Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Where on Earth did February Go?

Pictures of art in progress at Durfee...


As the week closes, I am realizing that we have vacation, and when we return, we will be heading into MARCH!  Can you believe it?  Time flies when you are having fun, and doing what you love.

This week, I would like to celebrate and give kudos to two students who are the definition of excellence and hard work; THE REAL DURFEE...

  •  Zachary Medina is a senior performing arts student at Durfee. He is applying to 3 post secondary schools to major in Technical Theatre. Zach is also a composer and performer with a significant portfolio. As part of the Advanced Music Production class,  Zachary is currently working on composing an original score and designing the sound for our drama festival entry "Cagebirds" . Zachary is also in Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, AP Theory class, the Durfee Theatre Company as well as President of our Theatre Technology Club. As you can see, Zach is a busy young man and serves as an example of how students can balance the disciplines of our performing arts program while maintaining his academic commitments. We are most proud of all our Performing / Fine Arts students and Zachary is just one more highlighted example of excellence in our districts' arts community. I LOVE THIS GUY!
  • Reece Ashley is an outstanding Durfee student and musician.  Throughout his time at Durfee he has increased his involvement in the band/music program and has taken on multiple roles for the betterment of all ensembles.  Reece started on trumpet but his Junior year he switched to Tuba.  He currently participates at Durfee in Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, Pit Orchestra for the Durfee Theatre Co. production of Legally Blonde.  In addition to his school ensembles he performs with the Saint Cecelia Philharmonic Band (a community band), Providence Brass (Marching in Parades) and the New Bedford Youth Symphony Orchestra. He also has taken on the role of co-drum major sharing leadership responsibilities with a peer in the program.In addition to band class at Durfee, Reece also successfully completed the Basic Music Theory Course, Introduction to Guitar/Songwritting, and Musical Theatre.  He is currently enrolled in the AP Music Theory Course and Acting I. This year Reece auditioned on November 18, 2017 and was accepted for the Southeastern District Music Festival held on January 6-7, 2018.  After receiving a score in top 50% in the state on his instrument Reece was then was eligible to audition on January 20 with the other five districts in Massachusetts to be accepted in the All State Festival held on March 1-3, 2018 in Boston, MA.  Reece was successful again at his all state audition securing the top tuba spot for the 2018 Massachusetts All State Symphony Orchestra.  At the All State Festival Reece will to be part of the, Mixed Chorus, and Jazz Band rehearse with the Symphony Orchestra for two and a half days and perform on stage in Symphony Hall in Boston.  Reece has lead by example throughout his time at Durfee.  He has shown an excellent work ethic, demonstrated how he can mentor his peers, and maintains a professional/positive attitude.  He has left a strong and positive mark on the performing arts department in Fall River and exemplifies what it means to be a Hilltopper!!!
I also want to give shout outs to a few teachers!
  • Barbara Mullen, artist and teacher at Durfee has been inspiring students for years with her fun, challenging sculpture classes.  This year, she has been working with her colleagues to infuse new ideas into the course, and has motivated her aspiring artists to continue their passion with 3D art making, challenging them to take AP 3D Art next year.  This is a huge step for Durfee as we will have a group comprised of ceramicists (from Brenda Gaudette's program) and sculptors together, working towards common AP goals.  I am so proud of Barbara, as this has been a goal and dream for her, and for her students.  YOU ROCK!
  • Steph Pereira, artist and teacher at Silvia has students in her classes so engaged through every aspect of what she does, says, plans, and surrounds students with in her classroom, every day.  Any visitor, artist or non, can see her passion for her craft paired with super attention to detail as she organizes her room, supplies, sets expectations, uses visuals, technology...  I could go on forever!  If you have not had a chance to see her model classroom, I am telling you- It's AMAZING, and SO IS SHE!
  • Becky Jontos, musician and teacher at Letourneau is the kind of teacher leader who you know you can always count on for sharing great ideas and leading the way.  She is unafraid to try new strategies, use new technology (she is soooooo good with FlipGrid!) and shares this all out with colleagues regularly, whether on Twitter or at professional development.  She took charge of the curriculum mapping, the RI Phil Link Up Program, and the NBSO project.  Her work with her Letourneau scholars remains paramount, as you can see just walking into her room.  Whether using technology to engage students through movement, song, or informational text, or getting students into collaborative groups to dig into musical concepts or using the Compose Yourself Program, Ms. Jontos ROCKS THE HOUSE!
In the News This Week:
  • Teachers on one year plans should be receiving their Formative Evaluation Reports.  This feedback is important- use it as you move forward into the second half of the year, and remember it's not too early to start collecting artifacts for the next round in May.  Be clear with your evaluator for the Summative Meeting- think about the following:
    • Did my focus group for the SLG achieve their goal?  How do I know?  How can I show this growth (chart, spreadsheet..)?
    • Did I achieve my PPG, and perform the tasks I set out to do?  What evidence do I have to show that, and what examples can I give that show I implemented these goals/strategies into my work with students?
    • And for the 4 standards, what have I not yet shown evidence of?  Consider providing evidence of additional indicators, versus repeating the same..
  • Also in the news, Jess Vinacco, ELA Department Head was awarded a FRCC grant in the amount of $1,400.oo to have Bay Colony Theatre perform Macbeth here at Durfee on Friday, February 16th.  After the 1PM show in the auditorium (10th Grade and acting/theatre students will be invited to view), the troupe will remain for an acting workshop for students!
  • All City Band, Chorus and Orchestra practices are HAPPENING!  And by happening, I mean kids are coming weekly to practice!  This has been a wonderful chance for our kids to have additional time to improve their skills, and I am so happy that they are loving it.  Kudos to all Teachers leading this!  Nicole Laprise, Jodie Laprise, Caroline Herrero, Emily Plunkett, Jay Treloar, Donna Murray, Karen Souza, Matt MacMullen and Michela Gardner who has taken on All City Chorus, bringing it back from a long hiatus! 
On the Calendar:
  • Release time day- March 1: I am listing all of your requests, bucketing them into common groups, and will share a plan by Monday, February 26th.
  • February Department Meeting K-8 Schools: Thursday, March 1 (after PD)
  • Durfee Theatre METGs: March 3rd, 10th.. Wish them luck!
  • NBSO Concert (3rd Grade): March 13th
  • All City Band Concert: April 3rd
  • All City Orchestra Concert: April 5th
  • And the BIG BIG FRPS Arts EXPO: April 26th!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 2, 2018


