by Katherine Dunham
At each School Committee Meeting, Student Representative Katherine Dunham provides an update about what is happening in the district. This updates includes news from all five schools in Sandwich.
10/01/14 – October is certainly a game changer. Last weekend we had that last hint of summer but now there is no denying that it’s fall. Even without the weather you can tell its fall because all schools are in full swing.
At Wing, the Wing School Celebration and Commemoration Committee has organized a tribute to the school where students were allowed to share their favorite memories and love of the school. Photos of the display can be seen on the Wing Twitter account. They are looking for volunteers to collaborate with retired and current teachers to design the next signature event in November.
Grade 2 at Wing was able to participate in last month’s 375 Parade with the help of their teachers. The teachers were able to create a bonding activity, the opportunity for classes to design their own pair of wings during the first week of school, and a way to show off Wing’s school spirit to the community. Special thanks to Ms. Howell, Ms. Kelliher, Ms. Maseda and Ms. Saunders.
Oak Ridge also had a lot to celebrate. Oak Ridge students read over fourteen hundred books during the summer. The top readers at each grade level as well as the school as a whole were honored for their accomplishments. Celebrations included music, student-made art, and a very special guest – Wally the Green Monster.
Students have also been at hard at work at Forestdale. During the third week of school, all students met with Mr. Smith and Mrs. Clifford to discuss the designated character traits for September and October: cooperation and self control. Forestdale is determined to make a school-wide effort to emulate these traits.
The school has also put special focus into the theme of ecology.The Forestdale Garden Club will utilize the fabulous Forestdale Garden to have hands-on opportunities to learn about nature, specifically life cycles and making healthy choices. Similarly, the Forestdale Recycling Club will be monitoring and hopefully reducing the amount of waste we are producing through a partnership with Nauset Disposal. Over the next month, the school will look to begin several additional clubs, one being the sixth grade student council.
This busy atmosphere isn’t unique to the K-6 schools. The STEM Academy has made huge progress. Mr. Newton says that STEM has become everything he hoped it would be. Parents have remarked that it is truly a gift to watch the initial vision of STEM become a reality.
Students are remarkably involved, with over two hundred participating in the inaugural athletic season. These students are taking advantage of both the intrascholastic and intramural sports offered. Along with athletics, Squires can be found participating in numerous extracurriculars. Soon, a book club, ecology club, jazz band, pep band, robotics club, math counts, and a homework lab will be offered to STEM exclusively. Students will still be able to participate in high school offerings such as KTC and International Studies.
The first STEM class meetings will be held on this Friday, October third. Mr. Newton and Ms. Hebb will be discussing student council, class elections, organizing the first STEM Academy dance, and STEM Academy’s role during the high school’s homecoming week. During the meeting, a STEM student will also be announcing to his peers a Sandy Neck Beach Clean Up he has organized with science teacher Mrs. Chambers. On all levels, it’s great seeing the STEM Academy get involved with high school life and seeing students creating and taking advantage of opportunities that have never been offered before.
STEM Chromebooks were distributed on Monday. Special thanks to Mr. Rodrigues, the technology coordinator, for facilitating the utilization of the Chromebooks. They will be vital to the STEM Academy curriculum. In just two days, they have already been used in classes to do everything from making abstract art to writing papers. The Chromebooks will also be invaluable in efforts to create an Eco-friendly, paperless building.
Alex Denmark, a senior at SHS has had huge success in this pursuit through his recycling initiative. Recycling bins are located in all STEM Academy classrooms and are picked up regularly. Alex has already made a huge difference in the amount of waste the building produces.
Project based learning, another priority, has also been expanded upon. In teams, teachers have been using faculty time to work on new and unique opportunities for project based learning. Mr. Newton is excited to watch its development. Any additional information about STEM can be found on the new website. Frequent updates will be coming straight from administration and faculty.
An effort towards grade appropriate readiness is a hallmark of October at the high school. Freshman, five weeks into their high school career, have already become remarkably comfortable in the building. The Freshman Experience Program is critical in this transformation.
Senior Mentors have eased the transition into high school immensely. Ever since it’s inception four years ago, Senior Mentoring, a largely student-run program, has become a well thought out science; it’s power proven by the positive responses from this year’s freshmen. Largely, this is due to Mr. Dumas, the program’s coordinator, and the other teachers involved.
The highlight of sophomore year’s grade readiness is PSATs. They will be held during the late start morning of October 15th. PSATs are one of the first events that mark the beginning of the college process, one of the first events that make students think about life after SHS.
Juniors are also able to take the PSATs, qualifying them for National Merit Scholarships. This year SHS had three Commended National Merit Scholars: Sean McCoy, Alex Denmark, and Katherine Dunham. For seniors, this month is all about deadlines, getting ready for college but also enjoying the final October at SHS. It’s definitely overwhelming but incredibly exciting.
Even if today was not the weather best day for sports, high school athletics are off to a fantastic start. Mr. Murphy’s Twitter account has been so helpful in keeping up with scores, upcoming games, and rain delays. Some amount of this year’s success can certainly be attributed to Mr. Murphy and his stellar communication with kids, parents, and other athletic directors.
This Friday, grades 7-12 should check PowerSchool for STEM Progress Reports and high school mid-quarter grade updates. All grades will be given electronically via PowerSchool. On Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7:45 to 8:45, the high school network administrator, Mr. Savery, will be available in the SHS conference room to give parent tutorials specifically about PowerSchool.
There is already plenty of building anticipation for homecoming week at the high school. Skit practices have already begun. Regarding the dance, students must follow all procedures for purchasing tickets and filling out guest forms. I’ll have more details about that week and homecoming games by the next School Committee meeting on October 15.
Thank you so much to Ms. Landry, Ms. Hill, Mr. Smith, Mr.Newton, and Dr. Booras for getting in touch with me and keeping me updated this week and through the entire year.