Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Have a wonderful vacation week!  Enjoy your families and take time to relax! Today's bulletin has been posted.  See you all on January 2, 2013.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Letter from the Principal

Dear Francis Wyman Elementary School Community,

The tragedy in Newtown Connecticut is horrific.  My thoughts and prayers are with the entire school community as they cope with this unimaginable loss. It is heart wrenching thinking about the families now dealing with the deep despair of the loss of their precious loved ones.

The support of family is what I remember when I think of the tragedies I have experienced in my life time. I was in second grade when President Kennedy was assassinated. It was a scary time. I remember hiding behind a chair and crying as I thought about Caroline and John- John having lost their father. My mother found me, took me by the hand, sat me on her lap and hugged me. She told me that it was normal to feel sad and that I should not feel ashamed of crying. She reassured me that my father was not going to be shot. It was then that I felt secure again and the sadness and fear dissipated.

As a parent I have supported my own children through more tragedies than I ever could have imagined. When they were ages eight and eleven there was Columbine. When they were ten and thirteen they experienced 9/11. Virginia Tech was most difficult for my oldest daughter as she was in her first year of college at the time. Now, as they are in their early twenties, they have seen even more in this one year – the Colorado Cinema shooting, the Oregon Mall shooting, and now Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Through all these events, I have followed my mother’s approach with them as she did for me. I acknowledged that their feelings were normal. I reassured them that they were safe and that the event was unlikely to happen to them or our family. And I hugged them.

On Monday, we will be back at school and we will not initiate discussion of this matter with students. However, should our students need our support we will be ready to provide support in the simplest and most basic ways. We will let our students know that their feelings are normal, that they are safe, and that it is unlikely that an event like this will ever happen to them. We will let them know we have a safety plan and that all the doors are locked. Most importantly we will plan to make Francis Wyman Elementary School a happy, warm, and comforting place so that our precious students feel the collective hug from our entire school community. 

Parents should not hesitate to call the school to speak to our guidance counselors or school psychologist as they are ready to provide help and support in any way that they can.

To all of our families, may you find the peace and love that is so desperately needed at this time.

Susan Astone

Friday, December 14, 2012

Talking to Children About Violence

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
  1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
  3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
    • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should bebalanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
    • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
    • Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
  4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
  5. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
  6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
  7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
  • Schools are safe places. School staff work with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
  • The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).
  • We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
  • There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
  • Don’t dwell on the worst possibilities. Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and the probability that it will affect our school.
  • Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
  • Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
  • Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
  • Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control. 
NASP has additional information for parents and educators on school safety, violence prevention, children’s trauma reactions, and crisis response ©2006, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway #402, Bethesda, MD 20814

Weekly Bulletin

The Friday bulletin has been posted. Please click the link below and have a fabulous weekend.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekly bulletin

Happy Friday!  The weekly bulletin has been added to the Principal's blog.  Please click the link below.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Today's bulletin has been posted.  Picture re-take day is Monday, November 19 and please note that dismissal on Wednesday, November 21 is at 11:30am. Have a terrific weekend and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

The November 9th edition of the bulletin has been posted.  Please follow the link below and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Marketplace Tomorrow Night

Please stop by Francis Wyman School tomorrow evening for our annual Fall Marketplace. The fair runs from 5:00 - 9:00 PM. The fair has been a successful fundraiser and attending is a great way to support our school. It is also a wonderful chance to do some holiday shopping. All are welcome

Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Today's bulletin has been posted. Please click the link below and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Electricity is back on at FW!

