What's Happening Across Groton Public Schools - Spring 2023
We started this school year embracing the theme of coming back together as a community and it's been such a good feeling to see ‘community’ every day in our schools throughout the year.
We see community . . . each week in classrooms across our district during our weekly walk-throughs; at student performances and competitions; through the partnerships with local organizations and businesses; in our 30 new student mentors who are champions for our students; and when we work together for what is right and best for students.
Throughout April we also celebrate our military community. April is the Month of the Military Child, and nearly 20% of our total student community is military-connected. We are proud to serve those who serve our country and thank our military families.
As a reminder, Spring Break is from April 7 - 16. We return to school on Monday, April 17, 2023, and will have less than two months left in the year. We look forward to the continued sense of community that will fill the remainder of our year together!
Superintendent, Groton Public Schools
Assistant Superintendent, Groton Public Schools
Literacy Matters in Groton Public Schools
"All students have the right to read. We will do what is right for all students."
We have a sense of urgency to accelerate learning and provide the essential foundational skills to assist our students as readers, writers, and speakers. As the instructional leaders of our schools, we believe in the Science of Reading and value evidence-based ELA curriculum - phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. In order to promote students to become lifelong learners, it is essential that students build foundational skills in literacy that lead to better language and reading comprehension.
What do reading and writing look like in Groton Classrooms?
Students in K-3 are engaged in daily literacy instruction including reading workshop, writing workshop, and phonics instruction. Throughout the day students have opportunities to participate in large groups, small groups, and one-on-one activities. Students have access to a range of reading materials. Each classroom library has been curated to reflect the students in our community and their interest and includes a range of reading materials: leveled libraries, decodable readers, digital libraries, and picture books. In addition, classrooms are equipped with multi sensory tools to support literacy instruction - whiteboards, alphabetic letter tiles, sound cards, elkonin boxes, anchor charts, and other visual supports.
Groton Students Are Picking Their Path
Expanding student opportunities across Groton Public Schools are allowing students to find their passions and prepare them for their world beyond high school. New courses and career-related pathways at Fitch High School allow students to match their interests and post-high school plans, whether that may include a career, trade, college, or the military.
The Fitch High School Class of 2027 will be the first to choose from among four career pathways in the spring of their freshman year. Business, Arts, and Communication; Manufacturing, Architecture, and Engineering; Human Services; and Health Sciences. Their choice will guide their course planning and elective choices.
“We want to give them as much experience for the real world, as soon as we can, the earlier the better, because we want them to explore different things,” Dr. Anne Keefe-Forbotnick, the Fitch IB Careers Program Coordinator recently shared with The Day Newspaper. “We want to hone in on what their passion is because it’s definitely going to help them whether they choose college, the workforce, the military ― or any combination. This is a great foundation for our students to walk away with all these opportunities.”
Board of Education Approved New Courses
Naval Sciences (NNDCC): Over the past few years, we have been working to begin a Navy Junior ROTC program at Fitch High School. We have been accepted to start a Naval NNDCC program, which is the start of a full Jr. ROTC program.
EdRising/Teaching Pathway: Students will be learning about the teaching profession and even going into and helping classrooms in our district at the elementary and middle schools. This is a great first step into the Education Profession!
International Baccalaureate Career Related Program: Students will pick a program such as Nursing, Business, or Project Lead the Way and take courses in that career as well as other IB courses to complete the program.
Emergency Medical Training: We are proud to expand our offerings related to the fast-growing medical field! Currently, students can pursue Nursing Assistant Certification through the Diversified Health Occupations course (11th Grade) and Honors Nursing Assistant course (12th Grade). We will now also offer an Emergency Medical Training (EMT) course at the high school, allowing students to pursue EMT certification.
All Students Get A ‘Taste of IB’ on Fitch High School and Groton Middle School International Baccalaureate Campus
Groton Middle School students are becoming ‘IB Learners’ when they enter 6th grade and begin the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme. The five-year MYP is for all students in grades 6-10 and focuses on helping students make connections between their learning in the classroom and the real world. It culminates in a Personal project each student completes in grade 10. Students pick a topic they would like to know more about and, through the use of their ATL (Approaches to Learning) skills, they research the topic and develop a product.
The MYP is just the first step in students 'IB journey' and builds a solid academic foundation that prepares them for more rigorous, relevant work and readiness for advanced courses at Fitch. After completing the MYP, students can pursue the IB Diploma Programme, IB Careers Programme or feel well prepared to take on high-level Advanced Placement or ECE (Early College Experience) coursework.
Recently, during course selections, curious 8th, 9th, and 10th graders learned more about the IB programs at Fitch and experience a Taste of the IB. Students rotated through mini-lessons in a variety of IB classes. They engaged in creating art in IB Visual Arts; imagined being deported, and debated which new country would be their best option in Theory of Knowledge. They played theater games and discussed gun violence in Global Politics, and finally, attempted to discover if leg length helped them jump higher in Sports Exercise and Health Science.
Current IB students volunteered as student assistants and shared their experiences and insights on how IB DP changed their outlooks and perspectives as students. They spoke passionately about their experience and encouraged more students to take advantage of the program.
Fitch High School Library Dedicated to Dr. James E. Mitchell
Former colleagues, family, and friends, recently gathered to honor Dr. James E. Mitchell as the Robert E. Fitch High School Library was dedicated in his name. Dr. Mitchell began a career at Groton Public Schools in 1969 as a teacher. He held several positions, including Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent before retiring in 2008. He went on the lead the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund on whose board he still serves, and he is currently the Chairman of the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital Board of Directors.
His legacy and love of reading will continue to lift up and inspire every Groton student who walks into the Dr. James E. Mitchell Fitch High School library.
Congratulations Fund for Teachers Grant Recipients
Groton Middle School Jack Koziatek and Northeast Academy Magnet School teacher Michele Manning are recipients of the CT Fund for Teachers Fellowship grant! Jack will be using the award to help fund a trip to Antarctica to partake in CO2 studies. Michele will be using the grant to fund a trip to Tanzania where she will volunteer to teach in a rural school to develop a “read around the world” library program to foster cultural awareness. She also plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to serve as an example for students to set goals and challenge themselves.
The Fund for Teachers grant is a Grant Fellowship Program that inspires teacher leadership, creativity, curiosity, and exploration through an individualized professional learning grant proposal. Congratulations to all!
Bill for Universal Meals - Feed CT Kids
Ernie Koschmeider, Director of Foods Services, recently testified at the State Capital in support of Feed CT Kids - Bill for Universal Meals. Healthy, nutritious, delicious school meals combat hunger and obesity and are as essential to education as things like computers, textbooks, school buses, and athletic equipment, and should be provided to every student free of charge as part of the school day. Our Groton community, including our military-community, deserves the best investment we can make in our children. It is vital for the state of Connecticut to fund school meals for all students. Free meals for ALL children removes nutritional inequalities that exist and cut across socio-economic and racial boundaries while exposing all grades to fresh, healthy, well-balanced breakfasts and lunches laying the foundation of education by fueling up the students with a healthy school breakfast. This will invest in our future generation, future leaders, and future community members.
Getting Ready for Kindergarten!
The Class of 2036 is getting ready for Kindergarten! Future K students and families recently had an opportunity to visit our schools, meet our K teachers, and even go on a bus ride.
All students who will be five on or before January 1, 2024, may begin Kindergarten next school year and are encouraged to register.
The registration form can be found on our website at www.grotonschools.org/registration.