“Children are the reward of life.”
Dear Fox Hill Parents,
Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful and restful summer vacation! Last year, I read a wonderful book called, “Helping Children Succeed” by Paul Tough. It was a quick and easy read that stated essential conditions for anyone’s success. Paul Tough wrote “in order for anyone to feel or be successful, three conditions must exist, a sense of belonging, a sense of competence and a sense of autonomy.” Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the importance and the impact of those 3 conditions significantly influenced the success of Fox Hill students and staff. I observed numerous examples where these conditions were evident every time I was in any classroom. It is very important to me that every child felt they belonged, felt competent and felt they had a voice in their learning, this continues to be important to me, even more so this school year. Our teachers work hard creating learning environments so children can soar and be successful at school. I believe we get better at it with each passing school year. Each school year, we have the opportunity to define or redefine our purpose as educators, to commit to the sole and primary reason we are educators, children. Children are the heart of our work and our work in education becomes apparent when we put the interests of all children first, every day, all the time. All children are important to us, all children matter and it is our responsibility to educate, to love and to instill a feeling of belonging, competence and autonomy in all children. All children must feel valued for who they are as human beings, this includes high moments and low moments. The Fox Hill staff are dedicated and caring educators working hard for all children, every day. I am very proud of our educators, our students and our school. There is no better school than Fox Hill School!
This school year, our overall theme is One School, Many Cultures, Many Learners. This theme communicates that every child belongs at Fox Hill School where cultural and learning differences are acknowledged, accepted, embraced and celebrated. As educators we love to learn and we will continue our learning as we listen and acknowledge different perspectives, different strengths, different interests, different approaches and different challenges in each other. This makes us better and stronger as people and as educators. Throughout the school year, my hope and dream is you will see and acknowledge Fox Hill School celebrating differences through art, music, writing, learning projects, friendships, community and you will stand beside us in that celebration.
We continue to actively implement Responsive Classroom school-wide. Many more staff members participated in extensive training this summer and our leadership team works to actively define and consistently put into practice Responsive Classrooms principles into the school day. Responsive Classroom has similar beliefs about success and states “students need to feel a sense of belonging, significance (competence) and fun (choice) at school and in the classroom.” Morning Meeting, Interactive Modeling, Academic Choice and Teacher Language are some of the ways to strengthen the basic human needs of belonging, competence and autonomy.
Fox Hill School cannot function well without the support of the parent community and we continue to be very appreciative and grateful for the strong community support we experience at Fox Hill School every day. Our PTO, made up of all Fox Hill parents, continue to plan and attend Fox Hill events, volunteer and give us feedback for improving Fox Hill School. Our PTO board members will meet at the end of August to set new goals for the 2017-2018 school year. Please reach out to PTO board members to share your vision for how to strengthen community at Fox Hill School. Kathleen Matta is our new PTO President. Thank you Mrs. Matta! Our PTO has an active website www.foxhillpto.org that allows parents to communicate with board members, so take a minute to share your thoughts or lend your support to this community group.
Thank you to all parents, teachers and community members who cared for the Fox Hill garden this summer! You did an outstanding job!
This summer four new offices were constructed for our special education teachers. This provides teachers and students with a quiet dedicated space for learning. Thank you to central office administration and our wonderful custodians for supporting and building these offices in record time!
We welcomed several new staff members and said good-bye to other staff members who went off to pursue new interests and new opportunities. Mr. Zavisza left us after only one year because of a wonderful opportunity that opened in South Carolina. As a result, Ms. Maggie Harrigan joined the Fox Hill team. Ms. Harrigan has a passion for music instilled in her by her father’s love of music. I am excited as to what Ms. Harrigan will create at Fox Hill School. Fox Hill School also welcomes a new special education teacher, Ms. Erin O’Donnell bringing the total amount of special education teachers to four. This added special education teacher will provide excellent service to all Fox Hill students. Mrs. Settelen is taking a second year long maternity leave. As a result, we welcome Ms. Norah Flynn who will serve in the role of school psychologist. Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Doyle retired after a long and successful 40 year career in education and Mrs. Hevey left education to nurture her own young children. As a result Ms. Morgan Festa and Ms. Nicole Reilly will teach grade 2. Ms. Stone and Ms. Christie were assigned to grade 1 bringing the total classrooms to five and Mrs. Snyder returns to grade 3. Fox Hill School is in great hands with such a talented and dedicated teaching staff.
Our first day of school is Tuesday, September 5, 2017. Our first day of kindergarten is Monday September 11, 2017. School begins at 8:35 am and ends at 2:40pm for students in grades 1-5 and at 1:10pm for kindergarteners. Please look for bus schedules in the local newspaper and look for the tab marked bus routes located on the principal’s blog. School doors open at 8:15am and students should not arrive to school prior to 8:15am for their own safety. Parents are not required to purchase school supplies this year as we have purchased all necessary materials for all children. However, it is fine to purchase school supplies if it is important to you and to your child. Teachers will integrate any supplies purchased by parents into their classroom organizational systems.
Parent Pick Up will continue as it did in grades 1-5 last year and kindergarten parents can pick up their child in the main lobby. Parent Pick Up requires parents to drive along the access route and stop at the playground doors. Parent Pick Up students will be dismissed through the playground door and to the first two cars by a teacher on duty. Mrs. Moules is our primary staff member on parent pick up duty.
Our parent handbook is available on the principal’s blog and updates to that handbook are forthcoming. Please take some time to review Fox Hill procedures and expectations before you come to school. I look forward seeing everyone on the first day of school and if there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to email me at EJohnson@bpsk12.org or call 781-270-1791. Please visit our website and the principal and teachers’ blogs for additional information about the opening of school.
As the African proverb states, “Children are the reward of life” and as educators we cherish and value that reward every day.
With Warmest Regards,
Fox Hill School