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Forestdale RPT Update – early February

by Marc J. Smith, Principal – Forestdale School

The Forestdale Reorganization Planning Team (RPT) held its last meeting on February 5th, 2015 and by all accounts it was our most productive meeting to date.  The team operated in two main groups for this meeting.  The Culture, Beautification and Atmosphere subcommittee worked together, while the Communications subcommittee joined the Welcoming subcommittee to work out details for the kindergarten registration and entry process.   Below please find a summary of the work completed:

Welcoming and Communications Subcommittee:

For this meeting, representatives from each of the existing three PTA’s were invited to the participate.  The PTA’s at Wing, Forestdale and Oak Ridge have historically played an important role in welcoming kindergarten families to each of their schools and we are so grateful for their willingness to continue to support this important milestone.

The subcommittee, in concert with the PTA, has developed a series of events that will welcome kindergarten students and their families to the Forestdale School.  The events are designed to support the students and their families in this important transition, while also gradually introducing them to the school, staff and community.  While the subcommittee is currently ironing out some final dates and details, the plan includes one kindergarten entry related activity each month from March through June along with a kindergarten play date in late August.

Our first Event will be the Kindergarten Information Night, which will occur on Wednesday, March 4th from 6:30 – 7:30 in the Forestdale Multipurpose Room.  This meeting is for parents of children that will be of kindergarten age in the 2015-2016 school year.  We will provide parents with information regarding our kindergarten program along with more detailed information regarding the monthly events planned this spring.  This is an important meeting for any family that is considering sending their child to the Sandwich Public Schools for kindergarten.

Culture Beautification and Atmosphere:

The conversation among this subcommittee in recent meetings has been around improvements that can be made to common areas so as to better project an early childhood atmosphere.  The subcommittee has toured the building on multiple occasions and has identified the following areas as focus areas for this spring and summer: front lobby, front office, preK/Spinnaker Entrance, open space between preK/Spinnaker classes, open space in current 6th grade wing and the library.

Below is a list of projects currently under consideration.  I will meet with the subcommittee at the next meeting to answer some of their questions, provide input and make necessary decisions.  The subcommittee will next work to identify/estimate costs and look to identify funding options and/or seek out volunteers from the community that may be able to help.  Anyone that would like to contribute to one of these projects, please feel free to contact Christopher Dintino directly (cdintino@sandwich.k12.ma.us).

  1. Front lobby
    1. LCD screen in place of current PTA board
      1. Split screen with calendar of SPS events on one side and slide show on the other side
      2. Updated via internet;
    2. Display case
      1. Investigating options for “living” science display
        1. D will speak with Science Coordinator for ideas/feasibility
      2. Seating
        1. Too obstructive to have seating in the middle of the lobby
        2. For right now, likely best to keep one of the current benches
      3. Front office
        1. Create student window (similar to at Wing)
          • Ideally would be on side of office facing doors. Preferably one of the windows closer to the cafeteria
          • Need input as to what is possible – is a sliding/pocket window possible? Something that could be closed at the end of the day?
        2. Ideally have main desk repositioned to face the front door and lowered for the height of the students
        3. Create a comfortable waiting area for parents/students waiting to see administrators
          • Ideally by the windows
          • Include soft chairs/couches
        4. Need input from the office team as to what will work for their workflow
      4. PreK/Spinnaker Entrance
        1. Need method to communicate to parents that doors are open for drop off/pickup
          1. At Wing, there is currently a secured indoor waiting space that is not present at Forestdale
          2. Two ideas discussed
            • A colorful flag could be hung outside by entrance when it is opened
            • A colorful picture hung in one of the classroom windows facing the parking lot when it is opened
          3. Parking
            • In current set up, the parking lot to be used by PreK/Spinnaker parents is filled by staff
            • Mr. Smith and Mr. D plan to work on a traffic redesign.
            • Unlikely to create new paved parking lot by September. Will be creative to identify short term solutions
  1. Declutter
    1. Currently, space is used primarily for storage. New storage space(s) will need to be identified.
  2. Cubbies/Hooks
    1. Potential for all PreK children to hang coats/leave boots in entrance area
      • Parents can help and decrease amount of classroom time spent dressing/undressing
    2. Benches/seating
      • Could use one of the front lobby benches and acquire another bench or other seating
    3. Bulletin board space for each class in the entrance
  3. PreK/Spinnaker open space
    1. Portable storage along the walls (to relocated preK entrance materials)
      • Potential to bring over from Wing
    2. Pullout space for interventionists? (I have accounted for this need already in another nearby location)
    3. Bulletin board space
  4. Current “6th grade” wing
    1. Portable storage along the walls (to relocated preK entrance materials)
      • Potential to bring over from Wing
    2. Pullout space for interventionists? (I have accounted for this need already in another nearby location)
    3. Bulletin board space
    4. Need hooks/cubbies for K students
  5. Library
    1. Acoustic tiles for amphitheater

Additionally, the subcommittee came up with an idea for “decorating” the walls of the school.  The idea is to use the main hallways to create a handprint mural.  Each student that enters Forestdale will add his/her handprint in a primary color to the wall.  Will start with the main first floor hallway and move out from there.  Each student’s initials and year will be written on their hand.  Each year going forward, this would serve as a “rite of passage” for each new kindergarten class and each new transfer student.

*Thanks to RPT member Lara Bryan-Rest for taking and sharing the notes I used in writing this summary.