Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekly Roundup (10/21/2016)

Weekly Roundup

Last week, we had Auditory Bump visit the district to speak about the impact unfunded mandates has on our school system. You can read an article about it in the Groton Herald and can click here  to read the Nashoba Valley Voice article about her visit. 

I enjoyed starting my week at the high school.  It was great to visit the staff and students.  Some of the highlights included seeing students program and run simulations with robots, students leading musical practice groups, students discussing The Old Man and the Sea, students problem solving through mathematical thinking, students using our new maker-space called the "Collaboratory", use of our new approach to language instruction called OWL (Organic World Language), and evidence of mastery oriented feedback being utilized! See photos below.

This week, I met with area district leaders to discuss a cross-district model of professional development.  We also received training on inclusive practices. The group also discussed areas for cross district collaboration in the areas of curriculum. Meeting the needs of all students when there are financial limitations requires collaboration and it is great to see so many districts willing to share thoughts and resources as we collaborate!

On Tuesday evening, the Budget and Finance Subcommittee met with other members of the school committee.  I was there along with Frank Antonelli (Interim Director of Business and Finance) and Michael Knight (Assistant Business Manager).  During this meeting, the school committee discussed guidance they will give to the administration as we begin to prepare the superintendent's recommended budget.  This guidance will be shared with community at Tuesday's school committee meeting. They will also share this information with town officials in both towns as they all plan to get together in early November. 

It was such a pleasure to participate in a full day instructional data meeting with staff yesterday.  Dr. Novak led the group to engage in district wide analysis -looking at patterns and trends and discussing ways departments can unpack what we saw using tools such as root cause analysis protocols.  It began with a reviewing data against past district improvement plans, our current district improvement plan and thinking about future needs. This work leads directly into the district's logic model and strategy and will be shared with all staff as well as a formal presentation in the form of a Data Overview to the school committee and community in November. Thanks to the following staff for their participation! Below are the names of the teacher leaders and administrators who did this important work!
  • Derek Asadoorian
  • Kelly Cook
  • Dorothy Dwyer
  • Liz Garden
  • Karen Gartland
  • Jill Greene
  • Jacqueline Liebold
  • James Lin
  • Michael Lubawski
  • Jennifer Maio
  • Peter Myerson
  • Katie Novak
  • Dan Reid
  • Kristan Rodriguez
  • Adam Snodgrass
  • Kelly True
  • Michael Woodlock
  • Keith Woods
    We had our first Sustainability Committee meeting this week.  The sustainability committee members are below. The first meeting was a planning meeting.  We met as a group to get to know one another, set expected outcomes, and create a schedule of meetings for the group for the remainder of the calendar year. As a district, we are engaging in a programmatic review to define efficiencies in our budget.  The sustainability committee will review this process with us.  In addition, the sustainability committee will be highly focused on finding additional revenue sources to fund the district's operating budget and meet the needs of all students. 

    5By School CommitteeLaura TeepleCommunity Member
    Scott WhitefieldCommunity Member
    Donna FosberryCommunity Member
    Jennifer DuaneCommunity Member
    Rodney HershCommunity Member
    1By Dunstable BOSTracy Hutton (Town Administrator)Town Administrator
    1By Dunstable AdvisoryLorraine A. Leonard (Town Accountant)Town Accountant
    1By Groton BOSJack PetropoulosSelectman
    1By Groton FinComBud RobertsonFinCom Member
    1By SuperintendentLucas SmithGDEA Rep
    2By School Committee Angela DonahueSchool Committee
    By School Committee Stephanie CroninSchool Committee
    Ex Officio/Resource Members
    1SuperintendentKristan Rodriguez (Facilitator)
    1Dir. of Business & FinanceFrank Antonelli
    1RepresentativeRep. Sheila Harrington
    Associate Members
    2David PitkinCommunity
    Sara ClintonCommunity 

    Core Values Event (Open Invitation)

    Last year, we had about 80 members of our greater community get together to help us define a draft vision statement and core values, in a process called Future Search.  Recently, we adopted the vision statement that came out of this work.  We are currently working on finalizing the district's core values.  We invite you to join us (whether you attended Future Search or not).  We are meeting on Tuesday 10/25 from 5:30-6:30 pm in the high school library. We have only one hour so we will get straight to work at 5:30.  We will share the work from this group later that evening at our televised school committee meeting!


