News from Mohawk January 5, 2013 Happy New Year! In addition to my regular biweekly news, I am attaching our school “report card” based on the 2012 Accountability Data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The attached pages contain information about student enrollment and teacher qualifications, student achievement, accountability, how our school is performing relative to other schools, and the progress our school is making toward narrowing proficiency gaps for different groups of students. You may access this information electronically from the DESE website by going to http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/ and selecting our school district and the Accountability tab. Principal Lynn Dole 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Upcoming Events Archaeology Presentation on Thursday, January 10 Athletic News Drama News: Dispatch from Middle Earth Call for Supplies for Drama Program Middle School News High School Class News Peer Leadership News Music News News from the Yearbook Staff An overview of the school budget preparation process School safety drills Please check out the Lost and Found before we remove items Mohawk students participate in Model Congress this weekend “Race to Nowhere” film screening at Pioneer Valley Regional School 1. Upcoming Events Tuesday, January 8 Joint meeting of the Mohawk Music Association and Mohawk Education Subcommittee at 5:00 pm in the Superintendent’s Conference Room. Wednesday, January 9 EARLY RELEASE DAY for staff professional development. Students will be released at 11:30. On early release days, high school classes run on the following schedule: B. 4 7:44 – 8:29 (45) B. 3 8:34 – 9:19 (45) B. 2 9:24 – 10:09 (45) B. 1 10:14 – 10:59 (45) MTRSD Budget Subcommittee meets at 5:00 pm in the Principal's Conference Room Mohawk School Committee meets at 7:00 pm in the Superintendent’s Conference Room. Thursday, January 10 Archaeology presentation at 7:00 pm at the Charlemont Federated Church. (See #2 for more information.) Football fundraising meeting at 6:30 pm in room 171. (See #3 for more information.) Monday, January 14 Mohawk School Council meets at 5:00 in the Principal’s Conference Room. Wednesday, January 16 Senior Class fundraiser: "Dining for a Cause" at The 99 Restaurant from 5:00-9:00 pm. Monday, January 21 HOLIDAY: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day NO SCHOOL Tuesday, January 22-Thursday, January 24 EXAM DAYS On the three exam days, buses for middle and high school students will run on the two hour delay schedule. School will be from 9:44-2:15 for Mohawk middle and high school students. (Elementary schools have a regular day on Tuesday and Thursday and an early release day on Wednesday.) Please note that if there is a snow day between now and exam week, each snow day may result in the exam day being pushed back a day. At this time the spring semester is scheduled to begin on Friday, January 25. Students will receive information about their final exam schedules from their classroom teachers. Thursday, January 24 7th grade potluck dinner at 6:00 pm. Additional information will be sent to 7th grade families. Wednesday, January 30 7th grade field trip to the University of Massachusetts. Additional information will be sent to 7th grade families. Thursday, February 7 Spring Semester Open House Save the date! I’ll provide detailed information in the next issue of this biweekly message. 2. Archaeology Presentation on Thursday, January 10 Mohawk students to exhibit artifacts and report on the Archeological Excavation at Hawley’s Old Town Common On Thursday, January 10, students from Ivan Grail’s archeology course will report on their work at the site of Hawley’s Sanford Tavern. The event will take place at 7:00pm at the Federated Church in Charlemont. The students will speak about their experiences and display the artifacts they discovered during their archeological dig this past fall at the Sanford Tavern site, a part of Hawley’s Old Town Common Historic Site. The Sanford Tavern stood next to Hawley’s town common from about 1798 until the 1840s and played a significant role in the community’s social, civic, and economic life. Aaron Miller, the archeologist who directed the project, and Ivan Grail will also speak about the results of the students’ work. Those attending the event will have an opportunity to examine the artifacts the students found and to discuss with the students the conclusions they have drawn from their discoveries about life at the Sanford Tavern. Refreshments will be served. The excavation of the Sanford Tavern site is a joint project of the Mohawk Trail Regional High School and the Sons & Daughters of Hawley and is funded by a grant from MassHumanities. Internet explorers can access essays on the history of Hawley’s Old Town Common and take a virtual tour of the historic site by visiting: http://sites.google.com/site/sonsdaughtersofhawley/old-towncommon 3. Athletic News Meeting on Thursday, January 10 regarding football equipment fundraising initiative Parent Lynette Von Haugg is organizing a fundraising initiative for football equipment. She explains that after the football banquet she started thinking