Community Newsletter

Winter 2018

In This Issue

Annual Family Dinner and Theme Basket Raffle Next Thursday, March 22

Thomasina Smith, Parent

It’s time for the Spaghetti Dinner! Dinner service begins at 4 pm and goes until we run out of food. Adult dinner admission is $5 and child dinner admission is $3. Many thanks to all those donating baked goods.

The raffle winner announcement begins at 6:15 pm. Winners do not need to be present. Prizes may be picked up during the event, or the next day during morning drop-off and during afternoon pickup. Special prize pickup arrangements will be made as necessary. Exciting prize donations include Theatre of Youth tickets, a Lego set, a Community Music School gift certificate, and much more! Raffle tickets for the Grand Prizes on the stage start at $1 and are discounted 6 for $5. Raffle tickets for the general raffle start at $5 a sheet, 3 for $10, and 7 for $20. Please don’t leave empty handed: Take home flowers or a live goldfish for $1 each!

It’s not too late to make a prize donation. Support your classroom theme baskets; bring in a new toy; or bring the donation letter to your employer, favorite restaurant, nail salon, or other merchant. We appreciate all the fabulous donations and the effort that goes into getting them. For questions, please contact Thomasina Smith at tsinasmith@gmail.com.

We also appreciate our volunteers! To volunteer, please contact Janet Naples at janet.naples@verizon.com.

Highlights from Black History Month Performances

Ruth Mack, Parent

Our students and teachers put on amazing and moving Black History Month performances again this year. Here are some highlights:

Bennet Park Montessori Center students perform "Drinking Gourd."
Bennett Park Montessori Center students dance.

Ski Club

Kate Steilen, Parent

The Bennett Park Snow Monsters formed School 32’s first Sunday ski and snowboard club this winter, after the school’s longer day prevented the club from meeting on Tuesdays.

For eight Sundays in January and February, students ages 4–12 took lessons at Kissing Bridge, a hill 45 minutes south of Buffalo. Parents also joined the club to ski, snowboard, and take lessons. All kids started out on Candy Cane, the “bunny hill,” with instructors, and moved into different lesson groups according to their ability. Willa Steilen, a 2nd grader, said, “I liked skiing because I got to be with my friends.”

Parent Jennifer Owen said, “Ski club has been a major exercise in ‘growth mindset’ for my kid. Skiing is hard, but even though she's struggling to figure it out, she is still excited to get out there and work on it each week.”  

While the kids were busy in their two-hour lessons, parents made time for fun. “Getting back into skiing for the first time since 4th grade is the best thing I have done for myself in years," parent Amanda Warner said.

Please join us next year! Look for flyers in mid-September.

MOLE: Getting Ready for Spring

Kristen Smith Armstrong

Montessori Outdoor Learning Experience (MOLE) is a committee of the Montessori Community Association (MCA), our school’s parent teacher organization. MOLE focuses on connecting our Montessori Community to the outdoors through our school garden, seasonal events, and environmental initiatives. Bennett Park Montessori’s Spring and Fall festivals bring families and school staff together to celebrate the seasons.
Our school garden includes raised beds and barrels for growing food, including vegetables, berries, and herbs. These food-producing spaces are surrounded by perennial gardens that contain native plants and flowers that attract pollinators to our outdoor space. In addition to adding beauty to our school grounds, the school gardens can serve as a place to learn everything from social interactions, to math and geography, to art and language.
MOLE is a collaboration between students, families, and school staff. Activities in the garden take place during the school day, after school, and during the summer months. To keep our school garden and other MOLE initiatives growing, we need everyone’s help! Families can participate in a meeting, join us for a garden clean-up or planting, or visit the garden during a summer work day. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Kristen Armstrong at kesa77@gmail.com.

Buffalo Artist Edreys Wajed Visits 12–14 Art Classes

Cheryl Jackson

BPMC was pleased to welcome notable Buffalo artist Edreys Wajed to speak with our 12–14 level art classes in October. The artist presented slides of his personal visual artworks, including early artwork from his youth, along with large mural images that he painted on the new Freedom Wall, a public art project located at East Ferry Street and Michigan Avenue in Buffalo. 

