4401 N. Henderson Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203
Fax: 703-228-8544
Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Principal's Message

  • Register for the Parent Math Academy!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 3/24/2016

    Dear Families,

    You should have received a flier in backpack mail and via the PeachJar System announcing Barrett's first PARENT MATH ACADEMY! This will be an exciting event for parents in grades 3-5 to learn more about what the essential standards in Fractions and Decimals are and how we teach them for deep understanding, rather than memorizing a series of steps and operations of using "Math Tricks" that disguise the actual concepts.

    Here are the fliers:

    Parent Math Academy Flier - ENGLISH

    Parent Math Academy Flier - SPANISH

    We ask that you RSVP if you plan to attend!  To RSVP, please return the bottom slip of the flier to your child's homeroom teacher, or e-mail Che Abdeljawad, Barrett's math coach, directly at: che.abdeljawad@apsva.us .


    We hope to see you there!!!

    Queridas familias,

    Debería haber recibido un folleto en la mochila y mediante el Sistema de PeachJar anunciando primer padre de Barrett Academia de Matemáticas! Este será un evento importante para los padres de los grados 3-5 para aprender más acerca de lo que las normas esenciales en fracciones y decimales son y cómo les enseñamos para la comprensión profunda, en lugar de memorizar una serie de pasos y operaciones de usar "trucos de matemáticas" que disfrazan los conceptos reales.



    Informacion en espanol

    Le pedimos que RSVP si va a asistir! Para confirmar su asistencia, por favor regrese la forma inferior del volante al maestro de su hijo, o por correo electrónico Che Abdeljawad, entrenador de matemáticas de Barrett, directamente en: che.abdeljawad@apsva.us.


    ¡¡¡Esperamos que nos vemos!!!

    Comments (0)
  • March 2016 News and Information!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 3/12/2016

    Dear Families -

    Vamos a traducer in espanol despues.  

    Happy Spring!  The weather has turned beautiful, and its hard to believe that one week ago we had snow falling!  Of course now we are in allergy season, and kids are impacted by seasonal allergies just as we are!  It's especially important now to get a good night's rest so that we are fresh and ready for school in the morning.  During allergy season, good hygiene becomes even more important, so talk with your student(s) about simple routines that make a huge difference - handwashing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing (using the elbow, not the hand!), and drinking plenty of water every day.  These simple practices help them feel better, reduce the impact of allergies, and prevent the spread of colds.  Students do not need to stay home for cough or runny nose, but if they have fever, or an upset stomach indicated by vomiting or diarrhea, then at least a day of rest is indicated, and they must not return to school for 24 hours after the symptoms are gone to prevent the spread of illness.

    Fifth grade families have completed course request forms, and in the coming week, fifth graders will visit their middle schools as they prepare for transition!  Many parents have been asking about the procedures for math placement in the sixth grade.  Fifth graders will be taking the Scholastic Math Inventory (SMI) as part of their assessment for math placement in middle school.  Placement is recommended based on the following criteria:  SOL score history, SMI scores, 4th grade CogAT scores, and teacher recommendation.  Placement recommendations are sent home with the fourth quarter report cards.  Parents will be able to review those recommendations and reach out to the middle school for additional information regarding the recommendation, and may request reconsideration at the middle school level.  More information about the math courses and pathways in middle school is available here.

    Families with students currently in first and third grades started the process of generating apple IDs for their students on parent-teacher conference days.  Unfortuantely, the process was not shared with us until right at the start of conferences, so those families who had conferences before or after the conference days may have been missed.  Those families will be contacted later regarding the procedure.  Families must agree to the Apple terms and conditions for the ID so that students can use their "personalized device" next year.  We will have individual student iPads in grades 2-5 next year, which will provide opportunities for teachers to deliver targeted lessons and supports to students across subjects during the year.  Teachers are currently using these devices to provide lessons, additional practice, and allow students to submit assignments and receive individual feedback through "voice-over" recording.  Apps such as Educreations, Explain Everything, NearPod, Plickers, and ReFlexMath are allowing students the opportunities to respond to instruction and get immediate feedback from the teacher.  Teachers continue to learn about ways to use the technology and experiment with ideas such as flipping instruction (recording video, graphics, and audio for students to review) to individualize for students who need re-teaching or extension.  

