Vision Council – PARCC for Parents…

Dear HTS Community,

Beginning on Monday, March 2, students at HTS will join their peers in 12 states in taking a new standardized assessment – the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). This online assessment will be administered in our computer labs in March and again in April/May. The Vision Council will be hosting our third quarter meeting on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00pm in the library/media center to discuss this in greater detail. This meeting – PARCC for Parents – will offer parents a longitudinal look at the history of standardized assessments in New Jersey as well as a side by side comparison of the PARCC and NJASK. Moreover, parents will leave with a better understanding of how they can assist their children on this exam. We hope to see you there.

Lastly, I would like to remind the entire HTS community about the Second Annual State of the Schools Address on Monday, February 23 at 7:30pm in the library/media center.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Another PTO Grant plus SOTS-15…

Dear HTS Community:

On Wednesday, January 7, the PTO voted – unanimously – to fund new audio-visual upgrades for our students and staff. These systems (sound and lighting) will be used for plays and concerts and cost approximately $25,000! As always, we appreciate the unwavering support of the PTO and its membership. Donations such as these allow our school to provide that something extra special for our children. We look forward to using these systems at future events. Please note, this grant is in addition to 2014-2015 PTO grants such as Smartboard replacement ($30,000), Battle of the Books ($5,000), Creative Coders ($4,000) and various software applications and subscriptions such as Brain Pop and Scholastic Scope magazine ($7,000).

Please save the date: Monday, February 23, at the Harding Township School Board of Education meeting, I will be presenting my second annual State of the Schools Address. The meeting will be held in the HTS Library/Media Center and will begin at 7:30pm. We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Thank You For The Music, The Songs I’m Singing…

Dear HTS Community:

Earlier this week, singers and musicians in grades 4-8 participated in the annual Winter Concert. Featured numbers included The Christmas Waltz, Hanukkah Dance, The Chipmunk Song and many others. With the help of a recent HTEF grant, our music teachers (Mr. Alworth and Mrs. Gareau) were able to record the concert. The vocal pieces can be found here and the instrumental numbers are posted here; I hope you enjoy them! The arts are alive and well at HTS and we are very proud of the fact that all our students have the opportunity to participate in live performances. The Fifth Grade Band, for example, features over 80% of the that grade!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Vision Council – Wednesday, December 10 8:30-9:30am

“Math is like going to the gym for your brain. It sharpens your mind.” – Danica McKellar
Wednesday morning, immediately after drop off, the Vision Council will meet in the library/media center to discuss HTS’ transition to the PARCC – the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The PARCC will be completed in March/April and again in May by all HTS students in grades 3-8 and replaces the NJASK. As mentioned previously on this blog, the PARCC promises to be a more challenging and demanding assessment. Two of our expert math teachers – Mrs. Englesman and Ms. Hunter – will be at our Vision Council meeting to discuss some of the strategies we are using to prepare our students as well as provide parents with some “helpful hints” about how they can help their child at home. Below are two sample math questions – one for elementary students (and parents) and one for middle school students (and parents). Bring your correct answer to the Vision Council and receive a prize!

 
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PARCC QUESTION
Ms. Morales has a bag of beads.
She gives Elena 5 beads
She gives Damian 8 more beads than Elena
She gives Trish 4 times as many beads as Damian.
Ms. Morales then has 10 beads left in the bag.
PART A
How many beads did Damian and Trish each receive? Show or explain how you arrived at each answer.
PART B
How many beads were in Ms. Morales’ bag before any beads were given to students? Show or explain your work.
MIDDLE SCHOOL PARCC QUESTION
Mr. Ruiz is starting a marching band at his school. He first does research and finds the following data about other local marching bands.

Band 1 has 123 Brass Instrument Players and 41 Percussion Instrument Players

Band 2 has 42 Brass Instrument Players and 14 Percussion Instrument Players

Band 3 has 150 Brass Instrument Players and 50 Percussion Instrument Players

PART A: How many Brass Instrument Players are there per Percussion Player? Show or explain your work.
PART B: Mr. Ruiz has 210 students who are interested in joining the marching band. He decides to have 80% of the band be made up of percussion and brass instruments. Use the unit rate you found in PART A to determine how many students should play brass instruments. Show or explain all your steps.

 

Good Luck and I hope to see you this Wednesday, December 10 at 8:30am in the Middle School Library/Media Center.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Giving Thanks @ HTS…

Dear HTS Community:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you enjoy some turkey, some football and some time off with your families. Below, we have a guest blogger – 8th grader Lauren D.

What HTS Means to Me

Harding Township School. It holds many different memories and has different meanings to different people. To me, HTS is like a second home. It holds so many fond memories and because of HTS I have met many amazing people that mean a lot to me. I have experienced great things at HTS and I have had so many great memories that I will always remember.

