MCAS, Hurricane Sandy Discussed

The Mattapoisett School Committee held its monthly meeting at Center School in Mattapoisett on Monday, November 5.

There was a lot of ongoing discussion about recent MCAS analysis, with school principals speaking about the school-wide implications for the 2012-2013 school year.

Center School Principal Rosemary Bowman said an analysis of question type reveals children are doing well in multiple choice questions but need improvement with short response questions. Therefore, the district will aim to help students become more proficient with detailing evidence to support responses to short answer questions.
School-wide implications for 2012-2013 include improving evidence-based writing with emphasis on non-fiction texts; continued focus on poetry, myths and traditional narratives at all grade levels; and intensify work with Writing Process and Writing on Demand. There will also be focus on implementation of the Common Core Standards as part of the ELA and Math redesign teams.
Old Hammondtown School (OHS) Principal Matt D’Andrea said the OHS analysis reveals students are doing well in reading, improving in mathematics , and have shown some progress in writing.  The school-wide implications include continued focus on writing and increasing student exposure to non-fiction.

Superintendent of Schools Douglas R. White, Jr. and the full School Committee praised local art educator Greta Anderson for being selected as the 2013 Massachusetts Elementary Art Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts Art Education Association.

Anderson completed her student teaching at Mattapoisett as part of her under-graduate program at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMASS). She was hired by the School District in January of 2010 and is presently in a Master of Education of Art degree program at UMASS.

Superintendent White then introduced Maria Tomon – who proposed having local students and their families participate in a donation drive to assist Long Island, New York families in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The proposal was authorized by the School Committee.

A Long Island transplant, Tomon has lived in Mattapoisett for about 25 years and is now a Grade Two teacher at Center School, but continues to have family residing in Long Island.

“Schools have been out for over a week [in Long Island] and some districts have children and families without homes, without clothing, without food.  Transportation there is very iffy and there is a gas shortage,” she said. “I enjoy being here with my students every day, but watching the news and speaking to my family members, I know there are many things we can do.”

“I would like support from the School Committee to send a letter home with students requesting donations from their families. I would set up a truck from 2:00-6:00 pm [on Tuesday, Novemeber 20] to collect donations, and then drive the truck with the donations down to Long Island,” she added. “If we can pull together as a community and get some donations or gifts cards together for families to go out and get what they need, I would appreciate their support.”

The School Committee then approved the proposed  fund-raiser to collect and U-Haul the donations to Long Island on Tuesday, November 20.

In other news, Director of Curriculum and Development Elise Frangos participated in two recent professional development days.

One was on November 6 to develop English/Language Arts bundles based on the MA Frameworks and the Common Core Curriculum Standards. The other was on November 5, in which teachers were trained on e2020, an online virtual school that will provide tutoring and enrichment opportunities for students.

“This is an exciting way to help enhance student learning and also allow them to continue to learn when they are out of school in the hospital, for instance,”she said.

OHS Principal D’Andrea, who also attended the November 5 training, shared the enthusiasm with Frangos.

“Any student who is sick can hop online to access the course, and it also allows kids to go back and watch the same lesson over and over as they need to,“ he said.

Frangos said the Parent-Teacher Community Academy will offer a free presentation from 6:00-7:15 pm on Wednesday, November 14 in which Technology Director Ryan McGee and Mattapoisett parent Bodil Perkins will present technological skills for home learning.

The event, called “Wired for Learning: Google Docs to Kahn Academy, Easy Tech Tools for Student Home Learning,” will be held at the Junior High School library in Mattapoisett.

In other news, Center School Principal Bowman spoke about the ongoing Mattapoisett Parent Teacher Association’s Scholastic Book Fair at Center School, which continues on Tuesday, November 6, and Wednesday, November 7.

“The money raised goes directly to the Center School library, so it’s a great opportunity for parents to buy books for their children and also contribute to our library,” she said.

Bowman also spoke about some changes in the state’s curriculum about Massachusetts colonial history.

“We started something different in third grade. We shifted focus to talk about Native Americans and have a Native American come and do individual workshops for people in the third grade. The enthusiasm from the kids and the teachers was immediate. Children are learning more about Native Americans and their contributions to America,” she said.

The third grade students also will be taking a field trip to the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum in Bourne on Friday, November 16.

OHS Principal D’Andrea then shared some upcoming events and developments with Old Hammondtown School. These include: 
  • The OHS Concert Band and Chorus will participate in a Veteran’s Day ceremony at OHS at 11 am Monday, November 12.
  • The Mattapoisett Parent Teacher Association is sponsoring a fifth grade presentation by author and illustrator Teresa Flavin on Monday, November 26.
  • A Staff vs. Student Charity Basketball Game is scheduled on the evening of Friday, December 7 at the Old Rochester Regional High School, with event proceeds being donated to St. Vincent de Paul charities.

Schools will be closed on Monday, November 12 for Veteran’s Day; and report cards for both schools will be issued on Monday, December 3.

Director of Facilities Gene Jones stated there was no damage from Hurricane Sandy to the building or grounds of either Center or Old Hammondtown schools. He also said Wayne Electric was expected to complete repairs to parking lot lights at Old Hammondtown School on Tuesday, November 6.

The Mattapoisett School Committee will meet next at 7:00 pm on Monday, December 10, at the Center School cafeteria, 17 Barstow Street in Mattapoisett.

The Joint School Committee will meet next on Thursday, January 17, 2013, at the Superintendent’s Office, 135 Marion Road in Mattapoisett.
By Scott A. Giordano

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