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PAC Meeting Recaps 2007-2008 (in chronological order) October PAC NOTES Hello Ahern Families, As we end September and start October, PAC has started behind the scenes. Prior to the start of school, PAC welcomed the Ahern Staff back with a Welcome Back Breakfast. Thank you to everyone that helped to make this possible. We also enjoyed beautiful weather the night of the Ahern Picnic on September 6th. DJ Jim entertained the crowd once again. This year our Volunteer Coordinator is Cindy Curran. If you haven‟t sent back the volunteer form, there‟s still time. Fill out the form and check off anything that interests you. Send the form to school with your child. Lori Decker is the Room Parent Coordinator. If you are chosen to be the room parent for your child‟s class, Lori will be in touch. Please remember to fill out a Cori form if you don‟t have one on file. Paula Dailey will be the PAC Treasurer again this year. She will be presenting the budget at our first PAC meeting on October 2nd. Gini Baumiller and Janet Fisher are the Communication Coordinators. Thank you to Gini for all the newsflashes she sends out to keep us all informed. The Magazine Drive is currently underway. This is the only fundraiser that PAC will have this year. Thank you to Kris Romanowski for undertaking this. The magazine drive takes a lot of time and manpower to be successful. Thank you to anyone that has helped in anyway to make this happen. Our first PAC meeting looks to be a busy one. Please join us on Tuesday, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Ahern Library. October Agenda Welcome/Introductions: Maryellen Whall Guest Speaker: Superintendent Dr Christopher Martes Principal‟s Report: Sue Abrams Treasurer‟s Report: Paula Dailey School Council Candidates: Stacy Mortenson & Noreen Ennis Committee Introductions/Updates Volunteer Coordinator: Cindy Curran Sunshine Committee: Gail Schaaf Room Parent Liaison: Lori Decker Newsletter: Stacy Mortenson Magazine Drive: Kris Romanowski Funding Factory: Gail Schaaf Communication Co-Chairs: Janet Fisher & Gini Baumiller Student Council Update: Maryellen Whall New Business Dates to Remember: November 8th Taste for the Town – Foxboro Discretionary Fund November 16th BIT Auction Mansfield Holiday Inn Come meet some of the people that work so hard to keep PAC going. If you are unable to attend the meeting, look for PAC Notes in the newsletter each month and check out the Ahern Website. If you have any questions or comments about PAC, please call or email me. I hope to see many of you at our October meeting. Thank You Maryellen Whall PAC Leader Mel3w@comcast.net or 543-0079 __________________________________________________________________ November Principal/Parent Coffee Principal Sue Abrams and Assistant Principal Karen Saltzman facilitated. Guidance reps Michelle Dancause and Melissa Sweeney as well as Michael Tiano who joined the meeting in progress were introduced. To see Guidance staff, visit http://teacherweb.com/MA/Foxborough/AhernGuidance/gallery1.stm. Each One Reach One Program is a mentoring program that pairs volunteer adults with students who are identified as likely to benefit from one on one time with a caring adult mentor. Active in the past, this program is currently receiving support from Ellen Pillsbury from School-To-Career Partnership and Sheila Peterson from Invensys. Volunteer adults who are interested in providing one-on-one or small group support to those kids in need are invited to an informational meeting at the Igo School December 4th at 7 pm. All volunteers are asked to complete a CORI form. Each One Reach One provides valuable support to students including academic support to providing a caring adult to help handle family issues, bullying, peer relationships, etc. Volunteers allow Guidance Staff to concentrate their efforts on providing necessary support services as well as family support, referrals and in-school programs like Steps to Respect, Anti- Bullying, etc. Time is also being provided for teachers to make „connections‟ with students to help supplement parental support. Ahern School Council is currently developing a Climate survey to be distributed to staff, parents and students. The purpose of the survey is to use a „team‟ approach to help identify strengths and weaknesses at the Ahern. The target is to have surveys available by conference time and will be available on paper as well as the preferred online response via Survey Monkey. Online survey responses will enable much faster quantification and summary of responses. Responses will be reviewed and considered for future school and school improvement plan goals. Questions came up about how the school handles delicate personal issues that are brought forward by students or parents whether it be from fact or rumor. Sue Abrams indicated that each issue is handled individually by staff as needed to maintain confidentiality, show respect and care for student well being and to reduce distraction and stress in order to facilitate learning as an ultimate goal. The Health & Wellness curriculum has been reviewed. Currently a Glencoe Health curriculum is under review for possible integration into the middle school program as well as Great Body Shop for the elementary school health program. Staff Development time on December 3rd will be used for this review with potential integration in 2008. Parents will be