This Month at the MCS

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Demo sofronas

Changes made to keep everyone safe and new programs to inspire our youth

I have provided my readers with the current edition of the Marion Cross School "Cross Words" publication that Principal Bill Hammond and his staff put together to keep everyone informed. I feel that if the community knows about the programs at the Marion Cross school, they will be more apt to assist in some of these and become involved if they wish.  This is my own initiative and is done only to inform those that may not know about these everyday happenings. I was not aware of this publication until recently. I am sure that when our children went to Marion Cross, there was something similar,  (that was a while ago).

This is from the current  Cross Words publication.

Hammond, Bill

When children take ownership of their learning, they absorb more. For one, they accept some measure of autonomy, which Daniel Pink indicates is one of three primary attributes that motivates people. Beyond the autonomy, when students take ownership of their learning, they set personal goals and strive to achieve them, not because someone else told them to, but because they want to learn the ideas for themselves.

So when I saw students pulling parents into Marion Cross School on Wednesday evening for Open House, I recognized the pride students had in their work, and I witnessed the pleasure your children took in sharing their accomplishments with you. When we offer the students a measure of autonomy, an opportunity for mastery, and a sense of purpose for their work, they can achieve beyond what they thought they were capable of. Thanks for joining them here at school, and for encouraging them to both enjoy and engage in their learning.


Monday, October 22: Bald Top Mountain hike, 3rd grade; Constitutional Law forum, 5th grade, Hanover High School

Tuesday, October 23: Author Visit, Loree Burns

Wednesday, October 24: Pumpkin Picking, kindergarten

Friday, October 26: School Culture Team, 12:00-12:30, Mr. Bill's office

School News

(1) School Safety: You should know that the state made a number of recommendations that we will be implementing this year. They include securing the front doors, installing well-placed cameras, and having all staff wear their IDs. In past years we had already worked our way to one entrance, updated our paging system, secured shades, and developed the capability to lock the front door with one turn of a key in the office or one flip of a switch in the hallway. Our best safety feature, however, is you. It’s all the parents who hang around outside the school chatting, and reporting when someone outside the fence is taking pictures. It’s the teachers who work to make sure every student feels welcome.  It’s the students who offer to be friends with a student who has just moved to the school. Relationships not only help people feel included, they also help people feel psychologically safe, which locked doors and cameras often don’t.

In the short term, however, entering the school during the school day will require you to ring our front doorbell between the two sets of doors in the front lobby. Joy will verify your identity and unlock the door.

I have to admit it feels weird to have this kind of setup, but I know that if we perceive the doors as a safety feature, and we retain our welcome for each other, we can endure the inconvenience. Please know that you are welcome.

(2) School Lunch Menu

The new menu is now on the MCS website for ordering school lunches starting this Monday, 10/22. You can order all the way thru to 12/21 when we break for the holidays. Remember to order for Monday, 10/22 before 9am on Sunday, 10/21, so lunch will be here for your children this  Monday.


A PBIS Guide For Marion Cross School


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an approach to teaching and supporting positive behaviors and meeting the needs of ALL students. 

This school-wide approach focuses on building a safe and positive environment in which all students can learn. The foundation of PBIS at Marion Cross School is the four building-wide expectations or “Who’s Wise Words.”  

In our community, we will be:





In addition to our behavioral expectations, PBIS has four additional components: 

Behavior Matrix

Direct Teaching of Expectations 

Positive Pellets

Office Referral Forms

BEHAVIOR MATRIX: The behavior matrix is a detailed description of expected behaviors in each school setting. For example, on the playground it is respectful to listen to the playground monitors, and it is responsible to line up quietly when the bell rings. The expectations in all areas are posted around school. 

TEACHING EXPECTATIONS: Throughout the school year, students will be taught how to behave according to “Who’s Wise Words.” Teachers will help students learn what the expectations “look” and “sound” like in every setting during the school day. These lessons will be retaught and reinforced throughout the school year and become a regular part of our instructional program. 

