Dear Parents, Can you believe it's already April? With the amazing Arts Equinox behind us, we're gearing up for Teacher Appreciation (stay tuned for details on how you can get involved) and Spring Fair (5/23 with rain date 5/31).Recently the PTO Executive Committee went through our teacher grants process. It happens twice per year where we are able to give a total of $10,000 to support our amazing teachers. We're sorry we don't have an eye pleasing infographic to share this information, but you should know that this was all made possible through the generosity of our parents through the Family Giving Campaign, and that our teachers are thrilled. Here are the details:
- Dinan Messiqua, (Special Education Teacher, LAHB Program, Driscoll School): Reserach Institute for Learning and Developement: Annual Learning Differences Conference: Executive Function, Metacognition, and Emotion: Promoting Students’ Engagement in The Classroom Harvard Graduate School of Education.
- Courtney Hart and Courtney Pelletier: Promoting Diversity Through Reading. By receiving this grant, 6th, 7th, & 8th grade students will have access to a larger variety of books with culturally and racially diverse characters and/or written by diverse authors. Particularly, some of these books will be used with the 7th grade reading/writing unit that focuses on historical fiction book groups. Due to the material that's currently available, the unit ends up focusing on Holocaust/World War 2 literature. While this is an important topic and is definitely discussed during this unit, this grant allows for more books that touch on other difficult times within history, both fiction and nonfiction, at multiple reading levels.
- Kyle Tompkins: Building a Mini-Maker Cart. A child in upper elementary today will be entering the prime of their careers in 2040 - we have NO idea what the world will be like then. Therefore it is crucial to develop timeless skills such as curiosity, creativity, and the ability to learn on one’s own. The creation of a mini-maker cart will promote these ideals within the classroom. The design thinking process is and problem based learning opportunities are important for students future success, and the activities conncected with them need materials.
- Angela Harvey: 2nd grade biography unit. By receiving this grant, I will be able to purchase books that will enhance our 2nd grade biography unit. I will focus on purchasing books that are racially and culturally diverse, in addition to being age appropriate. I will share these books with my 2nd grade team. Our students should have access to books, within our classroom, that meet their needs as readers as well as global citizens.
- Olivia Reyelt: Theater Visual Arts Displays. The final stage of a student's creation is the exhibition. The visual arts that the Driscoll students create produces a positive experience and energy, not only for the students themselves, but also for the wider Driscoll community. Producing and displaying the artwork of our students celebrates their diversity and individuality and variety creating a stronger and more caring community. Student inspiration often comes from students seeing their work alongside their peers' work, generating new questions for themselves as artists and promoting greater curiosity. With more space for hanging student work there will be a greater connection and collaboration between art, music and drama.
- Courtney Pelletier and Courtney Hart: Middle School English Books. By recieving this grant the middle school English teachers will be able to buy new copies of class books that need to be replaced. In addition, the teachers will be able to purchase new, high interest books that will promote reading for all of our students. The students will be exposed to new reading materials through book groups, individual book choice, and whole class text. The teachers will purchase high interest books in genres that are currently lacking sets, such as fantasy and graphic novels.
- Tara Kelly: Leveled Reading Resources. A significant amount of teaching literacy in the Learning Center focuses on a systematic phonological approach. It is important, however, that we balance our teaching approach using a combination of both controlled and uncontrolled text. These books offer greater content diversity. Additionally, these resources are highly engaging and help bridge the transition between the mainstream classroom and the Learning Center. Moreover, our students benefit from reading multiple books in a series with familiar characters.
- Mackenzie Snow, Sarah Cuddihy, and Danielle Trimarchi: First Grade Sensory Tools. Students would be able to use these tools to help improve their focus and stamina throughout the school day. Flexible seating such as move and sit cushions, kick bands and rocking camp chairs are designed to give students the feeling of a lot of movement. This movement provides an outlet for energy that allows them to maintain their focus without distracting those around them. Providing our students with the choice to use these tools will increase their self-awareness, as well as help them to develop strategies to monitor their on-task behavior. Our goal is that they would have access to the tools they need to do their best learning and feel successful in the classroom.
- Jen Doubilet, Lisa Berk, and Allison Lenk: Word study manipulatives and games. This grant will allow us to provide an opportunity for our students to practice phonics concepts with a multisensory approach.Phonics skills need to be practiced frequently for students to internalize and apply to their reading and writing. These materials and games will also provide a transfer to the classroom as we will lend them to classroom teachers.
