February 2020

From the Principal’s desk...

It’s hard to believe that it is already February! Students at every grade level have been very busy continuing their learning and mastering new content. One of our goals at this time of the year is to encourage students’ independence as they read and respond thoughtfully to challenging literature, solve complex multi-step math problems, and apply content knowledge in their writing. Teachers’ lessons are consistently evolving in their design in order to engage and meet the diverse learning styles within their classrooms, as well as, ensure proficiency in each of the grade level standards.

The curriculum rigor and expectations of student performance have certainly increased, as you may have noticed, therefore please be vigilant in checking homework and maintaining contact with your child’s teacher. Persistence and positive encouragement will ensure that the strategies taught and practiced each day at school are carried over into their independent work at home.

Swanson Road Intermediate School continues to be committed to creating and maintaining a culture where every student can learn and succeed. We see every child as a unique individual with special talents. It is our belief that by providing a safe learning environment, students develop confidence to take risks and strive for personal excellence. We have purposely worked at developing school culture in ways that will further engage each student in a world class educational experience. This is seen in the school improvements, communications, and the many clubs offered before and after school.

There are many ways you can support your child’s learning and the school culture. Try
these tips:

  • Join a school club
  • Continue to seek Community Service Learning activities
  • Play thinking games, for instance, analogies, ‘what’s another word for..”, math problems, science projects, or history research.
  • Stay current of school events and curriculum.
  • Contact your child’s teacher immediately if you see a problem.
  • Volunteer your expertise in the classroom or create an after school club.
  • Avail yourself to the many museums and natural treasures in Auburn, as well as, surrounding areas.

In closing, please remember that though there are many demands and time constraints placed in our lives, as adults, it is critical that we listen to our children. Please ask about and discuss what they are learning each day, what they are thinking about, and who their friends are. I am so proud of your child’s progress and look forward to four more months of great learning ahead. I thank you in advance for your continuous involvement in your child’s education.

Yours in Education,
Dr. Susan Lopez

From the Desk of Mrs. Pitsillides

On Wednesday, December 18th 120 students chose to "cash-in" 25 of their earned blue tickets to participate in Hot Coco, Cookies and a Good Book, our December school-wide PBIS event! Everyone enjoyed a yummy cup of hot coco, a delicious cookie and listening to the story!

Then on Friday, January 31st 110 students "cashed in" 40 blue tickets to have a blast at our Glow In The Dark Dance Party! We had so much fun booging down in the dark with our glow sticks, glow necklaces and glow bracelets!

Throughout the month of December, we highlighted the character education trait: Kindness/Service to Others while kicking off our 365z Kindness Initiative. In January we worked on Courage as our character education trait and participated in the Great Kindness Challenge Week continuing to complete as many random acts of kindness as we can each and every day.

December - Kindness/Service to Others (Caring/Compassion/Service to others)
To be considerate, courteous, helpful, and understanding of others; to show care, compassion, friendship, and generosity; to treat others as you would like to be treated

January - Courage
To have the determination to do the right thing even when others don’t, and to have the strength to follow your conscience rather than the crowd

Congratulations to all of our amazingly Kind and Courageous Students of the Month!!!

Reminder: We feel strongly that students benefit from fresh air and time to play outside. Please send students to school each day with weather appropriate outdoor attire.

The Music Corner with Ms. Speidel & Mrs. Caruso

Although January can be a dreary and cold month (unless you live in New England of course!), we have been having a wonderful time in the music wing!

After a very successful winter concert series, students have all started learning new instruments. 3rd grade has been strumming away on Ukulele, 4th grade is making beautiful music with their recorders while 5th graders are learning either beginner keyboard or Marimba. The kids are all having a blast learning something new!

Strings are working hard towards their String-a-palooza concert which is on Saturday, March 7th, 3pm at WPI’s Alden Hall in Worcester. We are incredibly excited to showcase what all levels of strings have accomplished thus far. We are also excited to be playing with the Worcester Youth Orchestra under the direction of Jack Corbett. There will be over 200 string students playing this concert so it was one you will not want to miss! You can purchase tickets online at the WYO website!

String families- just a quick reminder, the students have a rehearsal on Sunday, March 1st from 2-3:30pm. Please drop off string students at AHS by 1:30pm as we want them ready and on stage for 2pm.

The 5th grade beginning band is also rockin’ and rollin’ into their next concert which will be the district wide All Town Band concert. This concert is on Thursday. March 12th. Parents please keep an eye out for more information regarding concert dress! Please note that this concert does require tickets-you can go online to unipay portal and get your tickets today!

It is going to be a GREAT few months! We have lots of fun and exciting things planned.

Ms. Speidel & Mrs. Caruso

Nursing Notes

Deciding if a sick child should be sent to school or kept home can be difficult. These student health guidelines will help make the decision easier.

