Monday, December 6, 2010

EdCamp NYC - What is That All About?

EdCamp NYC

As I sit on the train riding home to Boston, my thoughts spiral as I consider how I landed in New York City this weekend and what my take away is from the experience. I decided to participate in EdCamp NYC because I was certain this free “unconference” being held at The School at Columbia, Columbia University, would draw some of the most interesting educators. As I sat one of theclassrooms of this elementary school in a building on West 110th Street, I couldn’t’ believe I was listening to Tom Whitby speak on such topics as developing a Professional Learning Network (PLN) using social networks and the relevance of technology in our classrooms. Tom is a prevalent leader in the PLN’s in which I participate. It was then that I began to really consider how being a part of the Twitter and Blogging generation of education has propelled my life forward and pushed me to see technology from a whole new view. Less than one year ago I would not have dreamed I would have attended an “unconference” at Columbia University, NYC. I would never have imagined that I would meet folks whose writings I had read by way of the social network of Twitter. I wouldn’t have known them at all but through their blogposts and tweets. And there I was, connecting with those whose Twitter names I recognized. There I was asking others for their Twitter names so I could “follow” them. If not for this PLN, I wouldn’t have been listening to a discussion with someone called the “nerdy teacher” a person I “follow”. I wouldn’t have participated in a Skype discussion with a group of educators simultaneously participating in Ed Camp Citrus Florida, a session led by Dan Callahan. I wouldn’t have conversed with the technology director from Connecticut who recommended several other conferences nor the “Technology Teacher of the Year” from Pennsylvania. These are but a few of my interesting experiences during my Saturday at EdCamp NYC.

How did this all happen? It all began with a conversation I had in the hallway last spring with Patrick Larkin, principal of Burlington High School. He had often spoken of his experiences using Twitter to develop a Professional Learning Network but I really hadn’t understood it. Once he explained that I did not have to receive tweets on my phone and that I didn’t have to send out tweets but that I could just read them on my computer, I became more interested. He encouraged me to sign- up and just try it. He also informed me about an“unconference” in Philadelphia called“Ed Camp Philly” that was being organized by Dan Callahan (now a technology specialist at Pine Glen Elementary School). The “unconference” concept was quite appealing, but I knew I could not attend the weekend it was scheduled for in May. However, the conversation about it remained with me as I was interested in attending one at some point. I went home that night, started a Twitter account, and that’s how this all began.

I want to make it clear, that is was not just Twitter that made the difference. It was Twitter PLUS the person to person contact that made the difference. Many people think that social networking is replacing human contact. I am finding that for many of us it is enhancing human contact and really making the world small… very small. I have the choice to connect with other educators around the world electronically AND connect with them in person just as I did at this “unconference”. I had the opportunity to actually go to a conference to meet every day educators who I had never met, but had read about their thoughts, opinions, and experiences long before this meeting. It felt a little like a reunion of sorts, and yet how could it be a reunion when we had never met? This is a world I absolutely could not have envisioned less than one year ago. Absolutely not! And yet, there I was, in NYC, on a Saturday in December, engrossed in thoughtful conversations about education with others who share my passion. This was powerful! This experience allowed me to see through a window into our students’ future.

That is why I fully understand the paramount importance it is for me as a principal to be vigilant in my efforts to learn about the world of technology. I need to stay current regarding how it is used in the world and how we can use it in the classrooms. I listened to the frustration of the technology directors and specialists as they asked how they could help their principals understand the importance of supporting advances in using technology in the schools. Technology is changing fast and principals have the ability to move the agenda forward by committing to technology as a priority and by supporting technology though every avenue that is within the realm of a building administrator. The question is not whether or not to allow certain components of technology in schools. The question is how are we going to teach our students to use this powerful tool to enhance their learning and their lives. Educators must be deeply involved in this conversation as it is propelling forward with or without us. Our students need it to be “with us”. They will need to understand how to use technology effectively and responsibly to survive in this world.That is why it is our responsibility to lead the way.

