Suffield Public Schools

McAlister Intermediate School

Dec. / Jan. 2015

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

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 2 - Friday, Dec. 4

Early Release, Conferences
1:00 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 5

SHS Safe Party Bottle Drive
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
SMS Cafeteria Parking Lot

Saturday, Dec. 5

3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 8

NCCC Support Groups
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
SHS Room 221

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Sped PAC
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Suffield High School LMC

Friday, Dec. 11

Student Council Meeting
7:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 15

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 16

Winter Concert
9:00 a.m. (Grade 5)
10:45 a.m. (Grade 4)
1:00 p.m. (Grade 3)
(Snow Date 12/17)

Friday, Dec. 18

Student Council Meeting
7:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 23

Early Release
Winter Vacation
1:00 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 24
Friday, Jan. 1

No School - Winter Vacation

Monday, Jan. 4

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Grade 5 Ping Pong Tournament
6:00 p.m.
(Snow Date 1/12)

Friday, Jan. 8

Student Council Meeting
7:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 13

Sped PAC
9:20 a.m.
SHS Room 610

Monday, Jan. 18

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
No School

Tuesday, Jan. 19

Suffield BOE Meeting
6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 22

Student Council Meeting
7:30 a.m.

Virtual Backpack:

2015 - 2016 District Calendar

McAlister Menus

McAlister Family Handbook


A Message From The Principal

Dear McAlister Families,

We are welcoming this holiday season with our hearts full of joy!  November brought us one of the most memorable Veteran’s Day celebrations ever.  This year, we had almost 90 veterans join us for our afternoon assembly.  Our assembly  consisted of memorable and touching student presentations, recognition of all veterans in attendance, a few words from one of our veterans (Mr. O'Sullivan) who is also a parent,  and of course, a song of appreciation to all our veterans. We are so very grateful for all our staff and parent volunteers who made this special event possible, as it is truly a special community event.

In addition to the Veteran’s Day assembly, the month of November also brought us our Show and Tell Open House and Bookfair.  We had excellent attendance for this event.  Our families and students seemed to enjoy the newest addition to this evening, our Open House Scavenger Hunt.  The Scavenger Hunt took our students and families throughout the school, exploring and learning about each area.  At the end of the evening, we drew two of the completed Scavenger Hunts from each grade level and each of those students won a $10 Scholastic Gift Certificate.  We hope to continue with this fun and meaningful activity with our future open houses.

As we look forward to the months ahead, there is much learning and many special events to be had! Our students and teachers will continue their focus on building their classroom communities through the tenets of the McAlister Way--being kind, respectful, responsible, and safe.  We will continue to learn about and practice these tenets in all areas of the school as a way to make each child’s school experience meaningful and enjoyable!

In addition to the McAlister Way, we will also work to build our school community with effort from both our Grade Five Student Council and our PTO.  The Student Council will be running a Toys for Tots Drive. Our entire school is so very proud and happy to collect hundreds of toys each year for needy children in our area.  We are also grateful for our PTO holding our grade level traditions--in both January (grade 3)  and March (grade 4 and grade 5) to continue to build the individual grade level communities. 

And finally, during the second half of the year, we will continue to build the capacity of our teachers through their work in their PLCs and other embedded professional learning opportunities.   This work continues specifically in both English Language Arts and in Math, as our teachers work to build their knowledge of best practice instruction.  These opportunities are typically led by Mrs. Sara Baranauskas (our Math and Science Curriculum Leader) and Mrs. Kris Pryce (our English Language Arts and Social Studies Curriculum Leader). We are always impressed with our curriculum leaders' deep knowledge and ability to work in many different collegial groups.

As you can see, our school success depends on creating lasting and meaningful relationships as well as partnering with both our parents and professionals throughout the district. Our work positively shapes all students' school experiences.  We look forward to these continued partnerships and successes.

Have a wonderful holiday and a restful and safe vacation.


