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AS Board (parents) Emily Smith-Lee Monte Jaffe Eric Blatte Bill Brack Brad Elmblad Kristen Fillion Diana Stilwell Valerie White AS Board (teachers) K-Ronna Finer-Berman 1st-Karen Woods 2d-Janis Markman 3d-Christine Cardoza 4th-Roger Bourassa 5th-Joanne Douglas Committee Chairs Administration: Monte Jaffe Emily Smith-Lee Classroom Support: Jessica Ladd Connections: April Lomba Marguerite Morrissey Enrollment & Marketing: Miri Park Jessica Pisano Fundraising: Chris Just James Daylor Newsletter: Beth Nussbaum-Korn [email protected] Outdoor Education: Mary Mello Laureen Berkowitz PTO Volunteer: Nancy Young Lauren Andrews Spring Social / Community: Fran Derry Leah Derry Principal: Dr. Judith Freedberg Assistant Principal: Liz Murphy Tel: 781-784-1551 Fax: 781-784-7403 alt/index.htm

Happy November to all! Thanks to the efforts of teachers and parent volunteers, we had another successful Community Building at the beginning of the year (see page 4 for more details). The classrooms are buzzing, with the children hard at work exploring many different ideas in many different ways (see next page for a sampling of some of the things happening in our classrooms). Thanks as always to our team of teachers for their energy and creativity. We are pleased to welcome Assistant Principal Liz Murphy as a new member of the Board and the School Council, as well as two new parent members, Brad Elmblad and Valerie White. Some ongoing projects of the Board and our Committees are: Renewal: As previously reported, the new Assistant Superintendent, Tim Farmer, has agreed to work with the AS leadership to help define the current and future vision and practices of the school and address the role of the AS within the Sharon public school system. We have formed a working group of three teachers (Joanne, Janis and Roger), three parents (Emily Smith-Lee, Kyle Chase, and Jessica Ladd), and the two building administrators (Dr. Freedberg and Liz Murphy) to work with Tim on this important project. Though the issues before us are not simple, we look forward to bringing the best of what we know from the AS-- collaboration, inquiry, and a shared commitment to the educational experience of our children-- to the task. Enrollment and Marketing: Our Coffee Hour is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18, and we look forward to talking to families interested in next year's Kindergarten class, as well as any families who might be interested in joining the wait list for older grades. Please spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Parent Skills Inventory: Valerie White is compiling a list of skills and expertise in our parent community, as a resource our teachers can use as they think about ways to explore various concepts with their students. Please return your surveys to [email protected], even if you are not sure how your skills or knowledge would be useful- you never know when what you know might come in handy! Connections: The Connections Committee has been hard at work creating opportunities for members of our community to connect throughout the year. They have already organized three social events and an ongoing playgroup for AS families with younger children. Look for new announcements, and some new AS spirit wear before the holidays... Annual Appeal: The Annual Appeal letter will be coming out by backpack and list serve shortly. The time you all invest in the school is priceless and much appreciated, but we also rely on the community for financial support to help fund special programming and resources for our teachers, as well as to provide financial assistance when needed for programs like Outdoor Education. Please give what you can. Thanks to everyone for all that you do, and please feel free to contact either of us with questions or comments.

Emily Smith-Lee (781) 784-5123 [email protected]

Monte Jaffe (781) 784-5437 [email protected]

Kindergarteners have been involved in units such as "All About Me," "Objects in the Sky," and "My Place in Space," leading to a discussion of our town, state, country and the world. After talking about special places in Sharon, we are now beginning a unit on "Community Helpers." Kindergarteners have also been thrilled to be a part of the K-5 family groups. On our journey to becoming life-long learners, we have been engaged in opportunities to discuss and role play key topics involving respect and friendship, exploring personal learning styles and preferences (utilizing Howard Gardner's "8 Smarts"). Second graders have begun to receive back their Flat Stanleys from friends and family around the world. From Stanley's California trip, our students learned the word, "hippie" from a high school junior. Having "hippie" as a vocabulary word sure makes me feel old!! Our Stanley from Japan taught us Japanese words to use when being polite, such as thank you (arigato), please (kudasai), and excuse me (sumimasen). And lastly, our Stanley from Oregon received a new tie-dye wardrobe, met second graders, and learned interesting facts about Oregon. Did you know that Eugene, Oregon is also called the "Emerald City?" Fourth graders are creating coal mining business - six of them! They are obtaining financing, purchasing equipment, buying land, and mining coal. It's an exciting project that integrates science, social studies, and math, as they study the different coal mining regions of the United States, state populations, endemic species potentially affected by coal mining operations, the coal formation process, energy, simple machines, and apply mathematical concepts to the process. Stay tuned for news from other classrooms...

