Thursday, January 31, 2013

5th Grade Ice Skating Program

I would like to thank Ms. Govoni for again organizing and running a great Ice Skating Program for the fifth graders. I would also like to thank the Burlington Ice Palace for their continued support of the program and the parent volunteers who helped out too.

This program builds self esteem and confidence in students.  In addition, it introduces many students to a great sport they can do throughout their lives.  Likewise, the program further strengthens our 5th grade community.  It is a lot of fun!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Note From Burlington PAC

Burlington Special Education PAC invites you to join the upcoming meeting on “Transitions Between Schools” on Monday, February 4th 7pm -9pm in the school committee room at Burlington High.  Parents will have the opportunity to discuss the transition process for each school with representatives from special education staff members.  Team chairs from various schools will be hosting tables where they will provide parents with information regarding their respective schools and programs.  Tables will include transitions from Early Intervention to Preschool, Preschool to Elementary School, Elementary to Middle School, Middle to High school and High school to post secondary. Also available for families will be Danielle Flaccavento, Guidance Memorial, Kim Settelen, Psychologist at Fox Hill, Joe Attabato, Director of Guidance at BHS, and Chrissy Robinson, Social Worker at BHS.
This is a great opportunity to learn what is in store for your child as well as gain information about the various departments in schools that take part in special education programming.
For more information on this event or the Burlington PAC please contact Lisa DeRosa or 781-365-0124

Friday, January 25, 2013

Are You Sure Your Child Isn't Using Social Media? from Assistant Superintendent Patrick Larkin's Learning in Burlington Blog

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are You Sure Your Child Isn't Using Social Media?

What Apps Is Your Child Using?
Just because your child does not have a Facebook or Twitter account does not mean they are not using social media resources.  I have been hearing rumblings from various communities (including Burlington) about elementary and middle school-aged children making poor choices with social media resources.  I am certain that in many cases that the parents of these kids are unaware that their kids are over-sharing personal information, posting and viewing inappropriate pictures, and having inappropriate conversations with friends AND STRANGERS.

The bottom line here is that parents need to check on every app at that their children are adding to their iPod, iPad, iPhone, or other web-enabled device. We have moved so quickly from the days when our biggest web-based concern regarding our children was a desktop computer in a common area of our homes. As we are well aware, many of the gadgets that they carry in their pockets can do so much more than those desktops could ever do. With new social media apps and websites coming onto the scene at a breathtaking pace, it is not surprising that parents can't keep up. 

A Little Advice For Parents

So as I navigate this landscape with my own kids, I want to let you know that just keeping your kids off of Facebook and Twitter is a far cry from keeping them off of social media.  In an effort to promote awareness, I have a few questions for parents...
  1. Do you know what apps are on your child's iPad, iPod, Smartphone, etc.?
  2. Do you know which apps are connected to social media resources?
  3. Do you monitor the social media accounts that you have allowed your child to create?
  4. Have you heard of snapchat
If you answered no to at least one of the above questions then you are probably in the majority of parents out there.  If you answered yes to most of the above questions then please share your knowledge with the parents you know to help them stay on top of what is happening.  The fact of the matter is that these sites typically require a user to be at least 13 years of age to register and many kids lie about their age in order to sign up which raises an additional issue.  

In regards to Snapchat, you get bonus points if you know that one.  Snapachat has become known by many as a tool for sexting as a recent Mashable post describes.  The way it works is that an individual may send another individual a picture and the sender decides how long the person receiving the picture can view it (from 1-10 seconds) and then the picture disappears "forever."  Of course since lesson number-one in the whole social media game is that anything you say online can follow you "forever," we know this is not true.

From a parent's perspective, it is tough to connect the current experience that our children are having with social media resources to our own experiences growing up.  All we really had was a telephone to connect with our friends and have social conversations. In addition, most of us had some time limits in place when it came to these conversations. In my opinion, it would make sense for us all to at least have some idea of how much time are kids are spending online and what they are up to.

