Dear Families -
What an amazing year! I feel we ended on a high note with an incredible promotion ceremony that recognized our students. Barrett traditionally has opted not to do a more formal ceremony in a large auditorium in favor of remaining at Barrett, where the students started elementary school, and having an informal, kid-focused promotion, that truly celebrates our children as they close one chapter and prepare to start the next. My most sincere thanks go to our fifth grade team (Mr. Carmack, Ms. Davidson, Ms. Sanders, Ms. Watson, Mr. Stewart, Ms. Hines, Mr. Littman, Ms. Cassedy, Mr. Ramirez, Mr. Giles), and tremendous thanks to Ms. Schildge and Mr. Fitch for the musical support and Ms. Shaw for A/V support and the fifth grade films! Gratitude as always to the Friday Volunteers from the PTA, and to Ms. Janet Pence, who led the PTA volunteer efforts to make the entire promotion happen. We could not celebrate these amazing students without everyone's support!
Parents of rising sixth graders received a letter along with the report card, sharing the APS Math Office's recommended sixth grade math course for your child. Information about the math course pathways is available here
. Recommendations were based on preliminary SOL scores as well as the score on the math placement test, given on June 9. Staff at Barrett had minimal input into the recommendation, unlike previous years. Please remember that families are encouraged to share their input with staff at the middle schools, using the contact information on the letter. We are happy also to discuss the recommendations with you.
We bid farewell to some of our amazing team-mates this summer, as they move on to other opportunities for the coming year:
Dr. Rosa Briceno - Dr. Briceno has been promoted to be the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) specialist working with all Arlington schools - taking the excellent model developed at Barrett and applying it to school across APS. We are currently working with a committee that includes teachers and parents to interview prospective replacements. Dr. Briceno will not be far away and plans to visit Barrett often, probably with leaders from other schools as she teaches them about the essential elements of a family engagement program.
Ms. Deborah Chu - Ms. Chu has taken a position teaching Middle School English at a school in China! This was something she has wanted to pursue, and the perfect opportunity presented itself to her this Spring. We hope to keep in touch via twitter and can hopefully make great use of her as an instructional resource for second and fifth grade social studies over the course of the next two years!!! We wish her the very best!
Dr. Judy Concha - Judy was recently named the assistant principal at the new Discovery Elementary School in Arlington (if they are going to steal the name of Dr. Sullivan's project, then at least they should have someone from Barrett leading the school!!!). Dr. Concha has demonstrated strong leadership in literacy instruction at Barrett, and we know she will do amazing things there, and hopefully we can foster some collaboration between the schools moving forward.
Mr. Ryan Fitch - Mr. Fitch has accepted a middle school music teacher position in Beaverton, Oregon, and plans to relocate there over the summer. Mr. Fitch has done so much to promote a love of music and performance at Barrett and we are grateful for his hard work with the Barrett Singing Tigers! We wish him the best as he moves on to a new chapter!
Ms. Pamela Rodriguez - Ms. Rodriguez let me know last week that her husband was taking a promotion that would require less travel. I told her that was amazing and great for her family, and she filled me in on the rest - the promotion required less travel because it requires them to relocate to Kansas City. Awful for Barrett, but great for her family. We wish her the best in this next chapter in her life.
Ms. Sarah Spicer- Ms. Spicer taught PE part-time with us this year, and has accepted a full-time position at Washington-Lee for next year. When she told the students, almost all of whom will likely be at Washington-Lee in a few years, they were so excited to know that they will see a familiar face Freshman year!
Ms. Molly Toussant - Ms. Toussant has basically worked two jobs over the last two years as she teaches at Barrett during the day and attends graduate school at night to pursue certification as a school principal. She has accepted a position as a principal for next year at a charter school in Ohio, and will relocate there to be close to her family. We know she will do great and thank her for her years of service to Barrett students and families.
Ms. Julie Westcott - When I interviewed Julie, she told me that she had a goal of teaching PE at the middle school level. We took the risk because we knew that Julie would raise the level of PE instruction in our school, and that she has. She has accepted a position at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and we know she will do great there.
Ms. Lauren Wisely - Ms. Wisely is relocating to Richmond, VA with her fiancee this summer. Noting that commuting on 95 is not a particularly fun thing, she sought a position in the area, and will be teaching second grade next year in Henrico County. I knew when she finished her math specialist program that we wouldn't have her in fourth grade for much longer, and I know she will soon be leading math instruction in Henrico!
There are several changes taking place at Barrett due to these departures! Due to shrinking numbers in fifth grade, we will only have three homeroom classes - Ms. Bonnie Watson requested earlier in the year to go part-time, and I honored that request for the fall.
With the vacancies in fourth grade and shrinking numbers in second, Mr. Zach Porter has agreed to move from second to fourth grade for next year. He has taught fifth grade previously, so has experience in the upper grades and will also know the children, as he taught many of them! Ms. Elizabeth Rente Sullivan completed her masters in reading several years ago and will move to a reading team position for next year. She demonstrates expert level understanding of reading development and will be a great addition to the team. She plans to train in Reading Recovery, adding to our cadre of interventionists for first grade readers. Ms. Natalie Rigert will move from third grade to second grade next year. She taught kindergarten and first in Illinois, and after a year in third, she feels she will be landing right at home in second.
We have hired several new staff for our team next year at this point! Ms. Erin Sensibaugh is joining us as a fourth grade teacher. She taught fourth grade for several years in Fairfax County at Westgate Elementary.
Ms. Jessica Idol will return to Barrett, teaching third grade math/science/social studies, partnering with Ms. Nagle.
Ms. Karen Sible will join us, teaching part-time PE in the mornings every day.
Mr. Rob McLaughlin will return to Barrett after a one-year hiatus to obtain a Masters' Degree.
Ms. Dawn Kyser, currently teaching music and art at Stratford, and previously teaching music at Taylor and Drew, will join us as our full-time music teacher. During the interview, one of the things that impressed Ms. Schildge and I was that Ms. Kyser, like Mr. Fitch, has a strong background in teaching voice and vocal performance. Ms. Kyser expressed excitement at carrying on Barrett traditions like the Spring musical and the Kindergarten musical performance.
We continue to interview for a Family Engagement Project teacher, a third grade language arts teacher, and a Bilingual Family Resource Assistant. We have also juggled some resources to advertise for a full-time HILT teacher to provide additional support to English Language Learners. Our plan is to increase early support to ensure that all students are reading on grade level. We expect to be able to have a full-time HILT teacher at K, 1, 2, and 3, and then have a full-time and part-time HILT teacher support 4th and 5th grade. We will keep families posted via this blog as we recommend individuals for hire.
We wish you a safe and amazing summer filled with great family time! We hope you will visit us and share your amazing adventures!