Welcome Back to School

“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit
by originality overcomes everything.”  ~ George Lois

Dear Fox Hill Families,

Summer is coming to an end and life at Fox Hill School is becoming increasingly active and busy and staff members are excited to begin a new school year. Even though we might long for a few more carefree summer days, we are very much looking forward to coming back to school to build positive relationships with our new students. Educators are not much different from students with butterflies in our stomachs and smiles and enthusiasm on our faces as we approach our “first day of school.” We have much to be excited about and grateful for in this upcoming school year as positive change and progressive thinking has come to Fox Hill School. During the summer, four of our student bathrooms were renovated, and they came out better than imagined and are just beautiful. I am so grateful to the Town of Burlington for accepting the warrant article to make this a reality for students and to improve their quality of school life. Also during the summer months, finishing touches were completed on the playground and students will be returning to a full-size basketball court and three four-square courts. I cannot wait to see the students’ faces when they go out to recess and see the basketball court waiting for them on their first day of school. They have waited a long time, and I know they will be thrilled! Finally our gym was repainted and several classrooms were repainted along with the typical summer jobs making Fox Hill School shine for the new school year. Special thanks go out to Mr. Craig Robinson and the Fox Hill custodial staff for making this all happen seemingly so easy!

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Fox Hill School is extremely fortunate to have received a burst of new technology to move us forward into the 21st century this summer as a result of another accepted town warrant article. Classrooms are being outfitted with interactive whiteboards with teacher training occurring at our first “technology conference” during the last week of August. Our “new technology” and teacher training is unique and extremely progressive and will provide teachers and students with endless learning opportunities for this upcoming school year. However, the most exciting technology event of this summer was the recent announcement all elementary schools will receive 60 ipads for student and teacher use! Also, as principal, I was able to purchase 5 ipads and 22 mini-laptops. Every teacher has a laptop and access to a computer station in their classroom/pod and to the computer lab; and now they will have access to ipads and mini computers to further enhance student learning. This is an astounding opportunity, and I cannot wait to observe all that comes out of our good fortune. Special thanks to the Town of Burlington, the Burlington School Committee, and to Dr. Conti for making all this possible for students.

In an effort to utilize technology well, to successfully integrate new students into the Fox Hill community, and for all students to learn and meet the high expectations we set for them, our focus will be on Student Engagement this year. It is becoming increasingly clearer that we, as educators, need to rethink how we engage students in school and in learning and observe and listen to what engages and interests them in order for deeper learning to occur at school. This year, the Fox Hill School teaching staff will ask of themselves and of each other how can we deepen student engagement through use of questioning, oral discussion, and written expression, through interaction with each other and with technology. We will also ask how can we deepen student relationships to create an increasingly safe, empathic, welcoming and comfortable school environment where we genuinely care about one another and learn freely. To this end, we will continue to use and reinforce the “bucket theory” and communicate the notion that everyone matters, one can take a stand and one can make a difference. The children’s book, “One” by Kathryn Otoshi, is a beautiful and powerful children’s book that frames this concept exceptionally well. I will be reading this book to all classrooms; and at our Back to School Assembly, we will elaborate on concepts from this book. Please look for our interpretation of these concepts being implemented at Fox Hill School and ask your child about the story of “One” during the month of September.

Every school year brings new opportunities and new challenges, and every year it becomes increasingly important for parents to support and participate in their child’s education for them to be as successful during their school year. The most important but simple contributions a parent can make is to ensure children come to school every day and arrive on time ready to learn, to communicate openly with the classroom teacher, to volunteer, to read, to listen, and talk to your child about what interests them and to support their ability to do it independently. Thank you for your support, your understanding and for giving us your children to teach. They are simply the best and they are the reason we love what we do.

There is much to do this school year but much has been given to us to support our efforts in teaching and learning and there is a lot more excitement to get started than ever before. Our first day of school is September 7, 2011, and school begins at 8:35 am. Please look for bus schedules posted in the local newspaper and most of you have received your “new” teacher letters welcoming you to a new school year. I look forward to seeing everyone on the first day of school and if there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to email me at EJohnson@burlington.mec.edu or call me at 781-270-1791.

With Warmest Regards,
Ellen K. Johnson, Principal

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