Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Superintendent's Report 8.8.18

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
August 8, 2018

NEW: Online Back-to-School Paperwork!

We are excited to announce that we are now offering the convenience of online back to school paperwork for all schools through FamilyID ( Swampscott Public Schools Athletics Department already uses this service, so if students play sports for SMS or SHS, then families already have an account!

FamilyID is a secure registration platform that will provide families with an easy, user-friendly way to sign our school policies, such as handbook agreements, media releases, acceptable use policies, and medical agreements. We are even able to give the option to upload a copy of a physical (or it can be turned in to each office). This system will help us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When families register through FamilyID, the system keeps track of your information in your FamilyID profile. You enter your information only once for each family member for multiple uses and multiple programs.

A HUGE Thank You to Ms. Mackey Knowles, Director of Digital Learning and Educational Technology, for all her work on this!

Leadership Retreat 2018!

Last week we had another intense and successful two-day Leadership Retreat. Attorney Janelle Austin from KP Law presented on HIPPA, FERPA, and Information Sharing while Director of Human Resources, Julie Delillo gave a Harassment Training and reviewed current issues in the workplace. In addition, we had several “workshop” presentations from colleagues including: Improving Your Workflow with Google with Ms. Mackey Knowles, Developing Your Leadership Skills by Following Your Passion with Mr. Katz, and some inspiration from our colleagues (Mr. Murphy, Ms. Mackey Knowles, Mr. Kohut, Ms. Cull, Mrs. Hunt, and Mr. Calichman) who all attended the three-day annual MSAA (Massachusetts School Administrators Association) Conference in late July. Ms. Mackey Knowles was also a presenter at this conference.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Superintendent's Report 7.18.18

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
July 18, 2018

Recognition of Retiring Staff

Tony Geraci

Tony has been with the Swampscott Public Schools since 2007. He joined our team when Campus Security Monitors were hired for Swampscott High School. Tony was much more than just a monitor he was a role model every minute of every day for our students. He was fair, consistent, and kind but could also be tough on our students when needed. He was part of the fabric that is SHS and his enthusiasm and positivity will be missed.

Michele Schultz

Michele has worked as an administrative assistant for the Swampscott Public Schools for the last 28 years. She has worked in Central Office, the Middle School, and most recently Swampscott High School. Michele has worked tirelessly in each of these roles and is the consummate professional. Her dedication and caring for the students and staff will be sorely missed. Her official retire date will be September 17th and I look forward to beginning another school year together. We wish her a happy and healthy retirement.

Director of Human Resources Update
On Monday, July 16th, we welcomed Mrs. Julie DeLillo as she officially began her new position as joint Director of Human Resources for general government and school department. The Town Administrator and I are very excited by the experience and talent she brings to this position and look forward to having someone to guide us through future human resource challenges. MOU to be signed by Superintendent and SC.

Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)
My office received numerous resumes from members of the community who are interested in being part of the School Building Committee. We have to submit our School Building Committee team to the MSBA by July 31st, so we are right on schedule.

M.A.S.S. Executive Institute
Last week I attended the Annual Summer Executive Institute for Superintendents in Mashpee. As usual, it did not disappoint. Keynote speakers included the new Commissioner of Education, Jeff Riley, Dan Heath most recent co-author of Decisive a book about how to make better choices , and Scott McLeod author of Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning (A Quick Guide to Educational Technology Integration and Digital Learning Spaces)

Along with the numerous break out sessions, there were meetings and events with our colleagues from across the state and the networking and collaboration with area superintendents is invaluable.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Superintendent's Report 6.13.18

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Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
June 13, 2018

Recognition of Retiring Staff

Janet Frasca - (34 years)
Janet has been teaching in the Swampscott Public Schools for 34 years. She started her career here in 1984 working in a variety of capacities including elementary school librarian, classroom teacher and more currently, as a library media specialist. Janet fosters a love of reading in her students through rich literacy experiences, lessons and opportunities. She has also brought her expertise and passion for technology into every classroom through highly engaging lessons and activities. Ms. Frasca has been the Geography Bee Coordinator at the Clarke School for many years and was able to instill a sense of curiosity and exploration when learning about our world’s cultures and earth sciences. She clearly values each of her student's diverse cultures, backgrounds, behaviors and learning styles and provides the guidance and support he/she may need in order to be successful as learners. She has been a dedicated teacher and a valued member of our learning community who will be sorely missed.

