News from Mohawk March 25, 2012 Greetings Mohawk families, Last night I attended the wonderful Mohawk Music Alumni Concert organized by the Mohawk Music Association in support of music programming at Mohawk. It was an evening of outstanding performances and great fun as our current music students performed with alumni from across the years. This event was the culmination of a month of activities in celebration of music. March is known as Music in Our Schools Month and here at Mohawk this included workshops with noted composers Alice Parker and Bob Ellison, our annual all-school musical, a Sunday cabaret, and finally this thrilling concert that brought together many alumni and our students. For more information about this event and other ways that you can get involved with music at Mohawk, I encourage you to visit the website of the Mohawk Music Association (http://www.mohawkmusicassociation.org/) or contact our music educators, middle school teacher Gina Glover and high school teacher DoraThea Kastanas. To all who were involved with last night’s special event, as organizers, performers, contributors, and audience members, thank you for your commitment to music at Mohawk. This past week was a busy one at Mohawk. Students in grades 7, 8, and 10 engaged in MCAS English Language Arts (ELA) testing and they put forth a strong effort. Our faculty noted how seriously students took the testing and how committed they were to providing thorough responses. I appreciate the way students, families, and staff made adjustments to their routines to provide students who were testing with appropriate testing conditions. This week the 7th grade will be completing their MCAS ELA testing with the Reading Comprehension test on Tuesday and Wednesday. This will not affect the school schedule for other students; we will operate on the regular school schedule. Students who were absent for any of the testing last week will make up their MCAS tests this week; the makeup date for the 7th and 10th grade Long Composition test is on Thursday, March 29. This biweekly message contains information about the following topics: 1. Upcoming events 2. News from Student Services 3. Mohawk Athletics 4. A reminder about appropriate dress for school 5. Composting is off to a strong start thanks to combined efforts 6. Math students celebrate Pi Day 7. News from the 8th grade 8. Introducing afterschool Martial Arts Club 9. Collaboration with Falls Cable benefits Mohawk students and the community 10. Spanish students learn to make tortillas 11. 12. Science teacher Phil Lussier participates in Citizens’ Legislative Seminar Hands-on science opportunities for students who didn’t participate in MCAS testing 1. Upcoming events Monday, March 26 Red Cross Blood Drive coordinated by National Honor Society Students age 16 and over and the general public are invited to donate blood between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the small gym. Students who are 16 years old need parental permission. All donors must bring a photo ID such as a driver’s license. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27 and 28 MCAS English Language Arts Reading Comprehension testing for grade 7 students Seventh grade students will be testing at the beginning of the day. Breakfast will be provided. This testing will not affect the schedules of students in other grades and we will operate on the regular school schedule. Thursday, March 29 Representative from GCC to visit Mohawk A representative from Greenfield Community College (GCC) will be in Student Services at 9:30 on Thursday, March 29. Students should get a pass from Student Services if they are interested in talking with the representative. National Honor Society Induction Ceremony in the evening New members to the Mohawk chapter of the National Honor Society will be inducted at an event in the evening. Friday, March 30 Mohawk Talent Show coordinated by Student Council during the school day The Student Council is organizing the annual talent show featuring performances from students of all grades. There will be two performances during the day: one in the morning for middle school students and one in the afternoon (from 12:45-2:15) for high school students. Family members are welcome to attend these performances. Community Action Youth Programs will share information about Youth Expo at lunch A representative from Community Action Youth Programs will be in the cafeteria during lunch periods on Friday, March 30 to provide information about the Youth Business Expo that will be held in May. For more information about the Youth Business Expo, see #2. Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser in the evening Students who will be traveling to Spain and Italy over April vacation are hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. The meal will be served at 6:00 p.m. at the Fellowship Hall in Shelburne Center (on Little Mohawk Road behind the Congregational Church off of Route 2). Seventeen students in 8th and 9th grade who are participating in the trip are selling tickets in advance. The group will be traveling to the Italian cities of Rome, Florence, and Pisa, and Barcelona, Spain for nine days with Middle School educators Leann Loomis and Wayne Kermenski. You may also contact MS Guidance Counselor Leann Loomis (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a ticket. Thursday, April 5 and Friday, April 6 Early Release Days. Students are released at 11:30. Lunch will be served. Staff will be engaged in Professional Development work on these two days. We are well underway in our NEASC accreditation self-study process, and on those days we will be reviewing the narrative reports that staff committees have been preparing over the course of the past year. Friday, April 