October 2019

From the Principal’s Desk...

Greetings Swanson Road Intermediate Families,

I am thrilled with the start of our school year. This summer, a lot of work was completed both in curriculum areas, as well as building improvements. It gives me great pleasure to share some of this information along with the wonderful learning occurring at SWIS. I would also like to share some of the many ways you can participate and support us in nurturing our students’ academic, physical, and social emotional growth. Our goal each year is to provide a well rounded education that is both rigorous and enjoyable while addressing the needs and learning styles of each student.

With the first month of the 2019-2020 school year completed, instructional routines are well under way, benchmark testing is completed, and numerous clubs have already begun. I am so grateful not only for the talented staff at SWIS but also for the overwhelming support of our school community in all of our endeavors.

Our Go Math program is off to a great start. All students have completed the first chapter and have been assessed in every class. Please be sure to support your child’s mathematical success by maintaining an active role in your child’s education, assist with homework, be proactive and communicate consistently. Review your child’s Assessment Evidence sheet and discuss their mathematical thinking with them. *PLEASE practice math facts with them. All grade three students should know and have fluency with their addition and subtraction facts. In grades four and five, students should have command and fluency with multiplication and division facts. This knowledge is imperative for their success in math class.

We continue to develop our students reading comprehension skills and writing skills through our Wonders English Language Arts program. Students have already completed their first assessment using the online platform. During class, as well as, when assessed, students are practicing not only the reading skills introduced, but also the reading strategies needed to respond in writing to two texts. These are critical skills that are built upon each year becoming more sophisticated as students read a variety of genre enhancing their ability to read texts critically. Please continue to read and discuss books at home each night. Literacy is at the heart of student success.

This year, we continue our implementation of our Elevate Science program. As you learned during curriculum nights, Elevate Science is a research based, well rounded science program that integrates hands-on labs, as well as, technology at each stage of instruction.

Social studies is always exciting with rich reading texts, hands-on projects, and group presentations. I am very excited to have three enrichment classes that extend students’ learning bridging our specialists expertise to content areas. We have been fortunate to be able to expand these experiences to all students through creative scheduling. Each trimester students will rotate through the following enrichment classes: Art-Science integration, S.T.E.M. Technology, or Physical Education Wellness.

MCAS results have been released.
I am always very proud of the students’ achievements and look forward to reviewing the many accomplishments made by each child. Through the dedication and hard work of teachers and support staff, as well as the excellent effort of our students and families, Swanson Road Intermediate School continues to provide a top quality education for each individual child. Your child’s results will be mailed home on October 11th. Please take time to review and discuss your child’s results with them. I will be sending additional information regarding MCAS in the coming weeks.

Parent / Teacher conferences are scheduled for October 29th. Your child’s teacher will be forwarding information regarding this important meeting . Please be sure to make every effort to attend these meetings. This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress, learn about your child as a learner, and share your insight about your child’s learning style with his/her teacher.

School Field Trip
We are very fortunate to have been gifted tickets by the Papas Foundation to bring our entire school community to the Hanover to see Cirque Mechanics 42 ft. a Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels on October 15th. A sincere thank you for their generosity and the generosity of the Auburn PTO for paying for all transportation costs to this event.

A BIG Thank You is extended to our wonderful volunteers who oversaw the Scholastic Book Fair! The Fall Fundraiser ...stay tuned. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of our wonderful volunteers.

In closing, please be sure to mark the dates included in this newsletter, follow us on the APS Facebook for the SWIS Features, and see our web page for information. Unity is strength,...when there is teamwork and home-school collaboration, our students are more successful.

Please be sure to watch us on the Auburn Facebook for Featured Class photos and school wide events.

"They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Carol Buchner .......Love, guide, support.

Yours in Education,
Dr. Lopez

From the Desk of Mrs. Pitsillides

It has been a fantastic start to the new school year! Students and staff are excited about and have enjoyed several new or revamped components to our School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program here at SWIS. We have a new SWIS PBIS Rocket logo, expectation posters, daily pep chant and monthly character education traits to name a few.

