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Forestdale Reorganization Planning Team Update – February 25, 2015

by Marc J. Smith, principal – Forestdale School

Each day work continues to prepare the Forestdale School to receive the district’s PreK through grade two students.  While as a school we remain focused on this school year and ensuring a successful and productive year for Forestdale’s current grade K-6 students, I have had the support of a wide variety of people in preparing to successfully usher in the changes planned for next year.  Here is a summary of some of the most recent developments:

Grants:  Through the gracious support of Maureen Wiklund, the Forestdale School is actively pursuing four grants targeted at changes planned for next year.  One grant is specifically for full-day kindergarten programs and if awarded would support the salaries of half-time assistants in our kindergarten classrooms.  We have already received the transitional grant that is being used to fund training, technology, planning, advertising and some construction in preparation for more kindergarten students next year.  Two of the other grants being pursued are to support the planning and development of an outdoor play space for both of the pre-school aged programs we will house at the Forestdale School next year.  The final grant supports the planning and design of enhancements to our extended day programs at both Forestdale and Oak Ridge.

Reorganization Planning Team:  A recent article on Sandwich Learns Together highlighted the most recent work of this group.  For this month we plan to continue to finalize plans for the Kindergarten Entry process and further work on creating an appropriate PK-2 atmosphere here at Forestdale.  We also are planning to have a joint meeting at the beginning of March with the Oak Ridge RPT so as to share information between the groups.

Construction:  Meetings are scheduled for next week to finalize renovation plans for the portables, so that work can begin shortly on that project.  Alan Hall will supervise and direct the construction work, and the location of the portables in combination with the fact that they are not currently in use will allow the work to be completed without any disruption to the students’ day.

Pre-School Visits: I have started to visit some of the local preschools to welcome students that are going to be kindergarten students here at Forestdale next year.  It has been a wonderful opportunity to introduce myself to the students, their wonderful teachers and to tell them a little bit about what kindergarten is like.  I also took the opportunity to read them a story and answer any questions they had about kindergarten.  Thank you for the support of Lauren Melillo in organizing these visits and joining me.

Classroom Assignments:  Using data collected earlier this year during a practice fire drill, input from teachers, parents, fellow administrators and curriculum coordinators I have made decisions regarding the placement of all PreK-2 classrooms for next year.  I am not yet ready to share this information publically, due to the fact that it requires that I have conversations with faculty members regarding teaching assignments, but parents and staff should take comfort in knowing that it has been completed.

Moving: Our custodial supervisor, Harold Weekes, (a 30 year veteran of the Sandwich Public Schools) will be using his knowledge, experience and expertise to plan the moving of classroom materials and furniture this summer. We are currently developing a one-page set of guidelines to support the faculty in preparing materials to be moved in an efficient manner.  Additionally, time has been planned for throughout the remaining parts of the year for teachers to prepare their materials for the move.  We have developed a plan that is focused on making sure that both materials are ready for moving, while also not disturbing learning during this school year.