Welcome to the Administrator's Corner. Shawn Gonyaw, Principal of Marion Cross School, and Greg Bagnato, Student Services Coordinator will post their weekly messages here. The intent is to keep you updated on important topics that are happening at school.
These posts can also be found in the weekly Who's Wise Words newsletter, which we highly encourage you to read. We hope you find all this information helpful, informative and fun. We encourage you to reach out to us with questions and comments.
Shawn and Greg
Most Recent Post:
Message From the Principal
This week I am going to share my space with Tess Palm who was recently recognized for her submission to the 2022 Will McDonough Writing Contest, sponsored by the Boston Sports Museum. MCS is home to many talented students who are able to apply their learning in creative and valuable ways, just like Tess.
Making Red Sox History
By Tess Palm
The beep of my alarm clock wakes me and I reach for the baseball under my pillow. With one eye open I aim for the snooze button. I roll over and look at my wall of baseball trophies. My favorite one is small but it was my first MVP award. I smile at the memory and grab my uniform off the floor.
Since finishing college I’ve been playing on a town team called the Hornets (I didn’t choose the name, I hate flying bugs!). As I put on my jersey I start thinking about last night’s practice. I had noticed a man with a clipboard in the stands. He was an older guy and seemed to only be paying attention to our first baseman. I wanted him to notice me but couldn’t catch his eye. Some of the players whispered he was a scout but I did not want to get my hopes up. But when practice finished he walked straight up to me. “You've got an amazing arm!” and he pushed a paper into my hand. “I think it would be good for you to try out, details are on the sheet”. I walk home in a daze.
Playing at Fenway has been a dream since I first picked up a bat. Could it come true? A few weeks pass and tryout day is here. I walk into the women's locker room and it’s silent, a big difference to the laughter coming from the men's locker room. I lace up my cleats. I feel nervous, like I don’t know what to do with the ball. Out on the diamond I look up at the Green Monster in awe. The day is a blur of whistles, clipboards, hot sun, and empty water bottles.
Time passes and there’s no news. But one day when I’m walking my dog Devo (short for Devers) my phone rings. “Tess you had a great tryout and the team would be proud to have you!” I can’t believe what I am hearing–I’m the first woman to play for the Red Sox! At the season opener I bend down and rub rust colored Fenway dirt between my hands. I grab my bat, tap it twice on the plate, and nod to the pitcher. A fastball speeds toward me and I start my swing. I’m full of pride and I am ready to be a part of history.
In other news, we are considering changes to the schedule for next year. Below are a couple of the bigger changes to the schedule and how they will modify our programming.
At MCS, children experience a variety of specials classes - art, music, library, physical education, French, guidance, media/library, and technology. The opportunities for enrichment are one of the unique things that allows children exemplary access to growth and development. Conversely, this also limits instructional time for math, reading, writing, science and social studies. To better balance our program, we are considering the move to a seven day specials schedule. Simply put, in the past children would have each special on a rotating 5 day schedule. Moving forward with this schedule, each special will be on a rotating 7 day schedule. Here are a few points to keep in mind with the seven day schedule:
- Physical Education - Oddly enough, PE is the only special that is required by VT law to be part of our elementary program. Up until this school year, MCS has not been in compliance with offering the amount of minutes that the State of Vermont requires. Physical education will happen twice in the seven day cycle, bringing this important part of our program almost up to compliance.
- French - Up to this point, French has been a hybrid at MCS. It has fallen somewhere on the continuum of a core academic program and a special. Moving forward, it will be a special and part of the specials rotation, but will occur twice during the seven day rotation. We are fortunate to have an outstanding French program and teacher. We are even more fortunate to be able to offer French instruction to children starting in Pre-k right through sixth grade.
- Math instruction - With this schedule, students will receive daily math instruction and have a math block long enough to do all the components of a math lesson, plus time for math remediation or enrichment. This is essential as we are adopting Illustrative Math, our new math program, which requires 60-75 minutes of daily instructional time
- Literacy instruction - One of the greatest educational setbacks from the pandemic has been the impact on children, especially in the lower grades, who have missed some fundamental developmental benchmarks. We are seeing that, even though masks were fantastic for our health, they were highly detrimental to young children developing as literate individuals. So much of early literacy development depends upon seeing other people’s mouths as they talk. In the seven day schedule that we are considering, it will allow for more instructional time for literacy and also time for dedicated remediation/enrichment in this area. The hope is to give children the time they need to recoup the learning that was lost.
The schedule committee has spent several meetings over the past few months contemplating what is best for kids at our school. Creating a schedule is complex and requires keeping the big picture for all kids in mind. It also means looking at balance for our overall program. Above are just a few pieces of our program that are changing to bring about better balance. This will be a topic shared at the next (and last for the year) Coffee Talk conversation. Please look for the PTO invitation and feel free to join and ask questions.
Finally, we are moving forward with our Open House on May 25th. I am aware that COVID case numbers are rising, but at the last Pandemic Response Committee meeting, it was decided that this event could move forward. I highly encourage mask wearing and ask that you only come if feeling healthy and without any signs of sickness. Our staff and students are excited to have visitors!
Enjoy the sunshine,
Message From Student Services
SAU 70 is developing a Strategic Plan. The Student Support subcommittee will be holding a virtual community forum on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00 pm. The forum will provide an opportunity for you to hear about the subcommittee's work thus far, provide feedback, and share your thoughts.
Please use this link to join the forum:
Please direct any question to the subcommittee co-chairs:
Lisa Christie, Norwich, Dresden, and SAU 70 School Board Member
Rhett Darak, Director of Student Services