March 29th, 2020

Dear Woodside Friends, 

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Woodside School Office

March 26, 2020

Greetings from the “Lunch Bus” week #2!

(Woodside Custodians, Mike Langley and Mike Pulsifer have helped get our updated lunch bus program up and running smoothly at the new site:  Mt. Ararat Middle School back parking lot. (Click here for a map.)

A huge thank you!

To all the Woodside staff who have volunteered over the past week to help make the lunch bus program a success. We’ve had a few curve balls thrown our way...a snow day, and a requirement to move from Woodside to a new location (with about 18 hours notice!)...but through it all you can count on MSAD 75 lunch staff, bus drivers, and Woodside’s own volunteers to help make it both fun, safe, and successful.  What more could we ask? (Well, maybe that we could serve chocolate milk again?....But unfortunately that is not permitted by the federal food program.)

But that’s ok, under Food Service Director Katy DiCara’s leadership, and the wonderful cooperation of MSAD 75 Transportation and Custodial Supervision….we’ve put together what Ithink is a great resource to the community.  Well done all the way around! And again, a big thank you to our Woodside volunteers. Those who are healthy are practicing great social distancing, and helping to make this program a success, we are grateful to your community spirit!

Link to our district information on COVID-19

Have you seen this man read a book?

Well, maybe I’m no you tube star, but I am flattered by all the thank yous and recommendations I’ve been getting to just keep reading.  So long as I hear that kids are enjoying it, I’ll keep reading and posting. I’ll post copies of all the story links here, in case you missed any!

March 19th        March 23rd

March 20th        March 24th/ March 25th (2 parts, one story)

March 21st        March 26th        

March 22nd       March 27th

                          March 28th        


(Learning Packets, version 1.0 above.)


Click here for: New At Home Learning Links (version 2.0) 

  • This week our teachers have been working really, really hard to create new learning opportunities for our students while school is closed.  I’m happy to say we all finished up our work today, grades K-5. Starting tomorrow, your grade level teacher will e-mail your family the new learning links as a PDF.  

  • These new learning opportunities will cover school days from April 1 -April 16th, right up to our planned school vacation. (Our previous packets are good through Tuesday, March 31st.)

  • You might ask, why aren’t we printing them and mailing them this time?  Well, it has been advised that to reduce the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the community, that the schools stop mass copying, stuffing, mailing or distribution of packets.  We know this may create a challenge for some families.  

  • If you are having trouble accessing the new learning link PDF by e-mail...there will be a new At-Home Learning Link on our school and district web page coming soon. Your teacher will e-mail that new link as soon as it goes “live.” For now, we ask that you try to use the PDF attached from your teacher’s e-mail.  You can expect that to arrive by 5p.m. Friday.

  • If you do run into challenges you can’t solve on your own, please contact your homeroom or special education teacher, and we’ll work our best to try and safely help you out.


Note from Mrs. McGlauflin

A Note from you Guidance Counselor   


Dear Woodside Parents:


A video message from Mrs, McG


I have been waiting to be in touch because I know this is a tumultuous time and you have been receiving many communications from teachers and administrators!   But I wanted you to know I have been thinking of you and your children every day, hoping you are well, staying well, or taking good care of yourselves if sick.


I so respect all you have to adjust to right now as a parent--becoming suddenly a teacher, facing job loss or the challenges of working at home, meeting your family’s basic needs, managing stress.  It is so important to stay connected to yourself and your feelings, family, friends, the school and larger community to reduce stress and remain, stay or become well. I hope you are finding ways to do so.


Keeping in touch with me:


I am working on endorsed ways to keep in touch with you and your children in the weeks ahead, and am committed to continue supporting you in every available way I can.   Right now, the best way is to email me at  This way we can set up a plan to connect by phone or other means. 


Finding other assistance


The best and quickest way to find out how and where to get assistance is by calling

  1.  A statewide general helpline:  211.   This person has at their fingertips the current information about community resources available to you to meet the needs of your family.

