June 2018 – What a Year it Was!

Dear Families,

We hope your summer is off to an amazing start! We’ve completed another great year at Barrett in which we saw full implementation of the Reading and Writing Workshop, increased and enhanced differentiation for all students, and beginning steps towards school-wide Responsive Classroom implementation. We’re very excited, and believe we have closed the year on high notes with strong instruction and highly engaged learners.

I want to take a moment first of all to thank our Friday Volunteers for the beautiful work they did decorating the gym, hallway, and lobby for promotion. Every year, it feels like they outdo themselves, and this year was no different. There were so many great opportunities for families to take photographs of their new middle schooler in front of “Class of 2018” or within a photo frame, and it made the evening even more festive. Thank you so much for your dedication to your children and your school community.

I also want to thank the fourth grade parents who volunteered to provide traffic control and support the reception following the ceremony. Your assistance ensured that excited, hungry, and thirsty rising sixth graders had cake and refreshment and supported the orderly operation of the evening. Thank you for continuing the tradition of fourth grade parents running the evening.

We have bid farewell to some amazing people who have been part of our community – some for a short time, and some whose roots in our community go deep. We said goodbye to:

T.M. Nagle – who taught third grade most recently at Barrett, but has more than twenty years of experience in our school. Ms. Nagle and her husband are planning to relocate and enjoy “life on the lake.” We are grateful for her dedication to students and strong instruction, ensuring that all students leave her class proficient.

Connie Quinzio – she has also most recently been teaching third grade at Barrett and has more than twenty years of teaching experience. Ms. Quinzio has grandchildren on the way and looks forward to being able to visit with them and travel with her husband. We are grateful for her dedication to great instruction, and her enthusiasm for learning new instructional approaches and adapting them for her students.

Pamela Nunley – she has been with us only three years, but Ms. Nunley fit in beautifully on the team and used her reading specialist background to effectively teach reading and writing to our third graders. She is retiring after 28 years in education in Virginia to spend more time with her family. We are grateful for her bringing her expertise to our Barrett students.

Allyson Greene – she surprised me on the evening of promotion by sharing that she was accepting a transfer to Glebe, where she could teach science all day long to fifth graders. As many know, Ms. Greene’s true love in teaching is science, and this allows her to focus on her passion. We wish her the very best in this new assignment and school community, and we will miss her at Barrett.

Bonnie Watson – Ms. Watson surprised me on the last day of school by sharing that she was going to accept a transfer to Carlin Springs. As many know, Ms. Watson lives in Maryland and has a long commute. If she can leave at 3 p.m., her commute is much shorter than when she leaves at 4 or 430. Carlin Springs is an early school, so this helps her achieve that goal. We are truly grateful for her contributions to Barrett students and families and wish her the best in this new assignment.

Amy Schildge – Ms. Schildge had her third child and has chosen not to return. She has been a part time vocal music and band teacher at Barrett for a number of years, and has definitely helped us develop a strong band and chorus program. She also provided a lot of stability through a transition of several full-time music teachers. We are grateful for Ms. Schildge’s service and wish her and her family the best.

Stacey Beller – Ms. Beller came to Barrett this year, and for family and personal reasons will be relocating to Pennsylvania. She came into second grade and fit right into the team, collaborating with Ms. Rente and Ms. McGonigle to support her students. She also contributed strongly to the school’s implementation of Responsive Classroom, given her strong background with the program. We wish her the best in her move and new home!

Debbie Diaz – Ms. Diaz served as our librarian for two years and will be moving to Virginia Beach to be closer to her family. She has done a fabulous job updating the Barrett collection and teaching students how to search and find what they want independently, and coordinated fantastic author visits. We wish her the best and hope her new place has extra room for beach visitors! 🙂

Catherine Hwang – Ms. Hwang served as our Resource Teacher for Gifted for two years. She completed her administrative endorsement and sought assistant principal positions, and the lucky team at Hoffman-Boston picked her up for their opening. Throughout her two years at Barrett, she demonstrated leadership and drive to continuously raise the level of student learning. Please join me in wishing her the very best in her new position!

