Thursday, January 9, 2020

Superintendent's Report to SC 1.8.20

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
January 8, 2020

Comprehensive Middle School Facilities Assessment
  • General government and school department hired Habeeb & Associates Architects
  • Process of interviewing and selecting this firm in the fall
  • Preliminary DRAFT report of needs
  • Monday, our team met with the Project Manager to review the report and findings
  • Working on the final report before we share with the Committee
  • We plan to submit for the roof for the MSBA Accelerated Repair Program
  • We will be working with the general government to submit by the deadline of February 1st
  • Joint Director of Facilities job posting this past Monday with 30 applicants as of today.

FY21 Budget Development and Timeline
  • Analyzed special education programming and staffing
  • Meetings with each principal to review FTEs
  • Analyzed current English Learners and potential associated staffing needs
  • Meeting with Principals to discuss program needs, class sizes, potential efficiencies, and district needs
  • School Committee meetings and revised budget timeline
  • No meeting on January 22nd
  • January 29th - the budget will be presented
  • February 5th - Public Hearing on the budget
  • February 12th - School Committee budget vote

Northshore Education Consortium Annual Report

School Visits
  • Clarke, Stanley, and the High School
  • At the high school, I was able to visit the Fine Arts wing first thing in the morning and again this afternoon. We are so fortunate to have the talented teachers that we have who bring out such creativity in our students.
  • Photography on the walls - take a walk
  • I was struck at the elementary level by the integration of technology in EVERY class I visited; second grade - nonfiction text features scavenger hunt on iPads, Chromebooks in fourth grade practicing vocabulary, kindergarten morning meeting Can I have a Stegosaurus, Mom?, to music class where the lyrics of a new song were being displayed on the whiteboard and controlled by a student.


Ferragamo’s Forecast
  • Michael Ferragamo who is a sophomore at SHS invited me to be part of his regular weather show produced by students in the high school TV studio called Ferragamo’s Forecast
  • First, the students AMAZE me!
  • Our topic was about the steps that lead up to my calling a SNOW DAY
  • I realize it will be an incredibly short segment but I had so much fun watching these students work and watching the whole process

Building Project - Educational Visioning Session
  • Architect Firm and Owner’s Project Manager attended
  • Leadership Team, members of the School Building Committee
  • Outlined the process for what’s ahead: the formation of an Educational Working Group, Community and Faculty Forums
  • We are working on the makeup of this group which we know will include teachers, parents, students, school committee and community members
  • Three four-hour sessions (12 hours together)
    • Educational vision and priorities
    • Design patterns and guiding principles
    • Keyspaces and adjacencies

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Superintendent's Report to SC 12.11.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
December 11, 2019

MASC/MASS Joint Conference
  • Ms. Wright, Ms. Mackey and I attended
  • Presented: Friday 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
  • Leveraging Technology for Data Collection, Collaboration, and Effective Meetings - Gone are the days when schools and school committee members need to have packets of paper in front of them to lead meetings. In this session, we will show attendees how to move to paperless meetings and paperless data collection using Google. Attendees will learn how to generate agendas, using Chromebooks and shared folders, using Google to solicit feedback and generate data and examples of how this can save hours of time and streamline the process.
  • Attended lots of great sessions including Harnessing the Power of Google Data Studio: Creating Free Dashboards to Visualize Education Data Laura Tilton, Director-District Data, and Accountability, Marshfield.
Leadership Training - Google Data Studio
Professional Development at District Attorney’s Office
FY21 Budget Work
  • Analyzed special education programming and staffing
  • Meetings with each principal to review FTEs
  • Analyzed current English Learners and potential associated staffing needs
  • More meetings to come with district-level administrators
  • Leadership Team
School Building Committee

  • Ms. Wright will give a full subcommittee update
  • Designer Selection Shortlist - at MSBA
  • Designer Selection Interviews - at MSBA
  • January two Idea Exchange dates
  • Kickoff meeting with Design Team earlier this afternoon

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Superintendent's Report to SC 10.23.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
October 23, 2019

