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.