Throughtechnology we can design instruction that exemplifies all the “engaging qualities” that we strive to incorporate. There are tremendous opportunities to provide experiences that are authentic and allow for personal response. Students can learn with others; others not in their classroom, their school or their state. They can produce projects that require them to have a “sense of audience”. They will need to evaluate materials they read, view or listen to via the internet. They will also need to be equally critical of their own writing or whatever they create with technology so that it is of the highest quality. There are limitless ways for students to put their “own stamp on things”, “make it their own”, and essentially bring their learning to the highest levels of Blooms Taxonomy. Technology has the potential to enhance creativity. However, the students need us to provide the clear and modeled expectations so that this medium is used for the best learning outcomes.

As the train slows to a halt, I realize it is back to work tomorrow. I am returning with renewed energy and a revitalized commitment towards the work that lies ahead in bringing technology to the students of my school. There is much work to be done and it won’t happen overnight, but effectively using technology in our classrooms is an essential component of educating this 21st Century generation.

Dr. Conti Discusses Re-districting Plans

Dr. Conti attended the Principal’s Coffee last Monday evening, November 29, to explain how things are progressing regarding the re-districting plans. He reviewed the School Committee’s guiding principles along with the timeline. The plan is to reassign about 140 or so students across the entire district to the new Memorial School. Every school will be affected to some degree. He expects FrancisWymanSchool to potentially lose about 60 students. At this point, he is working on determining the district line changes through the use of a computer program that identifies where each student lives. This allows him to explore many different options with relative ease. He expects a first draft of the new district lines to be shared with parents in a week or two. Once this first draft is released, the upcoming months will provide an opportunity for parents to give feedback. He expects that there will be families who have individual concerns or problematic situations. Clearly, not every concern will be easily fixed, but he is committed to working together with families. Students who will be entering grade 5 next year will be allowed to stay in their current schools if desired, however parents would need to provide their own transportation. For families who would like their grade 5 child to remain at a school but who also have children in lower grades, the parents may write a letter to Dr. Conti requesting that the younger sibling(s) also be allowed to stay at the school. The current policy allows parents to request out of district placements and these requests are approved based on the class size parameters. Below are the list of guiding principles and a timeline for the process. Please be aware that some families at Francis Wyman will be affected and that more information will be forthcoming in the near future.

Proposed Re-districting Time Line

November/December 2010

Present proposal to each elementary school and provide opportunity for feedback and comments.
January 2011

Make adjustments

March 2011

Approve new enrollment zones and transition plan

Elementary Redistricting Principles

1. Assign a student capacity to each elementary school – approximately 80-85%.

2. Redistricting to impact all four elementary schools equally – neighborhoods will not be reassigned solely due to the need for additional specialist staff.

3. As much as practicable, assign neighborhoods to the same elementary school.

4. If practical, students will not ride on school bus past an elementary school to reach a home elementary school.

5. All four elementary schools will have programmatic equality for all students.

6. To the extent possible, equally distribute apartment complexes between the four schools.

7. Research new housing developments approved by the Town and assign them to an elementary school.

8. Allow students who will be in grade 5 in September 2011 the option to remain in their home school for one year with parents responsible for providing transportation. If this opportunity is exercised, the request must be submitted to the Superintendent by (date TBD).

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast

The Thanksgiving Feast is a kindergarten tradition at Francis Wyman School. This feast is the culminating event of theThanksgiving Unit and integrates all that the students learned.  Students read books, wrote, stories, played math games and completed various arts and crafts projects related to this theme.  Students even helped prepare the food. It is a great celebration when the students finally attend the feast. They come to the feast dressed in the Pilgrim and Native American costumes that they made, each one decorated differently than the next. The students join together to sing the songs that they learned. Then the students sit at the beautifully set tables due in large part to the “woven" placements the students created. Thanks to our parent volunteers, the students are served a plate containing a taste of each food item. Students enjoy a variety of selections such as   “Stone Soup”, corn bread, pumpkin bread, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. Without a doubt the most popular food is the freshly popped popcorn! The true meaning of Thanksgiving is apparent at this festive occasion.

