Athol Royalston Middle School students, Magdalena Surlej, Jose Rios, Alyvia Santiago and Tyler Gowey, recently visited their old classroom and teacher, Mrs. Tandy, at Riverbend School to teach reading strategies.
Using the book, “Cocoa Ice” by Diana Applebaum, Mrs. Tandy’s 3rd graders students were led to compare and contrast the fictional lives of two girls in the mid 1800s, one who lived in the Dominican Republic, whose family grew and processed cocoa as a cash crop; the other who lived in Maine whose family harvested, stored and shipped ice to the tropics as a cash crop. Both girls dream of visiting the other’s homeland.
The students brought several items to make the book come alive, including a balsam pillow they had sewn themselves, a shell, a giant chunk of ice they had packed in saw dust and stored inside at the middle school for several weeks without it melting, and of course, chocolate!
Additionally, Athol High School students Daniel Pablo Maldonado and Yanibel Perez have been teaching a Spanish class for the 2nd graders at Sanders Street School.
The pictured elementary students, who are in Ms. Myra Calvi’s class, have gotten pretty fluent at greetings, the alphabet, colors, numbers, body parts and describing crazy monsters.
The high school students have gotten experience planning and presenting lessons as well as community service credits toward their graduation requirements.
Last night (January 22,2015), the Athol-Royalston School Committee gave recognition to the principals, kindergarten teachers, and kindergarten paraprofessionals who have worked so hard in order to earn the highly coveted and greatly respected NAEYC (National Association of Education for Young Children) accreditation.
Dr. Elizabeth Ervin, Director of Educational Services, and Superintendent of Schools Anthony Polito noted that the Athol-Royalston District has been working extremely hard over most of the past two decades to earn this accreditation, which–to be clear–is extraordinarily challenging to achieve.
According to the naeyc.org website, “Since 1985, NAEYC has offered a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs, and to help families identify high-quality programs . . .
In September 2006, the Association revised program standards and criteria to introduce a new level of quality, accountability, and service for parents and children in child care programs. The new standards today reflect the latest research and best practices in early childhood education and development. NAEYC is committed to using the newest studies and analysis on positive child outcomes to ensure young children continue receiving the highest-quality care and education possible . . .
Today, NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. Over 6,500 child care programs, preschools, early learning centers, and other center- or school-based early childhood education programs are currently NAEYC-Accredited. These programs provide high quality care and education to nearly one million young children in the United States, its territories, and programs affiliated with the United States Department of Defense.”
To earn NAEYC Accreditation, the ARRSD elementary schools went through a very comprehensive and demanding process which involved a self-study that measured the program against the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. In addition, NAEYC representatives visited each school to ensure that the program met each of the ten program standards. The Standards are as follows: Relationships, Curriculum, Teaching, Assessment of Child Progress, Health, Teachers, Families, Community Relationships, Physical Environment, and Leadership and Management. Programs are accredited by NAEYC for a five-year period.
As noted previously, over 6,500 early-childhood programs (nation-wide) are currently accredited by NAEYC, yet this number represents only about 8% of all early childhood programs in the United States. Consequently, the Athol-Royalston kindergarten programs are in some very distinguished company, as there are many programs across the Commonwealth that have not yet earned this accreditation.
“It’s a lengthy and rigorous process to achieve NAEYC Accreditation . . . ” said Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of NAEYC. “Caring for children is not ‘rocket science’ – it’s brain science. Studies prove that the brain connections made in the first few years of life set a child’s path for success in school and in life. That’s why quality educators are so crucial.”
School Committee Member Mitchell Grosky, who offered the recognition, expressed how very proud he was of the schools and their staff for earning accreditation. Today, he noted that the accreditation speaks so highly for the schools and the educators–for the quality of the programs offered and the teaching delivered as well as the caring commitment of the staff members and principals of each of these schools. The accreditation of our kindergarten programs spotlight high professional standards, a nurturing environment and atmosphere, a challenging and appropriate curriculum, and classroom teachers who are creative and engaging at the same time as they are extraordinarily caring.” The School Committee stood to applaud the kindergarten staff and principals from each of the Athol-Royalston elementary schools, in appreciation for their accomplishment.
For more information on the National Association of Education for Young Children or the accreditation process, please visit http://www.naeyc.org/
Note: Information for this article was obtained from the NAEYC website.
On behalf of the Athol-Royalston Regional School Committee and the Central Office of the District, we would like to wish all of our teachers, staff and administrators the best of the Holiday Season.
You all certainly have earned it and deserve it. From our experience visiting the schools this fall, it is clear that there is a very strong effort going on in our District, to improve the quality of education to our students and their families. It is appreciated!
On another note, we would direct you to our District website to view pictures of the recent “New Athol Elementary School” Groundbreaking. That school is slated to open in September, 2016. At that ceremony, we unfortunately did not spend enough time thanking our teachers and the ATA, for their help in the vote at Town Hall and the election.
Without the help of the teachers, staff and the ATA, it would have been a much steeper uphill battle. You made a significant difference. Because ATA President, Keith Williams did not get a chance to get into a “groundbreaking picture,” we took care of that this morning, and you will see him on the website tomorrow as well. We apologize for that mix-up but please know that your support from the beginning of this project has been crucial to its success. I assure you that there will be many teachers involved in the ribbon cutting ceremony in September of 2016.
Be safe during the Holiday Break.
Tony Polito and the ARRSD School Committee
What a glorious morning it was here in Athol as the Athol-Royalston Regional School District held its groundbreaking for the new Athol Elementary School, on schedule to open in September of 2016–about 20 months from now. I am so proud of and thankful for such a wide variety of people for making this dream into a reality: Superintendent Anthony Polito; Karen McNiff and the members of the School Building Committee; School Committee Member Chet Hall; the ARRSD School Committee; the Athol Selectboard; Senator Brewer, Representative Andrews, and Representative Gobi; Kristin Riordon and the PTO, the PTG, and the School Councils; the Public Relations Committee; the architects; the Mass. School Building Authority; the ARRSD teachers, staff, administrators, and the Central Office Staff; and the parents, students and community members who worked to see the school passed, who supported the building of this school, and who came out to vote at the polls and at that historic town meeting! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am overjoyed for our children—those in our schools now and those who will work and learn in its beautiful classrooms in the future.
The speeches and dignitaries present all were wonderful, but what made this occasion so truly special were the children–the children who smiled so happily, who sang so beautifully, and who carried with them all our hopes and dreams–in addition to their own, which they carry in their hearts and souls.
Photos and text courtesy of Mitch Grosky through the “Celebrating Schools in the Athol Royalston Regional School District” Facebook page. Click here for more photos and coverage of other ARRSD events!
Join us as we celebrate the beginning of a new era for our school district! We will be directly behind the ARMS building for the ground breaking and then inside the ARMS Media Center for refreshments!
The Athol-Royalston Regional School District serves over 1700 students in the North Quabbin region of Massachusetts. We are committed to providing a challenging educational experience that inspires students to acquire the knowledge and skills to become responsible citizens in the global community.
The Athol-Royalston Regional School District in partnership with the community provides a safe, innovative, and vibrant learning environment for all students. We foster academic excellence by implementing best practices, improving facilities, appreciating diversity, and requiring accountability. Our graduates are life-long learners and discerning users of technology who exercise social and civic responsibility and adapt to an ever-changing world.