I would like to inform parents that the electricity is back on at Francis Wyman School. Although we arrived at school this morning to find that the power was still down, we had been informed that the power was to come on within the hour. As it turned out, it took a little longer than that, but it is back on now. The teachers and students did a wonderful job of handling this unusual situation.The classrooms had adequate natural light. The emergency generator was functioning so there was emergency lighting in the hallways, bathrooms, and the auditorium. The lunches went forward with selections that were not effected by the lack of power such as fruit cups, bagels, crustables, etc. Despite the challenges, learning went on! I would like to thank the  parents and teachers alike for their cooperation and patience. The students were wonderful throughout the day. For those who participate in either the Homework Club and Reading Club, the programs will take place this afternoon as planned.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Today's bulletin has been posted.  Please click the link below to see important dates and events. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Please check today's bulletin.  Also note that the October lunch menu has changed slightly.  It can be found on the BPS website:, "community pages".  Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Happy Friday!  Today's bulletin is now available on the Principal's blog.  Please click the link below.  Remember to check your child's backpack.  The new Homework Club permission slip has been sent home today.  In addition, we are offering a Reading Club to Grades 1 and 2, also on Tuesdays and Thursdays this session.  Coming soon will be Math Olympiad for Grades 4 and 5 on Monday afternoons until March.  Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bulletin October 5, 2012

Today's bulletin has been posted.  Happy Columbus Day Weekend - see you Tuesday.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

The Francis Wyman Weekly Bulletin is available for your reading pleasure.  Have a terrific weekend.

Meet and Greet Special Education Staff

Dear Burlington Parents,
Are you wondering what services are available to help your child succeed in school? Would you like to meet the new Director of Special Education as well as the staff who work with your children? Come out on Monday evening October 1, 2012 at 6:30 P.M to the Burlington High School School Committee Room.  The Burlington PAC is hosting a meet and greet event to introduce Louise D'Amato our new Director of Special Education. Ms. D'Amato will present staff members and will be able to address questions about Burlington's Special Education programs. For more information about this event or any other PAC sponsored events, or questions about how to advocate on your child's behalf, please contact Dennis McCarron at or at 781-273-5663.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

The weekly bulletin is available for your review.  Please note that the first PTO meeting has been changed to October 3, 2012 at 6:30pm.  All parents are encouraged to attend.  Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Happy Friday!  Please view today's bulletin.  School pictures for Grades K,1, and 5 are Tuesday, September 18. And pictures for Grades 2,3, and 4 are Wednesday, September 19. Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Francis Wyman Open House

Francis Wyman Open House
Thursday, September 13, 2013
Grade 3    6:00 -6:30 team presentation in auditorium
6:30 -7:30 visit Grade 3 classrooms
Grade 4     6:30-7:00 team presentation in auditorium
7:00-8:00 visit Grade 4 classrooms
Grade 5   
7:00 -7:30  team presentations in auditorium
7:30-8:30 visit Grade 5 classrooms
6:30-8:00 visit non-classroom teachers(specialists, special Ed, guidance ,etc)

Grades K,1,2 will be September 20th 6:00 - 8:00pm

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Welcome to Nicole McDonald - Assistant Principal / Team Chair

Welcome to Nicole McDonald the new Assistant Principal / Team Chair! Nicole has worked in Burlington for the past 7 years. She is actually returning to Francis Wyman School as she began in Burlington right here as a Special Education teacher. She has worked for the past 6 years as the Out of District Special Education Program Coordinator. She is very familiar with the various special education programs at Francis Wyman School and will bring a wealth of knowledge.

Prior to coming to Burlington, Nicole worked in California for 14 years. She was a teacher and then Reading Specialist at both the elementary and middle school levels.

Nicole will bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to FWS! We are very excited to have her back in this administrative role. Nicole will be available to meet parents at both Open House Nights so please feel free to say hello!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lego Robotics Club 2012

Our grade 5 students enjoyed working in teams to develop their robots. They presented their projects to parents and Dr. Conti. Thank you to the HIgh School Robotics Team for their time and energy mentoring these aspiring engineers!

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15th Bulletin

June 15, 2012

June 18 – 6pm  - 5th Grade Celebration
June 20 –  8:30am – Used Book Store for all grades and parents
June 21 – 11:45am Last Day of School, Dismissal 11:45am

Please pick up your child’s medication in the nurse’s office no later than Wednesday, June 20, 2012.  All remaining medications will be discarded.

