We are fortunate in schools to have two “new years” – one in September and one in January. Students and teachers alike returned from December break rested, refreshed and renewed. One can feel the positive energy as everyone settles into new units of study, whether water explorations in Kindergarten, nonfiction reading in second grade, structures in third grade, memoir writing in fifth grade or climates in eighth. Even the cold weather couldn’t put a damper on these feelings!
The construction of our new four-classroom addition proceeds on schedule. At the end of this week, the roof plank will be installed, which will enable more work on the interior to proceed. During December break, a wall was installed in Room 240 (used by 4B this year) to create the second floor hallway that will eventually lead out to the new wing. The change leaves a still ample sized room. I am delighted that next year, after six years, Room 240 will finally return to its intended purpose as a Music Room.
ELL ACCESS Testing Underway
Our 126 English Language Learners will be participating in a state-mandated testing during the month of January. Each student participates in three sessions. For grades 1-8, students take two group sessions in Reading/Listening and Writing and one individual session in Speaking. In Kindergarten, the entire test must be administered individually. Within each grade level, there are three different test levels (A, B, C), based on students’ previous level of language proficiency. Students in Level C (the most advanced level) began testing last week. We will begin Level B this week and Level A the following week. Results will be available in May. Thank you to our ELL teachers, Akiko Kawai, Ellen Mills, Emily Romm and Sarah Wolff, for their excellent work administering these tests and to Vice Principal Laura Horst, who coordinates all of our testing.
Welcome New Student Teachers
Lawrence continues to attract talented and energetic student teachers from area universities. We welcomed twelve student teachers this week:
- Emmanuel: Jenny Regan (2N) & Alison Donahue (3L)
- Northeastern: Megan Westphalen (3K)
- Shady Hill School Teacher Training Course*: Alyssa Rooks (2GR), Natalie Bachicha (3H), Nora MacDonald (4C), Margaret Roux (4W), Kyle Eichner (7/8 English Closter), Gracie Krouse (7/8 SS Hollander), Tegan Condon (6/7 Science Hunter) & Maggie Small (7/8 Science Keser)
- Simmons: Amy Kane (6/7 English – Avakian)
On January 20, we will welcome three more:
- Boston University: Stephanie Stanton (2G)
- Wheelock: Jessica Adler (KC) & Dalena Ngo (KF)
* Last year we began a partnership with the Shady Hill School TTC, a site-based teacher-training program that has been preparing teachers for over 85 years. Since the 1970’s, the program has offered certification to teach in Massachusetts public schools. This selective program accepts a cohort of 15-18 graduate apprentices who complete two placements a year. About one-half of the students elect to do their second placement in a public school setting.
Having teachers in training working in a school contributes to our reflective culture. Student teachers question us about why we do what we do. They bring in knowledge of current best practice and new ideas. They bring energy and enthusiasm that help keep us fresh. And, on a very pragmatic level, more adults in classrooms help us provide more individualized attention to students. The caliber of our teachers, the diversity of our school community and our proximity to area universities all contribute to Lawrence being an attractive location for teachers in training. Both our students and our teachers benefit from the presence of aspiring teachers in our classrooms.
Our second new year is off to a great beginning!