Posts Tagged ‘school’

MHS Launches 1:1 Tablet Initiative

October 9, 2013

MCPS is proud to announce the 1:1 KUNO launch at Middlesex High School. The importance of this initiative will positively affect the future of students in Middlesex County. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “No matter what our students choose to do after high school, we know that they will be expected to be proficient and ethical users of electronic devices. It is also a moral imperative for Middlesex County Public Schools to prepare our students for the reality of computer-facilitated learning by teaching them how to use these devices ethically and effectively. This investment in our community’s youth will net dividends that will continue to be evident for generations.”

KUNO pic1

According to Steve Dunkel, Director of Assessment, Research, and Technology, “The device we chose for our division is called the KUNO.  It is an Android device that works with a software package called CurriculumLoft.  The software uses cloud technology to distribute content to students. Teachers and students send assignments, notes, assessments, and research materials using the device. Every student and teacher at MHS has received a device.  Staff was trained during multiple sessions of professional development.”

The best feature of the KUNO launch is how it is advancing learning for our students. “KUNOs are taking learning at MHS to a whole new level. Students are interactively engaged in their teachers’ presentations and curriculum. It’s an exciting time at the high school,” says Jeannie Duke, MHS Principal.

In Susan Butler’s Spanish class, she uses the tablets to teach listening skills to her Spanish students. “I am able to record my voice using a voice recorder app and then import it into an assignment.  Students play the recording and then answer the questions that follow.  It is great having them use headphones so that they can listen at their own pace, as well as repeat it as necessary.”

KUNO pic2

Kate Peters has noticed students’ willingness to complete tasks with the KUNOs that they usually avoid. “They not only found the dictionary on the KUNO, they enjoy using it! We also began exploring how we might use the tablets in Spanish class. We went online to start our project about Hispanics in the United States. The information found was surprising and the statistics astounded many of us.”

In World History classes, Melisa Naumann and Lee Anderson are utilizing the KUNO tablets for a project-based learning assignment.  For the project, students assume a natural disaster has occurred which has returned the area to pre-historic times.  Students research how to make a simple shelter using only materials that would have been available during pre-historic times.  In addition, they design a map of their current location (Middlesex County) which identifies landforms, water, and natural resources and create a PowerPoint presentation to describe their survival plan. The students, working in pairs, used their KUNOs for research, to create their presentations, and to trace maps, which is difficult on a laptop. Because each student has their own device, the teams were able to multi-task during their project.

Naumann said, “Overall, students were more engaged and interested in completing the project because they find the KUNO easy to navigate and they prefer the touch screen.  The class enjoyed being able to stay in the classroom as opposed to going to a computer lab or using a laptop.  The KUNO is providing a lot of options for differentiated instruction, and I am looking forward to using it in many other ways.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Cromartie states, “Developing our students as learners, citizens, and leaders relies on our collective emphasis on technology and how technology may be used to advance students’ skills and knowledge acquisition.  Educators often talk about 21st century learning and how we are preparing today’s students for careers and societal roles that do not currently exist. I am thrilled that Middlesex County Public Schools is leading our region in this type of thinking and working.”

In addition to advancing classroom instruction, the KUNO has other benefits for the students. Unlike devices designed for the general public, the KUNO tablet with CurriculumLoft considers student safety. An embedded filter makes the device CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) compliant, both on and off school property.

The device design also considers school budgetary constraints. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “This learning solution is destined to lighten backpacks and lessen paper consumption over time, saving the county immeasurable sums while forwarding advanced methods of student learning. Students will be able to submit assignments electronically and save documents and assignments to virtual storage space on the school’s virtual cloud.”

Overall, the launch is an exciting new initiative for MCPS for now and for the future, which provides advanced technology to the high school students on a daily basis. Cromartie states, “Through our 1:1 Kunos launch, students at our high school have the opportunities to fully experience curriculum integrating knowledge across the content areas, producing work and receiving feedback in innovative formats, and eventually maintaining their own ePortfolios to exhibit their learning and growth over time.”

MCPS Welcomes New Teachers

September 10, 2013

Middlesex schools are excited to welcome new teachers to their faculty for the 2013-2014 school year. Each of these individuals will be a valuable addition to our MCPS family.

Middlesex Elementary School

In addition to a new assistant principal, Heather Evans, MES is also proud to add the following new faculty members:

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas joins MES to teach fifth grade students. She is from Chesterfield, Virginia, and recently graduated from Radford University. Ms. Douglas is engaged to be married in November. She says of her new position, “Becoming a teacher has been a lifelong dream that has come true.”

