Monday, March 20, 2017

  "If Only"

Thursday evening, March 9th the high school auditorium was filled with parents, students, and community members for the short film If Only.  The film was presented by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and was produced by the Executive Director, James Wahlberg. The film was created to increase awareness of youth prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction. The movie is intended to encourage a productive dialogue about this epidemic that has been plaguing our society and to end the stigma associated with it. The panel discussion that followed was powerful and inspiring. 

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony at SHS

Congratulations to the following Juniors inducted into the National Honor Society on Wednesday evening, March 15th: Victoria Asci, Margot Beaupre, Margaret Bigler, Anna Conti, Samantha Conti, Nicholas Dariotis, Gina Hollenbach, Mia Hopkins, Robert Jensen, Rita LaPlante, Molly Marocco, Anna Marston, Morgan McBurney, Katelyn O'Keefe, Thomas O'Keefe, Steven Santanello, Tenley Seidel, Samantha Silverman, & Sophie Stern.

Northeast Junior District Chorus ~ A Message From Mrs. Bowler

This year we had the largest amount of students accepted to the Northeast Jr. District choruses that we have ever had.  After learning their audition piece from the end of November to January, auditioning and getting accepted, this group of students have been extremely committed to representing our school well. They have been spending lunch with me and rehearsing from January until now. Wednesday they met as a group for the first time and rehearsed for 4 hours. They did the same thing on Friday. Congratulations on fine performances this past weekend

     The students participating were Brooklyn Mullowney (8), Izabella Pitman (8), Maddie Winklosky (8), Erik Martin (8), Elsa Ramdas (8), Krista Dariotis (8),Miko Stewart (8), Piper Hall (8), Josh Shilo (6), and Sam Morgen (7). Finley Acker (7) was also accepted to the festival and rehearsed on Wed, but unfortunately got sick on Friday and was not able to participate.






Friday, February 17, 2017

SWIFT & HARBOR ~ Model Programs for Area Districts

More than 30 educators from area districts attended a learning session about our transition/return to school programs here at Swampscott High School. Visiting districts included: Saugus, Danvers, Marblehead, Beverly, Salem, Lynnfield, Manchester-Essex, Melrose, Newburyport, Pentucket, Essex Tech, Gloucester, and Hamilton-Wenham.



 Mr. Joe Ford - Honored

Mr. Joe Ford was recently honored at a School Committee meeting on February 8th.  His selflessness, commitment in our schools and to our students is unparalleled. Thank you, Mr. Ford!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017



ADDRESSING A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS: OPIOID USE AND ADDICTION


Chief Ronald J. Madigan and members of the Swampscott Police Department along with members of the Swampscott Overdose Response Team, Swampscott Public Schools, Essex County District Attorney’s Office; and, other community members invite you to attend the showing of a short film If Only which will be shown at the Swampscott High School, 200 Essex Street, Swampscott, MA, on March 9, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

The film is being presented by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and was produced by the Executive Director, James Wahlberg. The film was created to increase awareness of youth prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction. The movie is intended to encourage a productive dialogue about this epidemic that has been plaguing our society and to end the stigma associated with it.

The film will be followed by an interactive discussion about drug use and addiction featuring a panel of local experts, persons in recovery, a licensed physician, and family members who have lost a loved one. The discussion will also provide information on where to find a detox or inpatient facility and where people can turn to for help before or afterwards. Questions will also be taken from the audience and treatment providers and programs will also be on hand to provide information and handouts.

Swampscott Police Chief, Ronald Madigan has reported that in Swampscott, there have been 42 overdoses from January l, 2015 to December 7, 2016. He said there has been an 19 percent increase in overdoses from 2015 to 2016 with 17 overdoses in 2015 to 25 overdoses in 2016. Swampscott has had 8 fatal overdoses during this time frame which results in a 25 percent increase in fatal overdoses over the past year.

Chief Madigan said that his department started an Overdose Response Team in 2016 which consists of himself along with Detective Rose Cheever; Officer Brendan Reen; Superintendent of Schools Pamela Angelakis; Board of Health Director Jeffrey Vaughn; Middle School Nurse Marianne Hartmann; Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA Executive Director, Gerald MacKillop; Selectman Naomi Dreeben; Interim Town Administrator and DPW Director Gino Cresta;  Dr. Jeffrey Gold; Chief Kevin Breen of the Swampscott Fire Department; Deputy Chief, James Potts of the Swampscott Fire Department; Director of Operations for Atlantic Ambulance (Cataldo Ambulance) Dan Hoffenberg; Harm Reduction Specialist from Healthy Streets Outreach Program Mary Wheeler; and, Parent Peer Support Specialist, Catherine See.

Chief Madigan said, “We would like to start a conversation to help break the stigma associated with drug use and addiction”. He said, “This is a Swampscott problem and it is happening here and we are not immune to it.”

Swampscott Police Officer Brendan Reen and Detective Cheever along with Mary Wheeler, a Harm Reduction Specialist from Health Streets in Lynn, have been going to residences after an overdose conducting “door knocks” as they call them to follow up with the families afterwards. “It is not an easy phone call to make when a loved one needs help. We are trying to make that easier for people”, said Chief Madigan.

Thursday, February 2, 2017




STANLEY SCHOOL HONORED AT STATE HOUSE

On Wednesday morning, Stanley School was honored as one of a number of Commendation Schools in the Commonwealth for high progress.  Congratulations to Mr. Daniels and his staff for their extraordinary work with our students!