I just have to say that I love my team.  I hope you had as much fun today as I did, and learned lots of new "STUFF" from your colleagues and visiting artists.  It's days like today that remind me of how great it is to be a part of your team.  I thank you from the bottom of my little Portuguese heart..

And now, for some killer pics!

We had some great collaborative time today working through learning new ways to deliver our content.  Thanks go out to Becky Jontos, Jenn Mattei, Christine Mandeville, Steph Pereira, Frank Farias, Lauren Vecoli and Carolyn Jane for sharing their expertise with each of you.  

I will update the Blog next week with lots of good stuff, but for today, I just wanted to leave these images with you as well as my gratitude.  You all rock.

Thanks for everything you do.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Buh-Bye January!

The love and pride that our Nina, Durfee student feels about school is infectious, as is her smile!

In the Blog This Week:
Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are announced!  This year, we have three award winners!
  • Caitlyn Borges- Painting, In the Mills- Honorable Mention
  • Kiara Raposa- Painting, The Blue Period, Self Portrait- Honorable Mention
  • Nolin Freitas- Painting, Durfee Union Mills- Gold Key
Congratulations to all, and to Mark Carvalho for his mentoring of these young painters!

Also, Congratulations to Reece Ashley, Durfee Band Studentfor being accepted to participate in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All State Conference playing Tuba!  Reece auditioned on November 18, 2017 and was accepted for the Southeastern District Music Festival held on January 6-7, 2018.  After receiving a score in top 50% in the state on his instrument Reece was then was eligible to audition on January 20 with the other five districts in Massachusetts for the All State Festival held on March 1-3, 2018 in Boston, MA. YESSA!!!!!

At the All State Festival all students who successfully auditioned to be part of the Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Mixed Chorus, and Jazz Band rehearse over two and a half days and perform on stage in Symphony Hall in Boston.

Here is the summary of Friday's Professional Development Plan:

Morning Sessions
Art- Choose ONE of the first two courses, and then all will attend the third
Task- Alignment to DIP
Silvia- Art
Mini Lesson Tutorial- How To on the How To’s (Blended Learning)
Frank Farias and Steph Pereira will be facilitating how art teachers can prepare their lessons, video-taping them, adding specific content vocabulary.  A demonstration lesson will be completed, and uploaded to the site used to store and modify videos.  Teachers will then load the video to the blendspace for the lesson.  