    Site Visit to the High School

    Friday, October 14, 2016

    Weekly Roundup (10/14/16)

    Happy Friday to All:

    Yesterday, I had a meeting with a parent who inquired about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  We chatted about UDL and discussed potential ways to share more about authentic UDL with the community. I know that it was introduced in last year's District Improvement Plan and that I have shared videos, blog posts, and handouts on this before.  However, it always helps to circle back to important initiatives and, thus, this blog will be dedicated to unpacking UDL a bit for our greater community.

    Although new to Groton-Dunstable, UDL is not a new concept.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on cognitive neuroscience.  The concept came out of researchers from Harvard University 30 years ago.  The term UDL was coined in 1995.  In simple terms, there are three networks in the brain that need to be activated to achieve authentic learning.  These three networks are explained in this short video if you are interested in learning more about them.

    The concept of UDL is a part of our newly adopted vision statement. Specifically, the statement includes the following: "Our students are an active part of the design and delivery of their own education so they become self-directed, creative problem solvers. Our universally designed, tiered instructional model meets the needs of all students, is based on a comprehensive standards-based curriculum and assessed by authentic tasks." Moving towards authentic UDL implementation is a multi-year process.

    You may notice the term UDL being used by educators a lot lately.  Why is that you ask? One of the main reasons is that UDL is gaining national and state momentum due to the inclusion of it in our laws and regulatory guidance from departments of education.  For example, UDL was written directly in the new Federal Education Act entitled,  Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which Congress passed and was signed by President Obama in December of 2015.  This Act replaced No Child Left Behind. For the first time, the nation’s general K-12 education law defines and endorses Universal Design for Learning.  The references to UDL are not limited to the new federal law.  Please see below for additional places where UDL is referenced.

    • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)  is referred to explicitly in the 2016 U.S. Department of Education's National Education Technology Plan.
    • The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 emphasizes that pre-service training through teacher education programs incorporate instruction on strategies consistent with UDL.
    In Massachusetts
    • If renewing a professional ­level license with an expiration date that falls on or after July 1 2016, educators must have at least 15 hours of training in strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and instruction of students with diverse learning styles (UDL counts towards this requirement).
    • UDL is a part of DESE's Massachusetts Tiered System of Support Blueprint
    • UDL is embedded in the new educator evaluation model (serving as one of 3 guiding principles in the Guidebook for Inclusive Practices).
    • UDL is a component of the state's new Massachusetts Playbook titled, "Equitable Access to Excellent Educators" that supports The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s commitment that "All students should have equitable access to great educators."
    If you are interested in learning more about UDL, below are a few handouts and a video that may be of interest.  A few are a bit outdated but still relevant.
    I want to take a few minutes to clear up some misconceptions about UDL that I have heard.
    1. One misconception is that UDL is only to support students who are struggling academically. While a lot of UDL literature is focused on students with disabilities, UDL is a Tier 1 approach, meaning it is used with all students. It is intended to meet the needs of all learners, those at, above, or below grade level.  
    2. One thing I hear is that we "purchased UDL". UDL is not a set of specific textbooks or resources.  It is not one particular delivery method for instruction. There is no "canned" UDL version out there that all need to do. It is not easy to implement and even though many of our staff are working towards implementing UDL practices in their classrooms, it will take years to authentically integrate completely (and will always need constant refinement).  It is a time consuming process and staff need the support and focus to do this over multiple years.
    3.  Another misconception is that UDL is "all fun" and reduces rigor in our classrooms.  When done correctly, UDL maintains rigor while addressing all students needs by reducing barriers. One misconception I hear is that because choice is a large part of UDL, that students are not challenged to do specific tasks (such as writing an essay).  This is not the case.  All teachers need to be responsive to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Some of these frameworks require students to complete specific skills. For example, in math, students are required to solve an equation or graph a line; in English, students are required to write informational text with a firm thesis and a clear introduction, body and conclusion. Students are still expected to do this in a universally designed class.
    4. A last misconception that I will address is the concern that UDL will not challenge a student who lacks motivation as they will choose the "easy way out".  The choices we provide are intended to have similar levels of rigor. In addition, students are encouraged to have a "growth mindset" and are encouraged to engage in choices that may go outside their comfort zone.  Mastery-oriented feedback is provided by the staff who will work with the students to ensure they challenge themselves.  In fact, the student who lacks motivation is often not engaged. Engagement is one of the three main principles of UDL. This topic also relates to executive functions. The guidelines share the following, "Associated with networks that include the prefrontal cortex, these capabilities allow humans to overcome impulsive, short-term reactions to their environment and instead to set long-term goals, plan effective strategies for reaching those goals, monitor their progress, and modify strategies as needed...The UDL framework typically involves efforts to expand executive capacity in two ways: 1) by scaffolding lower level skills so that they require less executive processing; and 2) by scaffolding higher level executive skills and strategies so that they are more effective and developed."  Building these executive functions includes UDL checkpoints in the areas of goal setting, planning and strategy development, managing information and resources, and monitoring progress.
    By inviting all learners in our classrooms, we are teaching students valuable lessons in diversity, acceptance, and the value of inclusion. Most importantly, we are providing a rigorous, engaging education to all our students, which is imperative for their future success. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides a framework for teachers to design curriculum and instruction so that all students have equal opportunity to learn the same rigorous material. UDL provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged. Below are the 2016-2017 action steps created by a team of Groton-Dunstable educators called the "MTSS Task Force". These will guide our UDL work this year.
    • A group of interested educators at each school will institute UDL Rounds to offer teachers the opportunity to observe universally-designed best practices in their peers and collect information for future school-level UDL toolkits.
    • For all educators beginning their new Evaluation cycle (year 1), administrators will encourage staff to set professional or student learning goals focused on gaining knowledge in the area of UDL.
    • School leaders will model UDL principles through universally designed staff meetings.
    • Each school will offer multiple means of representation to inform the parent and community about the importance of UDL in meeting the needs of all students as evidenced by artifacts and the school calendar.
    I hope after reading this you know a bit more about UDL!  I am sure you will be learning much more about it in the coming years!
    Kristan Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    Groton-Dunstable Regional School District

