Thursday, September 30, 2010


The phones at Pine Glen School stopped working yesterday.  I was informed today that hopefully by tomorrow we will have service back.    If you need to contact the school, we will be checking voicemail at the 781 273 7640 phone number periodically.   

School Directory

The School Directory lists children’s names, addresses and phone numbers by classroom. Parents who join the PTO are entitled to a copy of the directory.   If you do not wish to have your child in the student directory, please contact Mrs. Gosselin at before October 5, 2010.

Note From the PTO

The PTO’s first meeting of the new school year will be tonight.   Dr. Conti will be attending the meeting and discussing re-districting.   The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the cafĂ©.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Magical Moments

This week I was walking in the hallway alongside a third grade class on their way to gym.  One of the third grade students said, “Guess what Mr. Lyons?   The student had great excitement in his voice and a little bit of a shake in his body as if he was going to pop if he did not share his news immediately.  I responded back with an eager smile showing my willingness to hear his news.

“Today I was writing in class and -I had never written that much!  So I stopped, looked at it, and kept writing some more.  And, then I wrote even more.   (At this point the edges of his smile were approaching his eyes.)    I finished it.  Read it.  And it’s really good.  I didn’t think kids could write that long and that good.”

I immediately let this student know how proud I was of him.  

I recently heard Angela Maiers speak at the high school to parents (Blog post 9/5/2010 A Can’t Miss Presentation with Angela Maiers). Angela talked about how amazing it is to witness a child come to the realization that literacy matters.   Angela was correct-it is magical.

I see many of these magical moments daily.   Being a principal has so many incredibly rewarding components to the position.   One of my favorites is seeing the students’ smiles and the sparks of joy as they learn.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open House is tonight!

Ms. Fallon would love for you to visit the Art room:

Open House is tonight from 6:00 to 7:30!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PTO Announcements


PTO membership dues are just $15 per family.  Thank you to everyone who has already enrolled.  To date, about one third of all families have joined.  Our goal is 100% participation.  Please support the enrichment of our children’s education.  NEW membership perks include a FREE copy of the student directory and email notification of meetings and school updates.  There will be a PTO information table during Pine Glen’s Open House night, Thursday, September 23rd, 6-7:30 p.m. where you can pay dues.

Come visit us!

Public Safety Night

The Burlington Police and Fire Departments are holding a Public Safety Night on Friday, September 24th at 5pm.  This event is co-sponsored by HMart Supermarket, and will be held at their store which is located at 43 Middlesex Tp (the old Decathlon Sports store).  This event is running during HMart’s one year anniversary celebration.  Come down to check out the police cars, fire trucks and other special equipment that will be on hand.  Come meet the new Police and Fire Chiefs, as well as ‘Havoc’, Burlington’s new K9.  HMart will have food samples to try and live music will be provided by the Real School of Music.  Other participants include the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, New York Life’s Child ID unit, the Burlington Rotary and Interact clubs, the Boy Scouts,  the National Honor Society and Robotics clubs from the high school, ADT Advanced Driver Training, and the Burlington Recycling Committee.  Any questions, call Officer Jim Tigges at 781-505-4972.  

Birthday Celebrations

Due to the national focus on the health and wellness of our children, the growing number of students with food allergies, and the shortness of learning time during the school day, birthday celebrations at Pine Glen School will be food-free -- but will continue to include singing, a crown (if age appropriate!), and a pencil or sticker to honor the Birthday Boy or Birthday Girl.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Note From The Music Room

For the next several weeks Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 students will be playing violins in music class.  We are asking that all students bring in a “bow tube” from home to use during class.  This could be an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll.  The “bow tubes” will be stored in the music room until the end of the unit, and then recycled.  Playing the violin can sometimes be uncomfortable for beginners, so it is also recommended that each student bring in a washcloth (or some other small piece of cloth that can be folded) that they can rest between their shoulder and the instrument.  This cloth would be stored in the student’s desk or backpack for use on music class days.  If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Agati @ x7766.

