Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today's Bulletin Now Available

Francis Wyman School wishes you a very Happy Holiday and a safe start to the New Year.  Today's bulletin has been posted. Please click the link below.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Bulletin

Today's bulletin has been posted. Please review for upcoming vacation days. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weekly Bulletin December 8, 2011

Today's bulletin is now available!  Valuable info about the Book Fair at Barnes and Noble on Monday and our own Used Book Store on Wednesday.

Progress Report Survey

Please take a moment to complete the VERY brief survey on my blog regarding your opinion of the new progress report. There will be more opportunities to provide feedback, but I am interested in hearing your general reaction.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Barnes and Noble Day - December 12, 2011

Barnes and Noble Book Fair

FRANCIS WYMAN DAY @ B&N 12/12 (and on-line 12/12 - 12/17) A percentage of your sale will be returned to our school! Vouchers will be sent home with students and can also be found at Please use bookfair ID 10595072 entered at online checkout. Thanks for your support and see you there!

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011 Bulletin

Please check out today's bulletin and have a wonderful weekend. Click the link below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Report Card Meeting Information

It was wonderful to see so many parents at the report card parent meeting held at FWS on Wednesday night. Dr. Conti reviewed the standard based focus of the report cards and the new marking system. Parents also viewed a copy of the new report card format and got a sense of the detailed standards that are now the main focus of the report card. We are expecting that once parents actually experience the new report cards, there will be more questions and helpful feedback. Parents are encouraged to note their feedback on the yellow response sheets that are sent home in the report card folder. The topic of report cards will also be on the agendas of both the Principal's Coffee on January 10 at 9:00 am  and PTO Meeting on January 1 at 7:00 pm. Below you will find the information regarding the new academic marking key.

Massachusetts Common Core Standards are the basis for grade level expectations identified on Burlington Public Schools progress reports. Many of the standards are not expected to be met until later in the year, so parents should expect students marks to reflect growth that progresses towards end of the year grade level standards.

The academic key for grades kindergarten through grade five indicates the student’s progress as follows:

 Academic Marking Key
(Standards are end of the year expectations)

E- Exceeding the Grade Level Standard
The student demonstrates an in-depth understanding of concepts, and/or skills. Performance is characterized by the ability to apply concepts and/or skills consistently, accurately, and independently.

M- Meeting the Grade Level Standard
The student demonstrates a solid understanding of concepts and/or skills. Performance is characterized by the ability to apply concepts and/or skills consistently and accurately.

P1- Progressing Within the grade-level range for this time of year
The student demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts and/or skills and is working within the grade-level range. Performance is characterized by mostly consistent application of concepts and/or skills. Support and guidance are sometimes needed.

P2- Progressing Below the grade-level range for this time of year
The student demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts and/or skills but is working below the grade level. Performance is characterized by inconsistent application of concepts and/or skills. Support and guidance are often needed.

N- Minimally Progressing Below the grade-level range for this time of year
The student demonstrates minimal understanding of basic concepts and/or skills. Performance is characterized by attempts to try new skills with partial success. Performance is inconsistent requiring additional support and guidance.

Gray Shaded Box- Not Applicable
During this marking period, the benchmark has not been taught or assessed.
Learner Qualities, Personal and Social Growth, Art, Music and Physical Education are reported by how often the target behaviors are demonstrated:

  • Consistently
  • Frequently
  • Occasionally
  • Yet to be demonstrated


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Report Card Meeting for Parents Nov 30

Report Cards are Changing!

Dr. Conti will be hosting a Report Card Meeting on November 30 at 6:30pm here at Francis Wyman to discuss with parents the new standards-based report cards. The report cards have a new format and grading system. This meeting is in preparation for report card distribution on December 7th. We are encouraging parents to attend so that when they receive their child’s report card they will be familiar with the format and have a better understanding of how student progress is being reported to parents.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's bulletin for November 23 has been posted.  Have a wonderful weekend full of family, food and fun! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Bulletin November 18

Today's bulletin has been posted. Please note that Wednesday, Nov. 23 dismissal time is 11:30am. Have a terrific weekend!