Students should be kept home if during the night or early morning they have:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea – two or more loose, watery stools.
  • Fever – oral temperature 100 degrees or higher in the last 24 hours.
  • Diagnosed strep throat: must be on antibiotics for 24 hours before returning to school
  • Wheezing, croupy cough, and/or cough producing green mucous.
  • Ringworm – a fungal infection that has not been treated by a doctor.

Please telephone your child’s doctor or clinic for advice about treatment. Some conditions will require a doctor’s visit and prescription medication. Your child’s school may ask you to provide proof of treatment. Follow the doctor’s or nurse’s advice about when to return to school.

** Illness prevention: HAND WASHING is the best way to prevent getting sick!! We would like to encourage you to remind your child to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (singing the Happy Birthday song in their heads for timing of these 20 seconds!) They have access to the bathroom in the lunch room, and can use the bathroom near their classes also with permission. We should all be
washing our hands before eating, after blowing noses, using the bathroom and before touching our mouth, nose, or eyes. **

Common Contagious Conditions

  • Chickenpox Stay out of school for the first six days or until the last pox (blister) has dried.
  • Fifth Disease May attend school with rash if child feels well. Please inform the nurse if your child’s doctor has made this diagnosis.

If your child is out of school for 3 or more days please send in a note from your doctor or health care

As we have many indoor recesses this month, and therefore less fresh air please encourage hand washing at home and at school before eating, after sneezing and blowing their nose, and after bathroom use. Hand washing and the flu vaccine are two well known ways to keep students healthy.

Hearing screening for 3rd graders: February 7, 2020 we will be conducting hearing screenings with Worcester State University Audiologist and Graduate Students in their program.

4th grade students Heights and Weights mandated screenings: In February we will conduct this screening in privacy for all students in 4th grade. A form went home in backpacks describing the BMI assessment with an opt out portion to be sent back with the child’s name, teacher and parent signature that needs to include a recent Physical Exam conducted by the child’s health care provider attached.

Outdoor Recess: Please send your child with a coat during these winter months as they will be going out to recess if the weather permits. It can be really cold and windy some days that we will be out at recess.

Grade 3 News

Grade 3 students are continuing their journey through history. Classes will be finishing up their study on Pilgrims and moving to their study on Colonial Times.

In Science we will continue to discuss weather and climate.

In reading class students are working on expository texts. They are exploring nature and history. We are continuing to model comprehension strategies. Students are expected to independently answer questions supported by text evidence. They are also expected to answer an open response question using two sources.

In writing students are finishing up their opinion writing and will be moving on to writing a book review.

Math classes are moving forward with division. Any opportunity to discuss division at home will benefit your child. Please continue to practice telling time to the nearest minute and mastering facts. We are proud of all of the students who have mastered their multiplication facts, well done!

Thank you for your continued support.

Grade 5 News

In math we are completing Chapter 6 on adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. We will be moving on to Chapter 7 which will involve multiplying fractions. Be sure that your child continues to practice their math fact fluency each night. Many students enjoyed an Xtramath fact fluency celebration this month! Keep up the great work!

In science, we have learned all about watersheds, including an informative, hands on visit from the Department of Environmental Protection in conjunction with the Auburn DPW. Students discussed water flow in the town of Auburn, including what happens to waste
and how the water supply can be polluted by people’s actions. Additionally, students have completed Topic 5 Human Impacts on Earth’s Systems, and are moving on to Topic 6: The Solar System.

In social studies, we are in the midst of the American Revolution. Students are learning about the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and Lexington and Concord to name a few. Students are excited to learn all about America’s freedom and the war that was fought to win it.

In reading, we continue to practice with both fiction and informational texts. We are wrapping up the third unit of our reading program. Students have been focusing on identifying the main idea and key details within a text, as well as determining the theme of a story. In writing we have been writing opinion pieces in which students are able to express opinions and use evidence to support those opinions.

Communication: Please stay in communication with your child’s teacher. It is essential that we work together to ensure that each child has a successful year!

- The Fifth Grade Team

SWIS Support

As we enter the new year, we are thrilled to introduce Samantha Englehart as our Grade 5 School Counselor. Please be in touch with Miss Englehart if you have a Grade 5 student that previously received School Counseling services or if you have concerns regarding your child.

Mrs. Berg has taken a position at the middle/high school (A big thank you to Mrs. Berg for all that she does!).

With the upcoming winter months, please access the following resources if you are in need. If you need any assistance with the process, please reach out to your child’s School Counselor for support.

