4401 N. Henderson Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203
703-228-6288
Fax: 703-228-8544
Friday, December 19, 2014

Principal's Message

  • Announcement: New 2nd Grade Teacher!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 12/15/2014
    Dear Barrett Families,
     
    I am so pleased to announce that we are moving forward with a new hire at Barrett!  Ms. Maria-Cristina Santos-Torres will be joining our team as a second grade teacher, starting this week to overlap with Ms. Landgraf!  Ms. Torres is no stranger to the Barrett community, as she has had several long-term substitute positions with us over the years.  Her aunt is also one of our Kindergarten teachers!  Ms. Torres was originally slated to be Ms. Landgraf's long-term substitute during her leave.
     
    Ms. Torres has recently graduated from Marymount University with a Masters in Education and completed her student teaching in Fairfax County schools.  She has met the requirements to be fully licensed to teach elementary school in Virginia.  She is familiar with reading and writing workshop and with accelerated math curricula, and we have full confidence in her ability to hit the ground running with our second grade team.  
     
    Please join me in welcoming Ms. Torres to the Barrett team! 
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  • December 2014 Message

    Posted by Dan Redding at 12/9/2014 4:00:00 PM
    Dear Families -
     
    As I look back on my messages, I notice that I always start by noting how quickly time is passing.  
     
    I want to take a moment to express gratitude for our amazing Barrett Community.  The parent support here is unbelievable.  On behalf of the staff, I want to express appreciation for your support of our 5-year Literacy Initiative.  We see this as critical - the PTA funding to help us purchase large classroom libraries ensures that each child has a range of books at their independent level and that will motivate and excite them to read.  This allows the teachers to further individualize instruction.
     
    I am so grateful to work with such an amazing team here - this team strives to meet the needs of each child.   As we do every year, we seek staff input to nominate one teacher and one support staff member for the APS Employee of the Year recognition.  This year the Barrett staff has chosen to recognize Ms. Jennifer Flores as our nominee for Teacher of the Year, and Ms. Nancy Hensley as our nominee for Support Employee of the Year!  I am thrilled to send these two well-deserving colleagues' names forward for recognition at the County level.
     
    For families who wish to do so, we are accepting letters of support focusing on Ms Flores' and Ms. Hensley's qualifications for the county award.  Letters of support can focus on their contributions in the classroom to instruction, to the whole child, and to the Barrett community at large.  If you wish to provide a letter of support, I ask that you bring it to Ms. Stephanie Shoemaker no later than Tuesday, January 6, 2015.  We must turn the packets in at the end of that week and would like to have everything together.
     
    I also write with very sad news.  I sent a letter home with second grade students in Ms. Landgraf's class today regarding her upcoming leave.  Ms. Landgraf has made a difficult decision to spend the remainder of the school year at home with her child.  We certainly support her in this decision, and will miss her expert teaching and positive, can-do approach to everything.  We are working with the Human Resources office regarding a recommendation for a replacement and hope to have news to you soon.  We l keep the families in her class informed throughout this process.
     
    We also want to let families know that Ms. Betty Bravo, Clinic Aide at Barrett, will be retiring at the end of December.  We wish Betty well and thank her for her many years of service to School Health and Barrett families! 
     
    Arlington Public Schools is working through the budget process and the School Board has at this time discussed budget direction with the Superintendent (more information here).  There will be a number of community informational meetings and feedback opportunities.  More information is available here.  I encourage families to stay informed and involved in this process.
     
    As we head into wintery weather, please remember these important tips:
    1. Dress students in layers every day to ensure that they are warm at school during class and outside at recess.  We go outside every single day we can!
    2. Watch the APS website, the APS Twitter account, the Barrett PTA Twitter account, and my Twitter account for information about closings and delays.
     
    Thank you again for all you do to support the Barrett community.  We wish you a safe and warm holiday season with plenty of time with your loved ones! 
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  • October Notes

    Posted by Dan Redding at 10/30/2014
    Dear Families -
     
    Vamos a traducer in Espanol despues de Ingles.
     
