On Thursday morning, the Day School Student Senate presented information about our upcoming Special Olympics fundraiser and celebrated the achievements of fifth grader Meggie Norton. Meggie is a Special Olympian and has won 9 gold medals in skiing, 1 bronze medal in soccer, 2 gold medals and 1 bronze medal in swimming, and 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals in gymnastics. Meggie will be competing in gymnastics in the Special Olympics of Massachusetts Summer Games at Harvard University on Saturday, June 10th. I am sure we can expect many more medals from this superstar!
Day School celebrated the amazing projects of our young scientists and engineers on Wednesday evening, February 15. Our annual STEM fair featured the projects of 100 students who investigated scientific inquiry questions such as "How does honey crystallize?" or completed engineering projects such as robots that plant seeds. Congratulations to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students who participated this year.
The Day School welcomed Kate Middlemiss from the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation on Wednesday, February 15. Kate led an amazing motivational assembly about the power of kindness. Kate shared the powerful idea that even small acts of kindness can make big impacts in the world. The foundation donated books with themes of kindness to the Day School library. At the end of the assembly, Kate surprised Mr. Regan with a buddy bench donated to the school playground in his honor. To learn more about teaching inclusion and the use of the buddy bench visit http://www.tolerance.org/playground-buddy
Members of Ms. Morton's fifth grade class celebrated Valentine's Day by writing individual messages of kindness to each Day School student. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students were surprised by sticky notes on their lockers with messages such as "I have faith in you and your dreams!" Students also went the extra mile by writing personalized messages to each staff member in the building. Thank you to this group of fifth graders for their special acts of kindness!
The members of the Fall 2016 Book Club read "Half a Chance" by Cynthia Lord. The students had a great time reading and discussing the book. Many students took pictures and created PicCollages of their photos inspired by the book, where the main character entered a photo contest. Here is a link to slideshow of the photo collages. We will be offering a Spring book club to 4th and 5th grade students, so please consider signing up. The sign up information will be sent home after February vacation.
Math interventionist Marjorie Masse was recently recognized by the national Inspired2Educate program.
By Alexander Silva
Marjorie Masse struggled to read and write in second grade, and still remembers the physical education teacher who helped her overcome those challenges -- inspiring her to one day pursue a career in education. Masse, a math interventionist in the Westford Public Schools, was recently recognized by Inspired2Educate, a national program sponsored by the PeopleAdmin Company. The program highlights one teacher in the country a month after an essay contest where teachers write about someone who inspired them to pursue a career in education.
"Marjorie (Masse) wrote about an incredible teacher, who took the time to care about her," Westford Superintendent Bill Olsen said. "That's what we ask of our teachers in Westford - to believe in the students. It makes all the difference in the world in terms of a child's development."
Masse grew up in Newton before moving to Pennsylvania, but moved back to Massachusetts in Chelmsford six years ago. Masse has worked at Westford Public Schools for more than a year. "Individually and as a society, we owe much to our educators," PeopleAdmin CEO Kermit Randa stated. "They inspire us to be our best, they set us on the road to greater achievement and happiness in life, and they play an integral role in shaping the future for our youth. Yet educating is an incredibly hard job."
The Inspired2Educate program began in February, but Masse's essay was selected for the month of August and the recognition ceremony was held on Sept. 28 at the Norman E. Day School. "We want to celebrate educators and the enormous impact they have on our communities and the lives of others for decades and generations to come," stated Randa. "We want to help enable that at a time when our schools need it most. With our Inspired2Educate program...; we want to encourage a national conversation around the many different ways educators leave a lasting positive impact on us - not just while we're in school, but for as long as we live."
The Westford Eagle asked Masse some questions about her recent recognition.
How long have you been in education?
A long time. I taught in a second grade and at a camp for children with learning differences as an intern during high school. Then as an adult I worked as a substitute teacher, environmental educator, director of education at a children's museum, college professor, online Title I reading and math coach and director of children's ministries.
When did you first realize you wanted to get into education?
Becoming a teacher for me was not precipitated from any one experience or person, but from a variety of steps and missteps and many great teachers and role models.
What's your role at Westford Public Schools?
I work as a grades three to five math interventionist. This is a wonderful position working with teachers and administrators intervening to support the specific needs of students in math. It is inspiring to see students we worked with in grades three or four demonstrating confidence and capability in the following grades.
What were you recognized for?
I wrote an essay about a teacher who inspired my career in education. I was a student who struggled to read, control my emotions and sit still. My physical education teacher took me under her wing and really set me on a better path, showing me my strengths and inspiring me to learn. I wrote about how she always saw things in a positive light -- especially a struggle.
How does it feel to be acknowledged for your work?
Wonderful, but I am also a little uncomfortable with all the attention that I have been receiving. I know there are a lot of people out there who have overcome much greater challenges than my own. However, I do feel quite fortunate to have been recognized for this essay, and even more so to be here capable of writing and teaching after overcoming my earlier academic challenges. Moreover, I am really excited because I recently reconnected with my gym teacher, Ms. Smith. I am planning a short day trip to visit with her. I will be able to present her with the award that the PeopleAdmin representatives had given me in case I located her.
Why is it important to help students who might be struggling with math?
It is important to anyone struggling with anything to learn to value the struggle. Inside the struggle, when properly guided, we learn about ourselves. We gain self-esteem. We overcome. When we become comfortable in the struggle we find hope, and that is where teaching becomes critical. We need to not only allow children to struggle, but to encourage this, helping them view it as a pathway to growth.
What was the ceremony at Norman E. Day School like?
It was amazing and overwhelming.
It was really nice to be able to help the children understand how I won the contest, working and reworking the essay. Because I was able to have the attention of so many of the children in the school all at once, I was able to share with them the main theme of the essay. I spoke to them about that powerful little word -- "yet." That little word takes the limits off of our thinking. It helps us get unstuck when we get into a negative mindset.
Why do you think Westford schools are successful?
I have only worked here for slightly over one year, but I have a few ideas of what makes this a great school. I see teachers, administrators, staff and parent volunteers coming in early, staying late, collaborating and focused on the same things, helping every child succeed and feel safe, included and valued. I am so lucky to be part of this team. The people here inspire me!
Follow reporter Alexander Silva on Twitter @IndieEagleWL.
Third graders had so much fun creating winter crafts and playing holiday games just in time for the December break. Thanks to all of the parents who made our parties special!
Fourth grade morning math students had fun combining math and art. Students framed the perimeter of a shape with ribbon and filling in the area with arrays of stamping. Thank you Mrs. MacDonald, Mrs. Hansen, and Mrs. Masse for making morning math so much fun.
The Norman E. Day School won second place in the Youth Division for its entry in the annual
Westford Regency Festival of Trees.
Students and staff celebrated a week of kindness by challenging themselves to be mindful of doing random acts for others at home and school. Each doily on the tree represents a kind act. We were also successful in raising money to fund one of the weekly brunches hosted by the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation for parents and families
of pediatric patients at Boston Children's Hospital.
Special thanks to Mrs. Carpenter for spearheading this compassion project and Mrs. Agneta for kindly donating the tree.
Day School third grader Clara Anderson and
Miller School first grader Caden Anderson presented
a $1,000 check for the Miller and Day PTO.
The generous donation was funded through the Cummings Properties Employee
Directed Giving Program.
Thank you for supporting our schools!