September 2018

September 17, 2018

Hello Hosmer Families,

We have started the third week of school and things are starting to settle into a pattern. That is very helpful for teachers to teach and students to build an understanding of expectations.

We have our Open House night coming up on September 25th from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. We are doing things a little different this year to align with the other two elementary schools in Watertown and also to allow for more time for you to hear about curriculum from the teachers. The schedule will be:

6:00 PM – 6:45 PM Pre Kindergarten, First, and Second grade teachers will meet with parents.

6:45 PM – 7:15 PM Parents will meet in the auditorium for the Principal’s message along with SEPAC and PTO messages.

7:15 PM – 8:00 PM Grades Three, Four, and Five teachers will meet with parents.

If you only have a child in PreK-2 you can arrive at 6:00 and leave whenever you like.

If your child is in grades 3 – 5 you can arrive at 6:45 or 7:15 for your presentation.

Please feel free to contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions. Thank you very much and we will see you on Tuesday September 25, 2018.

Bob LaRoche

September 10, 2018

Dear Hosmer Parents,

I hope that the first week of school went as well for you as it did for the teachers and staff at the Hosmer. The heat and humidity has subsided for now and hopefully we have a nice autumn to look forward to. I just hope we don’t jump right to the frigid days of winter.

You will be receiving weekly Hosmer Happenings emails providing the dates and times of upcoming events. I would like to focus on specific areas of education that we are focusing on and other current issues. I wanted to write this week in regards to the structure of a classroom and support that is provided in all grades through something we call “co teaching”. Different terms are used like “push in” or “collaborative teaching” and we practice those as well.

We look at instruction in three Tiers with the first being classroom instruction, the second being additional support, and the third being for students with specific learning needs. A general education teacher provides initial instruction in all classrooms and we have additional staff people who work primarily in the classroom in particular skill areas. There are rare situations when instruction would occur out of the classroom (pull out instruction or substantially separate) for students on an individual education plan. Those parents are well aware of these plans, if it pertains to their child. Every class has some sort of teacher support whether it is for English Language Learners, Reading, Special Education, etc. This year we have expanded our co taught classrooms to second grade. This is similar to those at the third, fourth, and fifth due to the success we have experienced and the needs of the students. We have one class in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 with a special educator working 1:1 with the general education teacher.

A co taught classroom allows the general education teacher to work side by side with another professional educator, in this case special education to plan, collaborate, and instruct students. It allows for more personalized attention as the teachers can meet each student more closely to their ability level. This is referred to as differentiated instruction. General education teachers use differentiated instruction in their practice and trained special education teachers take it further in their instruction and assessment of students. Students are challenged academically so that they can improve in their reading, writing, math, and critical thinking skills. Our teachers in the upper grades report significant improvement in student progress at the same time maintaining the sense of community that would be impacted if students left the classroom for periods of the school day. The only difference between what we call co teaching and collaborative teaching or push in services is the percentage of the day that the second teacher is in the classroom. By working on the same schedule, the two educators are best able to assess and support the students and work together on the curriculum.

This is a research-based approach to education and we are fortunate to be able to offer it in Watertown. There are no criteria for being placed in the co taught classroom for a general education student. Rather, a child with an individual education plan that may need to see lessons presented in a variety of ways and/or be assessed in a variety of ways can benefit from this class. Children that require significant support in the classroom may be best served in a different model than the co taught provides. In other words, this is a typical class and our teachers are best able to identify where your child is performing in all areas of the curriculum and adjust or focus instruction to get optimal results. I’d be happy to answer any questions at PTO meetings or monthly Principal Chats.

Thank you

Bob LaRoche