Changes in Paypams Lunch Program

We have been informed by Burlington Food Services that if parents wish to prohibit their children from purchasing snacks in the cafeteria, they should contact Karen Damaso in Food Services. Mrs. Damaso will disable the purchase of all "a la carte" items through the Paypams System. Students will be able to purchase lunch only. Please tell your child/children that you have prohibited snack purchase so that is is not a surprise when going through the lunch line. To make this change, please call Karen Damaso at 781-270-1756 or email In addition, I would just  like to send parents a friendly reminder to check your Paypams account to assure that there is money on the account.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Circus is Coming! Support the BEF!

The Burlington Education Foundation is hosting a Circus presented by Cirque Du Jour this Saturday, November 19, 2011. Three show times at 11, 1:30 and 4 with entertainment for all. Former Ringling Bros. performers, acrobats, daredevils, BMX bike team and more. Tickets are $10 each, or a 4-pack for only $30. Tickets are available on-line at or at the door.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Message from Burlington Special Education Parent Advisory Council (PAC)

Dear Parents,
The Burlington PAC will hold an open meeting next Tuesday November 15 in the Burlington High School lower library at 7:00 P.M. We were considering Wednesday night, but the middle school has parent teacher conferences that night and I want to keep in touch with families before the holidays roll around. Please pass the word. This meeting can be whatever you as members want it to be. The topic for the night is up to you, the parents. Possibilities include the following.

1. The challenges you and your kids are facing.

2. Your feelings about RTI and how services are being provided.

3. The intervention process and the part you play as a parent.

4. What you want from your PAC.


Dennis McCarron PAC Chairman


New FWS Website

Burlington Public Schools has a new website and so does FWS! Take a moment to check it out and add it to your favorites at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bulletin November 10, 2011

Please view the weekly bulletin by clicking the link below.  Have a very enjoyable long weekend!  Thank a Veteran tomorrow!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Marketplace at Francis Wyman this Wednesday Night

Our school will be transformed Wednesday night into a shopping mecca!  The PTO is sponsoring the Fall Marketplace on November 9th from 5pm to 9pm.  There will be vendors lining the gymnasium, cafeteria, and hallways with crafts galore.  Get ready to shop and support our PTO.  See you there!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekly Bulletin November 4, 2011

Today's bulletin is now available.  Please click below to access it. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Patch of Characters

This month, the fourth grade book report focused on studying character development. All students chose a picture book to read and then complete a character study of one of the characters form the story. In addition to the writing assignments, each student decorated a pumpkin to illustrate the character. Enjoy these photos of some of the Pumpkin Patch of Characters!

You may ask, “Why are fourth graders using picture books?”

Picture books are not just for young children. In fact, they can be effectively used at all grade levels. High quality picture books are carefully written, exposing students to high level vocabulary and beautifully crafted language. Story elements are artfully developed and therefore support instruction well. Many books contain poignant themes and moral messages and therefore provide a powerful means to examine life. In addition the illustrations are purposeful as they extend the story effectively and are visually delightful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Annual Halloween Parade

The annual Halloween Parade will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 1:45. Parents are welcome to view the costumes as the parade comes through the gym. Parents should park in the back parking lot and may enter the gym through the gym doors.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Francis Wyman Elementary School Now on Facebook!

Francis Wyman Elementary School is now on Facebook. This provides another way for families to stay connected to what is going on at FWS.

Here is the link to our new Facebook page.

In addition our new website is now up and running. There will be more items added to it as we further develop it.

Here is the link to the Francis Wyman Elementary School website.

Now families can get information from the Principal's Blog, Facebook , and  the FWS website!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food Allergy Awareness Team of Burlington

Does your child have food allergies? Get informed & be aware! Meet with other parents

who share your concerns. Join the Food Allergy Awareness Team of Burlington

on Wednesday November 2nd at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Burlington Fire

Department. Please email Lisa Hovasse at with any questions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Now Available

The weekly bulletin has been posted. Please click below to get connected.  Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Burlington Early Childhood Center (BECC)


The Burlington Public Schools is opening a new preschool classroom.

Where: The program is located around the back of Burlington High School

When: The classroom will open on Monday November 8th 2011.

Days: The program will run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Time: 8:30 to 11:30

Cost: The cost is $232.00 per month.