Instrumental Lessons

Registration for 4th and 5th grade beginners is now complete. Any registered student who still needs an instrument or Accent on Achievement method book should call Rayburn at 1-888-729-2876 ( or the company of your choice. The first lesson will be Tuesday or Wednesday, September 21-22, the day that your child has music class. Students should bring instrument, book and folder to each lesson. Deadline for obtaining instruments is the week of October 4. Please go to the band blog at for further information. Any questions please email Mr. Napierkowski at

Burlington Education Foundation

BEF is looking for liaisons for Pine Glen and Burlington High School.  The Liaison's job is to be "The Face of BEF".  To establish good communication within the school and BEF.  This includes delivering flyers and being the contact person for teachers and principal.  If you are interested and would like to know more, please contact Kim Winn at

Food Allergy Awareness Team of Burlington

Does your child have food allergies?  Get informed & be aware!  Meet with other parents who share your concerns.  Join the Food Allergy Awareness Team of Burlington on Tuesday, September 28 at 6:45 p.m. to discuss the schools' role in setting up a new Food Allergy Policy.  The meeting will be held at the Burlington Fire Department.  Please e-mail Lisa Hovasse with any questions at

Per Diem Nurse Candidates

Burlington Public Schools is looking to hire per diem nurses.  Candidates need to have a RN license.  If interested, please send a cover letter, resume, 3 letters of recommendation, and RN certification to:  Dr. Cathleen Estep, Burlington Public Schools, 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA  01803.

Free and Reduced Lunch Program Notification

As of October 4, any child carried over from last years Free and Reduced Lunch Program that has not filled out a current school year application will be removed from this years Free and Reduced Lunch Program.  Applications can be obtained from the main office of each school.  Only one application is necessary per family.  Any questions, please contact Debbie Miller at 781-270-1816.

Note from the School Nurse

The annual vision, hearing and growth-screening program will be happening within the next few weeks at Pine Glen School.  In addition to measuring height and weight the Burlington School Nurses will be using a standard screening tool called "body mass index" (BMI).

Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women. At the elementary level, the regulations call for all first and fourth graders to be screened each year. Parents can opt to have their children not participate in this screening by submitting a written request to the school nurse.

These measurements can help to identify children who may be at risk for specific health problems in grades 1 and 4.  Student privacy will be respected at all times. The results of your child's height, weight and BMI measurements are strictly confidential and will be documented on your child's school health record. We are very interested in making sure that children are healthy and ready to learn. We are undertaking this state requirement with care and strict regards for privacy. Please feel free to call your child's school nurse with any questions you have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Student Empowerment

At the end of every week at Pine Glen School I drive home and think about what an exciting place the school is.   I interact with terrific students, talk to dedicated parents and work with amazing teachers.   This week I greatly enjoyed holding lobsters, spider crabs and hermit crabs with the fifth graders at Camp Bournedale.  I also talked to committed parents who volunteered their time to chaperon at Camp Bournedale (Thank you very much!).  On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to hear Angela Maiers speak and was captivated at the opportunities teachers have to instruct students with new tools.  

What makes Pine Glen great every week is its spectacular learning environment. Students are empowered to take intellectual risks.  Pine Glen has been very proactive in promoting student empowerment.   A lot of the new legislation at the state level emphasizes what we have and are presently doing.   This legislation has reinforced the great work currently being done with empowerment programs such as Second Step, Responsive Classroom, DARE and the great communication I have between with  resource police officer.

There are many ways that parents have helped in the empowerment of their children.  Parents have made sure their children are spending enough time studying and reading at home.   Also, parents have regulated the content and amount of time their children watch television and play video games.   A high degree of encouragement from family, relatives and friends is likewise another terrific means that has helped to promote empowerment.  Proper sleep, exercise and nutrition have a direct impact on how much a student is capable of learning.   I consistently am informed by students how much they enjoy the wonderful youth sports programs.    