Rosalie Hobbs – (19 years)
As an educator, and as a person, Rosalie exudes a passion that is both rare and contagious to everyone she crosses paths with. She has modeled the type of professional who has managed to care deeply, reflect consistently, and deliver the highest level of service to her students, and their families, throughout her entire illustrious career as a teacher. Her experiences in the field include: teaching math in Peabody (followed by a hiatus in order to raise her two children), starting out her stint at SMS as a classroom aide, and eventually serving in her current role as an 8th-grade math teacher at the middle school. Beyond classroom teaching positions, Rosalie has served as a curriculum director, she was pivotal in establishing the National Junior Honor Society at SMS, she taught summer school to struggling learners, she mentored new teachers, and she held MCAS prep sessions for high school students in order to help them graduate. Of course, all of the above just barely scratches the surface of the countless, and sometimes thankless, duties that Rosalie performed over decades in order to enrich the lives of her students in ways that extend far beyond academics. It cannot go unsaid that Rosalie has developed extremely strong bonds with her colleagues, bonds that will last well after her time at SMS is complete. She will leave behind her an example to be followed by all of those educators who were fortunate enough to learn from her approach not only to teaching but also to life. Rosalie is incredibly intelligent, a master of her curriculum, and an advocate for the best interests of all of her students. She connects with her students who struggle the most, as well as her top-performing Algebra students. She has given her best effort each day that she has been at SMS, and I hope she tackles retirement with that same amount of passion. Simply put, she will be missed!

Evan Katz – (3 yrs)
Mr. Evan Katz joined the Swampscott Public Schools family on March 23, 2015. He came to us with 27 years of experience in the public sector as both a school business official and a senior financial manager. Prior to joining our team, Mr. Katz served as the Shirley School District Business Manager for four years where he provided CFO leadership in a fiscally challenging transitional period leading to the regionalization with Ayer. He went on to serve on the central office leadership team as Finance Director in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District. As the school business administrator for the Swampscott Public Schools, Mr. Katz has worked tirelessly to establish procedures that have made us a more professional and efficient organization creating systems that will endure long after we have all retired. In his leisure time, Mr. Katz is an avid baseball player. I was honored to be witness to “THE phone call” that came offering him an opportunity to pitch for a professional baseball team. We are grateful that Mr. Katz will be remaining on with us during the 2018-2019 school year in a part-time capacity and look forward to many more episodes of his YouTube series, Baseball by the Sea.

Bernie Kravitz – (22 yrs)
Our own 1977 graduate of Swampscott High School, Bernie Kravitz, began his long, productive and inspiring career in teaching science at Beverly High School where he not only taught science but also served as the Science Department Chair for four years. After thirteen years, Bernie joined his beloved Alma Mater, in the fall of 1997 where for the next twenty-two years Bernie has continued to inspire his colleagues, the students and the community with his dedication and passion to both teaching and learning. Department chair for thirteen years, Bernie led the move toward inquiry-based learning in order to foster student’s critical thinking about scientific ideas. Outside of the classroom, Bernie has supported student leadership and growth as a coach of the science team for many years and as a class advisor for the classes of 2000, 2003, 2008, & 2013. Whether he was leading a student trip on a ski mountain, canoeing along the Ipswich River where students have gone for an unintended swim or veered off the beaten path, organizing the senior show, arranging a prom, or designing a slideshow of memories for his class, Bernie is and has always been an exemplary educator. In addition to his many activities in and out of the classroom, Bernie has shared his love of photography with the Swampscott community. Bernie has captured beautiful images of our students participating in sports and activities throughout his years at SHS, and Bernie has been gracious with his time and talent by gifting many of these artistic images to his colleagues and students. Bernie has left a mark on Swampscott High School - both students and faculty that will not be erased, he will be greatly missed!

