Friday, August 28, 2015

Teacher Travels to the Roman Provinces of Hispania Baetica and Lusitania

Mrs. Karin Suzadail was the recipient of a travel study grant to learn about the Roman provinces of Hispania Baetica and Lusitania this summer. She mentions that, "Walking in the footsteps of Trajan, Hadrian, Columella, Lucan and Seneca was at times overwhelming."

A Caesar Selfie!

An exerpt of her essay describing her trip is printed below:

My senses were indeed overwhelmed.  The sights in Spain were incredible. I was struck by the richly developed Temple of the Imperial Cult in Córdoba (the capital of Hispania Baetica), and also by the beautiful urban villas in Italica (the birthplace of Hadrian and Trajan). I marveled at the enormous and well-executed mosaics in the museum at Mérida (the capital of Lusitania), and pondered the foot-shaped votive plaques and the game boards of various designs that were carved onto the pavement outside the huge arena at Italica.

In Cetobriga I took in the heady ocean smells of the tidal flats and listened to the cries of seagulls as we walked through a garum factory.  Throughout the provinces I tasted the olives, wine, and salted hams that must have pleased Roman palates as well.  I felt the heat of the Spanish sun as I hiked up to the isolated acropolis and theater at Acinipo where my husband and I were truly the only people around for miles.

My mind was also intrigued at the sheer force of will imposed by the challenges of the nature of the land.  The Romans’ engineering skill was on full display as I walked across the longest surviving Roman bridge (over the Guadiana River and 790 meters long!), and when I explored the Roman Dam of Proserpina, and then saw the outlet of that dam in the stunning Los Milagros aqueduct.  The provincial town of Miróbriga in Portugal was a terraced gem of architecture as it leveled public and private spaces on a wonderfully defensible hill. And nature itself never failed to impress, whether it was contemplating where the rich waters of the Mediterranean and Atlantic met at the “Pillars of Hercules” in Gibraltar or the flocks of wild flamingos in the salt pans of Cádiz which were engineered by the Carthaginians millennia ago.

I am challenged to express the profound gratitude that I have to the National Latin Exam and the Christine Fernald Sleeper Educational Travel Award for allowing me to experience these Roman provinces so deeply.  To say thank you for such a rewarding and exciting experience seems to not be enough, but there it is: gratias maximas vobis ago.  

Getting Supplies to Students

A group of staff from East Coventry handed out over 65 backpacks filled with school supplies to families in the district.  In addition to getting backpacks, the supplies included pencils, paper and scissors along with other essential school items.  The backpacks were donated to the school by a local church. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Amazing Year Ahead!

This week was an intense week of training for our newest teachers. We are excited to welcome many new faces to Owen J. Roberts this year.  The principals, supervisors and human resources’ department have done an excellent job hiring an enthusiastic group of new teachers.  

Thanks to the hard work of our facilities, maintenance and technology departments, our school buildings are ready for opening on August 25, 2015.  Students report to school on August 31, 2015. Students will be eager to learn, and teachers, schools and support staffs will be ready for them. 

The district was not quiet this summer. Highlights include:

  • Over 150 teachers participating in the Technology Academy. Over 600 devices will be deployed for student use this year with teachers who attended those sessions.
  • About 475 students participated in summer enrichment classes or recreation camps this summer. We were thrilled to see so many teachers and students enjoying music, art, games, fishing, and more!
  • Preliminary assessment results have arrived for spring Keystone exams and PSSA tests. We anticipate the growth data and summer Keystone results early in the school year.   Districts across the Commonwealth have experienced significant changes in their PSSA results.
  • 33 new teachers and 9 new support and project staff have been hired in preparation for the new year.

Our school buildings are already buzzing with teacher activity and classroom preparation. Yesterday was the first day students and parents could visit and explore the Middle School and the hallways were absolutely alive with activity! Next week marks the official opening and welcome back program for staff, who are eager, through collective efforts, to create a caring environment where students can learn, achieve, and grow!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Schools Polished for Fall

Miles of hallway to buff

Our amazing maintenance team has been working hard this summer cleaning every classroom, every corner for a bright new beginning on August 31.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rocket Launch

Science Explorers Far Out Space Academy thrilled students this summer.
3…2…1 BLAST OFF to discovering space and flight! Campers aged 7-11 explored the stars and constellations  in a homemade planetarium, prepared for lift-off by building and launching their own rocket while learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion, and completed a mission to Mars with self-designed and built space stations. 

Check out the rocket launch photos: