May 2019

From the Principal’s Desk...

    I can’t believe there are less than two months left of school!  There is still so much learning to be had, as well as, many wonderful community events that will be occurring as we begin to wrap up our third year together as the Swanson Road Intermediate School community.

    Recently we began state MCAS 2.0 testing and all is running smoothly.  I have no doubt students will do fantasticly, as they have been well prepared by their teachers.  I have been so impressed and couldn’t be more proud of our students’ diligence and perseverance as they focused on doing their very best.  Our Wonders Reading Program has certainly provided students ample opportunity, as well as the structure, to practice grade level comprehension and writing skills using the online platform. 

    Similar to ELA, our Go Math program and ongoing response to data through our interventions will certainly pay off with our students’ performance. Please be sure your child is well rested and prepared for upcoming MCAS 2.0 Math testing on May 8th and 9th.  As research indicates, it so important for children to be well rested, have a healthy breakfast, as well as a snack midmorning, in order to perform to their best ability academically.

    I would like to sincerely thank all of the many adults who continuously and generously give their time and monetary donations to SWIS.  I am always amazed at the dedication and generosity our school community provides.  Please continue to check the Auburn Facebook Page, email, and local newspapers as there are many amazing things highlighted at SWIS.

  • The SWIS International Club has been a tremendous success.  Lead by Mrs. Borda and Mrs. Fontaine, we hope to offer this wonderful enrichment club next year.
  • The Grade Three and Grade Four Spanish Clubs, run by  Mrs.Glorimar Colon-Nazario, have students well on their way in becoming novice Spanish speakers.  Nuestros estudiantes son fantasticos y estan aprendiendo mich de vocabulario y frases en espanol cada dia.
  • SWIS girls and their “special adult” had a fabulous time dancing the night away at the 2019 SWIS Spring Fling.
  • Grade two students from both Bryn Mawr and Pakachoag Schools visited SWIS with their teachers on April 29th.  During this time they were paired with peers in grade three, met SWIS staff, and had a building tour.  So adorable!
  • This year’s first SWIS Climb-A-Thon was a great success.  Thank you to our wonderful PTO and the generosity of our school community.
  • Recently, we have begun work on the walking paths associated with our arboretum work under the direction of Miss Connell and Joe Fahey.  Stay tuned for club notices and updates on this educational space.
  • Girls On The Run has had an outstanding year.  They will be having a practice run may 6th and racing in the official 5K on may 19th. KUDOS to the SWIS leaders, Mrs. O’Donnell and Miss O’Connor along with our wonderful parent group and student 
  • Finally, our B.O.K.S. program overseen by Mr. Moriarty, continues to be a sought after Before School program that truly does build our kids success.
  • Our fantastic music programs continue to grow and improve with this year’s grade five program expanding to the middle school.

Flower Donations
It’s that time of year again when we ask our parents to donate flowers or complete flower pots, for the front of the school. We like to make our school as welcoming as possible and with your help we can achieve our goal. We are looking for any type of annuals that you might have left over after your garden planting. Please feel free to drop them off in the main office during the week prior to Earth Day on May 4th. 

In closing, please be sure to mark your calendar for the many upcoming events during the month of May and June.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I look forward to sharing new updates surrounding Swanson Road, the configuration of next year, as well as articles and pictures of our school community’s events.

Yours in Education,
Dr. Susan Lopez

From the Desk of Mrs. Mahan

Welcome Spring!  Our students have been working hard on following our  PBIS expectations here at SWIS. For the month of May, the Value of the Month is Citizenship:

  • Encourage your child to help make their class and our school community better. 
  • Cooperate
  • Get involved in making a difference
  • Be a good friend
  • Volunteer to help
  • Protect our environment
  • If you see something– say something

Thank you again for your continued support!

Mrs. Mahan            Assistant Principal


PE News

We have been having a very busy April in Physical Education. We have been focusing on cooperative games, teamwork, and sportsmanship. We have also started our Dance unit. We have been working on a dance to perform at the Festival of the Arts on May 9th. We invite all SWIS families to attend and for all students to come participate in our dance. 

We will be switching to our spring Physical Best Assessment tests soon. This will give each student an opportunity to see how their fitness level has changed from the start of the year to now. As the weather starts getting nicer, we will be going outside with classes. 

Thank you! 

Grade 3 News

We are all so excited that the warm weather has made a return, and spring has arrived. There are lots of exciting things happening this time of year, but please remind your child to keep schoolwork and homework a priority. Here is a little acrostic poem to keep your child focused in this final stretch of third grade.

Stay focused on learning!
Practice the math facts on Xtra Math.
Read every night for at least 15 minutes.
It is very important to keep up with good homework habits.
Nice weather is here, so be sure to spend some time playing outside.
Go on an amazing Massachusetts field trip with your family like Old Sturbridge Village, Plymouth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party and Museum, Freedom Trail, or a visit to Lexington and Concord.