The Alternative School is a community of learners comprised of students, families and educators. It is the responsibility of each member of the Alternative School to actively cultivate learning as a continual, family and community-based process that fuses cognitive, social and emotional development, creating a solid foundation for academic success and life-long learning. As Alternative School students, families, and educators, we: Embrace the opportunity to work collaboratively, empower each other, plan together, and lead the school as a team. Recognize that learning begins with the instinctive desire to find things out and becomes a shared quest, building on prior knowledge and hands-on experiences. The educator's role is to be a listener, co-learner, and facilitator, and to routinely provide opportunities for multi-age and cross-disciplinary inquiry. Explore learning inside, outside and beyond school through the inquiry cycle of 1) collection of prior knowledge, questions and resources, 2) observing, theorizing, researching and experimenting, and 3) recording results, sharing with others, and making connections, and reflecting. Challenge one another to take risks and practice leadership - serving, giving, and achieving together as a means of discovering, developing and celebrating each person's own voice.


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Karen Woods AS First Grade Teacher:

I graduated from Canton High School in 1997. I spent many summers during high school and college coaching the Canton Dolphins Swim Team and teaching swimming lessons before receiving my degree from Springfield College in Elementary Education. I then went to live in London where I was a long-term substitute teacher for about five months. Thereafter, I traveled around Europe before returning to graduate school at Smith College. After receiving a masters degree, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia, where I assisted English teachers at 3 elementary schools, held English clubs after school, organized teacher trainings with teachers throughout our region, and taught a "best practices of teaching" course at the community college. After two years of Peace Corps I taught a fifth grade teaching position at the international school in Yerevan, Armenia for a year before returning to Northampton, MA. I then began teaching at the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence in Springfield. It was a new charter school with a strong focus on teaching a social curriculum that was in the process of being developed around some of the values of Martin Luther King Jr. After two years teaching in Springfield, my partner Nick and I decided to relocate back closer to Boston. I was drawn to the philosophy of the Alternative School because of its strong social curriculum, sense of school community, and parent involvement. I am a reflective teacher who believes that education is not stagnant and should continuously be looked at with a critical eye. I believe this alternative engages students in learning, holds them to high academic standards, and makes learning meaningful and practical in real life. My experiences abroad have given me a world view that I try to incorporate into my teaching practices. In my first few months at the Alternative School, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the school community. I appreciate the support I am getting from the dedicated and innovative Alternative and East teachers. I am enjoying the enthusiasm and playfulness of the first grade cohort. In a short time I have already learned a lot about myself as a teacher!

Roger Bourassa AS Fourth Grade Teacher:

I did not always know that I wanted to teach. After majoring in architecture and theater arts, I earned my undergraduate degree in art from the University of Vermont. While there, I started working with children in an after school program, which I really enjoyed. I continued as a substitute teacher in an elementary and middle school in Charlotte, VT. I attended graduate school at St. Michael's in Colchester, VT, where I earned my teaching certificate and completed course work for a master's in education. Although I struggled with my final teaching portfolio, which as prescribed called for a dry collection of documents, finally I fashioned it as a narrative encompassing my experiences and values as a teaching facilitator, accompanied by student art. Ultimately my portfolio ended up being used as a model by the VT Department of Education. I come to the Alternative School with over twelve years of education experience; with practical knowledge of student-centered and project-based learning, as well as interdisciplinary curriculum. Positions I have held that have contributed to my growth as an educator include: Multiple Intelligence Resource Specialist, Norfolk Public Schools; Fifth Grade Math and Science Teacher, Cohasset Public Schools; Third Grade Teacher, The Washington School, Guadalajara, Mexico; Fifth Grade Master Teacher, Epiphany Middle School; Middle School Teacher (grades 7 & 8), The Inly School; Founder/Director, The Fulton Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; Lead Founder, Fall River Maritime public Charter School (a charter school development project). During the past several years, I have been employed by the Sharon Public Schools in various positions. As a result, I have become more familiar with the school system, as well as the community. I have lived in Sharon with my partner, Steve, for over 8 years. We are active members of the community, and Our Lady of Sorrows parish. I enjoy traveling, especially to Guatemala to work with the children of Hogar Miguel Magone, a home for abused and abandoned boys and girls, as well as working out, woodworking, and, of course, being a teacher!

Save the Date!



November 18 7:00 pm At East/AS Spread the word!

Tell your friends with Kindergarteners entering next fall!


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The Alternative School got off to a great start this year. On September ninth through the eleventh, AS students engaged in Community Building, a series of group activities incorporating the CARES principles (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy and Self Control). Working independently, family groups consisting of first through fifth graders shared their summer reading packets to create projects and works of art that demonstrate these principles. The reading project, which had a multicultural focus, asked students to assess how book characters evolved using the CARES. For the first time this year, fifth graders were introduced to the program before the family groups. In this way, fifth graders were a terrific help orienting the volunteer parents. Parent orientation included discussion of why CARES are important to the AS. Throughout the program, the fifth graders showed remarkable leadership skills, guiding and encouraging the younger family group members to plan, collaborate, and share ideas. Using their reading packet submissions on how characters evolved, the children made rings from which they formed large chains. Then the children completed a bridge-building project as metaphor for how the characters changed. In "choose your attitude," the children engaged in problem solving and conflict resolution designed to bring community and fun into school. As groups they created Fish-shaped cutouts, which they then festooned with slogans denoting positive attitude. Next the family groups made "CARES Monsters." In this activity, each grade level was responsible for different CARES and put together body parts corresponding to the different CARES. The family groups are continuing to meet regularly throughout the school year as part of the AS curriculum. Thank you to all the teachers, parent volunteers who came in to assist the process, and especially to Savita Konda and Laxmi Mahajan for their wonderful efforts in coordinating the parent volunteers and for putting together a bag with supplies for each group.

