Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

The Zervas Auction was another outstanding success. Thanks to all who came this past Saturday night and enjoyed the food and community and bought items that will help support the PTO and the great good they do for Zervas. Again, we are greatly indebted to the Super Three- Heidi Gambino, Helen Haley, and Erin Jospe, who have worked tirelessly since last summer to make the auction a social and financial success. Thanks also to all the other parents who contributed time and resources to this event.

The English Language Arts portion of the 2012 MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) for grades 3, 4, and 5 will begin in about two weeks. 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 20, 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 20, and we will be released early, at 12:30, on Wednesday, March 21.

The full March schedule for MCAS will be….
Grade 4 Long Composition- Tuesday, March 20.
Grade 3 Reading- Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 22
Grade 4 Reading- Friday, March 23 and Monday, March 26
Grade 5 Reading- Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28.

And for those looking ahead to our May MCAS schedule…
Grade 5 Math- Monday, May 7 and Tuesday, May 8
Grade 5 Science- Wednesday, May 9 and Friday, May 11.
Grade 3 Math- Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15
Grade 4 Math- Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 17

We attempt to create a calm and industrious atmosphere at Zervas during MCAS testing. We try to instill in all of our students the attitude that they will be able to do well on these tests if they work hard and focus. You can help your children by reinforcing this attitude at home. It also helps to be sure that your children sleep well and have a nutritious breakfast. (This is true all though the year, not just during MCAS.)

I am proud to announce that later this month fifth grader Lucas Brigham will take part in the Massachusetts State finals of the National Geographic Geography Bee. His journey to this tournament began earlier this month when Zervas School has their school based tournament. There were classroom based competitions in each of our fourth and fifth grade classrooms. Each classroom winner, plus the two wild card winners from each grade, then took part in a school-wide Geography Bee. Students qualifying for the school finals were fourth graders Henry Fine, Ethan Kopf, Max Marrinan, and Hailey Robinson. Representing the fifth grade were Isaac Chapin, Adam Freedman, Max Plottel, and John Stembridge, in addition to Lucas. The school-wide event was very exciting, coming down to the final two, Adam Freedman and Lucas Brigham, tied before the final question. Lucas won when he was able to answer the final question, “Timbuktu, a center of caravan trade for almost a thousand years, is located north of the Niger River in which landlocked country?” (If you don’t know, you’ll have to look it up. Lucas didn’t need to look it up!) As school winner, Lucas then took a written test, with the top 100 students qualifying for the state finals. This is a terrific feat because the competition is for student in grades 4 through 8, so Lucas was able to compete successfully with students three grades ahead of him in schooling. We wish Lucas the best at the state finals.

In a casual conversation with one of our new families, they were quite surprised to learn that the last day of school this year could be on June 15. The Newton Public School calendars list June 22 as the last day if there are 5 snow days. If there are no snow days (let’s hope!), the final day then becomes the 15th. Since many camps start a week or two later, some of you may need to think about making plans for your children for the week after school gets out.

Steve Griffin

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