    What is the biggest difference between last year and this year?
•    Can you show me something you learned today?
•    What class rules does your teacher say are important?
•    Tell me one interesting fact about your teacher.
•    What is your favorite time of day at school? Why?
•    What are you looking forward to at school tomorrow?
•    Did you get frustrated about anything at school today?
•    Tell me about one new word you heard today at school.
     The elementary school offers counseling on an individual and group basis. All students are eligible to participate in groups which meet during the school day with four to six same grade peers. Through games, activities, and discussions students learn important social skills in anger management, conflict resolution, and friendship. 
     Our goal as the elementary school counselors is to be accessible to every student and their family. Feel free to call us with questions, concerns, or if you would like a one-on-one meeting. We look forward to working with you and your child this year!

Food Pantry Hours:
5:30pm-6:30pm ~ First Tuesday Each Month

 
Technology
By Mrs. Shelby Dame
508-854-8400 ext. 2670
sdame@akfcs.org 

I am fortunate enough to see all the students in the elementary school, starting in Kindergarten.  Students become familiar with my classroom rules and expectations from day one.  New students seem to transition easily, because the other students know what I want and expect from them and new students follow along.
I use a standard rubric throughout the year to grade my students.  You can also find it on the website at www.akfcs.org.
Kindergarten:
Welcome students and parents! This is such an exciting time in your child's life.  In technology students are learning my classroom rules and expectations.  Students are becoming familiar with terminology already; I was very impressed!  We talked about how computers are made up of parts:  monitor, tower, cursor, mouse, keyboard, and headphones.  When all the parts are together, then we have a computer.  Students are demonstrating beginning mouse skills, we used the Kung Fu Panda game on www.nick.com to become familiar with using the right click on the mouse.
Grade1:
Students reviewed classroom rules and expectations.  I have introduced to them how to use the shift key.  We have a little riddle - shift, letter, let go.  Students practiced creating capital letters in a simple word document.  Students visited www.abcya.com/keyboarding_practice_2.htm and played Keyboard Zoo 2.  This activity had the students locating letters on the keyboard and using the shift key to create capital letters.
Grade 2:
Students reviewed classroom rules and expectations.  Students were introduced to home row keys.  We have spent the last few classes practicing intermediate keyboard skills.  Soon we will be starting Keyboarding Without Tears, a program that will reinforce this skill.  More information to follow.
Grade 3:
Students reviewed classroom rules and expectations.  Character Education will be discussed in the classroom and specials classes. In technology, students wrote the months and the character virtue that goes with it.  Students then used the ribbon to resize, change font, and add color. Students will begin to demonstrate intermediate keyboarding skills during the next few classes. Soon we will be starting Keyboarding Without Tears, a program that will reinforce this skill.  More information to follow.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Visual Art
By Mrs. Sarah Roy, Art Teacher
508-854-8400 ext. 3649
sroy@akfcs.org


During the month of September students will be learning expectations, rules and art room manners. Students will spend time practicing routines and procedures.  
Art Room Guidelines 
1.  Aim for your Best                                                                                                                   
2.  Respect Yourself, your friends and the Art room 
3.  Trust in your ability to learn
Art Room Consequences
1. Warning / Reminder
2. Take 5
3. Consequence (depends on the rule)
     
Kindergarten: We welcome the Kindergarteners to school! The Kindergarteners have been busy learning the rules, expectations and their way around the art room. Kindergarten also started their Art to Remember Fundraiser project using line, shape and color! Look for a personalized order form at the beginning of October.   
First Grade: First Grade students are off to a great start. First Graders started their Art to Remember Fundraiser Project. Students are creating circle art using colorful Paint Stix and line designs. You will be receiving an order form at the beginning of October. 
Second Grade: Second Graders started their Art to Remember Fundraiser Project. They are creating colorful castle art.  You will be receiving an order form at the beginning of October.    
Third Grade: Third Graders started their Art to Remember Fundraiser Project. They are working on a realistic pineapple still-life. Pineapples are a symbol for hospitality and friendship! You will be receiving an order form at the beginning of October.
      Our school is participating in a creative fundraiser with Art to Remember.  We will be creating artwork and you will receive a personalized order form of your child’s artwork.  Art to Remember offers keepsake products featuring your child’s artwork.  Information will be sent home. Keep a look out for your child’s personalized order form. 
Orders will be due October 26th.