BUDGET STATEMENT BY SCHOOL COMMITTEE CHAIR


The School Department has done an enormous amount of work to identify areas where savings could be found, cuts could be made to reduce spending, and even ways to generate new revenue.  We have done this without touching the kindergarten program. It is not our wish to have to take that further step.



We have also made great strides to negotiate fair and fiscally responsible contracts with all the employees of the district both union and non-union.  This is critical to help the district get control of the skyrocketing costs of salaries.  With salaries consuming eighty percent of the school budget, the annual increase in salaries is the single largest budgetary obligation we struggle with each year.  The only bargaining unit that is unresolved is the teachers, which is the largest.  I am hopeful that the teachers union will reconsider and ratify the agreement.  This would allow us to properly forecast salary increases and plan for the next two years.



It is our position that with all the steps the school district has taken to get our costs down and to achieve savings, we are now looking to the town to close that gap in our budget so that we can move forward without the need for any additional cuts or changes (to kindergarten or elsewhere).  I can assure you that the Board of Selectmen is working cooperatively with the school department and has demonstrated an understanding of the issues.  We are hopeful that this continuing cooperation will lead to a balanced budget for the school district.



More information on this process and the latest updates will be available at the February 8th School Committee meeting.  We will not be voting on a final budget on that date, but have postponed that vote until February 16th.  This is to allow the full amount of time for all parties to work towards a solution and to allow the Town Administrator to present the entire budget to the Selectmen, which includes the school allocation, on Wednesday, February 15th.



We will need the support of all concerned parents and residents to continue to work together to make sure that our schools are properly funded each and every year so that we do not continue to face these cuts on an annual basis.  Much of the blame lies at the state level where public education on the whole is not funded adequately.  Rising costs of special education and health care for employees, along with unfunded mandates, continue to strap districts all around the state.  We are not the only ones facing these issues.



Until those issues can be resolved it is up to us, as Swampscott residents, to make our priorities known so that our schools get the allocations they need, not only to continue to provide the current level of service, but to grow and improve. 



Sincerely,

Carin Marshall

Chair, Swampscott School Committee


Mindfulness in the Classroom 


Mindfulness in the Classroom Video #3: Circles of Attention
As the brief video outlines, Circles of Attention is a great way to give a visual to observing where our thoughts are:
  •  First Circle = The Past (could have, should have)
  • Second Circle = The Present Moment
  • Third Circle = The Future (What if, I hope)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 2017


Public Hearing - School Budget

Come one ~ Come all!  The Public Hearing on the School Budget for FY18 will be held next Wednesday evening, January 25th at 7pm in the High School Auditorium.  

Mindfulness in the Classroom

The mental health of our students and staff is at the forefront of our work here in the Swampscott Public Schools.  As part of this work, Peter Franklin and Craig Harris are creating a video series sharing mindfulness strategies for teachers to incorporate into their school day.  Please enjoy the first episode: "Pocket Goodness": 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxr2mVm-Vwc
     
Addressing Anxiety Workshop
 On Wednesday, January 11th, over 150 parents and educators turned out for the presentation at Swampscott High School entitled "Seven ways to Stop the Worry Cycle", organized by the Swampscott Schools Mental Health Task Force.   Those who were able to attend found the information very helpful.  We were very fortunate to have Mr. Douillette's TV students film the presentation and it will be aired on Swampscott cable stations as outlined below.  If anxiety is an issue that impacts your life or your family in any way, it is well worth the time to tune in to this programming. 

The presentation will be shown on  Comcast channel 15 or Verizon channel 40-
Tuesday, January 24, 7-9 pm
Thursday, January 26, 7-9pm

Tuesday, January 31, 7-9 pm
Thursday, February 2, 7-9 p.m.

Tuesday, February 7, 7-9 pm
Thursday, February 9, 7-9 pm 



THANK YOU to all those who participated and/or made a donation to the SYC Polar Plunge!  It was a huge success and we are grateful that half of the funds will help support our SWIFT and Harbor Programs. 

   Photo courtesy of the Lynn Daily Item


Swampscott Begins Kindergarten Registration



Registration for the September 2017 kindergarten class has begun.  Children who are eligible for kindergarten entrance must be five years of age before September 1, 2017. There are no exceptions to the entrance age. 



Registration packets are being distributed to local preschools the last week of January. All other families may pick up a packet at the following location after February 1st .

Student Support Services at the Middle School at 207 Forest Ave



Please return the packet to the Student Support Services Office at the Swampscott Middle School by March 1, 2017. Only complete packets will be forwarded to the school assignment committee. All documents must be completed regardless of whether a family already has a student enrolled in the Swampscott Public Schools. It is very important that all eligible children are registered at this time to insure that they are included in school and class assignments.

 - A kindergarten information night will be scheduled for the spring. Date and time to follow.

 - Kindergarten screening will be the last week of school in June. Parents will be notified o
   their child’s screening appointment.
 - Letters will be mailed to parents to notify families of school assignments on or before August
   15th. Please refer to school committee policy (located on the website)  for school
    assignments.

 - Kindergarten orientation day will be the first day of school in the fall with the first full day of
    school on the following day.

 



If you have any questions regarding the kindergarten registration process, please email your questions to the following email: Raymond@swampscott.k12.ma.us