For more information please feel free to contact Louise D’Amato, program director, at 781-273-7632 or d’

For more information visit us our web site at: scroll down to integrated preschool and read our FAQ’s or frequently asked questions,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Morning Bus Schedule to Improve

On Monday, we should begin to see some improvement with the bus arrivals in the morning. The school district has been working with A&F Bus Company to correct the difficulties we've been having with our buses arriving late to Francis Wyman in the morning. Due to some changes that have been made across the district, we’re anticipating that our difficulties have been corrected and buses should begin to arrive at their scheduled times starting Monday, October 17. Please refer to the bus schedule in the bulletin to check bus stop locations and times. We appreciate everyone's patience this fall as we have worked  to resolve difficulties with  the new bus route schedule.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today's Bulletin Now Available

The weekly bulletin for October 14, 2011 is now available.  Please click below!
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Boston Globe Magazine to Feature FWS

On October 9, 2011, Francis Wyman School will be featured in an article in the Boston Globe Magazine. This magazine is found in the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe. The article focuses on issues related to special education and the increased incidence of children with disabilities. The author, John Marcus, begins his story in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Brigham and Women’s hospital as he researches the increased incidence of children with disabilities. He follows the issue through to the impact on schools and the struggles schools face trying to meet the learning needs of all children. John had contacted the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education to obtain his recommendation of model school districts who implement successful programs. The Commissioner suggested he contact Dr. Eric Conti to learn about the Response to Intervention (RtI) program in Burlington. Dr. Conti suggested to John that he visit FWS to see the program in action. John visited several classrooms and interviewed teachers. Later, a photographer was sent to capture the program in action. It was exciting to share our enthusiasm for the positive impact our RtI program has had on meeting the needs of all our students. It will be interesting to read this article and see how FWS fits into the story!

Principal's Allergy Letter Sept 22, 2011

On September 22, 2011, the following letter was sent home to parents. It was included in a packet that contained a letter from the Superintendent of Schools, a reminder notice printed on bright orange paper, a letter from the Principal, and a copy of the  Burlington School District's Allergy Policy.

September 22, 2011

Dear Parents,

Burlington Public Schools has adopted a policy to recognize the increasing numbers of students with food allergies and to minimize the risk to those students in school. The policy’s intent is to educate the community, increase allergy awareness, and provide a reasonable system-wide policy to accommodate student allergies. The policy is attached for your review and is also available on the school website.

Everyone at Francis Wyman School is knowledgeable regarding the policy and is implementing its procedures. Our school nurse, Mrs. Azarian has conducted staff trainings to all Francis Wyman staff members regarding allergies, its care, and how to administer an epi-pen. Also, Mrs. Azarian has informed the classroom teachers regarding whether a child with an allergy is in their classroom and a letter will be sent home to parents alerting parents that a child with an allergy is in that classroom. Please send your child with a classroom-snack that does not contain peanut and/or tree-nut ingredients. All children with known allergies have an allergy action plan or individual health care plan that is known and followed by the classroom teacher. We provide an allergen sensitive table in the cafeteria and our custodial staff follows safe routine cleaning procedures. Teachers ensure students follow hand-washing procedures and Francis Wyman School is recognizing student birthdays with non-food items.

The policy also requires teachers to request permission from the principal to include food in curriculum activities. If permission is granted from the principal, parents will be informed food will be in the classroom and a safe alternative will be provided for students with allergies. This safe alternative will be approved or supplied by the parent of a child with an allergy.

Finally, classroom parties will be celebrated using non-food items at Francis Wyman School in all classrooms. Everyone at Francis Wyman School appreciates your cooperation, understanding and interest and we look forward to working together for the benefit of children.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 781. 270.1701 or email me at

Susan Astone

Principal, Francis Wyman Elementary School

Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Now Available

Happy Friday! The September 30 bulletin has been posted. Take a look for upcoming events.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

FWS Open House 2011

It was wonderful to see so many FWS parents at this year's Open House Nights. We appreciate the on-going support and commitment to education that our families demonstrate on a constant and regular basis. The following is the slide show that was presented last night. I am hoping that many families have already signed-up for email notification from this blog through the email section found on this page.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

