Oct 02 2017

Only 3 days until Fun Run Pep Rally!

The Squantum Fun Run is kicking off in just 3 days! It’s a 2-week program that starts with a Pep Rally and ends with the big Fun Run event. We’re raising funds for our school and we need your help!
Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/46523531
This year’s character program is called Castle Quest! It’s an English castle theme about being brave and living with character. Students will LOVE this story! Click here to learn more! https://boosterthon.com/2017/05/25/castle-quest/
Squantum’s Registration Code: 998-615

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/3-days-fun-run-pep-rally/

Oct 02

September 26, 2017 PTO Meeting Minutes

Minutes from PTO meeting on September 26, 2017.
In attendence were Mr. Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Mrs. Kiley, Mrs. Corwin, President Kenda Coulter, VP Sarah Wood, Treasurer Anthony Greenwood, citywide representative Dave Blaton, and assembled parents.
Guest speaker: Mayor Thomas Koch & Chief of Staff Laura McBirney.
Mayor Koch discussed building of new Sterling Middle School is underway and will be revisiting the building of a new Squantum School. St.Mary’s school was bought by the city and will be a new elementary school for residents of the other side of the expressway who currently attend Montclair. Mayor took various questions from parents. Said he will speak to superintendent regarding earlier introduction of foreign language which was brought up by Dave Blaton since he discussed this at a citywide meeting. Parents also asked about speaking to kids at younger age about bullying and social media. Mr. Sylvia said we do have an anti-bullying campaign who visits parent nights and to speak to kids. The mayor also stated that parents are always welcome to ask questions and express concerns during open forum at school committee meetings.
Mr. Sylvia: Very successful Kindergarten orientation and lots of K parents at this PTO meeting. Thanks to Sarah Wood and other volunteers for popsicle social. Update on last year: amazing Disney raffle fundraiser which will allow us to buy 10 more chrome books for the school in addition to the mobile cart of chrome books that was donated by the city. Google classroom has been introduced in grades 3-5 and hopefully will be added to younger grades later this year. Maybe run a parent academy on chrome books. Grades 4-5 will take MCAS on the chrome books this year. Aspen family portal will be introduced in October. Logins will be sent out and parents can view assignments, grades, and if assignments were missed in addition to the attendance, report cards, etc. Boosterthon fun run pep rally will be Oct 5. Kids will receive crowns and it will be tied in with our PBIS program as the theme is Castle Quest and is about being brave and strong. The fun run is during school on Oct 17. There will be incentives and prizes. The funds will be used to help with technology. Oct 5 is picture day. Hayward photography now allowing online payment. Julie Hart will be organizing picture day volunteers…about 5-6 volunteers needed.
Boks before school fitness program will be starting and led by Mr. Miller. Outdoor classroom looks great. New band teacher this year is Joe Salvucci. Upper grades had an instrument demo last week. Grades 2-5 will have a strings demo on Friday 9/29 by Ms. Lai.
MCAS 2.0 scores from last year won’t be out until late Oct or early Nov.
School is off to a great start and traffic pattern/parking have not been a problem so far.
Box Tops will be collected the first Friday of each month. Hoping we can advertise a specific item that we’d like to put the box top money toward. Each box top donates 10 cents to our school. We bring in about $1000 a year from box tops.
11/7 bake sale during city election. Baked goods and volunteers will be needed all day.
Restaurant fundraisers:
Panera: 10/26
Unos: 11/15
Monster Mash dance is 10/13.
Also discussed Polar Express for December and a possible fall movie night.
Reading counts and Docent Art volunteers are needed.
Dave: School committee candidate Mark Sauter spoke at last citywide meeting regarding language immersion. There was also discussion of QPS website improvement. 10/16 debate at Central Middle School.
Anthony: introduces idea to have Heather Morkan assist in financial duties so there are two sets of eyes on the accounts, auditing of the treasurer’s work, and a sense of accountability due to things that have happened at another school. At least two people should be counting money after all events and signing off on it. Then money will be given to Anthony to be deposited.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/september-26-2017-pto-meeting-minutes/

Sep 26

PTO Meeting September 26th 2017

Join us tonight @ 7 pm Squantum School Media Center.