Used Book Store
The last used bookstore for the year will be on June 20th from 8:30-9:15 for ALL students (we will not have a separate afternoon one).  Parents are welcome to attend this last bookstore to help their children pick out books for summer reading.  All books are 25 cents or bring a book to trade.  Hope to see everyone there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - Thank You PTO!

This past Thursday, the Francis Wyman School staff was treated to a luncheon that would have made all of Red Sox Nation proud! Thanks to the leadership of Mrs. Becky Icken and the support of the luncheon volunteers, the entire staff enjoyed a delightful lunch in a room that was transformed into Fenway  Park. As teachers arrived, they walked down the hallway with green grass under their feet and red banners on the wall. Each banner highlighted each staff member and was attached to a thank you letter that was personally written by a student. The art room was covered with Red Sox decorations, including a wall to wall banner that looked like baseball fans sitting in the stands looking in at the teachers. There was popcorn, soft pretzels, ice cream, hotdogs, nachos, and even cotton candy. The selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees was extensive, each one delicious. The desserts were absolutely incredible tempting all to sample a variety as they couldn’t have just one! There were even raffle tickets for prizes for staff. During this one lunch period, everyone felt like they were at a party and truly had a wonderful time. Teachers could not stop talking about all the time, thought, effort and creativity that went into planning and hosting this event. The next day they couldn’t wait to check the teachers’ room for leftovers! Speaking for all the staff, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Becky and her team. We truly felt so special and appreciated. The luncheon was a grand slam!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Today's bulletin has been posted.  Have a safe and enjoyable weekend. 

A Time for Goodbye

It seems that most every year there are a few faculty members who leave Francis Wyman School for new adventures. This year we have three people who are leaving us. All have contributed greatly to the school community. These occasions are bittersweet as we share in their excitement but are also saddened to see them leave us. The reality is that change is inevitable.

Three years ago, Mr. Michael Giurlando came to Francis Wyman School to be the Assistant Principal/Team Chair. “Mr. G.”, as the students like to call him, is about to begin an exciting new time in his life. He is getting married in July and relocating to New Mexico!  Mr. Giurlando’s bride is originally from New Mexico and they are looking forward to building their new life together near family and friends. Of course all of us wish him the best, but he will surely be missed!

Ms. Christine Lyons is retiring after over 38 years of teaching. Wow! What an accomplishment! Ms. Lyons has taught several grades but her longevity in grade three is what we remember most. Her talent and dedication is most appreciated by her students, our teachers, and the many families she has been connected to throughout the years. Congratulations to Ms. Lyons! We wish her many years of enjoyment in retirement!

There is another teacher retiring! Mrs. Bonnie Gilman, one of our special education teachers, has been teaching for over 34 years. This longevity is a tremendous accomplishment! Mrs. Gilman has positively impacted so many students through her years here. Her dedication to her students has made an important difference in their lives. We will miss her expertise but share in her excitement as she begins the next chapter of her life. 

Congratulations to all! You will always be part of the fabric of Francis Wyman Elementary School!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Please take a moment to review the bulletin page.  Please note that our last day of school is June 21, and we will be having an early dismissal.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Principal for a Day

Please enjoy these photos of our "Principal for a Day", Tyler Norden, and his Assistant Principal, Nick Pazzia.

Visiting classrooms giving students some words of wisdom.

Updating Dr. Conti as to how things were going at FWS and discussing the idea of allowing some kind of homework pass.

Writing an email to teachers about the homework coupon which would allow students to exchange one homework assignment for reading twenty minutes instead.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Principal's Coffee at True North May 31

Throughout the year I have held a number of parent coffees so that parents could have an opportunity to participate in conversations about FWS. We have discussed a large variety of topics generated from parent questions and concerns. The new standards based report cards, RtI, assessment, interventions, Common Core standards, technology, afterchool clubs,  the anti-bullying policy and allergy policies,  are but a few of the topics discussed. Parents who have attended have appreciated the opportunity to participate in these conversations as they have left with a better understanding of what is going on at our school. They have indicated that they feel more comfortable asking questions and sharing concerns in this smaller more relaxed setting. The final coffee will be held this week at True North at 9am on May 31. I am hoping this venue will entice more parents to attend as True North provides a casual and enjoyable atmosphere. I plan to be at True North from 9-10am so please stop by for some coffee and conversation!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Please review the bulletin for all the latest information regarding end-of-year dates and activities.  Have a very happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Principal for the Day

Tyler Norden was the lucky winner of "Principal for a Day" at the FW Family Carnival this year.  He chose Nicholas Pazzia as his assistant on Monday this week as he lead the school and interacted with students, teachers and even the Superintendent. Here is a report from "Principal Norden" :

Principal and Assistant Principal for the day was one of the most thrilling days of elementary school.  We had lots of things to do like give out CARES coupons to many teachers for having 2SQ lines. (straight, single, quiet).  We visited every class and gave them our inspirational speech:
  • School helps fulfill your dreams.
  • Listen to your teachers
  • Study hard
  • Be responsible for your actions
  • Don't depend on others
  • If you listen you'll learn a lot of things
  • By reading, you can learn something new every day
  • Keep working hard and maybe you'll be principal one day
We consulted with Dr. Conti and had Principal's lunch with Grade 3 students.  We made the decision to give out homework coupons that allow students to read for 20 minutes instead of doing homework for one night.  It was a great experience following in Mrs. Astone's and Mr. G's foot steps.  It was like stepping into their shoes.  Today was a good experience and we should keep the tradition going for a long time!

Principal Norden
Assistant Principal Pazzia

Friday, May 18, 2012

Please view today's bulletin.  Happy weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Happy Mother's Day to all the FW moms! Please view today's bulletin for many important reminders.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

Today's Bulletin has been posted.  Many important dates are listed so please check it out.  Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Bulletin

April27, 2012

April 16 – 20 – No School, Spring Vacation
April 21 – Town ofBurlington Hazardous Waste Collection
May 2 – UsedBookstore
K-3 8:40-9:10
4-5 2:00-2:25
May 6 – BEF 5K RoadRace and Family Fun Run

Looking for the latest LUNCHMENU?  You can find it under the“community tab” on our website:

Burlington EdFoundation News

MASSAGES and MILKSHAKES andMUSIC, oh my! Lots of great vendors, activities and fun are to be had at BEF'sRoad Race on Sunday, May 6, 2012. Come at 8AM to register and enjoy a pre-racemassage from Ikier Wellness Center. Listen to the music of Boston's own Mix104.1, or grab an end-of-race milkshake from "Harvey", b.good'straveling ice cream truck. See to register and for moreinfo.

COMMUNITY YARD SALE  sponsored by Fox Hill PTO

Do you have household itemsthat you never use and would like to sell, children's clothes and toys thathave been outgrown?  If so, we have an opportunity for you: The CommunityYard Sale at the Fox Hill School on Saturday, May 5th (Rain dateSunday May 6th) from 9am - 2pm.   Reserve your12X12 foot space for $20 by Wednesday, May 2nd.   Don’tneed a whole space of your own but have some items you’d like to partwith?  Donate your sellable goods to the Fox Hill PTO table.  Forinfo contact Lauren @ 781-750-8036 or

BHS Post Graduation(all-night) Party

PLEASE HELP:Will you be a chaperone at the BHS Post Graduation (all-night) Party?  Westill need chaperones (both men and women) for the overnight shifts on MondayJune 11.  We have a few spots open for 2nd shift which is 12 am - 3 am andwe have a lot of spots open for 3rd shift which is 3am -5am.   You don'tneed to have a child in the high school, any adult that does not have a seniorat the party is welcome.  This is a great way to "pay itforward."  Help us this year and when your child graduates, theparents of underclassmen will be there for you!  To volunteer, or if youhave any questions, please contact Michele Shields at Michele_Shields@verizon.netor 781-270-5142.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

LEGO Robotics Club Starting April 30

With the support of the Burlington Education Foundation, last year FWS started a Lego Robotics Club for grade 5 students.This turned out to be a wonderful experience for over 30 fifth grade students. High school students from the Lego Robotics Team work together wtht the Lego Robotics teachers to provide students with this creative experience that incorporates math, science, technology and teamwork.The Lego Robotics Club meets on Mondays from 2:45- 3:45 at FWS starting April 30. Interested students need to register by Friday, April 27.