Every day during morning announcements we all recite the following chant::

Today is a brand-new day
I’ll try my best at work and play
Being Responsible is my goal
Being Respectful is how I roll
Being Safe is an important rule
It’s how SWIS Rockets soar at school.

Throughout the month of September we highlighted the character education trait: Respect and honored our first 28 Students of the Month on Monday, September 30th with a small celebration of those students' accomplishments, in the auditorium.

September - Respect
To show high regard for authority, for other people, for self, for property, and for country; to
understand that all people have value as human beings.

Congratulations to all of our amazing, hard-working and respectful students of the month!!!

Grade 3 News

It is hard to believe that September is over and summer is long gone. We are settling into our schedules and routines and learning tons! It was so nice to meet most families on Curriculum Night. We look forward to working together with you as partners in your child’s learning. Third graders are enjoying the beautiful fall weather while playing outside. Please make sure you check the weather so that they are dressed appropriately; New England weather in unpredictable.

During ELA we are reading about how learning can help us grow, as well as, so many different cultures. In math, we are finishing up Chapter 1 with rounding, estimating, and addition and subtraction with regrouping. These skills will be fundamental in the rest of our math learning. Next, we will be onto Graphing in Chapter 2. Social Studies is in full swing as we have talked about history, map skills, and soon the Wampanoags. In science, we are talking about Motion and Forces. The kids are really enjoying all the hands on activities.

Please continue to study math facts at home using XtraMath or any other way that works for your child. This work will make math so much easier for them. Please also continue to check and sign your child’s planner and clean out their home folder of important notices and their beautiful work.

Third grade will celebrate Fall/Halloween with a small party with crafts/STEM and snacks (NO COSTUMES) on the afternoon of Thursday, October 31st.

Grade 4 News

The fourth grade has had a fantastic, but very busy start to the school year.

We have been busy learning our new fourth grade routines and diving into our curriculum. At this point in the school year, your child should be reading every night for 15 minutes, practicing their math facts for 15 minutes and completing their nightly math homework.

Throughout the month of September, your child was busy learning about place value. Over the next few weeks ,we will start to learn how to multiply two-digit numbers. In order to master these concepts, it is extremely important for your child to master his/her math facts. So please practice these ...in the car, at the dinner table,
before bed. Whatever works for your family!

We have started our journey into our Wonders Reading Program. We started the year with establishing new routines for learning vocabulary and close reading. In our first unit we are practicing strategies that good readers do such as making predictions, sequencing and using text evidence to answer questions about the text. Since reading and writing go hand in hand we have been answering many different prompts in response to our readings. We have also started our Narrative unit in which we are learning how to organize a friendly letter.

In Science, we are beginning our Pearson Realize Science Program. The first topic that students have explored is Earth and its Features. We have investigated weathering, erosion and deposition, as well as ,explored how our landscape has changed.

In Social Studies, we have completed an overview of the United States as well as learnedabout Maps. In the upcoming month, we will start to learn about immigration.

It has been a pleasure getting to know your children and we are excited about the year to come!

-The Fourth Grade Team

Grade 5 News

Welcome to Fifth Grade! It was a pleasure meeting many of you on Curriculum Night. If you were unable to attend and are in need of the information that was handed out that evening, please contact your child’s teacher. We are looking forward to helping your child become a more responsible student this year as the first steps toward middle school transition. Please make sure your child has written down all of the homework assignments in his/her planner every day. In addition to the daily assignments, we ask that your child spend at least 15 minutes reading each night. It is also important to continue practicing multiplication and division facts.

Classroom happenings:
During reading class, we are reading stories about big ideas. Our mathematicians are working on division of whole numbers. In social studies, we are learning about early exploration. Fifth grade scientists are studying physical science and the states of matter.

Parent conferences are scheduled for October 29th . If you did not get a chance to sign up at Curriculum Night, please contact your child’s teacher.

Happy fall!
The Fifth Grade Team

Math is Everywhere!

You may have seen at curriculum nights, “Math is Everywhere.” As the math paraprofessionals at Swanson Road Intermediate, we would like to introduce ourselves.

