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NEWTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School 191 Pearl Street Newton, Massachusetts 02458 Gregory Hurray Interim Principal 617 559-9540 617 552-5558 (fax) April 4, 2012

…From the Principal’s Desk

Dear Lincoln-Eliot Families and Friends: With spring come thoughts of warm weather, renewal, and … spring cleaning! Sunday, April 29, is Newton Serves day throughout the city. This is a day on which parents and families gather to contribute their labor and expertise to the school community in a collective effort to spruce up the building, paint, clean, rake, and otherwise fix up and beautify our institution and grounds! Last year we had a fantastic turnout (maybe the best in the city!) and accomplished remarkable things on a rainy Sunday! This year, we have already collected requests and ideas from staff, including a range of projects that will appeal to both parents and kids. Parents Andrew Hargens and Jason Crowdle are heading our committee and have already walked the building with me twice. One idea that Andrew and Jason have put forward is to replace the bushes adjoining the steps at the Pearl Street entrance with two beds of carefully selected perennial plants and grasses and a sign welcoming everyone to the Lincoln-Eliot School. Jasonʼs company, J. C. Landscaping, has generously offered its services to Design by J.C. Landscaping facilitate this, should we decide to go forward. Newton Public Schools Chief of Operations Michael Cronin and I have carefully reviewed the plans that Jasonʼs company drew up. We found

them to be very professional and comprehensive. Another plus: J. C. Landscaping will help us with the removal of the bushes and the purchase of the plants and grasses at virtually no cost to Lincoln-Eliot. Personally, I think this is a marvelous opportunity to upgrade the appearance of the school. However, I would love to know what you think. Specifically, please let me know if you have any objections to this plan going forward. In order to make the necessary preparations, we need to make a final decision by April 13. Special Events On April 11, the PTOʼs Creative Arts and Sciences Committee, under the leadership of L-E parent Elaine Purcell, is bringing Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges to Lincoln-Eliot on Wednesday, April 11, to speak to students. Ms. Bridges was the first African-American student to integrate the William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans after the Supreme Courtʼs Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. On November 14, 1960, six years after the Supreme Courtʼs decision, the New Orleans schools were integrated and six-year-old Ruby Bridges, accompanied by 14 federal marshals and amidst a cacophony of hate-filled chants and slurs, was one of the first six African-American students to enter an all-white elementary school. This event was immortalized in a famous painting by Norman Rockwell and in numerous books and films. At the request of Ms. Bridgesʼ agent, the presentation is for students and staff only. Ms. Bridges will speak first to students in grades 3-5 and later in the morning to students in kindergarten and first grade. The idea is to keep the gatherings as small, intimate and personal as possible so that students will feel comfortable asking questions. I am hoping we can videotape the presentations and share them with parents at a PTO meeting. poster by Andrea Hemment

The very next day, Thursday, April 12, is Lincoln-Eliotʼs Title I Family Poetry Celebration! Every class in the school will be running a “Poetry Picnic” from 8:30 to 10:00. Parents are invited to join in as students in each grade travel to various poetry stations to read, write, and share poems. This is going to be an amazing event and we are hoping for a huge turnout by parents! Thanks to Literacy Specialist Deana Lew and Title I Family Liaison Bobbie FischBethoney for organizing this exciting event!

Preview of Next Year始s Configuration Changes lie ahead as we approach the 2012-2013 school year. We will have three fifth-grade classes, including a co-taught classroom consisting of a general education teacher, a special educator, and a special education intern, and two additional grade five classes. Ms. Crist, currently a fourth-grade teacher, will join Ms. Penczar, Ms. McCarthy, and Mr. Davan on the fifth-grade team. Grade four will comprise two classes, one of which will be a co-taught classroom similar to the current fifth-grade model. Ms. Goode will be one of the general education teachers; the other will be a new hire. Ms. Gueye and Ms. Marino will be the two third-grade teachers. In grade two, Heather Gratzmiller, who is currently teaching fourth grade, will join Ms. Phelan and Mr. Raisner. It is with mixed feelings that I inform you that longtime veteran teacher Brenda Petrofsky will be retiring at the end of this year. Ms. Petrofsky is one of the finest teachers I know. She is the consummate professional, a wonderful colleague who has trained and mentored numerous Lincoln-Eliot teachers over the years and taught hundreds of Lincoln-Eliot children to read and write. In 2003, when the school committee gave us permission to hire a full-time literacy specialist for each elementary school, Brenda was the first person I asked to apply for one of these important positions (I was the district始s English Coordinator at the time). She turned me down. She said she would not even consider leaving her classroom position, which she found completely satisfying and engaging. Marlene Hole, one of our wonderful kindergarten teachers (and a former grade one teacher), will join Nancy McDonald and Kristina Anderson to round out the grade one team. Kindergarten will have two classes, led by veterans Lori Kremer and Elaine Bradley. All in all, this feels like a great line up to me! Book fair Last week, under the guiding hands of parent Miriam Alandydy and library teacher Heather Smith, Lincoln-Eliot completed one of its most successful book fairs ever. All week long students and parents visited the library, perused the books, and made hundreds of purchases. It was absolutely thrilling to see students of all ages so engaged in reading and enjoying the great variety of texts. Thank you to all involved in this wonderful endeavor!

Letʼs Do It! If you have a few minutes, visit please visit the schoolʼs website and peruse Lincoln-Eliotʼs latest publication, LEtʼs Do It*! To find the electronic version, nicely laid out in paginated format by instructional technology specialist Trisha Kelleher, click on this link: and then look for Lincoln-Eliot Magazine under “School Information.” Enlarge the text by clicking on the double arrow button in the right-hand corner. This is the first edition of what we hope will be a new tradition at Lincoln-Eliot. Twenty fifth-graders and eight staff members worked on this for approximately six weeks under the direction of psychologist / graphic arts expert Patsy Mok and social worker / advice columnist Stephanie Baumann. The contents include a history of Lincoln-Eliot (researched by students who visited the Jackson Homestead and delved into their archives), a profile of veteran teacher Lynn Penczar, creative writing and poetry, music and product reviews, a humor section and an advice column! We are currently working on a second volume, which is being written by a different team of fifth-graders. New Yorker, watch out! *Named by fifth-grader Shaniay Chatelain, the title incorporates the schoolʼs initials.

NewTV Video Project In the same vein, I want to congratulate the twenty fourth- and fifth-graders who just completed a month-long video training program with NewTV producer Melinda Garfield and Lincoln-Eliot Library Teacher Heather Smith. Our students worked for two and a half hours each Tuesday afternoon for a month learning the ins and outs of video composition, filming and production. Students loved the experience of working in small groups creating and videotaping various scenarios. The training culminated in the creation of a very creative DVD, which I hope to share with the community at an upcoming PTO meeting. We also hope to do more of this kind of training and programming in-house next year! All this (and more!) in the midst of MCAS! Best wishes for an invigorating and rejuvenating spring! Hope to see you April 12 at our Title I Family Poetry Day Celebration! Sincerely, Gregory Hurray

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