December 3, 2010


December 3, 2010

Important Dates:

Dec. 4 – 3 – 5pm Jump Rope Activity

Dec 6. – Professional Development, no school for students

Dec. 6 – 22 – Hat and Mitten Drive, see below

Dec. 8 – Used Bookstore

Dec. 10 – Picture Retake Day, see below

Dec. 15 – 20 – Barnes and Noble Book Fair, see below

Dec. 20 – 6pm, Winter Concert – Grades 4 and 5

Dec. 22 – Kindergarten Nutcracker, times TBD

Barnes and Noble Book Fair Dec. 15 – 20

Burlington Public School invites you to an annual holiday fundraiser at Barnes and Noble. Shop from 9am to 11pm and a % of your purchase will benefit our students. If you shop after school on Decemer 15th, you may see FW teachers and principals there!! Mr. Levin is even making an appearance and reading a favorite story! A flyer, including vouchers, will come home next week. Please bring a voucher with you. You may also shop on-line at and enter code 10321396 at checkout.

Picture Re-take Day… is scheduled for Dec. 10. Bailey’s Photography will be here to take photos of all students that were absent on the original Picture Day. If you are unhappy with your current photos, you may have them re-taken if the entire package is returned. Call the office if you have questions.

Hat and Mitten Drive

As a community service project, FWS 4th Graders are once again collecting *NEW* hats and mittens this month. Collection boxes will be in the office and on the 2nd floor near the elevator.

People Helping People thank you for your support!

Student Council – Coats for Kids Drive

Student Council is collecting gently used winter coats for kids and adults. If you bring in a coat by December 22, you may participate in a School Spirit Day on December 23 – “favorite team day”! Happy Holidays and thank you from student council!

2011 FW MCAS Schedule

MEPA testing March 7 –March 14 – for all ELL students

M T W Th F

March 21

March 22

Gr. 4 Long Composition March 23 Gr. 3 Reading March 24

Gr. 3 Reading March 25 Makeups

March 28

Gr. 4 Reading March 29 Gr. 4 Reading March 30

Gr. 5 Reading March 31 Gr. 5 Reading

Gr. 4 Long Comp makeup April 1


April 4


* Makeups are given as needed.

M T W Th F

May 10

Gr. 3 Math May 11

Gr. 3 Math May 12

Gr. 4 Math May 13

Gr. 4


May 16 Gr. 5 Math May 17

Gr. 5 Math May 18

Gr. 5 Science May 19

Gr. 5 Science May 20 Makeups*

Art News:

For an upcoming art project, the art teachers will need recycled AAA Road Maps or National Geographic Maps. If you have any at home and would like to recycle them, please send them in to the office.

In addition, parents please have your children wear older, easily washable clothing on Art Class day.


NSTAR light bulb orders will be available for pick-up at Francis Wyman on Friday, December 10th. Thank you to everyone for all of your support!

Spirit Wear is in and will be delivered to the school on Friday, December 3rd for distribution.

It’s A Wonderful Life

Burlington High School will present the stage version of the holiday classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 2:00 pm in the Fogelberg Performing Arts Center of the high school. Bring the whole gang to this great family-friendly production. Adults: $10 and Students/Sr Citizens: $5. Tickets available at For more information call 781-A-FUN-TIC.

Parents Night Out, Friday, Dec 3rd, 6-9:00

Let the Den Leaders of Cub Scout Pack 105 take care of your children, grades K-5, while you start your Holiday Shopping, take in a movie or enjoy some much deserved time to yourselves. $15 for the first child/$5 per additional sibling, Fee paid at time of registration. Please make payment to Pack 105 and mail to Kathleen Smith, 127 Mill St, Burlington by Nov 26th.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Time of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our FWS families! May you make some new memories with family and friends while enjoying some rest and relaxation!  I am most thankful for being principal of Francis Wyman School because of the delightful students, terrific teachers, super support staff, and fabulous families. It takes commitment and collaboration from every member of our school community to provide quality education for our students and I feel most fortunate to experience such a supportive community each and every day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilgrims and Native Americans - Gr 3

The Thanksgiving Spirit - Gr 3
Please don't eat turkey... "Disguised Turkeys" Gr.4 

Gr. 3 and Gr. 4 Combined Art Project

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soldiers Visit Classrooms

Soldiers Visiting Mrs. Cook's K Class
Once again this year, students of Francis Wyman School have been very generous supporting our troops overseas. We have collected candy for the soldiers in the Middle East in the “Treats for Troops” campaign and donated items for the “Honor Our Heroes” program. The students contributed to the 1600lbs of leftover Halloween candy, wrote encouraging letters, and drew colorful pictures to raise the soldiers’ spirits.Students were delighted when the soldiers visited their classrooms in honor of Veteran's Day. They were able to learn first hand how much it meant to the soldeirs to be remembered by the students and how much they appreciate receiving the candy, cards, letters, and gifts. The Honor Our Heroes collection is still going on until November 23rd and items may be dropped off at Francis Wyman School or BHS. Examples of needed items are: At&T phone cards, chapstick, granola bars, pens, sugar-free gum, dried fruits, etc.