Upcoming Events:

October 5th: School Photo Day and Squantum FUN RUN Pep Rally

October 6th – October 16th Squantum FUN RUN Fundraiser Pledge Days

October 13 th – Monster Mash Dance (in gym)

October (TBD) – Restaurant Night

October 17th  – SQUANTUM FUN RUN (school hours/daytime event)

October 25 th: PTO Meeting 7PM

November 7 th: City Election Day Bake Sale

November 16 th : PTO Meeting 7PM (media center)

December 12th (tentative) – PTO meeting 7 PM

December TBD : Squantum Polar Express Night 6PM-8PM



Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/pto-meeting-september-26th-2017/

Sep 18


Tuesday September 19th  

Join us at OPEN HOUSE                                                                                          Save the Date 
Tuesday, September 19th                                                                              1st PTO Meeting Tues 9/26 7pm

-Meet your child’s teacher 6:30 – 7:30
– Shop at the one night only bookfair 6:00 to 8:00  
-Find out about volunteer opportunities









Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/open-housesave-dates/

Sep 07


welcomeback Meetngreetk

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/welcome/

May 19

Information on transitioning kids to elementary, middle and high school

On May 8th the Citywide PTO hosted a presentation on:
Transitioning kids to elementary, middle and high school. Check out the presentation notes here.


Transition workshop

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/information-transitioning-kids-elementary-middle-high-school/

May 19

QPS Parent Workshop


Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
(View flyer)

Effective Strategies for Students with Anxiety-Related Behavior

Presenter: Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA, Author, Special Educator

Monday, May 22, 2017

6:30 p.m.

Quincy High School

Adams Lecture Hall 100 Coddington Street, Quincy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteen-eighteen year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.  Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies are key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward and punishment-based consequences from traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses.

Easy to implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring will be discussed.



Jessica Minahan, MEd, BCBA, is a board certified behavior analyst and special educator and a consultant to schools nationwide (www.jessicaminahan.com). Jessica has over seventeen years of experience supporting students who exhibit challenging behavior in urban public school systems.  She is a blogger on The Huffington Post, as well as the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014).

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/qps-parent-workshop/

May 19

PTO Meeting Minutes – MAR

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes

March 21, 2017


Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Kenda Coulter, Torrey Smith, Mrs. Kiley, and assembled parents.

Upcoming Events:

3/24        Spring Fling Dance, 6-8 pm in the gym

3/27        Report cards go home

4/3          MCAS 2.0 state test window opens

4/3          Red Sox Opening Day/Spirit Day/ Wear your favorite hat or jersey

4/4          Parent-teacher conferences (day & evening)

4/11        Parent-teacher conferences (afternoon)

4/27        Math & Science Night

4/27        PTO Meeting, 7 pm

5/1          Book Fair begins in media center


Presentation/Request for Funds by Student Council

  • Matthew Hollatz and Kyle Tolini did an excellent job of presenting the student council’s plan to get kids moving during recess. Dick’s Sporting Goods has already donated kick balls, and the council plans to host a fundraiser on April 3rd: kids can wear a hat or jersey from their favorite team ($1 donation suggested). The money will go toward purchase of new equipment for recess, including balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, etc.
  • The PTO also approved $300 to go toward new sports equipment for recess.
  • Matthew and Kyle reminded us to please donate any gently used sports equipment to the school. Donations accepted through April vacation.

