Archive for January, 2016

One School, One Book

January 29, 2016

HumphreyOn February 1st, Middlesex Elementary School kicks off its annual One School, One Book school-wide event!

Literacy educators everywhere recognize the benefits and importance of reading out loud at home, and One School, One Book gives families the opportunity to set aside time each evening to read together. Studies show children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers. In fact, improved literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity.  Ms. Beaton Healy, MES Title I Reading Teacher, says “OSOB is a fantastic program that allows students, families, and MES to experience literacy together.  We are proud to be able to provide this opportunity for our students and families.”

Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond your child’s reading level.  Reading chapter books with your children, even when they are able to read by themselves, is also beneficial. With that idea in mind, this year’s selection for One School, One Book is The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney.  This chapter book is great for elementary students of all ages. It can be followed, understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate and interest older children.

The World According to Humphrey details the adventures and daily shenanigans of Humphrey the Hamster; the newest classroom pet of Room 26.  With a fresh voice and an engaging, hamster’s-eye view of school, families and “ingenious treats that can be hidden in a cheek pouch”, Humphrey will elicit laughter and demands for hamsters to be mandatory in every elementary classroom.

The adventures continue when every weekend Humphrey gets to sleep over a different student’s home. Not only does Humphrey learn to read and write, but he masters the necessary skills of shooting rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course), turning off TVs, and teaching English as a second language. With an adventurous spirit every elementary school student will love, Humphrey definitely delivers!

Each MES family will receive a complimentary copy of The World According to Humphrey and will be asked to read it at home each evening during the month of February.  During the school day, there will be daily activities, questions & prizes for students which pertain to the previous evening’s reading selection, so families are encouraged to follow the schedule sent home in your child’s backpack.

Mark your calendars…The MES One School, One Book culminates in a special family event on Thursday, February 25th!


January 22, 2016

No two words in the English Language can elicit more shrieks of joy, sighs of exasperation and questions of ‘What now?’ than the coveted and dreaded SNOW DAY!

For decades…maybe even for centuries…those 7 letters can turn household and school operations into chaos all at 6am in the morning.

The process actually starts days in advance when meteorologists everywhere try to predict the ever-changing, ever-elusive weather forecast.  Winter storm watch, winter storm warning, frozen mix, sleet, snow and the alarming blizzard-like conditions keep everyone on their toes hour after hour.  Grocery stores see an influx of customers with bread, milk and bottled water flying off the shelves faster than you can say ‘Winter Wonderland’.  Everyone talks about it, and everyone tries to figure out exactly what is going to happen and when.

The night before the outside lights constantly flick on and off and heads press against the windows. Is it snowing yet?…Is it still snowing?…Are the flakes big?…Are the flakes small?…Is it laying on the roads?…Can you still see the grass? Imagine the amazing grades that could be achieved if the same amount of attention to detail that is given to the falling of frozen ice crystals was given to the nightly homework assignment or the studying for tomorrow’s test!

For most students, a snow day is like an unexpected gift-a WHOLE DAY off from school in the middle of the week!

For parents, however, snow days don’t produce the same amount of joy that they once did. The question of what to do with your children when the day ahead seems endless and the roads are too treacherous to navigate can give even the most creative parent a run for their money.  The good news is with a little thought & inspiration, you can use your snow day as an opportunity to create lasting memories with your children.

Inside fun:

  1.   Stay in your PJ’s all day
  2.   Make homemade cookies
  3.   Build a fort of old boxes & sofa cushions
  4.   Build a tent with a sheet
  5.   Watch family movies together like Snow Dogs or Snow Day
  6.   Turn on some upbeat music and make a music video
  7.   Make Snow Ice Cream
  8.   Make maple syrup “candy” with snow (think Little House on the Prairie!)
  9.   Curl up on the couch with a hot cup cocoa and read a good book. Or two. Or three!
  10. Play board games or card games.  Maybe have a tournament!
  11. Feed the birds by stringing popcorn or making a pine cone birdfeeder
  12. Let the kids choose the dinner menu and have them help you cook
  13. Have a pretend fashion shoot
  14. Do a family arts & craft project.  The internet is full of amazing DIY projects!

Outside fun:

  1. Have a good old-fashioned snowball fight!!!
  2. Make a snowman.
  3. Make snow angels.
  4. Build a snow fort.
  5. Go sledding. No sled, no worries! Go cardboard sledding!
  6.  Play some snow games

So parents, hang in there, embrace the fun, and remember a snow day is a temporary situation…until Old Man Winter blows through town again!


I Have a Dream…

January 15, 2016

Every year on the 3rd Monday of January, Americans celebrate the life and legacy of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Thanks to the vision and courage of this tireless clergyman turned civil rights activist, today the United States is a nation where everyone has equal rights regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin.

But is that really the case??

Despite the amazing strides we as a country have made with respect to equality for all people since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., just pick up the newspaper or surf the internet to see that his dream is still unfulfilled.  Racial prejudice and social segregation still exists and is tolerated in many parts of our great nation.  Each one of us has the opportunity to make a difference and see past race, color, creed and origin and celebrate our uniqueness rather than focusing on distrust and hate.  Through our example, we can continue to spread the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past week, Ms. Gayle Segall, Media Specialist at Middlesex Elementary School, showcased the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during her instruction with her students, hoping to impart to them the importance of those who fought so hard for equality for all people. Many of the youngsters look at her not fully appreciating the enormity of the events of the sixties, but for those of us closer to the days of segregation and inequality, this national holiday is a humble reminder of an important part of American history and a lesson for us all to ponder…for those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Middlesex County Public Schools will be closed for students & staff on Monday, January 18th in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

New Year…New Blog!

January 8, 2016

Welcome to the newly revamped Middlesex County Public Schools Blog!

What is a blog?  A blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

The purpose of the Middlesex County Public Schools blog is to present information, opinion, and food for thought on topics and items of interest pertaining to our students, parents, administrators, school system & community.

As a both a parent with children in two schools as well as an employee in the MCPS technology department, I hope to bring a unique perspective to the Middlesex County Public Schools Blog.  New blog entries will be posted regularly, some showcasing a recent event or accomplishment of our students or schools and others more topical and thought-provoking about a pressing issue in today’s world.

I welcome feedback, topic recommendations and offers for guest bloggers!  Contact me at I look forward to hearing from you!

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