Suffield Public Schools

McAlister Intermediate School

November 2015

260 Mountain Road | Suffield, CT 06078 | 860-668-3830 |

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, Nov. 3

No School - Election Day

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Grandparent Night
(PTO Book fair)
5:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 5

Show and Tell Open House
Grades 3 and 4
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Grade 5
6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 6

Veterans Day Assembly
2:10 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 10

NCCC Support Groups
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
SHS Pampered Palace and LMC

PTO Board Meeting
7:30 p.m.
MIS Media Center

Wednesday, Nov. 11

No School - Veterans Day

Saturday, Nov. 14

Fitness Day
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
AWS Auditorium and Gym

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Early Release -Thanksgiving
1:00 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 26 & Friday, Nov. 27

No School - Thanksgiving Break

Virtual Backpack:

2015 - 2016 District Calendar

McAlister Menus

McAlister Family Handbook


A Message From The Principal

Dear McAlister Families,

It is hard to believe that we have just finished up our second month of school!  October brought us our first-ever Walk to School Day, the Final Mile field trip (in conjunction with the Hartford Marathon), the third grade field trip to Sturbridge Village, the start of our after school Expanding Horizons program, a visit from the Wingmasters Program for our third grade students, our McAlister Family Hike to Hublein Tower,
a McAlister Way Assembly focusing on being kind, respectful, responsible, and safe, and the delivery of class sets of Chromebooks to all our classrooms.  All of these  activities motivate our students to meaningfully engage in our school community, connect them to their peers and teachers, and set them on a path of learning that embraces all aspects of their development--academic, social-emotional, behavioral, and physical. We are grateful to all of our teachers and staff members who work to extend our students’ learning in so many different ways.

In November, some of our upcoming activities include our Show and Tell Open House and Bookfair (11/5), Veteran’s Day Assembly (11/6), and the fifth grade students will travel to Suffield Middle School to see the Middle School Variety Show (11/5). Interested Grade Five students will also start their before school leadership training on Nov. 2nd, 4th, and 6th.  The training is the prerequisite for becoming part of our Grade Five Student Council that begins on November 20th.   We will also work to sign our families up for our December Parent-Teacher Conferences through, a secure online application.  Letters will go home to each family over the next several weeks detailing the specific information for signing up for conferences. 

During the month of November, we will also continue to work with our families relative to the importance of maintaining regular and punctual daily attendance. We are always working to ensure that our students’ school experience is rich, meaningful, and rigorous. Good attendance is essential for each student to gain the most benefit from their school experience.  Also, know that while we appreciate everyone’s efforts to make up missed work during absences, it is not possible to replicate the classroom experiences that regular classroom attendance ensures.  We encourage families to review our attendance policy in our handbook, and of course, if you have any questions relative to attendance, please contact me directly. 

Additionally, during the month of November we will continue to work to ensure that families help prevent overcrowded buses and confusion at dismissal time by noting that students are only allowed to ride a different bus for day care purposes.  Students cannot ride a different bus for playdates or any other purposes.  Finally, when students need to be picked up early from school for doctor’s appointments and the like, it is necessary to submit a pick up note to the main office.   Please be sure to include the following  information in all pickup notes:

  • You child’s first and last name,
  • The name of your child’s teacher,
  • Date and time student will be picked up,
  • First and last name of family member picking up the student.

As always, we appreciate everyone’s support and dedication to our students.  This partnership is invaluable to the success of both our students and school!  Have a wonderful November.


Karen E. Carpenter-Snow


Chromebooks in the Classroom


We are very excited to have our class sets of Chromebooks finally in all McAlister homerooms! Each child has been assigned a Chromebook to use throughout the school day for various classroom lessons. Teachers immediately put their Chromebooks to good use and students were seen writing across the content areas using Googledocs, completing their Panorama Student surveys, researching various topics, and using applications such as Spelling City, Google Classroom, and many others!


Grade Three by Mrs. Halzack


Third graders are now immersed in the exciting world of nonfiction in reading workshop! Minilessons are focused on learning specific strategies that help students to read and comprehend nonfiction text. Students are learning to read small sections of text and then to pause and summarize what they have read by identifying the main idea and supporting details. As students familiarize themselves with the structure and organization of expository text, they will turn their attention to informational writing in writing workshop.

In math, classrooms using Investigations math will be collecting and analyzing measurement data before the unit on data collection and graphing draws to a close. Students will then tackle a unit on multiplication and division. Students in classrooms using the Eureka math program are bringing the challenging first module on multiplication and division to a close. They will then move on to Module 2 during which students will explore place value and problem solving with units of measure. This unit of study will include such topics as measuring time, weight, and liquid volume as well as rounding, estimation, and addition and subtraction.

