Experiential Expeditionary Learning

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					                        The          SUMMIT                     PEAK

                                                                          November, 2009
                                                                                            Edition: 0013

       Dear Parents,

       As the seasons progress the staff and I would like to pass along our best wishes
       for a very happy, safe and bright holiday season.

       We are very pleased to have welcomed four new students to our school in the last
       month. It is very exciting to see more districts referring students to our school
       and we are confident that this trend will continue in the months ahead.

       As new students enroll, many experience an initial period of adjustment to the
       new environment, peer group and instructional model. Please know that the entire
       staff is working with every student every day to help them take the necessary
       steps to move forward with their education and their lives in a very positive way.
       As new students are given strategies to help them succeed in class, our existing
       students are also given strategies to help them appropriately encounter the
       challenges of others. This real life learning in a safe environment helps our
       students establish and maintain successful relationships with others in and out of

       If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact the staff or
       myself. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

       Dan DiMezza
       Executive Director
Giving Back Fridays

Our Giving Back Fridays program is underway. In just two weeks alone we have collected a fair
amount of food and monetary donations to give to the Worcester Food Bank. The children are very
excited to see the collection growing each week in the front foyer of the school and, of course, they are
happy to wear the shirt of their choice on Fridays. Please remember those in need this holiday season
with a donation of food and/or money to our collection. Remember, $1.00 (or the food equivalent
thereof )every Friday through December 18 will allow your child to wear the shirt of his/her desire to
school and will help someone in need. Thank you for your continued support.

Uniform Orders

School uniform orders have been placed and should be ready for distribution the first week of
December. We will let you know as soon as they arrive at school.

Mr. Guertin, at Guertin Graphics, would like you to know that he has 1 Youth Medium and 1 Adult Large
hooded jacket at his store that were used for samples. If you are interested in purchasing either of
these items please call Pat Schutt in the office.

                 School Cancellation, Delays and Dismissals

With winter right on our heals we would just like to remind you of our school cancellation, delays and
dismissal policies:

The policy regarding weather related closings and delays at Summit Academy, is to follow the Worcester
Public Schools decisions. If Worcester has no school, we have no school. If Worcester is delayed, we are
delayed. Please do not assume that someone will be at the school to greet your child if school is not in
session or has been delayed.

On days of inclement weather, the major television news stations will scroll the cities and towns that are
affected. Please be sure to watch one of these television stations to know if Worcester (Summit Academy)
is cancelled or delayed. Again, we follow whatever the Worcester Public School system does. The local
radio stations will also announce cancellations, delays and dismissals.

If Worcester Public Schools are NOT listed then Summit Academy is open.

Since many of you are traveling from other districts, you may be coming from weather that is worse than
Worcester. If this is the case and your town has cancelled or delayed please assess your particular situation
and use your best judgment as to whether you should send your child to school or not. Please be sure to
call the school to let us know if your child will be absent by 8:30 a.m. If no one answers the phone at the
school when you call please leave a message for the school secretary.

If we have inclement weather during the school day we will not dismiss students early without your
permission. However, you may come to school to dismiss your child at your discretion.
                                PRIMARY NEWS
   “If you make it plain you like people, it’s hard for them to resist liking you back.” - Lois
                      McMaster Bujold, from Diplomatic Immunity, 2002

We want to welcome students Logan Szretter and Philip Benoit to our classroom and to the Summit
Academy “family”! The addition of just two more students has created wonderful new opportunities
for making social connections and has livened up the learning environment! We have had a number of
student and adult visitors during the last month and the students have shown a high degree of
flexibility with the many changes they have experienced.

