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2020 Principal's Message

Hamilton Elementary School 

Principal Letter 

School Year 2020- 2021


October 2020

Dear Hamilton Families,

 

We are together again (mostly) with approximately 350 of our students attending Hamilton  in person daily and approximately 80 students enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy. We remain the largest elementary school in North Kingstown. We also remain the highest performing elementary school in Rhode Island in ELA and second highest performing elementary school in RI for Math (based on 2019 RICAS scores).  Go Team Hamilton!  Hamilton is also home to the district Next Steps program; a  K-5 special education program designed to meet the needs of students in the areas of communication, sensory input, cognition, and/or sensory-integration deficits that address the student's rate of learning, their basic skills developments and their skills mastery. 


This has not been the “back to school” we look forward to each year.  In these early days of the new school year, it has been incredibly difficult at  times for students, families and teachers and also joyful to feel small moments of a  “normal” routine again.   As a mom of two small boys, I’m one of the countless parents struggling with the challenges of this new school year. And as the Principal of Hamilton Elementary School, I’m also witnessing the courage of students and staff, the bumps along the way as we try to make sense of the changing DOH guidance, working hard to use common sense to keep everyone safe and provide a high quality education. No biggie, right?! 


The children remind us all daily how to roll with the changes and look at the bright side of things.  They are doing a great job wearing their mask, keeping a distance and working hard to maximize their learning time while here.  Our teachers are identifying areas of need and beginning to target their instructional practices to close achievement gaps.  The teachers are not letting up despite the additional demands they feel under COVID-19.  They are somehow balancing handwashing and staggered arrival and dismissal with deep number corner discussions and a focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students.  I am very inspired by our school community! 

 

That said, this year is dramatically different than we had hoped. Reopening Hamilton was quite possibly the most challenging task that I have faced in my professional life. Decisions about the lives, education, and needs of our students have fallen on individual district leaders, principals, teachers, students, and parents, all trying to ensure our students can get an education safely.  It remains an  honor to serve as the principal of Hamilton Elementary School for my 6th year. For those new to Hamilton I would like to share a  little about myself: 


I grew up in Little Compton, Rhode Island. I attended the University of Rhode Island for my undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on Early Childhood Education and a minor in Leadership Studies.   I then moved to New York City after being selected by Teach For America. Teach For America (TFA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build a movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. While there I  worked as a  NYC public school teacher. I taught Kindergarten and First Grade at P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, and I also taught Second Grade at P.S. 135 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY. As a TFA alumnus and school leader my goal is not only to make a short-term impact on students, but also to become a lifelong leader in pursuing educational equality.  Before accepting an administrative position with the North Kingstown School District I was an assistant principal in Bridgewater, MA. While teaching, I earned a Master of Science Education in Literacy. I also earned a Master of Science Education in Education Leadership and Administration.  As an administrator, in May of 2014 I completed my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. I have my teaching license in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Special Education. I am also a certified Literacy Specialist and School Building Leader/District Leader.  In the Spring of 2019 (just before welcoming my second son) I graduated from Georgetown University with an  Education Fiance certification.  In addition to my role as principal I currently serve on the Alumni  Executive Committee for the University of Rhode Island and as a board member on the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies Advisory Council.  I’m a School Retool Fellow and principal representative for the Open Circle program.   


Some fun facts about me… I am a licensed foster care parent and hope to be able to foster one day. The training within the foster program  has helped me to work with families in trauma.  It has been especially hard during this pandemic—as it always is—for our most vulnerable students: for students and families with the fewest resources; for those students who count on schools for so much more than an education. While teaching I also held a real estate license and became a certified Doula! In my free time I love to run and play with interior design.   

 

Instilling a love of learning in each child is one of my top priorities throughout the year.  Guiding students to develop into lifelong learners who enjoy and embrace learning will provide them with a strong foundation for future learning, academic success, and happiness. My past experience has shown me that it takes a team to help all students reach their maximum potential. I am thrilled to be a part of Team Hamilton!  I am confident that this will be an outstanding school year and look forward to working with the school community to continue the Hamilton tradition of academic excellence! I am excited to lead this great school and work with the many parent/guardian volunteers who support Hamilton.  

 

Sincerely,

 

Kaitlin Lambert Donahue, Ph.D.


Follow us: 

The Hamilton Facebook account is Principal Donahue *There is a private Hamilton parent facebook page.  That page is not associated with our school directly. The most accurate information available for parents/guardians is best to gather by directly contacting school or reading the weekly parent letter.  

The Hamilton Instagram account is he_huskies. 

The Hamilton Twitter handle is he_huskies