POSITIVE PELLETS: Acknowledging and reinforcing positive behavior are two of the best ways to encourage appropriate behavior. At MCS, each student or group of students will earn Positive Pellets throughout the day for meeting behavioral expectations. When classroom owl bins are full, students will enjoy various celebrations, such as bringing a stuffy to school, enjoying a treat, going out for extra recess, and many others. Once the tank near the front office is filled by the whole school, we celebrate together as an MCS community.

OFFICE REFERRAL FORM: Even with clear expectations and positive reinforcement, sometimes children can engage in behaviors inconsistent with our school-wide expectations. To address these inconsistencies, an Office Referral Form is used. Behaviors inconsistent with our school-wide expectations are divided into major and minor issues. 

Major infractions are issues that result in office time. Parents/guardians will be notified by the school about major infractions. 

Minor infractions are behaviors that are disruptive to the learning environment, but are handled by the supervising staff or faculty member. 

When a child repeatedly receives minors or majors, parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, and the principal will communicate to find positive ways to help the child succeed.

Who’s Wise Words

In our community, we will be






What can you do to reinforce positive behavior at home? 

Review Who’s Wise Words with your child.

Make it a routine to ask your child each day about interesting things that happened in school. 

Ensure a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. 

Provide a quiet time and space for your child to complete homework nightly. 

Keep in touch with your child’s teacher. 

Encourage your child to use appropriate language and tone. 

Practice positive phrases with your child, such as “Thank you,” “Excuse me,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry.” 

Be a visible part of your child’s school day. Attend meetings and other school activities as your schedule allows.

The MCS PBIS Leadership Team:

Bill Hammond, Principal

Katie Cormier, School Counselor

Ania White, 5th Grade Teacher

Beth Haney, 4th Grade Teacher

Rick Wilson, 3rd Grade Teacher

Jennifer Newberry, Kindergarten Teacher

Rick Newton, PE Teacher

Hillary Roberts, Kindergarten Ed Assistant

Anna Turner, Special Educator

We look forward to working in partnership with you as we embrace the PBIS method. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our PBIS co-leaders Katie Cormier and Ania White by email:

(4) Saturday, October 20 Bake Sale*   NEEDED 6th Graders and Adults at the sale and baking volunteers... please HELP.

Volunteer for a shift (at least 1 adult and at least three 6th graders per shift):

Volunteer to bake:  

Questions? Contact Tracey Hayes at 630-310-9498. 

If you have any questions regarding the 6th grade celebration, want to help organize, or its planning, please feel free to contact us Jo Ellen's and Katie's emails are in the CC.

Community News

(1) Marine Lab 2019. If you're interested in a field trip for your middle-school child to Florida during April break, please email

(2) Ford Sayre Ski Sale
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Sunday November 4, 2018
Richmond Middle School

Friday November 2, 6-7:30, Saturday November 3, 9:00-11:00. Please make sure equipment is in good condition.
Think Snow!

(3) Enrollment is now open though December 15th for the Kangaroo Math competition hosted at Crossroads Academy on Thursday March 21 at 5 pm.   Kangaroo Math is an international mathematical competition established in 1991 with over 50  participating countries. There are twelve levels of participation, ranging from grade 1 to grade 12.  This is an individual competition and you do not need to be on a school team to participate.  For more information, go to  If they enroll and select NH, Lyme will be one of the testing site options.  Once they select Lyme, they will see Crossroads Academy and can go from there…

(4) October Events from the Norwich Public Library:

Show us your mismatched socks!

Friday, October 26 all day, movie at 3:30

Come celebrate our differences and take a stand against anti-bullying by wearing mismatched socks.

Take part in our photobooth, and sock parade. We’ll have a movie at 3:30, snacks and beverages will be provided. Bring in one unmatched sock and be one of our Sock Angels. Those who bring in a sock will be entered into our raffle for a pair of tickets to see Matilda at Northern Stage. See our website and social media for more exciting details about the activities. 