    In this digital age, we see more and more that students are exploring and connecting with the world in ways of which we never dreamed.  As a parent of a teenager, I have found it difficult to keep up with all of the apps my son uses to connect with friends and others.  As soon as I learn about one of these apps, it becomes old and he is on to something new.  News stories leave me terrified about things that could possibly happen. I personally use Common Sense Media to guide my decisions around which technology he is allowed to use and how to help him understand and navigate risks associated with other apps.  Their products have also been adopted and adapted for use by APS in our Digital Citizenship Curriculum.  One of our parents recently shared with me some worthwhile links related to online safety (Barrett and APS do not control this content or vouch for these links):

    TedTalk on Raising Digital Natives - for parents with issues to consider

    NetSmartz developed along with Boy Scouts of America cyber safety education for specific grades - for students and parents to talk together

    National Cybery Security Alliance Stay Safe Online program - for students and parents to talk together

    The Department of Homeland Security's STOP.THINK.CONNECT program - good information for all of us, and our kids about staying safe online.

    One of the positive impacts of technology is that it can significantly reduce our use of natural resources.  As part of being good stewards of the environment and reducing our use of paper, we are moving to the online PeachJar service for fliers and information.  This will reduce the amount of paper in your Friday Folders.  Families will receive a weekly email notification of fliers posted in the service and can view these fliers online or with a smartphone.  We will continue to send paper home during the transition period, and we will be reaching out to families that indicate that they still want paper copies to help them transition to the new service.  My son's high school has already moved to this service, and I find it easy and convenient to click on the link in the email to view these fliers.  Families will still receive work samples and forms that must be completed and returned in the Friday Folders, but advertisements for camps and programs and information from community groups approved for distribution will come electronically.

    We wish you a Spring Break full of great family time, and safe travels to those who are visiting family elsewhere.  

    Comments (0)
  • Snow Days!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 1/28/2016

    Dear Families -


    Por favor, esperar que la traducción se hará la próxima semana.


    Winter has certainly arrived!  Arlington is still digging out from the craziness of this storm, but Barrett is ready to go.  I want everyone to take a moment to thank our amazing custodial team, led by Moises Herrera, including Jose Vasquez, Blanca Castillo, and Rodolfo Rivas.  They have worked extremely hard to clear the sidewalks around Barrett on three sides, all the walkways within school grounds, and clear the blacktop so that students would have the opportunity for outdoor recess when they come back to school!  They've done an amazing job, and we are all extremely grateful for their dedication to students. 


    Teachers spent time during this break working on our professional learning focus for the school year - differentiation of instruction to ensure challenge and support for students.  We've obtained access to online video archives of effective teaching, and teachers selected videos to review based on strategies they want to learn and implement within their classrooms.  They are working within their teams to implement lessons based on these strategies and provide ideas to each other about improving instruction.  It fits in with our focus on providing challenge and support for every child, every day.


    I'm very excited to announce that during the unexpected snow break, we were able to recommend and complete the process of hiring a new second grade teacher to finish the year in place of Ms. Rigert.  Please join me in welcoming Ms. Cara Doherty to Barrett.  Ms. Doherty graduated from High Point University in North Carolina with a Bachelor's degree in elementary education.  She taught fifth grade outside of Charlotte, NC for one year, and then took a position teaching third grade in a private school in Maryland.  Due to changes in enrollment, they moved her to a middle school position, and she sought to return to elementary school with us at Barrett.  We are very excited to welcome her to the team.  Her first day with students will be Tuesday, February 2nd, but she has been here since offices reopened, getting acquainted with her classroom, the curriculum, and her team.  Ms. Markowitz, who subbed after Ms. Rigert left, will overlap with Ms. Doherty for a day and a half.


    Monday, February 1st remains a teacher grade preparation day, and there is no school for students that day.  Students will return to school on Frebruary 2nd.  We are currently working to reschedule the Winter Concert, which we missed due to the closings, and will inform families through backpack mail, twitter, and website announcements.  Stay tuned for more information.  We are also re-scheduling ACCESS testing for our English Language Learners, which began shortly before the snow, and mid-year assessments.  We will of course provide the students with a few days to readjust to school routines and "get back in the groove" prior to administering assessments.


