Ashby Elementary School

Annual Town Report

January, 2000

It is my pleasure to submit my fourth annual town report for the Ashby Elementary School. In my fourth year as principal of the elementary school, I continue to be proud of the accomplishments and enthusiasm of our students, the professional commitment and concern for children exhibited by the school’s faculty and staff members and the involvement and spirit of cooperation displayed by parents. These factors have contributed to an active and satisfying professional experience for me at AES.

The 1999-2000 school year for AES students in Grades 1-6 began on August 31, 1999. On that date a kindergarten parent and student orientation was also conducted. The first day for kindergarten children, a full day program, was September 1, 1999. Parent Open House evenings were held on September 13 and 14, 1999. The number of students enrolled at each AES grade level on October 1, 1999 is as follows:

Full Day Kindergarten 47

Grade 1 35

Grade 2 52

Grade 3 40

Grade 4 57

Grade 5 41

Grade 6 52

  • Total 324 (The same number of students attending on both October 1, 1998 and October 1, 1997)
  • We welcome a few new members to the Ashby Elementary School staff during the 1999-2000 school year. Mrs. Margaret Casson is teaching a new section in Grade 2 which was created to lower the growing student-teacher ratio which existed in Grade 1 during 1998-99. Mrs. Virginia Woodward replaced Ms. Lisa Bouchard in late September as a Title I teacher working with qualified students in Grades 1-3 who need reading/language arts assistance. Mr. Mark Roy has become AES’ new full-time Computer Specialist. Mrs. Sheila McSherry is a new special education classroom assistant, Mrs. Wendy Beals is the new Cafeteria General Worker. Unfortunately, Mrs. June Cloutier resigned as the part-time (two afternoons per week) world languages teacher for Grade 6 and despite efforts to fill this position, it remains unfilled at this time. Also, an opening for a part-time (two days per week) Speech/Language therapist continues following the resignation of Ms. Karen Fitch at the conclusion of the last school year.

    The Ashby Elementary School Council has established one school improvement goal for the 1999-2000 school year. This goal emphasizes the fostering of citizenship qualities in all students through the collaboration of home, school and community. A key element of this year’s goal is the implementation of a citizenship curriculum developed during the summer of 1999 by a committee of teachers, parents and community members. Seven building blocks for citizenship (respect, responsibility, caring, loyalty, trustworthiness, fairness and citizenship) have been identified and are reinforced throughout the school utilizing monthly themes for each citizenship quality.

    Ashby Elementary School students continue to have opportunities to pursue interests beyond the regular school day. The Afterschool Enrichment Program continues to provide a variety of interesting activities for elementary school children. Under the supervision of faculty members Mrs. Caryl LaPorte and Ms. Evelyn Shanley along with parent volunteers, two OM teams will represent AES at a regional competition in March 2000. A new Challenge Program for students in Grades 3 & 4 was begun under the direction of Mr. Ted Kilton and Mrs. Ruthann Goguen. An intramural sports program is being offered during 1999-2000 involving tag football, floor hockey and volleyball. The Learning Club (TLC) continues to provide academic support three days per week to assist students with their homework and organizational skills. A Summer Academy program was started in 1999 for Townsend and Ashby fourth and fifth graders who were recommended for additional reading/language arts assistance. The program was held at Squannacook Elementary School. Due to the success of this Summer Academy program, a Winter Academy Afterschool program will be conducted at AES from January through May to assist recommended third, fourth and fifth graders in strengthening their English/Language Arts and Mathematics skills. During 1999, AES students performed two formal drama productions under the capable direction of Mr. Robert Hogan. In January, 2000, a Millennium Talent Show will be held at AES and will involve students, staff members, parents and community members in a salute to the various decades of the 1900’s. The AES band, consisting of a majority of the school’s 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. Catherine Johnson were provided for second and third grade students after school. In addition to these programs, several other teachers continue to offer enrichment and helping activities, both after school and within their own classrooms, which benefit Ashby children.

    AES continues to expand its computer technology program. The fully networked computer room has a full complement of new Apple computers. In addition, each grade level classroom has a computer capable of accessing information utilizing the latest technology. Full Internet access under adult supervision is projected to be available in all classrooms within the upcoming year. Ongoing capital improvements, repairs, and maintenance continue to be a priority at the school. A new oil tank was installed to provide oil as a primary heating source for all areas of the school. New, wider front entrance doors were installed as well.

    Parental and community involvement continues to play an important role in providing a successful school experience for Ashby children. The Parent Teacher Cooperative (PTC) has taken the lead in sponsoring and supporting many of the assembly and cultural arts programs which enhance the school’s 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 school library on a regular basis. Senior citizens have done classroom presentations, led students on community field trips and shared their knowledge and experiences with Ashby students. The DARE program continues to provide important information to fifth graders regarding strategies to resist the use of drugs and alcohol.

    In curriculum areas, the second round of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing in English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science was administered to fourth graders across the state in April and May of 1999. The test results were received by the school, sent to students and parents and discussed and analyzed with faculty members in December, 1999. Scaled score improvements of one point in English Language Arts, four points in Mathematics and five points in Science were noted in the AES fourth grade results for 1999 as compared to 1998 results. A district-wide writing sample will be administered to students in Grades 2-8 in the Spring of 2000. AES will participate in district-wide mathematics assessment testing which will be conducted in Grade 2 (end of year), Grade 3(mid-year and end of year), Grade 5 (mid-year and end of year) and Grade 6 (mid-year and end of year).

    A proposal has been made to have Ashby sixth graders attend Hawthorne Brook Middle School for the 2000-2001 school year. A parent forum with the Superintendent of Schools was held at AES in October 1999 and student and parent surveys have been conducted. As of this writing, a final decision on this proposal has not been made.

    In summary, I believe that we at AES have created a very successful educational program for the elementary school children of Ashby. I am appreciative of the cooperative relationship that exists between parents and teachers at AES. As a result of this relationship and through the dedicated efforts of faculty members and the diligence of the students, an excellent learning environment has been established for the children of the Ashby community. I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve you as principal of Ashby Elementary School

    Repectfully submitted

    Paul W. Sweet