Here are some comments from the teachers and high school students who particapted last year:

I had a wonderful time teaching the kids about robots and problem solving, because I feel that they really got something from this program and they all seemed really into it. I had a great experience working with the kids, and was glad to pass on my knowledge to the kids and help them further any interests that they had in robotics. The kids looked up to me and it made me feel good to know that I was able to be a role model for the kids. I feel that I have motivated the kids to continue on with this pass time and turn it into a career someday. I hope that down the line they will join in the high school robotics club and bring many great and new ideas to engineering.

Matt Coleman

After meeting with the fifth graders for Lego league, I feel that there is a bright future in robotics in Burlington. The students we mentored were much like the younger scouts in my boy scout troop, they came in everyday ready to continue their projects and enjoying what they do. It was a pleasure to mentor these students, and in the end I learned the programming aspect of the Lego Mindstorm kits.

Billy Ryan

Mostly I think that mentoring the FLL at Francis Wyman was my most wise and enjoyable investment of time throughout High School. I got to know more about another branch of the FIRST program I have been in for three years and got to be part of a great reciprocation, yes, I was just as much the learner as the learned. As an experience, I like to call it the coup de grace of my early robotics and technology career, I was able to take all of the strategies and ideas I had learned and impart it with my love of the field while learning that any size allows for a great perspective and the more perspectives the better. I wish I had this when I was in elementary school and I hope that I've helped sow the seeds for a field of dreams, a Burlington that rivals Boston in technology and learning.

Gerry Pothier III

At the start of this program my vision was to see how science with engineering and technology could impact students at such a young age.  I was increasingly and pleasantly surprised as to how these 5th grade students dove into their kits and powered through each week to get an end result that when I was that age could never have imagined.  To watch how the students were able to work together as a team even when separated into different groups periodically says a lot for these future engineers.  This has been a rewarding experience for me as a parent to watch the students and their mentors who many I have known for years  perform as young adults  and excel in a learning environment. 

Roberta Pothier  

Miss Rigby and Miss Chirco

We really enjoyed learning about Lego Robotics with the fifth graders. It was a new experience for us, as well as most of the students. We found the high school students to be great resources for not only the students, but to us as well. Everyone worked extremely well together and teamwork was a huge aspect of what not only the students, but we learned from this experience as well. We found that the students were problem solving teams,constantly revising their work. They also were able to reflect upon their experiences after each meeting. All of the students enjoyed building and programming their robot, and we enjoyed watching them explore and learn about Lego Robotics. It was a great experience for everyone involved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FWS Annual Report

Francis Wyman Elementary School

Francis Wyman Elementary School continues to place a major focus on developing the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) instruction also known as Response to Intervention (RtI) . Teachers are continuing to explore innovative ways to maximize instructional groupings to support instruction for all students. We continue to group across the grade for reading in grades one through five and have expanded this model for mathematics in grades four and five. This fall we have changed to a new universal screening tool for both reading and mathematics called I- Ready. We are learning how to implement this new on-line assessment as well as how to interpret and use the data generated from the tool. Student progress continues to be closely monitored with a variety of progress monitoring assessment tools as teachers work together to respond to student needs. Teachers meet weekly with the principal to review student progress and determine adjustments to students’ programs to maximize their learning. The grade level teams work closely and collaboratively with the mindset that all teachers are responsible for the progress of all the students in the grade. This team approach provides students with the benefit of the wisdom and experience of our highly functioning teams and very talented teachers. Our Problem Solving Team process continues to deepen and develop as we work together with parents to individualize students’ programs as needs arise. We have added a number of new intervention options for students such as Lexia for reading and Symphony Math. In addition to interventions all students have access to our I-Ready instruction program for both reading and mathematics. As a result of a successful pilot, we have continued to offer the on-line Accelerated Reader program which supports all students as they develop as life-long readers. We are in our final stages of our implementation of the Fundations phonics program as grade three began this program in the fall. Francis Wyman School was delighted to host visits from several teams of teachers from various Massachusetts school districts as these schools explore how to implement a Multi-Tier System of Support instruction. We were also honored to be featured in the article “The Test Ahead” in the Boston Sunday Globe’s Globe Magazine. Francis Wyman School was highlighted as a success story for how we are finding ways to effectively provide support to all students.