Principal Sylvia’s Report

  • Principal Sylvia noted how much he enjoyed his recent talks with student council members about their ideas for SQU School, including fundraising for recess equipment, posting art work during the talent show, and freshening up our school sign out front.
  • MCAS update: 4th graders took a practice test on computers this week. All the mobile devices used for the MCAS will be hard-wired during testing to sidestep any connection problems.
  • All of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes now are equipped with smart boards and projectors. Both teachers and parents who’ve volunteered as art docent commented what a difference the projectors make. The classes received these thanks to the city’s capital improvement program.
  • Sylvia congratulated the Squantum School Players on a great job. Thanks to Ms. Salas and all the parents who helped out with costumes and set. You can still catch the show on Channel 22 this week.
  • Quincy Officer Don Sautter met with 5th graders for the DARE program. There will be a DARE night for parents as well. Stay tuned.
  • Spring BOKS is up and running. Nearly 80 kids are participating!
  • Patrick’s Day assembly featured Irish step dancing, with dancers from various dance schools in Quincy. The whole school got to try their feet at step dancing!
  • Congratulations to Mrs. Kelley’s class, who won the free pizza party for raising the most money for Pennies for Patients. Thanks to all the students and families who donated change and/or helped with lugging change boxes to Coinstar. Squantum School raised a total of $651 for this organization that funds research for leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Author Melanie Gillespie (author of Darlene The Drama Queen Raises The Curtain on Confidence!) will be visiting K and 1st grade classes on Thursday, 3/23.
  • Our buddy reading program, where older students read to the younger grades, happens each Friday in honor of Read-Across-America month. This week’s reading is poetry.
  • Helpful links to information about MCAS and resource guides are available on the SQU School PTO Website at http://www.squantumpto.com/).
  • Learning-to-Read Parent Academy, Part 2, will be held at Central Middle School on Thursday night, 3/23.

Dave Blaton’s Citywide Report

  • Dave reported that the focus of this month’s meeting was on how to decrease stress among students, especially when it comes to testing.
  • There was discussion of “calm classes,” where students do stretching and meditation, a program which will be introduced at Beechwood Knoll. Principal Sylvia noted the program will be rolling into Quincy schools probably over the next year or so.
  • There was discussion at PTO meeting about what else we can be doing to help our kids with stress. Dave suggested the website org for helpful suggestions. Also, there was discussion re: What does it say about our nation’s testing system/curriculum expectations if even our grade school kids are stressed??

Update from Kenda:

  • PTO approved $400 toward providing dinner for teachers on April 4th during parent/teacher conference day. Mrs. Kiley to survey teachers for favorite restaurant pick.
  • In June, we’ll be hosting our annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Volunteers needed for set-up, etc. Stay tuned for a date. PTO approved $650.
  • Fourth grade parents are busy helping plan a graduation event for fifth graders. Volunteers, food donations welcome.
  • Election for next year’s officers will be at the next meeting. A ballot with candidates will be circulating. We’re especially looking for a new treasurer, as our indefatigable SQU School supporter, Torrey Smith, will be stepping down from this position. She will be missed!
  • For discussion at next meeting: Spring Fun Fundraiser, Spring Movie Night, Family Fun Night (Zumba?, make sure date doesn’t conflict with afterschool art show in the gym.)
  • We’re always looking for donations of games, etc. for raffle baskets for Math & Science Night. Please let Kenda know if you have items you’d like to donate.
  • We need a few more volunteers to help with set-up/the Spring Fling dance on 3/24. Please let Kim Dailey know if you’re available to help.
  • Reading Counts and Art Docent programs are looking for a few more volunteers. There was discussion about kids not having enough time during the school day to take advantage of Reading Counts. Some discussion of opening Media Center for Reading Counts after school on Tuesdays, if we can get enough volunteers to help.


Torrey’s financial report.  


  • Total income (Papa John’s; Baystate Textiles; Panera Bread; Red Sox):$3,407
  • Total expenses (various): $7,911
  • Allocated funds:$2,851
  • Available PTO balance: $16,223 (after allocations)
  • Upcoming expenses: $6,960

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/pto-meeting-minutes-mar/

May 19

PTO Meeting Minutes – FEB

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes

February 15, 2017


Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Kenda Coulter, Sarah Wood, Torrey Smith, Mrs. Kiley, Mrs. Corwin, Mrs. White, and assembled parents.

