LEEDS NEWSLETTER – Volume 6,  No. 1       September 2018

LEEDS NEWSLETTER – Volume 6, No. 1 September 2018


Office 587-1540

Volume 6, No. 1    September 2018


A Message From Mr. Canata,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year!  I can only hope that everyone enjoyed a fun, restful, and exciting summer vacation.  I hope there were experiences that allowed for quality time with your families and friends allowing you to do some things that you enjoy.  As your Principal, the work doesn’t end but the summer does allow me both a decent amount of personal and professional time. I do relax a bit as the pace of being in school is much slower.  I also spend as much time as I can with my own family while I reflect on both the successes and challenges of the past school year. As most would probably assume, Leeds Elementary School has become a part of who I am and thus there is constant thought and preparation for the upcoming school year.

As I begin year six as principal of this wonderful school,  I have tremendous pride in several accomplishments but when asked what I am most proud of I respond with being a part in creating a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and friendly community  for everyone who walks through the doors while maintaining high but realistic academic and social/behavioral expectations for students.

Each year brings its changes and its challenges.  This year we have a lot of new staff joining us. I feel very confident in our new hires and I look so forward to their positive contributions.  Please welcome them to Leeds when you see them.

As we officially open our doors there are some things that I always look forward to; initially, it’s the excitement of the first day and the smiles on students faces as they reconnect with their friends.  Long-term, the strong academic and social growth of our students as a result of the inspiring work of our teachers and staff, the continued positive collaboration with our families, the inspiring, initiative, leadership, compassion and creativity that lives and breathes in this building and the kids respond so positively too!  I eagerly anticipate the exciting work of both the PTO and School Council. I look forward to our collaborative partnerships with various community groups and of course the continued building of our very special community. Finally, I look forward to creating new and lasting memories at the many wonderful events that bring the Leeds community together and provide a fantastic elementary school experience for our children,

We had a great first day now let’s plan on having a wonderful year together!


Doesn’t the bus loop and access road around the building look great?  There are other areas that also have been improved; the white bell tower has a fresh coat of paint and there has been mason work done to repair the Kindergarten and Preschool brick wall as well as other exterior brick work around the building.  Our pavilion floor has been properly graded so it shouldn’t be flooded and a safety wall has been placed around one of the play areas. Next summer, phase 3 of the paving will be completed as the long overdue parking lot is completed.


Please check the the School Website for up to date relevant information.    It is: https://northamptonschools.org/project/leeds-elementary-school/

Be sure to review Ms. Michaud’s blog at https://sites.google.com/a/northampton-k12.us/bridgeleedsmusic/

Stay connected through the PTO which has a link on the school website and a presence on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeedsElementarySchoolPTO/


For those who are new to Leeds, during the 2013-2014 school year, we compared our community to a beehive.   For bees, their hive is a cohesive tight-knit community. It is a safe place where, everyone looks out for one another, where they are protected and they feel safe.   Since then, the bee (in the form of a pencil eraser) has become a concrete symbol for recognizing those character traits which help to create community. They are:       


Bee” Positive

“Bee” Respectful

“Bee” Nice

“Bee” Responsible

“Bee” Polite

“Bee” Helpful

“Bee” an Upstander

”Bee” Happy

“Bee Leeds”

Classroom Teachers For 2018-2019:

Pre-School: Mrs. Matteis, Mrs. Pacheco

Kindergarten: Ms. Taylor, Mrs. Busone, Mrs. Andersen, Ms. Flynn

1st Grade:  Mrs. Boughan, Mrs. Lawrence-Riddell, Mrs. Intrator

2nd Grade: Mrs. Nagle, Ms. Bryant, Mrs. Kowal

3rd Grade:  Ms. Bachman, Ms. Pelis, Ms. Alton

4th Grade: Mrs. Kline, Mr. Foster, Ms. Dwyer, Ms. Coates-Cooney

5th Grade: Mr. Goodwin-Boyd, Ms. Kristek, Ms. Nieman, Ms. Linnell, Mrs. Dell’Olio


The following staff has left Leeds Elementary School and we wish them well in any and all future endeavors!

Mrs. Kathy Lajoie

Mrs. Bonnie Palmer

Ms. Michele Subocz

Ms. Laura Ginsberg

Ms. Casey Matthias

Ms. Emily Brackins, R.N.