    Friday, October 7, 2016

    Weekly Roundup (10/7/16)

    Weekly Roundup

    I enjoyed participating in our Educator Evaluation working group this week.  I had the pleasure of being in a group with the talented Sue Wynn and Jennifer Maio.  We constructed a Powtoon video that shares some new resources to staff that our leadership team learned about last Friday when an Inclusive Ambassador visited us from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.   Check out the star of the video, Ms. Maio:!

    On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of participating in a school committee workshop hosted by Mike Gilbert of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.  This was the second phase in the development of some pretty cool protocols and norms. 

    On Thursday morning, our programmatic review group met with a finalist and interviewed them. Based on this meeting, the group will make a recommendation to the school committee on Tuesday regarding next steps. 

    This week, our leadership team met to refine our SMART goals and action plan for this year's District Improvement Plan (DIP).  We worked to align our DIP with our recently adopted vision, the district's newest accountability data, our needs assessment, and our ongoing committee work such as our MTSS working group's 2016-2107 action plan. Our plan will be presented at an upcoming school committee meeting. 

    On Friday, I am at a special education collaborative in Westminster, MA where I am presenting on behalf of GD.  This is the first of two sessions (the second presented by Dr. Novak) that will allow us to offer a free multi-part professional development series on mental health to our staff. 

    As a reminder to all, we have no school on Monday in observance of Columbus Day.  Students do not have school on Tuesday either as our staff engage in a full day of professional development!  We look forward to seeing our students back next Wednesday!

    Invitation to State Auditor Event on Wednesday the 12th

    highly encourage all staff, parents, and community members to attend a presentation by the State Auditor, Suzanne Bump, as she comes to the PAC (at the middle school) on Wednesday evening 7:00pm.  Her speech is very pertinent to the topic of sustainability in our municipal governments and public schools.  This is a free event Here is the  online version of the flyer.

    During this free event, Auditor Suzanne M. Bump will discuss recommendations about how the state can reduce its impact on municipal finances. The policy recommendations come as part of a report from Bump’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM) which reviewed laws passed from 2011 to 2015 and found that municipalities are being inadvertently impacted by the cost of implementing programs mandated by the state.