Francis Wyman Hosts Learning Walks for Burlington Teachers

On Monday, Francis Wyman School was proud to host an afternoon of "Learning Walks" for a team of Burlington teachers. The teachers are being trained by John Antonetti in the the Look 2 Learn program. This program provides a framework for teachers so that they can have an opportunity to visit classrooms and observe students learning right in the moment. Teachers rarely have a chance to visit classrooms, especially those of their colleagues. This approach provides an opportunity much like that of "hospital rounds". Teachers can learn from each other from this practical experience.

Learning Walk Team

The teachers visit the classrooms in teams of two or three and observe students in class. In an effort to gather the student perspective, the teachers briefly talk to one or two students about what they are learning in that particular lesson. After several classroom visits, the team of teachers meet to discuss what they observed and analyze student engagement as it relates to "Engaging Qualities". The purpose of this experience is not to evaluate teachers, but to provide teachers with an authentic experience that will allow teachers to reflect about the craft of teaching, share their knowledge and insight, and ultimately learn from each other.

Engaging Qualities include:

Personal Response

Clear/Modeled Expectations

Emotional/Intellectual Safety

Learning with Others

Sense of Audience




John Antonetti and teachers discuss observations

The Look 2 Learn team was able to visit classrooms in all grades, including specialist classes. FW teachers welcomed the teams into their classrooms which was most appreciated by the participants. Students were excited about the visitors and enjoyed talking to the teachers. Please visit the Superintendent’s blog for more information about the Learning Walks, including a brief video clip of an interview with John Antonetti regarding his perspective of the day.

Dr. Conti joins the fifth grade students as they participate in a discussion.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Accelerated Reader Program Begins at FWS

This year we are introducing students in Grades 1 - 5 to a very exciting program called the Accelerated Reader program (AR). This program allows teachers to develop individualized plans for students to choose books at their appropriate reading level and to monitor their comprehension of the texts through the quizzes provided by the program. Quizzes are available for over 125,000 titles. Books range in levels that go well beyond grade 5.

This program has been reviewed by the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring. AR is an evidence-based core and intervention program. Accelerated Reader is an RTI progress-monitoring measurement that provides data as often as daily on overall reading comprehension of the entire school, class, groups and individuals in all levels of reading.

Students are provided a list of books at their reading level. They choose a book, read the book and then complete the AR quizz to determine comprehension. The number of books students read is documented which has the positive effect of motivating students to read more. The Accelerated Reader monitors student progress and gives teachers the feedback they need to guide the students in their reading and address their individual reading needs.

Students are given time to read the books during their ELA block and Intervention/Extension blocks. Additionally, upon arriving to their classrooms in the morning, all students in the school participate in our morning reading time for their “before school work”. Books can also be read at home as part of their homework or for leisure reading.

The quizzes are accessed on-line at the school in individual classrooms, the computer lab and the library. Students are able to participate in this program which promotes reading practice and is based on the principle that "when you inspire a love of Reading, you create excitement for learning." Both students and teachers are excited to begin. Already the enthusiasm for reading books is growing!


Our Back-to School Book Fair was a great success and this was just our first in-store and on-line event. Since it was a town-wide event, we have shared the profits with the other schools by purchasing books that were submitted on their wish lists. We were also able to purchase many titles for the FW Library.Our next Book Fair Event is scheduled in December, just in time for the holidays. More details will be sent out after Thanksgiving. THANKS for all your support!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Simple Suggestions; Powerful Results

How can a suggestion as simple as “wash your hands regularly” be such a powerful force in battling infectious diseases? The fact remains that it is a powerful practice and the number one recommendation to ward off illness and stay healthy.

