Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Awesome Barrows readers!

It is awesome to see the hours growing in our lobby!  Nice work Barrows Shining Stars.

Reading Education Foundation Grant Award

I am excited to share with the Barrows community that we received a generous grant from the Reading Education Foundation to support the development of outside play and learning areas on the Barrows Campus!  This grant will provide us the opportunity to build mobile planting beds to support our 1st grade curriculum of vegetables and plant life cycles.  Additionally, it provides funding for a butterfly garden and Monarch Waystation that will support our 2nd grade science curriculum on metamorphosis while also providing a green space for a threatened species.  Most importantly, it starts the foundation of what I hope is a multi-year effort to expand our learning spaces "outside the classroom walls" while capitalizing on the natural excitement that the outdoors provides for students.  Please view the Prezi here that captures the multi-year goals for which we will be seeking additional grant funding and reaching out to volunteers for help:  https://prezi.com/ompdnsazvmuk/barrows-outdoor-classroom-and-exploration-center/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

The goal of the long-term project: 
To invest time, resources, and energy into creation of an outdoor learning and play space on the Barrows Elementary School campus. The final product is likely 3-4 years away, but will include a outdoor garden beds with curriculum-based themes, "adopt a spot" spaces for classrooms, classroom learning area, a "maker space" that includes resources for creating engineering opportunities, creative play space, visual and performance based art installations, environmental/ecology focused components, and more.

Thank you Reading Education Foundation for providing the first step towards meeting this goal here at Barrows Elementary!

Key curriculum connections include:
  • Life Cycles (plant and animal)
  • Ecosystems (biotic and abiotic features)
  • Seasons and Seasonal Changes
  • Inquiry and engineering design
  • Weather
  • Geology
  • Observation skills (using your senses)
  • Migration
  • Adaptations
  • Water Cycle

Remember, REF is the same organization that funded the Document Cameras last year that are utilized by staff across curriculum and grades!  http://barrowselementary.blogspot.com/2014/07/document-cameras-from-ref.html


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Young Women's League of Reading fundraiser!

Looking for something to do on an early Sat morning during what will surely be a very wet Spring?

On Sat, March 28th, the The Young Women’s League of Reading will be hosting a private showing of the movie Home, featuring Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez at Showcase Cinemas in Woburn. All proceeds will be directed to Reading’s elementary school PTOs for enrichment programming.

This is a private showing, so the theatre will be closed to the public. You and your children will be watching the movie on its opening weekend and will have a blast seeing all of their friends!

Tickets are $10 per child and $12 per adult. Children under age 2 are admitted free, but must sit on someone’s lap. A full concession stand will be offered, and if you haven’t yet checked out the newly remodeled theater, you’re in for a treat! Featuring fully reclining luxury seats and a full bar, you’ll enjoy the film in style and relaxation.

Girl Scout movie patches will be available for purchase, and the event makes for a fun group bonding!!

HOME (rated PG)

Woburn Showcase Cinemas

To purchase tickets, please go to www.ywlreading.org, and click on the link for "Upcoming Events." All tickets will be sold online, however due to theater upgrades and renovations, seating is limited and tickets will sell out quickly! Do not miss out on this terrific family event!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the people who have graciously coordinated the event, Deanna Dodge, mike.deanna@verizon.net or Kerry Giordano.


What a great job our 3rd grade Barrows Shining Stars have done!  Today was our second day of testing and our third grade students and staff have done an excellent job.  Our students have been utilizing laptops and iPads to complete their testing.  I have observed our students persevering and sticking to it, working hard, and stretching their brains!

I have been able to observe all of the testing sessions so far - and our students and staff are doing a wonderful job as we all learn this new method of assessment!

Be proud of your Shining Stars, I know I am!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

yesterday was Pi Day! 3/14/15

Once every 100 years this 'extra special' pi day comes around - completing additional digits of pi (3.1415) - and depending on how much you love pi (mathematics, not apple!) you could have celebrated especially at 9:26am!

If your child has never heard of "pi" share that it is a special number that appears in the relationships of measurements of circles - and was used in ancient civilizations!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

More snowshoeing pictures

STARS Read-A-Thon Story Time

Please join us for a
STARS Read-A-Thon
Story Time

Tuesday, March 10th 6:30-7:00 pm

Put on your coziest pajamas and join Mrs. DeRosa and Mrs. Lanzo for a night of reading under the stars at Barrows.  We will be reading some of our favorite bedtime stories in the library.  All students who attend must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.  However, parents are welcome to and encouraged to use this time to shop our PTO sponsored Spring Book Fair.

We hope to see you all Tuesday night!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Dear Barrows Community;

As we start to plan ahead for our winter/spring calendars I wanted to share information about the administration of the PARCC examinations for Grades 3, 4, and 5. The district of Reading is taking the PARCC assessments in ELA and Math in place of the retiring MCAS assessments that the state is phasing out.  The PARCC assessment is split into two sections, the Performance Based Assessment which takes place March-April, and the End of Year Assessment which takes place May-June.  Although these testing session span across more dates, the amount of testing has not increased as compared to MCAS as the sessions for PARCC average about an hour to complete.

I am including the schedule below so that you are aware of the coming dates:  

Monday, March 16, 2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Grade 3
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Grade 3
Friday, March 20, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Grade 4
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Grade 4
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
Grade 5
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Thursday, April 09, 2015
Grade 5

Please Note:  The dates above are not the only assessment dates, but are the first set of dates for the  PBA (Performance Based Assessment) component.  The EOY (End of Year) PARCC sessions will take place between May 9th-June 3rd, but have not been finalized for grade levels yet.

Grade 5 will take the Science/Technology MCAS assessment, as they have not yet created an updated online assessment (like PARCC) to replace the Science testing component.  This testing will take place in May.

The PARCC assessment, similar to MCAS is important data that helps informs our practice, but we are careful to remember that their results are just one small piece of our overall assessment of student learning. We strive to have a purposeful environment while we take these assessments, but we also do our best to create a low stress, relaxed approach telling students to just show us what you know and are able to do. So, when preparing your student for school on the day of a PARCC test, the best message you can share is, “Take a deep breath, relax, and just show what you already know and can do.” We will be sure we all take a deep breath here as a staff so our students can feel it is just like any other day.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you, Heather Leonard, Principal