2015-05-29 / Community

Small Elementary School

Diane Lang, Principal

This year Small School developed a transition team comprising parents, staff, and administration. This team identified quality teachers, accessible administration and staff, high academic and behavior standards, and a strong school community feel as areas it wanted to continue. They also identified areas they wanted to grow and improve: communication of all stakeholders, parental involvement, and enrichment of curriculum. Here is a sample of how Small School has worked toward maintaining and building on its success. The Small PTA is an integral component of the school community. Small’s gardens were established and are cared for by parent volunteers. This year the PTA was awarded a grant for its gardens. Some of that money is going towards revitalizing and expanding the second grade insect garden which will enrich and enhance the science curriculum. The PTA is important in developing and fostering volunteers. Small is expected to clock more than 3,000 volunteer hours by parents and extended family members. The PTA continues to offer Popcorn Fridays, roller skating nights, March Madness, and movie nights, to mention just a few events. New this year was the winter craft fair with work from students and local artists. The fair highlighted musical performances by students, a book sale, a bake sale, and a craft table for children. Oh yes, and they raised over $8,000 which funded all of our field trips and supported classroom enrichment which could fill another page. Our teachers and staff are the heart of our school. The level of care, rigor, and professionalism is outstanding. Our teachers are continually involved in professional development to improve their craft and increase student achievement. This year all Small teachers were given the book Doing Math in Morning Meeting and provided professional development by STEM and PBL Coordinator Angela Marzilli. Our staff meetings focused on proficiency-based learning, formative and summative assessments, and student self-assessment. SPSD Curriculum Director Becky Brown facilitated this work. Many staff participated in a variety of district-wide professional development which included increasing literacy and technology skills. Small School hosted A Day of Code in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Technology integrators from across the city and special guests from Kepware Technologies in Portland led 4th and 5th grade students through three workshops to learn the basics of computer programming. Our students are the jewels of our school. Fifth graders in Abby Morgan’s class have expanded their composting efforts this year. Last year they had every class composting in their rooms for snack time. This year they have the whole school composting during lunch time. Under 5th graders leadership, we have reduced our garbage from 850 pounds a week to 50 pounds per week. Amazing. Fourth grade students presented the results of their monthlong Local History Local Schools unit of study. Their work was displayed at the Maine Historical Society gallery exhibition. The Small School Transition Team evolved into the Parent Advisory Council. This team meets monthly and seeks to improve instruction and increase communication between parents, staff, and administration. That is just a taste of the rich learning and opportunities that occur daily in our school community because the entire community works together to give flight to its youngest members.

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