    The year is moving by quickly! As we approach the end of the quarter, please take a moment to reflect with your child on new and interesting skills and content they have learned so far this year.  From where I stand, as I go between classes and visit with teachers and students about their learning, great routines are in place, students are hard at work focusing on grade-level material and appropriate extensions and practice of any needed skills, and everyone is excited and engaged!
     
     Halloween has come upon us!  Please remember your safety tips:
     
    Go in groups with friends and at least one adult
    Map a safe route out with your children
    Remind children about approaching people in cars  
    Wear reflective material on clothing and only cross at crosswalks (NOT between cars!)
    Only eat sealed candy from known sources - nothing opened!
     
    Many more safety tips can be found at that link.
     
    Daylight savings occurs on November 2nd!  Be sure to move your clocks back one hour so you will be at school on time on Monday the 3rd!
     
    There will be no school on November 4th for the teachers' grade preparation day.
     
    During October we practiced our earthquake drill.  Students learned to go under a desk or table and hold on to the legs - this is considered to be the safest response in a building like ours.  I tweeted a picture so families could see us practicing our response.  Over the course of the year, we practice other drills, including our monthly fire drills, two lockdown drills, a tornado drill, and a "secure the building" drill.  All of these drills help us know what to do in case of a real emergency.
     
     We look forward to a strong end to the quarter.  We hope to see you at a variety of events coming up soon:
     
    Tuesday, Nov. 4 - PTA Meeting
    Friday, Nov. 7 - PTA Pasta Dinner
    Saturday Nov. 8 - Barrett 5K! 
     
     
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  • October Reading Challenge Calendar

    Posted by Fred Delventhal at 10/3/2014
     
     
    Comments (0)
  • A reminder about dismissal

    Posted by Dan Redding at 9/28/2014
    Dear Families -
     
    We recently had a frightening situation in which a student was supposed to go to extended day, but instead believed he was supposed to get on the bus to ride home.  Because this happened the previous day, the teacher allowed him to go with bus riders.  Unfortunately, this was not his parents' intent, and as a result, when extended day found that the child was not present, they called the parents, who were obviously very concerned.  It took a while to track the student down, and it turned out he was completely safe at a friend's house.
     
    As a result, Barrett staff have discussed the importance of sticking to the existing daily arrangements for dismissal unless we receive a note, e-mail, or direct contact (face-to-face or phone call) from the parent changing that plan.  For security and safety, we cannot take the word of another parent that changes the plan, we do need to hear from the child's parent or guardian if the plans change.
     
    I ask parents to please remember that an e-mail sent at lunchtime will most likely not be read by the teacher prior to dismissal, given that most of the staff has teaching responsibilities for that entire time.  It is best to send the e-mail and follow-up with a call to the school to inform the office.  Please understand that changes made after 2:00 p.m. are very difficult to relay from the office to the classroom, given all of the things happening as we approach dismissal. Unless it is an emergency change, we may not be able to get the message through in time. 
     
    Thank you for understanding.  
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  • Reading Challenge Calendar

    Posted by Fred Delventhal at 9/17/2014
    Principal's Reading Challenge Calendar
    Comments (0)
  • Back in the Swing of Things!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 9/14/2014
    Dear Families,
     
    Vamos a traducer in Espanol despues de ingles.  Time is flying by and we are back in the swing of things!  The summer seems far behind us now as we have settled into our routines and everything in the school is up and running.  Thank you to the families who provided the welcome back breakfast for staff on the first day back in August - what a wonderful way to get back in the swing of things for the year!
     