Some Resources For Parents

Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents to help them set appropriate ground rules for their kids. It also provides parents with great app reviews, like the one below for Snapchat. You can search with the box in the upper right hand corner for a review of most apps and find out some useful information before deciding whether or not it is appropriate for your child.  

We will continue to provide workshops for parents to learn about these issues, but in the meantime I encourage parents to check out a few of the following:

Tweens Secret Lives Online - The Wall Street Journal

If you feel you are a parent who has a good handle on this issue, then please share some of the practices that you think are working well! If you are parent who feels lost and needs immediate assistance, please contact me and I would be happy to offer some advice/assistance (

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Social Media and Safety at Home

I have witnessed social media such as Twitter be an incredible tool for professional development for fields such as medicine, education and engineering.  It is a great experience to talk to professionals all over the world about a specific topic or learn of new research.  I have also been made aware of social media being an incredible tool for hurting children -similar in many ways to how a knife can be utilized to cook a wonderful meal or be a weapon. 

Two popular social media that middle school students and students in intermediate grades are using are Snapchat and Instagram.  Instagram and Facebook require that children have to be 13 to have an account. Snapchat’s policy states:

 “OUR AUDIENCE:The Snapchat service is intended for use by people who are 13 years of age or older. Minors over the age of 13 should seek permission from their parents to use the application.”

Many children have created Instrgram and Snapchat accounts without their parent’s permission and knowledge specifically.  It is often the case that parents have told their children they can not have a Facebook Account, with one of the main reasons being that parents know about Facebook, but have not addressed these other social media options with their children.   

Some of the dangers of having young children on social media are that they might say things online that they would never say in person, have the capability of posting damaging pictures where the subject of the picture did not give consent, or be stalked by a pedofile.  Pedofiles will often impersonate tweens to gain access to communicate with children.  

I would not be surprised if readers of this blog post tonight looked at the browsing history on an electronic device or apps on those devices in their house and came across Snapchat or Instagram.  In fact, a lot of the usage of new social media apps and web pages are by the age 10-18 year old demographic. 

As a parent when comes to privacy it takes a back seat to safety in my mind.  Several of my friends and myself actively, daily, and with hawkish behavior check our children’s electronic devices.  Students can access wifi at such common places as McDonald’s Restaurant.  Many electronic devices are easy to conceal and very portable.  Just like instant messaging was a great concern 10 years ago we always need to be mindful of what’s next in the world of electric communication to ensure our children are responsible digital citizens.  


Note from Scout Pack 555

Scouting for Food is coming to your neighborhood doors, so be on the lookout. The scouts from Pack 555 will be dropping off plastic bags on neighborhood doorways with a special request to collect Boxed Cereal donations for the food pantry.  If you know a scout in your neighborhood and you would like to contribute, let them know.  This philanthropic event is something simple but extremely rewarding to our scouts. Your grateful contributions keeps them participating every year. So if you get that friendly bag on your doorknob, please help them assist the needy families in our community with their most demanded commodity--Boxed Cereal! Thank you in advance.

MCAS Schedule 2013

MCAS Schedule

Please don’t schedule events during the MCAS Assessment Schedule.  In the event of weather causing a school cancelation or sickness we have a very limited time window to do makeup days.   


Tuesday March 19th -Grade 4 ELA 
Wednesday March 20th -Grade 3 ELA
Thursday March 21st Grade 3 ELA
Monday March 25th Grade 5 ELA
Wednesday March 27th Grade 5 ELA


Tuesday April 2 Grade 4 ELA 
Wednesday April 3 Grade 4 ELA
Monday May 6 Grade 5 Math
Tuesday May 7 Grade 5 Math
Wednesday May 8 Grade 4 Math
Thursday May 9 Grade 4 Math
Monday May 13 Grade 5 Science
Tuesday May 14 Grade 5 Science
Wednesday May 15 Grade 3 Math
Thursday May 16 Grade 3 Math

Illness and Communicable Diseases

The following information is from the Pine Glen Elementary School Handbook.  The information relates to students health and wellness. 