provided with curriculum details as early as early spring of 2008. Debra Spinelli was introduced as the new Foxborough Public Schools Assistant Superintendent. Progress Reports and Report Cards have been created for the first time this fall using the new Power School software that Foxborough Public Schools converted to over the summer. Some technical difficulties are being worked out, most notably parents may be missing teacher comments on report cards. This was a temporary issue and should be resolved for the next marking period. Parents may direct their questions to their student‟s teachers before or during upcoming conferences. Staff happily celebrated MCAS successes. See Foxboro Reporter dated November 8th for more information. Request was made for guidance for Room Parent Liaisons. Duties over the years have differed by grade, by teacher and by volunteer parent. Sue Abrams offered to discuss this issue with staff at an upcoming meeting. Parents can include their questions or comments on the upcoming parent survey as well. Request was made for „transition planning‟ for parents of 4th graders as they transition into 5th grade. The differences between elementary and middle school parental involvement as well as fundraising, room parenting and opportunities for parents to be involved in the student/teacher/school support team are areas of confusion. A suggestion was made to summarize the opportunities available and work to make sure parents „feel‟ welcome in the building. Question was raised about when and how students learn studying and test taking strategies. These areas are currently under review in an effort by staff to strengthen critical thinking and skills areas across the subject areas. Next Principal/Parent Coffee will be Friday, December 14th at 9 am Next PAC Meeting will be Friday, January 4th at 9 am Winter Carnival will be held Saturday, January 26th, 11 am – 3 pm. Many volunteers are needed. Please contact Wendy Fay firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help in any way. Areas of need include: Tickets & collecting permission slips, Lucky U, Raffle Baskets, Serving Refreshments, Supervision in the gym, Supervision for games Prizes __________________________________________________________________ January Principal/Parent Coffee Meeting Welcome by Maryellen Whall Principal's Report Committee Updates Winter Carnival Update Student Council Update Volunteer Opportunities New Business Dates to Remember Birthday Wishes Benefit - January 4th Lady Hoopster's Fundraiser - January 12th Synergy Brass - January 24th Winter Carnival - January 26th __________________________________________________________________ February Principal's Coffee Benefits of the new Think Math Program Use of daily homework to reinforce learning Study Island - online program to support skills learned in the classroom. Program can be used from home to supplement light homework nights Concerted effort being made by staff to reinforce study skills Mention of Diane Casilli, Grade K - 8 ELA Director, huge asset to the Ahern staff and resource for parents Request by attending parent to have all Ahern Specialists highlighted in an upcoming Ahern Newsletter Need for volunteer parents to step forward for next year as: Pac Leader or Co-leaders Treasurer Student Directory Chairperson needed this Spring to prepare 2008-2009 Directory Volunteer Coordinator __________________________________________________________________ March Principal's Coffee MCAS – Tuesday, March 25th - 7th grade long comp MCAS - Wed., March 26 & Thurs. March 27th and April 1st, Reading comp parts 1, 2, 3. (See Ahern calendar online for details) Think Math Program Positive feedback from in elementary grades 5th grade sees a big change at the end of the K – 5 program. Terminology is different from the way parents learned math Benchmark Testing has also made a difference School system is currently in the middle of a grade 6 thru 12 math curriculum review and a grades K thru 8 Science curriculum review Incoming 5th graders Guidance meets with 4th grade teachers to discuss each child. A guidance counselor is assigned to each elementary school. Scheduling is done over the summer. 5th grade is the last grade to have class scheduling completed due to all the factors that have to be taken into consideration. Students are no longer assigned classroom according to similarity in musical instrument Ahern plans to add one 5th and one 6th grade teacher next year. Parent Survey Results are currently under review by the School Council and administration and will be presented to parents soon. Time was spent talking about student discipline issue. All discipline is handled confidentially on a case-by-case basis. All appropriate staff members are engaged in the resolution process. If students or parents have any concerns or questions, they are asked to address them with classroom teachers and then Principal Sue Abrams as needed. End of School-year field trips 7th grade will be going to Kimball Farm 8th grade will be going to Canobie Lake Last day of school, currently scheduled for June 20th, will be a half day again this year. __________________________________________________________________ April Principal's Coffee - current Math - Parents voiced a concern over student intimidation at asking questions in class and request that teachers encourage questioning if student doesn‟t understand. - Teachers and Specialists have been