BN - January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011

Dear Friends of Gateway:

Here is this week’s installment of Gateway’s weekly e-newsletter.  Back issues of Breaking News and past Superintendent’s Corners are posted in the GRSD News Archive (under “News” on the district website).  As always, your feedback and any suggestions for improvements are welcome. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting." - Benjamin Franklin

UPCOMING MEETINGS: The Gateway Regional School Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 19th (rescheduled due to last week's snowstorm) at 7:30 p.m. in the library of the Gateway campus. Agenda items include 2nd semester field trips, guidance updates, and a motion to return a total of $349,703 to the towns (excess of five percent of the operating and budgeted capital costs) with the request that the towns set that money aside to offset assessments for the FY'12 budget. The discussion on One Man, One Vote with town officials, to help determine which option is brought before the voters this spring, has been postponed to the January 26th meeting. The public is welcome to attend School Committee meetings, as an important way to learn more about how the district operates. Please note that any questions or concerns should first be brought to the appropriate district staff member (i.e. a specific teacher, principal or Central Office staff member). The first agenda item of every school committee meeting is hearing issues that are not on the posted agenda. The Friends of Gateway meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the Superintendent's Office. The next meeting will be Tuesday, February 1, 2011. New members are welcome to join this group, which supports district communications and volunteers.

MEET OUR NEW MATH TEACHER: Hannah Sullivan has joined the Gateway faculty and is teaching mathematics in 8th and 9th grades.
Photo of new math teacher
 

SCHOOL CLIMATE PAC MEETING POSTPONED: Tonight's School Climate Pac meeting is postponed due to the district's snow day. Members will be contacted later this week with a new meeting date.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS SOUGHT FOR TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE:
Some background in technology is preferred, but not required of committee members.

JANUARY SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETINGS (REPRISE):
Last week's snowstorm forced the postponement of the January 12th School Committee meeting to January 19th. Town officials are invited to the 1/26 meeting to discuss One Man, One Vote.

HIGH SCHOOL EXAM SCHEDULE: Mid-term exams for full year classes, and final exams for half-year courses, start tomorrow.

CHESTER PARENTS LEAD PLAYGROUND EFFORT: "How can we call recess enjoyable when our children have only one set of swings and one basketball hoop to share among 150 students?"

LITTLEVILLE NOTES: Parents are reminded that staff members are not on duty until 8:40 a.m. Students who are dropped off prior to 8:40 will be sent to the wrap around program (fees charged) to ensure supervision.

UPCOMING AT CHESTER: Kindergarten grades will close at Chester on January 21st. On January 25th, the school will observe "National Opposite Day" as a school spirit day.

LITTLEVILLE WRAP AROUND SNOW DAY PROCEDURES:
Littleville's Wrap Around program will be open on Snow Days, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee will be $30 for one child; $50 for two children; and $70 for three or more children (from one family). If no one arrives by 9 a.m., Wrap Around will close.

SAVE THE DATE FOR ANNUAL SPORTS BANQUET: Student athletes, coaches and parents should put Wednesday, June 1st on their calendar for the Annual Sports Banquet, which recognizes all high school sports teams from the 2010-2011 school year. The event will take place from 6 - 10 p.m. at Tekoa Country Club. Ticket prices will be $25 for adults, $10 for athletes, coaches and children under 12. More details to come!

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) SCREENINGS COMPLETED: Parents/guardians are receiving confidential reports from legally mandated screenings on Body Mass Index on each student in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10. Letters to each parent state their student's height, weight and BMI percentile, and a general explanation of those findings. The letter also cautions that BMI may not tell the whole story about a child's weight (see more in our Weblink of the Week - below).

WEBLINK OF THE WEEK:
BODY MASS INDEX WEBSITES: Letters home regarding the BMI of students in grades 1,4, 7 and 10 explained that other things--besides weight--can affect a child's BMI. For example, BMI cannot tell the difference between muscle and fat; therefore, an athletic child with a lot of muscle may have a high BMI but not be overweight. Here are some additional resources: the Mass in Motion website, which has no and low-cost activities to get families moving; the USDA's website on healthy eating, and the Kids Health Website on what to do if your child is overweight.

REMINDERS:

  • VOCATIONAL SCHOOL APPLICATION PROCESS ANNOUNCED: As in the past, students interested in attending Smith Voke or Westfield Voke in the 2011-12 school year must complete an application, gather teacher and counselor reccomendations, and meet with an admissions counselor at the voke--and hand in required documentation by March 1, 2011.
  • HOLIDAY, HALF-DAYS IN JANUARY: Read the complete article for details on Martin Luther King Day and the two January half-days for staff professional development. What's open? What's not?
  • IS SCHOOL CLOSED OR RELEASING EARLY?
    Know how to find out? Check out this (updated) article for details.