Some important dates to mark on your calendar…
May 8th and May 9th-Math MCAS for SWIS. Please remind your child to get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring a healthy snack to school. 
May 17th –Field Trip to the Springfield Museum for the following classes-
Mrs. Avonti, Mrs. Chalupka, Mrs. Murphy, and Mrs. Spencer
May 24th-Field Trip to the Springfield Museum for the following classes-
Mrs.Chianese, Mrs. DeRobbio, Mrs. Ohristo, and Mrs.Scanlon

A huge thanks to the PTO for funding the third grade field trips. We are so excited to explore the Springfield Museum!

Grade 4 News

April showers bring May flowers! We can only hope!

Fourth graders at Swanson Road have had a busy month! In math, students have started a unit on geometry, measurement and data.  Please continue to work with your child nightly on math facts.  In addition, math MCAS testing will take place on May 8th and 9th.  Please ensure your child has a good night’s rest, eats a healthy breakfast and arrives to school on time.

Students continue to work on various reading strategies.  Classes have dived into Unit 5 in our Wonders reading program which includes continued work on visualizing, cause and effect relationships, identifying problem and solution, and summarizing a text. In writing, students are working on fictional narratives and after will move onto writing opinion pieces. In addition, students continue to work on writing responses to their reading each week.

In Social Studies students continue to explore the regions of the United States.  Please assist your child in studying the states and capitals of the region your class is working on. In science, classes are finishing up the study of the human body and will move into the study of plants and animals with a focus on both internal and external structures and functions. Throughout the month of May all fourth graders will further their knowledge about animal adaptations through a program provided by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Students will participate in hands-on activities and travel to Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester.  Be on the lookout for field trip information for both our field trip to Broad Meadow Brook as well as the Boston Science Museum.

Thank you for your continued support!  We are looking forward to a great end of the year together!

Grade 5 News

Dear Parents,

    May is a busy time of the year for MCAS testing in the fifth grade.  We have math and science testing coming soon!  The students are learning and reviewing standards that will be assessed on the state test.  It is important for the students to give their best effort each and every day.  We are confident that the students will be well prepared and will have positive mindset!

May is the month of MCAS tests,
Students will strive to do their best.
Make sure they get a good night’s rest.

    In math we are beginning Chapter 9 “Algebra and Graphing”.  It will focus on line plots and ordered pairs.  Prodigy is a great way to practice math in a fun way!  As always, mastery of math facts is so important so continue to find the time to practice.

    In science we are learning about Life science.  The focus of our studies right now is on food chains and how energy works through different parts of the biomes.  The students will be conducting a research project in school with a partner.  Each homeroom will be assigned a biome and the students will research an endangered animal or plant.  The goal is to make the public more aware of how critical it is to save each species.  We would like to thank the PTO who will be purchasing the display boards for all students!  

    In Social Studies, the students will be learning about the Constitution and the three branches of the government.  It is so important for students to realize that the Constitution is the framework of our government.   

    Our fifth grade students continue to work hard, and we watch them improve each and every day. Thank you for your continued support of their academics at home.  

The Fifth Grade team!

Nursing Notes

Spring Updates and Reminders

4th Grade Screenings:

Vision screenings are completed and a letter was sent home in the mail if we noted any concerns. If you received a letter it includes a form to have your child’s doctor fill out and return to us here at Swanson Road with results.  If you did not receive a letter your child had no concerns at this time.

Upcoming Height and Weight screening: Starting in May we will take students from class to conduct a private Height and Weight screening. A notice went home late in April for parents, and if a parent wants to opt out of this screening please send in the bottom of the notice or a letter signed by a parent and provide an updated Physical exam with Height and Weight on the form.

4th grade students should also send in a copy of a physical exam done by their doctor. The Mass. Dept of Public Health requires that parents provide a copy of a physical examination in 1st, 4th 7th and 10th grade.  

5th Grade Screening:
Postural Screenings will start on May 8th with students who have Physical Education classes on those days, and some other classes yet to be determined.  Information about the screening went home in late April with an opt out sheet for parents if they prefer to have this screening done by the pediatrician. If a parent wants to  opt out of this screening they need to provide (before your child’s screening day here) a copy of a physical exam with postural screening results on the form.

A schedule of what day each 5th grade class will have the screening done will be sent home with reminders the first week of May.  We will conduct make up days for those who  are absent soon after return to school.

Practice sun safety– Find shade; apply sunscreen before school and outdoor activities, wear a hat and sunglasses.  Stay in the shade between 10am through 2 pm when the sun is the strongest.

Check for ticks. All family members, pets included, should be checked for ticks after being outdoors. Safe removal and a call to a doctor if you think the tick has been attached for 24 hours or longer can be vital to prevent tick borne illnesses.

Helmets should be worn for bike riding and other sports to prevent head injuries and concussions.