    All of us at Barrett hope you have stayed safe and warm during the storm and aftermath, enjoyed plenty of family time, and hopefully got a chance to sled and play in the snow! We look forward to seeing everyone on February 2nd!

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  • December Updates

    Posted by Dan Redding at 12/7/2015

    Dear Families,

    Vamos a traducer en Espanol despues de Ingles.  The weather is changing and it really feels like winter now.  Please be sure to dress students in layers as they come to school so that they can be prepared for whatever the weather is during the day.  We go outside for recess every on colder days, and will limit the time outside during the worst of the cold, so be sure to provide jackets, hats, gloves, sweatshirts and whatever is needed to protect from the elements.

    We have welcomed a new assistant principal to the Barrett family, Ms. Jessica Kingsley.  Ms. Kingsley brings tremendous experience with her background as a school psychologist, especially a focus on effective learning strategies, an understanding of special education, her work on reducing the over-representation of minority students and English Language Learners in special education programs, and eight years overall in Arlington Public Schools.  She has fit right in, and has been visiting classrooms and working with students.  We are thrilled to have her as part of our team.

    You may have noticed a change when you call the school.  The phone system now provides a menu when you call, asking you first to choose a language and then providing you with options to go directly to the person you need.  We put the menu system in place to help families who try to contact us before and after hours and ensure that families can get straight to the attendance line or extended day when they need it.  It is two simple selections to get to someone in the main office.  We will always work to keep it simple for you to reach the assistance you need when you call.

    I want to share information about Barrett’s management plan for this school year.  We saw an increase in pass rates for reading and math for all students and in almost all subgroups last year.  This year the benchmarks we have to pass rise, and we need to continue to demonstrate rising achievement.  We have put the following programs in place to support and enhance learning for all students:

    1. We have implemented Leveled Literacy Intervention to support reading achievement at grades 3-5 for students who are working below grade level.
    2. We continue to enhance math instruction across all grades by providing teachers with training and guidance using tools such as Soar to Success Math and Moby Max to provide additional instruction to students who require additional time to ensure mastery of strategies. Teachers are using these tools during math rotations in the classroom and during the before school 8-8:20 time.
    3. We are integrating the School Board and Superintendent’s focus on the Whole Child this year by reviewing feedback the students gave at the end of last year. In May and June of 2015 our counselors surveyed students to see what topics they were concerned about and the topic that rose to the top was bullying. As a result, our counseling team, along with Ms. Kingsley, are working to plan training for staff on bullying (ensuring we recognize and respond to it) and also plan in-class guidance lessons for students regarding bullying.  We want to integrate this into our core practices, ensuring that we listen to students, understand their concerns, and are responsive to their needs.

    The first quarter virtual honor assembly will soon be posted online - watch for the tweet with the link to it!  We’re off to a great start this year and looking forward to an amazing 2016!  As we head into the two week winter break, from all of us at Barrett, we wish you a restful break filled with love and family, and we will see you in January!


    Estimadas Familias,

    El clima está cambiando y realmente se siente como invierno. Por favor, asegúrese de vestir a sus niños con ropa adecuada para el clima cuando vienen a la escuela.  Salimos afuera todos los días para recreo pero limitaremos el tiempo afuera durante los días muy fríos. Así que asegúrese de proporcionar abrigos, gorras, guantes, sudaderas y todo lo que sea necesario para protégelos del clima.

    Hemos recibido a una nueva Subdirectora a la familia Barrett, la Sra. Jessica Kingsley.  La Sra. Kingsley aporta una enorme experiencia con sus antecedentes como psicóloga de la escuela, sobre todo en las estrategias efectivas del aprendizaje, comprensión de la educación especial, su trabajo en la reducción de la sobre-representación de los estudiantes de minorías y los estudiantes que están aprendiendo el idioma inglés en los programas de educación especial, y ocho años de servicios en las escuelas públicas de Arlington. Ella se adaptado muy bien, ha estado visitando los salones de clases y trabaja con los estudiantes. Estamos encantados de tenerla como parte de nuestro equipo.