Today's bulletin for September 23, 2011 is available on the Principal's blog.  Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

Today's bulletin for September 16, 2011 has been posted on the Principal's blog.  Click the link below.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

The weekly bulletin for Friday, September 9, 2011 is now available - see below.  Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Summer


June 22, 2011

Important Dates:
Sept. 7: School Starts for Grades 1 – 5
Sept. 8: K Orientation, parents and students
Sept. 12: First Day for Kindergarten

Dear Families,

Thank you for another wonderful year at FWS! Your ongoing support is what makes our school so special. I wish you all a wonderful summer - full of fun and relaxation.
Please make note of the new start and end times for FWS next year:

8:20- students can start arriving
8:35 - official start of school
2:40 - official end of school

Also, be sure to check bus routes as there will be some changes to those as well.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Now Available

The school year is quicky coming to an end.  Please visit the bulletin for important dates and times.  Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Father's Day to all our FW dads!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Family Math Night June 2, 2011

Family Math Night proved to be a great success! Students and parents alike enjoyed the variety of math games and activities. The event was well attended and students clearly enjoyed their experiences exploring the math  games. Students will be able to play the games throughout the summer. Thank you to the Student Council members who volunteered their time to help with the games. Thank you to Mrs. Carrie Fortunato, Math Coach, for organizing this wonderful event and sharing this video.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Now Available

The June 3 bulletin has been posted.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Thousand Paper Cranes

In response to the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Francis Wyman Community has created a display of 1,000 Paper Cranes. In Japanese culture, the crane is considered to be a mystical creature said to live for 1,000 years. A Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds 1,000 Paper Cranes will be granted a wish such as long life or recovery from illness or injury.

The cranes on display have been created by students in all of the classes at Francis Wyman with the assistance of the Student Council and other 4th and 5th grade experts. The children have done a phenomenal job driving this process. Many of the cranes have been sponsored by students or families for $.50 each. Proceeds have been donated to Hearts N Hands for Japan to aid in the relief efforts.

Urgent Reminder for Family Math Night

Tomorrow night is our Family Math Night... all are encouraged to come!  Please note that we have had some confusion over the time of this event.  The time is 6:30pm to 8:00pm.  See you then!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Volunteer Appreciation Tea/Grade 2 Concert/Family Math Night - ALL JUNE 2

Please note that Francis Wyman School will be hoppin' this week, especially on Thursday, June 2. 
Our second graders will be having their annual concert at 9am, followed by our Volunteer Appreciation Tea at 10am.  If you have helped in any capacity at Francis Wyman School (room parent, library, book store, etc.) please come join us on Thursday morning.  We have all sorts of surprises in store for you! Lastly, Thursday night, we are having a Family Math Night starting at 5:30pm.  You will learn  math games to play over the summer vacation.  Some games will be available to take home.  Hope to see you Thursday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!  Today's bulletin has been posted.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Memorial School Open House - May 26th 2:30-3:30pm

CALLING ALL FAMILIES NEW TO MEMORIAL SCHOOL! Although our new home isn't ready for occupancy or guests quite yet, Memorial School teachers and staff are eager to welcome new students and families to the MEMORIAL family. We hope you'll come by the school (Old Building) on Thursday, May 26th, between 2:30 and 3:30 to meet some of the people who 'make the place.' This is also the last walk-through for former students, families, and interested community members, so Memorabilia from the Many Days of Memorial will be on display! We look forward to seeing you next Thursday! (Additional parking available in the St. Margaret's Church lot.)

Partnering with Got Books and the Used Book Superstore

Francis Wyman School would like to acknowledge and thank the Used Book Superstore in Burlington for their donation of a Lending/Swap Library. They donated three large boxes of books to us and will continue to donate books in the future. These books are being used to enhance the at home libraries of students. These books will also be available at our own used book store for swapping. We appreciate this gift and are looking forward to working with this company. Soon there will be a large container from Got Books outside of the school for used book donations. Used books of all kinds and for all ages may be donated by placing them in this container. The donations will help support our Wednesday morning bookstore. These school/business partnerships promises to greatly benefit our students.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

The FWS bulletin is now available to view.  Please click the link below for May 20, 2011 bulletin. Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