Our top priority at Pine Glen is a safe environment where students make academic progress and become life long learners.   We have a strong learning community that cares deeply about each and every child.   I look forward to the upcoming months and the learning our empowered students will achieve.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Open House

Pine Glen Open House will be on September 23, from 6:00 to 7:30. The night will begin in the cafeteria at 6:00 with opening remarks from the principal.  We will leave the back doors of the cafeteria open so parents can enter and exit the building through the cafe.  At 6:10 parents are free to proceed to classrooms. We will continue to have two informational sessions. The first session will be held from 6:20-6:50.  The second session will run from 7:00-7:30.  You are welcome to attend either session.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Email Updates

Parents can now subscribe to my blog.  On the first page of the blog you can enter your email-address to receive an email notifying you that the blog has been updated.    

BHS Annual Fall Craft Fair

BHS Annual Fall Craft Fair - October 16, 2010, Hours:10 - 3, Admission $2.00.  Crafters, Bake Sale and Raffle, Sponsored by BHS Athletic Booster Club, All proceeds benefit our athletes.  For table rental details

Burlington Baseball and Softball Association

The BBSA is conducting tryout evaluations for the 2011 Ripken Major League.  The tryouts are to be held at Regan Park on September 22nd, 2010 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and on September 25th, 2010 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Please note, all players must attend one of these tryouts in order to play in the 2011 Ripken Major League. Please direct any and all questions to Pat O'halloran at

Cub Scouts, Boys Grades 1-5

Be part of the fun and adventure, be a Cub Scout!  Please come join us on Wednesday, September 29th from 7-8:30 for our Pack Registration Night, at Fox Hill School.  Along with information regarding Cub Scouts we have a special demonstration by Guard Up for all the boys to enjoy.  Please contact Kathleen Smith for information 781-229-7945 or

PTO Announcements

Welcome back to all!  We hope your child's first week back to school has been a pleasant one.  Please join us in welcoming the 2010 Kindergartners and their families!  This past summer the PTO sponsored a couple of play dates to welcome the newest students to Pine Glen.  Courtney McDonnell and Christina Russo organized this fun event held in the school playground.  We want to thank them both for chairing this committee.  Also, Kindergarten orientation day was held last Thursday and we had the opportunity to meet the excited children, parents and guardians.  The PTO hosted a table with refreshments and play dough and introduced parents to the program in each of the three Kindergarten classrooms.  Thank you to: PTO Secretary Monica Brown who greeted the parents and children and Joanna DeFrancesco, PTO Co-Vice President, who provided the homemade play dough.  We are eager to welcome the new families into the PTO.

All families should have received the 2010-2011 PTO pamphlet, membership dues envelope, and volunteer form that were sent home in your child's backpack.  Extra copies may be found in the school office.  We hope you will renew  your membership (only $15), become an active member, and encourage a friend to join.  Some of the highlights of last year's PTO accomplishments include the purchase of a new school laminator, enrichment presentations by author Jerry Pallotta and artist Rob Surette, and the purchase of National Geographic social studies materials - just to name a few. 

This year there will be some added "PTO Member Perks".  Each family who has paid membership dues will receive a free copy of the Student Directory and email notifications of meetings and school updates.  We hope you will renew your membership again this year.  We also hope you will be able to volunteer on a committee.  The 2010-2011 PTO volunteer form lists over 20 opportunities to help make a difference in your child's learning experience.  Please remember that CORI checks must be current in order to volunteer at the school or to attend field trips.  CORIs expire every three years and must be renewed at the Superintendent's Office.

Special thanks to: Nancy Keddy for printing the PTO pamphlets in color; Julie Gosselin for making copies; and Joanna DeFrancesco for assembling the 400 PTO packets for distribution to all students.

We look forward to working with you to enrich the educational experience of all children at Pine Glen.

Flexible Reading Instruction and Intervention

September 13, 2010

Dear Parents,

Reading instruction addresses five essential components: phonemic awareness (the knowledge and manipulation of sounds in spoken words); phonics (the relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds); reading fluency (the ability to read with accuracy and with appropriate rate, expression, and phrasing); vocabulary (the knowledge of words, their definitions, and context); and reading comprehension strategies (the understanding of meaning in text).  

