Community Meeting – Thursday November 20th

Smith’s Monthly Community Meeting is Thursday November 20th  6:30-7:30pm in Smith’s Library. 

This meeting will feature the First and Second Grade Team.  Come out to hear about all the upcoming events at Smith and get a chance to talk with our First and Second Grade Teachers.

Childcare and refreshments are available.  See you soon

The Princess and the Pea

This year’s school production of The Princess and the Pea will be this Friday November 14th!!

Our 3rd, 4th & 5th graders have been rehearsing all week for Friday’s 12:15pm & 7pm performances.

Please plan to come out Friday Night November 14th for the friends and family showing at 7pm.  The student and staff show will be Friday at 12:15pm.

BRRRR! It’s Getting Cold Outside! – Winter Coat Drive!

Winter Clothing / Book Share

Coordinated by

PTO & The Family Center

During conference week (11/11/14 – 11/14/14) families are welcome to take winter clothing items and books for their children.

In preparation of the event we are asking families to bring in old gloves, snow pants, coats, and snow/rain boots. NO HATS PLEASE!!!

Students may drop off items to their classroom teacher or parents can bring them into the office.

Collection dates: 10/27/14 – 11/7/14

Smith Night at Rita’s with Celebrity Scoopers! – Thursday October 23rd 5-8pm

October Restaurant Night


Date: Thursday, October 23rd
Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Restaurant: Rita’s Italian Ice
Address: 1134 New Britain Avenue in Elmwood

Mmm…Italian Ice and Custard! Yummy!

NO FLYER NEEDED! Come on by and visit with our Celebrity Scoopers:                                     Principal Melián (5 – 6 p.m.), Mrs. Miller (6 – 7 p.m.), Mr. Hall & Mrs. Makarewicz (7 – 8 p.m.)

Smith STEM School Will Be Launching A Weather Balloon!

The Great Balloon Chase

Tuesday Oct 21, 2014
Lift Off Approx 0845 hours
Expected altitude 25,000 meters
Expected Flight Time 2.5 hours

This Just In……Smith STEM School will be sending a weather balloon up into the Earth’s stratosphere!

We have received clearance from FAA Traffic Control for a lift off at 0845 hours!

 Although there is a chance of showers in the morning, we are going to launch unless the rain is steady or heavy. After the students arrive at their classrooms and get unpacked, they will proceed to the field in Fire Drill formation by 8:40 am. (This will ensure that everyone will get a view of the balloon launch).  Families are welcome to come to view the launch and  help with the countdown.  Our students will be helping with the countdown for the launch.  The launch will occur as close to 8:45 am as we can.
The balloon is expected to fly for 2 1/2 – 3 hours covering up to 200 miles. The balloon is equipped with GPS tracking that will update the balloon’s position every 10 minutes.  The balloons progress may be viewed at the following link:

You will have to refresh this site every so often to get up to date information. You can also switch it to satellite mode for a different view. This will also be posted on the front of the school website.
The Balloon Recovery Team (Kathy Hardesty and Courtney Jacklin)  will also send Tweets during the “Great Balloon Chase” mission updating us on the progress.   Follow @HardestyQuest and @adaywithmissj to receive this information.Some Questions for the Kids to answer:
- Where do you think the balloon will land?
- What do think the pictures will look like?
- What will the clouds look like from above?
- Will it take longer to climb or fall?
- What causes the balloon to burst and fall  to earth?

This is truly a special opportunity for our children to Notice, Wonder and Explore!  Thank you again to the Foundation for West Hartford Schools for funding this grant and to all the families that support the PTO which provided the funds for the helium.


Meeting Minutes October 2014

On Thursday, October 9th we held our first Community Meeting. Catch up on our meeting minutes below. Be sure to join us at the next Community Meeting which will feature our First and Second Grade teachers!

Remember, Community Meetings are informal! Fun! Informative! This is a way for you to find out what’s happening in your child’s classroom and the community at-large. All are welcome!

Our conversation with the Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers resulted in a thorough discussion of fire and lockdown drills, ways you can help your child at home, ways you can help your child’s teacher (whether at home or in the building), among other things.

