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Annual Town Report
I am pleased to submit my third annual town report pertaining to Ashby Elementary School. In my third year as principal of AES, I continue to be impressed with the willingness to seek excellence and the spirit of enthusiasm exhibited by students, faculty and staff members and parents. This has contributed to making my principalship an enjoyable and satisfying professional experience.
The 1998-99 school year for Ashby Elementary School students in Grades 1-6 began on September 2, 1998. On that date a kindergarten parent and student orientation was also conducted. The first day for kindergarten children was September 3, 1998 with the first full day of kindergarten taking place on September 21, 1998. Parent Open House was held on the evenings of September 14 and 15, 1998. The number of students enrolled in each grade level at AES on October 1, 1998 is as follows:
Grade 1 49
Grade 2 37
Grade 3 59
Grade 4 40
Grade 5 50
Grade 6 57
Total 324 (exactly the same number of students in attendance on October 1, 1997. It should be noted that with new homes being constructed in Ashby, this school enrollment is projected to increase steadily during the present school year.)
A few new members have joined the Ashby Elementary School staff during 1998-99. We welcome Mr. Theodore Kilton as a school counselor replacing Mrs. Cheryl Ulm, Mrs. Karen Peredina who is teaching a third section of third grade, Miss Lisa Bouchard who replaced Mrs. Wanda Wilson as a Title I teacher working with qualified students in Grade 1-3 who need reading/language arts assistance and Mrs. June Cloutier who joined the faculty in November to teach an exploratory world language program twice weekly to sixth grade students. After many years of dedicated professional services to the children of Ashby, Mrs. Nancy Catalini has retired from teaching. Her position in fourth grade this year has been filled by moving Mrs. Karen Rixford (formerly Ms. Byrne) from second to fourth grade. A reorganization of the AES custodial staff has resulted in the combining of the building and grounds supervisory positions at AES and North Middlesex Regional High School under the direction of Joe Mazzola.
The Ashby Elementary School Council has established one school improvement goal for the 1998-99 school year. This goal emphasizes that the school and its students will take a proactive role in promoting a healthy lifestyle through health, nutrition and physical fitness activities. As part of this years goals, a Fitness Recognition Program in physical education classes, organized playground activities and encouragement of proper nutrition habits among our elementary school students will be implemented.
As in previous years, Ashby Elementary School students are able to pursue interests beyond the normal school day. Under the direction of Mrs. Martha Deroian, the After School Enrichment Program continues to provide a variety of interesting activities for elementary school children. With the supervision of faculty members Mrs. Claire Landry, Miss Lisa Bouchard and Ms. Evelyn Shanley along with parent volunteers, two Odyssey of the Mind (OM) teams will represent AES at regional competition in March, 1999. During 1998, one of AES three OM teams made it to the state finals in Worcester. An intramural sports program continued during 1998-99 involving touch football, floor hockey and tennis. The Learning Club (TLC) also continues to provide academic support three days per week to assist students with their homework and organizational skills. During 1998, AES students performed two formal drama productions through the able direction of Mr. Robert Hogan. The AES band, consisting of many fourth, fifth and sixth graders, along with student singers at all grade levels, performed entertaining holiday and spring concerts under the supervision of Mrs. Deborah Hencke. Weekly group guitar lessons led by Mrs. Cathrine Johnson were offered for students after school. In addition to these programs, several other teachers continue to conduct enrichment and helping activities, both after school and within their own classrooms, which benefit Ashby children.
A consistent program of capital improvements, repairs and maintenance has been undertaken to enhance the interior and exterior appearance of Ashby Elementary School. New front windows were installed. The gymnasium floor was completely refinished during the summer of 1998 and looks wonderful. New energy efficient fluorescent lighting was also installed in the gymnasium during the fall.
AES continues to be committed to expanding the computer technology program for its students. During the 1998-99 school year, the fully networked computer room will contain a full compliment of 15 Apple G3 computers for group instruction. In addition, each grade level classroom will have a computer capable of utilizing CD-ROM information technology. With adult supervision, Internet access is accessible to our students in the computer room and in certain designated classrooms.
Parental and community involvement continues to be an important component in providing a successful school experience for Ashby children. The Parent Teacher Cooperative (PTC) has stepped forward once again to sponsor and support many of the assembly and cultural arts programs which greatly enrich the schools curriculum. Parent volunteers have presented interesting programs for the students at various grade levels and a number of parent volunteers assist in classrooms and the library on a regular basis. Senior citizens have done presentations in the classroom and have led community field trips in school. They have shared their knowledge and experience with Ashby students. The DARE Program with Officer Betsy Miles continues to provide important information to fifth graders regarding strategies to resist the use of drugs and alcohol. Officer Miles also works with students at all grade levels to provide them with safety information and suggestions which will promote respect and positive interaction.
In curriculum areas, the first Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing in English, Language Arts, Mathematics and Science was administered to fourth graders across the state in May, 1998. The results were received by the school and shared with the students, parents and faculty members in December. Parent and faculty meetings were held to analyze the student results and determine areas of the curriculum where improvement is necessary. AES adopted a new spelling program (The Rebecca Sitton Program) during this school year. Mathematics assessment testing will expand to third grade this year in addition to the assessment program implemented for fifth grade during the 1997-98 school year.
In summary, I feel that we at AES have created a very effective educational program for elementary school children in Ashby. I continue to be very appreciative of the cooperative relationship which exists between parents and teachers at AES. Through this cooperative relationship, the professional commitment and caring approach of AES faculty members and the diligent efforts of the students, an excellent learning environment for the children of the Ashby community has been established. I am gratified to have the opportunity to serve you as principal of Ashby Elementary School.