2017-06-09 / Community

Small Elementary School

Diane Lang, Principal

Small but Mighty is the Dora L. Small School motto and true in so many ways. Small School 5th graders Eva, Che-Hao, and Madeline were selected as three of the 10 finalists for the USM Osher Map Library map-making contest. Over 150 fifth graders throughout Maine submitted entries. Eva came in second place with her map, The World Through My Eyes. You can view the 10 finalists’ maps at http://contest.oshermaps.org/ Small 4th grade teachers applied for and won a competitive grant for our 4th graders to attend the Southern Maine Children’s Water Festival at USM. Over 700 students gathered from across the state for this hands-on experience. Students were educated about the role and importance of water in animal habitats, meeting human needs, and water quality protection for human and ecosystem health. This spring we held our second United Way Day of Caring when 10 volunteers from Gorham Savings under the leadership of Small School parent Stephanie Cooke cleaned and prepared our garden beds for another season. This year our classroom teachers participated in a Professional Learning Community using the text Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappius. During staff meetings each month, teachers discussed strategies outlined in this text and shared evidence of how they were applying

them in their classrooms to assess student proficiency with our learning targets. Our PTA held a Read-a-thon where our students read more than 45,000 minutes and raised over $10,000 for our school. All of our field trips are paid through our PTA fundraisers. A special project they are taking on this year is adding another section of swings to our popular playground. On the evening of May 31 I witnessed hundreds of parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles from the district singing “Happy Birthday” to Curtis (Small School 5th grader) at the annual 5th grade band concert held at South Portland High School. This event is the first concert of many in the lives of South Portland students. Our district’s music program is well supported by our community and the SP Music Boosters. To learn more how to become involved, visit http://www.southportlandmusicboosters.org/home These are but a few events that occurred this year for our school community. The year was filled with thousands of moments that captured the character and culture of our students, parents, teachers, and community members. On any given day you can witness older students tending to their younger peers through playing, reading, or holding an anxious hand as they bring them to their classroom. You can see teachers and students laughing together at morning meeting or sitting one-on-one in writers’ conferences discussing

the stars (accomplishments) and steps (next learning objective) of the writing piece. You will find our parents volunteering in classrooms, on field trips, or simply being a warm welcoming face at the beginning and end of each day. On June 14 Small School will open a time capsule created by Andrea Powell and her 4th grade class in 1992. Mrs. Powell and some of her 1992 students, including our own Mrs. Follansbee, will be there to open the time capsule. On this day we will create a new time capsule. Each grade level has been given the task of providing an item to represent “our time.” I wonder how will they be able to represent the talent, rigor, leadership, commitment, and compassion of our community.

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