First, HTS is nestled in the small town of New Vernon which is home to just over 3,200 residents. Since it is smaller compared to other schools in the surrounding areas, Harding Township School allows students to get very close to their classmates and create strong bonds with each other. Many students have been together since preschool and are the best of friends. This is not true in my case, since I arrived back in 2011 when I was in 5th grade. Although I haven’t been here the longest, this school still holds a lot of fond memories. I remember the fifth grade trip to the Buehler Space Museum when we got to perform small tasks for jobs in order to “land” on the moon successfully. I remember going to the gift shop and buying astronaut ice cream and rock candy and everyone got to sit outside in the foggy weather waiting for the bus to come pick us up. I remember the sixth grade trip to the Bronx Zoo with all the amazing animal exhibits. It was a very hot day and we had to walk a lot to get to different exhibits but I wouldn’t change a thing because it was such a great experience with all my friends. I remember going on the seventh grade trip last year to the Metropolitan Museum in New York with the exquisite pieces of art and the life-like sculptures. To me, Harding Township School is a place of learning along with a place to let loose and have fun with your friends.
Since the school is home to a close knit community, the students are also very close with the teachers. Students are able to talk to their teachers one-on-one for extra help or whenever they need to talk which allows the students to develop a great respect for their teachers. This is a great quality of the school because it allows the students to become close to their teachers instead of only knowing them in the classroom. This is something not usually available at bigger schools which makes HTS even better. The teachers here make learning fun. I love playing fun games like “Green Glass Doors” or Vocabulary Games on the Smartboard in Ms. Poole’s class, Jeopardy and Bingo in Mr. Hoffman’s class, and Quizball in Dr. G’s class because they make learning a lot more fun than just reading out of a book.
For a small school, the campus is actually quite large. From the endless games out on the field to playing knockout on the basketball court to even just sitting and talking to your friends at a lunch table under the large trees that are spotted all around the campus, the landscape helps students take time to relax during recess after working hard in their morning classes. Recess is the best time for students to take a break, and talk and enjoy their friends’ company. I will always remember sitting under the oak tree and swinging on the swings with my friends.
At the end of the year, the beloved and well known Field Day is held and causes all of the students to have major school spirit. Everyone enjoys themselves while taking part in many of the varieties of activities held by the teachers and parent volunteers. It boosts the school morale for the final days of the school year. The “Tug of War,” one of the main events, is loved by all the students. All of the different grades have their own tug of war matches where the teams are divided into the Blue and White team. Students try to win matches of tug of war to gain points and try to win the title of the winner of that year’s Field Day. After each grade faces off, the final match is between the 8th graders and the teachers, but this is only for fun (ed note: the staff plays to win). The Tug of War is always a great event and one of the best parts of Field Day.
Along with being competitive during Field Day, the entire middle school takes part in another competitive group of games: the “House Events”. This group of events are games where the students are put into either the “Spartans” or the “Olympians” and they try to win the title of the “House Champion” by the end of the year. The goal is to gain the most points by winning House Events.Throughout the year, House Events are held to boost the students’ and teachers’ moral and to allow students to gain points for their House. By the end of the year, the House with the greatest number of points wins. These competitions are great for boosting school spirit and allowing students to be competitive. The “House Events” are something that makes our school unique and it also shows the students that hard work pays off.
When I leave HTS next year and go on to high school, I will always remember how amazing this school is and how much I have grown as a person just by attending this school. I will remember back in fifth grade at the end of the year in Mrs. Galdeiri’s room when we signed each other’s yearbooks. That year I was really scared of not fitting in and being alone. I didn’t know what to expect and I really wanted to make friends but didn’t really know how. Despite my doubts, everyone welcomed me in and I became a part of the family here at HTS pretty fast. On my first day, I made a terrible first impression by going to the classroom instead of the cafeteria where I was supposed to be. When I finally arrived in the cafeteria, I walked through the door to find 40 new faces staring at me in wonder. I instantly got very nervous and all I wanted to do was make a good first impression. Luckily, the kids at our school were a lot kinder than I thought they would be and I fit in. I will always remember that first day and all of my amazing people I have met and gotten to know in the last three years because of HTS.
To me, Harding Township School is a place of fond memories where students can create great friendships with other students and their teachers while also learning and competing in different competitions. Because of this school, I have made many strong friendships that will last a long time. Harding Township School allows students to grow up into bright high school students ready for the world around them and their lives ahead of them. It allows us to study hard and to learn a lot while also letting us have fun with our friends and enjoy ourselves. Harding Township School is the home of a great family of students that are set to grow up into great people that will someday lead great lives and make the world into a better place.

The MAP and Khan Academy @ HTS…

Dear HTS Community:

By now, all our children in grades 2-8 have completed the fall administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in math and reading (grades 2-8) as well as language usage (grades 3-8). The Student Progress Report that was sent home last week includes your child’s performance in the aforementioned subjects as measured by their RIT score. The RIT score is an equal interval scoring unit developed by Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the parent company of the MAP.
Our teachers use this data to differentiate their instruction to meet the diverse needs of all students in their classes. Some parents have asked for strategies on how best to use this data at home to complement our efforts at school. NWEA has partnered with the Khan Academy and connected specific strands of student learning in math to different Khan Academy videos that parents and children can complete, together, at home.
Khan Academy Math Practice Exercises Correlated to RIT for Students in:

Grades K-1
Grades 2-5
Grades 6-8
I hope you find this information helpful. As always, if you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me at school.

Sincerely,
Alex Anemone

Vision Council – Wednesday October 15 – 8:30am

Dear HTS Community:

Tomorrow morning, immediately after drop off, the Vision Council will meet in the library/media center to discuss our transition from the NJASK to the PARCC. Our expert teachers, along with our administration, will discuss strategies that we are utilizing to prepare our students for this new and very rigorous assessment. Furthermore,  we will discuss specific strategies that parents can implement at home that would neatly dovetail with our efforts.

We hope to see you tomorrow morning at 8:30am.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone