Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Hoops and Dance Parties

      As part of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program at Horace Mann, there is a reward menu.  Students earn stars for exhibiting expected behavior in all areas of the school, and then cash in the stars to "buy" rewards from the menu.  Do you know what reward your favorite student(s) are saving for?  Ask them!

 Last week, we had our PBIS monthly Hoops and Dance Parties.  Before you ask...Yes, they were two separate parties!  Music figured prominently in both of them, though, as you can imagine. Students shot baskets with 3rd quarter Phys. Ed. Teacher Mr. Manderfield in the gym and boogied down to the sounds of Just Dance projected on the Promethean  board by Music Teacher Mr. Waryk.

     Actual photos were taken of our students enjoying their earned rewards...unfortunately the photos were too blurry to post.  We look forward to more hoops and dancing at the end of March...along with our 3rd quarter school wide reward:  A visit by Jungle Terry sponsored by PTA.

Friday, February 20, 2015

100th Day and PARCC, Hooray!

     On Wednesday, February 18th, Kindergarten students in Ms. Sessin's and Mr. DiFilippo's classes celebrated their 100th day of school.  In addition to all the fun and interesting things our five- and six-year-olds do on a daily basis, they also made some really cool 100th day glasses.  They had a great time coloring and cutting their "special specs"  and then going to their teacher to have a custom-cut headband stapled on to hold them in place.  

     We also kicked off the first round of PARCC assessments on Wednesday the 18th.  Fourth graders successfully used laptops to complete the first section on the English Language Ats test.  If you want to learn more about PARCC, here is a link to their website:  Based on the snow days, we have two sections of 4th grade testing to make up.  Here are the other planned testing dates:

February 25, 26, 27:  5th Grade English Language Arts
March 3, 4:  4th Grade Math
March 5, 6:  5th Grade Math
March 10, 11:  3rd Grade Math
March 12:  4th Grade Social Studies
March 13:  5th Grade Science
March 16-20:  Make up testing

If you have any questions about the statewide tests, please contact your child's teacher or the main office.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kids LOVE Musicals!

     Horace Mann (and McKinley before it) has a long, rich tradition of emphasizing the arts in students' educational experience. Over many years, our PTA has been very supportive of this priority.  This year, PTA again generously funded the Kids Love Musicals! residencies through The Musical Theater Project (

     Prior to the residencies (sounds so official, doesn't it?) students prepared by watching videos of the musicals they would perform and had lessons in music class related to the experience.  A special note of thanks goes to our music teacher, Mr. Aaron Waryk, for his essential role in facilitating the Kids Love Musicals! experience.

     Over the past two weeks, Horace Mann students in grades K, 1, 2, and 3 each participated in a two-day residency with a professional performer. The shows they did in class were as follows:

Kindergarten:  Peter Pan
1st Grade:  The Wizard of Oz
2nd Grade; Cinderella
3rd Grade:  The Jungle Book

     The students had a blast, but also were good listeners. I think you can see evidence of both in the pictures below!

     We hope this experience fosters a love of music and the arts in our students.  If you have any feedback about the residencies and/or your child's experience, please share them via a blog comment or email to

Friday, February 6, 2015

PTA Leads the Way

     In spite of a serious shortage of parking caused by BIG snow piles, the Horace Mann PTA's Doughnuts with Mom event was a huge success on both Thursday (last names A-L) and Friday (last names M-Z).  This tradition is loved by all, and gets our days off to a sweet and social start.  Many thanks to committee chair Laura George (second from left in the first picture, below) and her crew of wonderful volunteers.
     PTA didn't just have fun at Horace Mann this week--they did some important research.  This year, the PTA Playground Committee has been hard at work on some ideas for a significant playground renovation at our school.  On Wednesday during recess, PTA members Debbie Baker and Nora Katzenberger, as well as landscape architect Jayme Schwartzberg, provided an opportunity for all Horace Mann K-5th graders to vote on how they would like to play on a dream playground.  After school, they met with teachers and other staff members to get more input.  Please join us at the PTA meeting on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm in the library for your chance to give suggestions and hear what is in store!