working together to target individual needs of each student. Math software and online math programs help provide individual support. - Jump Start Math added to supplement the math curriculum. - .5 Math teacher was added to the budget for next year - Andrea Plate is the K-8 Math Curriculum Director and visits classrooms regularly as well. Homework Levels - Discussion continues regarding the differences noted by parents regarding differing homework levels between grades, houses, and even teachers within the same houses. - Efforts are being made by administrators to address these issues. Parents are encouraged to speak with their child‟s teacher, guidance and Sue Abrams regarding homework issues. Orientation Materials - Parents mentioned the need for improved information regarding transition from one grade to the next. Some topics discussed were explanations of: The “house system”, homework expectations, lunch seating, electives for 8th grade, math paths to high school, and availability of support services/specialists. - Volunteers have offered so solicit information and consolidate suggestions for improved communication to parents regarding orientation to each new grade. - Parents suggested the establishment of „buddies‟ to incoming 5th grade parents to provide a resource for information. Issue Resolution - Parents should first contact the teacher(s) directly. Parents should also realize that guidance counsellors, specialists and administrators are also available to support the needs of the child or parent. - The Foxboro High School Communication Guide was established to clarify communication options for high school parents and will be reviewed at the Ahern for possible customization for the middle school. Guest Speaker - A Guest Speaker will be announced in the May and/or June Ahern Newsletters. The topic is The Adolescent Brain and is tentatively scheduled for September. Volunteer Opportunities - Volunteers for PAC Board and committee chair positions have been solicited since January. Some volunteers have already come forward. If anyone is still interested, please contact Maryellen Whall at 508-543-0079. - Parents, especially those coming up from busy elementary PTO‟s, have mentioned that they feel there is either no way to get involved or that they feel unwelcome once they hit middle school. - Although involvement does differ, classroom visits are reduced and fundraisers are fewer, many opportunities still exist at the Ahern for parents interested in becoming involved. Although some of these opportunities are available on the PAC web site or by speaking with classroom teachers, it was suggested that many of these opportunities get consolidated into one list and better publicized. - Suggestions were made to provide better guidelines to volunteers to help parents take on new roles. Budgeting - Due to budgetary constraints throughout the district, the following positions were in the proposed budget but will not be funded for the upcoming year: Guidance Secretary, .5 Assistant Principal and Grade 6 classroom teacher. School Council/Subcommittee - Interest was discussed regarding follow up on the following topics and may fall under a request to school council: Junior National Honor Society, improved student recognition program to include more concerted efforts for Tree of Respect and High Fives and improved promotion of Foxboro High School attributes to middle school parents to include a list of colleges that Foxboro High School graduating students have been accepted by. PAC Meeting will be held Thursday, May 8th, 9 AM in the Teacher's Library. sign in at the office. This will be the last PAC meeting of the school year. 4th Grade Parents are welcome. __________________________________________________________________ May PAC Meeting Notes Welcome to all attending parents. Principal's Report 4th & 5th Grade Movie Night - Parents will be invited to a meet and greet session in the cafeteria as children are dropped off for their movie night. This will provide parents and informal opportunity to visit the school and speak with Sue and each other. 5th Grade Open House - Talks are underway to move the 5th Grade Open House in September earlier in the month at the request of the staff. Teachers would like the chance to meet and speak parents soon after the start of the new year. MCAS - Reading MCAS have already been complete. Other subject MCAS will be conducted over the next two weeks. See the Ahern Calendar and Newsletter for specific test for each grade. 5th grade has an agressive MCAS schedule with tests in multiple subjects. Science and Social Studies MCAS present a unique challenge as they cover material from elementary through middle school curriculum. Class time is being used as needed to review concepts like map reading, etc. This year a 20 minute period around the lunch hour has been utilized to improve one-on- one student to staff communication and provide students additional support. This time is used differently by each grade but can incorporate Steps to Respect, connection time for Guidance to work on goal setting and discipline teachings, or to improve student focus on concepts by providing one-on-one time with a teacher. Peer Mediators are trained at the Ahern to help resolve conflicts between students who agree to work with a mediator. Our mediator program is now graduating Peer Mediators to the high school. Discussions are taking place between the Ahern and