Happy Friday -- Please note that the Weekly Bulletin is now available for viewing.  Please click the link on the bottom right side of this page.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Principal's Message

Through the course of this year, we have adopted two new policies:  The Allergen Policy and The Student Empowerment Policy (Bullying).  Today, green flyers went home in student backpacks to explain some basic information about bullying. The Burlington School District passed a Student Empowerment Policy earlier this year and we are hoping to educate parents.  "Bullying" will be the topic of conversation at the next Principal's Coffee on May 17th at 9:00am.  As a reminder to parents regarding the Allergen Policy, students are not to have snacks in school that contain peanuts or treenuts.  Please refer to the allergy letter sent home earlier this year.

May 6, 2011 Bulletin

Today's bulletin is now available for viewing on the Principal's Blog.   Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29 Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

The April 29th Weekly Bulletin is now available.  Please see bulletin section on the right side of this page.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

District-wide Information Night for Math

District-wide Informational Night for Math
When- Tuesday May 3, 2011 7:00-8:00pm
Where- Francis Wyman Auditorium
Who- Parents ONLY
Why- Learn why computation is different now in the 21st century.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weekly Bulletin Available on Blog

Many parents have been asking if there is a way to have e-mail notification when the Weekly Bulletins are posted.  The answer is YES!  The Weekly Bulletin is posted each Friday on my blog as well as on the  FW website.  There is a box in the blog to sign up for e-mail notifications.  This e-mail notification will link you directly to my blog where you can find the bulletin section on the right. 

Race to Nowhere

"Race to Nowhere" Thursday, April 28th, 7pm, Fogelburg Performing Arts Center, BHS

The Burlington School District along with the Wilmington School District will be hosting the screening of "Race to Nowhere" on Thursday, April 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Burlington High School Auditorium. This highly acclaimed film about education promises to be thought provoking. Information about the film "Race to Nowhere" can be found on the following website:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The FWS Robotics Club Begins

The excitement filled the air as the FWS Robotic Club members gathered in the school library. The long awaited day was finally here. Mr. Giurlando and Mr. and Mrs. Pothier had been working together for several months planning for this exciting new experience for FWS grade 5 students.Mrs. Pothier had approached me about the idea at one of our Enrichment Committee meetings last spring. The idea grew from there. Mr. G worked on the details and wrote the BEF grant proposal. Thanks to the funding obtained from the FWS PTO and the BEF, the kits and computers were purchased to accommodate the 34 students who are interested in this new club. What a turn-out! Roughly 1/3 of our grade 5 students are interested in spending Monday afternoons expanding  their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They are ready to get started and excited to work with the high school student/mentors.They look forward to stretching their minds as creativity will be a must! The high school mentors are an inspiration to these young students as they collaborate together on the challenge ahead.  Miss Rigby and Miss Chirco are the teachers who are overseeing this club and guiding the students along.  With commitment and perseverance, a new elementary afterschool program is launched at FWS that promises to be an exceptional opportunity for students to grow in new directions!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lt. Governor Tim Murray Visits FWS

Lt. Governor Tim Murray visited Francis Wyman School to celebrate "Read Across America Day", also known as "Dr. Seuss Day". The students in grades 3 and 5 enjoyed his reading of the book The Lorax by Dr.Seuss. We were very honored to have the Lt. Governor choose to visit Francis Wyman School despite his very busy schedule. Mrs. Donna Murphy, Reading Specialist, organizes this event every year to emphasize the importance as well as the joy of reading. The visit by Lt. Governor Murray was the highlight of this special event.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Support Our Book Fair!

It's NOT too late to participate in the Francis Wyman SPRING BOOK FAIR!

Our book fair will continue On-Line through Saturday, March 26th

If you purchase ANYTHING from Barnes & Noble on-line please enter the Bookfair ID 10447910 at the check out.

Please help support the Francis Wyman School by visiting :


and enter our Bookfair ID - 10447910.