- Joesphine Bouquet, Bianca Medina, and Susie Planert: 4th Grade Author Visit: Anita SIlvey. As we embark on our annual Explorer Project, a visit from Anita Silvey will help provide students with an example of the process of researching a famous explorer. She researched the life of and wrote a book about Jane Goodall, and sharing her experience helps inspire students to engage in the research process. Students will also have the opportunity to ask her questions about her experiences. We found that when she visited last year, students were highly motivated to embark on their own research and writing projects.
- Marianne Taylor: 8th Grade Play. The 8th grade play team is requesting more money for costumes and sets. The budget is currently very slim for the type of production we would like to put on. The extra money would help us with our current stipend and matterial shortages. We really want to put on a steller production of Lion King this year!!
- Francesca Stark: Driscoll Bird Sanctuary. Two years ago a Bird Sanctuary started to form little by little outside the kindergarten wing doors. This year we will add to it with bird feeders, seed, and plants. These things will enhance the beauty for the community and livability for the birds.
- Anne Reid and Courtney Pelletier: Author Visit for Grades 6-8: Alan Gratz. Author visits inspire students to read, write, and understand the creative process. Meeting authors makes the writing process, books and authors themselves accessible to students. Author Alan Gratz will be invited to Driscoll to speak with students in grades 6-8 in November 2018. His book Refugee is taught as part of a refugee unit in Ms. Pelletier’s 6th grade ELA class. As a result of this visit, students will learn about the writing process from a published author (and former middle school teacher). Students will also gain knowledge and perspective on both historical and present day refugee crises.
- Christine Sevigny, E. Mackie, A. Ehrlich: Bus to Plimoth Plantation Grade 3. A trip to Plimoth Plantation would provide an equitable hands-on learning experience. All third graders benefit from experiental learning. How life differed in 1620's Massachusetts is a difficult conept for third graders to grasp as they are still struggling to develop their ability to take another's perspective. Experiential learning, educational conversations, and tangible examples will solidify three major units of study for 3rd Graders. They will have the opportunity to talk with Wompanoag individuals, ask questions and dispel misconceptions. They will see their State as it existed centuries ago. They will interact and explore Pilgrim life.
In addition to these larger grants we did some other giving too:
- We purchased new jerseys for the gym teachers to use in class and more gaga balls for recess.
- Earlier this year we made sure that kids could get books at our Annual Book Fair who would otherwise not have the opportunity.
- We've made sure each of our teachers who spend the night at Farm School gets a small stipend.
- We've hosted a handful of coffees this year.
- We welcome teachers back in September with lunch from Stoked Pizza.. the teachers look forward to that each year, and we'll definitely do it this September too.
- We rent the Teen Center and pay for a bus for the 8th grade graduation party.
- We fund part of the 8th grade play.
- We pay for the garden maintenance.
Last, and really wonderful for our community are the events we put on. Each event has a budget, some small, some large. These events make Driscoll unique and are only possible by the hard work of our parent volunteers, and contributions to the Family Giving Campaign.
- Most recently we had Arts Equinox. Have you asked your child about what was their favorite part of this year's two day celebration? Kids for Kids (always a hit), beat boxers, Moth Podcast, all of the performers, the Mandalas, paint Night room, and more! Did you know that Arts Equinox has a $10,000 budget? We are grateful for all of the hard work that goes into Arts Equinox, and our children love it.
- Science Solstice
- Fall Fling Family Dance
- Science Fair
- Teacher Appreciation (May)
- Spring Fair is next month, and we are so excited! Did you know that the Spring Fair is meant to be a fun community event, and isn't a PTO fundraiser? While we hope to earn a little money each year, some years we barely break even. When you purchase your wrist bands, or tickets, those proceeds go to pay for the rides, activities, food vendors, and insurance. Last year the PTO made approximately $1000 from the Spring Fair and that was because it was well attended by our school, and the larger community, the weather was gorgeous, and our event chairs did an amazing job with organizing. Fun fact that you'll hear more about soon.. this year we will have a Dunk Tank! We think this will be a fun way to make a little extra money--and add an element of surprise! Hope for good weather, and stay tuned for details.
If you read all the way to the end THANK YOU! The PTO is grateful to our parents who make all of these wonderful things possible. We'll kick off the Family Giving Campaign again next October. Thanks to chair of the 2017 Family Giving Campaign, Carla Sevilla, and all of the classroom captains and volunteers who made it a success. Warmly,The Driscoll PTO