Welcome Back to School


“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” ~  Denis Waitley

Dear Fox Hill Parents,

A new school year is about to begin and we cannot wait to welcome our students and welcome you!   It has been a glorious summer and though I have enjoyed summer, I feel the pull to get back to the routine and structure of school not to mention how much I miss the children.   I hope every family had a wonderful and restful summer and kids are eager to return to school too.  This summer I read a wonderful book called, “Helping Children Succeed”  by Paul Tough.  It is a quick and easy read that gives simple but profound conditions for anyone’s success.  Paul Tough states that 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.   Fox Hill School works hard at developing and strengthening all three by focusing on community, on belonging, on giving students choice, and on working to set the right amount of academic challenge for every child.  We will continue to work hard to foster our success and our students success this year.  We want our students to love learning, feel they can achieve anything they set out to do and feel like they belong at Fox Hill School.

This school year, we  will continue to focus on “community” with a sharp focus on the concept of “diversity” and belonging.  Our “Friendship Bench” and our “Friendship Table” is just one example of belonging in action.  Building competence and autonomy will be achieved by continuously working to create the “just right” educational environment that provides  students with academic choice as they engage in learning tasks that have the “just right” challenge to make work meaningful.  Though this may seem like a tall order, it is the right challenge as we sort through our academic decisions and academic choices  to create and sustain a supportive and encouraging  educational environment for kids.

This year we are actively implementing Responsive Classroom school-wide.  Many staff members participated in extensive training this summer and our summer leadership team worked to put Responsive Classroom’s principles into practice at Fox Hill School.  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.  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 2016-2017 school year.  Please reach out to PTO board members to share your vision for how to strengthen community at Fox Hill School.  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.

Our garden has experienced another successful summer and again this project is representative of a community working together for kids.  Fox Hill parents have maintained and cared for our garden over the summer and despite the hot weather with little rain, our garden is flourishing!   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 was rather quiet at Fox Hill School regarding building projects.  However, we did receive our new boiler and our generator, so bring on the cold, we are ready for it!   Thank you to central office administration and community members who supported these two much needed items!

We welcomed several new staff members and said good-bye to other staff members who are off to pursue new interests and new opportunities.  Our dear Mrs. Coroniti decided to retire this summer and left Fox Hill School without much fanfare, however, her positive impact on Fox Hill School will remain forever!  As a result, Mr. Benjamin Zavisza will fill Mrs. Coroniti’s musical shoes making his own unique mark in music at Fox Hill School.  Mrs. Thorpe, special education teacher also retired this summer.  We will miss these educational icons dearly, however, we wish them the very best in their much deserved retirement.  Mrs. Petelle is off to teach kindergarten at Pine Glen, Mrs. Settelen is taking a year long maternity leave and Mrs. Ray is taking a 4 month maternity leave.  As a result, we welcome Ms. Caitlin Keefe, kindergarten teacher; Mrs. Caroline Lindley, school psychologist and Ms. Morgan Festa, grade one teacher.   Mrs. Smith was assigned as kindergarten instructional assistant and Mrs. Field and Mrs. Walsh return as permanent substitutes.  Fox Hill School is in such great hands with such a talented and dedicated teaching staff.

Our first day of school for grades 1-5 is Tuesday, September 6, 2016.  Our first day of kindergarten is Monday, September 12, 2016.  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 also on the 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 and she is highly efficient in this role.

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 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 781-270-1791.  Please visit our website and the principal and teachers’ blogs for additional information about the opening of school.

I look forward to experiencing a great and successful school year for all!

With Warmest Regards,
Ellen Johnson
Fox Hill School



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