We are continuing to use several different instructional programs to teach reading at Pine Glen School.  All accomplish the same goal of improving reading performance, but they take somewhat different paths in helping students reach his/her goal.  The staff at Pine Glen work very hard to match our young readers with an appropriate instructional approach.  Based upon our notes from working with your child and reading assessments, your child may receive additional interventions and instruction to address one or more of the five essential components of reading.

All students participate in guided reading instruction, where she/he will develop fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies.  Grade level literacy teams continue to watch and monitor all students learning to ensure students are making effective progress and growing in skills.  Grade level literacy teams are made up of classroom teachers, reading specialist, literacy tutor, special education teacher, special education assistant, and principal. 

Literacy teams have looked at all the students’ reading assessments while discussing each of them as readers.  Your child will be provided with flexible reading instruction with a member of their grade level team.  As a team working together we can present the best possible reading instruction to your child, and monitor student learning to ensure that he/she is making effective progress as a reader. 

The instructor may -- or may not -- be your child’s classroom teacher.   All the teachers are excited to get to know your child as a reader and as a learner. 

If you have questions, please call your child’s classroom teacher or me.   We would be happy to speak with you.


John Lyons
Pine Glen School

Growth Model

For the first time ever, this year's MCAS Parent Reports will include growth model data. Many parents will likely have questions about this new data.  To make this new data less confusing I recommend going to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education online tutorial which is geared specifically for parents. The tutorial is in powerpoint format with audio and requires no special software.  It was created to help parents understand what the growth model represents. The tutorial is posted at

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Note from Instrumental Music Teacher Mr. Napierkowski

4th graders attended an assembly this week that demonstrated the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. Students interested in beginning lessons on one of these instruments received a notice describing the instrumental program. Please email the information or return the bottom of that notice to school by Tuesday, September 14 if you and your child wish to participate. A commitment to practicing at home is essential for success.  The Rayburn Music company will be at the Burlington High School cafeteria on Tuesday, September 14 from 6:00-8:00 pm. They offer a rent-to-own program for new and previously owned instruments. If you can not attend this event, please call Rayburn at 1-888-729-2876 or the company of your choice to obtain an instrument and an Accent on Achievement method book. Beginner lessons will start the week of September 20. Deadline for obtaining instruments is the week of October 4. Any questions please email Mr. Napierkowski at or call his voicemail at 781-273-7032. You may also check the elementary band blog at for further information and updates.

Girl Scout Registration Event for 2010-2011

Registration for families of girls in grades K-12 wishing to join Girl Scout troops in Burlington will be on Tuesday, September 14th, from 7pm to 8p at the Pine Glen School (1 Pine Glen Way).  Please plan on attending for the hour; there will be activities for interested girls and siblings.

Girl Scouting builds Courage, Confidence, and Character; girls learn teamwork, mutual respect, goal setting, and leadership in all of their Girl Scout activities.  The troops are all-volunteer run, so we NEED YOU to make Girl Scouts happen.  Please consider helping Burlington Girl Scouts, either by stepping up as a leader or volunteering with a troop. We can't do this without you!  [ ]

Burlington Youth Soccer

The Burlington Youth Soccer Fall U6 (Kindergarten) and U8 (1st & 2nd graders) Clinic programs will begin Saturday, September 11th and run through Saturday, November 6th at Lower MSMS.  U6 will run from 2:30 - 3:30 pm and U8 will run from 4:00 - 5:00 pm. Please register online at  The fee is $60 per player and after September 18th a $15 late fee will apply.


We love to have volunteers at Pine Glen School.  It would be very difficult to do field trips without our wonderful chaperons.   The first step in being a volunteer (chaperoning on a field trip) is to be CORI checked. 