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Scott Martin, the new fourth grade teacher at MES, is from Wyckoff, New Jersey. He attended Penn State to obtain a BS in elementary Education. Before moving to Virginia, he was a teacher’s aide in first and third grade. He has also taught both sixth and second grade. In addition to teaching in the classroom, he also worked as a lead instructor at The Little Gym teaching gymnastics, dance, and Mommy & Me classes.

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes teaches third grade at MES. She graduated with a Masters of Science degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University in May of 2013. Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Ms. Rhodes recently moved to Middlesex. She married her husband, Ryan, in June. She describes herself by sharing, “My passion is teaching, and I consider myself a lifelong learner. I am excited to be a part of MCPS and am looking forward to a wonderful 2013-2014 school year!”

St. Clare Walker Middle School

Jamie Wynberry, former special education teacher, has been promoted to Dean of Students at SCW. In addition, the following faculty members are welcomed into the SCW family.

Claire Evans

Claire Evans

Claire Evans graduated from Mary Washington College with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 1999. After working as a soil scientist for the Department of Health for six years, she taught eighth grade students at Hamilton-Holmes Middle School in King William for eight years. Her husband, Mark, works for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative as a journeyman lineman. They have two sons, Wyatt and Kai. Mrs. Evans is a fan of extreme sports. She and Mark have rafted the Upper Gauley River in West Virginia several times and completed the Tough Mudder event on their wedding anniversary in 2011.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner

Kate Messner went to East Stroudsburg University and earned a degree in Recreation and Leisure Service Management before beginning a career as an aquatics director at a YWCA. When she decided to go back to school to become a teacher, Ms. Messner moved to Virginia to obtain a MA in Special Education at Hampton University. After graduating, she accepted a position with a regional day school (SECEP) then accepted a position in Hawaii teaching high school. After 4 years there, she bought a house in Middlesex County and worked at Grafton High School in Yorktown. Outside of school, she loves biking, hiking, swimming, writing songs, and playing other’s songs on her five guitars. Messner states, “I am delighted to be at St. Clare Walker Middle School and hope to be an asset to the school, students, and our community.”

Middlesex High School

MHS has added a number of new faculty members, all of whom will be an asset to the school.

Susan Butler

Susan Butler

Susan Butler graduated from Emory and Henry College at Emory, Virginia, and has been teaching middle and high school Spanish in grades 5-12 for the past eleven years.  She and her husband Erik have two children, Wesley, age 9, and Christopher, age 5.  They also have a beagle named Hunter and two cats named Amigo and Azriel. Besides family, teaching, and her pets, Butler’s other love is country music.

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges is coming to MHS from Lafayette High School in James City County where she taught biology, chemistry, and AP chemistry for 11 years.   Previously, she worked as a chemist for Uniroyal Chemical, DuPont Chemical, and Danbury Pharmacal.  Ms. Hodges has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology  and a Master of Arts degree in Education from the College of William and Mary. When not at school, she enjoys sewing, gardening, and reading.

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis comes to MHS from Warhill High School in Williamsburg and is a native of Richmond. Coach Jarvis graduated with a degree in Social Sciences from and played football for James Madison University. He has taught for 33 years and has been an athletic director and head varsity football coach. Coach Jarvis is teaching United States History, World History II, and Psychology, as well as coaching the varsity football team. Coach Jarvis and his wife, Sherri, have three sons, Bobby, Brian, and Brett, and two grandsons, Wyatt and Garrett. His favorite football team is the Cleveland Browns.

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf attended James Madison University after knowing since eighth grade that she wanted to teach high school English. This is her fourteenth year teaching high school English, most recently at Gloucester High School. In addition to English, Metcalf has taught drama, Latin, and speech and debate. Originally from Yorktown, Ms. Metcalf has lived all over the Hampton Roads area and in China for three years.  She has two very large, spoiled dogs and a roommate who is also a high school English teacher. She has four tattoos, and one of them says, “Shakespeare.”

Melissa Naumann

Melisa Naumann

Melisa Naumann graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Psychology and received her teaching endorsement in special education K-12.  Now in her fifth year teaching, Ms. Naumann previously taught at an alternative school for one year and three years at Warhill High School in Williamsburg/James City County.  She teaches special education at MHS and coaches competition cheerleading. Her many years of experience in dance, choreography, and cheerleading will prove beneficial in this role.

