Monday, December 14, 2009

Small School PTA on FACEBOOK!

For all of you on Facebook, become a fan of "Dora L Small Elementary School PTA." This Facebook page, along with this blog, the newsletter, and the occasional email blast will keep you up to date on what's happening.

REMINDER - Clynk fund raising

We want to remind folks about our ongoing Clynk fund raising. We have prepaid green Clynk bags located in the front lobby. It is an easy way to give to the PTA....just pick up a bag, fill it with returnables, and drop it off at Clynk. The stickers on the bag direct the returnable money right into the PTA account! All those nickles add up!

No December PTA meeting

Our next PTA meeting will be January 19th.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Small School Book Sale POSTPONED

Due to the weather, the fundraiser at Nonesuch Books is POSTPONED ONE DAY UNTIL THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10th!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

School Fundraiser and Bake Sale at Nonesuch Books

Just in time for the holidays!  On Wednesday,  December 9th,  we will be having a school fundraiser at Nonesuch Books in Mill Creek.  Nonesuch Books will be donating 20% of the total sales between 6-8pm to the school,  and we will be having a bake sale at the same time!

We need your help to:
*Spread the word about shopping at Nonesuch Books on the evening of December 9th.
*Come in and do your holiday shopping during the fundraiser! Nonesuch Books has a great selection of books,  cards,  and gifts,  and a great kids’ section too.
*Bring some baked goods for the bake sale that evening,  or to school that day.

                     Great for the holidays - Spread the word!

School Field Trip to see Yamoto Drummers of Japan

Tuesday, November 10,  the school went on a field trip sponsored by the PTA to see the Yamoto Drummers of Japan.   This was a fabulous opportunity to see traditional Japanese percussion instruments and the percussionists! 

Students gave rave reviews:
“It was amazing!   They were awesome!   The drummers were terrific - super!   The best thing I ever saw!   It was cool when they lifted up the big drum and put it on its side.   We loved the noises the drummers made!  The big drum stick was huge!   They had big muscles!  People loved the guy with the mohawk hair.  He was hilarious.  He wanted everybody to clap,  and he made us do it in a funny way!  If you have not gone yet,  I think you should.  It's a lot of fun.  Every act kept the spectators' attention.”

Mrs. Olson commented:
“The trip was wonderful!  It was great to have the children exposed to such a unique talent.  I was tickled to see how the children responded to the subtle humor the drummers included in their performance.”

Teachers incorporated this field trip into learning activities:
     Before the field trip, Mrs.  Stevens’ class learned a bit about taiko drumming and a bit about the country of Japan.  They also read and compared three different versions of a Japanese folktale, The Peach Boy.   Students also learned about haiku poetry and wrote their own haiku.
     Mrs. Cloutier’s class wrote haiku about the performance; see back for some examples of their work!
     Mrs. Dadmun’s class wrote cinquain poetry,  some of which is featured on the back of this newsletter!
     Mrs. Poore’s class wrote News Articles after the performance.
     Mrs. Grant’s class wrote journal entries after the field trip.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Annual Pumpkin Transporting Vehicle Convention

On Friday, November 11, Mr. Caldwell and Mrs. Poore's classes hosted the Pumpkin Transporting Vehicle Convention. The students used at least 4 simple machines to make one complex machine to safely transport a pumpkin a distance of 12 feet. Some simple machines used were: screws, inclined plane, wedges, pulleys, wheel and axle, gears, and levers. Parents and other classes came to view the event!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Annual Harvest Feast for 4th and 5th graders

