Category: Uncategorized

Solar Eclipse Day Reminders

Dear Parents,

Tomorrow is our Solar Eclipse Viewing Party! 

Thanks to a ton of planning by the sixth grade staff at Salem Middle School, every child that has returned the WCPSS Liability Waiver form will be outside with their own pair of NASA approved eclipse glasses watching a celestial event that is pretty darn amazing.

(Needless to say, I’m geeked!)

A few reminders:

If your child hasn’t returned their liability waiver, please make sure it is signed by both you and a witness and that it is in their backpacks right now!  You can see a list of students without signed waiver forms here.

It will be hot outside tomorrow — so send your child dressed and ready to be comfortable in the heat.  Tomorrow is not a day for hoodies and blue jeans!

Slather your kid in sunscreen.  The current weather forecast has us completely sunny for our viewing period tomorrow.  That’s perfect for two things:  Watching solar eclipses AND getting wicked bad sunburn.  PLEASE either send your kid in with sunscreen OR force them to bathe in it on Monday morning before sending them to school.

Send your kid with other items to help them be comfortable for two hours in the sun:  We’ve told kids to bring a beach towel to sit on, a water bottle (even though we will have plenty of iced down Capri Suns on hand), an umbrella to create shade if they want it, and a hat to keep the sun off their heads.  Watching an eclipse will be cool — but the weather sure won’t be.  Let’s prepare for that.

Speak to your kids about eye safety:  If your kids follow the rules tomorrow (read: keep their eclipse glasses on when looking directly at the sun), they will be completely and totally safe.  So remind them again and again about eye safety.  We did a lesson together in class on Friday — so I THINK they understand what the consequences are of failing to protect their eyes.  But a nudge from mom and dad is never a bad thing, too.

If you can, make a plan to watch the REST of the eclipse with your kid:  Our viewing party ends at 2:50 for dismissal time.  That will be JUST after maximum coverage — which happens at 2:46.  If you can, make a plan for watching the REST of the eclipse, where the moon moves away from the sun.  That will take until 3:45.

If you carpool, think about parking your car and hanging with your kid at the Salem Pond Park.  Bring a cooler with some cold sodas and make an afternoon of it.  If your kid rides the bus, see if you can be home when they are and watch it in the backyard together.  Why not have a great memory to share with your son or daughter!

Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is simply amazing!

Bill Ferriter

[category Science]

Can I Borrow Your Colander? (No. Really. It’s for the Eclipse!)

Dear Parents,

I have what could be the strangest request that I’ve ever made: I am looking to rustle up 5-10 colanders.

Yup. The kind you use to strain your pasta.

Here’s why: I am putting together an activity for the students who don’t bring back their liability waivers for eclipse day. I want to get them to view the eclipse using "pinhole viewers" and it just so happens that one of the BEST tools for making a pinhole viewer is a colander!

It’s all those pinholes!

I’d like to have 5-10 colanders so that lots of groups can try this out.

Can I borrow yours for a few days?

I’ll put your name on it with masking tape and return it on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Promise.

If you are down with this, send in those colanders!

With (slightly nutty) gratitude,

Bill Ferriter

Urgent Reminder: Second Eclipse Permission Slip is REQUIRED.


As I mentioned in this post earlier in the week, WCPSS has made a decision that all parents of students who are going to participate in an Eclipse Viewing event on campus MUST sign a second "waiver of liability" form.

To date, I have received 53 out of 123 forms!

Please ask your child for the "Green Form" that Mr. Ferriter handed out and be sure to get it signed and returned no later than Monday morning — although I’d prefer to receive them no later than tomorrow!

If you want to print a copy of the form right now, you can find it online here.

If your child doesn’t bring that form in signed before our viewing party on Monday afternoon, they will have to stay inside. There are no exceptions being made.

I think that would be a huge bummer!

Let me know if you have any questions,

Bill Ferriter

Urgent: Second WCPSS Eclipse Permission Form Coming Home

Dear Parents,

I was just notified this morning that WCPSS is requiring that the parents of all students who want to participate in a solar eclipse viewing party sign an additional “Waiver of Liability” document. This is in addition to the parent permission letter that you already signed.