Mrs. Rachel Matteis Preschool (Moving from ESP to Teacher)

Mrs. Trine Rondina, Preschool ESP

Mrs. Jennifer Busone,  Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Andrea Yurko, Kindergarten ESP

Melissa Gavazzi, Special Education ESP

Mrs. Christa Andersen, Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Elizabeth Boughan, First Grade Teacher

Ms. Alyssa Dwyer,  Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Amy Avakian, School Nurse (included is her welcome letter)

Ms. Lauren Barry, ESL

Ms. Chandra Linnell, Long -Term Substitute – Fifth Grade**

** Ms. Nieman has taken a leave of absence through December


Here’s a reminder or info for those who are new to our school:

  • We ask that ALL TOYS stay at home and not be brought to school. If your child brings a toy (because he/she is going to use it after school), we will ask that it be kept in his/her backpack for the day.  Please help us by keeping toys at home – it’s a school rule!
  • Electronics in all forms (games, cell phones, ipods) are asked to be kept at home, students run the risk of them being damaged, destroyed or taken.
  • All four of the Northampton Elementary Schools have established a district-wide rule about dogs (or other pets) on the playground and in the school.  In the first case, even if dogs are on a leash, they cannot be brought onto the playground/school grounds during school hours. There are several reasons for this, all in the category of safety and respect for all.
  • There is also a district “Pets in School” policy – developed by the Health Services Dept. – that states that we do not have pets live or visit schools. Again the reason for this is safety and respect for all, as well as allergies.  There are special occasions when an animal can visit OUTSIDE of school and students can come out to see it. This always has to be arranged in advance with permission from the school nurse and the principal.
  • If you have questions about this policy, please call the school office for clarification
  • The Northampton Public Elementary Schools all have a handbook which includes relevant and pertinent information concerning policy and the governance of each school.  This information includes  “student enrollment/attendance”, “arrival and dismissal”, family involvement”, and the appendices including the “elementary code of conduct” and the “policies, procedures and information”.   Your child brought home a verification sheet that acknowledges your understanding of our processes and procedure. The sheet also provides the website address to view the handbook or gives those without internet access information on receiving a hard copy.  


Students arrive and are dismissed to and from school many ways; they walk, ride bikes, arrive in buses, vans, and cars.  For safety’s sake, we ask that if you or your child is on a bike, that you and he/she dismount or get off and walk with them when you come onto school property. This is so nobody who is walking will be accidentally hit!  PLEASE help us to make this happen every day! And PLEASE make sure they’re wearing HELMETS – it’s the law and it makes them safer!! Also, if you are leaving bikes at our bike racks, please make sure that they are LOCKED!

We have a driving/parking/pick-up/drop-off system in place at our school. The pick up line on Florence Street begins and extends down the street, please do not leave your car, please wait and proceed as the line moves forward.  

During this time, the parking lot is used for families of Kindergarteners only.  Kindergarten parents and guardians are asked to park, pick up their child at the rear door, return to your cars and exit the parking lot.

The bus loop is reserved for buses and nobody should be parked on the exterior side of the bus loop between the hours of 8:30 and 9:00 and 2:45 and 3:15.


Information regarding Early Bird/Late Bird went home in August, if you didn’t receive it and are interested or in need please call Mrs. Cox in the main office.  


Preschool maintains a different schedule than the rest of school and as a result there are a few additional procedures for all to be aware of.  Preschool will be using the entry doors in the bus loop that are closest to the small playground. Preschool arrival begins at 8:50 and parents, guardians and vans will be pulling up and dropping off at the doors.  This should be after the buses and vans have dropped off.   Preschool’s morning session ends at 11:20 and the pick up will be at the same doors.  Preschool’s afternoon session begins at 12:20 and there will be another drop off. Preschool dismissal is at 2:50 which means all pickups must be prompt so we can prepare for the arrival of the buses for regular dismissal.

PLEASE NOTE: Playground supervision begins at 8:35 and school officially starts at 8:50AM.  Students who arrive at or after 8:50 AM will be considered “tardy” or late for school. The Elementary Schools Handbook/Code of Conduct, contains the Elementary Schools Attendance Policy and Procedures in it.  If your child arrives after 8:50 AM, he/ she will be helped to or asked to sign in at the school office. This is for safety for your child and record keeping in the office. It is so important that you make every effort to get your child to school on time. The beginning of the day is not a time to miss!