On Thursday, October 29th, Mrs. Cloutier's and Mrs. Dadmun's students hosted Mrs. Poore's and Mr. Caldwell's classes for the 4th annual Harvest Meal.  Approximately one hundred and twenty people attended the event, held in the social hall of the First Congregational Church.  The menu was Japanese, including an appetizer of edamame (soy beans served in their pods), miso soup with turnip and greens, salad with sesame dressing, sushi rollups made with rice, cucumber, and tuna in a nori seaweed wrapper.  Dessert, following tradition for the Harvest Meal, was apple crisp with whipped cream.  People with knowledge of such things claim the meal was delicious, and rivaled the offerings of many of Portland's fine Japanese dining establishments. 
     Produce for the meal was grown in the Small School gardens, and included soy beans, snow peas, Asian cabbages, turnips, daikon, carrots, garlic, cucumbers and chard.   These vegetables were planted by last year's 4th grade and tended by volunteers over the summer break.  Much of the cooking took place on Wednesday, prior to the meal, and was supervised by a small army of parents.  In spite of the open gas flames and abundant sharp, steely knives, no one was injured, and there was much fun, learning, and tasting of new foods. 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TEACHER WISH LIST - Last updated on 1-4-10

This is an active ongoing wish list from our educators at Small School. These are all items that will help enhance learning in the classroom. If you choose an item on any list that you would like to donate, please email Lucy ( to have the item removed from the wish list. Unless otherwise indicated, send the donated item right to the classroom. This is still in progress, and will be updated frequently. Please check back!

Technology Education
Mr. Thurlow:
Budget cuts did not allow the purchase of a new scanner for teachers to use to scan documents for use with their SmartBoards. If you can help with this, please contact John Thurlow directly at or 885-5000.

Mrs. Mason:
The following books are on the wish list to be added to Small School library (nameplate within the book will recognize the donor). Click on the book title for a link describing the story:
     The Enemy: a book about Peace, by Davide Cali
     The Earth Shook: a Persian Tale, by Donna Jo Napoli
     The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney
     Dinotrux, by Chris Gall
     Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka
     Strega Nona's Harvest, by Tomie Depaola

Grade K
Mrs. Flaxman:
Magna Doodles (set of 5 is ideal)
Small Legos (not the "Duplo" size)
Dress-up clothes (scarves and capes, etc. spark the kids' imaginations!)
A child sized coat rack (for dress-up clothes)
Alphabet stamps with ink pads
Dr. Seuss books (gently used books are welcome! The classroom already has the following books: Fox in Socks, There's No Place Like Space, Green Eggs and Ham, the Cat in the Hat, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish)
Plastic baskets to hold books in the class library, ~7" x 10"
hand sanitizer
pump hand soap (can be a large refill size)

Grade 1
Mrs. Grant:
Soft Kleenex
Snacks for children without (i.e. pretzels, goldfish, fruit snacks)
Date stamp

Grade 1
Mrs. Storms:
Games for the class to play during indoor recess: Trouble, Connect Four, Yahtzee, Perfection, Monopoly
Jr., or Operation.  Used games in good condition are welcome as long as all pieces are intact!

Grade 2
Mrs. Olson:
Very soft tissues for cold/allergy season!
Small pretzels, Cheerios, and animal crackers for snacks
Clear packaging tape

Grade 2
Ms. Stevens:
Regular straight straws for a science kit
Plastic spoons for snack time
Antibacterial hand sanitizer
Small pencil sharpeners with receptacles for the shavings (size to fit into pencil boxes)

Grade 3
Mrs. Grady: 
10 clipboards
5 student calculators
24 long handle paintbrushes, large bottles of paint
A variety of colors of tissue paper
25 sheets of fine grade sand paper
Ziploc bags of all sizes
The following Beanie Babies (used for comprehension strategies): spider, owl, iguana, dog, and parrot

Grade 4
Mrs. Dadmun:
Multiple clipboards

Grade 5
Mrs. Poore:
Items for snack time

Monday, October 19, 2009

PTA Funds 4th Grade Field Trip to the Telling Room

Recently, the fourth grade visited the Telling Room, a writing workshop in Portland.   The children were sent out on a Word Walk around the Old Port and asked to attach adjectives to various objects that represented that word.  For example, one group attached the word magical to a pirate statue, or leafy to ivy growing up the side of a building.  The children were given cameras so that they could snap pictures of their word representations.  After about an hour, they returned to the Telling Room and wrote about the pictures that were taken. Mrs. Cloutiers class created a slideshow of the photographs and the children were given the opportunity to narrate the slide show with one line from their writing. The students were very motivated and excited about this visit and wanted to continue writing their Telling Room pieces when they returned to school.  They came back to school with a very positive attitude about writing and saw themselves as authors!
Many thanks to the many parents volunteers who joined us on this trip and who participated in all the Telling Room activities. Also a big thank you to the PTA for funding this wonderful experience for us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

