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March 2013

LOWELL LOWDOWN JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL SCHOOL is a community of learners. As a caring and responsible community: about ourselves, others, and our learning environment. WE CARE

WE SHARE our thoughts and feelings in kind and respectful ways.

to try our best, be creative, and explore new ideas. WE DARE


The Buddy Program

MARCH 2013 11– Monday–Tuesday 12 Evening conferences 13– Wednesday–Thursday 14 Early release (conferences) 18

Monday Original artwork orders due


Tuesday — 7:00 p.m. PTO meeting


Thursday — 7:00 p.m. School site council


Thursday — 8:30 a.m. Grade 1 parent coffee with Mrs. Kaplan



APRIL 2013 9

Tuesday — 7:00 p.m. PTO meeting


Thursday — 7:00 p.m. School site council


Friday Spirit Day

15– Monday–Friday 19 NO SCHOOL - vacation week 25


Thursday — 8:30 a.m. Kindergarten parent coffee with Mrs. Kaplan

From the Principal’s Desk By Elizabeth Kaplan

I am so pleased that the Lowdown is back! I want to thank Kristen Patterson for bringing this issue to us. It looks amazing! I also want to thank Laura Stokes for being the Lowdown editor in chief, writer, and producer for so many years. Laura’s daughter, Rachel, will be graduating fifth grade at the end of the year. The middle school is so lucky to receive the Stokes family. It has been a few months since we have had an issue of the Lowdown. My column in the Lowdown is a way for me to reflect on what has happened recently in our community and to also look towards the future. This month “Get Wrapped Up in Reading” will be going on! This is a month long celebration of reading. Students will be logging their minutes read and may receive prizes at the end of the month. If we reach

our reading goal, I will be wrapped up in a snake (a REAL snake) in front of the entire school! This month also brings with it English Language Arts MCAS testing. Students in grades 3–5 participate in MCAS. The dates for the March MCAS tests are listed on my blog. Students will also participate in Math MCAS in May. It is very important that students are on time and present (unless they are sick, of course) for testing. A good nights sleep and a healthy breakfast is also an important way to prepare for testing. In reflecting on the past few months and the past year, I can not help but feel so proud of the Lowell staff, students, and families. We have accomplished so much! As my second year at the Lowell school continued on page 3




Julia Bean, Pre-K I feel lucky, every single day, to be a pre-kindergarten teacher. I get to think of messy, creative, silly, emergent ideas each day and I get to learn new things alongside the kids. There is nowhere else I’d rather be. Julia Bean, M.Ed. Lowell School Pre-K teacher

Where did you grow up and go to school?

How did you decide to become a teacher?

I grew up in northern Maine (so north it is almost Canada!) and went to a bunch of colleges. For undergrad, I went to Ithaca College (when I wanted to be a broadcast journalist on CNN), University of Maine, University of Hawai’i, and Lesley University for my graduate degree (so I could be a teacher!).

I became a teacher for a gazillion reasons:

Where have you taught?

This is my first year at the Lowell School and I am so beyond thrilled to be here! Before I came to the Lowell, I was a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten combined teacher at the Cambridge Friends School. What do you do in your spare time?

In my free time, I love to play Sweet Genius with my fiance, go to trampoline jumping classes at my gym, watch Portlandia, and have ridiculously long brunch dates.


1. It is inspiring to be around such young energy and enthusiasm! I love the way children approach everything with such wonder, curiosity, and excitement. 2. My sense of style seems to fit right in with this age group (glittery shoes, big headbands, neon colored tights)! 3. Children are fabulous at wiping the slate clean each day and I feel like I learn just as much, if not more, from them as they do from me. 4. I am passionate about empowering children to feel proud about their ability to write, read, and be kind and compassionate. Every child is a writer, even if they can’t write words in a way we can read them. I LOVE helping children see that scribbling, writing the letters

they know, writing the sounds they hear, etc., is all writing! I love the ability to have a job that allows me to empower, encourage, and support such young children. Calling it a joy/ calling/etc. would be an understatement by far. 5. Young children say the funniest things I have ever heard in my life and I could not adore my students more than I already do! 6. I believe in children! I love the way they look at life before they know how to put on their “adult glasses.” What is your favorite thing about teaching Pre-K?

I feel lucky, every single day, to be a pre-kindergarten teacher. I get to think of messy, creative, silly, emergent ideas each day and I get to learn new things alongside the kids. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.