  1. An intentional warm line: 1-866-771-9276. This is a statewide line to connect you to a friendly person who can listen, support, and help you problem solve various concerns. 

  1. A support services helpline: 1-888-568-1112. This is a number to call for any kind of support or assistance with mental health issues. It is a good place to turn if you feel you a=or a loved one are in danger, or at the limits of your coping skills. 


Be well, stay well, become well, and keep in touch.  

Warmly, Mrs. McG


Story time with Mr. Dedek

(Click for a link to see Thursday’s story!)


Important Links:

Link to our district information on COVID-19

  • Here you can find work packet links, letters from our superintendent, and other helpful resources to help us get through these unprecedented times.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

-Mr. Dedek 

PS - I hope you share the read aloud linked above with your child...and if you have any video to share of your child reading, it's a great way to encourage fluency practice and to share something special with distant family members who might not be able to visit with you or your children right now.

Take care and keep reading!

-Mr. Dedek

Quick peek at the coming weeks

Peek at the Upcoming Weeks

On Going: (unless communicated different from coordinator)
  • We have suspended all on-going events and activities at the school until further notice.

Quick Peek At The Next Few Weeks:

March / April  

On Going (the following represent the types of on-going events and activities we hope to get back to soon.)

WOW Practices:  Suspended
Maine Refrain Rehearsals:  Suspended
LEGO Club:  Suspended
Good News Club: Suspended 
5th Grade Band Rehearsals - Suspended
Mad Science - Suspended

Looking for things to do after school gets out in June???  Consider a camp experience for your are some options in our local community.  (Now’s The time to consider making your plans.)
  • Woodside One Wheelers One Wheelers Camp (2nd-5th graders contact Mr. Pulsifer)
  • Bowdoin Day Camp:  The midcoast’s Largest’s day camp is a real asset for our local community, and a great way to mingle with other children from local towns.
  • CREA Camp at Topsham’s very own Cathance River Nature Preserve and Ecology Center:  A favorite for Woodside kids for years!
  • Through the Trees Summer Camps is an up and coming local camp, started by Woodside Neighbors, and deeply connected to the land.  April’s Spring Camps now registering with Summer Camps on the way.
  • We also have some limited availability for camp scholarships, please contact school counselor Helene McGaluflin at for more information or to inquire.  She can also be contacted at 725-1243.

* Inclusion in this bulletin is at the discretion of the Woodside principal and does not represent endorsement by Woodside Elmentary Shcool or MSAD 75.
 Woodside Wolf Packs!

Each student is assigned to one of three packs, they are the Western, the Arctic, and Timber wolf packs.  As you can see in the picture above, each pack represent three of our school values.  Each pack also has a pack “color” which we encourage students to wear at our Monthly Campfire Meetings.  It is a great way to show school spirit, and helps unify our K-5 students in a unique multi-grade social format. 

I am hoping to offer a modified Virtual Campfire Meeting in April....stay tuned to the bulletin for more information...this may look something more like a story time...but I'm working on it and will let you know when more details become available.

-Mr. Dedek


End on a Healthy Note...By Woodside O.T., Mrs. Piccirillo
  As we endure a few more weeks of social distancing, I thought I'd share these expert tips from our School OT - Mrs. Piccirillo: Feel free to share this information with others.


Calming Strategies -

Calming strategies can be helpful for students that are sensitive to or avoid  sensory stimuli in their environment, or who have increased activity levels. You may see these students show signs of anxiety and stress via tantrums, meltdowns, during transitions or trouble focusing in class.  These strategies use the sensory system to help calm and organize a child, so they can participate in an activity as well as teach them coping tips they can add to their toolbox. Many teachers even find using calming strategies useful for an entire classroom!  Here are 29 different ideas, as well as a few links to even more. Not every calming strategy will help with every child, as it may take some trial and error. It may be beneficial to consult with the occupational therapist about the underlying reason for the behavior/feelings.  