Thank you for your generosity and your continued support!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Read Across America Day

On Wednesday, March 2, the students and staff at Francis Wyman School joined with schools across the nation to celebrate Read Across America Day. Throughout the day classes did fun activities related to a wide variety of much loved Dr. Seuss stories. Students even had green eggs and ham for lunch! During the day, classes had guest readers visit and share a book or two. The kids, faculty and visitors enjoyed the time while celebrating and promoting reading. Francis Wyman would like to thank the many visitors including: Town Administrator, Mr. Mercier, Police Chief Kent, Superintendent Conti, State Senator Kenneth Donnelly, and Selectman Dan DiTucci and the various teachers and parents who shared their time with the students. We would also like to thank the PTO who provided coffee and snacks for the readers.

Beauty and the Beast

Burlington High School presents Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” on March 25, 26 and April 1 at 7:30, April 2 at 2:00 and 7:30pm, and April 3 at 2:00pm. Filled with all the enchantment, wonder and surprise that has made it an international sensation, the production will take place in the Fogelberg Performing Arts Center of Burlington High School, a handicapped accessible venue. Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens; $15 for adults. Tickets are available at . For further information, call 781-A-FUN-TIC.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Race to Nowhere" Coming to Burlington.

The Burlington School District along with the Wilmington School District will be hosting the screening of "Race to Nowhere" on Thursday, April 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Burlington High School Auditorium. This highly acclaimed film about education  promises to be thought provoking. Information about the film "Race to Nowhere" can be found on the following website: 
Tickets for event will be $5.00 and can be reserved at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Massachusetts is in the process of adjusting their State education standards to the new National standards. This will require only a few minor changes, because Massachusetts Frameworks were used as the model for the National standards. The National standards are much more refined for each grade level and are easy to read. If you are interested, they can be found on the internet. Grades 3-5 will be taking the Reading part of the testing at the end of March. This will be done over two days for each grade. We schedule from 8:30 – 10:00 for classes to be testing. At that time, if students are not finished, they are moved to another classroom and have as much time as they need to finish. On March 22, Grade 4 will be doing one extra day, during which they write a Long Composition Essay. These are scheduled in the morning with a fifteen minute break. Most students are done by lunch at 12:00, but, as is the case with all testing, the ones who need more time can have it. In May, Grades 3-5 will be taking the Math portion of the MCAS, which is also a two day event. Grade 5 will take two additional days to take the Science and Technology sessions.

Here at FW we implement some simple ideas, which are based on research, to help your children do their best. Research shows that students who have food in the morning do better on tests. Our PTO provides a snack of cheese or pretzel goldfish to be eaten in the morning. Teachers open their shades to provide sunlight, which is shown to activate the brain, and many teachers do “Brain Gym” activities, which also activates the brain. If you are interested in knowing more about “Brain Gym”, I suggest that you Google it. It is a very interesting and simple concept.

Parents can do several simple things at home to help their child prepare for testing. However, we do ask that you refrain from giving your child test passages from the DOE website, as several of these are used in the classrooms. If your child is given an MCAS passage for homework, encourage them to read it slowly and carefully and to look back in the passage for the answers. Many times the question will tell them the specific paragraph or section that the answer can be found in. This can really narrow down the information that they need to search through. Many children don’t want to take the time to do this, and it is a very simple way to help them. Also, when your child is writing a paragraph answer, that we call an “open response” answer, encourage them to find three or more areas in the text that support their answer. They actually get more points for using words from the text in their written response. Other than homework, parents can make sure that their child is rested, in comfortable clothes, and fed a good breakfast in the morning. Finally, the simplest way to help your child is to require them to read in their free time. In my house the rule was no computers or video games until you had read for at least thirty minutes. This rule must become a year long habit. Our children go to practice for sports or music. Reading is also a skill that needs to be practiced in order to improve.

Guest post by Donna Murphy, Reading Specialist

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DORA Presentation of FAQ

Here is the powerpoint that was shared with parents at the past two information meetings held on Feb. 7 and Feb 9. There will be another parent meeting at FWS on Tuesday, March 8 at 9:00 am. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Allergen Policy for Students with Life Threatening Allergies

Burlington Public Schools Allergen Policy for Students with Life Threatening Allergies

The Burlington Public Schools recognize the increasing prevalence of student allergies and the life-threatening nature of the allergy for many students. The Burlington Public Schools cannot guarantee to provide an allergen-free environment for all students with life threatening allergies, nor prevent any harm to students in emergencies. The goal is to minimize the risk of exposure to food allergens that pose a threat to those students, to educate the community, and to maintain and regularly update a system-wide protocol for responding to their needs.

