September 2019.  Last week we started school on Wednesday.  Already, Mrs. Kosiba, our teacher of Visual Arts, had put up work from Dewing artists that she saved for this occasion.  Every month she changes the bulletin boards in the main foyer of our school.  Always, she includes multiple pieces of student art, along with the concept and state standards that were the cornerstone of her lesson.  For instance, students had the chance to express themselves and think of a delicious treat and warm weather perhaps as Mrs. Kosiba strove to teach the following:

We are so fortunate to have teachers of the caliber of Mrs. Kosiba as we offer a rich, comprehensive curriculum to the students of the Dewing School.  Joining Mrs. Kosiba this year as teachers of Unified Arts are Ms. Higgins (Physical Education), Mr. Nahlik (Music – Ms. Bridgford now teaches at Heath Brook and North Street), Mrs. Legvold (STEAM – Mrs. Buehler retired last year), and Mrs. Mitchell (Digital Literacy – a new class that takes the place of the computer special.  Don’t worry, Mrs. Silva is still with us; assisting Ms. Gillotte in B12 with her newest kindergarten class).  Each of these educators offers much for our children to learn.  I can hardly wait to visit classes!

 August 2018.  Last spring I was fortunate to be able to sit on a screening and interview team for my home town’s public school department as it looked for a new Special Education Director.  There were a dozen of us at the table, each bringing a different lens to the process, but united in our desire to find a new leader for a department that helps schools and families celebrate the uniqueness of every child. It does this, even as it acknowledges that those differences mean that students are differently abled, and require flexibility on the parts of all the stakeholders involved.  We know a lot about that at the Dewing. We have an incredibly diverse population of students and staff to help those students achieve the dream (and right) of a Free, Appropriate, Public Education within the Least Restrictive Environment.

We know that this diversity, which allows students with and without disabilities, to learn and grow together so that school might form a basis for success in the world also creates additional challenges for us as a school community.  Over these past years we have grown in our ability to identify what strong Tier 1 instruction looks like in literacy and mathematics. We have adopted Next Generation Science Standards through UbD units and hands-on kits, and have looked for multiple and increasing ways to incorporate technology as a tool – in instruction, in assessment, and in our analysis of the data it offers to us in order to make lesson and program decisions where all students can flourish.  It is as important to provide enriched and advanced opportunities as it is to support the basic formation of sound, letter recognition and one to one correspondence. 

Underneath it all, we recognize the need to know the whole child as we strive to identify, acknowledge, and develop ways for our children to acquire and use proficiently the necessary attentional, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school. We need to learn ourselves some common ways of helping our students, socially, emotionally, behaviorally, as well as academically.  There have been groups within the school who have begun this vital work. It’s time this year to bring a lot of that learning together so we can develop fair expectations for all students, and the adults who work with them.

We are a large school – as of today we have 540 students and well over 100 staff members who work together daily.  Mrs. Bosworth and I will work diligently to support our children and their families, our faculty and staff; to listen to the needs, to hear the thoughts and opinions as we try to form consistent communication and implementation of practice around our student learning, professional practice, and school improvement goals.  We will continue to offer differentiated faculty meetings for our Preschool staff, even as we will look for ways to learn and grow together. We will begin conversations about leadership opportunities within the building, and how we might find ways to form teams where teacher voice can drive next steps in learning.  

Developing our own personal and professional voices, learning together, leading as necessary, while developing those traits in our students and their families is what we are called to do together.  We bring so many lenses to the table. We bring strength, experience, passion, vitality, new knowledge, and the belief that we can make a positive difference in this world. It starts so simply…by being good to each other and finding ways to be kinder than necessary.

Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, has long been an individual whose professional work I have respected.  He brought an inherent kindness and belief in the value of all people, small and large, to his television show, to his work outside of the media.  He offered examples of how to be good to each other by first being good neighbors. I found an article on mindful.org that I’d like to share with you.  If you have moment, you might enjoy reading this.