    Thank you to all families for supporting our arrival and dismissal procedures!  As a general reminder, students who eat breakfast at Barrett are welcome to enter at 7:30 and go to the cafeteria.  Morning Extended Day students may enter and be signed into the program at 7:00 a.m. Students are not permitted to go anywhere else in the building at that time without a note from a staff member.  At 8:00 students who are not eating breakfast are permitted to enter and head to class, and students in the cafeteria are released to classrooms.  At this time, we will welcome those parents who wish to be with their students during breakfast into the cafeteria, but we need students to walk from the cafeteria to class by themselves.  As a reminder, since teachers are responsible for students starting at 8:00, parents will need to make an appointment if they wish to speak with a teacher.   
    Dismissal also seems to be very smooth, and we are extremely thankful to the Arlington Police Crossing Guard unit for assigning us an additional crossing guard on Park Drive.  I am very grateful to families who are using the playground to pick up students at dismissal who take a car ride home - this is extremely helpful in reducing congestion at the front of the building. 
     
    The Arlington Police observed our dismissal and advised me that they do intend to ticket any cars parking on yellow curbs at any time.  This includes Extended Day dropoff and pickup.  Outside of the school day, families that need to pick students up are welcome to park in any Barrett parking space while they come inside to pick up students.  The police do not frequently come to our lot, but they have advised me that they intend to ticket any vehicle parked along a yellow-painted curb. 
     
    We have launches our Principal's Reading Challenge for 2014-2015! This year, instead of a total number of books read, we are focused on the total number of minutes students spend reading outside of school!  My challenge to students, in order to win "Reading Fun Day" - Read at least 2,000,000 minutes outside of school between now and May 31!  We can achieve this goal if every student fulfills the nightly reading requirements at their respective grade level.  Last year the PTA Reading Fun Day team helped to plan an awesome day of activities that really celebrated all the different types of reading we do every day.  Soon you will receive a September calendar to record time students spend reading independently or that you read to/ with them.  Weekends count!  Return this calendar with the minutes read each day at the end of the month, and get the next one!  I will keep you up to date with the running totals!
    Finally, we are working through the technical issues related to the fourth grade iPad Personalized Learning Pilot - over the next week, we will attempt to generate the remaining IDs as parents register, provide permission for students to get an apple ID through APS, and then set up the individual iPads.  Stay tuned for exciting news from fourth grade as the iPads start getting used! 
     
    Be sure to follow me on twitter at @dredding_arlva, and follow the school at @BarrettAPS . The PTA addresses are @BPTAE (English) and @BPTASP (Spanish).  
     
    Again, thank you for a great start to the year, and for all of your support.   
     

    Estimadas Familias,

    ¡El tiempo ha ido volando y hemos vuelto a la rutina!  Se nos fue el verano mientras nos acostumbramos a las rutinas y ahora todo está en marcha en la escuela.  Quiero agradecer a las familias que ayudaron con el desayuno para el personal escolar nuestro primer día de trabajo en agosto - ¡Qué bonita manera de regresar y empezar el año escolar! 

    ¡También quiero agradecer a las familias por apoyar nuestro procedimiento de la hora de llegada/salida escolar!  Recuerden que los niños que desayunan en la escuela pueden ingresar a la escuela y registrarse a las 7:00 a.m.  Los alumnos no están permitidos ir a ningún otro lugar a esa hora, sin obtener una nota de permiso del personal escolar.  A las 8:00 a.m., los alumnos que no estén desayunando podrán ingresar a la escuela y dirigirse a sus clases, y los niños en la cafetería podrán irse a sus clases también.  Actualmente, los padres que deseen permanecer con sus hijos durante el desayuno podrán quedarse en la cafetería, pero necesitamos que los alumnos vayan caminando solos a sus clases.  Por favor recuerden que los maestros estarán encargados de sus alumnos desde las 8:00 a.m., y que los padres tendrán que programar una cita si desean hablar con ellos.   

    La hora de salida también está funcionando bien, y estamos muy agradecidos que la Policía de Arlington nos haya asignado un guardia de cruce adicional sobre la calle Park Drive.  Agradezco a las familias quienes recogen a sus hijos en auto y que, durante la hora de salida, están recogiendo a sus hijos en la zona del recreo – esto realmente ayuda a reducir la congestión en la entrada principal del edificio.    