You can find the additional form here


I will also be sending home a printed copy with your child today.

A few additional details:

This form requires the signature of a witness, too. That means you need to sign it in front of someone outside of your family. Consider bringing it to work and signing it in front of a colleague, stopping the mailman and asking him to watch you sign it, or finding a neighbor and getting them to witness your signature. You can even stop by school and have someone in the front office witness your signature. Heck, if you need me to, I’ll meet you in the carpool line to witness your signature! Just let me know that you’ll need me.

Forms without the signature of a witness won’t be accepted, though. That’s a directive from WCPSS leadership.

There is a photo/video release form on the back of the page, too. Mrs. Hofmann has invited the news to our viewing party. They will be taking pictures and possibly video. Please indicate on the back of the form being sent home today whether or not pictures of your child can be used by the news media or by WCPSS in any reporting about our event.

I apologize for the confusion around parent permissions. The decision to require this new “waiver of liability” document was just made by WCPSS’s senior level leadership. Until this morning, we were under the impression that our previous permission slips were enough.

Please email me at or text me at 919-622-3625 if you have any questions.

Be well,

Bill Ferriter

Math 6/6Plus Update


We have finished another successful week at school and our first mathematics unit!

– Decimals Unit Test is Monday August 14th.
– Our next topic is factors vs multiples.
– Please use Google Classroom to keep up with homework and studying. : )

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Kate Kotik

Picture Day is Thursday

Picture Day is this Thursday, August 10. Students should have received an order form for pictures.

If you are interested in purchasing pictures, then you will need to complete the order form and have your student give the form and money directly to the photographers. The teachers do not collect the money.

You may also prepay online at and use code 110112. Then print online proof of purchase for your student to give to the photographers.

All students will get photographed whether they are purchasing or not and this will be the pictures that are used in the Salem yearbooks. Students will be photographed during their PE elective classes.

So pick your clothes, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and remember to smile!

Math 6/6+ update

Awesome start to an awesome year!

Short n sweet:

– We are knee-deep in our Decimal Operations unit
– First quiz is next Wednesday and will cover adding, subtracting, multiplying decimals AND long division
– Be sure to check out Google Classrooms

Hope everyone has a super weekend!
Email me if you need me –

Open House

Hello Parents! We wanted to make sure that everyone knew there would be a Track 4 Open House next Thursday evening, August 10th from 6:00-7:30pm. This will give you a chance to meet the administrators and follow your child’s schedule, both core classes and electives. Parents will be meeting in the gym to hear from administration, then you can head upstairs to your child’s first core class.

We look forward to meeting everyone!

-The Gnomes Teachers

Thursday and Friday Schedule

Dear Parents,

Here’s what’s happening in school on Thursday and Friday:

Thursday: Locker cleanout, media checkout, pizza lunch, team movie.

Friday: Team kickball game, Quiz Bowl Competition and Yearbook Signing.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Final Two Weeks / Schedule of Activities

Dear Parents,

We’ve been getting a ton of questions lately about the schedule of events over the last two weeks of school. While everything isn’t set in stone yet, here’s what we know for sure:

Testing week: June 19th – 23rd: Please do your best to make sure that your kids get a good night sleep, eat something for breakfast, and come to school with two sharpened #2 pencils. Here are the specific dates of specific exams:

June 19th: Reading EOG exam

June 20th: Math EOG exam

June 21st: Social Studies EOG exam

June 22nd: Science EOG exam

June 23rd: Makeup testing for any students who are absent

Final week of school: June 26th – 30th: We’ve got lots of special things happening this week on Wednesday through Friday of this week. Monday and Tuesday will be regular school days. Here’s what we’ve locked down for the rest of the week for certain so far:

Wednesday June 28th:

Fourth Quarter Honors Assesmbly: 8:30-9:40 in the Auditorium. Parents are invited to attend. Parents of students receiving a Teachers Choice Award or an End of Year Character Award will be notified directly. Honor Roll Certificates will be handed out