Kathy Pacitto – (36 yrs)
Mrs. Kathy Pacitto has taught in the Swampscott Public Schools for the last 36 years. In 2003, she was nominated by her peers and was recipient of the Swampscott Education Association Educator of the Year of Award. Kathy was also the recipient of the American Red Cross Community Award in 2017 for performing the Heimlich Maneuver on two students and one adult on three separate occasions at the Stanley School. During her tenure, Mrs. Pacitto has volunteered in numerous capacities and on many committees including but not limited to: Stanley School Council, Stanley’s Safe Routes to School Committee, Town of Swampscott No Place for Hate Committee, and the Town of Swampscott Wellness Committee. She is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Honor Society and the Salem State University Graduate School, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. We are sure Kathy will find lots of ways to continue her wellness and volunteer efforts in her retirement and wish her nothing but the best.

Lenny Polacco – (12 yrs)
No matter how much has changed in Swampscott High School, Lenny Polacco has always been there to greet you with a warm and welcoming smile. While Lenny says his true passion is tennis, his real passion is always making students feel wanted and loved in this building. Lenny has been an institution at Swampscott High School for over 12 years and the students and faculty cannot imagine what it is going to be like to walk into this building and not see his smiling face there to greet them. Not only has Lenny served here at Swampscott, but he has also severed our community and our country as a member of the United States postal service and the military.

Unable to attend:
Lisa Hayes - I would like to recognize her for her 13 yrs as an ESP in the integrated preschool.

Swampscott Education Foundation Grant Awards for 2017-2018

School Business Administrator  

Mr. Katz continues to work with Mrs. van der Burg to transition into the shared School Business Administrator position for July 1, 2018. I have signed a contract with the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) who will act as our search firm to find appropriate candidates to fill the School Business Administrator’s position long-term. Some of the benefits of using this search firm (in addition to websites) is that their reach is more targeted and specific. For example, they reach out to the New England School Development Council and districts throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey with characteristics similar to Swampscott.

Joint - Director of Human Resources
The Town Administrator and I are currently negotiating a contract with our top candidate. We are hoping to have a signed contract by week’s end.

Central Office Moves
The week of July 9th - July 13th the Business Office and Superintendent’s Office will be changing places. The move was precipitated by Mr. Katz’s retirement plans, Mrs. Condike’s need for a larger office for storage of educational materials from vendors, and the desire to have Mrs. Condike’s administrative assistant in the same office space.

Safety & Security at Swampscott Middle & High Schools
The District has made great strides in the safety and security at our schools.
We have implemented a verbal protocol at the elementary schools for anyone entering the building
If you do not recognize the person/parent ringing the bell, please ask them:
  • 1) State their name and state the reason they are entering (if needed, student name and or teacher name).
  • 2) For deliveries - please ask the company name and who the delivery is for and appropriate I.D.
All doors locked in the morning and early morning staff must let teachers in the building
Lobby Guard and Security Person at both SMS and SHS during school hours
NEW: An area where we needed to improve is at the middle and high schools after the school day concludes. Both buildings are used for a multitude of sports and events and I have been increasingly concerned about the security of the buildings after hours. Therefore, moving forward and beginning with the 2018-2019 school year we are hiring additional security people for the middle school from 2:00pm - 5:00pm and at the high school from 2:00pm - 10:00pm, in order to provide overlap and transition time with both staff there.

Swampscott High School Dean of Students 2018-2019
Ms. Colleen Cull has been offered and accepted the position of Dean of Students at Swampscott High School beginning August 2018. Ms. Cull brings to this position nine years of teaching experience as both a general education and special education teacher. In addition, Colleen has eight years of experience as a Dean of Students, the last four years at Everett High School. Ms. Cull brings to Swampscott a passion for students, an enthusiasm for her work, a desire to continue developing and expanding her skillset, and a yearning to make a difference at Swampscott High School. Colleen received her B.A. from Bridgewater State University where she majored in History and minored in Education and her M.Ed. in Behavioral Education from Simmons College.

Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)
The district is very grateful to Town Meeting for supporting the Article for $750,000 for the Feasibility Study. It is official, as of June 1st, the district has entered the Eligibility Period with the MSBA. We had a kick-off call with the MSBA on Tuesday, June 5th to review our responsibilities and timeline during this period:
We are currently accepting resumes and letters of interest from residents who are interested in being part of the School Building Committee. The following announcement has been sent to all media outlets and is posted on the district webpage.

The Eligibility Period Has Begun
The Swampscott School Committee (SSC) is seeking 3-5 qualified residents to be appointed members of the School Building Committee (SBC). In partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and SSC, the SBC will document the necessary educational program, generate an initial space summary, document existing conditions, establish design parameters, develop and evaluate alternatives, and recommend the most cost-effective and educationally appropriate preferred solution to improving Swampscott’s elementary school infrastructure. Ideal candidates will have a skill set that complements the skills of required members, as mandated by the MSBA. Prime consideration will be given to individuals with expertise in design and construction (specifically in the areas of civil engineering, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and sustainability) and IT. Additional consideration will be given to those candidates who have worked on state-funded projects. Candidates must be able to commit to a multi-year project, and once underway, bi-weekly meetings. Only individuals who are able to work collaboratively to advance the project will be considered. Qualified candidates should submit resume and letter of interest to the Superintendent of Schools no later than July 6, 2018.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Skye Daly - Making a Difference at SMS

When Skye Daly, a fifth grader at Swampscott Middle School, found out that not enough students had signed up for the Spring Garden Club, she took control.  Skye gathered 8 friends to join.    This morning she went over and above and taught 3 preschool classes how to plant lettuce, parsley and basil.  With many small hands, the entire raised garden was planted in front of the preschool play area.  Superintendent Pamela Angelakis congratulated Syke when she visited the garden.  "It only takes one person to change the world, and Skye could be the one."


MassCUE is one of the largest tech conference for educators in New England!  With over 400 submissions for presentations and only limited spaces 3 members of our tech team were accepted and are each giving separate presentations:

Natalie Poverchuck-Scratch That! - Using Scratch for Content Modeling 
Lytania Mackey- Improve your workflow with Google
Catie Porter- iPads means I Can! In Elementary Classrooms

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Swampscott High School - Honored at the State House 

Livestream the Event!

Join the Leading the Nation State House Celebration

On April 5, educators, students, parents, policymakers, and other stakeholders will come together at the State House to celebrate 25 years of education reform in Massachusetts.
Passed into law in 1993, the Massachusetts Education Reform Act increased and stabilized state aid to districts, established high learning standards for students, and made it easier to see where schools were doing well and where changes might be needed.
Today, Massachusetts public schools are leading the nation in academic performance and creative successes.

Livestream the Event

You can join the celebration as it happens by signing up for the Leading the Nation State House event livestream. The event will be from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
10:00Welcome and Introduction to the Leading the Nation Celebration
Leading the Nation District Videos
Reflections on the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act
10:30Commendation Schools Awards
Swearing-In Ceremony of New Commissioner
Education Reform from the Front Row Video
11:10Implementing and Building on Education Reform Panel
Leading the Nation District Videos
What's Next for Education Reform
Spoken-Word Performance
11:55Closing Remarks

Speakers, Panelists, and Performers

Robert Antonucci
Former Commissioner
Department Elementary and Secondary Education

Charlie Baker
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Tom Birmingham
Former Senate President
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Bridge Boston Charter School Chamber Ensemble
Harriette Chandler
Senate President
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Sonia Chang-Diaz
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Robert DeLeo
Speaker of the House
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

David Driscoll
Former Commissioner
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Priscilla Haro
Eighth Grader
Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Revere Public Schools

Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo
Executive Director
Massachusetts Parents United

Jami Milnamow
(formally Jami McDuffy, lead plaintiff in McDuffy v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Education)

Alice Peisch
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Jim Peyser
Secretary of Education
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Karyn Polito
Lt. Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Paul Reville
Former Secretary of Education
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Jeffrey C. Riley
Superintendent/Receiver, Lawrence Public Schools
Commissioner-designate, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Tom Scott
Executive Director
Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

John Stuart
SVP, Global Education
Parametric Technology Corp.

Paul Toner
Executive Director, Teach Plus Massachusetts
Former President, MTA