"To catch the reader's attention, place an interesting sentence or quote from the story here."



By Miri Park Our informal Coffee Hour date has been set for November 18th at 7:00 pm at East/Alternative Elementary. This is an opportunity for parents of incoming Kindergarteners to get an orientation to the Alternative School and have a casual question and answer session. The date of Evening of Discovery has also been set for January 12 during the week when the other schools will be having orientation for incoming kindergarteners. This year all the families with prospective kindergarteners will receive a registration packet from the Superintendent's office that will include the Alternative School registration forms along with some general information about the Alternative School. We are hoping to have the dates of the Alternative School Tours lined up by then so that the information is available in the packet for parents to plan and make accommodations. An article written by Sharla Allard about Community Building was successfully published in the September 26th edition of the Sharon Advocate. It is titled "Project Builds Cooperation and Leadership at the Alternative School" and Sharla did an excellent job in capturing the program's purpose and values. Please remember, however, that the best marketing of the Alternative School is by word of mouth! So spread the word! For more information, please contact Enrollment Coordinators Miri Park at 781-7841348, [email protected] or Jessica Pisano at 781-784-4012, [email protected]


Results from the Alternative School Parent Survey are now available on the Sharon Alternative School Yahoo Group

New Alternative School Tie-Dye T-Shirts will be available soon! For more information, contact Connections Committee Chairs April Lomba, 781-784-0192 [email protected] or Marguerite Morrissey, 793-0943, [email protected] ----------------

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Mary Brigid Barrett

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Author Mary Brigid Barrett, who for many years has provided a wonderful writing program for AS students as our Author in Residence, along with the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA), has edited a book called Our White House-Looking In Looking Out. (2008, Candlewick Press). Featuring 108 Renowned authors and illustrators, including an introduction by David McCullough, Our White House is a read-aloud family anthology of prose, poetry drama, non-fiction, and art that promotes reading and historical literacy by examining over 200 years of American history as seen through the White House Windows. Best of all, the book contains an acknowledgment to "the students at East Alternative School!" All profits for Our White House will support the work and programs of the NCBLA.

2$ 4 0 1+ + / + 0 0 5

November 20 (Board) December 10 (PreBoard) December 18 (Board) January 15 (Board) February 26 (Board March 19 (Board) April 16 (Board) May 21 (Board) June 4 (Board)

Massachusetts Children's Book Award 2009 Master List for 2008-2009

Go to the website for summaries of nominated books.

information gathered from

Haddix, M. (2005). Double Identity. (Simon & Schuster). Kerrin, J.S. (2005). Martin Bridge: Ready for Take Off! (Kids Can Press). Klise, K. (2005). Regarding the Trees: A Splintered Saga Rooted in Secrets. (Gulliver Books). Lin, G. (2006). The Year of the Dog. (Little Brown and Company). Lombard, J. (2006). Drita, My Homegirl. (Penguin Young Readers Group). Lowry, L. (2006). Gossamer. (Walter Lorraine Books). Lubar, D. (2006). Punished! (Darby Creek). Lupica, M. (2006). Miracle on 49th Street. (Philomel). Pearsall, S. (2006). All of the Above. (Little Brown and Company). Pennypacker, S. (2006). Clementine. (Hyperion). Perkins, M. (2007). Rickshaw Girl. (Charlesbridge Publishing). Stewart, T. (2007). The Mysterious Benedict Society. (Little Brown & Company). Walden, M. (2007). H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute for Villainous Education). (Simon & Schuster). Wiles, D. (2005). Each Little Bird That Sings. (Harcourt). Winthrop, E. (2006). Counting on Grace. (Wendy Lamb Books).

Anderson, M.T. (2005). Whales on Stilts: M.T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales. (Harcourt). Birney, B.G. (2005). The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. (Atheneum). Broach, E. (2006). Shakespeare's Secret. (Gale Group). Corbett, S. (2006). Free Baseball. (Penguin Young Readers Group). Dowell, F. (2005). Chicken Boy. (Simon & Schuster). Duble, K.B. (2005). The Sacrifice. (Simon & Schuster). # Fan, N. (2007). Swordbird. (Harper Collins). Fleischman, S. (2006). Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini. (Harper Collins) Gardner, S. (2005). I, Coriander. (Dial Books for Young Readers). Gutman, D. (2006). The Homework Machine. (Simon & Schuster).

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Meetings are held at the Administration Building, 1 School Street. Nov 17 Dec 3, 10, 17 Jan 7, 14 Feb 4, 11 March 4, 11, 25 April 1, 15, 29 May 13, 20, 27 June 3, 10, 17, 24


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