We are Ms. Hilary Keller, Ms. Molly O’Connor, Ms. Avery Trifone and Mrs. Glorimar Nazario-Colon.

We are so excited to be working with your children and helping them find success in math. Math really is everywhere, and math matters.We are excited to start Math Academy later this month! At Math Academy students have the opportunity to practice fact fluency, participate in small group math activities and games, and receive pre-taught lessons. These experiences encourage students to appreciate and love math as much as we do!

The Music Corner with Ms. Speidel and Mrs. Caruso

Ms. Speidel and I have had a wonderful start to the year! We are working hard and enjoy our music classes.

All grades have started out the year with a musical review and are going to be starting concert music before you know it. The 3rd Grade Concert will be on Thursday, December 5th, 4th grade will be on Tuesday, December 10th and 5th grade will perform on Thursday, December 12th. Please keep an eye out for more information regarding the concerts as we will be sending information about what/where/when/what-to- wear very shortly.

The band students are rockin’-and-rollin’ their way into the year! Ms. Speidel and I are very impressed with the progress students have made in such a short period of time. We would like to remind all students to bring their instruments home at the end of the day as we have noticed more and more instruments living on our shelves! Also, if your child is absent from school and will be missing band, please email Ms. Speidel to let her know about the absence.

The SWIS String Society is also having a marvelous start to the school year! We have 74 students in Beginning Strings who have just started to learn how to hold their instruments and play the “Ant and Elephant” song. Second and third year students are continue to play their instruments with fingers and are perfecting their bow grips. The second year SWIS String Society students are reviewing concepts from last year while the third year students are playing “Ring Christmas Bells”.

The String program at the middle school is underway! We are 20 strong and are going to be competing in a festival this year where the kids perform in front of a judge and are graded. I am beyond excited to see what the future holds.

Lots is happening here in the SWIS Music Department!
Ms. Speidel & Mrs. Caruso

Nursing Notes

We have two nurses at SWIS – Anne Elsaid, RN and Erica Mahan, RN, a district wide nurse.

We welcome you and will use this space for some updates about our health services here and seasonal advice about health concerns and recommendations.

For now as we move into fall:
* Please consider getting in touch with your doctor about a flu vaccination for you and your children. Flu season is upon us and will last into spring.

*Continue checking your child, yourself and pets for tics and discuss any unusual rashes or symptoms of illness with your child’s health practitioner.

We include some guidance for you regarding illness and when to keep your child home from school. We know there is often a discussion about not feeling well and wanting to stay home so we hope this helps you to decide. we are seeing strep infections or strep throat with atypical symptoms. We are seeing stomachaches, sometimes with a red throat, sometimes with a low grade fever, and with fatigue as a common symptom.


  • Fever of 100.4° F or more within the last 24 hours, when not taking medication to reduce fever
  • If a child is unable to participate fully in school activities because of illness
  • When a child has a contagious condition or a rash with an unknown cause
  • Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours or the inability to eat normally
  • A child has a diagnosis of strep throat and has not been taking antibiotic medicine for 24 hours
  • If a child requires medication for fever or ongoing pain relief
  • If your child has a red swollen eye that itches and has yellow drainage- call your doctor for evaluation
  • Please contact the school nurse if your child has a communicable disease, such as chicken pox, measles, ringworm, impetigo or scabies. We also would like to know if your child has conjunctivitis or pink eye, head lice, or viruses such Coxsackie virus, also known as Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.

Please let us know when your child is staying home (we will call you if we do not hear from you, for a safety check) and with information about:

*What illness your child has
*If your child has a recent injury and is staying home or is coming to school requiring any cast or other equipment
*Has a diagnosed concussion
*He/she has any other substantial injury that will impact their school day

We will need a doctor’s note about the injury and the care needed in school.
THANK YOU for your help with this. We appreciate it.

As always if your child is, ill it is always a good idea to check in with a phone call to the doctor’s office and decide if they need to be seen by the doctor.

News From Mrs. DiMeglio’s STEM Class

Welcome to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class. I am very excited to be starting a new program here at SWIS based on STEM. Students will have the opportunity to have this class twice in a six day cycle for half of the school year.