  • AFTERSCHOOL MCAS PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STARTS THURSDAY: Support for students preparing for the English Language Arts MCAS exam (or retest) this spring, will begin afterschool on Thursday, January 13th. Additional programs will be held later this schoolyear for mathematics and science/technology. This program is free of charge and runs from 2:10 - 4 p.m. on Thursdays (late bus available). First priority to juniors and seniors who have not yet passed the exam; 2nd priority to students who scored at warning/needs improvement or failing on their last exam. Please RSVP to Mr. Tichacek (ttichacek@grsd.org, or call 685-1114.
  • BAY PATH 'DECISION DAY' AT GATEWAY: Katelynn Shea, Bay Path College admissions officer, will be at Gateway Regional High School on Wednesday, January 26 to conduct a 'Decision Day' for seniors who want to apply to this private, 4-year women's college in Longmeadow. Seniors who hand in an application, SAT or ACT scores, and a transcript will receive an admissions decision by the end of the day. Interested students should sign up in the guidance office and meet with their guidance counselor beforehand to gather necessary materials.
  • FAFSA HELP NIGHT AT GATEWAY: The event will be rescheduled, due to last week's snowstorm. See the basic details in the complete article on this extremely helpful workshop; stay tuned for more information on the rescheduled date.
  • ALUMNI INVITED TO SHARE INSIGHTS: The Gateway Regional School Committee has invited alumni from the Classes of 2006-2010 to take an online survey and provide feedback on their educational experience.
  • GATEWAY SCHOOL SAFETY HOTLINE: A reminder on one way to report harassment, bullying, drug or alcohol concerns, vandalism, and school safety issues, as a way to keep Gateway schools safe for all students.
  • CHESTER WRAP AROUND WINTER DETAILS: The Chester Wrap Around program, which is in its first year of operation, will adhere to the following when school is delayed, canceled or released early due to winter weather. Wrap Around will start at 9 a.m. on delayed start days, to allow time for the parking lot to be cleared. If children are released early due to weather, and your child is scheduled to be at Wrap Around that day, your child will be kept at school until you pick them up (as close to dismissal time as possible). If school is canceled, children from Chester Elementary School are welcome to join the Littleville Wrap Around Program (but please note details on how that program operates on snow days). Please speak with Mrs. Sanderson if you think you will pursue that option. The Littleville Wrap Around Program number is 685-1340 (Mrs. Melinda Slowey).
  • SAVE THE DATE FOR SEMI-FORMAL: The Gateway Regional High School Student Council is sponsoring the Annual Semi-Formal dance, to be held on February 4th from 6 - 10:30 p.m. at Tekoa Country Club. More details to come.
  • LITTLEVILLE RECYCLING FUNDRAISER: The Littleville PTO is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Protect the environment by donated used items (cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital video cameras, ink jet cartridges, MP3 players and more). Items may be dropped off at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays and this will be an ongoing fundraiser.
  • HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULE ONLINE: The boys basketball team had their season opener last night. Don't miss another boys or girls basketball game, wrestling meet or alpine skiing race! For a look at all of the home and away sports contests this winter, click here (may be found at www.highschoolsports.net).
  • REMINDER TO SCHOOL VISITORS: Please park in the parking lot when visiting the schools. Passing a school bus/van is punishable by a minimum $150 fine. Bus drivers can, and will, report your license plate number and a citation will be issued in the mail. For the safety of all children, please obey all bus laws.
  • ONLINE ACCESS TO STUDENT GRADES FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS: Parents/guardians of students in grades 5 - 12 can now monitor their student's assignments, homework, grades and attendance online.
  • The Application for Free and Reduced Lunch
  • STUDENT FEES FOR 2010-11: Information on student fees for parking and athletics, and building use fee information are posted in this article. 

IN CLOSING, this week's Superintendent's Corner is now posted. This week, Dr. Hopson previews the coming 'budget season'. Read the entire column for details!

Have a wonderful week!

                                                                                         Wendy V. Long, Editor

 

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an email request to gatewaynews@grsd.org

“Breaking News From Gateway”
Is published weekly by the Gateway Regional School District
12 Littleville Rd.
Huntington, MA  01050

For questions or feedback, please contact Wendy Long @ (413) 685-1003 or email wlong@grsd.org

© 2011, Gateway Regional School District