about what Coach Smith had said regarding the importance of new football helmets. “I decided to bring the subject up during open forum of the Mohawk Athletic Association meeting last week looking for ideas. There were other football parents there as well and it was decided that a new subcommittee could be formed for football parents. The MAA has agreed to a new line item for Football equipment and money raised can go into this line item. I would like to raise enough money to purchase new helmets for our young athletes by August. I realize that this is a big undertaking so I am asking for your help. I have three other parents that have agreed to help me with this fundraising effort but in reality I am going to need everyone’s help to do this. Our first meeting will be held at Mohawk on Thursday, January 10th in room 171 at 6:30 p.m. At this meeting we will discuss how much money needs to be raised and to brainstorm fundraising ideas. I would really like to try and do one big fundraiser and then if needed we could do another smaller one. I would also like to do letters to alumni for donations. Anyone interested in helping or if you have any questions please feel free to call me at 413834-3007 or just come to the meeting at Mohawk on Thursday, January 10th at 6:30. Lynette Von Haugg” Students can work out in the weight room In addition to its use by student athletes at times scheduled with their coaches, the weight room is open for student use on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (3:30-5:00) and on Friday afternoon from 2:30-5:00. Students should see 7th grade teacher Sean Conlon or Josh Shearer for more details. Summer Baseball Opportunity Students who are interested in trying out for the summer Mickey Mantle baseball team should sign up in Coach Redeker’s office before January 18. The team is for players aged 14-16; students who are 17 on May 1 are not eligible to participate. The team will play a fifteen game schedule from early June until late July throughout Franklin and Hampshire County. Summer Softball Opportunity Mohawk Suburban Softball is having signups starting the week of January 14th in the Athletic Director’s office. Anyone interested please stop in and talk to Mr. Redeker. 4. Drama News NEWS FROM MIDDLE EARTH Santa’s Elves have nothing on ours! Over the break there was a lot of activity in the theater. Repairs are underway to replace deteriorating curtains, the mid-stage slider and create six set points to hang our aerial fabrics from. This work will be finished by January 15. Speaking of aerial fabrics (often called “silks”), Cariel Klein, one of our favorite silk trainers in the world, was in the house! Cariel is studying at NYU and is headed back to circus school in Argentina for a semester in the spring. She was back in the area for a brief visit and came up to work with some of our dwarves in the gym at the Heath school. Cariel trained with New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) co-founders and former Cirque du Soliel performers Serenity and Elsie Smith in Brattleboro where she became a certified aerial fabrics instructor and studied trapeze which is her true passion. Cariel consults with Double Edge Theatre (DET) intern and ensemble members on their fabric routines and is a frequent performer in DET’s outdoor summer spectacles. Ari, as the kids know her, has been working with our performers in Heath since she was 15 and developed close relationships with all of them, including Mohawk seventh and eighth graders Corrine Freeman, Vega Johnson-Bouchard, Chris Graves, Mahalia Dean, and others. Cariel worked with some of our dwarves on their climbing skills and helped us begin to sketch out some of our scene work for the Hobbit. She will be returning on January 21 for a three-hour training at Mohawk. Between the holidays an industrious group of a bakers dozen performed a read-through of the script in the Mohawk library while our incredibly amazing tech crew and art department—Paige Slavenwhite, Cailin Duncan, Alex Harrington and Sara Townsley— worked with BSE/Heath art teacher Rachel Silverman on our dragon and puppets. The troll and dragon puppets continue to grow more magnificent looking! Dragon and troll Whisperer, Larry Sampson is coming back on Sunday, January 5th to supervise our painting of the heads and to start building the bodies. The Middle Earth Regional School District is back in session! The Third Age of Middle Earth started off with a bang when the entire company of thirtyfive was reunited after the New Year. Polly Anderson (retired BSE/Heath art teacher) has begun work on the murals. The progress she’s making is remarkable thanks to our…wait for it…incredibly, amazing tech crew and art department! Elven warriors, Lili Paulson, Violet Rawlings, Cassie Kudley, dragon slayer Hannah Monohon and Smaug herself, Erin Townsely, have been helping Polly too. Yesterday, choreographer Cynthia McLaughlin was in the house to work with Gollum (Ashley Robertson), our Elven Queens (Lexxey BoronSmith Kala K-D, and Sam Harris) and the rest of the cast on their characters walk and movements. Later this month Double Edge core ensemble member Hannah Jarrell will be returning