    “The Division of Local Mandates is a critical resource for local governments, which are already strained by limited resources,” Bump said. “The recommendations we have brought forward today will allow this Division to more effectively serve as a resource to lawmakers by providing them with more information about the municipal impacts of proposed laws, and ensuring that agencies are taking into consideration the municipal impacts of regulations.”

    For this report, DLM reviewed 1,560 statutes and identified 97 statutory provisions that have a significant fiscal impact on local governments. The report found that the most heavily legislated issues that impacted municipalities fell in the areas of education, employment benefits, public safety, and elections.

    Department Update:

    Curriculum (Submitted by Dr. Novak):

    GDRSD has received spring 2016 MCAS and PARCC score reports for all students. These have been delivered to the schools and will be sent home in sealed envelopes by next Friday.

    School Update:

    Swallow Union (Submitted by Mr. Myerson):

    The elementary schools' new writing initiative has begun and our staff and students are working incredibly hard in this area. Our students have concluded their first district wide writing prompt and we are using their results to help us inform our instruction. We will be spending the next couple of years working on our instruction and providing professional development for our staff. During our full curriculum day next week, our teachers will be working with a writing consultant from Teachers College, Columbia University.


    Visit to Florence Roche:

    Have a great long weekend!

    Kristan Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    Groton-Dunstable Regional School District

    Friday, September 30, 2016

    Weekly Roundup (9/30/16)

    Weekly Roundup

    This week, I was lucky enough to visit Swallow Union. It was great to see all of the students and staff as they got into the swing of the school year! There are some great photos below of students and staff in action!

    I was able to attend two SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) meetings this week (one in the morning and one in the evening).  They worked diligently formalizing upcoming community education programs and drafting a parent survey.  They are doing this in collaboration of our PPS Director, Jill Greene. 

    Today, the leadership team had some great training from the state by an Inclusive Practices Ambassador Cathy Cummins. She came at no cost to the district and was accompanied by Simone Lynch from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We received and learned about some new resources from the Inclusive Practices Guidebook and the new state Equity Playbook. We plan to use these resources in many of our ongoing working groups such as our MTSS group and our Educator Evaluation group. We also vetted our current draft logic model in relationship to its alignment with our recent logic model training in our UDL (Universally Designed Leadership) course, its alignment to our current MTSS Action Plan, and its alignment to the Inclusive Guidebook and Playbook. We also conducted a portion of a data protocol to review district accountability data.  This work is being done in all schools in a more expansive manner. 

    Earlier this week, the SC formally adopted our district vision. The vision is below.  These are some "background bullets". 
    • Community members, parents, school committee members, school employees, municipal officials and staff, business leaders, and representatives from nonprofit organizations participated in the Future Search event on January 29 and 30th of 2016 at the Groton Country Club. Roughly 80 members of the community gathered for this one and a half day workshop aimed at shaping the future for the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District.  We were driven by the overarching question: What are your hopes and dreams for GDRSD in the future? During this session we composed draft vision statements. 
    • On March 23rd, over 30 members of this original group came together to refine a vision statement. We came up with a few options which was put to a vote and with over 40 responses we finalized a draft.  
    • Over the spring and summer, SLT and school committee members refined in further. This past week, a small group (Peter Cronin, Katie Novak, Jill Greene and I) met to finalize it. It was then sent to a copywriter and copy editor (Jennifer McKenzie) who donated their time and expertise to finalize it. At the school committee meeting, based on the feedback of member Alison Manugian we made one last tweak before they voted unanimously to approve it. Below is the final product!

    Guiding students to learn today, lead tomorrow, and reach the worlD.

    • Embrace a growth mindset. In our district, talents and abilities develop through effort, purposeful teaching, and persistence. Our students become curious, engaged learners ready to become positive contributors to local and global communities.

    • Eliminate inequities for all students. Our students are an active part of the design and delivery of their own education so they become self-directed, creative problem solvers. Our universally designed, tiered instructional model meets the needs of all students, is based on a comprehensive standards-based curriculum and assessed by authentic tasks.

    • Broaden the meaning of success. We have an expansive definition of student success that encompasses academic achievement, integrated arts, athletics, as well as social, emotional, and behavioral learning.