Burlington School Policy requires all volunteers to be CORI checked.
If you are unsure about your CORI being up to date, please email Mrs. Gosselin ( to confirm. A CORI can be completed at Central Office located at Burlington High School.

The CORI form may be obtained at the Burlington Public School Office of the Superintendent during business hours 8:00am to 4:00pm. Photo identification, such as a driver's license or a passport, is required to complete the process.

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers related to the CORI Form. 

Q. Where do I get the Form?
A. The CORI Form is at the Superintendent's Office. 

Q. What do I bring to the Superintendent's Office to complete the form?
A. You must bring photo identification with you. It can be a driver's license, a passport or a college ID.

Q. How far in advance do I need to fill out the form if I plan to volunteer?
A. You need to complete the CORI information 10 days in advance.

Q. How will I know if I have "passed" the CORI?
A. If you do not receive a notice from the Superintendent's Office, you have "passed".

Q. How often do I have a CORI report done?
A. All current or prospective employees, volunteers, subcontractors, school bus drivers, and laborers commissioned by the school department who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children will have a criminal offenders records check conducted periodically, but not less than every three years.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Volunteers from Pine Glen are needed to help distribute vouchers at Barnes & Noble on Friday, September 10th in 2 hour shifts from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.  If interested, please contact Mrs. Ogren at 781/334-6705 or  A percentage of purchases made at the bookstore on Sept. 10th - Sept. 11th will benefit the Burlington Public School's children.   

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Can't Miss Parent Presentation With Angela Maiers - September 16, 2010

Burlington High is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting nationally known education consultant Angela Maiers. Angela will speak to parents in the Burlington High School Auditorium from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 16, 2010.  Angela is regarded an expert on 21st Century education, learning, and literacy and she is excited to offer our community her enlightening perspective on how the world inside schools needs to change in order to better prepare our students for the world outside of our schools.

More importantly, Angela brings the perspective of a mom with two school-aged children.  This is an important opportunity for all parents of students in Burlington to get involved in the conversation concerning where we need to go as both a high school and a school district in order to provide our students the most relevant education possible. 
(Posted by Patrick Larkin- Burlington High School Blog 9/2/2010)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Children and the First Week of School

If your child comes home and has a lot of energy, this is a very normal and developmentally appropriate means of communication for children.  It might feel like you encountered Tigger in the 100 Acre Wood and you’re looking at Winnie the Pooh as if to say, “How did this happen?” 
This is often seen the last week of summer vacation into the first week or school and last week of the school year, too.  This can be witnessed in preschoolers through high school seniors.  During the first week of school, students are making a big transition in their schedules.  They are adjusting from a summer vacation schedule to structured school day.  The range of emotions can go from being nervous to sheer excitement.  Students, unlike adults, do not have a lot of years of reference to refer back on when encountering new situations.  When your children arrive home, a wonderful activity to do is to ask a directed question such as “What was the best part of your day?” or “What made you feel good today?” 
          Children sometimes come home and talk about an unpleasant part of their day.  I know as a parent it breaks your heart.  What helps me in these situations is to remind myself that not everything is going to come easy for my child.  One of the best strategies a parent can do in these situations and at any time is to empower my child. 
 Parents and teachers can’t provide a road map for children for every situation they will encounter.  Children will hit some streets that branch off in two directions and they will be required to make a choice.  
One of the best things we can do to prepare our children for those situations is to capitalize upon their strengths.  When children feel upset or discouraged, remind them of their strengths.   Tell them what they are good at and what they like to do.  When we do this, we allow children to build upon their strengths like climbing a ladder.  
Whether it is a high level of energy or a child being quiet deep in his or her thoughts, this is a very normal part of childhood particularly this week.   Along with this also come humor, joy and love.  It is what makes being a parent great.   

As I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living.   You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively.
                                                               -Mel Brooks

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bus Schedules

To find information about bus schedules please go to the Burlington Public Schools Web Page. 

On the web page there is a heading titled Resources.   If you click on the Resources heading,  this link will take you to the bus schedules.  

The link below goes directly to that page.