Welcome Back to School

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“Always aim higher than you believe you can reach.” ~ Unknown

Dear Fox Hill Families,

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year at Fox Hill School! When I think about this school year, the notion of opportunity immediately comes to mind and captures the essence of the year ahead for students and teachers. There is a motto from the philosophy of Paideia, “always strive to be a better you.” This motto espouses the belief that life’s true goal is to attain one’s ultimate potential. This motto from Paideia captures the essence of who we espouse to be at Fox Hill School. A new school year gives everyone the opportunity to be a better person, a better student, a better educator. A new school year renews us and gives us the chance or opportunity to try again and to grow stronger. This year our school theme, “Growing Success Little by Little” nurtures the implementation of our new initiatives this year. Each initiative is intended to provide the opportunity to grow, to be better than we were last year. Growth takes time and “Growing Success Little by Little,” recognizes that growth can occur in everything we espouse to do no matter how little or how grand. This growth is celebrated, nurtured and cultivated towards excellence and always striving to be a better you.

Our growth begins with the implementation of a 1:1 iPad learning environment in grades 1, 4 & 5. Every student in those grades will receive an iPad that will facilitate the teacher’s ability to integrate the use of iPads into their teaching and student learning. Students in grades K, 2 & 3 will have access to 20 iPads at each grade level. Teachers will integrate the availability of these 20 iPads in ways that make learning meaningful. Our growth will continue into the 2014-2015 school year when we become a 1:1 learning environment in every grade. This is unprecedented opportunity for an elementary school.

Our growth continues with the implementation of a new math program called “EnVision Math.” Everyone is excited and energized to use this new program and the opportunity for much student growth in math is on the horizon and within reach. All teaching staff attended a day-long training session on August 26, 2013 and training for elementary teachers will continue throughout the year. An informational night for parents to learn about this new math program is on October 22, 2013, time pending, at Francis Wyman School. I hope to see many parents at that informational session to learn about our new math program.

In addition to our new math program, teachers in grades K-2 will be implementing a new writing program to develop and strengthen our children’s writing skills. Those teachers also attended a day-long training session on August 27, 2013. Teachers left the writing session energized and ready to implement this writing program. All teachers recognized a huge opportunity for growth in this area and they cannot wait to get started. Additionally, one teacher in grade 4 and all teachers in grade 5 are piloting this writing program for use in those grades in 2014-2015. These two curriculum improvements are intended to facilitate student growth and it definitely provides the opportunity to strive to be better than we were last year in math and in writing!

This summer, Fox Hill School underwent a major renovation to its main office and main lobby area to increase school safety. When you visit Fox Hill School, you are in for a tremendous surprise when you see that the entire main lobby has been freshly painted and updated. The total project came out beautifully and everyone at Fox Hill is appreciative and welcomes the change in this area. Additionally this summer, floor tiles in Pod 2 and in the connecting hallway between Pod 1 & 3 were replaced, completing the update of all tiles in spaces other than classrooms. This update has coordinated all pods and hallways enhancing the beauty and upkeep of our school. Our kids may not recognize their school upon entry but I know they will be most pleased with the updates and its fresh and modern appearance. Again, I am so grateful to Burlington Public Schools and the Town of Burlington for the level and constant commitment to care for Fox Hill School and its members. A very special thank you to Craig Robinson for seeing the project through in record time, our custodians who facilitated each and every job and worked around it all in order to be ready for our first day and last but not least, our secretaries for working in satellite offices without missing a beat!

This year our focus is on growth and opportunity and our theme, “Growing Success Little by Little,” recognizes and accepts that growth does not occur without mistakes or without error. To grow also means to take a learning risk, to try something new or to take a different perspective about a topic or situation. When we are open to learning, change and striving to be a better person we provide ourselves with the opportunity to be successful and to grow.

“Growing Success Little by Little” requires parent support too! The most important but simple contribution a parent can make is to ensure children come to school every day and arrive on time ready to learn. Strong attendance is one of the primary indicators that facilitate a student’s success at school. Also, communicate openly with the classroom teacher whenever a question or concern comes up. Please consider volunteering at school, and finally listen, talk, read and be there to catch them when they fall or make a mistake. Our PTO is working hard to start a school garden. This school garden is a hands-on opportunity that teaches everyone about what is means “to grow.” Our PTO is also working build a shade structure that can function as a place to rest, to gather and serve as an outdoor classroom, please look for these two projects to be completed in the months ahead. Thank you to parents 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.

Our first day of school is on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. School begins at 8:35 am and ends at 2:40 pm. Please look for bus schedules posted in the local newspaper and on the Principal’s Blog. 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. At the end of the day parents will drive along the access route and stop at the playground doors. Parent Pick Up students will be dismissed through the playground door and into the first two cars by a teacher on duty. Mrs. Moules is our primary staff member on Parent Pick Up duty, and she is highly efficient in this role. 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, principal and teachers blogs available through www.bpsk12.org.

With Warmest Regards,
Ellen K. Johnson, Principal

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