Library
Mrs. Joanne Wiggins
508-854-8400 ext. 3685
jwiggins@akfcs.org
     

     A warm welcome to all our new and returning families at AKFCS! Our students this year are enjoying our newly refurbished school library. We have more seating choices for reading alone or with a classmate.  Students are especially loving our book character mural created over the summer by AKFCS staff member Jill Stone. Thank you, Mrs. Stone, for your wonderful gift to our students!
     September’s Character Virtue is Responsibility and the library is a great place to practice being responsible with books!  Here at the AKF elementary school, all students check out one book each time they come to Library. Library is one of five Specials your student has each day on a rotating basis. Your student’s day for library will be Day 1,2,3,4, or 5; the Days rotate skipping holidays and early release days. Students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 borrow a book from the school library but do not take it home to read.  Instead, they keep their books in their classrooms to read during the week. 
     Students in Grades 2 and 3 may take books home to read or opt to leave them in the classroom.  Students are responsible for taking care of their books and returning them on the next Library day.  Many students find that storing books in a special spot at home or in their backpacks each day after reading helps them keep track of the book.
     In Library we also learn AKF’s monthly Character virtues. September is the month we read about Responsibility. During the first week of school in Grades 1 to 3 we read aloud David Shannon’s David Goes to School which is an hilarious story highlighting the need for rules about behavior, manners, and responsibility in school.
     In Third grade we introduced the chapter book series Ready Freddy! by reading Stop That Hamster by Abby Klein.  In all grades, K to grade 3, we read books by Kim Norman the children’s book author who visited our school on September 20th.  We read Still a Gorilla, Puddle Pug, and She’ll be Coming up the Mountain and others by Kim Norman.
     Each Library class, students have a read aloud time, a short lesson, a chance to look for and check out a book, and some time to read with a buddy. At Abby Kelley we want your child to become an avid lifelong reader.  We want students to master learning to read, and then to enjoy and nurture the habit of reading. 
     September is National Library Card Signup Month! A public library borrower’s card will get you and your family books and lots of other free services. Make use of your local public Library and get yourself and your child a free borrower’s card from the Worcester Public Library.  Enjoy reading with your child every day and build that reading habit! 
     Please do not hesitate to call me or email me should you have any questions about Library and your child. I am happy to help you with read aloud suggestions for home or information about how to use your local public library.


Physical Education
By Ms. Kendra Warhol
508-854-8400 ext. 3624
kwarhol@akfcs.org
 

Happy Fall! 
     I am very excited to join the community of Abby Kelley Foster Charter School as the Physical Education Teacher this year! I was born and raised in Wisconsin, which is where I attended the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and got degrees in both Elementary Education and Spanish. I then moved to Chicago where I worked and lived for 5 years, and I have now lived in Massachusetts for 5 years. I have been teaching at the elementary school level for 5 years and have over 10 years of physical fitness and health experience. 
     Our first couple of weeks in P.E. have been busy! The students have been learning the rules and routines for P.E. We have also been discussing games and sports we hope to play or dream of learning this school year. Our games have been focused on spatial awareness and having fun in a safe way. Most of September will be spent playing cooperative games that will help create a community in the classroom that encourages trust with each other and appropriate risk taking. 
     Please help your student(s) remember to wear sneakers or running shoes on P.E. days. This will ensure that they are able to move easily and stay safe during rapid play time in the Activity Center. We do have a working water fountain in the building that children are encouraged to use when they need, but if they prefer they may bring a water bottle as well. 
     Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns. I am looking forward to a fun and active year with your student(s)! 