A couple of housekeeping items:

Please click the link below to read the Student Handbook and Parent Information Guide. Parents are asked to review this guide carefully with their children. After reviewing this information, please fill out the brief Google Form to indicate that you’ve read the handbook.  Our handbook provides parents and students with information regarding our expectations for student behavior as well as information regarding student arrival and dismissal. Please review the entire handbook together as a family.

You may also use one of the links below to update your Accident/Illness information for your child(ren)

School Year 1819 Student Handbook

Parent Signature Form for handbook, social, and local cable/print media

Accident/Illness information form

June 2018.  The year is coming to a close, but there are still many wonderful events and activities scattered throughout our classrooms.  We hope you had a chance to listen to our grade 1 music concert, and stroll through the student work at the Annual Tewksbury Public Schools Art Show.  Such talent our children have! There have been events for the family – think Ice Cream Social – plus shows of appreciation – Staff Appreciation luncheons full of generosity then a chance for our staff to show volunteers how much we value the energy and effort you bring to the Dewing.  Please come Friday morning, June 8th, at 9:00 a.m. for a short assembly, then a continental breakfast provided by members of the Dewing staff especially for our volunteers.

Field day and a field trip or two are on the horizon, plus some end of year events for individual classrooms – look for specific information from your child(ren)’s teacher(s).

We will also say good-bye to a few members of the Dewing staff who will be leaving us for the next new adventure in their lives.  Mrs. Fuller, Assistant Principal and Preschool Coordinator, has faithfully served the Tewksbury Public Schools for over three decades, and will be retiring.  I have benefitted enormously from her generosity of spirit in sharing the wealth of knowledge she has about educating our littlest ones.  We also say good-bye to Mr. Alonzo from the Integrated Preschool program.  He and his wife will be re-locating to Montana.  Mrs. Annese from the Preschool Developmental Learning Center and her family will be moving to Charleston, SC this summer.  Mrs. Lazzara will say good-bye to her last class of students this June, but will return to us for the month of September before she, too, retires.  We thank these folks for their service, and for the dedication to early childhood education they bring everyday to the Dewing.

This summer, take some time to play with your family.   Make some memories.  Share some stories.  Read books together.  Find the math in the everyday.  Look at the wonderful things this world has to offer.  We will be preparing the Dewing for another school year at the end of August.  Take care…Terry.

 January 2018.  Best wishes for a most excellent New Year!  I hope that all our families had time over the most recent break to spend time together, have fun, share good times, help others, and celebrate with gratitude the wonderful moments you experienced during 2017.

We look for comfort and joy, peace on earth, goodwill toward all.  How do we model and teach these to our children?  What do we expect of each other and what positive steps can each of us take to help make this part of the world a kinder, gentler place for us and those with whom we live, learn and play?

One of my professional goals this year has been to learn more about Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, why it is important and what role it plays in schools.  A few learning opportunities have come by participating in

–          The elementary principals’ Professional Learning Community (PLC).  Mrs. Cronin from North Street School, Ms. Wettstone from Heath Brook, Mr. Castonguay from Trahan and I meet regularly to study SEL, using some web-based resources and a book published by Dr. William Ribas…Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom (by William B. Ribas Ph.D., Deborah Brady Ph.D., Jane M. Hardin. M.Ed.)

–          Dr. Ribas himself spent two sessions with Tewksbury School Administrators this fall, outlining the beginning principles of SEL and what they might look like in schools.

–          The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Program Quality Workgroup, which is comprised of educational leaders throughout the state. We work to use the elements of high quality preschool and kindergarten programming and extrapolate them to include SEL at the K-3 level.  I work with a small group that looks at principal practice, and which is developing tools for early childhood principals to use in leading effective instruction.

–          The Dewing School Site Council is spending most of its time this year in learning how to develop our children’s social skills.  Look for a survey from us soon that asks your opinion about important topics to address and learn more about.