From the Principal’s Desk continued from page 1

comes to an end (that is correct, we are almost in term 3), I have been taking stock of what has changed at the Lowell. Many changes are happening on the state and national stage, and we are adapting. Changes to English Language Learner instruction, the adoption of new Common Core State Standards, have us collaborating to look very carefully at what we teach, why we teach it, and thinking about how we could better teach. Teachers have begun mapping their curriculum to these new state standards. Parents can look forward to these maps becoming public—another way we can strengthen the home-school connection. In terms of our students’ social-emotional learning, we have successfully implemented a Caring School




Community Buddy Program. Students and teachers have benefited from this program and I guarantee your child will remember their first buddy for years to come. Parental involvement at the Lowell has also improved. The PTO continues to raise more funds to support our school each year. The Lowell Community Volunteer Program has been up and running since last year. The Lowell also experienced an extremely successful International Night where our diversity was celebrated, much was learned, and amazing food was eaten! There are so many wonderful things happening at the Lowell. I want to continue to grow and improve. Please come to me with any ideas, suggestions, or questions. I truly value and appreciate your input and support!




PTO Update

What’s up in Watertown

Submitted by Donna Tuccinardi PTO President

2012 was very busy and 2013 has been a blur! The PTO wants to thank everyone for their support. So far this year we have raised more than $2,500 and have provided the following:

Student events Teacher reimb/wish list Playground equipment 5th grade agendas Subscriptions

$983 $777 $600 $513 $461

Teacher reimbursement/wish list includes an allowance of $75 per teacher for reimbursement of class room supplies and subscriptions or other miscellaneous expenses approved by Ms. Kaplan. At the beginning of the year we provide a wish list of supplies for teachers to choose from, which the PTO pays for and delivers to the teachers. The student events include the great movie night we had in September as well as Math League, new parent coffee and a portion of the Fall Festival. We brought back the Scholastic Book Fair this year and it was a great success! Not only did you as parents buy books for your children and friends, but your sales have enabled the Lowell Library to purchase $4,000 in books! AND with your donations on Pajama Day we were able to buy $500 in new books for the classrooms. International night was wonderful! So many families participated, so much food and fun! Bingo night was a lot of fun—we provided free snacks and prizes. Our classroom used book drive was successful. We were able to add on average 50 books per classroom. Some upcoming fundraisers and events—keep a look out for email from your PTO Grade Level Coordinators: April Vacation: April 15–19 May: BOGO Book Fair (more info to follow) June: Year-end picnic and 5th Grade Graduation


Bandarama March 13, 7:00 p.m. Watertown High School gymnasium Enjoy performances by hundreds of WPS student musicians! The Pajama Game March 15–17, Arsenal Center for the Arts A Watertown Children’s Theatre musical production. A cast of 1st–9th graders brings this childhood classic to life, directed by Meghan Kenny. Tickets online Watertown Youth Soccer Swap March 30, 12:30–2:30 p.m. Watertown Public Library Come trade, swap, drop off or pick up used soccer gear: cleats, shin guards, goalie gloves and padding, balls and soccer clothing. Read more Ye Old Renaissance Faire April 16–19, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. $250/week Need childcare for school vacation week in April? Watertown Community Education is accepting registrations for its April vacation program for PreK–5 students. Costumes, castles, crafts, games, facepainting, music, and more! Payment and registration form due April 8; for details, see the program information and registration form or call Beth at (617) 923–7653.

Important websites Ms. Kaplan’s Blog Lowell Extended Day Program School Lunch Menu Calendar Courses for Kids Lowell PTO Facebook Page




Winter Weather Recess Submitted by Kathy Taverna, RN

Part of our healthy daily routine at the Watertown Elementary Schools includes outdoor recess. Research shows that children need fresh air, exercise, and sunshine. Physical activity is not only healthy for your child’s body but it also stimulates brain activity. The outdoor air, especially in the winter, is more humid, and much fresher than the air indoors, which tends to be drying to the mucous membranes, increasing the incidences of nosebleeds, impetigo, chapped lips, ear infections and upper respiratory infections. Keeping active everyday will help make your child less vulnerable to illnesses in cold weather. Temperatures will be monitored from local news stations for unsafe conditions that could harm children. Children are usually thrilled to go outside when the snow begins to fly. Parents on the other hand, might dread the thought of cold weather and all that it implies.

To ensure that children have a safe and fun winter at school, here are some steps we recommend: A winter jacket, a warm hat, warm mittens or gloves, boots, and snow-pants (if possible). This will ensure a comfortable recess for all. It is also suggested that your child keep an extra change of clothes in their locker to change into if needed. Please label all clothing with your child’s name. Dressing in layers helps to keep your child comfortable during fluctuations in the temperature both inside and outside. Children will not be excused from outdoor recess for a prolonged period of time without a written medical reason from a physician. Your child’s health is an important phase of the educational program. All children need exercise and fresh air to keep healthy and alert. Any questions, please contact your school nurse.

Lowell Lowdown – March 2013  

The March 2013 school newsletter for the James Russell Lowell Elementary School in Watertown, MA.

Lowell Lowdown – March 2013  

The March 2013 school newsletter for the James Russell Lowell Elementary School in Watertown, MA.