High School Renovation Meeting Oct 26th

The South Portland City Council and School Board will hold a workshop on Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m., at the Community Center, to discuss the $40 million proposal to renovate the high school, to be voted on in June 2010.

See the for the full article.


A clarification about the school department budget and field trip funding at Small School: Due to a budget shortfall in Augusta, the South Portland School Department has implemented a  "soft budget freeze."  At some schools in South Portland,  this impacts things like field trips.

At Small School,  the PTA fully funds field trips (both admission and transportation costs) and will do our best to continue to do so.   We spend about $20-25 per student for the year just for field trips.   In order to continue funding these field trips,  we need everyone's help with our various fundraiser like Jaxco,  Hannaford Helps School,  Clynk, and the rest of them.   Some parents,  instead of taking part in fundraising by buying stuff,   prefer to simply write a check,  and that's perfectly ok,  too!   We'll gladly take checks and give you a receipt so you can get a tax deduction.   We are also working on a school/teacher wish list to identify specific items needed in the classrooms and will post this information on our blog site when ready.

Monday, October 12, 2009


PTA Member Meeting, October 20th, 6:30pm

Please join us in the Art Room for our second meeting of the year.  We had a great turnout at the first meeting and have a lot of fun and creative ideas that we'd like to do this year.  Come have some coffee and help us make these ideas a reality!

Octoberfest, Friday, October 30th, 6-8pm
Come join us in the gym for mask making,  face painting, cool origami,  cookie decorating, snacks and drinks,  and of course the hugely popular cake walk!  We need volunteers to help staff the craft stations,  so please email Jim at if you can help.  If you have any other fun ideas,  let us know and we'll make room for it!
Here's how you can help:
Bake a Cake!
The Cake Walk is sort of like a game of musical chairs, but with cakes as prizes. The kids go crazy for it. We need a ton of cakes! Bring a cake, take a cake. Any kind of cake - big, small, sugary, carrot, from scratch, store bought, wedding, birthday, gluten-free, plain frosted, decorated, whatever - any and all kinds are needed. The variety has always been amazing. (No cakes with nuts or peanut butter, please.)

Wear a Costume for the Costume Parade!
It's the night before Halloween, so please come show off your costumes! At the end of the night we'll have a short parade down the hall and around the gym so everyone can check them out. (Keep in mind there will be very young kids around, so nothing too gruesome please. One year Death came in a bleeding skull mask that was a little too much, even for the adults.)

Paint Faces!
Make the kids' night by decorating their cheeks. They're not too picky about the quality, so no big deal if you've never done it. (Although if I have to do it, it's just going to be a smiley face every time.)

Be a Fortune Teller!
The past few years we had a mom who pretended to be a fortune teller (at least I think she was pretending) and the kids really loved it. Unfortunately the mom who did it last year is unavailable and we'd loved to have a replacement. Wear a few scraves, read some palms, be a hero!

Bring Snacks and Drinks!
Maybe stuff that's not too sugary, since they'll be gorging the next night.

Sidewalk construction starting

Finally, construction has started on sidewalks on Summit and Spring Streets! Soon no more walking in the road! When they are finished in a few weeks, they will make walking SO much safer for our kids coming up from Broadway. While the construction is underway, please use extra
caution while walking, biking and driving along that route. These sidewalks were triggered by a PTA request to the city a few years ago to improve the transportation situation in our neighborhood. We're glad it's finally underway.