Teri Adkins – Dr. Adkins is returning to the Department of Teaching and Learning and will take a new role as the Secondary Specialist, working with teachers at the middle and high school level across the division. We are so grateful for all of her work since she came in March, and wish the the very best in her new position.

Lauren Wilson – Ms. Wilson came to us as a substitute first and then accepted a position as an instructional assistant. She has been with us for a year and a half and has built excellent relationships with students and colleagues. She will be leaving us to teach English overseas. Please join me in wishing her the very best!

Some changes for next year:

We do have some staff taking on new roles in the building for next year:

Susan Garman is moving to Pre-School in the Virginia PreSchool Initiative program. Barrett receives a third section of this program, and Ms. Garman will be changing to room 129 to teach the class.

Heather Weir will be moving to PreSchool Special Education, working as a push-in teacher with Ms. Garman all day. She is excited to provide intervention for our youngest learners and nurture their learning in an inclusive setting. Gabby Guadamuz will be joining her as one of the two assistants in the classroom.

Beth Nalker asked several weeks ago to move to the a third grade opening. She is excited about moving to the third grade team!

Ginny Hutcheson will take a third grade classroom position. She has provided instructional support for the past three years as a HILT teacher in third grade, and this year she will take on the whole instructional program.

John Stewart will move to the K-2 self-contained special education class and Mary Kenny will teach the 3-5 self-contained special education class.

New hires

At this time, we have been able to make several new hires:

Ms. Lauren Winter is joining us as a kindergarten teacher. She is coming to us from Montgomery County, Maryland where she has taught kindergarten for the past two years. She is so excited to join the Barrett community that she also came to the Rising Kindergarten Orientation night at the beginning of June! Welcome Lauren!

Ms. Kathryn Marchesini is joining us at third grade. She is coming from Fairfax Villa Elementary School, where she taught third grade for five years. She brings a wealth of experience working with both the “AAP” (gifted) program and inclusion program in Fairfax County Schools. Welcome Kathryn!

Ms. Ashley Giglio is joining us at second grade. Many of you know Ms. Giglio as a Barrett parent and neighbor, and she is resuming her teaching career with us at Barrett! She has also been providing small group intervention at Barrett in reading and math for the past several years, as well as serving as a long-term substitute. Welcome Ashley!

Ms. Sol Hernandez-Puente is joining us as our librarian. She has served as librarian at Mason Crest ES in Fairfax for the past year and worked in Fairfax schools previously as a kindergarten assistant while working on her librarian license. She is passionate about connecting students to texts they will love and has run after school book clubs in the past! Welcome Sol!

Ms. Meghan Carrick is joining us as our part-time music teacher after returning to the classroom after pursuing an additional degree at UVA. She has tremendous experience with the elementary vocal music program. As she will work exclusively with vocal music, Ms. Jenny Shirley will take on the band program in the coming year.

And as you already know, we are welcoming Ms. Ragan Sohr as our new assistant principal! Ms. Sohr has been an elementary school teacher, special education teacher, intervention specialist, testing coordinator and special education coordinator. She bring tremendous expertise with academic support for students, and we are really looking forward to working with her in the coming year.

As additional hires are made, we will keep you informed.

As many of you are aware, third, fourth and fifth grade classes will not “departmentalize” or switch mid-day. Our schedules have become more complex and we have lost several instructional support positions over the past year, and as such, we need the flexibility provided by synchronous schedules where each grade teaches reading at the same time and students can be pulled across homerooms for additional support. While we support the idea of teachers specializing in one or two subject areas and building deep content knowledge and rich units of study, there is also a body of research coming out that suggests that it may not be appropriate until later grades, possibly even later in middle school. One study that impacted my thinking on this topic is available at this link. It’s important for us to consider how to best meet the needs of all of our students.

As you recall, we no longer print and provide the math packets to families in the report cards. Links to the summer reviews are available here. Students should submit the review to their new homeroom teacher when they return to school in September.

Watch this space for updates all summer on what’s happening at Barrett!

As always, thank you for your support and your faith in us as we work together to educate some wonderful young people!

Dan Redding