Kim Owens

Kimberley Owens

Kimberley Owens graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design.  After graduation, she worked for Gibbs & Cox (a naval architectural firm) and Newport News Shipbuilding in various design departments then served as a professional territory manager for several firms such as Ames Color-File, Wright Line and Chasen’s Business Interiors.  For thirteen years, she taught Visual Arts Teacher in Hampton and then in Tampa, Florida.   Ms. Owens holds teaching endorsements in Technology Ed, Visual Arts PreK-12, Gifted Education, and Family & Consumer Sciences.  Ms. Owens is single and has no children other than her beloved pets. She has spent much time throughout her life in Middlesex and Mathews Counties. She loves gardening, boating (including sailing), the beach, dogs and cats (especially border collies), and she is an artist. One time, readers of the Daily Press voted her design for a highway flyover painting to be their favorite of all finalists’ entries.

Kate Peters

Kate Peters

Kate Peters joins the faculty at MHS where she will be teaching Spanish.  She is certified by VDOE, having completed her teaching credentials at The University of Virginia.  She also studied at La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas and La Universidad de Madrid, Complutense when she lived abroad. Ms. Peters is a Virginia native.

Grace Smith

Grace Smith

Grace Smith comes to MHS from King and Queen High School. Before teaching in Virginia, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, minoring in criminal justice from Fayetteville State University and then earned her teaching certification at UNC: Pembroke.  In North Carolina, she taught ninth grade for five years then relocated to New York where she completed a graduate program in liberal studies with a concentration in online learning and technology and taught composition at Jefferson Community College.  Ms. Smith’s mother is a resident alien, a citizen of Great Britain where half her family resides.  She has one brother living in England, one in South Africa, and a third in the Netherlands. Ms. Smith and her two sons, Gabe and Logan, have now joined the family of Middlesex Schools. She is looking forward to a wonderful school year.

Dear Students,

June 11, 2013

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The faculty, staff, and administration of Middlesex Public Schools thank you for an amazing school year. We hope you all have an exciting summer, filled with family and friends. Remember that learning doesn’t end when you leave the halls and classrooms of MES, SCW, or MHS. Every experience and activity in your life can increase your knowledge and skills. This summer, pause when you’re about to utter the words, “I’m bored.” Decide to try something new. Put down your iPhone and iPod so you can look at and listen to the world around you. Take a hike in the woods, examine the shells along the beach, watch fishermen bring in their catch at the end of the day, read a book, visit a museum or an aquarium, or sit with a grandparent and soak up some wisdom. Whatever you choose to do, continue learning and growing, and we’ll see you in September!

School’s ALMOST Out for Summer

June 4, 2013


Although the end of SOL testing is near, school continues until June 14th. This presents a challenge to teachers because many students “check out” after testing is over, but each member of the innovative MCPS faculty is using his or her creative genius to keep the students engaged. Here are just a few of the activities planned for the last days of school:

Next week, Eileen O’Brien’s students will visit the second grade to read books they are creating in class. O’Brien asked her students what they would like to learn about that hadn’t been covered this year. Students researched their chosen topics to create shape books, which included at least three paragraphs of five sentences each. After they illustrate the books, O’Brien plans to laminate the covers and bind the books. The books will include an ‘About the Author’ page featuring the student’s picture.

In Robyn Stein’s Algebra I classes, students are designing games based around one topic they learned this year.  They are using familiar board games and card games, such as Monopoly and Go Fish, as examples. Students will create a game board or playing cards and write a rules manual. Players of the game must use algebra skills to compete. After the projects are graded, students will have a competition day in class to play the games.

Elizabeth Blackwell’s eighth grade art students are searching for pictures or phrases that describe their goals and dreams for the coming years. After collecting them, the students create and decorate a box in which to keep their pictures and phrases. Some students choose to seal their boxes until later in the future and some keep them open. The project encourages focus on goals for the future and emphasizes individual creativity.

box1  box2  box3

A variety of activities will keep students engaged in Kim Aliff’s second grade classroom. Her students will be learning stitchery, writing stories, and beginning to learn cursive writing. They are also participating in a math fact competition called Gumball Math.

Janice Parker’s high school English students will be busy with two activities. The “Around the Room Short Story” project involves multiple students writing one short story. Each student contributes one literary element, such as setting, characters, dialogue, conflict, or resolution. Each phase of the writing is timed, and then the story is passed to the next writer to complete their part. The story eventually returns to the original writer who develops a title and completes any revisions necessary for the finished story. Parker is also challenging her students to teach a 10-minute lesson. Students can teach a dance step, a magic trick, how to braid hair, how to make bird calls, or another school-appropriate topic of their choice.

