Looking Back and Ahead
Another school year has come to an end and another collection of memories has been formed. It was a wonderful year filled many successes, and I would like to thank the students, parents, and entire Lower School faculty for making my first year as the Head of Lower School an enjoyable one.
As we look back on some of the academic highlights from the 2011-12 school year, we are reminded of Lower’s School commitment to providing students with the best possible educational experience:
- Successfully transitioned to a full-day Kindergarten program that allowed more opportunities to balance play-based experiences with a strong academic program;
- Renovated our pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten building to enhance the learning environment and provide a warm, welcoming early childhood experience;
- Implemented a new phonics program in Kindergarten that allowed students to explore letters and sounds through meaningful direct instruction and hands-on activities;
- Introduced a new spelling program in fourth and fifth grade that allowed students to engage in enriching word study lessons;
- Implemented a reading workshop in fifth grade that encouraged students to be passionate, independent readers;
- Increased and improved the use of technology to enhance communication, teaching, and, learning;
- Improved writing workshop instruction through professional development led by expert in writing instruction, Katie Wood Ray;
- Allowed students to take ownership and responsibility of community service initiatives and had several student-led service projects at individual grade levels;
- Created a Response to Intervention committee to research and discuss more effective ways to differentiate instruction and provide support for students with a variety of strengths and areas for growth.
This list is impressive, but it does not even begin to capture the individual efforts and initiatives taken by Lower School faculty members who care deeply about reflecting on their practice and continuing to grow and develop as educators.
It is the faculty and staff who make Lower School a special place, and it is often hard when we have to say goodbye to a member of our family. This year is no different, and we find ourselves saddened to be losing some of our talented Lower School educators, but also excited for the opportunities that lay ahead for them and us.
As we look ahead to next year, I would like to review the personnel changes Marianne Stapleton shared with you in May, and announce a few additional changes that we just recently learned about.
- Don Beardsley and Carol Smith are retiring after 18 and 23 years of service respectively;
- Mary Glenn Crumpler will transition from teaching second grade to join the third grade team;
- Joni Keene will be returning to Ravenscroft and will join the second grade team;
- Sherri Ausbon will be returning to the Kindergarten classroom;
- Amy Pendergrass will be returning to her position as Director of Extended Day;
- Suzanne Ray will be departing and embarking on an exciting new career opportunity;
- Gladys Madauss will be moving to Washington D.C. to be with her husband who has been offered an exciting new job;
- Maria Ramusevic will be taking on a new position in the Middle School as the media center assistant;
- Julie Folsom will be taking on a new position in Middle School as a 6th grade language arts teacher.
Mrs. Folsom’s move to Middle School will provide a natural bridge for our fifth to sixth grade transition and will allow us to better align the two divisions. Our current fifth grade program will be redesigned to be taught by four teachers. One teacher will teach reading and writing in order to provide a meaningful connection between the two disciplines. The other three teachers will continue to teach math, social studies, and science, but also will be incorporating new units of study into their curriculum that integrate their content area with reading and writing skills and strategies. We are excited about the additional opportunities for extended class periods, new advisory activities, and flexible classroom space this new structure will provide.
Again, thank you for your support in making this a wonderful school year. I will be around all summer working hard to plan for the 2012-13 school year. Please feel free to email, call, or schedule a meeting with me at any time, as I look forward to getting to know you better.
Enjoy the summer!