Here is a link to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website that contains much good information about this topic.  Feel free to look around as it identifies and explains the ‘5 Core Competencies Taught Across Diverse Settings.  [This]widely used Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning identifies five core competencies that educate hearts, inspire minds, and help people navigate the world more effectively.’

 August 2017 – Another school year is about to begin.  Please take a moment to read my back-to-school letter, which was sent out to families this week.  

Here is the link for our newest staff members.

August 2017

Hello Dewing Families:

Welcome to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.  I hope you’ve had some good times this summer – I know we have – and are looking forward to a new season of teaching, learning and fun here at school.

I’ve lots of little bits of information to share with you that I think will be helpful as you try to navigate around all the details of life in public school.  They are here, in no particular order of importance.

  • We’ve changed our website.  It’s still located here…https://www.tewksbury.k12.ma.us/dewing/  but we’re trying to keep it more current.  Let us know if you have ideas for content. Please take a look and visit frequently. Calendar on our website should be up to date.  If you have any questions, email Joy Wallace (jwallace@tewksbury.k12.ma.us) in the Dewing office.
  • We’ve boosted the use of technology at the Dewing.  From upgrading our servers so that we’ve got the same upload and download capacity to supplying every classroom with five iPads to use for reading and math centers, we’re hoping that our teaching and administrative practices will keep up with expectations for learning.  
    • Journeys and GO Math, our core reading and math resources, have digital components and assessments that teachers and students will begin to use this year. Students will be able to access in school and at home.
    • Teachers will share ThinkCentral user names and password.  You will also be able to use these with the iPad app, HMH Player.  More info to come later.
    • Food Services should have already supplied preschool and kindergarten and families new to Dewing with the Lunch ID numbers.  
    • Student Handbook.  Please make sure that you take the time to review the student handbook.  We make changes to the handbook each year and it is your responsibility to be familiar with the handbook and its contents.  This year our Student Handbook will only be available electronically for returning families.  First time Dewing families will receive a paper copy during the first week of school.  The handbook can be viewed on our website www.tewksbury.k12.ma.us under Dewing School’s Parent Resources link (https://www.tewksbury.k12.ma.us/dewing/about/general-information/handbook-and-parent-information-guide/ ).  Students and parents must verify they have reviewed the Student Handbook by clicking yes on the box in the forms area of Community Pass by September 15th.  We have included directions for logging into Community Pass and setting up an account. The link to access the forms is https://register.communitypass.net.  The tab for the forms is at the bottom of the list.
    • Critical Forms (Accident and Illness , Photo Release, Student Handbook sign off)  Back to school always means filling out several critical forms so that we can best serve your child. To reduce the amount of paper we send home to you, we have made electronic versions of the forms for you to read and sign using Community Pass.  We have included directions for logging into Community Pass and setting up an account. The link to access the forms is https://register.communitypass.net.  The tab for the forms is at the bottom of the list.  Click on the forms tab to access all forms.  Since we use email to communicate with parents primarily we ask that you make sure that your email in Aspen is up to date when you are updating your other information in Aspen.  Please make sure your contact information including emergency information is accurate.
    • Drop down to next page for Community Pass information.
    • Make sure you LIKE us on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Twitter.  We find this is the fastest way to get general information out to families.  We will also post on our school website.
  • There are some new faces at the Dewing, plus some of our familiar faces are working in new spaces.  Check this page out to see!
  • Kindergarten Orientation for parents and students  is Monday, August 28th at 3:30.  Please bring your child directly to his/her classroom.  There will be folks there to help guide your way.  One of the things we will have at school that afternoon is a school bus, for students to practice getting on and off, and to take a little ride around the school grounds.  
  • School bus transportation is provided to Tewksbury families free of charge.  Please take advantage of it.  Riding the bus is a helpful way for your child to gain some independence – and it saves time and congestion during beginning and end of day drop-offs and pick-ups.
  • School Site Council is an advisory body to the principal.  Please consider spending one hour once a month (3rd Thursdays from 6:30 – 7:30) with me and others as we look at ways to help our children gain the social skills necessary to be successful in school.  We will look at resources for parents and for parents to share with their children – and possibly put together a resource fair for all our families.  This is a new direction for this group – please consider helping us out.  Send an email to tgerrish@tewksbury.k12.ma.us if you are interested.