Students in Annie Somerville’s civics classes will view the reality entrepreneurial show, Shark Tank¸ and design a good or service to enhance the economy. In teams, students will create a prototype of their good or service and explain their target group based on age and gender. Students will also determine in which types of economy they would sell their good or service, what business type they would organize with, and any kind of advertising or promotions they would utilize. Teams will earn incentives for creativity, organization, and resourcefulness.

Each middle school grade level in Matt Short’s technology classes will have a specific project. Sixth grade students will work with LEGO Robotics. Seventh grade students will create bottle rockets and have the opportunity to launch them outside, while eighth grade students design wood plaques and carve them using the CNC router.

photoStudents in Linden Barrick’s language arts classes are honoring those who inspire them by creating a booklet featuring ten people who inspire them the most. Each page in the booklet includes the name of the inspirational individual, a drawing of the person or of something that symbolizes him or her, and a short paragraph briefly explaining how the person influences the student’s life. Barrick’s students will also be researching fifteen idioms and creating a presentation. Each slide of the presentation will feature one idiom, a brief explanation of its origin, and an illustration depicting the figurative meaning of the phrase.

Staying engaged is difficult this time of year for students, but the dedicated teachers of MCPS are diligently working to make the last few days of school fun AND educational.  Encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn in the stress-free atmosphere, and if you’re interested in educational summertime activities, please visit the Virginia Department of Education website at:

Teachers of the Year

May 10, 2013

In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, faculty and staff at each of the three Middlesex County schools honored Teachers of the Year. Candidates were nominated and finalists were selected by their colleagues at each school.

This is the second consecutive year that teachers have been awarded this distinction. The honor recognizes exemplary teaching service both in the classroom and within the school community and embodies teacher leadership and instructional innovation. This year’s selections represent the many highly skilled and dedicated professionals who serve Middlesex County’s children each day.

Patty Larson, Kindergarten, Middlesex Elementary School

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Ms. Larson proudly shared her beliefs about teaching saying, “If you love and care about your students, they will learn. I believe that when students know how much we care about them, they will try their best and exceed our expectations. I feel that every child counts each and everyday. We must invest our time in them now, so that our investment will blossom in the future. Children are a precious gift, and I love being there tohelp them grow, succeed, and develop a love of learning. When my students accomplish something we have been working on, you will find me wiping the tears from my eyes because I am a proud teacher. I am passionate when it comes to each child reaching his/her personal best. I feel that all children can learn, and I want to be their loudest cheerleader, encouraging and helping them to create that emotional attachment to learning for the rest of their lives.”

Elizabeth Sanders, Language Arts & History, St. Clare Walker Middle School


A native of Lancaster, Mrs. Sanders is completing her fourth year of teaching. She confidently says, “The most important thing I can offer my students is encouragement. I believe that every child is capable of being successful. They just need a little help finding the success in themselves.”

Mrs. Sanders earned a Bachelor of Science at James Madison University, a Master of Arts in Teaching also from JMU, and is working toward a Master of Education in Policy, Planning, and Leadership at The College of William and Mary.

Elizabeth currently resides in Lancaster with her husband Dan and their four-year-old Labrador Riggins.

Hugh Scanlan, English, Middlesex High School


A lifetime resident of West Point, Mr. Scanlan has taught English for over three decades. Mr. Scanlan says, “As an English teacher, I have always felt that I have three goals: to help my students become critical thinkers, to make them more competent writers, and to help them understand that true learning is only accomplished by testing their capabilities through trial-and–error development. To me, literature and  literary history are simply means to an end. They provide models for students to work within their gradual evolution as thinkers and writers.”

Mr. Scanlan earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond. He and his wife, Charlotte, have been married for 43 years.