Cheryl Jackson, longtime BPMC art teacher, conceived a project that would reflect on Wajed’s signature style of portraits, profiles, and simple (not simple!) black lines. Students learned how to trace their profiles with an overhead projector and were given only black markers to complete their final “line-only" compositions. Many of the students artworks were subsequently exhibited ing the Albright Knox Art Gallery’s Education Corridor in a student exhibit titled Igniting Creativity: Local Artists Inspire. View Photos

Artist Edreys Wajed works with students in the classroom

Montessori Lesson Corner

A Day in the Life of a 3–5 Classroom

Allyson Siegel

Our former principal here at Bennett Park Montessori Center, Pauletta Stines, used to say about our unique approach, “In our building, this is what that looks like,” acknowledging that there is more than one way to achieve goals in education. With that in mind, each of our sixteen 3–5 classrooms has a different schedule as it seeks to balance the Montessori philosophy with the reality of being part of a public school. Read More

Students use the moveable alphabet to spell words on mats on the floor

Student Voices

Rowan Brown and Ms. Michelle

Meeting Ms. Michelle

Rowan, 9–12 Student

I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Micelle who teaches grades 1–3. She said that the best part about working at Montessori is helping students. When I asked her what she likes about Montessori compared to other schools, she reported that the strong sense of community is great. She likes teaching math and science the best because of the hands-on activities that go along with those subjects. For fun, I asked her what she would pick as a superpower. She shared that she would want to live forever. I enjoyed getting to know Ms. Michelle a little bit better.

Jayda Cooper

Social Studies Class

Cassie and Jayda, 9–12 Students
We have been learning about a lot of things in Social Studies. Some topics are the Articles of Confederation, stations, and Daniel Shay. The Articles of Confederation were the first real government of the United States. They were designed to keep the central government weak. Scared by their track record with the Great Britain, the Founding Fathers wanted to prevent a central government from taking away all the power. Next, we have been learning through stations. Each table is one station and the papers we do at the stations are usually 25 points each. It grabs your attention more than sitting and writing. Even though we have a lot of fun in Social Studies, I think we all have the most fun while doing stations. Lastly, we learned about a man named Daniel Shay. Daniel Shay, a farmer and captain in the continental army, led a rebellion in Massachusetts. People realized that a central government without power couldn’t rule the new country. There are a lot of fun things to be learned in Social Studies.

Parent Congress Updates 

TuWanner Cleveland
For the 2017–2018 Academic Year, Buffalo Public Schools has created the Parent Congress, an innovative new approach to Parental Involvement, to support the work of the recognized Parent groups District Parent Coordinating Committee (DPCC), Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO) and Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC). The Parent Congress was developed to allow each group recognized by the School Board to have access to District leaders as they seek to address the parent driven initiatives of each group all while maintaining the autonomy of each group. Some of the current initiatives of each group are as follows:
DPCC has advocated tirelessly for the establishment of Parent Facilitators within each School of the District since 1998. In 2017, the Parent Facilitators were informed that the District was no longer able to support this initiative leaving these dedicated Parent Volunteers without the resources to supplement their intense involvement within the school buildings. DPCC called on the District to resolve this issue with urgency and the District is currently working to revamp the initiative working with a community-based organization. For more information, please like their Facebook page ‘Buffalo DPCC.’
One of the 2017–2018 Priorities set by BPTO involves taking a new approach to transporting Buffalo Public Schools students through the District’s contract with NFTA. Meetings were held with Parents to hear their concerns and with NFTA leadership to discuss preliminary questions posed by BPTO about the current contract. A public forum was held with BPTO, NFTA, and the District in which the consensus amongst parents is the need for a “One Pass” system which allows unrestricted access to transit and trains for students on any route at any time. For more information, please like their Facebook page ‘Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO).’
SEPAC currently offers Parents with students involved in Special Education the opportunity to access resources that will assist them in addressing their student’s educational needs. SEPAC also provides assistance to staff and Board of Education members, directs parents to appropriate personnel when concerns arise and make recommendations to the Board of Education’s Program Committee and the Superintendent of Schools regarding procedures and policies within the federal and state guidelines. Working with the Parent Network of WNY, SEPAC informs Parents of the free workshops offered to them on a variety of topics such as pathways to graduation, individualized education plans and transition to adulthood for students with disabilities. For more information please contact Rosemary Arnone, Coordinator for Parent Services, at (716) 816-4747.
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