I think that’s enough info for now.  Most of my general communications are via email.  Please be sure that we have your up-to-date email addresses.

I’m proud and grateful to serve the Dewing community.  We have a tremendously talented staff who care deeply about making your child(ren) happy, healthy, and smart.  Together we can make this year wonderful.  

See you soon!

Terry

Community Pass Information:

All Schools are now asking parents/guardians to register all required paperwork on Community Pass at the beginning of each school year.  This includes accident/illness information, handbook signature, other legal documents, and whatever your child’s school is asking for.  Each school is different.  Please go to Community Pass and find your child’s school to register. (Note: there is no fee for required paperwork – it will show up as $0)

The Tewksbury Public School’s Community Pass Registration and Payment System  

Please save this site as a favorite on your computer so you can find it any time you want to check your account or register for something else.  

  • Anyone with a child in the TPS already has a login and password. If you need your login and password please email Maura Rauseo at mrauseo@tewksbury.k12.ma.us  or call 978-640-7831 x218. Please write down your login and password and keep it for future use as you will likely need it again this school year.
    • Click “Browse Activities & Register” and then pick the program you want to register for: “Elementary School Required Paperwork”, “John F. Ryan Elementary School Required Paperwork”,  “John W Wynn Middle School Required Paperwork”, “2017-2018 Before and After School Extended Day Program”, etc.   
    • Follow the directions and verify that all information is correct.  
  • You can register and pay for any tuition/fees right online.  To choose credit card payment or EFT (checking account payment) choose credit card.   There is a 2.9% convenience fee for credit card/debit card payments and $0.40 fee for checking acct payments (EFT – routing number and checking acct. number).
  • If you do not want to pay online due to the convenience fee, please process the registration and choose “send payment” at checkout and proceed from there.  We can not accept cash.  Be sure to write what you are paying for and your family ID in the memo section of your check.  Mail checks to:: Community Services, 139 Pleasant St., Tewksbury, MA or give it to the site your child attends
  • You will be emailed a receipt for any transactions you make.
  • Be sure to opt IN for the cell phone /text messaging as we may be using text messaging to communicate important information such as cancelations, closures, evacuations, etc.   
  • If you have questions about registration and payments please contact Maura Rauseo at mrauseo@tewksbury.k12.ma.us or 978-640-7831 x218.
  • With this new system you may monitor your account, make payments, print receipts, print flex spending receipts and year end statements (called flex spending in the system) all in one place.  (Note: there is no charge to do the required paperwork.) Accident Illness information will be saved for some programs and from year to year within the same school.  Be sure to verify nothing has changed when you go through the forms.  This is a safety issue and we do ask that you make sure you update your information each new season as phone numbers and emergency pick-ups can change.  It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure all information is accurate and up to date.

 

Summer 2017 – I hope everyone is enjoying the glorious weather!  I love to read all kinds of books, swim with my grandchildren, and visit with family and friends.

There are not many people at school right now – Our facilities crew – Mr. Stronach, Mrs. Ryan and Mr. West – work hard everyday to clean all the rooms in the school, move furniture, deliver boxes of new supplies, and so, so much more!  Either Mrs. Fuller, our Assistant Principal and Preschool Coordinator, or I are here almost every day – organizing everything we need for a new school year.  You wouldn’t believe how much time that takes!

If you have questions or concerns that you can’t find answers to on this site, please email either me or Mrs. Fuller.  We’ll do our best to get back to you within one school day.