to continue this kind of work with us and vocalist, song writer and recording artist Pan Morigan is coming back to collaborate with Mohawk music wizard Scott Halligan on the musical aspects of the show. It’s not too late to join in the fun! We still need extras to help us with some of our large group scenes. Interested students don’t have to leap without looking. You can come train with us for an afternoon to see what’s involved and then decide. We still have volunteers from Heath Elementary and the Academy at Charlemont joining us, friends we’ve worked with at the Summer Drama Workshop, but there’s always room for more! If interested contact Jonathan (email@example.com). We’ve also posted the production schedule from January 2 right up until the performances on the Drama Class Pages. You can download a copy of the schedule as well. Here is a direct link to that post: http://classes.mohawkschools.org/index.php?topic=13641.0 Hobbit cast members and their families should consult this site frequently for any changes and more up to date information, news and events. Finally, you don’t have to wait until March to see some amazing youth theater! The Heath School Drama Club’s production of Down the Rabbit Hole, student director Maeve Gallaghar’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, opens next weekend January 11th and 12th. The curtain goes up at 6:30pm both evenings. Shows are free and open to the public. All the best, Jonathan On behalf of the growing Mohawk Drama Team Scott Halligan (music director), Julia White (actor training), Leanne Blaszak (actor training), Bill Drake (set construction), Gina Glover (choral training), Rachel Silverman (set design), Sara Townsley (set design), Polly Anderson (set design), Sean Conlon (lighting design), Carin Burnes (costume design), Pan Morigan (voice coach), Kate Hennessy (drumming), Barbara Harris and Rebecca Boyd-Owens (makeup), Lorena Loubsky (photography), Mike Freeman (set design), Jim Markham (prop design), Kelly Flaherty (henna), Maryellen Abbatiello (hair stylist), and Cynthia McLaughlin (choreographer). 5. Call for Supplies for Drama Program The Drama Program is looking for the following items to help complete their dragon and troll puppets for their upcoming production of the Hobbit. If you have any of these you can drop them off at the main office. Any questions just email Drama Coordinator Jonathan Diamond (firstname.lastname@example.org) 4 metal framed backpacks (old/new doesn't matter as much as the frame being good) Red fabrics of all types (for Smaug) Gold fabrics of all types (for Smaug) Furs and Pelts Leather Straps or Belts Burlap Wool Bones Sports Pads (hockey pads, football pads, 6 pairs sports gloves (lacrosse,field hockey,hockey) tent frames Thank you! 6. Middle School News From the 7th grade: Due to the snow day in late December, the Hurting and Flirting curriculum for students in the 7th grade was postponed until January 7-9. Each year Middle School Guidance Counselor Leann Loomis and 7th grade science teacher Jeff Johansmeyer provide instruction about the definition of sexual harassment and skills to recognize and respond to it through the three-day curriculum. PBL classes participate in Solar Project The 7th grade PBL (Project Based Learning) class is currently participating in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) solar project in collaboration with UMass Amherst. Students are investigating solar technology with hands-on modules and working towards building solar ovens. This project is part of an initiative to introduce students to solar technology and careers in renewable resource technology. The STEM Solar Lab is a collaborative effort involving the University of Massachusetts and schools throughout the region, led by Dave Marley, owner of Diversified Construction in Amherst, MA, Morton Sternheim, Director of the STEM Education Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and Michael Lehan, a Financial Services Developer. The goal of this Department of Education funded project is to install solar panels on school grounds to increase the awareness of solar energy as a renewable and environmentally friendly option and to increase students' interest in STEM careers. Last year Mohawk installed a solar laboratory/panel through this project. A team of science educational professionals are working to create learning opportunities and inquiry-based curriculum modules for the partner schools and support the participating teachers. A number of Mohawk teachers, including middle school PBL teachers Samantha Lydiard and Julie Dubreuil, high school science teachers Wayne Kermenski and Phil Lussier, and woodshop teacher Jim Markham have been involved in this STEM Solar Lab project. Two upcoming dates of interest for families of 7th grade students 7th grade potluck dinner at 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 24 7th grade field trip to the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday, January 30 Families will be receiving additional information from the 7th grade team about these upcoming events. From the 8th grade: The 8th grade is planning a trip to the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester for early February. This excursion will connect to the current social studies unit on medieval times. It will cost approximately $20, and students will be back in time to take the buses home (or go to practices). More information to follow! On February 8th, the entire 8th grade will be going to the Franklin County Technical School for a tour. We've been speaking to students who might be interested in going to Tech about the importance of attendance, a clean disciplinary record, and, of course, grades. For our advisory on healthy relationships in December, we divided the team into two groups. The girls met with Ms. Loomis and the female teachers. The boys met with Mr. Browning and Mr. Jetzon. In both groups, students and adults worked to develop a definition of "healthy relationships." The students had many insightful comments and ideas to share. One thought from students that came up in both groups was the importance of family in healthy relationships. 7. High School Class News Senior Class The Senior Class will be "Dining for a Cause" as a fundraiser with The 99 Restaurant on Wednesday, January 16 from 5:00-9:00 pm. Flyers will go home with the seniors and available in the front office for the event. There will be a class meeting for seniors on Tuesday, January 8 from 10:20-10:40 to share information about yearbook deadlines and other senior topics. Junior Class The junior class will be collecting used electronics, household appliances, and scrap metal this spring as a fundraiser for our class. On Saturday, March 9 we will collect these items from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We would really appreciate if you would save any of the items mentioned for us in the spring. There will be a small fee as follows: Scrap metal (less than 8ft long) - bicycles, grills, lawnmowers etc. Price Range: $5-$20 Appliances - air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers etc. Price range: $10-$25 Electronics - TV's, CPU's, satellite dishes, etc. Price Range: $5-$25 There will also be a link on the Mohawk Trail Regional High School website in the near future with more specifics surrounding the event. We thank you for supporting our junior class! Sophomore Class Jostens will be visiting our school on February 7 and 14 during both high school lunches so that students can order class rings. Information about ring sales will be distributed at the Class Meeting on Thursday, January 31. 8. Peer Leadership News Mohawk's Peer Leaders are scheduled to visit three of our elementary schools this January. We will be focusing on Anti-bullying presentations for our younger students to start a "KINDNESS COUNTS" campaign which is designed to stop bullying and improve school culture from the inside out. On January 10th we will be at Sanderson Elementary School. On January 18th we will start at BSE and then head to Colrain Central School for our Annual Peace Maker's Day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments. It is our intention to visit every elementary school in our district with our powerful anti-bullying message and our Peer Leader role models! 9. Music News The Music Department is going to New York City to see the show Annie on Broadway this spring. Any students interested in going on this trip can pick up information in the Music Room from Mr. Halligan or Ms. Glover. The cost is $90. A deposit of $45 is due on January 18. 10. News from the Yearbook Staff Thanks to all those who supported the yearbook by either buying ads, buying the books, or both. With your support we increased our "all color" book from 144 pages to 164 pages, all while reducing the price from $65 last year to $50 this year. Deadlines have passed and the book sales have ended. We look forward to our book due late May or early June. We are proud of our product and hope you will be also. Next year's books will go on sale starting September 2013. Your yearbook staff 11. An overview of the school budget preparation process The process of preparing the annual school budget that is presented to voters at annual town meetings in May and June begins in the fall. Principals begin this process by developing proposed building-based budgets in October. Between late fall and early spring the Budget Subcommittee of the School Committee holds numerous public meetings as they review and develop the proposed school district budget. At this time of year these Budget Subcommittee meetings are held on a weekly basis, with one held on Wednesday, January 2 at 5:00 pm and the next on Wednesday, January 9 at 5:00 pm. Over the course of this long process, additional information such as projected enrollment and indicators of anticipated state funding levels begin to emerge and these factors often result in a need to revisit original budget proposals. The School Committee also consults with members of town Finance Committees to gauge how the projected school budget translates into tax numbers at the local level. Given the realities of fiscal constraints, the school principals were asked to reduce their original budget proposals. In my recent revisions to the proposed budget I have sought to maintain current levels of instruction in the middle