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GREAT OAK GAZETTE  Gazette Staff

Volume 3, Issue 3

 Kevin Schumitz  Matt Maciejko  Allison Torres

Power School Info!

 Shelby Jaffe  Giovanna McMahon

Dear Parents/Guardians;

 Katelyn Wentz

We have some exciting news to share! Great Oak Middle School is completely opening the parent portal for the new information software system (Power School). You will now have access to individual 4th marking period grades as well as your child’s current grade average. We are pleased to have this additional home-school communication. If you have any technical questions or concerns, please contact Mrs. Metaj, Library Media Specialist at 203-888-5418.

 Masha Shaposhnikova  Sarah Woolfrey  Nate Seibert  Mila Bowersox  Riley Walker

Thank you-

 Baylee Fairhurst

Mr. Murphy—Principal

 Ashley Fedler

Mrs. Miller—Assistant Principal

Gum Chewing + Students = Sticky Situation!

Volume 3, Issue 3

By: Kevin Schmitz and Matt Maciejko

April 2010

Inside this issue: Snow Day Story

2

Emerging Authors

4

School News

5

School News

6

Sports

7,8

Advice/Riddle

9

Interviews

10

As you all know, chewing gum in school is against school policy. But do you know why? The main reason is that students do not properly dispose of the wad when they

are done chewing it. This unsanitary action destroys and defaces school property. How many of you have reached into a desk and touched a hardened, chewed, old

piece of gum? It is not a good feeling, yet students are chewing at a record pace. We urge you to reconsider chewing gum in school.


Page 2

The Formula for a Snow Day/Delay

Great Oak Gazette

By: Allison Torres and Shelby Jaffe

We would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Palmer for taking the time out of her day to answer our questions. In the winter months, many of us wish for a snow day or delay. Many of us rely on the weather, how we feel, or other “myths” that may help us stay in bed a few extra hours! Thanks to Dr. Palmer, the method of “calling” a snow day/delay is revealed! Do you watch the news to inform you about a coming storm, and if so, when? Yes, I do watch the news to stay current on the weather conditions. I also access the weather on line and consult with John Baglioni, a meteorologist. What time do you make the decision to close school? I wake up at 4:15 a.m. and turn on the television. My decision is made by 5:00 a.m. most of the time. Does anyone else help you make the decision to delay/close school? If so, how many people help? At 4:40 a.m. I participate in a conference call with area superintendents and John Baglioni. John updates me on the weather conditions expected for Oxford that day. The next call I make is to Mr. Wayne Watt, the Public Works Foreman. He is in charge of plowing and sanding the roads. He updates me on the condition of the roads in Oxford. He lets me know how many trucks are out on the roads and tells me whether or not he feels the roads are safe for travel. Sometimes he will tell me that he needs a little bit more time. I make the decision to open late on those days. The extra 90 minutes helps his crew get the roads plowed and sanded. Oxford’s snow plow drivers work very hard to make the roads safe. They do a great job keeping up with the snow! How much snow does there have to be to close the school district? It really is not the amount of snow, but the condition of the roads that impacts my decision. An inch or two of snow on cold road surfaces can cause very slippery conditions. Other times, a heavy snow can fall on warm roads and melt right away. The air temperature and the condition of the roads, including surface temperature, play a major role in my decision making process.


Volume 3, Issue 3

Page 3

Do other schools impact your decision to close school, if they do which ones? Before I make the decision for a delayed opening or call school off, I speak to Mrs. Maryann Mascolo, Superintendent of Seymour Public Schools. Next, I speak to Dr. Colleen Palmer, Superintendent of Monroe Public Schools. Then I follow up with Mr. James Agostine, Superintendent of Regional School District #16 (Beacon Falls and Prospect) and Dr. Frank Sippy, Superintendent of Regional School District #15 (Southbury and Middlebury). We talk about the decision to alter the school day in each district. Usually our Public Works Directors are providing us with identical information. That’s why you will see so many districts doing the same thing. The conditions of the roads and the day’s forecast are usually similar throughout the region. If a large storm is predicted do you make the decision to close school before the next day? This happens very rarely. Sometimes, a weather formation seems to be heading directly for Oxford but by 4:15 a.m. the next day it has changed direction. There is a risk of that happening with each storm. You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t fool Mother Nature”, right? This year the meteorologists have not been too accurate. They only make weather predictions. What actually happens is subject to many complex weather conditions that may change rapidly. Mother Nature always wins! If you do decide to close school the day before where can that information be found? If I do make the decision the night before, the television stations will not run the cancellation message until the next morning. Is there a limit to how many delays/ closings Oxford can have? No, there is no limit to the number of snow days. The most important factor is safe travel. The roads might be slippery in February, but they won’t be in June! Currently, we have four snow days. We can have two more. After that, the makeup days will be taken from April vacation. Do closings affect the end date of school? Yes, at this time the last day of school is June 23rd. How many delays/closings are expected each year? It is different from year to year. Some years are worse than others. I hope we don’t have any more snow days this year, but I won’t count on it and neither should you!