Also, for you drivers, a few reminders:
- Kittredge Rd is a not a proper drop off spot. It is a dead end street and backing up and turning around is very dangerous for other drivers and especially our kids, and really ticks off our neighbors who live there.
- When dropping off and picking up, do not idle. It pumps out pollution right into our kids faces and wastes gas and money.
- The bus loop is called a bus loop because it's for buses. If it was a car loop, it would be called a car loop.
- Please heed all "No Parking" and "No Stopping" signs, particularly on Thompson Street near the parking lot exits. If cars park too close and on both sides of the street, traffic jams occur frequently.
- Remember that walking and biking to and from the school is almost always easier and quicker than trying to drive. A little stroll will help make you and your kids happier, healthier and less frustrated if you don't have to fight the traffic.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fun at the Ice Cream Social

Thanks to all the families who came to enjoy our ice cream social, the first PTA social event of the year. We served ~400 people, and a great time was had by all. Let the PTA exec committee members know if you have any feedback or suggestions for next time. A big thank you to Friendly’s for donating the delicious ice cream for our event!

Students Take Great Field Trips!

3rd grade field trip to the Cumberland Fair.

The PTA helps to funds school field trips throughout the year, and your support is so important! Here are some special events that have recently taken place with the students:

Grade K: Went to Snell’s Apple Orchard on September 25th. The Snell Family Farm in Buxton does Pick Your Own Apples in September and October, and grows a variety of other fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This was a great trip!

Grade 3: Visited the Cumberland County Fair on September 29th. They saw draft horses, cattle, sheep and goats, bunnies, chickens, geese, and much more. The kids visited the farm museum, blacksmith, maple syrup house, and saw farm machines.

Grade 5: The fifth graders took a walking field trip to SMCC on September 30th to be inspired by the scenery as word artists. The students used the sights, sounds, and smells of the setting to develop descriptive and creative language for their fictional stories set in Casco Bay.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Partnership for South Portland Schools

Parents, this is your chance to be heard. Good schools are an integral part of any successful community. A school system in decline means negative population growth, a shrinking tax base, and, worst of all, less opportunities for our children’s future. To ensure that South Portland schools remain strong, a group of South Portland parents recently formed the Partnership for South Portland Schools (SPPS).

The goal of the group is to be a both a sounding board and an independent source of advice for South Portland School Department, as well as a conduit of information about South Portland schools to our community at large.

We want to be able to work on political issues facing all levels of South Portland schools, work toward the betterment of our schools, and, eventually, establish a foundation that would seek to make the educational standards in our schools some of the best in the state.

This is a critical moment in South Portland School history; enrollment is up at the elementary level, the middle schools are in the midst of several educational, technological, and safety upgrades, and, last year, our High School was placed on a warning status for national accreditation because of physical plant structural concerns. It’s time for South Portland parents to take ownership of their child’s educational experience and the Partnership for South Portland Schools will seek to do that.

The initial organizational meeting for this school year will take place on Wednesday, October 7, 6:30 PM, at the Rec Center. Please attend if you can. Ask your PTA for updates on SPPS progress if you can’t. Good schools build good communities!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Grades K-2 5:30pm - 6:15pm  
Grades 3-5 6:30pm - 7:15pm 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Volunteer Orientation

The South Portland School Department recommends that all school volunteers participate in a training session to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our students, staff, and community. We invite you to attend any session that fits your schedule. If you are a Veteran SoPo School Volunteer, please remember to fill out a new registration form each year. It is not necessary to attend a training every year.

