KES Newsletter - January 11, 2018

Dear KES families,

Let me begin by telling you about the wonderful concert that we had at assembly this morning. Ben Fogg is a teacher at the Middle School of the Kennebunks and he is also a singer and songwriter. His music is catchy and fun for the children with a theme of kindness and empathy, which is certainly welcome and necessary at all age levels. He even recently wrote a song to support our district work with the Sandy Hook Promise, called Start with Hello. You may find your children singing about a “peanut butter problem” when they arrive home this afternoon, as I have certainly found myself humming that catchy little tune all day!

As promised, I also want to briefly share with all of you some of the professional development work that our staff has been involved with recently. The district has a focus this year on teacher clarity and learning intentions. We are working to be sure that children are active participants in their own learning and that teachers are explicit in what they are teaching and how we are going to help children meet the standards that we have identified as important for them to master. Children must know where they are on the learning continuum, where they are going, and how to get there with adult support. We have attended workshop sessions at the district level as part of this focus and have also continued the work here at KES. I spent a bit of time earlier in the year photographing examples of learning intentions already in place in our classrooms and this week two teachers allowed me to share videotaped lessons with the rest of the staff which demonstrated how to do this important and challenging work with young children. We are working to build a very strong foundation for your children and our professional development time is spent collaborating with one another so we can get a rare peek into each other’s classrooms. I have found over the years that the best support and ideas come from colleagues.

In addition, we are also continuing our work with restorative practices this year. The purpose of using restorative practices at KES is to build a healthy school community and to assist children with problem solving when they encounter conflict with one another. We believe that our mission as a primary school is to support both the academic and the social development of our young students, and restorative practices give us a structure for building a common language and approach regardless of which classroom a child spends his or her day. During the December early release we welcomed Ansley Newton of the Restorative Practices Collaborative of Maine to assist us in developing school wide common language which would support our work. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our professional development work, or about any aspect of your child’s school day.

I hope you all have a terrific weekend. Bundle up as it sounds like it is going to be a cold one.