The Block Island Times

School Scoop: DelPadre is Bee champ

By Gloria S. Redlich | Apr 03, 2012

Fifth grader wins spelling contest

Fifth grade student Brianna DelPadre became the school’s champion speller in this year’s Spelling Bee, held on March 28.

Brianna held her own with words that co-principal Karen Kurzman said “brought other contestants down.”

These were denominator, pharmacy, subterranean and guidance. In the end she won with the word luxury.

Brianna has received a gift certificate to the Island Bound Bookstore.

School improvement team

Kurzman recently reconvened the School Improvement Team, drawing participants from staff, parents and students. The group, which has held two meetings this year, has identified a series of goals to work toward. The first was to improve and expand communication and involvement between the school and “parents, taxpayers and all stakeholders of the Block Island School.”

To reach that goal, the improvement team has proposed a series of tactics, such as the use of newsletters, a website, email and a school page on the online edition of the Block Island Times. The latter project is actually a work-in-progress as this paper is going to press, with some student contributions being posted for this weekend’s digital pages.

The team also suggests creating programs aimed at drawing people into the school, such as an informational night on new common core standards; a kindergarten/ first grade writing and reading night; inviting senior citizens in for programs; and promoting a student work fair.

Another goal the group is still working on is to “improve and expand social interaction with other schools.”

The team has also discussed the potential development of standard teacher/parent conference nights, more open-house nights in which student work and projects are displayed, upgrading the bulletin board outside the main office and having more school-related news posted in the Times.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10.

Journalism club and fundraiser

Several fifth and sixth graders have joined a journalism club that meets once a week with Kurzman, who has been working with the young journalists encouraging them to write articles for the Block Island School page of the Times’ digital edition. Participating fifth grade students are Luke (Mac) Brown, Brianna DelPadre, Mack Taylor and Maya Veldman-Wilson, and those in the sixth grade are Jake Douglas and Andre Miller.

This year, in mounting the school’s traditional March fundraiser, organizers are turning to gathering “Coins for Campers” to benefit the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a foundation developed by actor Paul Newman to help children with critical illnesses.

A joint effort of teachers Deborah Hart, Barbara Michel and Martha Veli-Gass and community members Michele Phelan and Melissa Hempstead, the campaign urges children and their families to fill plastic baggies with coins and funds to support the camp, which will reach into the lives of over 20,000 children and family members this year.

Those wishing to contribute — in coins or checks — may stop by the school office or mail their checks (made out to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp) to the Block Island School, PO Box 1890, Block Island, RI 02807.

Teaching assistant and advisor to the BIS chapter of the National Honor Society, Amy Dugan, announced that four students had been inducted into the society on March 14. The inductees are juniors Alex Brady, Tom Conant, Jaixen Hall and Madison Tretheway, whom Dugan says have been very busy working within the community with the Lunch Bunch and Helping Hands program.

Dugan noted that the 2011-2012 yearbook has been sent to press and will be available for sale at the school on May 15.

Under the wings of the Roots and Wings program, the eighth grade class spent several days this week on what has become an annual excursion to New York City. Among many destinations set for them to visit were the United Nations and Chinatown. Chaperones accompanying the class included Shannon Morgan, Glen Pence and Jill Seppa.

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