Trunk or Treat

Wednesday, October 31

From 4:00- 5:30

This year we will be hosting our 3rd annual Trunk or Treat. The library parking lot will be transformed as the library staff and community members decorate their cars to give out goodies along the Norwich trick-or-treat route. There will be candy, tattoos, pencils and other small offerings. We’re so excited to see everyone’s costumes, both creative and classic. Hard to imagine you could top last year’s, some of them were amazing! Please note, the Library will be closing at 3:00 to get ready for the festivities.

Interested in participating in Game Week or Crafternoons—read on.

Game Week

Nov 4-10

Calling all kids who like to play boardgames. It’s back! International Game Week, our fifth year of participation runs from Sunday-Saturday. There are events throughout the week, but Friday is a whole day of gaming, If you have a particular board game you’d like to play, especially one you’d be willing to help give a little instruction on, sign up for a slot and we’ll publish the schedule. Come in for one or more games, our hope is to have enough people signed up for each slot to make it a more fun experience.

Looking for Crafternoon help

Our annual crafternoons are back! We’re hosting at least two sessions in late November, early December. We’d love to have several stations set up at each and kids can choose which tables to visit. We’re looking at potentially offering bath bomb making, lip balm, soap, sachets, first aid kits, scrapbook of the year, bracelets, or ornaments. It’s wide open at the moment. If any parent/caregiver is interested participating, please send me a note Our space is a little limited, but we could do three weeks if we get lots of interest. Since there isn’t a gift making festival this year, this may be your chance to help kids have the opportunity to make some lovely gifts for family and friends. Thank you for considering.

(5) Hello from the Hartford Norwich Holiday Basket Helpers,

Believe it or not, it is that time of year again.

Attached is our newly simplified application, which is similar to the Listen application.  We also have new email addresses within our organization, in an aim to be more efficient. 

The Hartford Norwich Holiday Basket Helpers program is intended to help families who for one reason or another, would not have the resources to provide gifts for their children at the holidays.  We trust you to make the determination about who could benefit from our program, realizing that finances, health, employment or personal family events, can change very quickly and put a strain on a family.  Our goal is to help ensure that the children in those families will not be forgotten because of the circumstances of their parents and family.

Another change this year is that we will email you and the referred families the week of Nov. 19-23, with pertinent Pick Up Day information.  We hope these added steps will provide you with reassurance, and will aid in your communication with the families you have referred. 

Please email the completed application forms to us as soon as possible, preferably by Nov. 2nd, at 
If for any reason you have a family that emerges after this date, please contact me at, and we will do our best to help.

It is Very Important that all information requested is supplied and is Legible. 

Please make as many copies of our application as you need.  We need returned to us: One family form per family, and an individual gift request form for each child in that family.

Please do not make double sided copies, and if possible please do not use colored paper.
Please legibly include: your name, your school or agency, your contact and email phone number.

Many times it is necessary for us to contact a referring agent with a question on Pick Up Day (Dec. 8)  If you would kindly consider additionally including your cell# for these emergencies, we promise to keep it private and to not use it unnecessarily. 

If for any reason a family does not pick up their gifts, we will need to deliver them to you on Monday Dec. 10.  (Please do not offer this as an option as we do not have the resources to store or deliver gifts)

Pick Up Day is:  at St. Pauls Church, 749 Hartford Ave, WRJ, on  Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 , from 8:30 - 11:30 am 

Recipients will need to bring the Pick up email (printed or on a device) to be send in Nov., and a form of ID that matches them with the referral.  If someone else is picking up for them, they will need to have signed written permission, along with the email (printed or on a device),  in order to receive the gifts. 

We sincerely thank you for your time and effort to help us on behalf of the children in our community, 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions,

Ann Marie Smith
Hartford-Norwich Holiday Baskets Helpers Committee


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