Thursday, June 19, 2014

Super Cool Events

We have had two events this week that I am so very proud of on behalf of Coolidge:


The first was Difference Day, which happened on Tuesday.  It was a day run by students who are part of our A World of Difference program.  This event was student run, student initiated, student scheduled, with teacher support.  It was a real success, and it was student leadership at its best!  This was the first year that we did this at Coolidge, and I am so proud of all of the students who took on leadership roles, as well as all of the student participants, who were wonderfully supportive.  Special thanks to Mr. Bernard, who leads this year's World of Difference group.  Photos from the event can be found at:


Today, we had Field Day, organized by Mr. Huizenga and Mrs. Schiavo.  The kids had a BLAST, were SO well behaved, and will remember this day forever!  Photos (All 200 of them!  Yikes!) can be seen here:

I am so proud in these moments, when our school comes together and does something special, as it only reinforces the wonderful students and staff we have here.  The care teachers have for students is clear, and the investment students have in Coolidge is also evident as well.  As the year comes to an end, I am so grateful for our community of learners, teachers, and support.  As Coolidge is truly a special place!

Saturday, May 31, 2014


My apologies to those of you who are so good at following my weekly blog!  I accidentally missed two weeks as the blog update fell lower on the priority list.  I was advised that this would be a busy year as an administrator, and lo and behold, this has turned out to be true!  While we all look forward to the start of summer (in more ways than one!  Where's the sun today?), there seems to be much to do between now and June 25!

What has been keeping us so busy here, you ask?  First of all, we have been having lots of fun!  On the list of fun includes:

  • Evening Open House (which was just a blast!  Thanks to all families who were able to attend!)
  • Team Polaris trip to NYC (returning late last night)
  • Team Polaris local fun for those who did not go to NYC
  • 6th grade Greek Day
  • Memorial Day Tribute
In addition, we have also been preparing for our fun end of year events, including:

  • Band Concert
  • Chorus Concert
  • Kite Day
  • Marionettes
  • 7th grade Spanish field trip 
  • Move-up Day (June 9)
  • Field Day
  • 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony and Dance

    On more of the work end of things, I have been helping to:
    • Complete the End of Year PARCC Math Assessment (two 8th grade groups), which has and will help to inform our students, school, district, and the state about this assessment.  We will also be sharing our feedback with the district and state.
    • Interview candidates for positions for next year
    • Create new 7th grade teams in preparation for move-up day
    • Compile math data from 6th grade end of year assessments
    • And the list goes on!

    I think that come June 25, this building is going to seem strangely quiet and empty, which is not its natural or happy state.  I will continue to enjoy, support, and celebrate all of the energy it currently has, as the staff and students truly bring it to life!

    Memorial Day Tribute:

    Greek Day Fun:

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Fun Videos!

    Cool videos from the week!

    Special Olympics Return/Celebration #1:


    Special Olympics Return/Celebration #2:

    Make Way for Ducklings: 

    Teacher Appreciation

    As you know, this past week was Teacher Appreciation Week.  At Coolidge, we appreciated each other as we shared a lunch on Wednesday and then had a "Staff Sharing Hour", where teachers shared interesting teachings or technologies they were using in their classrooms, things they have experienced or learned elsewhere, as well as things they were thinking of for the future.  It was a wonderful time together!

    I would like to take this moment to thank the teachers of Coolidge, who put their hearts and souls in their work with students, and who make Coolidge the wonderful place it is for students to be their most comfortable and to work to their best potential.

    To further acknowledge teachers, I thought I would use this blog post to share the blogs/wikis/online work of some of our teachers (and their students)!

    Mrs. Anderson, ELA teacher:
    Personal Teaching Blog:
    Twitter: @jennaleeA

    Mrs, Doane, Art teacher:
    Instagram: To follow her, type: coolige_art
    Coolidge Art Facebook Page (click "like"!):

    Mrs. Warren, ELA teacher:
    Blog that shares student work: :

    Mrs. Steinhauser, Library Media Specialist:
    Coolidge Library Twitter:

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Celebrating the Styles of Learning

    This week at Cooldige, we had the pleasure of welcoming Gianna Hitsos, a senior at Dunstable-Groton High School who happens to be autistic.  Gianna has grown to understand her disability, her learning style, and has learned, celebrated, and built upon her strengths.  Next year, she will be a freshman at Gordon College, where she will study music and performing arts, and will be able to continue to develop her singing talent!

    While I don't have all of Gianna's presentation on video, I do have two clips to share:


    In any classroom on any typical day at Coolidge, there are students of many different strengths.  Teachers keep this in mind as they develop their lessons, activities, and assessments, and as they engage with students on a daily basis.  It is our hope that every student feels that their strengths are recognized and celebrated, and that they are allowed to share their knowledge in a manner that works with their learning style.  As every student is different, so the profile of every class is different every year, then this is a new challenge for teachers to learn about their population and to meet their needs.  This is an ongoing area of development for all of our teachers and staff, given its importance in our school and society.

    While I can speak of my own perspectives on learning styles, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a TED talk by Temple Grandin.  Temple is autistic and is a famous face and voice for the autistic community.  Beyond speaking of autism, this TED talk speaks about the diversity of learners in our communities, and how we need all of these learners in order to make the world a better place today and in the future.  I invite you to watch her talk, along with six others on the topic of autism, by clicking here.  

    These assemblies, these videos, and our intellectually diverse mix of students are themselves a good reminder to celebrate each other in all of our forms, as our differences make our school, and our community, a richer place!