From the Desk of Ms. Maeghen:

We at the Fresh Start School want to wish all of our families a happy and safe holiday! We couldn’t be more proud to work with your children each day. During the staff holiday party, as is the FOCUS tradition, we all said our appreciations for “wrap up.” Overwhelmingly, the staff was appreciative of seeing the student’s successes and growth over the past year(s). Our students truly bring us joy.

We had special visitors on Monday the 17th. H &R Block, Bristol Branch volunteered their morning to decorate the building with holiday décor and served a home cooked breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and hot chocolate to students and staff. Thank you H&R Block!!!

We are having another calendar sale! The calendar features the students of the Fresh Start School and the art program! Please message me if you would like to purchase a calendar. All proceeds go right back into the Fresh Start School programming and supplies! 2019 Fresh Start School Calendar $20.00.

We want to remind everyone that the Fresh Start School makes all school closings, delays and early dismissal announcements on Fox 61, NBC News, Channel 8 News as well as our Facebook page.

We will either cancel or have a 2 hour delay depending on the severity of weather conditions. For a 2 hour delay, the school day will begin at 10:15 am. If the school calls an early dismissal, the school will dismiss at 1:00 pm.

We will make cancellation and delay decisions based on conditions in the Canton area as well as the many towns that our students are traveling from. If your town cancels transportation, we will honor that decision.

All family members are invited to the monthly parent support group that meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:00-7:30 pm. The next parent support group will be meeting on January 2nd.

Note from the Nurse:

Cold and Flu season is upon us! Friendly reminder of our sick policy as we work together to combat colds and illnesses; If your child has a fever over 100 degrees, please keep them home until they are fever free for 24 hours. If your child has a stomach bug and they are vomiting, we ask that you keep them home for 24 hours after the event. Please also remember to notify the school if your child is out sick by calling 860-693-8809.

Upcoming Closings/Half Days:

The School will be closed December 24th and reopening on, Half Day January 3rd and no School January 21st.

Staffing update:

We would like to welcome Carrie Wilkesman our new Special Education teacher.

About Carrie: I am excited to have joined the team at Fresh Start School! I am going into my 8th year as an educator. I studied at Southern Connecticut State University for my undergrad. While at SCSU, I earned a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education, and a B.S. in Sociology. Directly after that, I went back to school to earn and completed my Master’s of Education degree at Post University in 2012.

I have taught grades K-12, and my most recent experience has been teaching grades 9th-12th. I have a wide range of experience including different learning styles and skills within the classroom. My teaching philosophy incorporates creating a positive and safe learning environment for all students. When I am not working, I enjoy traveling to visit family and friends, and hiking with my dog Luna. I am also studying to become a Registered Yoga Teacher.

I look forward to a great rest of the school year and working with the staff and students at FOCUS!

Ms. Erika’s Classroom:

It has been a productive quarter so far and I can hardly believe that the New Year will be upon us soon!

In my World History class, we are studying life in medieval times. The students have learned about the Black Death (bubonic plaque), the feudal system and hierarchy, crime and punishment, and the church during medieval times. Currently, we are rehearsing a drama regarding the manorial court. The students have taken on multiple roles and are enjoying the acting process, as they also decide as a jury the fate of characters based on real world medieval scenarios. What will the witnesses and evidence provide? Guilty? Not guilty?

In Earth Science, we are studying the solar system (including both the inner and outer planets) and how the sun affects each planet in many ways. We have also studied the stars and galaxies and discovered that stars change as they grow old. The students understand the importance of the invention of the telescope, but have also learned that humans have been studying and gazing at the stars long before telescopes were invented! Their final project will be to create their own constellation models out of marshmallows and toothpicks (stay tuned for project pictures that will be posted in the next newsletter).

In my Pre-Algebra class, we have continued our unit on exponents and how they can help us with really big numbers in real world situations (for example: the population of the world in billions). The students have worked very hard at finding equivalent expressions and learning to simplify expressions. This has also prepared the students for using fractions and exponents by using area models to write equations. The students have truly “stretched their brains” in class and I am blown away by their perseverance!

In my English class, we have continued to work on improving our reading, writing, spelling, speaking, and listening skills. In Reading groups, we are looking at the parts of the story (characters, setting, problem, solution) as well as making predictions and inferences before and during reading. Our spelling vocabulary and lessons are directly linked to the stories we are currently reading. In writing, the students have successfully written descriptive paragraphs and
are currently working on writing personal narratives, using the entire writing process.

In my Music Appreciation class, we continue to focus on the students’ appreciation of music. The students have been studying different composers and songs from across the world. Composers have included: Johann Pachelbel, Frederic Francois Chopin, Aaron Copland, and George Gershwin. The students have learned to describe the music and have developed an understanding as to why the music pieces have been composed.

Wishing you a Happy New Year as we welcome 2019!

~Ms. Erika

Ms. Jen’s Classroom:

In Physics we are studying the Conservation of Energy. Simple machines was the start of the unit. We spent time discussing the 6 types of simple machines and how incorporating them into everyday projects can make work easier for us. We also learned how to calculate mechanical advantage and mechanical efficiency to see just how well some machines work. We then had the opportunity to construct our own workable simple machines from K’nex.

In Math we have been adding, subtracting and multiplying fractions. We have been working hard to understand the concepts and have been encouraging to our peers through the process.

We are learning more about our 3 branches of government and the powers held by each in Civics class. We are also finding what our rights and duties are as citizens, and the impact we have on our government.

We are strengthening our comprehension through various reading passages in Language Arts, and taking time to look back into the text to find answers to questions, along with evidence to support our thoughts. We’ve also been spending time developing our writing and editing skills and sharing our work with our classmates. It has been rewarding to see the progress that is being made.

Ms. Donna’s Art News:

Bas Relief Sculpture: Using ClayHouse Art Clay our students are creating winter scenes that POP OUT creating a 3 dimensional effect from the Foam core backdrop. They are mixing colors with clay and using their imaginations to express what they love! This clay is Super Light and Air Drying!! We used it to make our shoes for our Holiday tree asking all to Walk in Our shoes!

Self Portraits: Working with proportions we are carefully examining how others may see us, measuring where our features are on our face using rulers and pencils, and exploring shadows and shapes. Color will follow, using pastels and colored pencils, as we trace our faces to create a second one to explore new ideas.

Thanks to the Autism Speaks grant we received this year we have been able to provide the students with a variety of art supplies and also continue to fund Ms. Donna’s salary! Thank you Autism Speaks!