Upcoming Events:

2/16        School Fundraiser at Panera Bread (all day)

2/17        Squantum School hosts QPS Special Olympics @ 9 am in gym

Week of 2/20     Winter Recess (school closed)

3/2          Dr. Seuss Assembly, Wear Red-and-White Day to kick off annual Read-Across-America program

3/7          Kindergarten registration

3/9          SQU School Players perform @ 6 pm in the gym

3/17        Second Trimester ends

3/27        Report cards go home

4/3          MCAS 2.0 state test window opens

4/4          Parent-teacher conferences (day & evening)

4/11        Parent-teacher conferences (afternoon)

4/27        Poetry assembly



  • Thanks to Bill McGinnes of Quincy’s Papa John’s for providing pizzas at 40% off for the Kindergarten 100-Day Parade and the PTO meeting! Bill presented the possibility of a SQU School Fundraiser on the first Tuesday of every month, where parents/guardians can send in an order form/$$ that morning and pick up a hot pizza from school at dismissal time. 20% of sales will be donated to SQU School.  PTO agreed this would be a worthy and worthwhile fundraiser. Flyers to come.
  • Sweetheart Dance/Party Hearty has been postponed. We discussed new possible dates of 3/24 or 4/7 for a “Spring Fling” or a “Spring Soirée.” Kim will check with vendors on their availability. Stay tuned.
  • Official motion to host a “Fun Run” fundraiser next October at SQU School was approved by the PTO.

Principal Sylvia’s Report

  • Thanks to Mrs. Corwin and all the kindergarten teachers and parents who helped with the 100-Day Parade. It was a fun celebration, topped with crowns and “100-Day” sticker vests.
  • The new laminator is in – thank you to the PTO.
  • Student council summit meeting with reps will now be held on 3/9.
  • February PBIS honors Caring. Assembly on 2/17.
  • McKim will soon be leaving on maternity leave and Sarah Lane (who was the Math focus teacher at Lincoln Memorial) will take over Ms. McKim’s classes. Ms. McKim to return in April.
  • Afterschool MCAS tutoring continues. There was discussion of possibly offering more ELA tutoring for 4th and 5th Mr. Regan will be the Robotics coach for this year’s Lego Robotics competition for 5th graders. Sign-up notices will be going home shortly.
  • The BOKS program returns in March. Stay tuned for sign-up notices coming home in folders.
  • If your 3rd grader (now 4th grader) ranked in the top 20% of all QPS students on the 2016 MCAS, you should soon receive a letter informing you of this (letters go out on Friday). Mr. Sylvia notes that the Atlantic Middle School also now offers honors programs for sixth graders.
  • The rest of the evening’s presentation focused on the “next-generation” MCAS 2.0. A Parent Resource Guide is available on the main QPS website. It recommends helpful sites, such as com, where students can practice their typing skills. NB: All 4th Graders will be taking MCAS on the computer this year. 3rd and 5th graders will continue to take paper MCAS this year.
  • (PLEASE NOTE: Helpful links to information about MCAS and resource guides are also available on the SQU School PTO Website at http://www.squantumpto.com/).


  • Includes old MCAS items, newly developed MCAS items, and PARCC items. Essentially a hybrid test.
  • 93% of schools in MA will be hosting MCAS on computers for their 4th graders this year.
  • By 2018, 4th and 5th graders will take MCAS on the computer.
  • By 2019, 3rd, 4th, and 5th will all take MCAS on the computer.
  • ELA will be 3 sessions (one a day) with recommended times of 60 mins/60 mins/45 mins. The test is untimed for all students, however, should they need more time to complete a section.
  • Math will be 2 sessions (roughly 65 minutes for each period for 3rd graders).
  • Science and Technology, 2 sessions, for 5th grade only.