    Usted puede haber notado un cambio al llamar a la escuela. El sistema telefónico ahora ofrece un menú al llamar, pidiendo que en primer lugar escoja un idioma y luego le ofrece opciones para ir directamente a la persona que usted necesita. Ponemos este sistema telefónico para ayudar a las familias que intentan comunicarse con nosotros antes y después de las clases. Queremos que las familias puedan comunicarse directamente con la línea de asistencia o el programa de Extended Day cuando lo necesitan. Las personas que llamen tienen que elegir dos simple opciones para comunicarse con alguien en la oficina. 

    Quiero compartir información acerca del plan de gestión de Barrett para este año escolar.  Hemos visto un aumento en el porcentaje de niños que pasaron los exámenes de lectura y matemáticas. Este año el nivel esperado para pasar ha aumentado, y tenemos que seguir aumentando nuestros logros. Hemos puesto los siguientes programas para apoyar y mejorar el aprendizaje para todos los estudiantes:

    1. Hemos puesto en práctica la Intervención de la Lectura Nivelado para apoyar a la lectura en los grados 3-5, para los estudiantes que están debajo del nivel de su grado.
    2. Continuamos mejorando matemáticas para todos los grados. Estamos entrenando a los maestros en cómo utilizar herramientas como Soar to Success Math y Moby Max para ofrecer instrucción adicional a los estudiantes que requieren un tiempo adicional. Los maestros utilizan estas herramientas durante las rotaciones de matemáticas en el salón y durante el tiempo extra antes de la escuela 8-8:20.
    3. Estamos revisando los comentarios que los niños dieron el año pasado para integrar el enfoque del niño completo del Consejo Escolar y del Superintendente. En mayo y junio del 2015 nuestros consejeros le dieron una encuesta a nuestros estudiantes para ver qué temas les preocupaba más y el tema que sobre salió fue bullying (la Intimidación). Como resultado, nuestro equipo de consejería, junto con la Sra. Kingsley, están trabajando para un plan de capacitación para el personal sobre bullying (asegurándose de reconocer y responder a esto) y también planificar lecciones de orientación en su clase para los estudiantes con respecto a la intimidación.  Queremos integrar esto en nuestras prácticas, asegurando de escuchar a los estudiantes, entender sus preocupaciones y responder a sus necesidades.

    Pronto anunciaremos la primera Asamblea de Honor Virtual del semestre que se puede ver en YouTube – Espera un Tweet con el anuncio! Empezamos con un buen comienzo este año escolar y esperamos un 2016 increíble! Pronto estaremos en las vacaciones de invierno. De parte de todo el personal de Barrett, les deseamos unas felices fiestas al lado de sus familiares. Los vemos en Enero!

    Comments (0)
  • The End of an Era

    Posted by Dan Redding at 11/1/2015

    Dear Families -

    As the title indicates, we truly have reached the end of an era.  Thanks to all of the families who contributed to making Ms. Smingler's last two months at Barrett memorable and special for her.  We surprised with her the "Clap Out" (traditionally done on the last day of school for our soon to be sixth graders) and it was wonderful to see the hugs exchanged with students, staff, and families who were here that day.  The Halloween Parade was one of Ms. Smingler's favorite events at Barrett, and she dressed up and paraded with students and familes through the neighborhood.  It has been a wonderful time honoring her and her twenty years of contributions to Barrett as an ESOL/HILT teacher, testing coordinator, and assistant principal.

    Central Office staff are supporting Barrett through this process, and are working with me to identify a strong candidate for the assistant principal position.  As soon as the Board approves an appointment, I will make an announcement via Twitter, email and blog post. In the meantime, I am fortunate to work with a great team at Barrett that is full of staff who are truly leaders and who are helping to ensure the ongoing smooth operation of the school for students.  Stay tuned! 

    Our current enrollment is at 538 students in grades PK-5.  We continue to monitor the new building in our neighborhood, and I have been in touch with the resident manager of the building, who will work with us as the summer approaches and resident applications are accepted.  Our hope is that this will help provide accurate projections to APS Facilities and Finance offices to facilitate smooth opening in the fall of 2016.  I will continue to provide updates via the blog and PTA meetings as the year continues.

