Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

The 2011 Zervas School auction was another huge success. While we do not yet have the final totals for how much money was raised, the turn-out appeared to be greater than ever before. The co-chairs of the event- Heidi Gambino, Erin Jospe, and Helen Haley, work tirelessly throughout the year. Imagine how much you think they must work to organize such a successful event, and then more than double that to get the actual total of time and energy they spend. We truly appreciate their hard work and commitment to the Zervas community.

The 2011 MCAS season is also almost here. Later this month students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will complete English Language Arts testing and Math testing will take place in May. Remember that the Annual MCAS early release switch day is coming up. Since all fourth grade students in Massachusetts are asked to write a long composition on the same day, Tuesday, March 22, our students need to be in school all day on that day. So all students will stay a full day, until 3:00 pm, on Tuesday, March 22, and we will be released early, at 12:30, on Wednesday, March 23.

The full March schedule for MCAS will be….
Grade 4 Long Composition- Tuesday, March 22.
Grade 3 Reading- Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24
Grade 4 Reading- Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29
Grade 5 Reading- Wednesday, March 30 and Thursday, March 31.

We have frequent fire drills so that students can learn to quickly evacuate the school in a quick but calm manner. This familiarity with the routine should result in a calm and safe evacuation should there ever be a real emergency requiring our students to leave the school quickly. In a similar manner we are planning to have a lock-down practice in the next month. While it is very unlikely that we would ever need to go into lock-down mode at Zervas, we do want our students to be prepared. In a lock-down, students remain in the classroom with their teacher, with the doors locked, window shades drawn, sitting together away from windows or doors. When we have our practice, we will be telling our students that sometimes there is a problem outside or in another part of the building, and we need to stay in our classrooms to be safe. Older students will ask pointed questions at this time, and teachers will respond to all questions in a developmentally appropriate way. Our goal is to explain lockdowns in a way that does not frighten students. It is now the policy of the Newton Public Schools that all schools must practice lock-downs. I will let you know the exact day and time of our practice lock-down in advance of it actually happening, but feel free to discuss this with your children before it happens if you feel it would be appropriate to do so.

I hope to see many of you at this Thursday night’s presentation of the documentary “That’s a Family”. This illuminating film highlights the many different kinds of families we see at Zervas and in our larger community, and provides an opportunity for each of us to develop understanding of and empathy for others. Try to make time to join us.


Steve Griffin

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