    • Create environments for innovation. Our schools provide interactive, inclusive environments that enhance student success through design, technology, creative spaces, and collaboration.

    Free Workshop Open to the Public: Special Education Basic Rights

    The GDRSD PPS Department is sponsoring a workshop on Basic Rights In Special Education. The Basic Rights workshop provides families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities under:
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Massachusetts Special Education Law
    This workshop is designed to help parents learn to be effective partners with their child’s school to decide their child’s eligibility for special education, and to plan, make decisions and monitor their child’s progress in school. 
    • Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 
    • Location: Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Library 703 Chicopee Row Groton, MA 01450 
    • Time: 6:00-8:00 PM 

    Central Office Department News

    Technology News (Submitted by Mr. Callahan)

    A batch of teacher laptop replacements has arrived at Central Office! Over the next couple weeks, the Technology Department will be reaching out to staff that will be receiving a replacement Lenovo laptop to set up a time to exchange their existing laptop with a new one! Exciting times!

    The first phase of the PreK-4 projector installs is wrapping up with some electrical work being completed on October 11th. These new Epson projectors have been pretty strong thus far, helping support instruction in the classrooms.

    We have also configured our Digital Portfolios to connect with Google Apps for Education. Students will only need to remember their Google password to gain access to their own Digital Portfolio, simplifying the process for logging in and adding artifacts to a portfolio! We have also made sure that all students from 2-12th grades have access and are ready to work with their Digital Portfolio! 

    School News

    Preschool Curriculum News (Submitted by Mr. Hoyt)

    • Math – This week we are continuing to work on counting and number concepts.  Parent can help their child by touching each chair at the dinner table as you count out loud and then saying we have 6 chairs and 5 people who need to sit, do we have enough?
    • English Language Arts (ELA) – Lively Letters is being used to teach students about the letter B this week, parents can ask their child about making the “Bh” sound as in “Bh, bh, baby”.
    • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) supported by “Pete the Cat.”  Pete tells us Be Kind which means – be helpful, be positive and be a good friend.

    Middle School News (Submitted by Mr. Lin)

    This year the middle school staff is spending time working with our students on digital literacy and citizenship. During this past summer, our school’s Digital Literacy Coach, Ms. Julie Spang, led a team of teachers from all four grade levels to develop a series of mini-lessons designed to have middle school students explore topics such as the difference between appropriate and inappropriate online behaviors, and how to use digital media safely and responsibly.  For example, this week the sixth graders participated in activities to have them think about their digital lives.  They created concept maps that led them to consider the types of digital media they use, the actions they take when they are using those media, their feelings and their parents’ feelings about digital media.  During the next mini-lesson, students will create, illustrate, and share similes about their digital lives.
    We named our Digital Literacy program Digital Compass because the objective of the lessons is to give students directions in a confusing online world.  All the lessons are posted online and we encourage you to check them out by clicking here.  The website also includes a Parent Resources link and we hope you will find the information to be useful.


    Site Visit to Swallow Union

    Happy weekend everyone!!!

    Kristan Rodriguez, Ph.D.
    Groton-Dunstable Regional School District

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Weekly Roundup (9/23/16)

    Weekly Roundup

    Happy Friday!  This has been a busy week. Below is a brief recap. 

    We began our week by reviewing RFP submissions for the programmatic review.  I am happy to be serving on a committee with so many committed folks.  Thanks to Frank Antonelli for leading the efforts.  Thanks also to Alison Manugian, Angela Donahue, Christine Muir, Bud Robertson, and Lucas Smith for their great work on this team.  Also thanks to Michael Knight for his background support. We will be interviewing a finalist soon.

    Also this week, I worked with Jill Greene and Dianna Fulreader as we begin to prepare our application for a Safe and Drug Free Schools grant. This is a competitive grant through the state. The grant is intended  "to develop action plans that organize, integrate, and sustain school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments and coordinate and align student support initiatives." 

    On Monday evening, I had the chance to attend the high school open house. It was PACKED!  It was a great night for parents to learn about their students' classes and to learn a bit more about our expanding dual enrollment partnership with Middlesex Community College. 

    On Tuesday, the Budget and Finance Subcommittee met.  We reviewed FY 2015-2016 year end financials, the FY 2017 budget transfers, and the FY 2017-2018 budget calendar.  