6 Middle School Career Fair Middle School Guidance Counselor Leann Loomis has organized a career fair featuring community members representing an array of occupations. Middle school students will be completing the CDM (Career Decision-Making) form prior to the fair. This tool is designed to help middle school students assess their interests and skills. They will be making a selection of 4 out of 20 careers represented at the career fair. On the day of the fair they will meet with community members who are employed in the careers they selected and get a glimpse into a day in the life of … an engineer, a doctor, an electrician, and any of the other varied occupations represented. Following the fair, the students will be writing about their experiences. Parents should contact Middle School Guidance Counselor Leann Loomis with questions. Week of April 9-13 Reading Celebration Week featuring Scholastic Book Fair Library Manager Gina Wells and her student library assistants are organizing this year’s Reading Celebration events and Scholastic Book Fair. Students can visit the Book Fair during the school day with their classes and on Thursday, April 12, the Resource Center will be open to students, parents and families from 6:00-7:30 p.m. so that all can attend the Scholastic Book Fair. In anticipation of this annual event, Ms. Wells has organized a poster contest for students. Thursday, April 12 Scholastic Book Fair, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Our library will be open in the evening so that families can attend the Scholastic Book Fair that is part of our annual Reading Celebration Week organized by Library Manager Gina Wells. Friday, April 13 Middle School band and chorus students will perform at several elementary schools On Friday, April 13, middle school band and chorus students will travel to Rowe, Heath, and Hawlemont to perform. Later in the spring they will be visiting the other elementary schools in our system. 2. News from Student Services Scholarship deadlines are fast approaching. Students should be alert to these deadlines and submit complete scholarship applications. For information about additional scholarship opportunities, students are encouraged to check out the Student Services section of the Mohawk Class Pages. MEFA's After the Acceptance Seminar, April 11 The waiting is over, and you've received your college acceptance and financial aid award letters. Now what? This seminar will help students and their families navigate the next steps, such as determining how to pay their college bill, understanding financial aid and other financing options. The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) will present this seminar at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 at Turners Falls High School. Mohawk students and their parents are welcome. Please visit www.mefacounselor.org to register and for more information. Two opportunities to explore careers and local employment options: Youth Career Opportunities and Job Fair, April 25 Juniors and Seniors: What occupations interest you? Thought about an internship? Learn about summer employment possibilities. There will be a field trip to the Youth Career Opportunities and Job Fair at Franklin Hampshire Career Center at One Arch Place in Greenfield from 9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on April 25. Local employers will participate. Please sign up in Student Services by April 13. For more information see http://www.fhyouth.org/ and the flyer at http://www.fhyouth.org/Documents/cfflygf.pdf. Youth Business Expo, May 24 A representative from Community Action Youth Programs will be in the cafeteria during lunch periods on Friday, March 30 to share information about the Youth Business Expo that will be held in May. This event is geared towards young people, ages 12-24. The Expo will provide a chance for young people who are interested in starting their own business to create a business plan, design business cards and brochures, and learn how to make themselves and their services known to the community. Some examples of youth businesses that were initiated in recent years includes babysitting, yard work, tutoring, and making and selling jewelry or art. The Youth Business Expo will be held Thursday, May 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the GCC Downtown Center at 277 Main Street, in Greenfield. For additional information, visit the website http://www.bizventure.org/expo/ UMass Summer College Residential Programs UMass Amherst Summer College Residential Programs offer opportunities for high school juniors and seniors. Students will learn what life is like in a university environment as they explore their areas of interest and develop the skills and abilities that will help them succeed in college. Summer College offers one-, two- or six-week residential academic programs, from many majors, across the nine colleges that comprise UMass Amherst. All offerings are college-level courses that offer optional college credit. They have been designed to explore career pathways (the Forensics Institute), environmental issues (Professor Tyson’s Arsenic Research Project), Leadership (Honors Summer Institute for Leadership and Sustainability), and the arts (the Design Academy or Contemporary Studio Arts), for example. Qualified high school students will also have the opportunity to apply for Research Intensives. These six-week programs engage students in an authentic research project where they will gain hands-on experience in research laboratories. Costs for each two week program are approximately $2100 depending on student housing and program choices. Session l takes place June 24-July 7; Session 2, July 9 - July 21; and Session 3, July 22 - August 4. There are a small