The purpose of the STEM program is to enhance student knowledge in areas of science, technology, engineering and math related skills with real-world application and provide opportunities to explore future professions that will allow students to choose different career pathways. We are truly excited to be in partnership with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nationally recognized program for bringing STEM into the classroom.

Students will working on modules through the Launch program for grades 3-5. Each PLTW Launch module engages students in cross-disciplinary activities that spark a lifelong love of learning and build knowledge and skills in areas including computer science and engineering. In addition, each module allows students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance. These are all essential skills needed in our ever-changing world.

Along with these modules, students will be engaged with hands-on experiences that apply the scientific method, engineering process, and computer coding that align with state and national standards. In addition, students will be taught how to become a “Digital Citizen” when using technology at school or at home.

Looking forward to an exciting year with STEM!

Mrs. DiMeglio

News from the Art Room

Hello SWIS Families!

Art class at SWIS promotes creativity, decision-making skills, self-esteem and the acceptance of diversity. Art class exposes students to a variety of 2-D and 3-D art media, unique tools and intriguing techniques. It is my hope that these experiences generate enthusiasm and brings your child to love coming to the art room!

While in Art class, students are exposed to artists, art history and cultures from around the world. To promote mindfulness while creating, instrumental music is played as the background to every art class. Art work is kept in portfolios that remain in the art room. A portfolio review takes place at the end of each marking period. All students will choose their favorite work of art for display at the Auburn Public School’s annual “Festival of the Arts, S.T.E.A.M. and Wellness” exhibit in May. (More information to follow, as the date approaches.)

I truly enjoy working with children and I teach with a passion for Art. I have an appreciation for the unique artist found within your child. When in the art room, students know that they, as individuals, matter! As I tell them,

“When creating art, be yourself... because nobody can tell you that you are doing it wrong!”

I look forward to a great year! Your support of the Fine Arts Department is always appreciated. Please contact me, for any reason, at Swanson Road Intermediate School- (508) 832-7744.

Gayla Bieksha
Art Teacher, Swanson Road Intermediate School


We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves as the School Counseling team at Swanson Road Intermediate School! We are thrilled to be part of this learning community. As school counselors, our role is to promote the academic, personal, and social development of all students. In addition, we look forward to supporting not only the students, but also the staff, families and the community. We have some exciting additions and changes to our SWIS School Counseling Department. Please note that Counselors are now grade level based.

Mrs. Terri O’Donnell- All Grade 3 students

Mrs. Jamie Nikopoulos- All Grade 4 students

Mrs. Megan Berg- All Grade 5 students

Auburn Public Schools value your child’s social emotional wellbeing. We are excited to have a strong counseling staff at Swanson Road Intermediate School to support your child and your family. Our role includes meeting with students individually and in small groups, meeting with parents, collaborating with teachers and staff, and consulting with community organizations. We also serve as the 504 coordinators for the building. Please reach out to your child’s designated counselor if you have any questions or concerns regarding their social/emotional progress.

PE News

Welcome back to Swanson Road Physical Education! Students have been very active so far! We have had some large group games such as Capture the Flag, lots of team building activities and have started our time trials for the Swanson Road Race. This race is a long-standing tradition in Auburn, formerly known as the “Town Race”. All students were given the opportunity to participate in a time trial during PE class. If they chose to take part, they did a timed 800 meter (1/2 mile) run. After all students had their chance to run, we compared times from all who tried (all grade levels). Through this process, we find the 20 fastest boys times and the 20 fastest girls times and these 40 students are the Swanson Road Race runners. The race will take place on Thursday, October 10th at 4:00 – come and cheer on the runners!

News from the Reading Room

First, we would like to welcome all Grade 3 families to Swanson Road Intermediate School, as well as, a welcome back to all others! Congratulations to all students that completed the summer reading. Prizes will be forthcoming. We are off to a busy start this year. We are currently conducting DIBELS testing on all Grade 3 students. These should be completed by next week. All students, grades 3 – 5 will take their i-Ready Fall Diagnostic Assessment by the end of the month. All of these results will be shared at conference time. We look forward to a busy school year.

The Reading Team