MassCUE Conference
Attending: Lytania Mackey, Brandy Wilbur, Natalie Poverchuk, Sue Comparato, Stephen Silbert, Talbot Penniman, Jenna Klemonski, and Jess Massanari-Sapp
Presenting: Lytania, Natalie, Sue, Talbot
  • Getting Started with Google Sites - Natalie
  • Improve Your Workflow with Google Tasks, Chrome, & Calendar - Lytania & Sue
  • Physical Computing for Fun Learning: From SCRATCH to MakeyMakey, and Beyond - Natalie & W. Talbot 
  • Free Productivity Tools to Enhance Learning - Lytania & Sue
  • Creating Interactive Models with SCRATCH - W. Talbot

METCO - Directors Association Monthly Meeting
  • Latoya Ogunbona brought them here at the high school last week
  • CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas
  • Discussing the revamped online application process
  • Invited to meet district leadership and Student Executive Board

Safe and Supportive Schools Competitive Grant
  • Dr. Bacon and high school administration applied
  • One of 12 districts to receive the grant
  • $8,000 2019-2020 school year
Schools and districts convene a school team to respond to all questions in the Safe and Supportive Self-Reflection Tool. Teams then create action plans to identify priority areas as they relate to the six areas in the Tool which include: Leadership, Infrastructure, and Culture; Professional Learning Opportunities; Access to Resources and Services; Teaching and Learning that Fosters Safe and Supportive Environments; School Policies, Procedures, and Protocols; and Family Engagement.

The goal of the self-reflection (or self-assessment) Tool is to catalyze a reflective and creative inquiry-based, year-long or multi-year process to create and enhance a school`s work to become safer and supportive for the entire school community (including but not limited to: students, staff, families, and community partners). This tool is intended to assist with documenting current practices that support students` behavioral health ranging from the whole school community to individual students that require more intensive supports. It also examines the role of various school professionals and staff in providing these supports. This process enables schools to identify their most pressing local priorities and create action plans that can be incorporated into School Improvement Plans to address these priorities. It may be helpful to revisit your school`s responses to this tool on a regular (e.g., quarterly, annual) basis to review progress and continually work towards full implementation on a range of practices that address and remove the barriers to learning.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Superintendent's Report to SC 8.28.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
August 28, 2019

Summer Project Updates
      Technology Summer Projects
      SHS Technology Ninjas
      Ms. Mackey Knowles - presentation

      Facilities Projects
      Built a new office at Stanley School
      Library shelving removed at Stanley repurposed
      Principal/Nurse/Office Suite at Stanley - renovated
      Rebuilt wooden trains behind Stanley
      Painted the stage at Stanley
      Moved computer room tables at Stanley
      Facilitated installation of two A/C window units at Clarke
      Constructed & painted a room divider in Clarke portable
      Electric room at Hadley cleaned out
      8 classrooms and exterior stairs painted at Hadley
      Refinished conference table in the superintendent’s small conference room
      Gym ductwork at middle school complete
      Swipe cards at all three elementary schools
      Phase 3 of the high school gym sprinklers repaired
      Install and repair of common area speakers at the elementary schools

Opening of Schools Report:
       Clarke School - From Principal Shea - The opening of Clarke School went very smoothly this year. Students in grades 1-4 were greeted on the playground by their teachers and quickly settled into classrooms. Throughout the day students practiced routines and spent time getting to know classmates. Kindergarten screening is wrapping up this week with an expected 44 students. Total enrollment at Clarke is 215.  As the new principal, I am very impressed with the level of dedication and teamwork amongst the Clarke Staff. Many of them came in over the summer to meet me and were extremely helpful in bringing me up to speed on building norms and procedures. I am looking forward to connecting with families at the PTO Kindergarten Welcome Breakfast next Tuesday and Clarke Curriculum Night on September 12th.

       Hadley School - From Principal Bebchick - Hadley School had a smooth start to the school year!  We were excited to welcome 260 students in grades 1-4 to school on August 27 and look forward to having our 66 kindergarten students join us next week.  Kindergarten screenings have been taking place this week, which will allow our team to create balanced homeroom groups. Students are settling in nicely as they learn classroom routines and make new friends!  We are grateful to the district maintenance staff for their hard work over the summer to clean the building, make repairs, paint, and organize materials.