high school to foster stronger consistency in code of conduct issues. The Wellness curriculum is still under review. Sue Abrams will ask Deborah Spinelli and Steve Sacchetti to provide information to parents as requested in this meeting. Parents requested that the wellness curriculum also include discussions about the seriousness of alcohol and 'super' caffeine drinks. Students in grades 6 thru 12 will be asked to take part in the "Communities that Care Youth Survey" in school beginning May 16th. This survey is designed to measure the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as well as identifying risk factors that affect our community. Letters will be sent to every home. Parents need to complete and return the form by May 14th ONLY if they DO NOT want their student to participate. Assistant Principal Trent Danella is expected to return next year as a .6 (part-time) staffer. "Preparing for Your Child's Future & College Search" will be presented by the Foxborough High School guiance department on May 20th. This session will be provided to parents of 6th, 7th and 8th graders. PAC 2008-2009 Update - The PAC Board will consist of Co-Leaders Marilyn Weiss and Traci Lorenz with Treasurer Sue Burlone. For a list of all volunteers, please see our Committee Summary web page. Student Council Advisors for 2008-2009 will be established in the fall. PAC Budget Review - Additional monies from the magazine drive have come in from magnet books since last fall. The magazine drive has made aobut $25,000 (better than originally projected). Monies have been set aside for benches for the court-yard as well as replacement of playground equipment. The suggestion was made to increase the allotment to each grade to be used for year-end field trips. Suggestion was also made for Sue Abrams to review school needs are related to supporting or improving the Peer Mediator and rewardsprograms such as High Five, Tree of Respect, etc. Guest Speakers are also under consideration for the future. Playground Equipment - A volunteer is needed between now and next fall to work with the teachers to survey each classroom for playground equipment replacement. Volunteers please contact Sue Abrams via the main office. Student Council - A request was made to review the nomination and selection process for student council class representatives. Student Directory Update - Joan Bradley and Christine Thayer have come forward to take over the Student Directory for the 2008-2009 school year. A meeting was held by outgoing chairs Gini Baumiller and Janet Fisher in conjunction with the Burrell, Igo and Taylor Friendship Booklet chairpeople to discuss the 4th to 5th grade rollover process and streamline future file transfers. Our thanks to all elementary school reps for working with us on this effort. Upcoming Events - Seussical - Ahern School Musical production May 16th thru 18th Family Feud Game - sponsored by the Student Council is planned for May 27th, after school. Ahern School Art Show - May 28th - More volunteers are needed. Contact Art teachers Pam Denyse and Diane Horton to help. 4th & 5th Grade Movie Night - sponsored by Student Council is planned for June 6th. Staff Luncheon - Scheduled for June 13th. Classroom parent liaisons or alternate volunteers are needed to cover classrooms, lunch and recess while teachers enjoy their special lunch. Parents will be asked to supply food or drink items, specified by grade. (Please check the Ahern Newsletters and the Ahern calendar for details on all events) 8th Grade Promotion Celebration - Student Celebration will be Wednesday, June 18th immediately following school. Many events are planned and many parents are needed as volunteers. Please see the 8th Grade NewsFlash page for details. Student Promotion Ceremony - Promotion Ceremony for 8th Graders will be on June 20th. Students will have rehearsals in the morning followed by their promotion ceremony starting between 9:45 and 10 AM. Parents, guardians and relatives are welcome. Watch the June Newsletter and this web site for more information. Last day of school will be June 20th - WILL BE A HALF DAY. Year End Events - 5th Grade - Boston Field Trip and Field Day 6th Grade - Federal Reserve Bank, Boston and Secret year-end Trip location 7th Grade - Kimball Farm 8th Grade - Canobie Lake Park 2008-2009 School Year Invensys has provided a $10,000 Grant for the 7th grade to participate in Exchange City. "Exchange City is a remarkable hands-on learning experience for Middle and High School students. The experience combines an exciting standards-based curriculum taught by teachers in their classroom followed by a field trip visit to our life-size, state-of-the-art city run by middle and high school students. Exchange City lets students apply and reinforce lessons learned in the classroom, in a real-life setting. Most schools experience improved test scores and increased student attendance rates when they participate in Exchange City. The integrated curriculum correlates with state frameworks for Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Economics, Technology Skills and Civics." See more information at: http://www.exchangecity.org/english/frames.html There will be NO PAC Meeting in June. The next PAC Meeting will be in September to be scheduled at the discretion of the new PAC Board. Stay tuned to the Ahern Newsletter and Ahern calendar for details.
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