A New Schoolyard and a Visit from Mayor Menino

On Friday, the entire MHS community celebrated our two new outdoor play spaces. We also had a special visitor: Mayor Menino! Wearing new green MHS t-shirts, students, staff, families, and visitors sang songs and enjoyed the beautiful warm weather. Special guests from BPS and the Boston Schoolyard Initiative joined the Mayor as he cut the red ribbon (held by two MHS students) with a pair of gold scissors!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Many thanks go to the Boston Schoolyard Initiative and the teams that designed these spaces. James Sessum and Nancy Leask from the City, Kathy D’Andrea, Jenerra Williams and Ayla Gavins as school staff members, and parents Jessica Parsons, Diane Abrams, and Deborah Gregson.

Families are fundraising to complete the project with an Outlast Block set for children to explore and play with. Donate to the project by visiting tinyurl.com/MHSyard. Thank you!

The Boston Neighborhood Network News reported about the event:

A Conference at Mission Hill School!

Descriptive Review: The Power of Collective Work

Join us as we examine and exercise the power of collective work to see children more fully and examine school environments. The basic content of this conference is the Prospect Descriptive Processes* and the unique perspective they provide for thinking about children and their work.

Saturday, November 23, 2013
8:30 am – 4:30 pm

This one day conference will be held at the Mission Hill K-8 School and lead by MHS staff.

Free for Boston Public School teachers
$25.00 for non-BPS teachers.


Conference Resources


*With the closing of the Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, the institutes formerly known as the Prospect Summer Institutes will be carried forward by a new organization, The Institute on Descriptive Inquiry Inc. There will continue to be two institutes, the Institute on Descriptive Process and the Institute on Descriptive Inquiry, and,as in the recent past, they will be collaboratively planned and facilitated by participants of the Institute on Descriptive Inquiry.

Email info@missionhillschool.org with questions or concerns.


MHS on Roller Skates!

Last week, 200 MHS children, teachers, staff, and family members traveled by city bus to Chez Vous roller-skating rink in Dorchester. What followed was a morning full of nervous anticipation, (more than a few) falls, some tears, and a whole lot of excitement, pride, accomplishment, and joy.

Enjoy the slide show!

[portfolio_slideshow id=1075]

How Wonderful to Feel Appreciated!

The following is from this week’s Room 105 newsletter column:

Wednesday was Teacher Appreciation Day! This is one of the only times during the year that all MHS adults stop collectively at lunchtime to sit, eat, chat and dare to relax for an hour. Families organize lunch fixings, which include main dishes, side dishes, various salads, fruits, drinks and the coveted desserts!


Teachers and staff have an opportunity to sit and eat together. Tables are thoughtfully decorated with flower arrangements AND families take over lunch and recess duties so that everyone may enjoy the amazing meal!

The variety of dishes was incredible. There was even a separate dessert table!

The variety of dishes was incredible. There was even a separate dessert table!


Families ALSO provide everyone on staff with a beautiful handmade gift. This year's was a handpainted cookie jar!

Families ALSO provide everyone on staff with a beautiful handmade gift. This year’s was a handpainted cookie jar!

Complete with cookies from our dear neighbors at Fiore's Bakery!

Complete with cookies from our dear neighbors at Fiore’s Bakery!

This year, more than most, it was awesome to have a few moments to stop, reflect and celebrate all that we have accomplished thus far. We have had a tremendous school year. We have successfully settled into our new home. We have welcomed new members- staff, students and families into our community. We have begun to establish new relationships with members of our surrounding community. Our moments of celebration on Wednesday were much appreciated yet there is a lot still to be done. There are curricula to be wrapped up and assessments to be made. Portfolios for 7th and 8th graders are about to begin. We have field trips planned and more end-of-the-year celebrations will take place. Report cards need to be written and rooms need to be packed up. As we move closer to the last day of school, our moments of celebration and appreciation push us on.

Thank you Mission Hill Families for the splendid Teacher Appreciation Day!

MHS Debate Team takes First Place at Harvard Competition!

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12 debate team students from Mission Hill School traveled to Harvard University to participate in the day long 2013 Debate Mate Boston competition against other Boston middle and K-8 schools.

DebateMate_SignThree teams of four students each participated in three rounds of debates addressing possession of nuclear weapons, equal access for men and women sports teams to TV coverage, and fines for sagging pants. Our teams won seven of their nine debates. Judges evaluated each debater and awarded points for content and style. We placed second out of 22 teams on points, and qualified for the final championship round against debaters from the Edison School.


Faces were serious during the final debate.

Our debaters argued in support of making gun possession illegal. The judges awarded the win to the Mission Hill team on the basis of number and depth of arguments and rebuttal.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The Mission Hill Debate team, comprised of students in grades five through eight, has been meeting after school since February with debate coach, Brandeis student Sarah Pizzano, and MHS mentor and middle school teacher, Ann Ruggiero. The team is eager for next year’s debate season to begin, and promises to work hard to defend their title.

photo (17)

The Cup!

A Team Effort

Check out the new article in Community Playthings about project-based learning, co-written by MHS teachers Geralyn McLaughlin (K0) and Kathy Clunis D’Andrea (K1/K2).

The Project Approach: Using Schoolyard Ecology to Support Student Learning







Screen-Free Week at MHS

Join the Mission Hill Community in celebration of Screen-Free Week!

From www.screenfree.org: “Screen-Free Week is an annual celebration where children, families, schools, and communities turn off screens and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.”

Click here for a list of Screen-Free Week resources.

Read this week’s Mission Hill News article about Screen-Free Week, by teacher Geralyn McLaughlin.

A group of MHS teachers kicked off the celebration with an entertaining skit, which was performed at Friday Share.

Farewell to Ancient Greece!

This morning, the Mission Hill School community celebrated the final days of the school-wide Ancient Greek curriculum. Families and friends gathered for a Greek-inspired potluck breakfast, which featured everything from Greek salad to honey cake and stuffed grape leaves. Harpist Mason Morton played exquisite music while children showed off art work and discussed architecture and history with adults. Displays ranging from detailed mosaics, to myths and renditions of the Greek alphabet covered the walls, adding to the festive atmosphere. Below is a slideshow with some images of our last few months, studying this fascinating ancient culture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Acts of Kindness

Each week at Friday Share, the MHS community acknowledges people who have exemplified the Mission Hill Way (Be Kind, Work Hard). Acts of Kindness are submitted anonymously by students and staff on handwritten cards. Wheelock Intern, Kailah Simon, decided to take this a step further, by documenting Acts of Kindness by photographing them. Here is a selection of MHS Acts of Kindness from the first months of the school year.