The writing is integrated into the ELA sessions. There is no longer a separate composition test. 3rd graders will be expected to write shorter essays and one two-page essay. 4th/5th graders will also have shorter essays and be expected to write one 2-4 page essay. All told, there will be 5 open response questions (3 on one day; 2 on another day).

Kids will get scratch paper to map out essays, if they’d like. This includes the 4th graders taking the test on the computer.

There was discussion about encouraging 4th grade students to type their open responses for homework to help them better prepare for the computerized MCAS. Agreed that it could be presented as an option, though not as a homework requirement necessarily.

All 4th graders at SQU School will be taking the test at the same time. That means one group will be in the computer lab and a few other groups will take the test on the mobile computer labs that the city provides for the test that week.

ELA Item Types:

Mrs. Kiley discussed the different kinds of questions on this year’s ELA:

  • Multiple-choice, as in last year’s.
  • Short Responses. Students asked to write a paragraph in response to something they read.
  • Narrative essay (in place of long comp). Students are expected to write a narrative essay based on a text given to them. For example, the reading passage might be about a boy who goes on a camping trip. Students will then be asked to write a journal entry that the boy might compose while at camp. 3rd graders expected to write 2 pages; 4th and 5th graders expected to write 4 pages (roughly 200 words a page).
  • Text-based essay. Students will be asked to read a passage and comment on its central theme. For example, there might be an essay about a girl who makes puppets and why she was so clever. Students expected to write one page.


Mrs. Kiley furthermore stressed that all SQU School kids have been working on these kinds of responses/essays throughout the year and should be well-prepared for the test. Mr. Sylvia also underscored that students have access to the computer lab, where many of them are already proficient at taking assessment tests on-line. Also good to keep in mind: Whatever changes may appear this year, the MCAS 2.0 are still testing for the same core standards that our teachers have been teaching our kids every year.


MATH ITEMS:  Dr. Bloom noted that these are fairly straightforward, with perhaps less writing than previous years’ tests.


  • Multiple Choice.
  • Multiple select, eg. Select the best TWO answers.
  • Short answer, fill in the blank.
  • Open-response.


Also available to all students: Tools like a straight-edge, a highlighter, some kind of tracking device or place marker, etc. If a student needs special accommodations, these will be noted ahead of time in a “test profile” that is created electronically for every SQU School student.




  • Sylvia reported on ongoing efforts to address traffic issues during drop-off and pick-up. A traffic engineer came to the school to observe traffic patterns and will be providing recommendations. Some ideas proposed were improved signage, rerouting, and new drop off/pickup practices. The community charm of meeting/greeting parents and chatting about upcoming events during these times is something to keep in mind. Please continue to avoid blocking neighbors’ driveways. Also mentioned was the need for removal of curbside snow banks across the street from the school. Currently, the city does not do this nor is it required to.


  • Torrey’s financial report.  Torrey advised we’ll be low on funds once the mobile cart funds are applied. She recommended we start putting together the Math and Science night and Multicultural night raffles and consider a spring fundraiser.


  • June 12th Red Sox game-flyer will go home shortly. 5th grade yearbooks are being prepared by class parents. Thank you!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/pto-meeting-minutes-feb/

Feb 10

MCAS 2.0 Parent Resources

Click here for the QPS MCAS 2.0 Parent Resource Guide.


For additional information available on the Quincy Public School website

At the December 12, 2016 Citywide Parent Council meeting, Senior Director of Curriculum Madeline Roy and Special Education Director Erin Perkins presented on the new MCAS 2.0 Assessment which will be administered to students in Grades 3-8 in 2017.  Students in Grades 4 and 8 will be taking MCAS 2.0 online; through the Mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan, technology upgrades are underway at all Quincy Public Schools to prepare for full implementation of online testing in 2019.  Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/mcas-2-0-parent-resources/