  1. Dimming lights or turning off lights and using natural light from the windows

  2. Playing music with a slow beat at a moderate volume

  3. Linear swinging or rocking, or using a rocking chair or therapy ball  

  4. Inverted yoga poses (“easy pose” aka criss cross applesauce, cat/cow, lion’s pose, downward dog, cobra, child’s pose...find pictures here:

  5. Adding deep breathing (5 second long breaths) during the yoga poses if appropriate

  6. Use a soft voice and slow movement

  7. Find a warm place, maybe in the sunlight or in a blanket.  Warmth is calming.

  8. Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking (can even have kid balance bean bags on stomach while doing crab walking)

  9. Minimize external noises, use headphones, sound machines, whisper phones, ear buds

  10. Present new activities at eye level and have student repeat instructions beforehand

  11. Using a hoolahoop, carpet square, or taped area where the student can consider a “safe spot” without experiencing unexpected touching.

  12. Avoid putting posters, flyers, pictures at front of room so student can focus on teacher when they are speaking

  13. Some breathing and deep pressure ideas: from 

    1. Puffer Fish Puff - Puff your cheeks like a puffer fish. Fill your cheeks with air and hold for 5 seconds.  Blow quickly or slowly with silly noises.

    2. Clam Cuddle - Cuddled yourself like a clam.  Place your hands on the opposite shoulders and squeeze. Encourage deep breathing at the same time.

    3. Starfish Stretch - Stretch out like a starfish. Place your arms up over your head and stretch out wide. Stretch your legs out wide too! Encourage deep breathing at the same time.

  14. Use a predictable schedule, (a visual schedule, visual planner app, written list for the student’s desk) and let the student know what is next.

  15. Provide a special place for calming down (pillows, blankets, cool colors, natural light, calm music...whatever works for that child)

  16. Stretch before deskwork or tests

  17. Add wall push-ups or chair push-ups into daily schedule 

  18. Use movement learning for the whole classroom (clapping while singing, different dance poses, whatever works!)

  19. Water Bottles with a straw at a student’s desk

  20. Squeeze a fidget toy during times when student needs to pay attention or transition.  DIY Quiet fidget tools:

  21. Let the student know how much longer for an activity.  This can be done verbally and/or through use of a visual timer.  Then try to incorporate a signal that the activity has ended (dim lights, use a song, add in time to clean up and check off a box that it is cleaned)

  22. Use a transition toy, song, movement activity, bubbles, etc to help go from one activity to another

  23. Keep a sensory box strategically planned so that if a student has trouble with a specific transition, it serves as a distractor to stop and do 10 theraband exercises, or find 10 gems in the medium resistance theraputty and then move on.

  24. Give more time for transitions, but decrease waiting time.  Fidget toys can be helpful.  

  25. Try a social story so the student may be able to anticipate what will happen.

  26. Start the school day with tactile play.  It might help to use dry textures such as a bin full or large pasta noodles and work toward messier textures as the school year goes on.

  27. Attach pictures with words to organize bins, shelves, cubbies, etc.

  28. Have student carry weighted objects, push or pull a cart or wear a slightly weighted down backpack during transitions to give proprioceptive input.  This is often called “heavy work”. Just be sure to check the backpack fits correctly (an OT can help with this).

Lastly, here are some great tips for different age groups that you can read more fully:   

Here are more resources:

End on a Healhty Note:  Contributed by Barbara Piccirillo, Woodside Occupational Therapist.

Reminder: Next Woodside PTO Meetings

PTO Highlights:
Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 7th, 2019 @ 6:00 p.m. (We are considering opening up to a virtual platform at this meeting, look for an invitation coming soon.)
PTO executive board: 2019-2020
President: Erika McKenney 
Vice President: Erin Scott 
Treasurer: Laurie Wertz
Secretary: Julie Creek
Teacher Rep: Erin Dimbleby
End of Newsletter

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Woodside is a non-profit, public school organization · 42 Barrows Dr. · Topsham, Me 04086 · USA

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