Karen Carpenter-Snow

December 2015
Parent - Teacher Conference Reminders

Our Parent-Teacher Conferences are upon us!  Reminders about these important meetings are as follows:

  • Sign up for conferences using the secure online portal of Pick A Time using your child’s Student ID and Birthdate.  Directions for signing up along with Student IDs were mailed out to each family in early November.  If you need any assistance, please call our main office at 860-668-3830.
  • Conferences take place on the following dates:
    • Wed., 12/2/2015 from 1:30 to 3:15 P.M.
    • Thurs., 12/3/2015 from 1:30 to 3:15 P.M.
      and 6:00 to 7:30 P.M.
    • Fri., 12/4/2015 from 1:30 to 3:15 P.M.
  • During all three conference dates (12/2, 12/3, and 12/4) all students in both Spaulding and McAlister have an early release at 1:00 P.M.

Winter Concert

This year’s Winter Concert is scheduled for Wednesday, December 16 with a snow date of Thursday, December 17.  This year, Mr. Whalen (teacher of grades 3-5 general music classes and fifth grade band teacher) and Mr. Migliore (fifth grade band teacher) will lead our students as they sing songs of the season and as our fifth grade band students give their first-ever band performance!  Due to space limitations, we will have three individual performances, however, know that all students will be performing at each concert. We look forward to welcoming our families to this special event!

9:00 a.m. - Grade 5
10:45 a.m. - Grade 4
1:00 p.m. - Grade 3


Curriculum Highlights--Grade Three by Mrs. Halzack


Third grade readers have just concluded a very rich and challenging unit on reading nonfiction text. In December, students will move on to a new and engaging reading unit on character studies. The children will be reading a variety of fiction texts and learning how to understand characters by examining their character traits, patterns of behavior, and factors that bring about character change. In writing, students will be completing and revising their informational writing pieces. An exciting unit of study on narrative writing will follow. Instruction will focus on creating interesting leads, describing settings and characters in detailed “snapshots”, developing a well-sequenced main event, and  bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion with an extended ending. In math, students in the Eureka Math Program, will continue in the module titled “Place Value and Problem Solving with Units of Measure.” Students will be involved in many hands on experiences as they explore ways to measure weight and liquid volume in metric units. They will also use estimation strategies as they solve word problems involving measurement. Students using the Investigations program will continue to study multiplication and division. As December draws to a close, third graders can also look forward to the winter concert and Polar Express Day when all classes participate in a variety of reading, writing, and math activities focused on the holidays. December will be a very busy time in third grade!


Curriculum Highlights--Grade Four by Mrs. Pitocco


We have been immersing ourselves in non-fiction reading and writing!  It is so exciting to listen to the children discuss the many topics they are reading about when conferring with them or listening in on a turn-and-talk.  Some students are reading about jaguars while others are learning about famous inventors.  The children will use their knowledge to write an informative piece on a topic that interests them and they have chosen to become an expert on.  In math, we will be learning to accurately multiply one digit by up to four digit numbers and two-digit by two-digit numbers.  There are wonderful interactive games online that can help the children to learn their basic facts in no time.www.sumdog.com and are some of our favorites!  December will be an exciting month filled with lots of learning!  The fourth grade students are working hard to display kindness, responsibility, respect, and safety within our school.  The children are helping their peers when they are having trouble, congratulating them when they deserve it, and encouraging them when they need it.  Our students truly take pride in saying, “We strive to do our very best each and every day we are kind, respectful, responsible, and safe, that’s the McAlister Way!”   The students work hard to spread their kindness to others outside of McAlister too.  The fourth grade philanthropists earned $1026.36 through our Kids Helping Kids book sale and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.


Curriculum Highlights--Grade Five by Mrs. Larson


December will be a month full of learning opportunities! In Science, students will begin to delve into learning about the properties of light. The Eureka group in math will continue to explore multiplication and division concepts of whole numbers and decimals, while the Investigations group will wrap up long division strategies and begin to explore prisms and pyramids, as they learn about volume. In social studies, student learning will continue to focus on the 13 English colonies.  Students will learn why many of the colonies were founded.  We will explore the motivations of the colonists and learn how they influenced our present-day government and economy. Our focus will switch to non-fiction in reading and writing, as we learn more about expository and informational reading and writing.


Fifth Grade Memory Book


This year, our hard-working PTO is creating a memory book for our fifth grade students.  This memory book will be for sale towards the end of the school year and promises to be a cherished keepsake of the students’ elementary and intermediate school years!  In order to create this memory book, the PTO is asking grade five families to submit a baby picture as well as other candid school photos of their our current fifth grade students.  We are somewhat limited in space, but the PTO is working to create a memory that represents each student.  Please email your photos to and  As always, thank you for your help in creating this wonderful memento for our fifth graders.


Grade Five Ping Pong Tournament


The third annual Grade Five Ping Pong Tournament is slated for January 5, 2016, with a snow date of January 12, 2016.  This event encourages our fifth grade students to team up with a parent or other supportive adult in order to play ping pong in a tournament-style event.  We award medals to the top three pairs and this event always promises to be a fun and lively competition!


Upcoming Grade Level Traditions


We are looking forward to our grade level traditions later on this winter/early spring. These are fun, grade level, evening/weekend events that we encourage our students to attend, as they are a great opportunity to grow friendships, meet students in other classes, and have fun!

  • Our third grade traditions will be held at Interskate 91 (Wilbraham, MA) in January, 2016. (Exact date TBD)
  • Our fourth grade traditions will be held at Health Trax (Enfield, CT) on Sat., March 5, 2016.
  • Our fifth grade students will be held at Nomad’s Adventure Quest (South Windsor, CT) in March, 2016. (Exact date TBD) 

The McAlister Way


As we all prepare for this most wonderful time of the year, the McAlister Intermediate School community is once again showing its heart, hoping to add joy and happiness to the lives of less fortunate friends this holiday season. For the eighth consecutive year, Student Council is leading our school community in a giant act of kindness as they coordinate our annual Toys for Tots toy drive.

From now until December 22, students in grades three, four, and five are encouraged to bring new and unwrapped toys suitable for children up to 12-years-old, and drop them off in one of the brightly wrapped barrels located in each of our grade-level hallways. At the conclusion of our toy drive, Student Council members will caravan after school over to our neighbors at Suffield Hardware Store and deliver all of the toys collected.

Student Council was busy at work last week, volunteering their time during recess to decorate the collection barrels in festive wrapping paper, creating eye-catching posters for every classroom that will serve as ongoing reminders of our ongoing collection, and preparing presentations to every class to inform us all and motivate us to participate in this worthy cause.

This year’s McAlister Intermediate School Student Council consists of 60 enthusiastic grade five students who wish to serve as student ambassadors and lead our school community through their example and in a variety of activities exemplifying the spirit of The McAlister Way. In order to participate in Student Council, all interested students were required to attend a three-day leadership training before school, led by Student Council Advisors, Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Pakula, Grade 4 Teacher, Mrs. Pitocco, and Permanent Building Substitute Teacher, Ms. Herbert.


Nurses Corner


I’d like to review the differences between a cold and flu and to remind parents of our practices here at school in decreasing the spread of germs.  The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar flu-like symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever (temp >100 F), body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Children are reminded of the importance of:

  • covering  their nose and mouth with tissues or their sleeve when coughing or sneezing,
  • proper disposal of tissues,
  • keeping fingers away from eyes, nose and mouth
  • handwashing.

Reinforcing these practices at home will help to make them healthy habits!

Cough drops are allowed in school with the written permission from a parent.  Cough drops should be held by the teacher to be used as needed for sore throats or mild coughs.  Water bottles are also helpful to increase fluids and to minimize trips out of the classroom. 

Special Education Parent Advisory Council


The Suffield Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Sped PAC) was started as a way for parents and Suffield Special Services to exchange information and ideas, ask questions, and solicit input. We encourage ALL parents including those whose children receive services from Suffield Special Services to attend the meetings. Our schedule for the year is as follows:







7-8:30 p.m.

SHS Library Media Center



9:20-10:50 a.m.

SHS Room 610



7-8:30 p.m.

SHS Library Media Center



9:20-10:50 a.m.

SHS Room 610



7-8:30 p.m.

SHS Library Media Center



9:20-10:50 a.m.

SHS Room 610



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


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