Website is:
Login Info:, password: 123456

This strategy allows for the teacher to flip the classroom during instruction, and is able to rotate through the room, facilitating through hand over hand modeling if needed (students with special needs..) or simply pausing the video to chunk content, or revisit for reteaching.
Morton- Art
Work Period: Accountable Talk Sessions - Pop Art Style Roles for Notetaker, Materials, Focuser (collaborative group work)
Jenn Mattei and Christine Mandeville will host teachers as they model how to plan a task that digs into the Historical Connections Frameworks, as they ask students in a collaborative group to synthesize the style of an artist.  

Breakout Group Session - Artist Triptych Lesson - “Artist Buckets”  - The following are contents of the “Bucket”:
  • Artists (Props for the following)- Van Gogh(Ear wrap, beard), Frida(Unibrow), Dali(Curly Mustache), O’Keeffe(Flowers and bones), Warhol(Wig and Campbell’s Soup can), Monet (Artist’s Palette, straw hat, lilypad), Picasso ( striped shirt)
  • Bio - Handout of brief artist bio - to close read
  • List of Questions for the artist - If you could interview the artist what questions would you ask?
  • Color Copy of major work/masterpiece
  • Quotes from the artist
  • Fun Facts

K-12- ALL
Art Room 85
Staying Current in Art Education Trends/Media
Carolyn Jane, Dick Blick Representative from the Providence Store will be with us to demonstrate how to work with a few interesting art supplies- teachers will be able to use these media to experiment with specific tasks, and may choose to incorporate these into their maps.

Music/Performing Arts
- Choose ONE of the first two courses, and then all will attend the third
Task- Alignment to DIP
Letourneau- Music
Engaging and Rigorous Group Learning in Music (collaborative group work)
Rebecca Jontos will lead teachers in interactive learning structures (such as numbered heads, maitre d', jigsaw, gallery walk, etc) and vocabulary strategies (from an SEI point of view), as well as how to plan tasks for students in groups that align to standards of musicianship, while making them fun and engaging, while still using that content specific vocabulary.  Use of blended learning strategies (tech), movement and close reads of text will be included.
Durfee- Music Audio Tech Lab
Optional- NAfME Professional Development
If interested in subscribing, this webinar professional development platform will engage you in video tutorials with a short assessment afterward.  The NAfME organization will send you a professional development certificate for each course (1 hour per course) in the following areas:

The webinars are offered to NAfME members/teachers for a fee of $20.  Please forward to me the receipt if you choose to do this PD and I will reimburse.  
K-12 ALL
10:00-11:30 AM
Band Room
Dance/Movement in General Music- Engaging students through movement
These Guest Dance Teachers will discuss movement and dance in music, and teachers will be able to implement new dance and movement strategies to experiment with specific tasks, and may choose to incorporate these into their maps.  The task will be fun, and we will connect dance standards to music standards as we interpret dance and music through tempo, rhythm, mood..  We should also be able to add new dance vocabulary to our maps!

Monthly Department Meetings for K-8 Teachers:

  •  We will meet after this PD for their monthly meeting.  (art will continue to use this time for EXPO prep).  K-5 music will be with Becky Jontos in the music wing, and 6-8 music will be with me in my office.
On the Calendar:

Math AP Saturday Session- DHS
End of Term II- DHS
Professional Development Day
Biology MCAS Retest Day 1- DHS
Biology MCAS Retest Day 2- DHS
Faculty Meeting- DHS
Winter Break begins at end of day!
Department Meeting- DHS
Day 1 ELA MCAS Retest Long Comp- DHS
FRPS Release Time Day
Day 2 ELA MCAS Retest- DHS
Day 3 ELA MCAS Retest-DHS
Day 1 Math MCAS Retest- DHS
Day 2 Math MCAS Retest-DHS
Have a wonderful weekend,

Friday, January 19, 2018

Is it Spring YET?

A Few Share Outs!

 Doran Welcomes YOU!

Silvia Art Teacher, Ms. Steph Pereira using that content vocab!

The cold weather and short days can be challenging, but somehow, we made it to the end of the half way through January mark!  

