Several Kindergarten teachers throughout the district, including our own Kristen Haynes here at Runkle, have been piloting the “Fundations” phonics program as part of their reading instruction in their classrooms. The Fundations program provides systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic awareness for all students (“Tier 1 instruction”). I am pleased to report that the Public Schools of Brookline, effective in the 2017-2018 school year, will be incorporating Fundations within all Kindergarten classrooms district-wide. In these last months of this school year, members of the Office of Teaching and Learning, along with members of the district’s English Language Arts Department, are consulting with the teachers who have piloted Fundations over recent years to structure the necessary Professional Development to guarantee successful implementation of this program town-wide.   I am confident this program will be a most valuable addition to our reading instruction for our Kindergarten students here at Runkle and throughout the district.  More information about Fundations can be found at http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/programs/fundations/ (http://www NULL.wilsonlanguage NULL.com/programs/fundations/).
Another positive district-wide change for 2017-2018 aligns with our commitment to the Performing Arts. Beginning in September, all students in Grades K-5 will have a total of 80 minutes of Music instruction per week, up 10 minutes per week from recent years.  I will be meeting with the OTL in coming weeks to review potential staffing needs that may result from this increase.  This is the second increase in Music instruction time over the past decade and reflects our vision of providing a well-rounded education for our students.
This past Thursday our K-2 Morning Meeting featured 1st Grade teacher Joanne Guzzi’s presentation about her Kids-2-Kids Book Drive project. Ms. Guzzi has been an unofficial ambassador to South Africa for the past ten years or so, helping to build robust libraries for several South African elementary schools and developing relationships with many educators and officials in several towns. The Book Drive will take place throughout this upcoming week.  All Runkle students are encouraged to donate gently used books to this most worthwhile cause!
This Tuesday morning’s PTO meeting will feature a brief presentation by members of our Literacy Team.  We hope you can come and learn more about the exciting work that this wonderful team of educators is performing with the whole Runkle staff in support of your children’s reading and writing!
Jim Stoddard

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