    So much has happened over the past month!  I want to sincerely thank our PTA on behalf of the staff for an amazing lunch during Parent-Teacher conferences.  I know the entire staff team felt appreciated and enjoyed the home made treats that were part of the table (I still need the espresso cupcake recipe - who can ever get enough of chocolate and coffee??????)!

    We are welcoming several new staff to Barrett at the beginning of November, including three MIPA Assistants: Tonique Mason and Matthew Adams, both formerly of Extended Day and Barrett's cafeteria, and Ms. Jennifer Alston, most recently of Alexandria City Public Schools.  We also welcome back Ms. Lillian Wallace as a cafeteria aide.

    Remember that there is no school for students on November 3rd (Professional Learning Day for all staff) and November 11th (Grade Prep Day for teachers and Training for Assistants).  The Thanksgiving break is only three weeks away - Students report to school on Monday and Tuesday November 23rd and 24th, and then celebrate and relax with family on the 25th - 27th.

    As always, thank you Barrett families for all of your support and for sending us the best students each and every day!

    Comments (0)
  • Summer Updates and News

    Posted by Dan Redding at 8/20/2015

    Dear Families,


    The summer has gone very quickly and many great things have been happening at Barrett!  Not only did we host summer school for students from Glebe, Long Branch, and Barrett, as well as an Arlington Parks and Recreation camp program, but we also built a new classroom upstairs on the corner of the 4th and 5th grade hallway!  Barrett staff have been participating in training related to core instructional strategies, especially related to technology integration and differentiation of instruction to provide support and challenge.


    There have been a few changes that have occurred since I last wrote.  We are saying goodbye to some staff members:

    Ms. Rachel Moretti - Life Skills Assistant.  Ms. Moretti informed me when we hired her that she was pursuing licensure as a teacher and I was certain that some lucky principal would hire her if I didn't have an opening - sure enough, she is moving on to teach in Fairfax County this Fall.

    We were scheduled to have elementary MIPA (countywide autism program) teacher Mr. David Groh come to Barrett from Abingdon this year.  Mr. Groh accepted a teaching position at Barcroft Elementary and has already begun teaching there.  We wish him the best of luck there this year!

    Ms. Ingrid Flores, Kindergarten assistant with Ms. Lewis, has relocated to North Carolina.  We were sad to see her go, but we are certain she will be a tremendous asset to any school lucky enough to hire her there!

    Ms. Mercedes Lazo, our clinic aide, will be working at McKinley Elementary School during the coming school year.


    We are welcoming some new team members here this fall:

    Ms. Pamela Nunley is joining the third grade team as the language arts teacher, paired with Ms. Quinzio.  Ms. Nunley is a certified reading specialist coming to us from Fairfax County.  She has tremendous experience with the Teacher's College Writing Workshop model that we have been using for the past year, and is excited about teaching language arts to third graders all day!

    Ms. Christina Torres isn't really new to Barrett, as she joined us partway through last year, but she will start her first full year teaching second grade this fall!

    Ms. Virginia Hutcheson is coming to Barrett from Arlington Science Focus School, where she taught second grade for several years.  She will be teaching third grade ESOL/HILT.

    Ms. Jeanne Landgraf is returning to Barrett on a part-time basis.  She will provide reading support to the second grade team in the afternoons.

    Ms. Christine Cunningham is joining Barrett as a MIPA teacher.  She taught in the MIPA program at Abingdon last year, and will work with our students in grades K-2 this year.

    Ms. Jeanne Terrill is also joining the MIPA program at Barrett this year.  Ms. Terrill previously taught Pre-K and primary special education in APS before going to graduate school at GWU to pursue an advanced degree in special education.  Last year she worked as a school-based sub at Hoffman-Boston.  She is very excited to return to the classroom.  

    Ms. Valerie Koch is joining Barrett as the Project Interaction - Family Engagement Coordinator.  Ms. Koch previously taught ESOL/HILT at Gunston as well as in Fairfax County.  She has shared many great ideas about the program, and also attended the Barrett Book Blast this summer!

    Ms. Yesenia Martinez will be joining us as our Bilingual Family Resource Assistant.  Ms. Martinez most recently worked with the Even Start program at Barcroft, where she worked with families and helped them access school and county resources.  Ms. Martinez is very excited to join us and work with the Pre-K though 5th grade population.