Thematic learning in Social Studies has recently segued from harvesting (providers and consumers) to
communities within New England and Massachusetts. The students have created Pilgrim homes and
Native American wigwams and placed them on a diorama of the state to represent Plymouth
Plantation. In Science, we have begun to explore states of matter through reading, hands-on
manipulation of materials and by viewing video resources. In Math, we have recently done
considerable work with place value and have used those skills during addition and subtraction (with
regrouping). We have again looked at sets as part of a whole but this time, not as fractions, but for
exploration into division. In ELA, language instruction has involved structures of English (compound
words, contractions) as well as a focus on capitalization and punctuation, not only at the beginning and
end of sentences but also within (proper nouns, apostrophes, commas). Our reading series has taken
us from the theme of “Friendship” to “Communities” with a focus on urban life and families. We just
finished the story, Molly’s Pilgrim and were able to explore the concept of “pilgrims” in recent history
as compared and contrasted with our early American settlers.

During the month of December, we will explore holidays and traditions celebrated around the world.
We will look closely at cultural differences and experience many of those first hand in cross-
curricular learning activities. In Music, we will begin studying various genres of music and connect
those with the cultures that we explore. In Art, we plan to have students create an
ornament/decoration from each of those cultures. These will be sent home as they are made so they
can adorn your homes for the holidays. When possible, we will make connections to this theme when
planning Math, ELA and Science lessons.

Fantastic Fridays continue to be a weekly highlight for our group! As interest continues, we will
continue to plan for Show and Tell. If your child wishes to participate, please send an item in a bag so
that its identity remains a secret until everyone has practiced using descriptive language and
inference skills in order to play the game. When we cook on Fridays, we usually have leftovers so
please check your child’s backpack for goodies when they come home!

Ms. Reven and Mrs. Beauregard wish all of our Primary families a very Happy
                          INTERMEDIATE NEWS
Dear Parents,

        We are pleased with the response we have been getting to our class weekly email to parents. If you have not
been receiving emails (2 have been sent) please write a note to us and specify the email address you would like us to
use. Feel free to respond to emails with comments or questions, or to call us at school with any concerns you may
have. Weekly emails highlight academic and social objectives covered during the week, as well as any other important
announcements we may have.

        This is a short week in our class, and we hope you are all planning a happy family time this Thanksgiving.
Here is what we are working on this week:


Students will be able to use the dictionary to define unfamiliar words from a story.
Students will explain personal impressions of and connections to a story.
Students will make predictions based on a character’s behavior.
Students will define refuge, sanctuary, retreat, haven, hideaway and use the words in a journal entry.
Students will review digraphs (ch,sh, etc.) in a Bingo game.
Students are completing their myths.


Students will use a bar graph to write and answer variable equations.
Students will practice finding the value of a variable in an expression.
Students will make a poster identifying the components of the order of operations (PEMDAS).


5th graders will begin reading about the Aztecs.
6th graders will begin a research graphic organizer about an African country.
All students will complete the last page of the solar system test.


We covered Thanksgiving conversations, table blunders, dealing with extended family, and how to share “what’s
going on in school?” We also watched the biographical movie about inspirational teacher Ron Clark, author of The
Essential 55.

Please remember to have students adhere to the school dress code. Avoid wearing “dressy” or “costume-like” attire
such as suits, dresses, and hats, as these can sometimes cause behavior issues in school. It’s best to stick to casual
pants and school shirts, and to remember to wear clothing appropriate for the outdoors.

Mrs. Panikian and Miss Halsey
Greetings Middle School Families,
        We hope that you are enjoying the mild fall weather that we are presently experiencing. We are
pleased that all of our students continue to learn and interact with respect and care for each other. We have
welcomed a new student into our class, Denerik. He brings to us special knowledge and great enthusiasm.
Denny is fitting in perfectly with our Summit family!
        During our social skills classes we continue to work on being the best that we can be. In conjunction
with the Blue Star program, all of the students decide and work on accomplishing two personal goals each
week. We continue to examine the skills involved in good listening, following instructions, exhibiting good
manners and respect, assessing situations before joining in or speaking, and the setting of realistic goals. We
are helping each other to remember good hygiene practices both in the classroom and in other areas of the
        During our ELA classes we have been reviewing story elements, specifically theme, setting, plot,
character relationships, foreshadowing and prediction, inferencing and outcome. For the time being we have
suspended our reading of short stories. We have read the first half of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
and David Oliver Relin.