I remember when my children were playing soccer and basketball. Parents asked the coaches for suggestions for what the players could do at home to improve. Year after year the suggestions were quite simple. The soccer coaches said that the one thing players could do was to juggle the ball 15 minutes a day. The basketball coaches recommended just taking a little time each day to shoot baskets. Both suggestions were straight forward and did not require a great deal of time, yet the coaches would lament that if only they could get their players to do these simple suggestions the players would improve.

Recently I had a conversation with some teachers, and heard the frustration I have heard for all the years I have been in education, “If only the students would read at home every night, it would make such a difference.” and “If only the students would practice their math facts at home so they could memorize them.” It really struck me as to how simple these suggestions really are and yet children often do not take the time to read or practice basic facts at home.

Reading is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced. Students need to be able to “decode” automatically (read the words accurately) and read fluently (read smoothly, with natural phrasing) so that comprehension can occur. At school the teachers have the expertise to provide quality instruction. However, students need to practice this skill at school and at home.

I read a research study several years ago which made a great impression on me. The school decided to allow their second grade students to take home their reading books every night to simply reread the story that was read in school. Since it was a research project, they only made this one change to their reading program. At the end of the year, the reading test results showed significant improvement.

Since I read this article, there has been much research supporting the practice of having students reread each night the story they read in school. Parents often wonder how effective it is to reread the story, especially if the child reads it easily. It is effective. It is one of those “simple suggestions” with “powerful results”. Any amount of time reading at home on a regular basis will help to advance reading skills.

Teachers would say the same for practicing math facts. There have been many changes to mathematics instruction over the last few decades aimed at improving students understanding.We do not want students memorizing facts without deep mathematical understanding, but at some point the facts need to be committed to memory. In school the teachers have the expertise to provide instruction that promotes deep understanding and practice. That being said, without “automaticity” of basic facts, the students will have difficulty at higher levels of mathematics. Teachers recommend math fact practice at home after the students have demonstrated that they understand the concepts. At that point, practicing basic math facts at home can only help the students achieve the “automaticity” they need to succeed. Again, it seems so simple and yet so powerful.

Today, we have many pressures and distractions that pull at our family life. It is often hard to juggle our time and get everything done that needs to get done. However, if there are two simple suggestions that we as educators can make, they are to encourage your child to spend a little time each day reading and to find time to practice math facts. Doing this will yield powerful results.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

RtI Institute - North Carolina

Earlier this week I had the great fortune of being part of a team of elementary administrators and teachers who attended the "RtI Institute: From Theory to Practice" held in North Carolina. This institute included several nationally renown experts in the field of RtI as well as many sessions that provided information on practical ideas for addressing the various components of RtI. Participating teams hailed from several states and represented a wide range of schools, counties, and school districts. Discussing this topic with this collection of educators who are at the forefront of the RtI initiative was a uniquely valuable experience. The Burlington elementary principals were asked to be presenters and to share our experiences in our first year of implementation. During this "Spotlight Session", we shared how we started, where we are today, and goals for this year. The RtI Institute was a most informative conference and I look forward to applying our newly acquired knowledge as we continue on the RtI journey.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Open House 2010

It was wonderful to see all the Francis Wyman parents and guardians at the Open House on Tuesday night.I hope you found the grade level presentations informative. I trust you had time to visit with classroom teachers and any other teachers working with your child/children. Based on feedback from last year, we staggered the presentations so that grade levels did not conflict. We also staggered the classroom visitation time blocks to help alleviate some of the traffic congestion we experienced last year. To help with traffic control, we had a police officer patrolling the area. I am interested in hearing your feedback regarding this event as we plan for next year. Please feel free to respond through my BLOG.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Open House Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Francis Wyman School Open House will be held on Tuesday, September 21, 2010. We look forward to meeting with parents and sharing information regarding curriculum and instruction. This event is designed for parents only and is not appropriate for children. This year we are staggering the grade level presentations to accommodate families who have children in mulitple grades. There is plenty of additional time alloted for classroom visits.