Page 4

Great Oak Gazette

Sixth Graders Script a Science Book By: Nate Seibert and Kevin Schumitz

Sixth graders Brooke  VanBuiten and Haley  Wheeler are hoping,  with the help of Mr.  Guidone, to publish  their book, Plate Pals.   The inspiration of the  book came from a pro‐ ject in Mr. Guidone’s  sixth grade science  class.  Mr. Guidone was  so impressed with the 

Great Oak’s Great Grants This year the sixth grade Math department and the eighth grade Language Arts department received technology grants. The purpose of the grants was to integrate technology into the classroom, while also strengthening CMT and other life skills. The

20+ page novel, he has  been contacting pub‐ lishing companies.  The  decision to publish will  hopefully be made by  the end of the year and  the two students could  not be more excited.   The book was written  with the intent of tar‐ geting elementary  school students, but  

the subject of plate  tectonics is relevant for  all science students.   Brooke, the illustrator  of the book, hopes to  be an art therapist one  day; while her co‐ author, Haley aspires  to be a veterinarian or  a soccer player.    Great  job and congratula‐ tions! 

By: Nate Seibert

sixth grade Math teachers are creating interactive SMARTboard activities. These lessons include students using Google Sketch-up to demonstrate math concepts. The eighth grade Language Arts staff are using Web 2.0 technology with

the novel Stargirl. Web 2.0 technology includes Thinkquest, Glogster, and VoiceThread. These grants have allowed the students to expand their horizons in all curriculums. At the end of the month, the teachers and a few select students

will be traveling to the capitol to present their work at a Technology Expo. The two grants were applied for by Mrs. Metaj and awarded by ACES.


Volume 3, Issue 3

Page 5

CMEA rocks! On Thursday, March 6th, students went to Haddam-Killingworth Middle School to perform in the southern region concert for the Connecticut Music Education Association (CMEA). The students from the band in-

By: Kevin Schumitz

cluded: Brian Westgate, Kevin Schumitz, Connor Garret, Brian Suto, and Dan Osborne. The chorus members: Kelsey Kuziak, Tyler Panic, Adriana Veltri, and Erika Stephen also attended. The students did a great job and we

would like to thank Mr. Surat and Mr. Bell for helping with the band and chorus members.

The Odyssey of the Mind   By: Katelyn Wentz  Seven Oxford students recently competed in an Odyssey of the Mind Competition. To  their surprise, they won! Those lucky students will be heading off to the World  Championship in Michigan. Odyssey of the Mind is a problem solving group that re‐ quires their members to be creative and fast. The team of GO students had to build  six aircrafts, and solve spontaneous situations with those models.  The team set up  their project as a game show called “Fly away to Paradise” where every member had  a specific role. The students scored 172/200 on the long term problem and 97/100  in the spontaneous problem.   Congratulations and good luck to the winners: Josh Ei‐ chenbaum, Brian Westgate, Samantha Longo, Nathan Siebert, Rodrigo Sanchez, Dun‐ can Yetman, and Katelyn Wentz.  

Gibbons’ Grant: Going Gorgeously! On Thursday, March 25, Mrs. Gibbons' D period class welcomed Ms. Mooney’s class from Walsh Intermediate School in Branford. The seventh grade students

arrived period C and stayed through the end of the day. The guest received a tour of the school from Mrs. Gibbons’ class and the groups finished up on

By: Giovanna McMahon

their song, “Let’s All Get Along.” The classes loved meeting back up with their Branford pals and look forward to the next meeting.


Page 6

Great Oak Gazette

Destination: Disney! By: Nate Seibert While some Great Oak students watched old soap operas during vacation, 60 kids had the time of their lives in Disney World, Florida. The jazz band and

show choir performed in Disney’s Magic Music Days on April 7th in downtown Disney. After the students performed, they visited other parks. Many ex-

Enriching Minds

tensive fundraisers have been held in order to reduce costs for the trip, and we would like to thank everyone who participated.

By: Nate Seibert

Every Wednesday after school a small group of students head to Mrs. Gibbons’ class for an enrichment program. The program includes intellectual discussions and fun activities. Last week Shelby Jaffe expertly analyzed students’ hand writing. In a few weeks, Nate Seibert and Josh Eichenbaum will teach the class about the fundamentals and technicalities of basketball. This is a great program and we thank Mrs. Gibbons for all her hard work.

The Last Song By: Mila Bowersox  On Friday, March 19,  GOMS held their last  dance of the year. Singing  contests were held for the  song, “Fireflies.”  The win‐ ners were Alyssa Ives,  Alana Ferreone, and Gavin  Nixon.  The prizes were 

inflatable guitars or micro‐ phones.  Thank you to  Mrs. McGinnis for coordi‐ nating another great year  of dances and we will see  you next year! 


Volume 3, Issue 3

Page 7

Helpful Hints for the Boston Blitz!