    La Policía de Arlington ha estado observando la hora de salida escolar y me ha informado que sí multará a aquellos autos estacionados en cualquier momento a lo largo de los bordes amarillos de acera.  Esto incluye cuando vengan a dejar y recoger a sus hijos de Extended Day (servicio de guardería).  Después del horario escolar, aquellas familias que necesitan recoger a sus hijos pueden estacionar en cualquier espacio del estacionamiento de Barrett mientras ingresan a recoger a sus niños.  La policía normalmente no viene a nuestro estacionamiento, pero sí ha indicado que multará a cualquier vehículo estacionado a lo largo de los bordes amarillos de acera.  

    ¡Hemos iniciado el Desafío de Lectura del Director para el año escolar 2014-2015!  ¡Este año, en vez de leer un número específico de libros, nos enfocaremos en el número de minutos que los alumnos leen fuera de la escuela!  Mi desafío para los alumnos, para ganarse el “Día de Lectura y Diversión”, es – ¡Leer por lo menos 2.000.000 minutos fuera de la escuela entre ahora y el 31 de mayo!  Podemos lograr esta meta si cada alumno lee lo requerido todas las noches (de acuerdo al nivel de grado).  El año pasado, el equipo del Día de Lectura y Diversión de la PTA ayudó a planificar un día maravilloso de actividades donde realmente celebramos todos los diferentes tipos de lectura que hacemos a diario.  Pronto recibirán el calendario de septiembre para que puedan anotar los minutos que sus hijos hayan leído independientemente, o que ustedes hayan leído con ellos.  ¡Se incluye fines de semana también!  ¡Devuelvan este calendario a fin de mes con los minutos que hayan leído todos los días para recibir el calendario del siguiente mes!  ¡Los mantendré informados sobre el total de los minutos leídos! 

     Finalmente, estamos trabajando para solucionar algunos problemas técnicos respecto al Programa Piloto de Dispositivos Personalizados (tabletas iPad) – durante la próxima semana intentaremos crear los números de identificación que aún faltan crear mientras los padres se registran y entregan permisos para que los niños reciban un número de identificación a través de APS.  Luego se configurarán los iPad.  ¡Estén atentos a noticias interesantes del cuarto grado mientras se empiezan a usar los iPad!   

     No se olviden seguirnos en twitter.  Mi dirección en twitter es @dredding_arlva. y la dirección de la escuela es @BarrettAPS.  La PTA tiene dos direcciones, @BPTAE (en inglés) y @BPTASP (en español).  

     Nuevamente, muchas gracias por un excelente comienzo de clases y por su apoyo.   

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  • The Last Few Minutes of Summer

    Posted by Dan Redding at 8/21/2014
    Dear Families -
     
    Here we are in the last minutes of summer!  We hope you are enjoying the amazing weather - very unusually mild and wonderful for getting outside!
     
    We have completed our hiring for the school year!  We welcome Ms. Bonnie Watson as the fourth homeroom teacher on our fifth grade team.  Ms. Watson previously taught in Montgomery County, MD at the elementary and middle school level.  The whole team has already met and is making plans for the year.  This Fall, fifth grade will "Departmentalize," meaning that the teachers are pairing up to provide instruction.  For the first two hours of the day, two homeroom class will learn English Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Word Study) and the other two will focus on math and alternate science and social studies units.  Then the students will change teachers for the second half of the day.  Fifth grade students will have FLES and Specials in the middle of the day.
     
    We also welcome Mr. Richard Russey as our part-time art teacher on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Mr. Russey taught and supervised the fine arts in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and has most recently worked at non-profit agencies in DC, including several years each at the Kennedy Center's Very Special Arts program and an agency supporting early head start.
     
    Ms. Jennifer Webster is joining our team as an instructional assistant.  Ms. Webster will be working with small groups across all grade levels, reinforcing math concepts.  She will work closely with Ms. Che Abdeljawad, our math coach.
     
    We are preparing the letters for mailing and expect to have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade letters in the mail today!  We hope to get 4th grade letters sent Friday and the Kindergarten letters on Monday the 25th.  We have a slight delay as we wait for some information to be clarified around the personalized device pilot our fourth grade students will be working with this year.  We expect that information to come soon.
     