                    Presentation            Classroom Visits

Kindergarten 5:30 – 6:00            6:00 – 7:30

Grade 1        6:00 – 6:30            6:30 - 8:00

Grade 2        6:30 – 7:00            7:00 – 8:30 

Grade 3        7:00 – 7:30            7:30 – 9:00

Grade 4        7:30 - 8:00            7:00-7:30; 8:00 – 9:00

Grade 5        8:00 – 8:30           7:00 – 8:00, 8:30 – 9:00

**Specialists P.E., Music, Art, Computers 6:30 – 8:30

**Special Ed: Learning Center K-2 (Mrs. Schultz) 5:30 – 7:30

ELL (Mrs. Todd, Mrs. Wall) 5:30 – 7:30

Speech/language (Ms. Clark, Ms. Angelo) 6:00 – 8:00

Transition Classroom (Mr. Kipp) 6:00 - 8:00

Reading (Mrs. Murphy) 6:00 – 8:00

Spec. Ed (Mrs. Cummings) 6:00 – 8:00

Spec. Ed (Mrs. Gilman) 6:30 – 8:30

Spec. Ed (Mrs. Hackbarth) 7:00 – 9:00

Learning Center 3-5 (Mrs. Melanson) 7:00 – 9:00

Grade Level Presentations - All grade level team presentations will be held in the auditorium. The teachers in each grade work together as a collaborative team to provide a consistent learning experience for all students in each grade level. Your child's reading teacher may be a teacher other than your child's classroom teacher. Some teachers also switch classes for science and social studies. The grade level teams will be discussing a variety of topics such as curriculum, grade level expectations, and procedures.

Classroom Visits - There is time set aside for parents to visit the classrooms, see student work, and talk to the teachers informally. This is not a time for a parent conference about student progress especially since it is not a confidential setting. Teachers will be in their classrooms during the "classroom visit" timeframes. Please visit all the teachers in your child's program ( classroom teacher, reading teacher, etc)

Welcome to New Families

Each August, new families are invited to visit Francis Wyman School to tour the building and learn about the school. Mr. Giurlando, Assistant Principal, led the tour and shared information about the school. The PTO Vice President, Jessica Inglis, shared a welcome goodie bag with families and offered her support by being the contact for new families.In this blog post, I would like to share some background information that may be of interest to new families as well as other members of our school community.

Francis Wyman School was originally built as a Junior High School. Years ago it was closed and rented to the State Police Department and Middlesex Community College. It was renovated and opened as the Francis Wyman Elementary School 14 years ago. It serves over 600 students K-5. There are several additional programs incorporated into the school: three district special education programs, three LABBB Collaborative special education programs, two afterschool programs and the new Sprouts Daycare. There are over 100 teachers and staff members involved in the school and programs.

Francis Wyman Elementary School is committed to its motto of Francis Wyman School CARES! This motto represents C for Compassion, A for Accomplishments, R for Respect, E for Enthusiasm, and S for Self-reliance. Students, staff, and parents embrace the diversity within the school population and work to be a fully inclusive school. This was most notably represented in the playground project which resulted in a totally accessible playground supported by not only the school community but the greater Burlington and business community. As a result of this unique playground, hundreds of students enjoy a quality play experience each day, including students with physical challenges.

The focus this year is to continue our implementation of Response to Intervention (RtI) and our Tiered Instruction Model. Grade level teams  meet regularly to collaborate on the consistent implementation of the district’s core curriculum and various interventions. Student progress is closely monitored and adjustments made to programs as needed. Our newly created District Curriculum Councils in ELA and mathematics will meet monthly to work on curriculum issues. Members of the councils include classroom teachers, Reading Specialists, the Literacy Coach and Math Coach, along with elementary principals. School based and district level data teams will monitor student progress to determine the effectiveness of instruction.

Our new staff this year includes Mrs. Kim Lynch who teaches grade 5. Mrs. Lynch has worked for the past 4 years at FWS in the capacity of permanent substitute, Math Tutor, and Instructional Assistant in the Language Based class grades 3-5. She volunteered to supervise the Student Council and has worked in the afterschool Math Club. She is most excited to join the fifth grade team. Mrs. Deborah Wall joins us as an additional ELL teacher. She will work part time at Francis Wyman and comes with a great deal of experience in the field of ELL and ELA instruction. Our school nurse, Mrs. Anne Azarian, will now work at FWS full time. She will also share her expertise beyond FWS, working in the capacity of the district’s Supervisor of Nurses.