number of $500 scholarships available for specific programs. For program and application information: http://www.umass.edu/summer/ or contact email@example.com 3. Mohawk Athletics Our spring sports season has begun! The fields and courts of our beautiful campus are full of activity as athletes practice for their various sports. For information about the athletic program, please visit the Athletics section of the Mohawk Class Pages. This includes information about how to contact coaches of spring sports, the Athletic Contract, Financial Assistance Application, and MIAA Handbook. Schedules are available through http://highschoolsports.masslive.com where you can also get the High School Sports App for your cellphone to receive updates about schedule changes. The ski season already seems like a distant memory after the recent warm weather, but it wasn’t that long ago that Mohawk skiers were on the slopes. The following athletes were recognized for their accomplishments: First Team All Western Mass. Ski Team: Jake Looman, Kyle Mitchell, Bryan Schwartz, and Jon White Second Team All Western Mass. Ski Team: Luke Looman, Dane Amstein, and Liam Datres de la Blotier Sport Management Program at the UMass Amherst Summer College Do you know any high school students who are ready to learn about Sport Management from UMass Amherst Summer College? The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management is excited to offer high school students the opportunity to learn more about this rapidly growing field. Two sections of an intensive introduction to the McCormack Sport Management program are offered this summer through the new UMass Amherst Summer College. Rising high school juniors and seniors are invited to apply for a two week residential program that gives them an introduction to the university, helps them develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and allows them to explore one of Isenberg’s fastest growing majors. For more information visit: http://www.umass.edu/summer/sport-management 4. A reminder about appropriate dress for school The recent warm weather led to many conversations about appropriate dress for school. In general we advise students to recognize that school is a public workplace where their focus needs to be on education. We want to help students realize that their dress needs to match the situation and what is appropriate for the beach is not necessarily appropriate for school. On Thursday, March 22, when temperatures were close to 80, Middle School Guidance Counselor Leann Loomis, Principal Lynn Dole, and female educators in the middle school met with female 7th and 8th grade students to review dress code expectations. While we recognize that current fashion trends may not be in line with school expectations, we do want students to recognize that they must dress appropriately for the school setting. As a guide for helping students determine if their shorts are appropriate for school, we advised that the length of the shorts should extend at least to the tips of their fingers; another reference is that the inseam for shorts should be the length of their hand. We outlined that breasts, bare midriffs, and underwear should not be exposed. In a nutshell we stated: “no butts, no boobs, no bellies, and no bras.” Students were informed that if they come to school dressed inappropriately they would be asked to put something else on. If they have no appropriate clothing here they will have to stay in the office until someone can bring them clothing that is appropriate for school. We ask that parents help students recognize that they must dress appropriately for school. Please feel free to call with questions. 5. Composting is off to a strong start thanks to combined efforts In early March Mohawk launched a composting program. After the first three weeks we are able to report a dramatic reduction in the amount of waste generated in our cafeteria. Before composting we used 90 black bags (for trash) and 30 clear bags (in the recycling bin where they got dirty with milk residue so had to be replaced) in the cafeteria over a 15 day period. Since we began our composting program on March 5, over the past 15 days we have used 17 black bags and only 3 clear bags in the cafeteria. Custodian Nelson Clukey has been instrumental in supporting this significant change in practice. Senior Brenna Keogh initiated this project with the support of the Key Club. The students in the Mohawk Key Club work closely with the Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club on various activities and in appreciation of their shared efforts at the recent Kiwanis Dinner, the Kiwanis Club has generously donated hundreds of dollars to the Key Club to offset the cost of the compostable trash bags that were not originally budgeted for the school this year. Our successful composting program is therefore made possible through the combined efforts of the Key Club, the Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club, Amy Donovan of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, our cafeteria and custodial staff, our Facilities Director and Food Services Director, and our students and staff. Students have recently launched an Environmental Club to provide ongoing support for this project and related conservation initiatives. 6. Math students celebrate Pi Day The high school math department, through the generosity of Stop & Shop, Big Y, and the former math department chair, was able to offer pies on pi day (March 14) again this year. All had fun and enjoyed the day and pies. The math department is looking for others who would like to sponsor some pies for next year. Contact Mr. Mastorakis (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the high school if you or your employer would like to support this annual event. 