    We hope all families will join us for the Open House on Thursday, August 28th, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  This will be a great time to meet the teachers and see the classrooms ready for the children on September 2nd!
     
    Enjoy the remainder of the summer!!!
     
    Dan Redding 
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  • August Updates

    Posted by Dan Redding at 8/1/2014
    Dear Barrett families,
     
    Unfortunately, we have learned that Ms. Koch is unable to accept the APS offer of employment due to family reasons.  We have advertised the fifth grade vacancy and are moving quickly to interview and fill the position.  I know many families met Ms. Koch during the summer reading clubs, and we were looking forward to having her as part of our Barrett family.  We wish her the best.
     
    I am pleased to announce that Mr. Brendan Crowley from Syracuse New York is joining us as a special education teacher, working with third grade.  Mr. Crowley completed a year-long internship working with adults transitioning from K-12 to a vocational setting while also completing his Masters' degree in Reading.  In the past he has played and coached lacrosse, and he joined us this week for some training with writing workshop and joined us for the summer book clubs Wednesday, where some families got to meet him.
     
    We expect to be prepared to send welcome back letters to families in the middle of August, containing information about teacher assignment, the open house, and the first day of school.  K letters will come slightly later, as the teachers will meet later in August to finalize class lists.
     
    HVAC work has progressed wonderfully, and most of the new infrastructure and equipment is installed and ready for testing and "balancing."  We are expecting to have the main office back inside the building on August 18th.
     
    Don't forget to complete the summer reading and math challenge to be entered for chances to win Barnes and Noble gift cards!  Students who attended all four summer book club sessions will be recognized at the reading assembly in the fall.  
     
    I will make one more summer blog post with additional news and announcements.  We hope you are enjoying the unusually mild summer weather and making lots of family time.  We look forward to seeing you soon!
     
    Dan 
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  • What's Happening This Summer @ Barrett ??!!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 7/11/2014
    Greetings Barrett Families!
     
    We hope that you are enjoying an amazing summer, focused on family, fun, and continued learning.  Please visit the APS Summer Learning Page for ideas on how to integrate learning activities into your summer fun plans.
     
    I want to share that we have been busy entering student information into the Synergy system to assign students to classes so that we can mail letters to 1st through 5th grade parents with class assignments.  We have been busy completing hiring for the fall and would like to announce the following new members:
     
    Ms. Angela Settles- PreSchool Montessori - Ms. Settles returns to APS after a two-year break, replacing Ms. Noemi Carmack, who has decided to teach the older Montessori children at Drew in the 6-9 classroom.  Ms. Settles taught Montessori Pre-K at the Robert Goddard Montessori School in PG County, MD last year, and is excited to return to APS!
     
    Mr. Jake Ramsay - VPI Pre-K - Mr. Ramsay has been teaching int he VPI preschool program at Patrick Henry Elementary School for the past few years and is excited to join us at Barrett.  He is focused on family involvement in the Pre-K program and has delivered workshops for APS pre-K teachers for the past few years.  He replaces Ms. Launa Hall who has moved to Hoffman-Boston to teach Kindergarten.
     
    Ms. Emily Sonenshine - VPI Pre-K - Ms. Sonenshine has taught primary grades in private schools for the past few years and is excited to bring her background in early childhood and literacy development to the Barrett Pre-K program!  She replaces Ms. Megan Huneck, who has moved to second grade at Barrett.
     
    Ms. Morgan Welsh - Kindergarten - Ms. Welsh comes to us as a recent graduate from Penn State, who completed a year-long internship in a Kindergarten classroom in Pennsylvania.  Her student teaching supervisor and cooperating teacher both speak highly of her successful takeover of the classroom and ability to teach for understanding and extend learning.  She is extremely knowledgeable about reading development, and we are excited that she will begin her career with us!  She takes over for Ms. Wendy (Ratcliffe) Duncan, who has asked to take on the Special Education position at Barrett that works with K-1 students.
     
