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Feature

Give PES Feedback and – with luck – Win a Kindle Fire

By Clayton Wood

Parents, we need your help. On Thursday evening and Friday, April 11 and 12, when you come to school for parent-teacher conferences, we need you to complete an online survey about your impressions of PES and your family’s habits and routines around school. Each family that completes the 15-minute survey in the school’s library will be entered in a raffle to win a new HD Kindle Fire. Research shows that children are more successful when parents are engaged in the academic development of the child. To assist us in improving our school we are asking every family to complete an online Family-School-Community survey. This is the second year we have done this survey, and we want to get a sense if and how we have improved. This survey is designed to help our school learn more about itself and bring focus to planning for improvement in the area of family engagement. We are striving for a high level participation.  (more…)



Book Series: One Way to Hook a Reader

By Clayton Wood

by Susanne Loring  Children’s Literacy Foundation 

Have you ever noticed  that just starting something is the hardest  part? I often battle with  myself over going to the  gym or not going to the  gym, takeout or a  more healthy homemade meal, do the  dishes or leave them in  the sink. But when I  finally just get up and do  whatever it is I’m delaying, I find that I’m glad I  put in the effort and  even get excited about  the activity. Once I get  into the rhythm, the  activity feeds on itself,  and it’s easier to do on  a daily basis.

This struggle can strike  with reading as well, for  both the reluctant  reader and the eager  bookworm. If your child  is having trouble getting  the reading started, you  may consider getting  them hooked on a book  series.

There are countless  trilogies and other series for kids of all ages,  so there is bound to be  a set of books that can  grab – and hold – your  child’s attention. You  may just find that once  he/she reads the first  book of the series and  gets to know the characters he/she will want  to know what happens  to them next. Your  child will be begging  you to head to the  library to snag book  two (and three and  four…)!

Your public library is a  great place to start  when looking for a new  series. From magic to  adventure to the trials  of preteen life, you can  find series that cover  all topics of interest,  and your librarian is a  great resource in finding one your child will  enjoy. Hopefully the  first book will be so  enticing that reading  the rest of the series  will come naturally!

Here are a few suggestions of very popular  children’s books series:  (more…)



Teacher Communication: One Educator’s Journey

By Clayton Wood

Note: Author Katie Bass is a second-grade classroom teacher, who also serves as PES’s Responsive Classroom Lead TeacherShe taught grade four for her first four years at PES.

In looking back at my five years here at Pittsfield Elementary, I can easily say that I have come a long way in my communication with parents.

In my first year of teaching fourth grade, my stomach would drop whenever I returned to my classroom to see the red light illuminated on my phone telling me that I had a voicemail. I remember being nothing short of fearful of parents then. I knew I was young and had less experience than most of my colleagues, and I was nervous that someone would call me out on it. I sought counsel from my peers and superiors often, even though I was doing the best I could for my students. While I had no negative interactions with parents, I certainly did not feel that this was a strong area in my teaching.

After my first year here, I was fortunate enough to attend Responsive Classroom I training. There, I was able to spend a full day with other teacher reflecting on the importance of parent input as well as learning strategies I could use immediately to improve this aspect of my teacher role. From that day forward, I was fully committed to improving my communications with families. (more…)



Character Dress-up is Monday!

By Clayton Wood

PES students have shown lots of spirit during Read Across America Week.  Friday’s finale activity was to be a day to dress up as a favorite character from a favorite book, but the snow dampened our plan.  No need to fret.  We invite students to come to school dressed as their character on Monday, March 11.



21st Century Community Learning Centers Survey

By cfoss
Dear Pittsfield families,
You are respectfully requested to help the school district assess need for out-of-school time programming for our students.  This data will help support the submission of a grant proposal for funding for before-school and after-school activities and childcare.  The grant program is called 21st Century Community Learning Centers.  You may either complete the survey online at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JYHBH5D  or you may complete a paper survey. PES students brought home a paper copy home with the pink newsletter Friday February 15. Surveys were mailed to PMHS families. Please return the survey as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your help.



Eight Suggestions for Improving Parent-Teacher Relations

By Clayton Wood

Note: The following article summary is shared with permission from Kim Marshall, a former Boston principal, author, and nationally recognized educator. This is from his weekly educator e-newsletter, The Marshall Memo.

