Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome Back!

September 5, 2011

Dear Parents and Staff,

I hope you have all had an enjoyable and relaxing summer! It is hard to believe that summer is so quickly coming to an end. I have greatly missed seeing all of your children and I am so excited and ready to welcome everyone back as we begin another school year. I have come over the past two years to not only meet students but also, the parents that make up our Pine Glen Community. It is with the same level of enthusiasm I begin my third year at Pine Glen School that I began my first. We have made changes over the past two years that have helped us to reach milestones that have raised the attention of surrounding districts and raised the profile of Burlington Public Schools. We have not stopped this journey and we will continue to this year to provide engaging experiences for students.

We will be welcoming 303 students this fall in their endeavors compared to 397 last year. Our focus continues to be on three specific areas: Instruction, Technology and Communication. The opening of the new Memorial School has opened up greater instructional space at Pine Glen School. This has allowed us the opportunity to move some learning spaces. In particular, all the grade level classrooms are located in the same general area of the building. We have also been able to expand the size of the library and move the computer lab to a bigger room. In addition, this has allowed our interventionists (reading specialists, special needs teachers, RTI tutors) more space to provided interventions. Teachers have been very busy unpacking and setting up their rooms. I must continue this year to thank the custodial staff and teachers for their hard work and dedication to provide students with a clean building and classrooms that are ready to provide instruction.

We have continued to purchase a large degree of new curriculum most of which is now offered in a technology-based format. Two of our new intervention tools are Lexia (, which provides additional practice with word decoding for reading, and Symphony Math (, which provides additional practice for math are both utilize a computer (Bob-Cart). This is similar to how Read Naturally (, which provides additional support in vocabulary, fluency and comprehension, was implemented last year. In addition, every kindergarten teacher is being provided with a Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention System ( which has greatly expanded the variety, selection, and amount of books available to our earliest readers. Furthermore, also purchased this summer were Being a Writer sets for kindergarten and first grade. This supplemental writing program is now in all grades kindergarten through fifth ( In addition, all kindergarten and first grade teacher were given iPads in which they can use the DIBELS ( program to progress monitor their students via an iPad App. Likewise, at all grade levels we have again continued to increase the selection and genre of books available in our Literacy Closet. Teachers will continue like last year to participate in curriculum councils and at grade level meetings with myself to look at curriculum, instruction and assessment. We have continued to see tremendous growth this past academic year from our students.

We also welcoming new technology at Pine Glen this fall. We are in the process of adding additional “Bob Carts.” (4 terminal computer stations) making them available to all classrooms. They are extremely helpful in providing interventions to students and many other educational opportunities that only a computer can provide. The “Bob-Cart” is essentially becoming the 2011-2012 version of a workbook as many companies no longer provide interventions and curriculum in a paper format. An additional investment in technology will be the arrival of 60 iPads ( for students to assist us with technology integration in the classroom. Furthermore, we are in the process of an expansion of interactive white board technology with TouchIT boards being installed in all classroom spaces (

With the additional the additional curriculum, instruction and technological pieces mentioned another new piece to the school year this year will be in the form of assessment. Burlington will be adopting a new standards based report card this year that is reflective of the National Common Core Curriculum (

We will continue to be tiering instruction during language arts. Please continue to be mindful of the fact that students classroom teacher might be different than their reading teacher. This affords teachers the opportunity to work with a narrower teachable range, provide interventions and maximizing efficiency. This is not leveled reading instruction. We are providing flexibly grouped reading instruction that changes based on data. We will also be implementing this in some grade levels in math. We will continue to use an online universal screen. We will be utilizing i-Ready ( in Language Arts and Math to become aware of where to focus our instruction and provide interventions for students.

We are pleased to welcome new staff members to our Pine Glen Community. Julie Particelli will be a new special education teacher. We are very excited to have put back the position of a full time librarian. Laura Delia will be our Library Media Specialist (librarian). Alexis Carlson will be switching roles from a literacy tutor to a Special Education Instructional Assistant. Therefore, we are excited to welcome Ashley Parziale as our new RTI tutor. In addition to the funding of a full time librarian we are thrilled to welcome two new positions in the form of a full time Speech Language Pathologist and full time School Psychologist. Lindsey Bourgault will be joining us as our Speech Language Pathologist and Leah Garneau will be our School Psychologist. We are very fortunate to have attracted such high quality instructors to our professional learning community.

I wish to thank the PTO for all their assistance. They have done tremendous work in providing student enrichment, organizing school social events, community outreach and assistance to the teachers. The PTO continues to serve as the best vehicles in which to volunteer and be active in our school community. If not already, please consider joining this organization, which has as its main purpose student enrichment at Pine Glen School.

We begin our new school year on September 7th for grades 1 to 5. We start a new school year with class sizes typically no greater than 18 students ; which is very difficult to find in any town or city. The technology and infrastructure to support it which is likely a model and the envy of most districts in the state. In addition there are support staff (3 of which are Orton-Gillingham trained) ( to support Pine Glen teachers in various areas and disciplines.

At our core all staff at Pine Glen School make it our goal to engage our students and develop life long learners. We are incredibly grateful to the Burlington Community for providing us with the technology, teachers, and resources to help us accomplish our goal. The Pine Glen Staff and I the extremely grateful for the opportunity to instruct your children. Together we as a community are building a brilliant future for the students of Pine Glen School.


John Lyons
Pine Glen Elementary School

No comments:

Post a Comment