Belmont Public Schools
Daniel Butler Elementary School
90 White Street | Belmont, MA 02478
phone: 617 - 993 - 5550
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Summer Update from the Principal

Dear Families,

I hope you have been having a rejuvenating and joyful summer! I was able to get away for a week with my family to go on a cycling tour in the Canadian Rockies. Being able to spend time together before our oldest officially moved out to start his first job in the “real world” after college was a real gift. It was also quite a triumph for me personally as I faced my fear of hills, speed, and sharing the road with cars! Despite often being the last one in each day, it felt really great to skirt the boundaries of my comfort zone and find out what I was capable of - 160 miles over five days was more than I had thought possible for me. This is the growth mindset in action!

It has been extremely busy here at the Butler School this summer, and I’d like to share some news and updates to fill you in as we begin our preparations for the start of the new school year.

Enrollment:

As of today, we have 354 students registered and placed at the Butler School, with 39 students at some stage of the registration process here. Class lists were sent home to families on July 28. Next week, the elementary principals will meet with Superintendent Phelan to look at all of the children who have completed registration at all of the elementary schools this summer to determine school placement. As many of you are aware, new classrooms were added in three of the four elementary schools to accommodate our high enrollment, which will be a consideration when placing students at schools. The goal will be to create equitable class sizes in the grades across the district.

Staffing Updates:

We have had some unexpected departures this summer, which is bittersweet, as goodbyes are hard and opportunities for growth with new colleagues are exciting. Almost every grade level will have some new members, which means we’ll all be experiencing a lot of growth together this year in service of children. I hope you will join me in warmly welcoming the newest additions to the Butler Community:

    Sarah Mira is our new secretary and started last Tuesday. She replaces Carole Sceppa, who accepted a position in the Belmont High School Guidance Department in June. Carole served the Butler community well for four years, and her excellent organization and institutional knowledge will be a good support to a very busy and complex office at the high school. Sarah has spent a number of years in education and previously was an administrative assistant in higher education. Sarah earned her both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Tehran and is bilingual in Farsi and English.
  • Meghan Gallagher is our new English Language teacher, working in collaboration with Lindi Delorio. Meghan replaces Erin D’Alleva, who was assigned to the Wellington School full time. Due to our continued high numbers of students who are ELLs, we are fortunate to have Meghan sharing her time between Butler and Burbank. Meghan joins us after three years in Malden, where she was a Grade 1 classroom teacher. 
  • Sarah Krasnovsky as our new grade 1 teacher, replacing Donna Cavanaugh, who officially retired just this week. Donna has been a tremendous educator, and a highly valued member of the Butler Community for over 20 years. Donna’s care for children made each one feel truly special and her colleagues have benefitted from her kind dedication to this school. Sarah joins us from Watertown, CT, where she taught first grade for three years. She recently earned her Masters in TESOL from Lesley University and moved to Massachusetts. Sarah brings a wonderful energy and enthusiasm for teaching young learners, and is excited to be joining our lovely school.
  • Steve Molloy is our new third grade teacher, who will be leading our new fourth classroom in that grade. Steve has been teaching third grade for seven years in New Hampshire and recently earned his Master’s degree in education from Plymouth State University in Curriculum and Instruction. He is thrilled to be joining the Butler School, and is looking forward to sharing his love of challenge and belief in helping children to learn at high levels.
  • Pauline Gee is our new grade 4 teacher, replacing Ashton Onisick. Pauline has taught in the Lexington and Cambridge Public Schools, as well as in California in grades K-2 for 17 years. She has a passion for teaching and learning, and is eagerly looking forward to working with our 4th graders this year.
  • Laura Zanin will be a professional aide in Helena Chan’s third grade classroom. Laura recently graduated from the University of Virginia and completed student teaching in both a 4th grade and kindergarten class.
  • Pia Mack will be a Professional Aide in Sam Marcin’s third grade classroom, replacing Jenny Mitchell, who got a classroom teaching position in another district. Pia has worked as an interventionist for over five years supporting students in reading and math. She has a Master’s in Elementary Education from Lesley University and has completed coursework for Reading Specialist licensure.