Third graders will soon be wrapping up a very interesting science unit of study on animal and plant adaptations. Students will then begin their first social studies unit which focuses on life in colonial America. Our field trip to Old Sturbridge Village on October 22nd was a perfect launching point for this unit. The opportunity to visit a colonial farm, observe a blacksmith and potter at work, and to visit a one-room schoolhouse really helped the children visualize what life was like in an 1830 village. It truly made this period in American history come alive for our students! 


Grade Four by Mrs. King


 Our 4th grade school year is really picking up the pace as we wrapped up October and head into November! We are rolling right along in our math units, covering the rich, in-depth investigations of base-ten place value, addition of multi-digit whole numbers and addition of multi-step word problems, probability & rations, data collection and making graphs to represent data. Phew! Our students have been B-U-S-Y! In addition to all the numeracy fun, students are fully engaged in Reader’s Workshop mini-lessons that encourage them to think deeply about their characters, analyze character traits and patterns, and support their observations using evidence from the text. Teachers are pleased with how invested the students are in evolving as readers, and are impressed with the robust conversations they are hearing during small-group and partner work. In writing, we have really invested ourselves in the personal narrative genre. More than just your average story-telling, personal narrative asks students to recall a significant or memorable event they have experienced, and bring that memory to life through elaboration, dialogue, and description. Students are excited to show off their written pieces to family and friends at the “Show & Tell Open House” on Thursday, November 5th. Speaking of the “Show & Tell Open House” on Thursday, November 5th….come on in to check out the Scholastic School Book Fair that night, and add to those household libraries for the whole family! Our annual Veteran’s Day Assembly will take place on Friday, November 6th. We will honor and acknowledge the many Suffield area veterans who have proudly served this great nation during times of tragedy and triumph. We look forward to seeing all of our fourth graders and their families at the many events and celebrations during November! There is always, always something to be thankful for!


Grade Five by Mrs. Larson


In Science, students will be wrapping up their sound unit with a fun instrument project! They will apply their learning to these creative new designs as they build an instrument that demonstrates the ability to change pitch and volume, as well as a few other requirements. We will begin to delve into learning about light near the end of November.

The Eureka group in math will begin to explore multiplication and division concepts of whole numbers and decimals, while the Investigations group will begin working on whole number long division concepts.

In social studies, student learning will focus on the 13 English colonies.  Students will learn why many of the colonies were founded.  Beginning with Jamestown and Plymouth, we will explore the motivations of the colonists and learn how they influenced our present-day government and economy.

Our reading unit will focus on the responsibilities and joys of book clubs and in writing, students will work to write fully elaborated paragraphs as we begin to explore informative writing.


Clothing Drive


We encourage all families to donate unused clothing, stuffed animals, linens, and the like to our school during the week of November 2, 2015.  We hope to make this year’s Clothing Drive better than ever!


National Epilepsy Awareness Month


November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Did you know that one in every 26 people will develop epilepsy in our lifetime? Nearly 3 million Americans currently live with epilepsy, making it the fourth most common neurological condition in the United States, more prevalent than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and autism combined. In an effort to show how our school community can show how we embrace the goal of not letting any barriers stop people with epilepsy from reaching their fullest potential, we will be tying purple ribbons around poles and trees on school property this month to show our support to those community members with epilepsy.

Additionally, we suggest that all of our students, faculty, and staff wear purple on Friday, November 13th to raise awareness and show our support relative to this condition.


Show and Tell Open House and Book Fair


On Thursday, November 5, 2015 we are excited to hold our Show and Tell Open House and Book Fair.  This year’s Open House will run according to the following schedule:

Grade 3 and 4 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Grade 5 from 6:45-7:45 p.m.

As part of the Open House, each grade level will hold a Scavenger Hunt for each grade level.  Families are able to pick up Scavenger Hunt forms in the main hallway, and then travel throughout the school completing each item.  Parents sign off on each completed “clue”, and when completed, each child can submit one Scavenger Hunt form for a chance to win a $10 Scholastic gift certificate.  These gift certificates can be used for Scholastic’s monthly classroom book orders. 

Flyer - PDF


First-Ever Scholastic Book Fair Grandparents Night


In conjunction this year’s Book Fair, the PTO is running a “Grandparent Night”. This will allow grandparents and other special family members time to accompany students to the bookfair.  This special evening will occur on Wednesday, November 4, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.  We look forward to this night and are appreciative to our PTO for bringing this event to us.