Some of you are getting ready for Formative Meetings, so I wanted to re-post some information regarding these:

  • Your evaluator will be looking at the artifacts that you upload to your evidence file.  Make sure it is organized and easy to understand.  Labeling it with the appropriate Standard/Goal or making folders for each is a good idea..
  • For most of you, your evaluator is not an art or music teacher, so make sure that you explain how each artifact shows growth in your content.  Also, explain how students show this growth, and "how you know" they grew! (Student work, pre and post tests, formative assessments, rubrics, check ins, tickets to leave- all of these can show growth)
  • It's the Formative time, so you should be "Half Way There," (cue in Bon Jovi).  This means that you should have anywhere from 1-3 artifacts for evidence in each of the six areas (four standards and two goals).
  • Your evaluator will give you commendations and recommendations- pay attention to those so you know what to focus on when you supplement the evidence for the Summative evaluation meeting.
  • Don't share 100 artifacts!  This will only stress your evaluator out!  Please limit yourself to the BEST sources of support for your proficiency in each standard/goal..  Like we tell the kids in ELA, "Cite the BEST source of evidence to support your answer!"
In the News This Week:
  • I did some DATA Diving (sounds exciting) this week, and put together some information relative to Durfee Instrumental Students.  I compared their MCAS scores to the Durfee average scores, and then to the State's average scores.  Here's a table with these percentages.

Partial Meet/Warning
Durfee Band/Orch

  • There is a correlation between playing an instrument and achievement, and we want to foster that as we continue to provide our students of FRPS with quality Instrumental Programs.  Thank you so much for the work in helping our students develop this love for music.  The benefits affect so much more than just the students' ability to play.

On the Calendar:

  • Thursday, Jan 25th- Monthly K-8 Department Meeting- 
    • Art is prepping for EXPO in schools 
    • Music- K-5 with Becky Jontos at Letourneau- Becky will send out info next week
    • Music 6-8 with me at Durfee- 3:45
  • Thursday, Feb 1- End of Term 2/Sem 1 for Durfee
  • Friday, Feb 2- Professional Day
  • Feb 19th to 23rd- February Vacation
  • March 16- End of Trimester 2
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Flooded with GREATNESS and GRIT

 In reflecting on this week's events at Durfee, and also Tansey, I am compelled to share that I feel so proud to work in this district.  I say that because of the greatness and grit I see among us.  We had an already deteriorating building take another hit with thousands of gallons of water destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of technology in classrooms, and that same day, had to evacuate students from Tansey due to a gas issue.  And still, we persevered.  The district team reacted instantly, proactively and with a positive attitude toward getting it done, whether that be cleaning up in the aftermath of the flood, or getting the Tansey kids safely to Durfee for dismissal.  And today, we are back.  I walked through classrooms today and my heart was full to hear and see Our Kids working with teachers, and teachers welcoming them back, both with that same GREATNESS AND GRIT that I so admire in my city.  
     Nonetheless, I was reminded today that we read about the impact of a building's physical state on LEARNING, in Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, on page 82.  

Pink states: 
"A study at Georgetown University found that even if the students, teachers, and educational approach remained the same, improving a schools physical environment could increase test scores by as much as 11%." (The Value of Good Design, report from The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2002)

Now, let's continue to advocate for the need for that new Durfee- Our Kids deserve it. 

In the News this Week:

  • We have All City Band and Orchestra practicing!  This is an amazing new plan, where students in grades 5-12 are practicing together for their All City Performance in April!
  • We have All City Chorus making a come back!  This tradition was lost years ago, and my goal is to bring it back for our students who have a passion for singing.  We are starting with the Middle Schools, and will tie it into the High School next year!
  • We are prepping for the biggest Art Show AROUND!  The K-12 Arts EXPO will be held here at Durfee on Thursday, April 26th.  We will be sharing the flyer soon in multiple languages, and teachers have already begun the work of choosing work for exposition, as referent in the frameworks.
Planning Ahead:
  • Art teachers, I have interoffice mailed you a supply order form.  Please fill in after you have taken inventory of what you have left, and submit this order back to me by 1/31!
  • Music K-5 teachers involved with NBSO 3rd Grade March Trip, make sure you are up to date with the field trip info that Becky shared with you!
  • All K-12 Fine and Performing Arts Staff, please be aware of the Feb 2nd PD Day Agenda!  I will share in the email- good plan for the day.  Hope to see you all for the AM sessions, and the PM will be with Dr. Malone! I'm pumped!  There is a link to choose the first AM class, so please click on it (in the agenda) to sign up!
Calendar Stuff:
  • 1/15 No School- MLK Day
  • 1/17 Durfee Dept Meeting 2:50
  • 2/1- End of Term 2 for DURFEE
  • 2/2- Full Day PD Day
  • 2/19 to 2/23- Feb Vacation
Thanks and have a wonderful long weekend,