Building Updates:

Bob and Marcos have done a TREMENDOUS job this summer in managing an enormous workload. I am beyond grateful and full of admiration for how hard they have been working and how much they have accomplished. All of the classrooms have been cleaned, rugs shampooed, and items replaced. They literally moved mountains this summer as we had to accommodate a new classroom and shift and move many rooms. While it was a great opportunity to unclutter a lot of spaces, it was a ton of work that they completed with a helpful and good humored attitude. In addition to all of this, they continue to distribute supplies, assemble the continuous stream of new furniture that keeps arriving, and try to find space to store items that need to be stored! Bob and Marcos are the quiet backbone to this school, and we are so grateful for all of the big and small ways they help us throughout the year, but especially in the long hot days of the summer to create a welcoming environment for children and staff alike.

 

Our first grade classrooms got new tile installed. The boiler has been replaced. The windows on the K, 1, 2 side of the building are currently being replaced, and a new PTA bulletin was mounted in the main hallway. The IT Department has upgraded our wifi and has been working to complete a mammoth list of installs, updates, moves, and troubleshooting throughout the whole building. In outdoor news, I have been told that one of our fields will be getting sod in early fall and then the other field will be getting slice-seeded. It will be wonderful to have green fields for the children! I will provide more detailed information as I receive it. Lastly, the long-awaited fix to the light at our playground is scheduled for next Thursday.

Important Dates:

Please mark the following dates on your calendar:

  • Kindergarten and New Student Picnic: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 (Rain Date: August 31st) 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Butler School Field Come meet new friends and have fun! Please bring a blanket, a picnic dinner for your family and a dessert to share. For more information please contact: Megan Olowinski meganoliwinski@gmail.com
  • First Day of School: The first day of school this year for students in Grades 1-4 is on Wednesday, 9/6 and will be a full day; we will follow a regular Wednesday schedule, with dismissal at 1:40pm. As it is a full day of school, lunch WILL be served on this day.
  • Kindergarten Visiting Hours: Instead of attending the K Parent Information Night last Spring and the K picnics in the summer, K Teachers and Aides will be available for “Visiting Hours” in their classrooms on Wednesday, 9/6 from 9:00-11:00am. Students and their parents will be able to stop in, say hello, and get a feel for their new school and classroom.
  • PTA Back to School Picnic: This a great opportunity to kick off the school year by connecting or reconnecting with school friends AND helping to support all of the awesome things our PTA does for our school by participating in the contribution drive. September 8 from 6-7pm, Butler School Playground.
  • Curriculum Night: We are going to repeat last year’s format of holding a single night for grades K-4 and specialists, with a mid-point gathering of all staff in the cafetorium. Our curriculum night will be on Thursday, September 28 from 6:30-8:00pm. Thursday was chosen so that your late night is towards the end of the week. I will share more details about the proposed schedule as we get nearer and I welcome your feedback and thoughts.

We will continue to update the Google Butler Family Calendar with important dates. Please note that this is a “living calendar,” which means that should dates/times change, when you view the calendar, you will see the most updated version. If you want to add this calendar to your own google calendar, you can click on the +google icon on the bottom right of the window that opens when you follow the link above.

Butler Student and Parent Handbook

The Butler School Student and Parent Handbook has been revised for the current school year and is available by clicking on the blue link. Please take a look to review our expectations and helpful information for you. If you would like a paper copy, please let Ms. Mira know.

PTA

I had the pleasure of meeting with PTA co-presidents Kathleen Conneely and Mita Das this week. We reviewed the many exciting events that take place over the year here at Butler, and this year promises to be full of opportunities to work together, have fun, and contribute to the vibrant Butler Community! Here are links to the PTA webpage and the Butler PTA Facebook Page.

I am truly thrilled and proud to lead such an amazing school, and am so very excited to begin a new year with all of you. I can’t wait to welcome back all of your dear ones; please give them my very best and tell them how much all of us here are working and planning to make this a wonderful place for them to grow and learn. As always, please feel welcome to bring me any questions or wonderings; I am here to support your children and you.

With every good wish,

Danielle

Danielle Betancourt

Principal

Daniel Butler School

posted: August 30, 2017 by webmaster
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