7. News from the 8th grade The 8th grade is selling Yankee Candles between March 23rd and April 10th as a class fundraiser. Students in the 8th grade are also reminded to submit their permission slips and $20 for the field trip to the Boston Museum of Science by April 6th. 8. Introducing afterschool Martial Arts Club Jody Scalise will be offering an afterschool martial arts club that combines elements of Tae Kwon Do and Karate on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons after April vacation. The club will meet from 2:30-3:30 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons beginning April 24. Students will learn hand and foot techniques and defensive tactics, along with focus, respect, discipline, and stamina. The martial arts program will cost $5 per class or $45 for the full ten classes being offered between April 24 and May 29. Mr. Scalise is an experienced martial arts educator. 9. Collaboration with Falls Cable benefits Mohawk students and the community Through our collaboration with Falls Cable Television, the local public access television station serving the towns of Shelburne and Buckland and the village of Shelburne Falls, Mohawk is able to offer a Television Studio course that introduces students to many aspects of production. The Falls Cable studio is located in the Mohawk Resource Center. Part of the mission of Falls Cable is to provide education and there are many opportunities for volunteers, including students, to learn TV broadcast technology by participating in the production of in-studio programs. For each in-studio show, jobs include operations director, camera operator(s), audio technician, graphics, and DVD duplication. Throughout the year a variety of school events are broadcast from the school auditorium as well, and Falls Cable broadcasts a cooking show from the school's cooking classroom. Falls Cable also broadcasts live, on location, the meetings of the Shelburne and Buckland Select Boards. These broadcasts are produced by volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please call the station at 413-625-8371, or email Falls Cable at email@example.com Alina Schmidt is currently enrolled in teacher Darren Elwell’s Television Studio course. She submitted the following report: “As a Mohawk senior, I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to take TV Studio. Using the Falls Cable equipment, we have learned a lot about the production process. This semester, we’ve created TV commercials and music videos, and we’re now working on genre movies. The projects are hands-on and require a lot of creativity; we have the ability to pursue topics of interest within the parameters of each assignment. I’m glad that I took this class because it has expanded my knowledge of video editing and digital media, skills that I will definitely use in college and beyond.” Students in the course have also produced Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for various audiences. 10. Spanish students learn to make tortillas Sra. Elizabeth Buck is one of several teaching interns working at Mohawk this year. She is doing her Spanish teaching internship with our Spanish teachers, Sras. Pam Adlersmith and Shelley Schieffelin. Last week Sra. Buck taught the students in Spanish I classes how to make tortillas from scratch and how to prepare delicious authentic tacos. This is one of many ways that the Spanish teachers at Mohawk integrate learning about culture into their study of the Spanish language. Other examples include the annual Day of the Dead projects and the day of Latin dancing that students from the University of Massachusetts dance program facilitate each year. 11. Science teacher Phil Lussier participates in Citizens’ Legislative Seminar High school science teacher Phil Lussier was selected to participate in the Citizens’ Legislative Seminar at the Massachusetts Statehouse on March 20 and 21. Mr. Lussier joined citizens from across the Commonwealth in the program that featured interactions with state legislators and an orientation to the workings of the Massachusetts Senate, including both a simulated joint legislative hearing and a simulated Senate Session with Senate President Therese Murray, presiding. This year’s Citizens’ Legislative Seminar focus was on bullying legislation, an apt topic for an educator. 12. Hands-on science opportunities for students who didn’t participate in MCAS testing Austin Savoie is an intern teacher working with the science department this year. He recognized that the delay schedule we used this past week for high school students who were not participating in MCAS testing afforded an opportunity for students to explore science informally through hands-on learning and experimentation. On Tuesday, March 20 Mr. Savoie organized a forensics activity where students learned how to gather and examine fingerprints. On Wednesday and Thursday, March 21 and 22, Mr. Savoie and advanced science students provided a variety of hands-on activities related to chemistry and physics. Sincerely yours, Principal Lynn R. Dole Our Foundational Commitments 1. Mohawk values and supports inspired teaching and learning, as well as imagination, initiative, and independent thinking. 2. Mohawk cultivates rigorous academics and embraces diverse approaches to learning, within and beyond the classroom. 3. Mohawk encourages self-expression and respects and responds to students' voices. 4. Mohawk fosters a sense of responsibility for one’s self, others, and the environment. 5. Mohawk commits to effective partnerships through communication and collaboration among staff, students, families, and community. 6. Mohawk reflects the vibrancy of the community and natural environment that surrounds it.