Welcome Back to School

“Good teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon.” ~ Ann Lieberman

August 30, 2012

Dear Fox Hill Families,

It is true, summer vacation is drawing to a close but plenty of summer days still remain for
us to enjoy with family and friends. The end of summer is bittersweet. We miss lazy days to ourselves and days filled with traveling to places near and far; but, for most of us we look forward to moving on and moving forward as we get ready to learn many new things at school. Going to school in Burlington has become a very exciting experience for kids and for adults too. We are constantly learning and this learning is enhanced by utilizing a wide range of technology experiences. During the 2012-2013 school year, Fox Hill School along with the three other elementary schools will participate in a 1:1 pilot for grade 1 students using iPads. One grade 1 classroom in each elementary school has been selected to pilot a 1:1 iPad learning experience. The purpose of this pilot is to better understand the influence of iPads on learning and several qualities of student engagement and motivation. These qualities include personal response, learning with others and utilizing higher order thinking skills in a different way. The 1:1 pilot using iPads is considered to be a means to utilize an additional learning tool. This thinking is similar to our use of ipads in all classrooms throughout the district and at Fox Hill School.

This year our classrooms have been outfitted with an infra-red sound system that enhances the clarify of a teacher’s voice. There is much research that supports the benefit of infra-red sound systems and learning. Fox Hill students and teachers are very fortunate to have this new technology available to them for teaching and learning.

Last week Burlington Public School staff attended a three day professional development experience and learned a tremendous amount of new information about about technology tools, strategies and methods that enhance learning.  It was simply an amazing and overwhelming experience for all!  Fox Hill staff are returning this school year with new knowledge and new skills that will benefit learning in the 21st century in far-reaching ways.

During the summer, Fox Hill School experienced a mini makeover that has greatly enhanced the look and quality of life at our school.  This summer, our student bathroom renovation project was completed giving Fox Hill School eight brand new student bathrooms.  Additionally this summer, floor tiles in two pods were replaced.  I cannot tell you how this renovation has enhanced the look and feel of these two pods.  The color and design of the floor tiles are bright, updated and just beautiful.  Our kids will be amazed upon their return and I cannot wait to see their smiles and hear their comments as they open the doors to their pods!  The biggest improvement and surprise this summer was creating parking spot lines in our parking lot along with clearly marked handicap parking spots.  This has truly enhanced the safety and look of Fox Hill School and I know Fox Hill parents and teachers are very appreciative to park their car in a real parking spot!  Some of you may have also noticed a bag dispenser for those of you who walk your dogs in our beautiful fields and may forget to bring your bags to remove dog waste.  This new addition was at the recommendation of students and Fox Hill teachers for keeping our fields free of “gifts” from our lovable pets!  Please feel free to take advantage of this supply of bags to keep our playground clean.   Finally, several more classrooms were repainted along with the typical summer jobs making Fox Hill School shine for the new school year.  I am always amazed and so appreciative of the level of support and care Burlington Public Schools and the Town of Burlington give to students at Fox Hill School.  Thank you for a very productive summer and enhancing the quality of life at Fox Hill School!

This year our focus will be developing a student’s sense of belonging at Fox Hill School.  The Fox Hill teaching staff will ask of themselves and of each other, “How will we praise all children in way that is authentic, specific and meaningful?; How will we highly engage all students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and motivating for them?  What will you do in your classroom to recognize and support the message of “One” to reinforce the condition of Belonging?  How will we teach skills that facilitate social skills and attend to and reinforce accepted behavior?”   To develop the answers to these questions, we will continue to use and reinforce the message in the children’s book, “One” by Kathryn Otoshi.  Last year, this children’s book created a lot of creativity in staff and in students; and as a staff we believe it is a great and simple message for kids to apply daily and apply they do!   Last year I received so many beautiful hand drawn pictures from students communicating their understanding and love for “Being the One.”  This year we will read this book in classrooms and at our Back to School Assembly as well as enhancing our sense of belonging utilizing research-based Response Classroom strategies.  Please ask your child questions about what “Being the One” means and what Belonging means at Fox Hill School.

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.

Teachers were busy preparing for our first day of school on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  Please enjoy a glimpse of their hard work and beautiful classrooms.  School begins at 8:35 am and ends at 2:40 pm.  We have posted the Fox Hill bus schedule on our blog, and you should have already 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@bpsk12.org or call me at 781-270-1791 or visit our website or teachers blogs available through www.bpsk12.org.

With Warmest Regards,
Ellen K. Johnson, Principal

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