September 21, 2009 9:00am Small School
September 22, 2009 9:00am Dyer School
September 23, 2009 9:00am Kaler School
October 1, 2009 6:00pm Skillin School
October 5, 2009 9:00am Skillin School
October 14, 2009 6:30pm Brown School

Contact Molly Aldrich, Director of Volunteer Services, with any questions (773-5629, ext. 432 or

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ice Cream Social, Friday, 9/25, 6-8pm

Mark your calenders! Skip dinner! Drop by the gym on Friday the 25th at 6:00-8:00 pm for the first social of the year. We'll supply the ice cream and the toppings. You bring the mouths to feed. Mingle with other Small families while the kids eat and run off their sugar high. And it's become sort of a tradition that dads polish up their scoops and flex their muscles while they dish out the ice cream, so if you can help out with that, or gathering donations, or cleaning up, drop Margaret Donahue (PTA Co-Pres) a line at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Volunteers Needed for Flu Shot Clinics

The South Portland School Department will be providing free Seasonal Flu Vaccine Clinics at schools in September and November. The Nursing Department is seeking help from parents who are nurses to volunteer to be a back up for the EMT personnel running the clinics. The nurse volunteers will be asked to keep an eye on the kids who have had their shots, to look for any reactions.

Small School will have its clinic at the start of the school day on Monday, September 28th. If you are qualified and able to volunteer during this clinic, please contact the Small School nurse, Louise Cormier (

H1N1 Flu Vaccine Clinics will be held in November and December.

We are also seeking volunteers (no medical expertise needed) to assist with helping kids back and forth to their classrooms. If you can assist, please call the office: 799-7676

Friday, September 11, 2009


Co-President, Jim Frederick (
Jim returns as PTA President, this time, sharing duties with Margaret. Previously Jim was Secretary for two years. This is his last year at Small as next year his youngest, Ethan, moves on to Mahoney, where his daughter Isabella is currently an eighth grader. Jim is a life-long resident of South Portland. In fact, Jim's 3rd grade teacher at Hamlin, Anne Tewhey, also taught his two kids in 3rd grade at Small! Now that's life in a small town.

Co-President, Margaret Donahue (
Margaret is joining the PTA as Co-President. Margaret has a daughter, Eleanor, who is beginning first grade, a daughter, Alice, who is beginning kindergarten and a son, Miles, who will be running close behind them. Margaret has joined the PTA because she has a strong interest in being a part of the community.

Co-Vice President, Stephanie Pandora (
Stephanie and her husband Peter are parents of second grader, Anna Louise, and also of Whitney, a Senior at Saint Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont. This is her third year as a PTA member and her second as Vice President. Stephanie comments, “I simply love Small School and its community-kids, parents, teachers, neighbors-and desire to be involved and helpful however I am needed. I always welcome all input and ideas so feel free to reach out to me if you wish. I am looking forward to a fun and enriching year! ”

Co-Vice President, Pam Remy (

Pam has a son, Eli, who is starting in the 1st grade, and a younger son, Henry, who will be starting kindergarten next year. By getting involved in the PTA, Pam hopes to help Small School teachers and administrators create an educational and enriching environment for her children to learn in.

Secretary, Sue Peterson (

Sue is looking forward to her 2nd year as serving as PTA Secretary on the executive committee. Sue is mom to Bradley who is in 3rd grade this year. She loves the Small School Community and encourages everyone to join the PTA and get involved.

Treasurer, Carol Zechman (

Carol joins the executive committee this year as Treasurer. Carol is mom to Finn in 5th grade and Paul in 1st grade. She also has a 7th grader at Mahoney. She is looking forward to becoming more involved with the Small School Community since transferring from Brown School last year.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Small School PTA welcomes all new and returning families! The goal of our PTA is to enhance our children's education by promoting a strong community and supporting school education. We fundraise to support field trips, school projects, classroom supplies, and grounds improvements, and provide a communication forum for our school community.

All parents are welcome to join the PTA. There is a yearly $5.00 fee to join, but you can donate more; $1.75 goes to the National PTA, $2.50 goes to Maine PTA and any additional funds are used by the Small School PTA to support Small School. The money you spend is tax deductible.

If you have any questions or would like more information about your Small School PTA, please contact a PTA executive member:

Presidents: Jim Frederick (
Margaret Donahue (
Vice Presidents: Stephanie Pandora (
Pam Remy (
Secretary: Sue Peterson (
Treasurer: Carol Zechman

Please join us!