Dear Burns Park Families,
This past Friday, thanks in part to PTO sponsorship, our students, and many staff and families, were privileged to hear Dr. Irene Butter and Anneke Burke share their childhood experiences and memories as survivors of the Holocaust. We were all profoundly touched by this conversation. As principals we are grateful that each of our students will be able to know personally of the Holocaust from hearing a living witness. In this way, and perhaps many others, we hope to be a part of the living witness spoken of by Elie Wiesel, quoted here.
Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.
It seems fitting here to mention our wish for a joyous festival for those of us celebrating Shavuot and greetings of Ramadan Mubarak for those who continue their observation of Ramadan.
It was lovely to see staff and families, and Dr. Swift, at Mr. Thompson’s memorial service yesterday morning. Many of Mr. Thompson’s family and friends said they were comforted by the relationship that Scott held with so many of us and the obvious impact his teaching and friendship continue to have on our school community.
It’s been a big weekend for many of our Penguins and their families who performed in YPT’s presentation of Cinderella. Costumes, sets and production values were amazing as was the performance of these young artists. Congratulations! Critics are raving and we love seeing the wonderful pictures on social networking sites.
Congratulation also to Tracy Berman, (Cedric’s mom) for riding her bicycle 210 miles in 14.5 hours last weekend (on dirt roads!) as she participated in the Coast-to-Coast Gravel Grinder race. Congratulations on an amazing performance Tracy.
We want to announce a workshop addressing Parenting Through Separation and Divorce. This University Center for the Child and Family workshop can help participants navigate the choppy waters of parenting while separating or divorcing and deliver practical advice in a collaborative, caring environment. The free workshop begins at 7 PM on June 4 but registration is required.
Recently, former Burns Park Penguin, Danny Frieband worked with the fifth grade students in Ms. Kreger’s class to implement a sharing bowl during lunch hour. The intent of a share bowl is to reduce the amount of whole, uneaten food that gets disposed of during lunchtime. Students who bring lunch from home are encouraged to take their uneaten food back home with them. Students who have whole food from their school lunch are encouraged to share.
Danny brought some friends from CHS by to shoot a video featuring Burns Park Penguins, which will be used in other schools to present and promote this practice. You can view this video here:
Please swing by the Lost and Found in the next few weeks. We have a lot of coats and smaller items that are missing their owners. Items not collected will be removed before the last day of school.
If you stop by Burns Park (and we hope you do!), you'll notice nearly 250 posters focused on kindness throughout our halls. From start to finish, this has been a student project. Students focused on the theme of "kindness" in the design of our school logo, and several students approached Mr. Hatt last year about what they called a "kindness committee." We decided to start small and see what seeds might get planted.
This winter and spring, two students from each third, fourth, and fifth grade class met together weekly during lunch with some support from third-grade teacher Jessica Hane and parent Alisse Portnoy, and they generated a list of projects they'd like to do. In small groups they talked, listened, listed, and talked some more, and they came up with two different kinds of posters campaigns for their first initiative. One campaign would feature quotes about kindness, and another would feature photographs of BPE students doing kind things.
In small, mixed age groups over a couple of weeks, students made up or found quotes about kindness; quotes were pooled together, and then re-mixed groups ranked their top three choices. Students had lots of overlap, and came up with five quotes they all felt excited about. Those quotes were turned over to a small group that started as an idea for a learning lab in Ms. Hane's classroom, mentored by parent Sarah LaTarte, and students designed and then themselves made posters featuring the five quotes. Our PTO generously funded the printing of those posters, which are the larger posters that students have hung around the school.
During lunch and recesses in a subsequent week, the 20 students on the Kindness Committee each checked out PLTW iPads and, in pairs, took photos of our students in class, in the halls, in the cafeteria, in specials, and at recess. We figured out a way to create a photo library for all of the photos we could publish. These students then met for a special hour-long lab and learned how to add photos from their library to a template designed for them, write whatever text they wanted about the photo on their poster (using some design criteria around fonts, placement, and grammar), and complete their own posters. That process generated more than 200 unique posters featuring our students engaged in kindness throughout the school day during one week this spring. Those posters also were hung by our students on Thursday during their lunch recess.
Students on the Kindness Committee have many more ideas, and we've spent time making sure that the processes and protocols created in this "seed stage" are replicable not only for committees like this one but also for our classrooms.
One idea floating around, for example, is to build a project around signage in our building. Our fourth graders noticed during their disability awareness workshop that we could add signs in key places which would make Burns Park Elementary more readily and easily accessible by more people.
What would it take, from study to graphic design to funding to implementation, so that our students have signs up by the time our next disability awareness workshop comes around in Spring 2019?
We look forward to extending what we've learned with this small group "seed" of a Kindness Committee to see what projects we can open up to any students willing to come together in project-based learning at Burns Park Elementary School. And we look forward to seeing what unfolds from the Kindness all around us!
It’s going to be a wonderful week at Burns Park. We’ll have Walk and Talk on Monday and Friday and Weed and Seed this coming Thursday. We hope you can join us for our May PTO meeting in the Media Center on Tuesday the 22nd. Please don’t forget that we have EARLY RELEASE DAY THIS WEDNESDAY, MAY 23RD. Students are dismissed at 1:29.
Chuck Hatt and Laura Wolf
Burns Park Lunch Schedule (2017-2018)
Apply Online for 2018-19
Enroll in Person for 2017-18
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