February Blog 2016
Our vision is to connect, engage, and inspire all students in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District to reach academic excellence. We, the educators of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, will instill habits of reflection and inquiry to challenge our students in setting ambitious academic and personal goals. Students will develop a strong voice to express thoughts and ideas in the community and the confidence to showcase their talents and successes in preparation for entry into college and the world of work.
The Ayer Shirley Regional School District has been placed on the College Board’s Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll for Expanding Access to College. We have been honored for creating opportunities for underrepresented students by providing students with rigorous academic offerings and innovative college-preparation programs. This recognition has been awarded to only 130 districts in the country and to only 13 districts of the 351 districts in Massachusetts. The ASRSD staff is to be commended for their work with students. Thank you to our educators. It is clear they have high expectations for each and every student. To view the complete Honor Roll list: https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/lp-collegeboard-org/gaston-caperton-honor-roll.pdf
We have re-established the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). SEPAC is a parent advisory group for special education. Parents met with Special Education Director, Tara Bozek, and William DeRosa on January 28, 2016. They elected officers: Co-Chair, Amy Gebru; Co-Chair, Colleen Tocci; Secretary, Bette Surette. Congratulations to our officers and we look forward to their work in the district.
The Shirley Police Department through their efforts with funding has brought the D.A.R.E. “Keepin it Real” program back into our schools. This program develops skills and provides strategies needed for safe and responsible choices and to prevent drug abuse. It teaches students risk assessment, decision-making, and communication skills. It is currently being taught to 6th graders at the middle school and next year it will be taught to 5th graders at LAW and PH. Thank you, Chief Goulden and the Shirley Police Department.
Our new Food Service Director, Justin Smith, has already begun to make improvements to our food service program at the high school. Mr. Smith has added daily breakfast specials and yummy soups to the lunch menu. Please encourage your student to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Healthy foods boost brain power!
Daily Breakfast Specials:
Monday: Oatmeal or cream of wheat with fresh fruit or raisins
Tuesday: Homemade pancakes w/fruit
Wednesday: Scrambled eggs with home fries
Thursday: Texas style cinnamon French toast
Friday: Yogurt bar with granola and fresh fruit
AND hot soups w/crackers will be served each day. Soup options include:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Greek Orzo Soup
Tomato Garden Veggie Soup
Chipotle SW Potato Soup
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Italian Wedding Soup
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February is Black History Month or National African American Month, which is an annual recognition of achievements by African Americans. February has been designated Black History Month by every U.S. president since 1976. Please take a few minutes to view this very short video with your children. Please take a few minutes to ask them about what they are learning in school on Black History Month.
COFFEE & CONVERSATION
Parents, I love to hear from you and I hope you will join me for Coffee and Conversation on the 2nd Thursday of every month. Please stop in for a cup of coffee and conversation at 9:00 am on Thursday, March 10th. This event will be held in the Conference Room at Central office located at 115 Washington Street, which is the lower level of PH. There is visitor parking in the front of the building. Enter through the front door and we will be there to greet you. Hope to see you there!
We are in the middle of the FY17 budget process. Mr. Plunkett, School Committee, and I will make a budget presentation to the Shirley Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee on Monday, February 22nd, at 7:00pm at Shirley Town Hall. We presented the FY17 budget to the town administration in Ayer on Monday February 8th. Our budget sustains current programming and staffing in our schools. We will add Instructional Technology teachers at both LAW and PH. At the high school, we are adding Computer Programming, Integrated Math I Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry, and AP English Language and Composition. Next school year, all 9th graders will take biology and then will be eligible to take the MCAS Science Technology/Engineering test in 9th grade. We're very pleased to continue to improve our curricular programming for our students. You may view the FY17 Budget Book here.
Before we know it, state testing will be upon us. The MCAS ELA assessment for 10th graders begins on March 22nd. PARCC testing for Grades 3-8 begins on April 25-June 6. Students will practice using the technology tools and prepare for the assessment by taking practice test questions. More information on state assessments will be forthcoming from your child's principal. For more information on the PARCC assessment and to view practice questions, please click on the links below:
WE ARE GROWING
We have already registered over 20 Preschoolers and 65 Kindergartners for next year. Please register your child as soon as possible. Remind your neighbors and friends. It is as simple as downloading the registration packet found on the district website and making an appointment at Lura A. White or Page Hilltop. You know how much we value your involvement and participation. We are a growing district and thank you for helping us grow. Please enjoy this short video (2mins) on what it means to your child when you are involved in their education.
Keeping track of time…we now have two snow days. Please take note that our last day of school is Monday, June 20, 2016.
Have a great February everyone! Happy Presidents’ Day! Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy the break!
Superintendent of Schools
- FY17 budget presentation to the Town of Shirley, Monday, February 22, at 7:00pm at Shirley Town Hall.
- Destination Imagination movie night for young ones and teens in the ASRHS auditorium on Friday, February 12. See District calendar for more information.
- No school on Monday, February 15, in observance of Presidents' Day.
- Schools will be closed for February vacation Tuesday, February 16, through Friday, February 19.
- District Arts Fair will be held on Wednesday, March 2, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at ASRHS. More details to follow.
- Opioid Crisis Forum for all parents and community members of Ayer and Shirley on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:00pm at ASRMS in the auditorium. More information to follow.
Learning about perspective in Mrs. Cowley's Art class.
Look at the work of our artistic students at ASRHS.
D.A.R.E. presentation to Regional School Committee.
2015/2016 Football Banquet. Football players honoring coaching staff.
Great turn out at the football banquet.
An ELA class at ASRMS.
ASRMS students present their bridge designs to Regional School Committee.