October 2018

(Image: Frank Abarno Library/Learning Commons )

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

I hope our October newsletter finds you and your family doing well. We had a great start to the school year and look forward to the coming months!

The Smith Academy school community is involved with many things in which I would like to share:

  • Our year started off with a newly renovated library. The Frank Abarno Library/Learning Commons underwent a comprehensive overhaul this summer. The Smith Academy Board of Trustees generously funded the project which included the following renovations/updates: carpets, ceiling tiles, paint, digital projector, drop screen, enhanced multi-media capabilities, desktop computers, book shelving, furniture (cafe tables, lounge chairs, various desks, white-board tables), and dimming LED lights. This learning space is now better prepared to support twenty-first century instructional practices, thus preparing twenty-first century learners. On behalf of Smith Academy, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the unwavering support of the Smith Academy Board of Trustees. 
  • We are very excited about the new 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks. All department members attended an in-depth workshop this summer. These sessions were intended to prepare and support educators through the shift in curriculum and impact on curricular sequence. The most significant change was the introduction of Civics in grade 8. You are able to learn more from MDESE CIVICS. Our educators were able to make this change in a seamless and effective manner. We commend their ability and knowledge in providing a more robust curriculum to our students.
  • We have several students working alongside the Hatfield Council on Aging (CoA) and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to support our local Brown Bag Program. This outreach program provides a food delivery service to our local senior citizens. I want to thank CoA Director, Mrs. Jane Betsold for her continued support in ensuring our partnership remains strong. 
  • Our FRESH Program (Farm to School) is off to a great start as two of our students are working alongside the Hatfield Agricultural Advisory Commission (Chair, Mr. Bob Wagner), our Food Service Director (Ms. Amy Hutchins), and our local farm network to bring fresh local produce to our schools. You can review a map of participating farms: HERE. At the moment, we have a total of 593 lbs contributed to our cafeteria from our Farm to School Fresh Program. As of yesterday (10/1), we are up 318 lbs from last year. Items purchased: corn, potatoes, carrots, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, cabbage , garlic, and tomatoes. On behalf of the entire school community, I want to thank all of our local farmers who provide such amazing food and continue to support our schools. 
  • Smith Academy's School Council has been formed. The parent/guardian positions were filled by those who applied (we will not conduct a vote as it is not needed). Please see members below: 
  • On Wednesday, September 26 Mr. Robert and our HEADS-Up Committee invited school-community members to view the documentary: Screenagers. The film explored the impact of screen time and how both adolescents and parents/guardians attempt to find an appropriate balance. At the conclusion of the film, audience members shared their thoughts and challenges surrounding screen time. You can find more information on the questions posed and discussion points by following this link: SCREENAGERS
  • On Thursday, October 18 Dr. Ruth Potee will present important information to our school community. The presentation, The Physiology of Addiction, will run from 6-8 pm and take place in the Sherry Webb Gymnasium. All parents/guardians are invited to attend. High school level students are encouraged to attend as well. In addition, a light fare offering will be provided by the Smithsonian Chowder House. I ask that if you plan to attend that you fill out the below-bulleted survey. This survey will close on Friday, Oct. 12. We need this information for planning purposes (food, childcare, space, etc.). We really hope you are able to join us!

I want to thank all who came out for our annual open house. I hope you were able to gain a greater understanding of our mission, culture, and the curriculum we are delivering to your child/ren. If you were unable to attend, you can find the entire presentation: HERE

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary (MDESE) continues to strive toward 100% computer based testing (CBT) on all standardized tests. Please take some time to review our 2019 MCAS testing schedule. If would like to explore and practice the next generation MCAS please click HERE

The 2018 MCAS results have been released by MDESE. The results varied between middle and high school students. We will delve deeper into these data sets and adjust curriculum based upon cohort performance. Our grade 9 and 10 students performed exceptionally well. Overall, we are proud of our students and their efforts. If you would like to explore further, please visit our MDESE profile: HERE. As stated in prior communications, this assessment highlights one area in which we serve our students. 

In two weeks time we will hold our annual homecoming. This a great day to come out in support of our school community, class advisory groups, and our athletes. This day also serves to recognize those who have made a significant impact on our students and school. This individual or group is recognized with the presentation of the homecoming award. This year's recipient is Mr. John Robert (Superintendent of Schools) who has served the Hatfield Public Schools for 9 years. His tireless dedication and pride in our schools has greatly impacted many people and will continue to be felt for years to come. Congratulations Mr. Robert! 

Our homecoming parade also serves a special place in the day's activities. Each grade is assigned a float and asked to appropriately decorate it for judging by a small committee. Unfortunately, in the last few years we have lost a little bit of steam in keeping this tradition alive. One item that we have trouble securing are volunteered trailers to decorate. I ask that you reach out to your child's advisor if you are willing to help out. We are also rewarding the number one float with a pizza luncheon this year. We are hopeful that your support will resurge this special event. Please see the homecoming schedule below (theme for day is listed):

10/9 Tuesday

  • Dynamic Duo Day

10/10 Wednesday

  • Disney Day

10/11 Thursday

  • Meme/Vine Day

10/12 Friday (Pep Rally)

  • Purple/White Day
  • Dance 7-10 pm at Smith Academy

10/13 Saturday: Homecoming

8:30 am Homecoming Committee judges and decides upon float winner

*ALL floats must be here prior to 8:30 to be prepared.

  • 8:45 Official Welcome
    • New Homecoming Award (Superintendent Robert)
    • Float winner announced
    • Recognition of King and Queen from Spirit Week!

9:15 Parade Starts (Departs Smith Academy)

10:00 Food/Fundraisers @ Smith Academy (All proceeds benefit Smith Academy students)

Athletic Games

  • 11:00 Boys Soccer Varsity/JV vs. Hopkins Academy
  • 1:00 Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Hopkins Academy
  • 3:30 pm Varsity Field Hockey vs. South Hadley (Behind Center School)


School Department Updates:

Important Dates:

  • Tuesday 10/2
    • HEADS-Up Meeting at Hatfield Fire Dept. 6-8 pm
  • Monday 10/8 
    • No School: Columbus Day Holiday Observed
  • Wednesday 10/10
    • PSAT Test
  • Thursday 10/11
    • Visitor: American International College 
  • Friday 10/12 
    • Field Trip: Student Council
    • Homecoming Dance 7-10 pm ($5)
  • Saturday 10/13 
    • Homecoming (agenda listed above)
  • Thursday 10/18
    • Event: Dr. Potee Presentation 6-8 pm (see above for more info.)
  • Friday 10/19
    • Half Day of School: Professional Development day for Educators (students dismissed at 11:15)
  • Tuesday 10/23
    • Picture retakes
  • Friday 11/2
    • Term 1 grades close
  • Saturday 11/3
    • Special Education Parent Advisory Council(SEPAC) Presents: Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop (all are welcome to attend). More information here: BASIC RIGHTS Workshop.


Andrew Berrios, Ed.D. 

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