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News 2/11/2017
Hi Everyone,

Yesterday felt more like a Monday as we closed out a week that included a snow day, an early release day, and a slightly early dismissal. I hope students were able to enjoy a little extra time outside in the snow, relaxing, or catching up on some work. On Wednesday, the staff spent the afternoon in professional development led by our school psychologist and certified Safety Care trainer, Melissa Moreau. We discussed research-based strategies that support positive interactions with all students and prevent behaviors that interfere with learning. The Guidance team also worked with various staff members to continue our work in the area of mindfulness.

On Wednesday morning, the seventh and eighth grade students attended a health assembly on teen substance use. The speaker, Camila Barrera, was from the Middlesex Partnership for Youth, Inc. The assembly focused on dangers related to alcohol, marijuana, and illegal use of prescription drugs. If you have an opportunity, you could use this assembly as a jumping off point for a check-in with your child about their feelings and concerns related to underage substance use. There is no single reason why teenagers use drugs or alcohol, but research shows if teenagers can openly discuss the risks and dangers with caring adults, they are more likely to say no when they are offered them. Check out this link from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids on raising drug-free kids: The Parent Toolkit. We heard positive feedback on the presentation from staff and students and thank our health teacher, Mrs. Humphrey, for always looking for new resources and opportunities to teach our students these important lessons.

Looking ahead to the start of our last week of school before break, Monday may bring us another round of winter weather. We'd like to share some important procedural reminders that help keep everyone safe during busy arrival and dismissal times, especially in the winter. Please drive cautiously. Students may be in the roadways, crosswalks and parking lot. In the morning, please drop students off at the designated location, not in the parking lot. Students who are dropped off early are not supervised and should wait under the awning in the front of the building (weather permitting) until 7:25 to proceed to lockers. On cold, rainy, or snowy days, students can certainly come inside the lobby to wait. If you plan to drop your student off before the start of the day, please remind them that they should not be in any other areas of the building such as the gym, locker rooms, or hallways. In the afternoon at dismissal, please pull forward as far as possible if you are waiting to pick up your child. It is important that we all work together to model patience and kindness, especially when driving in the school parking lot.

On a related note, a shout-out to our amazing custodial staff, Mr. Copley, Mr. Courchaine, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Cantin for their early morning and late night attention to the parking lot and sidewalks this week. They've been incredibly diligent (and patient with my continual requests to shovel and sand)!

As a reminder, school delays or cancellations are communicated via the following: Channel 4,5,7 or Cable TV - 8, WBZ radio (1030), and In the event of an emergency, we would contact you via the phone and email information in iParent. Please review this information, and call the front office if we need to make a change to your contact information.

Updated Information for Eighth Grade Parents
The ninth grade course selection process will begin in the next few weeks. In preparation, students have been given iStudent Instructions to establish their own accounts separate from iParent. Please remind your eighth grade student to refer to these directions to activate an account by the end of next week. It is important for students to create their own accounts and remember their own passwords, as they will be necessary for use in school and at home. Please note iParent accounts are separate and will not change. Here is a memo from Guidance Counselor Paige Leone detailing the steps to establish an account: iStudent Instructions

Westford Academy Parent Information Night is scheduled Wednesday, February 15 at 6:30 pm in the Performing Arts Center at Westford Academy. We strongly encourage you to attend this information session to hear about the high school program of studies and the course selection process. W.A. peer counselors will also be available beginning at 6:00 pm to give interested parents a tour of the school. Prior to this event, Guidance staff from Westford Academy and Blanchard will be meeting with students to prepare them for the course selection process, which will be underway by February break. Stay tuned for more information. Please read the Letter from Principal Antonelli and mark the calendar for this important night.

On Friday, Westford Academy Principal Jim Antonelli and Guidance Coordinator Wendy Pechacek will also meet with our eighth grade class. They hold this presentation each year to further acquaint our students with the program of studies, extracurricular offerings and opportunities available at our high school.

Other Items
  • Peer Leaders have been promoting "Paws for a Cause". They will be collecting pet items such as pet bed, food, leashes, and blankets as well as monetary donations to be delivered to a local animal shelter. The drive runs through February 17
  • Annual WMSPTO "Sweets for Teachers" Event Needs Your Help! Do you enjoy baking? Or know where the closest bakery is?! This annual appreciation event and dessert buffet will be held on Monday, February 13. A list of ingredients must be provided. Please click this link for details: Sweets for Teachers
  • Last week, Blanchard sent students to represent Westford in the MathCounts northeast chapter competition. All of our students performed exceptionally well, and the team ranked #2 of close to 20 teams! Congratulations!
  • District mathematics curriculum coordinators, Miss McHugh and Mrs. O'Gorman, will be holding informational meetings for parents in grades 4-7 to communicate the math placement process. These meetings are scheduled for March 13 at 6:30 at Stony Brook School and March 15 at 6:30 at Abbot School. Please read the notification here: Math Information Night Letter
  • February Vacation is February 20 – February 24.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

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Timothy Hislop
Lloyd G. Blanchard Middle School
Westford, MA
(978) 692-5582 ext. 171

Blanchard Middle School  |  14 West Street, Westford, MA 01886  |  ph: (978) 692-5582  |  fx: (978) 692-5598

Westford Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or homelessness.