    Ms. Olga Garcia-Paz is joining us as our clinic aide.  Ms. Garcia-Paz was most recently the clinic aide at McKinley Elementary.

    Ms. Hiba Elhag is joining us as a Functional Life Skills assistant.  Ms. Elhag was most recently an Extended Day Aide here at Barrett.

    Ms. Maria Blanco is joining us as an assistant in the MIPA program.  Ms. Blanco is well-known as a Barrett volunteer and a lunchroom attendant during the past year.  She will work with the K-2 class.

    Ms. Jennifer Buckley is joining Barrett as a MIPA assistant.  Ms. Buckley is currently enrolling in a degree program leading to certification as a special education teacher and is getting her feet wet with this experience in the grades 3-5 class!

    Ms. Terry El-Nakeeb is joining Barrett as a MIPA assistant.  Ms. El-Nakeeb is coming to us from CARDS academy and previously worked with Alexandria City Public Schools. She will work with students in the 3-5 class.


    The main office team is hard at work - over the next few days we are going to be stuffing envelopes with the welcome back letters, including the class assignments for students!  We expect that by the end of the day Monday, August 24, we will mail the class assignment, Barrett and PTA Welcome letters, and class supply list to families.  They should start showing up in your homes on the 26th!  Please note that incoming Kindergarten students will not receive letters until the following week, as we will  be forming those classes after the teachers come back on the 27th.

    Mark your calendar for the annual Open House on Thursday, September 3, from 9-11.  All Barrett families are welcome to come with their students to meet the teacher and see the classroom.  

    We are looking forward to seeing everyone soon - best wishes for wonderful family time during the last few weeks of summer!

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  • What a Year!!!!!!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 6/15/2015
    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!
    Dan Redding,
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  • May Updates - Grab N Go Breakfasts, SOL Testing, End of Year Plans!

    Posted by Dan Redding at 5/17/2015
    This week we begin the end-of-year SOL testing for grades 3-5 and benchmark testing for grades K-2.  The SOL testing schedule is in my previous blog post here, and that will be followed by end-of-year testing for K-2 students in reading and math.  
    Fifth graders will also take the Sixth grade math placement test.  This exam covers sixth grade math objectives to see whether students are eligible for advanced math work in sixth grade.  The results, along with SOL test results and teacher recommendation are used to place students in math courses for sixth grade.
    Barrett is now offering "Grab N Go" breakfasts in the morning, from 7:30-8:10 every day.  Students can use their SchoolBucks accounts to pay the $1.55 charge for a breakfast, usually consisting of Orange Juice, yogurt, and banana bread or a bagel.  These meals may be taken to the homeroom and eaten there, with all waste sealed in the bag and thrown away.  Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch will receive the breakfast free of charge.  Check these out - they make a great breakfast alternative!
    As we wind the year down, you may have already received a calendar of end of year activities.  The PTA has sent a list out over email, and we will continue to provide these updates so you can be aware of activities.
    Today is the 75th anniversary of Kate Waller Barrett Elementary  celebration.  I want to sincerely thank our PTA members who have worked so hard to put the festival today together, and especially Jennifer Sauter-Price, who set up a beautiful display in the hallway using artifacts we have in the library and old yearbooks that were donated by Barrett alumni.  We hope to see you there!

    Esta semana comenzarán los exámenes de fin de año.  Los alumnos en 3ro-5to grado tomarán los Exámenes SOL, y los alumnos de Kínder-2do grado tomarán los exámenes de fin de año.  El horario para los Exámenes SOL lo encontrarán en mi blog anterior aquí, y luego comenzarán los exámenes de lectura y matemáticas de fin de año para los alumnos en Kínder-2do grado. 

    Alumnos en quinto grado también tomarán el examen de matemáticas de sexto grado.  Este examen cubre los objetivos de matemáticas de sexto grado para determinar si los alumnos son elegibles para tomar la clase avanzada de matemáticas en sexto grado.  Los resultados de este examen, junto con los resultados del Examen SOL de matemáticas y la recomendación del maestro/a, se usarán para determinar qué curso de matemáticas los alumnos tomarán en sexto grado.