Please call nursing if your child will be absent. If you do not call your child in as absent, the nursing staff will call your phone numbers for a safety check. We appreciate your leaving a message for us regarding your child’s illness and their reason for staying home.

News From the Reading Room

When most people think about math, they usually think about numbers and mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  But have you ever noticed the amount of reading that your child has to do during math?  Grab a math textbook or even a math test and you may be surprised.

The next time that your child is working on his/her math homework at home and appears to get stuck, have him/her try to read the math closely.  Follow the steps below:

  1. Read the problem accurately.  
  2. Reread the problem to “Get the Gist.”  
    - (Ask yourself: What are the math vocabulary words that I need to know and what is the problem asking me to do?)
  3. Reread the problem and identify the details needed to solve it.
  4. Draw a picture to understand it.
    - (Visualize what the problem is telling you and asking you to do.)
  5. Solve the problem.
  6. Check for accuracy by restating question/problem with the answer.

It is important to read and reread a problem until it is understood before trying to do anything with the numbers that are given.  Often mistakes are made in math, because students rush to solve it before making sure they understand what a problem is asking.  By learning to read math closely, your child has a way to make math problems more manageable.  

The Reading Team

The Music Corner with Ms. Speidel and Mrs. Caruso

We are wrapping up the school year in the music department by working towards our end -of -year concerts!

In their music classes, all students have been working hard on learning the repertoire to be sung at their concerts. They are having fun learning both familiar and unfamiliar songs, and are doing a great job. 

Third grade will be showcasing the music of The Beatles as their performance at Fine Arts Night on May 9. They will be performing in the Auburn High School gymnasium at 4:30. We are looking forward to their participation in this celebration of the Arts programs throughout Auburn.  

Fourth grade will be performing at the annual SWIS Memorial Day program during the school day on May 24. Notices will be going home soon with the times for this program.

Strings will be performing at their spring concert on May 22. It will be incredible to see and hear how much they’ve progressed throughout this year.

Fifth grade will be performing at Auburn High School on June 4 for their last concert as Swanson Road students. Band will also be performing at this event, marking the end of a very successful first year as band students.

We are looking forward to hearing all our wonderful students showcase their hard work! 

Ms. Speidel & Mrs. Caruso

Guidance News

A note from your School Counselors

Second Step Update- as previously mentioned, all students receive bi-weekly social-emotional learning from Mrs. Berg or Mrs. Nikopoulos. Please continue to have discussions with your child about the three main concepts that we introduce and practice here at Swanson Road:

  1. Empathy
  2. Emotion Regulation
  3. Problem Solving

As we head into the end of the school year, please reach out with any questions or concerns regarding your child’s transition into a different grade/school.  Our hope is that all students will feel positive and ready to head into the next grade level and  we will work with you to help ensure that happens.

Jamie Nikopoulos
Students A-H                                                                                                 

Megan Berg
Students I-Z

Math is Everywhere!

MAY 2019

The math portion of MCAS is nearly here and students have been working diligently to prepare for the test.  Please remind your child to do their very best work on the test and to use the strategies their teachers have taught them.  One such strategy might be to make a quick multiplication table on the scrap paper provided for the test. They should also get a good night’s sleep the night before and have a good breakfast the morning of the test.  We also recommend they bring a snack and a bottle of water.

All three grades are learning about Measurement and Geometry.  A fun way to practice learning the names of shapes is to turn it into an “I Spy” game.  Another way to practice could be by reading a book together such as “Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions” written by David A. Adler.

Art News


The Festival of the Arts, S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Language Arts and Math) and Wellness is taking place on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in the gymnasium at the Auburn High School from 4:00pm to 7:00pm!  This event includes all students in a spectacular art exhibit, in addition to physical education demonstrations, musical performances and more… from the Auburn Public Schools’ students in Kindergarten through High School. 

Do not miss seeing your SWIS student’s work of art!  Each student has chosen a masterpiece from his/her art portfolio to display at this annual event.  Your child is proud and excited to be a part of this special night.  It is a FREE and fun opportunity for your family to be together and CELEBRATE THE ARTS!!   All are welcome!

Media Literacy News

This month, Media Literacy students are conducting a research analysis to unearth the history of the arboretum at Swanson Road Intermediate School. Grade five students are digging into the history of the public space and will convey their findings on a forthcoming podcast episode. Grade four students are recreating historic photos taken in the Arboretum during the 1970’s and using a 3D printer to engage in the design modification process. Grade three is researching components of a “viral video” and working together to produce a Youtube video of their own to promote the newly activated space. Students are also learning principles of graphic design as they create original promotional materials for the historic green space. With the help of the gift of a local philanthropist, the Arboretum Team is volunteering on Wednesday afternoons to manicure a nature path through the arboretum’s Oak Grove. Please let us know if you would like to help us in our efforts to bring Swanson’s own secret garden back to life.