School newsletter highlights: Buddy Benches, iPads, School Improvement Plan, and an Instructional Technologist

The school district sent out it’s annual back to school newsletter this week.

As usual, it’s a long one. So, for those of you who haven’t found the time to read it, I’ll share some highlights from each of our town’s public schools:

  • Finn and Woodward Schools – The Pre-K to 3rd grade schools are launching their new anti-bullying Buddy Bench programs. (Woodward’s bench is named “Abbies Buddy Bench” after Abbie Benford.) As presented to the School Committee in February, the bench will help children who feel isolated. Students will be encouraged to sit on the bench when they feel lonely. This will signal other students (and adults) when someone is looking for a “buddy” to play with. Students be encouraged to reach out to include those children in their play.
  • Neary School – New principal Kathleen Valenti introduces herself. She also gives an update on the 1:1 iPad initiative. This year, 5th grade teachers will share iPad cards (presumably 2:1 as the 4th grade class had in the spring.) The 4th grade class will now have iPads available in each classroom for each student.
  • Trottier Middle School – This year, the school will complete its 2013-15 School Improvement Plan. The plan focuses on Curriculum & Instruction, Community for Students, Teacher Evaluation, Programming & Scheduling, Communication, and Technology. (Click here to see the plan.)
  • Algonquin Regional High School – The school now offers a Concentration in Business. And they hired an Instructional Technologist to “bring useful education technology to our classrooms.” This year also begins their efforts to teach physical education at least one semester per grade.

(Trottier and ARHS photos by Susan Fitzgerald; remaining photos from school websites)

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