    La Escuela Barrett ahora está ofreciendo desayuno Grab-N-Go todas las mañanas, de 7:30-8:10am.  Los alumnos pueden usar sus cuentas de almuerzo para pagar su desayuno ($1.55).  Normalmente el desayuno incluye jugo de naranja, yogur, y pan de plátano o un bagel.  Los alumnos podrán llevar su desayuno a clase y, después de comer, podrán usar la misma bolsa para poner todo en la basura.  Aquellos alumnos que califican para el almuerzo gratis o a precio reducido recibirán el desayuno gratis.  ¡Este programa es una excelente alternativa para el desayuno!

    Al finalizar el año escolar, probablemente ya recibieron el calendario para las actividades de fin de año.  La PTA envió una lista de las fechas y actividades por correo electrónico, y continuaremos mandando actualizaciones para que ustedes estén informados sobre estas actividades.

    Hoy celebraremos el Aniversario de 75 Años de la Escuela Kate Waller Barrett.  Quiero agradecer a los miembros de la PTA quienes trabajaron durísimo para realizar este festival, y especialmente a Jennifer Sauter-Price, que armó una bella exhibición en el pasillo principal usando artefactos de la biblioteca y antiguos anuarios donados por ex-alumnos de Barrett.  ¡Espero verlos ahí!

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  • SOL Testing Schedule for Grades 3-5

    Posted by Dan Redding at 4/8/2015

    As Barrett enters the fourth quarter, we are looking ahead to the end of year SOL testing. Students in 3rd through 5th grades will participate in the state-mandated SOL tests to assess their knowledge of skills and information taught this year. We appreciate your attention to these dates when considering when to schedule appointments or go out of town. (Note that there will be no testing on the Friday and Tuesday on either side of Memorial Day weekend.)


    The window for SOL testing is May 18 – June 11. As we do every year, we are scheduling our testing towards the end of the window.  Each grade level will test on four different days, with the 3rd grade reading test and all math tests taking place over two days. Make-up sessions will be scheduled as needed during the testing window. The exact dates are:


    3rd Grade

    Wednesday, May 27 – Reading I

    Monday, June 1 – Reading II

    Wednesday, June 3 – Math I

    Monday, June 8 – Math II


    4th Grade

    Tuesday, May 19 – Reading

    Thursday, May 28 – Math I

    Tuesday, June 2 – Math II

    Tuesday, June 9 – Virginia Studies


    5th Grade

    Monday, May 18 – Science

    Friday, May 29 – Reading

    Thursday, June 4 – Math I

    Friday, June 5 – Math II


    In addition to the SOLs listed above, all 5th graders will take the math diagnostic test for middle school math placement in the afternoons of Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9.


    All SOL tests will begin at 8:30 am, so please plan to have your children well-rested, well-fed, and at school on time on those days. We very much appreciate your help in ensuring that all of our students are present, ready, and focused on testing days.

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  • Cold Weather is Here! - January 2015 Message

    Posted by Dan Redding at 1/8/2015
    Dear Families -
    Cold weather has arrived!  I want to use this message as a time to remind families that students should come to school prepared for the weather with layers of clothing so they are ready for outdoor recess and activities.  Because we follow a philosophy of active learning, students were outside in the cold and snow on Tuesday (January 6th) during the snow, learning about measurement.
    On cold weather days, we use APS' Weather Guidelines and Operations During Air Quality Alerts to inform decisions regarding recess and outdoor activity.  A snapshot of the chart will help clarify procedures for recess decisions:
    Child Care Weather Watch  
    Temperature-Wind Chill Chart  
    In the green zone, children may play outside as long as they are appropriately dressed and adults and attending to their conditions and safety.  When the temperature plus wind speed puts us into the yellow zone, we shorten outdoor recess and are more vigilant to students' needs and whether they are appropriately dressed.  On days when the wind chill puts us into the red zone, we stay inside for the duration of recess and ask grade level staff to design appropriate activities for students so they have the brain break and movement opportunities they need to be ready for learning.
    I hope this information helps to clarify Barrett's procedures for determining the status of recess and outdoor learning opportunities.
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