    It was a pleasure to conduct a site visit to the high school this week.  In addition to going into classrooms, I was able to observe Ambassador Chowdury speak with a group of students at the high school.  Student Michael Sucheki did a great job organizing and facilitating this discourse.  In speaking later with the Ambassador, he remarked at how impressed he was with the questions posed by our students. 

    It was great fun to participate on the PD committee again this week.  We had our first meeting on Thursday. During this meeting, we had various but equally important tasks.  My group was involved in conducting a review and making recommendations for next year's calendar in regards to professional development days. 

    On Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Middle School Open House. In the opening presentation, we heard about their PRIDE initiative, heard from the MSPTO, and heard about the great work of GDEF. 

    It was my great honor to be a part of the Betsy Sawyer Day celebrations. To read more about the event, please click on this Lowell Sun article


    Please click on this link and consider attending this vital presentation by our State Auditor on October 12th. Learn about Auditor Suzanne M. Bump's recommendations for how the state can reduce its impact on municipal finances.

    Department Update

    Pupil Personnel Services (Submitted by Jill Greene)

    Please join the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), Director of Pupil Personnel Services Jill Greene, and Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, on September 27th for an initial discussion on developing a plan for district and SEPAC collaborative partnership initiatives.  We would appreciate your input.
    All are welcome.  We are offering two options:

    September 27th, 9:30 to 10:30 am at Prescott
    September 27th, 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the HS

    School Updates

    In a new addition to my blog, are some portions of principal outreach.  As these items often are only shared at the school level, I wanted to share some of the neat things happening across the district!  

    Florence Roche (Submitted by Principal Garden)

    You might notice that students and staff have a little more pep in their step on Wednesdays.  This year, Florence Roche is doing Workout Wednesdays every week!  Staff are encouraged to wear workout gear to school.  Classrooms are working in extra movement throughout the day.  For example, one third grade class started their day with yoga this week.  Another classroom took a break and went for a walk around the back track.  When the students arrive in the morning, we have music playing and everyone dances in the lobby; then everyone is encouraged to dance their way to class.  At recess time, some grades have had surprise dance parties with the principal!  We even have a teacher who is running a movement/stretching class before school for staff to start their day with a mini workout.  There may even be more surprises that happen on Workout Wednesdays...stay tuned!  As Marie Montessori said, "Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of the mind comes from movement."  So, let's get moving FloRo!

    High School (Submitted by Principal Woodlock)

    It has been a very busy week at the High school.  It was great to see such a strong turnout for our Open House this week.  Additionally, we hosted our annual activities fair.  So many of our students participate in clubs and activities and it is an essential part of the overall experience at GHRHS.  On Wednesday we were honored to host a visit from former Under-Secretary of the United Nations, Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury who visited with students as part of the International Peace Day and Betsy Sawyer Day celebrations in town.  We had our second installment of Advisory.  This years theme is focused on improving physical and mental well-being.  We all watched Shawn Anchor’s TedTalk video on how productivity is directly linked to happiness.

    For Betsy

    In dedication to Betsy’s love of literacy, I composed and read a poem at her dedication day.  I was but one small portion of the amazing day of celebration, but I was asked to share it with a wider audience so here goes.

    I can close my eyes and conjure vivid images of Betsy on her powder blue and white scooter
    Smiling her smile, spreading both hands wide to embrace all who come near
    Sharing her message
    Toward Peace

    In the cimmerian shadow of our great personal loss
    We are left with the imprint of her mission
    With the tangible pages of her dream
    Of Peace

    I look upon the grand book
    Where the billowing pages themselves are less relevant
    Than the concept of her unwavering vision to give voice
    To Peace

    Her goal was to provide a platform
    For children to be dreamers
    To be audacious in their quest
    For Peace

    Her students not only carry the torch, but became the beacon
    Flickering cobalt flames, emblazoned in their vibrancy
    They tackle hatred and war
    With Peace

    Toward Peace
    Of Peace
    To Peace
    For Peace
    With Peace

    That is Betsy’s legacy.
    For her, I will do an act of peace each day on this day for the rest of my life.


    High School Visit

    Betsy Sawyer Day

    High School Open House
    Middle School Open House