Illness and Communicable Diseases

Children who have indications of a communicable disease should be seen by their health care provider.  In order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and to insure rapid recovery with a minimum of after-effects, it is advisable to keep a child home from school when he/she shows such symptoms as vomiting, diarrhea, fever over 100°, chills, congestive cough, runny nose, sore throat, or skin eruptions, etc. Your child should be free of any of these symptoms for at least 24 hours before returning to school. If any of these symptoms are found in a child at school, the parents will be notified and the child will be sent home.


All communicable diseases, when diagnosed, are to be reported to the school nurse. Please call the school nurse at 781-270-1713. Please inform the school nurse of any conditions/illnesses and/or medications that you child may have. When reporting, please include the following information:


The nurse will then be able to check on the classroom for further spread of the disease and report the illness to the Board of Health, if necessary.

The most common diseases and their periods of isolation are as follows:

CHICKEN POX - All lesions must be completely crusted over and dried before the child can return to school.

STREP INFECTION - STREP THROAT - SCARLET FEVER - Without medication, the child must remain at home for 1 week. The child may return to school 24 hours after medication is begun. It is necessary that all medication be taken as ordered.

IMPETIGO - Affected students may return to school after using medicine for 24 hours. The sores should be kept lightly covered until they have dried up completely.

CONJUNCTIVITIS - The child may return to school after using medicine for 24 hours.

HEAD LICE - If your child has been found to have head lice, he/she must be treated immediately. Your child may not return to school until treated and nit-free. Your child must be cleared through the school nursing office before going back to class.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together Program

The following pictures below are from Mrs. Visocchi's Fourth Grade Class.   Mrs. Visocchi's class is piloting the Bridges: Growing Older, Growing Together Program (Bridges).  This is an award wining program that has older adults and elementary students working together and allows for both age groups to gain knowledge from each other.   The program also helps us expand our Pine Glen Community through understanding and respect of all members of our community.  The program is built upon educational best practices and supports the Common Core Curriculum.  I have greatly enjoyed seeing the smiles and learning taking place during the program.   


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Marshall Simonds Middle School

Community Invited to Open House at Marshall Simonds Middle School

     Parents and members of the community are invited to tour the “new” Marshall Simonds Middle School at an Open House scheduled for Saturday, January 26 between the hours of 9:30 and 11:30a.m.  All classrooms and instructional areas will be available for public viewing. 
     The renovated building and addition features 9 well-equipped science labs, updated technology, student lockers, one large cafeteria, 3 connecting corridors that improve pedestrian flow, a new kitchen, computer rooms, special education facilities, a main entrance with a large skylight to utilize natural lighting, outdoor courtyards and a 5,000 square foot library.
     The 32 million dollar construction project is the first major renovation of the middle school in fifty years.  Students and teachers are expected to benefit from the increased space and modern educational resources.
     Hopefully, many Burlington citizens will take advantage of this opportunity to visit M.S.M.S. on Saturday, January 26th.

Kindergarten Registration Information

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lexington Symphony

From the Pine Glen Music Blog

Today four members of the Lexington Symphony visited Pine Glen to give our third graders a preview of the concert they will be seeing next week. The musicians played many pieces as well as discussed the four families of instruments. It was wonderful and we are so excited to see the full orchestra next week!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Administrative Council

Pine Glen hosted the Burlington Public Schools' Administrative Council today. Some of the members of council are all the principals in the district, directors, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

As part of our meeting time all the members of the council do walk throughs of the classrooms. In the first picture is Mrs. Rickerhauser, Memorial Elementary School Principal, talking to fourth grade students about what they have learned. The second picture is Assistant Superintendent Patrick Larkin (standing next to Ms. Hayes) also talking to fourth graders about what they have learned.

Professional Development

Yesterday after school teachers participated in Curriculum Councils. Curriculum Councils are composed of teachers from all 4 elementary schools. There are Curriculum Councils for English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. I facilitated the Social Studies Curriculum Council. Below are pictures of teachers on the council working on the social studies' curriculum.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Destiny Quest and Student Logins

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 8.05.06 PMPart of the Library & Technology Center's program is to ensure that students have access to the library's resources 24/7 and to teach students to be responsible and effective digital citizens. Giving students their own logins to Destiny Quest does both of those beautifully.