In this New York Times article, sixth-grade teacher Sara Mosle says some parents are overly intrusive, which robs children of the opportunity to solve problems themselves and puts teachers on the defensive. At the other extreme is parents holding back for fear of irritating teachers and sparking retaliation against their children. Here are Mosle’s ideas for a productive middle ground: Parents should encourage their children to take the lead in sorting out difficulties with teachers. College admissions officers tell school people that they look for students who have developed confidence and “voice.” (more…)



Year of the Book: Guys Read with Guys

By Clayton Wood

By Suzanne Loring – Children’s Literacy Foundation

Before we had kids my husband had never read aloud to a child. Even after our boys were born, reading stories to them was not his favorite go-to activity. It trailed far behind the preferred games of tackle daddy, blocks, and matchbox car crash -up.

After some gentle arm twisting-or nagging, depending on your perspective-, I got him to start reading bedtime stories to our boys. I can tell you that while reading aloud may have been a challenge for him at first, it has been a mutually beneficial experience for him and the boys.

And, I’ve seen the benefits: It has shown my kids that daddy likes to read too, which reinforces that reading isn’t just for girls, but fun for everyone. (more…)



WMUR Special Report on School Security featuring PES!

By Clayton Wood


Safety First: Front Door Precautions

By Clayton Wood

The staff at Pittsfield Elementary School, like many school personnel across the country, is reviewing and strengthening safety procedures in the aftermath of the events in Newtown, Connecticut last month.

At PES, parents and staff members have expressed concerns about security at our front entryway. While our electronic buzzer camera- intercom system works well to limit access during the day, during high traffic times, like the half hour before school begins, students and adults often politely hold open doors for visitors. Of course, we want to show good manners, but we need to ensure that all visitors have a legitimate purpose for their visits and know where to go.

To address this problem, we now have a staff member serve as front-door greeter every day between 7:30 and 8:00. The greeter will monitor the main doors, welcoming all, helping familiar parents get to their destinations, and checking in with strangers about their purpose.

We will also work with staff and students to train them to be both welcoming and safe. Currently kids and some adults do the polite thing by holding the door open and letting visitors in. We will provide guidance to students and staff on how to encourage each visitor to use the intercom- camera for gaining entry.

Parents, we need your help. We urge you to avoid “piggybacking” other adults into the building. Please say, “Sorry, to ensure safety, all visitors are supposed to use the intercom to communicate directly with the office.”

We continue to review all our safety protocols. Last week we conducted a safety alert drill with PES children and staff, and we plan to do another later this month. In early February Pittsfield school administrators and staff involved with safety are scheduled to meet with a representative from the NH Department of Safety to review our safety plans district wide.

The principals in both buildings are working together to coordinate safety efforts. PES parents, please contact Doug Kilmister with your concerns and ideas for improving safety at PES. He can be reached at 435- 8432 or dkilmister@pittsfieldnhschools.org.



District Community Forum on School Safety

By Clayton Wood

Last Monday evening, December 17, the Pittsfield School District, in cooperation with the Pittsfield Parent Connection and the Pittsfield Elementary School PTO, hosted a community forum to answer questions and provide any opportunity to voice concerns about safety at the Pittsfield Elementary School and PMHS.

SAU #51 Superintendent Dr. John Freeman opened the meeting setting the agenda of the topics to be discussed. Dr. Freeman spoke of the unconscionable event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and the response of the NHDOE via a conference call with the state’s superintendents, and administrators Saturday afternoon. NH educational leaders were supported by Homeland Security and psychologists to answer questions about how best to respond to the tragedy.

After providing the group with information as to how the district would be supported with future trainings around safety and security, Dr. Freeman gave an update on district administrators’ immediate actions/decisions from Friday afternoon through Monday evening. Pittsfield principals reported on safety and security precautions at each school.

Then Dr. Freeman opened the floor to questions and concerns from those in attendance.

Some of the concerns mentioned addressed access to the schools and the protocols in place to respond to such an event. Tobi Chassie, the chairperson of the district’s Crisis Team, spoke of the process team members use to regularly review safety protocols and how the protocols are implemented. Pittsfield Police Chief Robert Wharem commented on the safety drills and the importance of students following directions pertinent to any type of event. Principals Bob Bickford and Doug Kilmister, as well as guidance counselors Jeff Martel and Mike Curtin, were also on hand to respond to questions.

After community members had an opportunity to voice questions and concerns, it was agreed that future actions to be taken in the months ahead would include an audit of current program, staff training, and follow-up meeting in the spring sponsored by PPC and PES PTO.

If you were unable to attend the forum or would like more information, contact your child’s principal, Mr. Doug Kilmister at 435-8432 or via email at dkilmister@pittsfieldnhschools.org.

Ross Morse District Community Liaison rmorse@pittsfieldnhschools.org