Elementary Music
By Mr. Scott Daugherty
508-854-8400 ext. 3612
sdaugherty@akfcs.org
     

     A big welcome to the students at Abby Kelley Elementary! We're looking forward to another wonderful year, including a mid-year concert series, in-class piano lessons, instrument rental options for our 3rd graders and an end-of-the-year concert series!
     We've begun in-class piano studies for all grades, including piano basics for kindergarten and 1st grade, while upper grades have already begun working on the piano. This month we're looking forward to beginning some of our new songs!
     In Kindergarten the focus is getting used to the new surroundings of the music classroom and learning the ropes! We're learning the basics of music - e.g., high-low sounds and how a piano works and produces sound.  
     In Grade 1, we're exploring composers of all types and styles and have met several so far! Piano is progressing well, with students getting chances to experience playing actual pianos. This is also a great way for the students to explore what it's like to stand in front of an audience while receiving lots of positivity from their classmates!
     In Grades 2 and 3 we're learning Piano as well, though at a slightly more advanced pace. We're looking forward to getting our songs learned for our upcoming Winter concert! More to come on this soon!
     Instruments will be available to rent for our 3rd graders this year again, after a very successful year last year - please take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. This is not something that is offered at many other schools! We will have a cap on the instruments offered this year, as well as on the number of student slots. Please look for more information in the coming weeks about how to sign up.
Music Reminder: 
Instrument rental information and student registration forms
will be sent home to all 3rd graders on September 28, 2018.
Limited space available. Registration deadline is November 20th.


 
Enrollment for the 2019 2020 School Year


Applications for Grades K-6 for the 2019-2020 School Year will be available on-line, beginning on Monday, October 15, 2018. Once our Enrollment Period opens, the on-line form must be completed for siblings of currently enrolled students and residents. All applicants, including siblings and students currently on our waitlist, will need to reapply for admission on an annual basis.
Incoming Kindergarten students must be five years old by August 31, 2019 to be eligible for Kindergarten. 
We have scheduled three Kindergarten Informational Sessions from 10:00-10:45 a.m. in the elementary school: 
•    Thursday, October 18, 2018 
•    Friday, November 16, 2018 
•    Monday, January 7, 2019 
The application deadline is Friday, January 25, 2019.
Our Enrollment Lottery will be on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. in the High School Concert Hall. 
If you have any questions regarding enrollment, please contact the Admissions Office 508-854-8400 ext.3644 or send an email to admissions@akfcs.org
Flu Symptom Checklist for Families and Schools


A Note from the Nurse
by Mrs. Melissa Joubert
508-854-8400 ext. 3604
mjoubert@akfcs.org

Welcome back to school.  September is already flying by!  Here are a few reminders for this school year:

▪    Establish an early bedtime for complete rest.
▪    Remember that black sneakers are the footwear of choice, as they promote safety for the playground equipment and in the field when students are running.
▪    Please send in only healthy snacks to school.  Water bottles are recommended in the classroom for hydration.
▪    Check your student's backpack for a flyer from the Ronald McDonald Care Dental Mobile; this is a free service.  Please complete the form and indicate whether or not you would like your child to be screened.
▪    A Body Mass Index (BMI) for students in Grade 1 will be done in January 2019.  If you would like your child to be exempt from BMI screening, please send me a written request and I will not screen them this year.
▪    I will be conducting Vision and Hearing Screenings in October and November.  Screening failure notices will be sent home with your child.  Remember that any child that has trouble seeing and hearing will also have trouble learning.  Let's work together to make sure our Abby Kelley students are healthy.  A child must learn to be healthy and must be healthy to learn.  
At times your child may have a spill or bathroom accident, or may be out of compliance with our dress code.  During these times, we do our best to provide them with a change of clothing or shoes.  We kindly ask that you launder and return the borrowed items as soon as you can.  Our extra uniform items are limited to what is donated to us, and may be needed immediately for another student.  Thank you.
Please feel free to call me during school hours if you have any questions or concerns.  Thank you.

The main symptoms of influenza (flu) include fever and cough and/or sore throat.  Some people also have a runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and feel tired.  Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting.  The most important thing that you can do to keep flu from spreading in the community is to keep your sick child at home with they are sick.
Should I keep my child home?
 Yes    No    Has your child had a fever of 100.4 degrees or more in the past 24 hours?
 Yes    No    Does your child have a cough OR sore throat?
If you answered YES to both questions above, keep your child home.
Your child has an influenza-like illness.
Can my child return to school?
 Yes    No    Has your child had a fever of 100.4 degrees or more in the past 24 hours?
 Yes    No    Has your child had acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) in the past 24 hours?
If you answered NO to both questions above, your child can return to school.
If you answered YES to one of the questions above, your child CANNOT return to school.  Keep your child at home for at least another day to observe for additional symptoms.  Then use the checklist questions again to decide whether you should continue to keep your child at home.
Where can I find more information about influenza?
Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health influenza website at www.mass.gov/flu