We hope to see you at the next meeting.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Community Meeting Agenda

- PTO Welcome Message & Introductions

- Kathy Hardesty: Weather balloon information and update

Last year, the 3-D printer was introduced.  This year, there will be a weather balloon project.  The balloon will launch from the Smith roof (hopefully with all students watching from the blacktop) and will carry a carbon square rod, a camera, a GPS unit, and a parachute.  It will go up about 100,000 feet to the stratosphere, where the balloon will pop, causing the rest of the apparatus to drop back down to Earth.  Students in every classroom can log in and follow the pings from the GPS unit – it sends a signal every 10 minutes.  One camera will carry video, and the other will carry still photos.  This is live science, which will be great for the students.  Grant came from West Hartford Foundation.  Target date for launch will be 10/21.  If not successful, the following Tuesdays and/or Fridays will be attempted.  Ms. Jacklin, Mrs. Smith (hopefully) and Peter Towey will be in the car that follows the GPS.

- Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten Conversation

Mrs. Russell and Ms. Cravedi discussed how parents can get involved and be a part of their child’s education.  The teachers are introducing their Habits of Mind.  Teachers want parents to feel involved on every level.  Research shows that kids do better in school when they know their parents are involved in their school.  That can mean cutting things out at home for a classroom project, providing supplies, attending a field trip.

Pre-k lottery is limited to 16 slots, and factors in how many males/females, how many neighborhood/magnet families apply.

Per Mr. Melian: There will be one drill per month.  Two months in a row will be exit (fire) drills; the third month will be a lockdown drill.  This pattern will repeat throughout the year.

Snacks – Teachers often purchase snacks for children who forget their snacks.  It is helpful if families are able to contribute extra healthy snacks.

- Jenny Steadman: Mini-golf tournament update

Camp Jewell funding committee is working hard.  Mini-golf tournament is this Sunday from 12-5, but if you’ve bought tickets, they are good all weekend.  They have raised $1500 so far, with the help of local sponsors and families.  The committee has pledged to raise $5000 to help reduce the cost to families for the Camp Jewell experience.  So far, this year’s families’ cost is down to $125!   Tickets are still available, and families can show up that day and purchase tickets.  Made $140 in first month of change box, so remember to drop your change as you pass by!


- Rebecca O’Neill: Fundraising round-up (KidStuff, Meadow Farms) 

KidStuff books should have been purchased or returned by now.  $1300 has been raised through this fundraiser!   Meadow Farms fundraiser came home last week and will end 10/22/14.  All money raised goes back to the school.

- Michelle Russell: Health Council

Health Advisory Committee’s first meeting is next Thursday.  Focus is on physical and emotional wellbeing of students, and is a way for all schools in district to share what’s happening in each school and learn from one another.  There are three meetings per year.  Michelle will share reports on our website.

- Open Forum 

Blood drive this Saturday, October 11 from 6:30am-11:30am at the Red Cross center in Farmington, next to UConn Health Center.  This drive is being held in honor of Amarey Brookshire, Kindergarten student at Smith.  Please donate if you are able.

Family resource center: Wednesdays 9:30-10:30am early learning playgroup.  Also, see website for guest speakers at the family resource center. – room parent information, monthly restaurant nights, PTO meeting minutes, etc. can be found there.

- Close

Mr. Melian: There was a presentation at CT Science Center about STEM-Family connection on Monday, 10/6/14.  There were five presentations from Smith.  Mr. Melian would like to organize, with help of PTO, discussion with PTO’s from other STEM schools for future presentations.  Jenny Steadman and Amy Yarbrough presented, along with Mrs. Zajack.

Food Day is Thursday, October 24th

GGS-logo_finalcolorIn celebration of Food Day, Friday, October 24th, Growing Great Schools has partnered with West Hartford Public Schools to celebrate this year with an “Eat Real” challenge.  Teachers will be distributing an “Eat Real” challenge work sheet at the beginning of next week.  All of the students who complete the challenge will be entered in a drawing to win prizes.

Parents can help children participate by getting them to think about better food choices.  Suggest eating a rainbow of veggies throughout the week, reading labels for short ingredient lists or switching from chips to homemade popcorn.  The whole family can get on board.

The challenge will culminate in the lunchroom on Friday with a special “Eat Real” salad bar.  It will feature a cranberry orange quinoa salad.  Quinoa is a whole grain and complete protein.  The Growing Great Schools chef partners will be making salad dressing and Hartford Baking Company will be providing whole grain rolls to accompany the salad and healthy soup.  The schools with gardens will also offer on the salad bar the items they have harvested.

Food Day is meant to inspire Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Our celebration is one of thousands of events that are organized around the country to bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.

 For more information on Food Day visit