Learning About Life

May 7, 2013

In Mrs. Kelly Thomas’s class, students have been learning about life cycles, what hatches from an egg, and “new life” in spring. The MES art teacher, Ms. Dixie, brought eggs from her chickens and an incubator from Middlesex 4-H was used for the eggs’ development. Each day for 21 days, the students read how each chick was growing inside the egg’s shell.

cracked egg

To help the students visualize what they were reading about, they “candled” the eggs in front of a bright light to see what was happening inside. In the beginning, they saw the red veins and then a black dot as the chick began to grow. Later, they could only see the dark shadow inside the egg as the chicks took up more room allowing less light to pass through.

chick hatching

Currently, 15 chicks have hatched, one is pecking its way into the world, and 12 more are still developing. The students have been able to experience all phases of the development and hatching. Over the weekends, students have taken eggs home to baby sit, and a few students had the opportunity to share about their experiences on the radio at 99.1 in Gloucester.

kids with chicks

Innovative and demanding lessons such as this one enrich the education of all students, and it takes teachers such as Mrs. Thomas who are willing to go the extra mile to offer the enrichment in their classroom. Congratulations to her class on all their new babies!

National Junior Honors Society at SCW

April 7, 2013

St. Clare Walker Middle School is excited to announce its recent establishment as a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), a prestigious organization which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of middle school students specifically in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.  Membership in this society is a privilege, and St. Clare Walker has a number of students who are deserving of that honor. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to use their unique talents and skills to improve their community.  Members will participate in chapter service projects as well as individual service projects.

Students will be selected for membership in the spring of 2014. St. Clare Walker desires to provide families and students ample time to prepare for this wonderful opportunity. In order to be considered for NJHS membership, students must meet certain selection criteria in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, character, and teacher evaluations. Please continue reading to understand the selection process.


To initially be considered for membership, students must hold a 3.75 GPA or higher.  Once students meet the GPA requirement, they will be evaluated in the areas of leadership, service, citizenship, and character.


Students must be able to demonstrate three leadership roles they have held since 6th grade either in the school or in the community.

Examples of leadership roles include but are not limited to:

  • Successfully holding a position in SCA or Builder’s Club
  • Demonstrating proactive club membership
  • Consistently setting a positive examples for peers
  • Successfully holding a leadership role in a sport
  • Successfully holding a position in a church or community organization
  • Taking initiative to enhance civic life of the school and/or community



Candidates for NJHS membership must demonstrate the completion of 10 hours of school or community service and must provide documentation from the adult supervisor of the service activity.  Some examples of service include but are not limited to volunteer work, participation in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, participation in religious groups, and serving as a mentor or a tutor.


Students are also evaluated on how well they demonstrate the following civic traits: trustworthiness, honesty, courteousness, respectfulness, responsibility, accountability, self-reliance, respect for the law, patriotism, and participation in school and the community.


NJHS supports a multi-faceted definition of character known as the Six Pillars of Character.  A person of character demonstrates the following six qualities: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  As part of meeting the character requirements, candidates will be required to have a teacher recommendation form completed.

Once members are selected, they are expected to uphold the standards of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.  Members can be dismissed if they fail to do so.  These instances will be dealt with as they occur.

St. Clare Walker is honored to provide its students with such a valuable opportunity.  Membership into the St. Clare Walker Middle School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society will allow students the occasion to shine by providing members a way to build their character and improve the surrounding community. Thank you for taking the time to talk with your child about this amazing opportunity!

For further questions about NJHS membership, please do not hesitate to contact Melanie Sheets (Chapter Adviser) or Nicole Huntley (Co-Adviser) at 804-758-2561.

A Taste of Reality

March 27, 2013


On Friday, March 22, the eighth grade students at SCW participated in a Reality Store, an event sponsored by the Virginia Co-operative Extension Office to give students a taste of life as an adult.

Karlee Steffey, Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, explained, “The hope for the Reality Store is that students will get an idea of their financial futures and to make the connection between doing well in school and then doing well in life. This is a great opportunity to really see how much things cost and to jump start their thinking about budgeting.”


During the event, the eighth grade class divided into three different sessions, each teaching them a different aspect of finances in adulthood.

In one session, students gained knowledge of checking and saving accounts, depositing money, and financial needs versus wants. They were made aware of all deductions taken from paychecks to demonstrate the difference between gross and net pay.


Another session consisted of students completing a skills assessment, values assessment, and an interest assessment to determine potential careers that match their interests and abilities. Students also filled out sample job applications.

The third session involved a life simulation. Each student received an identity that included information on his or her job, income, and family. Once their identities were established, students had to pay taxes, purchase or rent a home, pay bills, buy groceries, and organize for child care and other necessities.


Jason Perry, Vice President for Workforce Development at Rappahannock Community College, volunteered at the event along with many other community leaders. Perry stated, “I applaud the staff and administration at St. Clare Walker Middle School for providing career education activities to students in the eighth grade. Unfortunately, with pressures of testing and accountability in our schools, we typically place career education on the ‘back burner.’ The Reality Store is a fabulous way to teach life and career skills. I would hope that more schools in our region would incorporate this program in the future.”