We are dedicated to maximizing “time on learning” with our master schedule consisting of daily learning blocks : 90 minutes of English /Language Arts , 60 minutes of mathematics, 45 minutes of either science or social studies, and one specialist period a day in either PE, Music or Art . There is a 30 minute block for students to participate in either intervention instruction or extension/enrichment experiences. Students have 25 minutes of recess before lunch and then 25 minutes of lunch.
Replacing the auditorium seating  was the big summer project. The project is scheduled to be completed some time in late September. The flooring installation is complete so folding chairs will be available on Open House night for the faculty presentations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Building Projects and Improvements

The custodians have been working hard throughout this hot and humid summer to clean, repair and refresh the building. As usual the building looks fabulous thanks to our dedicated crew. Replacing the auditorium seating was our biggest project and  involved many steps. First the old chairs were removed followed by  the old tile floor. Currently the floors are being prepared for the installation of the new tile and rug.The final step will be the installation of the new chairs, once they arrive. This project will not be finished by the start of school , but should be complete by the end of September. The main office has a fresh look with colorful new carpet. The back walkway has been repaved, a much needed update now that we regularly use the back entrance. Sturdy fans have been purchased for the upstairs classrooms to help with the heavy, humid air that is present whenever the air temperature goes up. As teachers come back to organize their classrooms, the building is buzzing with activity for the final  push to get the building ready for the return of our students.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kyle and Jillian Throw Out the First Pitch for the Lowell Spinners

The sky was overcast and threatened of more rain, but the hearts of the Francis Wyman School families were warm with pride as Kyle and Jillian threw out the first pitch. Last spring, Kyle and his family sent a letter to the Spinners explaining why Francis Wyman School should be recognized for being a caring school. The Spinners chose Francis Wyman School for this honor. Kyle and his friend Jillian were chosen to throw out the first pitch at tonight's game. It was so special to see Kyle and Jillian out on the mound, to hear their names announced along with FWS, and to hear the fans cheer as the pitch was thrown. The damp weather did not dampen the spirits of the families who attended as it was a night of fun and a special moment to remember.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Staffing Change

Due to staffing changes over the summer, Mrs. Melanie Duncan will be remaining in Kindergarten instead of teaching grade 5. I am currently interviewing and have many wonderful candidates interested in this grade 5 position. As soon as I have hired the teacher, I will inform the families in the grade 5 class who are impacted by this change. Please be reassured that the hiring process will be completed in a timely manner and the new teacher will be prepared and ready to welcome the students on the first day of school.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lowell Spinners Honor Francis Wyman School

The CANALIGATOR arrives!

On April 7, the Lowell Spinners honored Francis Wyman School for being such  a caring school. Francis Wyman School was nominated for this  honor as a result of a letter written to the Spinners by a Francis Wyman family. The entire school enjoyed the visit by the Red Sox legend Bill Monbouquette, Miss Massachesetts, Miss Worcester, Dan Roche from BZ sports, and of course the Canaligator! Each student in the school decorated a Red Sox/Spinners pennant and wrote a thank you message to the veterans for their service to our country. The Spinners representatives brought the pennants directly to the VA Hospital in Bedford to give them to the veterans and to decorate the hallways. They left with 2 boxes containing  600 pennants! What a day to celebrate how Francis Wyman School CARES!

Miss Worcester and Miss Massachusetts

Dan Roche, Miss Worcester, Miss Massachusetts, and
Jessica from the Lowell Spinners

John from the Spinners congratulates the students and encourages them to give back to the veterans by writing thank you messages on  their pennants.

Students get autographs from Bill Monbouquette and collect 2 boxes full of the decorated pennants.

The P.E. Department Receives a BEF Grant

The BEF awarded our physical education department a grant for their innovative project which will allow them to acquire new software that will enable the teachers to approach physical fitness through a Response to Intervention model. The teachers will utilize the software to assess and monitor student fitness, differentiate instruction, and inform parents. Thank you to Neil and Pat for their commitment to this cutting-edge project that will support all our students as they work to attain physical fitness. Good health is key for students to learn and perform their best!