    Ms. Natalie Rigert - Third Grade - Ms. Rigert opens our fourth grade three classroom this year.  She is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa, with a very strong foundation in reading development, and taught Kindergarten and first grade in Illinois before moving to Arlington. She has extensive experience integrating technology into instruction and differentiating instruction for English language learners, gifted students, and special education students. 
     
    Ms. Erin Cassedy - HILT - Ms. Cassedy comes to us from Alexandria City where she has taught ESOL for several years at the middle and elementary school level.  She has experience integrating reading instruction into science and has participated in NASA PD similar to our own NASA Explorer School program.  She is taking the position previously held by Mr. Spencer Reisinger, who has transferred to Campbell Elementary.
     
    Mr. Patrick Carmack - Fifth grade - Mr. Carmack has taught fourth and fifth grade at two schools in Fairfax County for the past few years.  He has extensive experience working with upper elementary students, building classroom community, and differentiating instruction for students who are ready for additional challenges and advanced content.  He is no relation to Ms. Carmack, though they enjoyed meeting each other.  He is taking Mr. Morse's place, as Mr. Morse has transferred to Abingdon Elementary.
     
    Ms. Kristin Davidson - Fifth grade - Ms. Davidson is a career switcher, having left the US Marine Corps.  She worked as an assistant in the fifth grade classes at Patrick Henry Elementary last year and is familiar with the fifth grade curriculum.  She is excited to begin her teaching career at Barrett.  She is taking Ms. White's place, as Ms. White has transferred to Ashlawn Elementary.
     
    Ms. Jean Sanders - Fifth grade - Ms. Sanders comes to us from Texas, moving to Northern Virginia as her spouse's work changed.  She taught third and fifth grade in Texas for thirteen years, and brings great experience with differentiating instruction for gifted students as well as English Language Learners.  She also has advanced coursework in reading instruction, and comes with excellent recommendations from her principals.  Ms. Sanders is taking Ms. Harvey's place, as Ms. Harvey has transferred to Drew Elementary.
     
    Ms. Sarah Koch - Fifth grade - Ms. Koch comes to us from Prince William County schools, where she has taught third grade for two years, and also Charlotte, NC where she taught fourth grade in a STEM magnet school.  Ms. Koch also demonstrates excellent experience with differentiation for all students, and impressed the interview committee with her knowledge of reading development in older students.  She is taking Ms. Lombardi's place, as Ms. Lombardi has transferred to Drew Elementary.
     
    Ms. Julie Westcott - Physical Education - Ms. Westcott comes to us after 10 years teaching elementary PE in Alexandria City.  She has worked on overall student wellness and integrated technology into her instruction.  She takes the position Mr. "Coach" McLaughlin held, as he has already started graduate school!
     
    Ms. Sarah Spicer - part-time Physical Education - Ms. Spicer comes from Loudoun County, where she has taught secondary school PE for several years.  She will also work part-time at Wakefield High School.  She takes the position Mr. Giesen held last year, as he has gone full-time at another location.
     
    Ms. Lauren Janzen - Testing Coordinator/HILT lead - Ms. Janzen returns to Barrett ES after a few years away.  She will take over the testing coordinator position held by Sudie McGahuey as well as the leadership of the HILT program, managing data collection on student growth and supporting general education teachers in differentiating instruction for English Language Learners. 
     
    Mr. Nate Giles - Assistant - Mr. Giles replaces Ms. Maria Lowell who retired at the end of the school year.  Mr. Giles is very familiar with Barrett, as he has volunteered with us in the past and works with the Arlington County Parks and Recreation Department at Lubber Run.  Mr. Giles will work with Mr. Stewart's class.
     
    We are still interviewing for special education teachers, to fill a position to work with third grade.  We will provide information regarding our new hire once the process is complete.
     
    Please don't forget to visit our summer book clubs!  K-1 students meet on Tuesdays in July from 4-5 pm, 2-3 students meet on Wednesdays in July from 4-5 pm, and 4-5 students meet on Thursdays in July from 4-5 pm.  We look forward to seeing you!
     
    Have a great summer! 
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Last Modified on Monday at 5:49 AM