The Burlington Public Schools will maintain a system wide procedure for addressing life threatening allergic reactions by incorporating measures to reduce the exposure to allergens and procedures to treat allergic reactions. For any student whose physician (primary care or board certified allergist) has informed the school in writing that the student has a life threatening allergy, the school nurse will oversee the development of an Allergy Action Plan or Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP), which will includes an Allergy Action Plan (AAP) that addresses the management of anaphylaxis. Parents/guardians have the responsibility to inform the school district when a child’s medical condition might affect the child’s welfare or safety. Effective communication is vital among all parties.

The district wide procedure addresses:

1. The training and education for all Burlington Public Schools employees. The training will include the education on

a description of severe allergies

signs of anaphylaxis

the proper use of an epipen and

the specific steps to follow in the event of an emergency.

2. The Burlington Public Schools is making every reasonable accommodation to lessen the possibility of exposure to food allergens by designating that at all schools, during the school day, implement the following: birthday recognition will be food free, classroom snacks will be “known allergy free” in accordance with the Individual Health Care Plans of each child of the students within a given classroom, and the use of food for curriculum purposes will be restricted to approval by the Principal. Notification will be sent to the parent/guardian if food is used with principal approval for curriculum purposes. The parent can choose to provide a food or non-food based alternative. The use of food as a reward in school will be eliminated. The Principal will implement a No Food or Utensil Sharing practice with particular focus at the elementary level.

3. The school nurse in conjunction with the parent/guardian and the primary care provider/allergist will prepare either the Allergy Action Plan (AAP) or the Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) which incorporates an Allergy Action Plan (AAP) for any student with a life threatening allergy. The IHCP and AAP will be updated annually. The nurse will review the IHCP and AAP with teachers of the students in their classes and respond to emergencies as per the emergency protocol documented in the IHCP or AAP. The Teachers will leave pertinent information in a substitute file.

4. Each elementary school will provide an allergen sensitive table(s) in the cafeteria. At the middle school and high school appropriate accommodations will be made as needed.

5. The school nurse will recommend to administration the appropriateness of each field trip and consideration of safety of the student with life-threatening allergies. Parents of a student at risk of anaphylaxis will be invited to accompany their child on school trips, in addition to the chaperone.

6. The Principal and Food Services personnel will establish a routine cleaning protocol for all food consumption areas (to include a protocol for hand-washing and table/desk cleaning before and after food/snacks have been consumed).

First Reading: 1/11/11

Second Reading: 1/25/11

Adopted by Burlington School Committee: 1/25/11

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bedford Educators Visit FWS

On a snowy winter day, a team of educators from the Bedford Public Schools visited Francis Wyman Elementary School to learn about our RtI initiative. The team members represented both of the Bedford elementary schools and included the principals, grade level teacher leaders, special educators, reading specialists, and the assistant superintendent. We spent a good part of the morning visiting ELA classrooms and observing our students in action. We also discussed many aspects of our RtI implementation such as our master schedule, universal screening tools of DORA /DOMA, data meetings, grade level team meetings, Problem Solving Team procedures, Core curriculum, interventions, and other relevant topics. It was wonderful to have this time for professional discussions and to share our experiences. As the educators left that day, they were full of enthusiasm and excitement. We wish them well in their RtI initiative and we look forward to more ongoing collaboration with our Bedford neighbors!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

DORA Parent Information Meeting

In the next couple of weeks, parents will receive a summary of their child's most recent DORA (Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment) results. To help parents have a better understanding of this test, there will be a Parent Information Meeting about the DORA on Monday, February 7, at 7:00PM at the Francis Wyman Elementary School auditorium. This meeting is for parents from all four elementary schools. Dr. Conti and the four elementary school principals will share information about the test so that parents will have a better understanding of this assessment.

I will be hosting a morning Parent Information Meeting on Wednesday, February 9, at 9:00 AM at Francis Wyman Elementary School for FWS parents who cannot attend the Monday evening meeting. The same information will be shared at both meetings.