         The students have enjoyed drinking cups of tea as we read and discuss the book. We are learning
about the geography of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the peoples who inhabit these regions, their cultures and
their traditions. Mr. Anderson has spent some time with us during our reading and has shared with us his
specific knowledge and expertise regarding the great outdoor world and mountain climbing.
         In Math we are preparing to work with fractions. We are reviewing the rules of divisibility. We are
also reviewing prime numbers and prime factorization. This will help us to find least common multiples and
greatest common factors. Then we will begin adding and subtracting fractions with common and uncommon
         In Science we have finished cells and genetics. We are now beginning to study body systems. The
class has started with the nervous system. An experiment was done with reaction times to show just how
quickly our brains and nerves work together. We are currently working on the respiratory system. The
students are having fun using balloons to measure and compare lung capacity.
         In Social Studies we have begun our studies of World History after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Some of the world civilizations we will be focusing are the Ottoman Empire, the Moghul Empire, and the
Byzantine Empire. We are presently learning some of the significant aspects of Islam and Islamic
origination and expansion up to the year 1500. Fortunately, this is tying in wonderfully with our current
ELA reading.
         Thank you again for all of the supplies that you continue to send in. We are grateful for your
assistance and support of our class.

                                                   Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
The Summit Experience

        Busy, busy, busy. Our major projects lately have included surveying and mapping the play area
behind the school, and building a straw hut similar to what the pilgrims may have built when they moved off
the Mayflower and onto dry ground.
        Our mapping project has been a whole-school effort. We started at a benchmark point, marked by a
fluorescent orange stake near the flagpole at the back corner of the lot. Students measured angles and
distances to other control points and compared their findings. Now that we have collected a great deal of
data, our next step will be to lay out the map on a large sheet of paper. This will be done in small groups of
students. Great lessons have arisen about the use of executive functions (planning, problem solving,
decisions regarding use of tools, etc.), teamwork, and conflict resolution (what happens when the numbers
don’t match up?). We hope to have a working copy ready to post by Christmas break.

        The Pilgrims’ journey on the Mayflower landed them on Cape Cod at almost exactly this time of the
year. We decided to see what it might have been like to arrive in a new land with little time to prepare for
winter and no knowledge of the local building materials. We are in the process of building a hut from birch
saplings and straw. The birch saplings are forming our framework, and the straw is simulating the salt
grasses that might have been available on the cape in 1620. We worked on Monday in cold, wet weather so
the students could experience what the children may have gone through when they arrived. We are
discussing the need for everyone to participate for the greater good, and what to do if you’re not sure what
needs done. It has been an interesting lesson for some students who have acknowledged that, in a bigger
group, one of the obstacles is that “everyone walks around with their own ideas of what needs done” rather
than rather than deferring a personal agenda for the good of the group.

        Upcoming events include a trip to Notre Dame Academy’s John and Virginia Flagg Gallery, as well
as visits from several area artists in January and February.

Jeff Anderson
Coordinator of Expeditionary and Experiential Learning
                                               November 2009
                             News from Sensei Tammaris Mitchell
Congratulations to Alex Wyman who was promoted to yellow belt this month. Congratulations to Sam Diedrich,
Alex Wyman, and Andrew Hemdal for being Tennis Championship Winners during October 2009 and
November 2009.

We continue to develop The Art of Zanshin which is to remain in control of our heart, body, and mind. To
accomplish this we practice Tai-sabaki which helps us to shift our body (and mind) towards therapeutic mindfulness
and conflict prevention. In addition, to our physical fitness training, we meditate on the simple acts of being still
and smiling thinking on the attributes of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, FORGIVENESS, ENDURANCE, KINDNESS,

Here’s a little note of martial arts trivia. It was interesting to share with the student body that my favorite martial arts
role-model, Bruce Lee, was born on November 27, 1940. Bruce Lee would have been sixty-nine years old this year…
as my grandson would say, “whew-wOW!”

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…

I am thankful to be your Sensei… gobble, gobble!