Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Barrows Summer Update

Dear Barrows Families;

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer, spending time with your families, playing outside, and relaxing together. We have been busy here getting geared up for our return to school, and are excited to embark on a new school year with our Barrows Shining Star families!  Are you thinking about how to get your student ready to return to school?  The best things you can do are some of the following;
  • ·         Talk about your child’s hopes and goals for their year.  What do they hope to learn?  What skills do they hope to acquire?
  • ·         What are your child’s fears about the upcoming year?  What can we (the adults) do to help them feel comfortable?
  • ·         Encourage your child to write a letter/note to your child’s teacher to introduce themselves.
  • ·         Thanks to the PTO for hosting our ‘opt-in’ class lists.  Reach out to a peer (or small peer group) that is in your child’s class next year. Plan a playground playdate or picnic dinner to connect and build those relationships before the first day of school.
  • ·         Read some books together – share with your learner some of your favorite childhood books and read together as a family
  • ·         Get lots of outdoor playtime!  As the weather is still so beautiful, enjoy all the fresh air and outside play possible!

The start of this school year has us transitioning to a new website too.  It is still in the beginning stages and is “under construction” – but check out our new web address:  (As our district continues to transition away from Edline websites we will continue to provide updates and information about accessing important class and school information!) A message will be sent out to families in the next 2 weeks that will provide information about accessing the online website “Portals” through which you will be able to access student-specific information as we begin to roll out this new tool.

Families may drop off school supplies to the Barrows front lobby on Barrows “Drop-Off Day” for student supplies will take place on Thursday, August 25th from 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.  Please come to the front door/main office door to the front lobby to drop off the supplies. Also, please write your child’s first and last name and classroom teacher on the bag of supplies.  We hope many of you will participate, as this helps eliminate the challenge of bringing the big bag of materials while also trying to get students where they need to go, take pictures, and enjoy the 1st day happenings. (Need a reminder of what supplies your learner needs?  Check out our lists here:


New Staff
I will provide updates our school community about our new Barrows Staff via our school Facebook page and also on my school blog (links below!) 

Please welcome the following new staff members;
·         Not “new” to Barrows, but new to the role, please welcome (back) Kelly DiCato.  She will be our Barrows Special Education Team Chair!  For those newer staff, Kelly worked at Barrows for years as a special education teacher in the DLC program prior to its transition to Birch Meadow.  We are thrilled to welcome her back as a Shining Star!
·         Dan Htoo-Levine, he will be our new music teacher.  Dan has his undergraduate degree from Berklee College in Music Business Management and a Masters from Boston Conservatory in Music Education.  Dan has spent the last few years as interim music teachers in Lincoln and Winchester.  He’s also an active musician in the band Dan & The Wildfire.
·         Patricia Flaherty is our new Reading Specialist and comes to us from Salem Public Schools.  Patricia has a Masters of elementary education from Salem State and also completed her Reading Specialist Certification from Salem State in 2010.  She has been working for 6 years as a Reading Specialist in grades K-5 and has experience working with both students and staff members to develop and implement literacy interventions based on student needs and grade-level data trends. Prior to her role as a Reading Specialist she worked as a 4th and 5th grade classroom teacher for 15 years. She has trainings in a range of literacy-based interventions and has spent the last year working to implement Lucy Calkins Readers and Writers Workshop in her school.
·         Our Speech Therapist candidate is in the works… completing the hiring process now.  I will let you know as soon as it is finalized!


We invite our newest shining-stars (Kindergarten students and students new to Barrows entering grades 1-6) to come and “Sneak-A-Peek” at their classrooms and meet their teachers the day before we start school!  Please see the visit times below.  We will meet together in the front lobby by the main office and will help our newest students and parents find their way.  Welcome to Barrows!

Sneak-A-Peek Visits, Tuesday, August 30th;
1:30-1:45 –
Any students grades 1-6 new to Barrows

2:00-2:30 –
Kindergarten Classes; Ms. Forestell, Ms. Walcott, & Ms. Granoth

Please only come within these given windows of time, as our teachers are involved in other meetings and room set-up to prepare for the first day of school!

MTSS stands for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.  The Barrows School Staff continues to develop our social/emotional curriculum with common language and expectations, following a successful first year implementation.  We are excited about this continued work and the development of our Barrows Beliefs; Be Safe, Be Respectful, Persevere, and Collaborate

Helpful Links

·         Back-to-school supply lists:
·         Barrows School Facebook:
·         Ms. Leonard’s Blog:
·         Barrows on Twitter: @BarrowsSchool
·         Barrows Homepage:
·         Reading Public Schools:

Upcoming Dates

 8/31    First day of school (Dismissal at 12:45pm, ½ day Kindergarten dismissed at 11:30)
9/2     NO SCHOOL
9/8     Curriculum Night
9/16   PTO’s Back to School Picnic
9/19-9/20    5th grade at Camp Bournedale
9/29   School Council, 3:15pm

I look forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks.  Enjoy the remainder of your summer vacation.

Love, Mrs. Leonard

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