CORI Checks


Are you interested in volunteering at our school this year? CORI Check Request Forms are available at the front desk of your child’s school. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Amanda Durkin
adurkin@akfcs.org
508-854-8400 ext. 3627 


Elementary Arrival & Dismissal Procedures


We would like to remind parents of our school hours and dismissal times for the 2018 2019 School Year. The elementary school doors open at 8:30 a.m., and students are marked tardy beginning at 8:45 a.m.  Please plan accordingly.  The dismissal time for elementary school parent pick-ups on half days is 12:15 p.m., and dismissal time for parent pick ups on regular full days is 3:15 p.m.  The busses will leave the elementary school at 12:30 p.m. on half days and at 3:30 p.m. on regular full days.
There are several procedures that need to be followed during arrival and dismissal times:
▪    No Early Dismissals After 11:15 a.m. on Half Days and After 2:15 p.m. on Full Days.   If you are dismissing your child early from school, please arrive at school before 11:15 a.m. on half days or before 2:15 p.m. on full days.  Thank you for your understanding.
▪    Parents & guardians who are dropping off or picking up their students must proceed through the drop-off line, which enters through the back of the parking lot on Brooks Street and exits onto New Bond Street.  Parents and guardians should not be dropping off students on the opposite side of Route 12 in order to be escorted across the street.
▪    Our “Walker Line” which crosses Route 12 is only for those students who live within walking distance from school and who walk to and from home.  For safety reasons, please do not park on Route 12 and drop off your student.  That area has become quite congested and has become a safety issue. 
▪    Elementary school students are not to be dropped off on New Bond Street in the morning.  Our busses enter and exit on New Bond Street, and it is dangerous to have students exiting their cars at the same time.
▪    U turns are not allowed on New Bond Street in the morning.  Parents & guardians who are dropping off Middle School students must take a right after the Middle School and exit onto Brooks Street.
▪    Please do not use our handicapped spots or any other parking spot as a drop off location for your elementary school student in the morning.  Please proceed single file through the drop off line and exit onto New Bond Street.
▪    When dropping off your child in the morning, please allow your child to exit their car once the car is along the sidewalk.  Please do not wait until you have reached the front door to allow your child to exit the car.  This helps to keep traffic moving.
▪    Staff members are outside to assist students as needed. To help the flow of traffic, please allow your child to exit the car without a staff member’s assistance.
Please Note:  As specified in our Parent/Student Handbook, which is available on the school website at www.akfcs.org, it is the parent’s responsibility to pick up students on time from school, from the school bus, and from school activities.  Students are considered a late pickup if they are not picked up from school by 3:30 p.m. on a full day, 12:30 p.m. on a half day.  Parents who are tardy in picking up their child(ren) after school will be charged a $25 fee (per child).
Parents are responsible for picking up their child at the bus stop or at school at the end of the school day.  They may also designate another responsible adult to pick up their child at school, or to meet their child at the bus stop.  Please notify the School before 2:00 p.m. if there is a change in the person who will be picking up your child(ren) from the school or at the bus stop, so we can inform the bus driver.  Parents or guardians should wait for the child on the right side of the bus, so the student will not be required to cross in front of the bus or behind it.  Parents/guardians must wait outside of their vehicles, near the bus at the bus stop, regardless of the weather.  This will allow the bus driver to verify that the appropriate person is picking up the students.  We appreciate your cooperation.  Please arrive at the bus stop 10 minutes before the scheduled time.
For the safety of our students, elementary school children will not be left at a bus stop if a parent (or other responsible party) is not there to meet them; they will be brought back to the school.  Students in Grade 3 may walk home from the bus stop if we have received a signed form from the parent/guardian, giving the child permission to walk home without an adult.  Students who are returned to the school more than three times because a parent (or other responsible party) is not at the bus stop to meet them will lose their bus privileges for the remainder of the year.  Parents will be charged a $25 fee (per child) when their child is returned to school on the school bus.  If the late fee is not paid, the child will lose their bus privilege.
The safety of our students is a priority.  Please make arrangements to accommodate these requests.  Thank you.
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or homelessness and all students have equal access to the general education program and the full range of any occupational/vocational education programs offered by the district.