In addition to academics, supporting students in the area of behavior is also part of the MTSS model. As we work to deepen our responsiveness to student needs, the guidance department was restructured from two guidance counselors to one guidance counselor and a school- based school psychologist. Both positions work together with all grades. The school psychologist manages the Problem Solving Team process and works closely with parents, teachers and students to proactively address challenges and concerns. By being an integral part the school, the school psychologist is able to gain a deeper understanding of student needs and is thus able to provide support that is direct and proactive. In collaboration with our guidance department, the FWS Instructional Leadership Team is developing a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program with the intent of implementing the program next year.

A new elementary student progress report was developed reflecting a standards -based format. A standards- based format indicates the standards that students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The reports were well received by most parents as they provide more detailed information regarding the curriculum. The new progress indicators report progress as measured against the end –of –year expectations.

This year has truly been the year of technology! Every classroom, including those rooms used by specialist teachers, special education teachers and reading teachers, now has an interactive whiteboard. Teachers are constantly finding effective ways to use this technology to enhance teaching and learning. We now have over sixty iPads for student and teacher use. All teachers in grades kindergarten through five along with special education teachers have at least one iPad for use in their classrooms. The rest of the iPads are shared among the classes as needed. In the hands of the students and teachers, these devices have propelled student engagement and interactive learning to new heights. We continue to add more portable computer stations comprised of four computer stations. These stations allow students to access the many computer programs that are now essential components of the curriculum. We have expanded our use of the student information management system, Aspen. This program supports the new student progress reports and allows us to tailor the information to our specific needs. The online access of the report card allows multiple users to access the information at any time. The FWS Technology and Innovation Team is comprised of several teachers who are committed to supporting the school with our technology initiatives and moving our use of technology in a meaningful and creative direction.

Communication has been enhanced through a variety of electronic forums as the school continues to move to a paperless environment. All of the Burlington School District and school websites have been changed and have a new design that provides information in a more consistent format. Parents can now follow Francis Wyman School on Facebook, Twitter, and the Principal’s Blog. Many departments and individual teachers have developed new blogs, wikis and websites. Principal Coffees occur every month alternating day and evening meetings. We continue to offer a variety of afterschool enrichment opportunities. Thanks to the support of the Burlington Education Foundation, the addition of the LEGO Robotics Club proved to be a huge success as over one third of our grade five students participated in this club. This joint venture with the high school LEGO Robotics Team was a wonderful learning experience for the FWS students, high school students, and teachers. We are pleased that this club will be an ongoing offering at FWS. A new club this year is the Reading Club for grades one through three. Family Math Night was well attended by students and families from all grades.

Several new curriculum teams have been developed to facilitate communication, distributed leadership, and shared decision-making in regard to curriculum and instruction. We now have district – wide curriculum councils in Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. More teachers have participated in “Learning Walks” through either formal training or by simply experiencing the process through classroom visits. This process provides embedded professional development as teachers learn from visiting their colleagues’ classrooms and observing students in the act of learning.

The PTO continues to be an active and supportive organization. Books, materials, field trips and enrichment activities are some of the benefits that the PTO provides through its volunteers and fundraising. The Carnival is the highlight event of the year thanks to the enormous effort of the PTO. Although fundraising events vary from year to year, the PTO remains a constant and steady support to FWS.

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan P. Astone