If your child eats breakfast or is in the Early Bird program he/she will be directed to the playgrounds for line-up. If you are coming into school with your child, please follow the routine we have of lining up your child with his or her class and leave your child with the supervising teacher. Parents who want to come into school must go to the front door to sign in. We ask that students not go through the front door until after 8:50 AM.  There will be a staff person at the drop off door until 8:50AM to let students in. After that, they should go through the front door, to sign in. If your child will be absent, please call the school office. We will call your family if we have not heard from you and your child is not in school. Please review the absence policy and procedure carefully as well as the Student Code of Conduct. You will also find many district policies in the handbook.  Finally, please know that all of the procedures that have been in place or are going to be in place at our school are there to ensure safety and optimal education for all our students. We are so very grateful to you for your help and support with these and all aspects of Leeds Elementary School!


Breakfast is available every morning, starting at 8:30 AM.  There will be forms to fill out about eligibility for free or reduced breakfast/lunch prices in the first-day folders – please fill them out and return them in the self-addressed envelope so we can determine if you are eligible.. It is IMPORTANT that all families fill these out, whether or not you are eligible –even if you do not want to take part in the school breakfast/lunch program! In the first-day folder there will be a letter explaining the lunch program’s “scan card system”. Any questions please check with Mrs. Sheila Chartier, who is the head of our kitchen staff or in the school office.


If you are new to our school, the following are good people to know: Mr. Sal Canata, school principal, Mrs. Laurie O’Shepa, office administrative assistant, Mrs. Sharon DeWitt, office secretary, Mrs.Amy Avakian, school nurse, Mrs. Cindy Cox, Early Bird and Late Bird Coordinator, Mrs. Shannon Daniels, LEAP  Coordinator, Ms. Millie Rodriguez, Head custodian, Ms. Susannah Bastek, School Adjustment Counselor, Dr. Kira Henninger, School Psychologist, Ms. Heide Eriksen, Tiered Support Specialist and Mrs. Sheila Chartier, Head of kitchen staff. They can help you with any questions, concerns and/or any directions you need!


A reminder that the Northampton School Committee meets monthly, usually on the 2nd Thursday of the month and these meetings, as well as the many meetings of the sub-committees, are open and welcoming of the public. For a complete schedule of the meetings for 2018-2019, please go to the Northampton Public Schools website or call the Central Office at 587-1327 in the Superintendent’s Office.


School Council Elections

There are openings on the School Council in September.  These are elected positions. State policy requires that the the PTO run an election.  If you are interested in running please be looking for information and either a paper or online ballot on or around October 10th – the night of our Open House.  More information will be coming home about this soon.


The first PTO meeting of the year is scheduled for September 13th at 6:00 in the library.  All are welcome to attend.


If you are interested in becoming involved at, and you’re new or new to volunteering, there are so many ways to be a part of the School community – from the PTO, the School Council, volunteering in the classroom and/or school events.  The very best way you can help is in being a great support to your child(ren) at home as they navigate the fabulous world of elementary school. The PTO sends out frequent communication by way of email – make sure you are on their list!


Notes From Nurse Amy

Welcome from the Health Office

Hello to all Students and Parents!

My name is Amy Avakian and I am honored to be chosen to be your new school nurse. I was with the Hampshire Regional School District for 10 years as an elementary school nurse. I am so excited to work at Leeds Elementary School with its excellent reputation.

My husband, Dave and I have two daughters, Anna and Abby. Anna is a senior at Hampshire Regional High School. Abby is starting as a freshman at Smith Vocational. We have a cat named Dusty and a dog named Echo.

I like to keep busy when I’m not at work. I love to read books about mysteries, history, and animals. I enjoy knitting and doing embroidery. My girls and I love to go kayaking and to the movies, especially the drive-in.

I am looking forward to meeting you all. Please be patient with me as I learn all your names. Leeds Elementary has more than twice as many students as my last school. I’ll be outside Thursday morning, so you can see who I am. Let’s get this new year started!

Warm Wishes,

Nurse Amy

Phone (413)587-1544

Fax (413)587-1539

(Parents-If your child needs any medication at school, please bring in an order from the doctor and the medication in the original container with the latest pharmacy label. I will need you to sign a permission form, as well, if the doctor’s order does not have a place for the parent’s signature. Feel free to drop by Wednesday between 9am-3pm to hand these to me, so you won’t have to be bothered with doing it the first day.)



September 3 – Labor Day No School

September 4th – Tissues and Tears Kindergarten  begins

September 4th – Preschool Begins

September 4th – Primary Election (There is school)

September 10 – Faculty Meeting

September 12 – ESP meeting

September 14  @ 5:30 – PTO Family Picnic

September 19th – Picture Day

September 21st PTO meeting

October 9th – Columbus Day – No School

October 10th – Open House

October 23rd – 27th – Conference Week

October 25th – Picture Retakes