Sunday, September 18, 2016

Superintendent's Message

Please see the message below from Superintendent Erinakes regarding Friday's district-wide lockdown.

Good Afternoon,
Late today I received the final information from the State Police regarding the incident that occurred on Friday, resulting in a district-wide lockdown. At this point, I can share some additional factual details. The threat was received at Metcalf School by a third party, concerned about potential violent actions of another individual. The threat was not directed toward any one individual or group of individuals. The police were contacted immediately and a district-wide lockdown was put in place as per protocol. 
We were aware that the person of concern was reportedly on the way to the school district, so police were on scene to be sure that did not happen. We wanted all individuals to be inside and certainly did not want to convey a message of panic that would undoubtedly bring many concerned parents to the school buildings while the police were in the process of locating the reported individual and conducting their investigation. At no time during the event did anyone of concern enter any of our campuses, and the procedures at every school were executed as planned.
I was notified late this afternoon that there was no credible evidence that the reported concern would come to fruition. As we did for the remainder of the day on Friday, all classes and activities will resume as normal on Monday morning. Principals at each building will debrief with their staff and staff will debrief with their students. Administrators will also meet to debrief to be sure that everything in place was executed as planned, and to look at ways to make our current procedures even tighter.
We spend a great deal of time in schools preparing for the unthinkable, but when we have to put things in place outside of the typical drills that we conduct, it is a very different feeling. Our teachers and principals acted with confidence and bravery - remember that they were not privy to all of the facts as they unfolded either - but they took care of your children as their first and only priority under difficult circumstances. I cannot thank the staff, building administrators, and the state and local police for their handling of a very serious situation. Although we never want to experience the reality that many schools have faced across our country, everyone can rest in the comfort of knowing that our district is prepared to handle such a situation to the best of our ability should the need ever arise.
I have had a chance to see several parent responses to the initial e-mail that I sent out within minutes of the lockdown being lifted. I appreciate the many notes of thanks and your patience in waiting for the additional relevant information that I said would be released when it became available. I am very relieved to hear the results of the investigation, and I am confident that we will return to school tomorrow in as safe an environment as we have always had.
Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. Know that all of your children were outstanding listeners during the event and I have heard nothing but praise from teachers about the way their students responded to what was asked of them on Friday. Please take the time to reinforce to them the importance of these safety procedures and convey my appreciation to them for their behavior on Friday.
James Erinakes

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17, 2016

September 17, 2016

We are really starting to get into the swing of things at school now. New students are beginning to know their way around the junior high and are feeling comfortable with their lockers, the new schedule and with the cafeteria.

Mrs. Ray's art class is always creating new beautiful displays for our bulletin boards in the hallway. 

One of the themes that we are always emphasizing at the Junior High is that each one of us is special and important and when we all work together everything is better. Mrs. Ray helped students to better understand that when they worked together to make these beautiful flowers. When each person does their part, the final outcome is amazing.

We also spend a lot of time at the Junior High trying to help students understand their own learning style. Some advisories are taking a multiple intelligence quiz to better understand their own learning style. Teachers also try to incorporate different learning styles in their classes. 
Some teachers try to help students learn and remember things with physical movement and actions for what they are learning. These students are reenacting the pilgrims arriving to the new land at Plymouth. 

Students in 8th grade history class were tasked with the job of developing and presenting a radio program. Groups selected the subject of their radio show based on a given list of topics currently being studied. 
Click below to listen to a few examples:
Roanoke Radio
Breaking News

During the lunch block we have a lot of things going on. Some students are receiving interventions to help get them performing at grade level. Some students have chosen band or chorus. 

And other students are being exposed to a variety of enrichment activities. 

One group of enrichment students worked with Ms. Winner to create some amazing 3-D projects.

Another advisory worked with Mrs. Brocato to launch a bottle rocket. Click here to check out the video.

Teachers are beginning to use the outdoor STEM park. It is an amazing addition to our school space and all of our science teachers are often found outside working in the new space. We were excited last week to see the work being done on the shed. This is an exciting space for us to work and learn in.

On Tuesday September 6 many students came out to honor Mr. Wallace when he was recognized by the school committee. Thank you to all the parents and students who attended and brought amazing snacks and treats to recognize Mr. Wallace.

Important upcoming dates:

Tuesday, September 20 is Open House. You will have an opportunity to attend all of your child's classes that night. Open House will be held from 6:00 - 8:15 PM. Please plan to attend.

We also have an early release day on Thursday September 22. School will end 2 hours early. Students will be served lunch and then they will be dismissed at 11:37 AM. 

On October 1st, the Jr. and Sr. High School bands are sponsoring a Color-thon run, job, walk, 5K. It should be a great event for the entire EWG community. Hope we see you there.

On October 15 EWG schools will participate in the Chalk It Up Against Bullying event. The event will take place at the library from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. We would love to see you there. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back! What a great week we have had. It was so exciting to see all the new 7th graders and the returning 8th graders. 

By the end of the week I think the new students were feeling comfortable with using locks and their lockers. And most were able to navigate the schedule and the building with ease. Teachers have been focusing on helping students to get organized and prepared for class. Organization is the key to success so it is very important to get off on the right foot.

In 8th grade classes it was exciting to see students already engaged in their first projects of the year, reading their first novel, and conducting their first science experiments. It is always great to see how quickly students can get right into their classwork when looping.

One of the things that we are emphasizing this year is the importance of learning from our failures. In my introduction to teachers I used the phrase "Fail Forward." And this week I saw a great quote posted in Mrs. Reynolds' classroom. It's important to make sure we learn from our mistakes.

I have been working with students and parents to make sure iPads are up and running. If you child is still having an issue with his/her iPad, please contact me.

On September 22 we have our first early release day of the year. Students will be served lunch. They will be getting out 2 hours early, which means they will be going home at 11:37 AM.

Junior High Open House is on September 20. More details will be coming as we get closer.

This Tuesday at school committee our own Mr. Wallace, Black Knight Social Studies teacher and Washington DC trip coordinator will be recognized by the school committee for receiving the Golden Apple Award last spring.

We had a great first week and a fabulous fun Friday!