Panorama Surveys


Late in the month of October, all of our students and teacher completed a brief, Panorama climate survey. Information from these surveys helps us shape our goals and actions relative to our school climate and culture, and ultimately will have a positive effect on student learning! In addition to our students and teachers completing the survey, we also sent out a Panorama survey to our families. We are deeply appreciative to all of our families who took the survey, as parent and family feedback paves the way for strong family partnerships and a positive school culture.


McAlister Way Morning Meeting


On Monday, October 26, we held our first McAlister Way School-Wide Morning Meeting of the year. This morning meeting focused on kindness and respect. Together we read a wonderful picture book entitled "Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler!" This book was about the importance of kindness and how we can transform our school by performing simple acts of kindness. We also made a plan to document our efforts of being kind on loops of a paper chain to be displayed in the main hallway. We look forward to our next morning meeting!


Nurse's Corner


As the cold weather months are approaching and students start wearing hats and scarves routinely, it’s a good time to remind families about some basic facts about pediculosis and Suffield’s current health policy (#5141.221) regarding the prevention and treatment of head lice. Head lice is ever present in humans and is a common community problem but we can approach the problem collaboratively, learning from the facts and focusing on prevention. Anyone can become infested.  Preventing infestation and treating it appropriately, requires knowledge, on-going vigilance and attention to detail.

An itchy scalp is the most common symptoms and our staff is aware of the need to watch for this sign. When those symptoms are observed in school, students are referred to the nurse for private screening.  The nurse will then contact the parents to insure appropriate treatment is implemented. We encourage all parents to help in watching for these same signs by carefully checking your child’s head on a routine basis.  I would like to direct you to a website that is endorsed by the National Association of School Nurses which has been a help to many parents and families. Headfirst Lice Lessons ( presents the facts: how lice are spread, the symptoms, and the most effective way of treating it. I would like to emphasize the important role that parents play in notifying the school nurse of an active case in their family. All names will be kept confidential as we alert other families with children in the same classroom. Mass screening will be conducted only under special circumstances deemed appropriate by the school nurse.  As always, you can contact me directly for more guidance or concerns.


The McAlister Way


The Kindness Challenge is on! This past week, the McAlister Intermediate School community gathered together for its first school-wide McAlister Way Morning Meeting of the year.  The meeting began with Mrs. Carpenter-Snow welcoming students and staff and thanking us for all the ways we’ve been showing The McAlister Way by demonstrating kind, respectful, responsible and safe behaviors.  From there, Grade 5 Teacher, Mrs. Bennett reviewed with all of us how kindness and respect are connected -- when you respect someone, you actively look for ways to show kindness.

To illustrate this learning point in an engaging and meaningful way, we all listened to the story, Kindness is Cooler Mrs. Ruler, written by Margery Cuyler. In this story, the teacher, Mrs. Ruler, who speaks in rhymes, teaches her class that, “A slice of nice makes a mile of smile!” and that “Good deeds fill needs!” She assigns her students the task of completing five acts of kindness for their families, and then asks them to share their kind actions with the class back at school.  As the students share their many acts of kindness, even those who were initially reluctant embrace the task, and Mrs. Ruler turns the assignment into a class project, where the students eventually complete 100 acts of family, school and community kindness.

Grade 4 Teacher, Mrs. King, entertained us all as she read the story with great expression. As Mrs. King read the story, we were all able to follow along and view the illustrations being projected onto the large screen. When the story was over, Grade 4 Teacher, Miss Lira, asked both students and staff members to share examples of acts of kindness they heard in the story and invited them to write these on a large strip of paper.

Our Art Teacher, Mrs. Bowe,  then announced that this strip of paper would become the anchor link of a school-wide display we would all create to showcase all of the many acts of kindness and respect we will complete as a school community. In a follow-up classroom activity taking place this week, every class is working to create their own paper chain link featuring acts of kindness and respect performed by the members of that class. These links will form a school-wide chain symbolizing how one small, random act of kindness leads to another, just like links on a chain.

The Morning Meeting ended with Mrs King encouraging us all to complete a Kindness and Respect Challenge by completing five acts of kindness and respect at home, at school, or within the community. Imagine that -- 470 students and about 70 staff members, each one intentionally focused on committing five random acts of kindness and respect at home, at school or in the community! Now that’s The McAlister Way!


Suffield Public Schools
350 Mountain Road, Suffield, CT 06078
Phone: 860-668-3800 (Central Office)



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