      Stanley School - From Principal Huntley - On Monday, August 26th, Stanley School students, staff, and families readied for the school year with a New Family Meet and Greet, classroom peeks, and a building tour, followed by a Back-to-School Picnic.  Families brought their picnic dinner or purchased treats from the food trucks on the night before the big day.

      On Tuesday morning, families and friends attended the First Day of School Community Meeting behind the school.  Children found their teachers with balloons in hand and gathered as a new class community. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and Stanley School Pledge, we discussed the importance of the Home~School connection and then had a Happy New Year countdown just as they do on December 31st, in Time Square. The most exciting part of this community event was the ball-drop. Mr. Barthlomew dropped a ball from the roof of the school just as we counted backward to one.  Teachers threw confetti over their class, parents cheered, children smiled and we were off to our classrooms with barely a tear.

Teachers spent the day getting to know all about our 239 students. New students have come to us from as far away as Norway and we were delighted with the warmth our students showed newcomers.  New staff members were celebrated and supported by an incredibly supportive veteran staff. It was a great first day and we anticipate 179 more wonderful days.

      Swampscott Middle School - From Principal Calichman - The first day of school at SMS was incredible!  Students and staff came in with positive attitudes and were ready to give it their all.  I asked the staff to use the first day of school to make connections with students and to make them fall in love with our SMS community.  As I walked around the classrooms, I noticed countless examples of these connections taking place, setting the stage for a progressive and productive learning environment.

      Swampscott High School - From Principal Kohut - Swampscott High School kicked off the year with a freshman assembly and homeroom followed by a rousing entrance of our Class of 2020.  The SHS Administration introduced "The Big Blue B's" discussed expectations for this year, and took a whole school selfie (check Twitter).   Students then attended periods one, two and three.  Feedback from students and staff was overwhelmingly positive and SHS looks forward to the best year yet!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Back to School Letter 8.15.19


August 2019

Dear Swampscott Families,

On behalf of the Swampscott Public Schools, I would like to welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year. A special welcome to those students and families who are joining us for the first time. The beginning of school is rapidly approaching and there is much to do as both you and the district prepare for the opening of school.

The first day of school for students in Pre-K and grades 1-12 will be on Tuesday, August 27th. Individual screenings will take place by appointment for our incoming Kindergarten students from Tuesday, August 27th through Thursday, August 29th. There is NO SCHOOL on Friday, August 30th, and Monday, September 2nd in honor of the Labor Day holiday. The first day for Kindergarten students is on Tuesday, September 3rd. The school year calendar can be printed from our website along with a year-long calendar of events that is easily accessible for each of the schools. The calendar feature also allows filtering for those of you with students in more than one school: Calendar Link to SPS Website

Shortly after school begins, Curriculum Nights will be held at each of the schools for parents and guardians to meet teachers and learn about the curriculum expectations. Please mark your calendar as the dates and times of these events are as follows:

Clarke Elementary - Thursday, September 12th at 6:00 pm

Hadley Elementary - Thursday, September 5th at 6:00 pm 
Stanley Elementary - Thursday, September 5th 6:00 pm 
Middle School - Grades 5 Tuesday, September 17th 6:00 pm 
Middle School - Grades 6 Wednesday, September 18th 6:00 pm 
Middle School - Grades 7 & 8 Thursday, September 19th 6:00 pm 
High School - Thursday, September 26th at 6:00 pm

Believe it or not, the summer months are a very busy time for the school district, with countless facility and maintenance projects underway as we anticipate the arrival of the students and faculty.  We are especially pleased to report that this summer all three elementary schools have had swipe card systems installed in their buildings for staff only. In addition, we are so fortunate to have been awarded $54,884.70 in state funding from the Safer Schools and Communities “Local Equipment and Technology” grant competition. These funds will allow us to continue this work at the high school and to upgrade the current system at the middle school during the school year. 

Finally, the School Building Committee would like your help in determining an energy use goal for the new elementary school we are working to build in Swampscott. We would appreciate you taking the time to visit the School Building Committee website ( to participate in the survey. Your voice is an invaluable part of this process. 

I look forward to welcoming our students to the new school year very soon!

Warm Regards,