school and in high school core academic areas such as English, mathematics, science, and social studies. I have proposed budget reductions in a number of other areas, including reductions in some high school electives such as reducing the number of sections of art offered and eliminating the Peer Leadership course, moving the program to an after school format. We are closing the middle school component of our Mohawk Supported Classrooms (MSC) next year, but the high school MSC program will continue. We are gradually phasing out our French language program; students who have begun to study French will be able to continue with the language to fulfill their graduation requirements in the coming school year. This is part of a planned transition from offering two European languages (Spanish and French) toward a future where we intend to provide students with opportunities to study two of the most widely used languages in the world: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Developing the school budget involves making difficult decisions. The challenge we face is to balance providing students with varied and rigorous learning opportunities that prepare them for their future beyond high school while also taking into consideration the financial sustainability of our school district and the capacity of our local tax base. This is the challenge that elected members of the School Committee Budget Subcommittee grapple with in public meetings on nearly a weekly basis during this “budget season.” Information about these public meetings is posted on the district website at http://mohawkschools.org/co_meeting_postings.php 12. School safety drills We have been reviewing and practicing our school lockdown procedures. On December 20, Principal Lynn Dole and Assistant Principal Joey Kotright-Clark provided students in the middle school and high school with an overview of our lockdown procedures. On Thursday, January 2, the school conducted an announced practice drill of the protocol. In the coming weeks we will conduct additional drills, much as we do with evacuation procedures for fire drills, so that students and staff are increasingly familiar with these procedures. 13. Please check out the Lost and Found before we remove items Lost something? We urge students to check the Lost and Found located in the hallway near the cafeteria for any missing items. Periodically we remove the many accumulated items from our Lost and Found and donate them to a charitable organization. On January 10 items that are currently in our Lost and Found will be sent to the Salvation Army. 14. Mohawk students participate in Model Congress this week Eight students from Mohawk will be participating for the first time in the 72nd Model Congress, which will be held at American International College in Springfield on Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12. These Mohawk sophomores and juniors, comprising two delegations, have been busy drafting legislation that will be debated in committee hearings on Friday. If approved in committee, their bills will be presented on Saturday to a mock House of Representatives and Senate for final passage. The Mohawk students will have the opportunity to participate in the legislative debates and will vote on the bills submitted by other schools. Seventeen schools from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York will be competing against each other at this year's Model Congress for awards for Best Bill, Best Delegation, and Outstanding Delegates. Staff and faculty from American International College will be observing the legislative proceedings and will determine the award winners. The awards will be announced at a banquet on Saturday and include scholarships to AIC for the Outstanding Delegates. Social Studies teacher Charlotte McLaughlin is coordinating this initiative. We wish our Model Congress delegates Robbie Buonoconti, Tess Burdick, Anna Flaxman, Kai Herzig, Lydia Morris, Jenna Sencabaugh, Amanda Taylor, and Matt Walsh well. 15. “Race to Nowhere” film screening at Pioneer Valley Regional School Screening of the documentary film “Race to Nowhere” will take place on Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 6:30pm in the auditorium of the Pioneer Valley Regional School. The film is approximately eighty-five minutes long and there will be concessions for sale. Ticket prices are $5.00 for area student & faculty tickets and $10.00 for the general public. Tickets will be available at the door but the organizers recommend purchasing tickets in advance as they expect this event may sell out. To purchase tickets online, go to http://rtnpioneervalleyregional.eventbrite.com This event is being organized by a group at Pioneer Valley Regional School who had created a student-led petition to examine the role of homework. The student organizers explain, “We have put this fundraiser together to spark a dialogue between students, parents and school administration in the hopes that area schools will at least take a look at the way homework and schoolwork in general is administered. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com.” 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.