Note from the Principal

Dear Zervas Families,

Although I don’t usually contribute a letter to the mid-month Zmail, there are some things that just can’t wait until the June newsletter.

This week all of our classrooms are involved with our project based learning initiative (PBLI) focusing on the natural environment.  On Monday I gave an introductory lesson to our fifth graders on common birds in our area, and on Thursday morning we will be going on a bird walk in Cold Spring Park with a guide from the Audubon Society.  In between, our fifth graders are learning a lot more about particular birds.  On Monday our third graders were visited by one of the Wampanoag interpreters from Plimoth Plantation.  On Tuesday the third graders went on a tree walk in Cold Spring Park with an arborist.  Yesterday I walked into the library and discovered out second graders skyping live with a school in Ghana.  Everywhere I go in the school there is great excitement- a movie being made in the back playground, a play about tadpoles coming together in another, and the first grade classrooms and the gym being transformed into a variety of different habitats.  The school is a little busier and noisier than usual, but it is due to the excitement and the activity.  Check out the on-line newsletter being written by our students about all the activity at  Please join us next Tuesday night (from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, drop by any time) to see the results of all the excitement and work.

We now have a clearer idea of our classroom teaching assignments for next year.  We have officially been granted a third kindergarten classroom.  Teaching assignments for next year will be…

Kindergarten-  Harriet Hurworth, Karen Joe-Yen, and Julia Torres

Grade 1-  Lisa McLellan and Maggie Williamson

Grade 2-  Kelly Fater, Jen Gorman, and a teacher to be hired.  Kelly Fater will also be out on maternity leave for the beginning of the year, and we will be hiring a long term sub to fill in for her during this period.

Grade 3-  Alicia Arkin and Kathleen Eakin

Grade 4-  Sam Bergquist, Judd West, and Chris O’Rourke/Julie Riley, teaching the co-taught classroom.

Grade 5-  Rebecca Deeks/Kate Gacicia (job share),  Jen Toran, and Mike Stern/Kathy Lasky, teaching the co-taught classroom.  Kate Gacicia will also be out on maternity leave for the beginning of the year, and Rebecca Deeks will teach full time until Kate comes back.

I also wanted to congratulate a group of fourth grade mathletes who have been coming to school before school every Friday this year to take part in a math enrichment program led by parent Bret Harsham.   These students recently took part in a national Math League contest, and our Zervas fourth grade team came in 24th overall out of 978 participating schools, with 6 of our student receiving individual scores in the top 250 nationally.  These students were Mark Barbone, Theo Harsham, Frank Jiao, Ethan Kopf, Max Marrinan, and Kathryn Rhatigan. The students also participated in the Elementary School Math Olympiad program, which consists of a series of 5 monthly contests of 5 challenging math problems each.  Two students, Ethan Kopf (21 correct out of 25) and Frank Jiao (19 of 25), scored in the top 10% of all 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.  Three additional students, Mark Barbone, Theo Harsham, and Max Marrinan, had scores in the top 50% of all 4th, 5th and 6th grade students.

Thanks to Bret Harsham for all of his extra work with these students. He is hoping to keep the group going next year in fifth grade, with all fifth graders invited to attend.  If there are any parents who would like to start a fourth grade before school math group next year, please let me know.  Bret will share his materials and his experiences with you.

There is a lot going on in the next few weeks.  I look forward to seeing you at one of the many upcoming events.

Steve Griffin

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