Financial Supports & Fuel Assistance

Worcester Community Action Council, Inc.-

  • Denholm Building 484 Main Street, 2nd Floor Worcester, MA 01608
  • Phone: (508) 754-1176
  • Fax: (508) 754-0203

Partners for Community

  • 11-13 Hampden Street Springfield, MA 01103
  • Phone 413-272-2200
  • Fax 413-731-5399

Auburn Youth & Family Services

  • 21 Pheasant Court, Auburn
  • 508-832-5707

Worcester TAO

  • 2nd floor 13 Sudbury Street Worcester , MA 01608
  • 508-767-3100
  • Emergency shelter- families

Central Mass Housing Alliance

  • 7-11 Bellevue Street Worcester, MA 01609
  • (508) 791-7265,
  • HomeBASE Hotline: (617) 573-1123

Visit http://www.211.org for additional resources by town and need.

Grade 4 News

It continues to be an engaging year for the fourth grade students at SWIS! As we progress through the year, students continue to explore new and exciting units. Work is ongoing to develop new strategies and understand new concepts.

In math we will continue to build our knowledge on fractions. We will be learning to add and subtract fractions. In addition, we will also be learning to multiply fractions by a whole number. Students are realizing how important it is to know their multiplication and division facts. They are also learning how they relate to fractions.

During reading we continue to explore new stories. Students have been reading biographies to see how peoples’ words can lead to changes. We are adding to our knowledge base and increasing our proficiency in gathering text evidence to determine author’s point of view.

In writing we continue to work on finding text evidence to support answers in relation to stories we have read. We will be continuing to work on writing fictional narratives through different points of view.

In science we continue to explore different types of energy and how they are can be transferred to different forms. We have been incorporating Generation Genius to help the topics come alive.

In social studies students continue their tour of the United States regions. We will continue to focus on the five themes of geography including location, place, human- environment interaction, regions, and movement.

As the winter season continues we would appreciate any donations of hand wipes, tissues,
and antibacterial wipes.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

“February is the border between winter and spring.”

Terri Guillemets

News from the Reading Room

During the month of December and January, the reading team was busy administering winter benchmark assessments including the DIBELS (measures fluency), i-Ready (measures phonological awareness, phonics, high frequency words, vocabulary, comprehension of literature and comprehension of informational texts) and KeyPhonics (measures application of phonics’ skills). The results of these assessments were looked at closely during data meetings during the month of January to determine instructional focus areas for each child, inform instruction and create groupings that will continue to help your child develop as a

Please continue to encourage your child to read for pleasure at home. This can be done through read-aloud, silent reading, or listening to audio books. Finding the perfect book that makes a story come alive is often all that is needed for a love of reading to begin. Think
about your favorite book as a kid. What was it and why did you love it so much? Share that information with your child, if you haven’t already and see where the conversation takes you.
Enjoying reading!

Welcome to STEM Class

STEM Classroom Happenings:
Hard to believe February is already upon us and that half of the school year has gone by.
Students that had art the first half of the year will now have STEM. Students were introduced to class expectations last week and to their first lesson about coding using algorithms and sequences. Very Exciting!

STEM Website Connections:
Looking for ways to continue the love for STEM at home. Check out some of these websites that can inspire students.

How Stuff Works: this website has hundreds upon thousands of articles that explain the wonders of science (and almost
everything else on the planet)

Science Buddies: This website has over 1,000 ideas for science fair projects, project guides, project kits and detailed
profiles of STEM careers

NASA Kids’ Club: At NASA Kids’ Club, it’s perfectly okay to fool around in space. You can use your science and math
skills to explore Mars, construct a fleet of rockets or search for NASA spinoffs in your garage.

Weather Wiz Kids: Meet meteorologist Crystal Wicker. She’s put together a website that explains everything about the
weather. Find fun facts, games, flashcards and photos, plus get answers to your meteorological questions

Mrs. DiMeglio

PE News

We began the new year with two units – tennis & basketball. Halfway through January, Mr. Moriarty and Mrs. Shane traded classes so that students experienced both units. In tennis, the students learned the basic swings, both forehand and backhand, as well as some tricky hand-eye coordination skills. They then played singles and doubles matches over the nets. In basketball the focus was on the individual skills needed to be successful in small game play; these skills were dribbling, chest pass, bounce pass, and shooting. Students played a variety of fun games to practice these skills.

The goal of these units was to give students the knowledge and skills needed to find enjoyment in recreational basketball and tennis. When the spring comes around, and the nets are back up on the hoops and the tennis courts, challenge your child to a basketball game or a tennis match – there are hoops and courts at the High School and at Lemansky Park – give them a chance to show you what they have learned!

In February, students will take part in a mid-year “practice” PACER. Results will not be documented as it is just a practice. We have put a great deal of focus on cardiovascular fitness this year and want to check in on students’ progress. Let’s keep them moving!