Sippican Continues with Curriculum Alignment

Teachers and staff members of Sippican Elementary School are continuing to align the English and math curriculum with the Common Core standards and other Tri-Town elementary school curriculums, said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Elise Frangos at the meeting of the Marion School Committee on Wednesday, December 5.

“We’ve been aligning the past curriculum with the lens of the future,” Frangos said. “This is all coming to conclusion as we near January.”

New curriculum and lesson plans are currently being stored on a password-protected website which only teachers, staff members and administrators may access. This setup is for until the new curriculum goes public.

Particularly for Sippican Elementary, Frangos said that the teachers are preparing for two science hands-on learning units. One is the King Arthur Flour grant project, which will provide the school with the supplies for each student to make bread at home after learning about the history of bread and the science of yeast in the classroom.

“Our King Arthur Flour project will rise after the new year,” Frangos said. “The goal is to get some but also to give.”

To that end, there will be over 900 loaves of bread coming from the elementary schools and the junior high school which Frangos said she would help distribute to local food pantries.

The other hands-on learning unit is for a laboratory dissection.

“Our sixth grade teachers will be learning to teach the dissection of lamprey,” Frangos said.

The lamprey, an invasive species of fish, has already arrived at Frangos’s office and she has distributed them to the science classrooms in each of the Tri-Town’s elementary schools.

“They are odorless, vapor-less, clean and wonderful,” Frangos said about the lamprey, which she explained modern technology has allowed to be preserved in chemicals other than formaldehyde.

In her Principal’s report, Evelyn Rivet informed the School Committee about the feedback she has received from parents regarding this year’s open house.

“Overall, parents felt positively about the open house format being before the first day of school,” Rivet said. She also said that, next year, the school might experiment with a different time slot.

“Many parents felt a little bit different time would work better,” Rivet justified.

Committee Vice Chairman Christine Winters suggested that the school host two open houses, one for kindergarten through second grade and one for third through sixth grade. Winters thought the arrangement might be easier on parents with multiple children in the school.

“A lot of parents feel like they’re giving their kids short shrift,” Winters said.

The Committee also discussed the unfortunate post-Thanksgiving heating troubles that Sippican Elementary experienced. Facilities Director Gene Jones updated the Committee on the state of the repairs.

“Saturday after Thanksgiving one of the main circulation pumps on the heating system literally ripped itself apart,” Jones said.

After a serious water leak, one of the motors was heavily damaged. After securing the area, Jones said his team was able to put in a spare motor from the junior and senior high schools so that the school could return to operation. The repair holds.

The Committee was able to meet Teah Mazzoni, the district’s new English Language Learner teacher. Mazzoni told the Committee about her work, which takes her from school to school in the district teaching and monitoring students who have been identified as English Language Learners. Mazzoni currently has a roster of 28 district students whom she is either teaching or monitoring.

Mazzoni has also spent time revamping the district’s English as a Second Language program.

“During my first weeks here, I drafted a handbook which details an ELL referral and testing,” Mazzoni said.

Frangos praised Mazzoni’s work, saying that she has an elaborate schedule.

“It’s quite a tapestry of going from school to school,” Frangos said.

In its other business, the Committee voted to ratify the Memorandum of Agreement for the custodial and cafeteria staff.

The next meeting of the Marion School Committee will be on Wednesday, January 2 at 6:30 pm at the Town House.

By Anne Smith

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