After it ended, students continued to discuss the event throughout the day. They enjoyed the hands-on activities and being able to connect the lessons to relevant aspects of their lives. When asked about the event, students shared varied responses.

Marty Bristow declared, “I never knew children cost so much!”

“It was very worthwhile and really opened up my eyes about being careful of what I spend,” said Zack Bristow.

Greg Pitts summed up the event well. “Real money doesn’t last very long. Life can hit you hard, and you have to adjust.”

Two MES Events Emphasize the Importance of Reading

March 4, 2013

One School, One Book

Throughout the month of February, students at MES read A Cricket in Times Square. The Parent Outreach Committee sponsored this initiative to promote family reading time. Every night, Monday through Thursday, families read one chapter in the book. The following morning, both 99.1 radio and the MES morning announcements posed a question from the previous night’s chapter. All correct student responses were placed in a drawing for prizes.

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On February 28, the culminating event for the activity consisted of a PTA Fundraiser in the MES cafeteria. Families feasted on Chick-fil-a while being entertained with the violin music of fifth grade student Macy Taylor. MCPS superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor also addressed the crowd. A large backdrop depicting a scene from the book decorated the cafeteria for the evening.

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After dinner, attendees watched the movie version of the story. Mrs. Stamm, MES principal, discussed the differences between the movie and the book. Mrs. Patty Larson, MES teacher, led the group in a craft project in which students designed crickets made of clothespins and pipe cleaners.

MES parent Jamie Wynberry shared her thoughts on the initiative. “The event was a great way to wrap up the program. It was well attended, and it seemed everyone really enjoyed the book. It was refreshing to see so many families who read the book together. There was a lot of discussion about the book and who liked which parts. My favorite part of the program was listening for the question on the radio in the mornings. It made us all get a little excited to get out of bed to see if we could get the question right.”

Dr. Taylor later said, “The One School, One Book program provided an opportunity for all students at MES to engage in reading at different levels, in a way that was unifying for the school community and fun for the students and teachers. The culminating event on Thursday evening allowed families to share in a cross-disciplinary approach to student learning. The student craft variations of clothespin Chester Crickets helped bring the story of A Cricket in Time Square to life for the families who attended. My kudos to Mrs. Stamm, Mrs. Swift, and the rest of the MES staff for hosting a successful family event which focused on student learning.”

Celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America

Friday, March 1, marked the annual National Education Association celebration of reading, Read Across America, and Dr. Seuss’s 109th birthday. For this special event, MES students and staff dressed in red and white or their favorite Dr. Seuss apparel. In honor of Read Across America, MES recognized the importance of reading by having every teacher share their favorite Dr. Seuss book with their students at 9:00 a.m. The morning announcements also included famous Dr. Seuss quotes to celebrate these events.


Mrs. Stamm stated, “Reading to children and with children is one the most important things to do to help with literacy development. We wanted to open the forum and encourage reading by fostering the relationship between school and home in a fun and inspiring way through our One School, One Book event and our celebration of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and Read Across America. Reading is the gateway to understanding, comprehending, and being successful in all areas of school and in life.  It is so rewarding to have such a high participation rate in something that is so beneficial, yet fun, for each and every student at our school.  We truly appreciate the parental support and participation with our initiatives in uniting our school and its families through reading.”

The National Education Association goal is to build a nation of readers through this signature program. Now in its 16th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.

For more information about the NEA, visit their website. In addition, always remember the inspiring words of Dr. Seuss. “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

SCW Runs for Fun and Fitness

February 4, 2013


A group of SCW students spend time on Monday mornings with Annie Somerville, eighth grade civics and language arts teacher, in the Running Club. Somerville, an avid competitive runner, leads the students as they run the trails around SCW, enjoying the fresh air and exercise.

Somerville, who took over the club when her husband, Jamie Somerville moved to the MHS for the 2012-13 school year, believes running isn’t just a form of exercise. She explains, “It also helps people stay in shape, prevents disease, boosts confidence, and relieves stress.”

The students run every week, as long as it isn’t raining. Even in the brisk, cold days of winter, they head out to run and arrive back at school with frosty breath and cheeks rosy from exertion.

All students who are not required to attend a LASER session are eligible for participation in the club. Somerville hopes the club will generate a lifelong love of running in the students. She encourages the students to continue their running careers in high school through track during spring sports and cross country in the fall.

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