Destiny Quest is where students can search the Pine Glen library catalog and, with a login, they can now manage their own library accounts. In addition, Destiny Quest is a social networking site where students can be a part of a reading community online. Students in grades 3 and up are set up with their own logins and are given instruction on how to use Destiny Quest and how we expect them to behave online in a social network.

However, if there are parents out there who would like to have access to their children's library accounts who are in grades K-2, send me a quick email and I can set up an account for your child.

What Can You Do When You Log In to Destiny Quest?
  • Search the Pine Glen library catalog.
  • See which books you have checked out.
  • Renew your books (only once!) if you need more time.
  • Place books on hold and check to see when your hold books are ready for checkout.
  • Add books to your own virtual bookshelves and keep track of what you want to read next.
  • Add books that are not in the library to Mrs. D’Elia’s library shopping Wish List.
  • Become Friends with other Pine Glen Destiny users.
  • Recommend books to your Friends and share comments.
  • Rate books and write book reviews for other Pine Glen Destiny users to read.
How Do I Log In to Destiny Quest?
  • Go to (official web site of the Pine Glen Library & Technology Center)
  • Click on “Destiny Catalog” found on the right side Links menu.
  • Select Pine Glen Elementary School
  • Click on the small Login button in the upper right hand corner.
  • User Name: Student’s 6-digit LASID number
  • Password: destiny (case sensitive)
Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 9.02.41 PMCan I Use Destiny Quest on my Mobile Device? . . Yes!
  • Download the app:
Free Destiny app for Apple devices:
Free Destiny app for Android:
  • When it asks you to Connect to Your Library, enter the following url:
  • Select Pine Glen Elementary
  • Log in with the same student login

If you have any questions, please contact me at or at 781-221-7798 Thank You!--Laura DElia, School Librarian

Community Outreach

Thank You!

A BIG thank you to the ENTIRE Pine Glen Community!  
Together we raised $305.00 for Massachusetts General Hospital. 
Run! Run! Run!  
You can do it Mrs. Visocchi!  

Parent Technology Night

January Parent Technology Night

Parent Tech Night January.004
The Burlington EdTech Team will be hosting our first Parent Technology Night of 2013 on January 22 at Marshall Simonds Middle School. The topic for the discussion will be Google Apps for Education in Burlington schools. Please join us for an opportunity to learn about some of the powerful technology tools being used by Burlington students. The session will highlight how our students are beginning to use Google Apps during the 2012-2013 school year. Time during every session is also dedicated to technology related questions and support.
The session will be held in the new MSMS Learning Commons on the second floor.
Dennis Villano, Director of Technology Integration

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Message from Burlington Special Education PAC

Burlington Special Education PAC will be holding an Open House on Monday, January 7 from 7pm - 9pm in the BHS Library, where you will have the opportunity to consult with a wide variety of special education experts. These experts include Special Ed Attorney Lillian Wong, Neuropsychologist Kaaren Bekken, Special Ed Consultants Sue Terzakis and Melody Orfei and Marilyn Weber, Advocate/Transition Specialist. Dr. Conti, Superintendent and Louise D’Amato, Special Education Director will also be available to speak with parents. This is a unique opportunity to have your questions answered in a low-key, informal environment, and will prove useful for parents of general education students as well!  After brief introductions in the library, the professionals will be available for private, 1:1 consultations. Take advantage of this informal, free opportunity to meet highly qualified professionals.
 Recently added expert: Joyce Gillis, Program Director for the Children’s Dyslexia Center- Boston North. The Children’s Dyslexia Center provides intensive tutoring for children with dyslexia using the Orton-Gillingham approach with the latest cutting edge research based methods.

 For more info on this event or the Burlington PAC please or call 781-273-5663
Happy New Year,
 Dennis McCarron, Chairman
Burlington PAC