By: Mila Bowersox

If you are wondering what items you should take on the trip….rest assured! I spoke to Ms. Norko and got the scoop! *Digital or disposable camera (digital is more fragile) *$20-25 *I-pods/book for the ride *Watch *Cell phones—must be off at certain times! *Sunglasses OR rain gear—check the weather! *Boston tee OVER a hoodie or other shirt

Ready, Set, Spike! Mrs. Willets and Mr. Diaz recently launched an intramural volleyball league. Both leagues started with preliminary games where they played for placement in the championship tournament. On Thurs-

day, April 1st, the champions of the court faced the teachers in an ultimate staff/student game. The students preformed well, but not well enough to combat the forces of the teachers! Better

By: Nate Seibert

luck next year!


Page 8

Great Oak Gazette

Track 2010 Off and Running! By: Giovanna McMahon On Monday, March 29, girls and boys track began for all. The first week began with indoor conditioning due to the unfortunate weather. The team this year is very

large, as usual, and has a lot of potential for a great year. The first meet is Wednesday, April 28 at home. All the athletes are looking forward to this and the rest of the sea-

Softball Strikes Again!

son as well. Captains have not yet been chosen. Thank you to Mrs. HurstFarrell, Mrs. McGinnis, and Mr. Farrell for helping the students.

By: Sarah Woolfrey

The Lady Spartans are looking forward to their competitive 2010 schedule as the season begins on April 22nd against Seymour. Tryouts for the team were held on March 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Then, the first practice was on March 30th. The team is led by Trish Bogen and her daughter Kim Bogen who graduated from Great Oak as a softball player in 2005. The softball team will play rival Seymour Middle School on April 22nd and 23rd. Come to one of the games and cheer your classmates on! Captains- Natalie Peterson, Sam Orner 8th Grade- Shannon Barsevich, Victoria Con, Liana DiMauro, Jill Oakley, Gianna Tadduni, Katelyn Wentz, Sarah Woolfrey 7th Grade- Rachel Ginnettino, Ashley Guillette, Kaley Kempf, Bobbie Stilson, Allyson Sweeney Managers- Lacey Sabella, Meghan Sastram


Volume 3, Issue 3

Page 9

Help Us, Riley! Dear Riley, I am constantly falling asleep in B period. How should I stay awake? From, Drowsy Don

Dear Drowsy Don, If you find yourself getting tired in the beginning of the day, you should definitely start with getting more sleep! You can do this by getting to bed earlier and going to sleep at the same time every night. Also, it is a good idea to eat a well-balanced, healthy breakfast to keep your energy up. If you can add 20 minutes of exercise into your day, you should see a difference! Hope you stay awake, Riley Walker

Mr. M’s Magical Mystery By: Matt Maciejko Four pigs are in a contest for the biggest pig. Two pigs got a first place ribbon. How did this happen?

Congratulations to the winner of last month’s mystery, “A woodchuck cannot chuck wood”: Kyle Krom-Kirby Nate Seibert Joey Tolomeo

****Please see Ms. Siwicki for your prize!


Alice in Wonderland

By: Ashley Fedler

Alice in Wonder-

old named Alice

slaying a beast of

land in 3D is a

who's forgotten all

legend and freeing

new movie by

about Wonderland

the land of the

Tim Burton star-

from her child-

Red Queen's dic-

ring Helena Bon-

hood. Then an old

tatorship. Does

ham Carter and

scroll shows that

Alice do it? See

Johnny Depp.

Alice’s destiny is to

the movie to find

This movie is

become the savior

out!

about a 19 year-

of Wonderland by

Lightning Thief By: Baylee Farhurst This year, the 6th graders read a very popular novel  called The Lightning Thief.  The book was a very good  one. There was a huge unit on it. Every student an‐ swered a question for each chapter.  The six graders had  2 projects to complete. They also participated in Google  Earth trips. You got to see where the book was taking  place. I think that this book was everyone’s favorite  book. The Lighting Thief was even made into a movie.  The six grade students got to finish the book in time and  then got to see the movie. Everyone was happy to go  see it! All of the sixth grade students had a great day  with their friends and going out for lunch. It was a great  day for six grade. I suggest you see the movie!


Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Rhodes By: Allison Torres and Shelby Jaffe Q. What is your favorite book genre? A. I like historical fiction and poetry. Q. If you could design your classroom any way, what would you do? A. I would paint the room bright colors and install lots of windows. Q. What kind of class pet would you have? A. I would like a goldfish because they are always active and pretty. Q. Do you have a favorite activity? A. I work out everyday after school. Exercising helps me relax and relieve tension. Q. What was your favorite book that you have read with the class this year? A. I loved the Outsiders. Even though the book was written a long time ago, students can still relate to what happens in this book.

Teacher Spotlight: Ms.Cruz By: Allison Torres and Shelby Jaffe Q. Do you teach your children Spanish? A. Yes, I want them to be bilingual. Q. How will being bilingual help? A. It will help getting jobs and getting into college. Q. If you weren’t teaching Spanish, what would you do? A. I would run a business, but it would be educational and it would have to do with children and languages. Q. Have you ever lived in a different state? A. I lived in Jamaica and came to the United States when I was 11. Q. Where did you work before coming to Great Oak? A. Region 15. Middlebury and Southbury.


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