Neil Rebelo receives the BEF Grant!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Deerfield Educators Visit Francis Wyman School

On Tuesday, April 13, Francis Wyman School hosted a team of educators from Deerfield, Massachusetts, who came to learn about what we are doing with RtI and the Tiered Instruction Model. The assistant principal and five teachers came to our school in the hopes of seeing a new approach in action and to talk to us about our experiences this year. After visiting classrooms and talking with staff, they left the day saying that it was well worth their long trip as they saw “something very special going on at Francis Wyman School”. They were impressed with the tremendous consistency they saw as they traveled from classroom to classroom. In every classroom the students were engaged in their learning They remarked on the structured, organized classrooms in which students clearly understood the classroom teachers’ expectations. The impact of the master schedule was apparent as uninterrupted time-on -learning was ongoing throughout the day. They were touched by the atmosphere of the school and noted that all the students seemed to be very happy. They were astounded that we were in our first year of implementation as it appeared that everything was flowing so smoothly. It was a great time to reflect on where we have been and how far we have come in such a short time frame. It was a real testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff as they have worked to implement so many changes to better support our students. It also reflects the wonderful support that our families provide to their children and to the school community. Francis Wyman School has a lot to be proud of!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parent Puberty Information Night

Parent Puberty Information Night **date added

Puberty Information Night for Parents of 4th and 5th grade students will be presented by Amy Doughty, Burlington High School Health Educator. The  presentations on March 25 will be repeated on April 6 so parents can choose the evening that works best for them.

March 25, 2010 BHS Cafeteria
6:30 Grade 4
7:30 Grade 5

**April 6, 2010 BHS Auditorium
6:30 Grade 4
7:30 Grade 5

Please call Amy Doughty at 781-273-7094 or the Francis Wyman Nurse's office at 781-270-1702 if you have any questions.

More information will be forthcoming regarding the date for the student presentations.  At this time we are planning a middle to end of April date.

Monday, March 22, 2010

MCAS Testing Information for Parents

MCAS testing for grades three through five will be taking place over the course of the next two weeks.

The FW schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, March 23 - Grade 4 Long Composition
Wednesday, March 24 - Grade 3 Reading
Thursday, March 25 - Grade 3 Reading
Monday, March 29 - Grade 4 Reading
Tuesday, March 30 - Grade 4 Reading
Wednesday, March 31 - Grade 5 Reading
Thursday, April 1 - Grade 5 Reading

All testing begins at 8:30 AM so please make every effort to make sure your  child  arrives at school on time on the days he or she is scheduled for testing. If you drive your child to school in the morning, please aim for an 8:15 AM arrival so that your child has plenty of time to get organized and situated before the test begins.
Students are encouraged to do their very best work on the test, but we do not want them to be overly worried. The students should have a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast so that they can think clearly and perform to their best ability. This year there are fewer days of testing which should help make it less stressful for students.

MCAS testing provides some important information regarding what students know and are able to do. As in all testing, MCAS is a "snapshot" of student performance during a specific period in time. Providing a positive and encouraging atmosphere will provide the support our students need during this testing period.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Cafeteria Lunch System Begins

On Monday, March 22 we will begin using the new cafeteria lunch system. The system is most successful when students know their pin number. Their pin number will be on a card that each student will receive before the system start day. The card will stay in the classroom and not go home so that students have less chance of losing the card. Parents can help by either logging onto and registering their child and putting money onto the child’s account to be used for buying lunch or they can send in a check made out to Burlington School Lunch with the child’s name on the memo line. Cash will be accepted until April vacation at which time the school will become cashless. Every student must enter their pin on the keypad or scan the barcode on the card every time they buy lunch. Reduced lunch children must still have the 40 cents for lunch and will need that amount put on their account when the school is cashless. If you have any questions please email Paul Virgin the Food Service Director at

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Family Carnival - March 13, 2010

Mr. G. has a difficult time choosing the cake decorating finalists.

Mrs. Tortolini and Mrs. Tierney work the table!

Baskets are bountiful!

Volunteers provide snacks.

Families fill the cafeteria.

Prizes galore!

Fun and Games!

The cake decorating finalists...


Professional Development Hosted at FWS

Mr. Giurlando facilitates the guidance department discussion.

The elementary art department works with Jane Hundley, Social Studies Coordinator, to develop units
focussing on the artwork  and culture of India. Ms. Hundley visited India in the summer of 2009.

Grade 2 teachers learn about the Fundations program as they  prepare for implementation in fall 2010.