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

Welcome Back!


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, 


Monday, July 1, 2019

Superintendent's Report to SC 6.26.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
June 26, 2019

End of Year Celebrations
  • SHS Graduation
  • Middle School Moving On
  • Elementary Moving On ceremonies
Other Personnel Changes
  • We have hired the Clarke School Principal who will begin on July 1st as well.
  • Mrs. Hunt will graciously spend some time transitioning with the new principal.
  • Director of Teaching and Learning, Jean Bacon’s office will be moving to the High School along with Donna McHugh her administrative assistant.
  • Ms. Martha Raymond has been named Assistant Superintendent of Student Services
Summer Facilities Projects
  • District Crisis Team - Safety and Security
    • Install and repair common area speakers at the elementary schools
    • Swipe cards at the elementary schools
    • Security window film in various places at various schools
    • Continue to install windows in principal and counselor interior doors
    • Security camera work (replacement and repairs) continues at the middle and high schools
  • Boiler Replacement RFQ 
  • Various painting projects
  • Various classroom moves
  • Office build at Stanley
  • Phase 3 of High School Gym Sprinklers
  • Gym duct cleaning and duct connector replacement at SMS
  • Cogenerator Elbow and Glycol replacement at HS
June 7th - Statehouse Recognition
On June 7th we were recognized at a ceremony with Commissioner Riley for our National Blue Ribbon Award.

Curriculum Update
  • Summer Curriculum Work
    • 11 proposals spanning grades K-12 were submitted for approval
    • 9 have been approved, waiting on two to respond to questions
    • Work includes MS and HS social studies with new standards, developing modules for mandatory health training, SEI, Growth Mindset, Swift/Harbor
  • Pilots and Text Reviews 
    • K-5 Math In Focus Pilot
    • Spanish Texts - 7-12 - One class set and online - 6 years
    • Grade 3 Social Studies texts - Massachusetts Our Home
    • Grade 4 Social Studies texts - Regions of Our Country
    • K-4 Science and Math online digital subscriptions - 1-year extensions

Superintendent's Report to SC 5.22.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
May 22, 2019

High School Administrative Team
  • I have named the current Dean of Students, Colleen Cull-Finn the new Assistant Principal at Swampscott High School beginning July 1, 2019.
  • Colleen demonstrates the leadership skills of an Assistant Principal and will be a great mentor to any new Dean who fills her current position.
  • She is student-centered, has great relationships with both students and staff, she is a hard worker and puts in long hours.
  • They will be posting the Dean of Students position.

Clarke School Principal
  • The posting closes next Tuesday.
  • We currently have 25 candidates
  • Communication has been sent to parents, staff, and administrators inviting them, if interested, to be a member of the interview committee. When the posting closes, we will be selecting members.

Budget Decisions for FY20 at the High School
  • There has been some misinformation out there regarding the HS teachers and budget decisions for FY20 so I would like to take a moment to clarify.
  • A high school science teacher resigned to work for a non-profit
  • The high school library/media specialist POSITION was eliminated. I want to reiterate, the position not the person. This position is no longer a requirement for NEASC Accreditation as it was 7 or so years ago, with the last go round.
  • Another HS science teacher was reduced from a 1.0 to a .6 FTE. This was simply due to teaching caseload.
  • A .6 HS English teacher was eliminated, again due to teaching caseload and class size.

MASC/MASS Joint Conference
  • This year’s conference is being held in Hyannis November 6-9th
  • Lytania and I have submitted two proposals for breakout sessions:
  • Thanks for the Feedback: Using Google Forms to quickly solicit feedback and generate data
  • Leveraging Technology for collaborative and effective meetings
  • If one or both of our proposals are accepted, we will be looking for at least two School Committee members to join us at the conference

Using Social Media to Encourage Summer Reading at SMS

Launch of Governor’s Public Awareness Campaign: RESPECTfully
  • Promote healthy relationships among middle and high schoolers
  • Launching next week: the week of May 26th
  • Increase awareness of what constitutes a healthy relationship, emphasizes the need for respect in relationships and helps teens identify the escalating behaviors that may lead to unhealthy and unsafe relationships.
  • Short videos, modern animations, via social media platforms
  • Directed at youth between the ages of 12-18, as well as their parents and caregivers.

Superintendent's Report to SC 5.8.19

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
May 8, 2019

Director of Teaching & Learning

  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Ms. Jean Bacon, a 27-year educator from Western Massachusetts and Vermont, as the new Director of Teaching & Learning who will begin with us on July 1, 2019.
  • The position was formerly known as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and has been vacant since November 2018.
  • Ms. Bacon, who has served as principal of Pioneer Valley Regional School District in Northfield, Mass. since 2016, served as administrator for teaching and learning in North Adams Public Schools from 2004-16. She also taught math and science in North Adams. Jean was an assistant professor of sociology at Williams College from 1992-2001.
  • In her role, Jean’s primary focus will be K-12 curriculum ensuring that the district is aligned with Massachusetts frameworks. She will also oversee professional development.
  • Jean brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this critical position. She believes in a collaborative approach that will serve her well.

High School Assistant Principal Search

  • Yielded two finalists
  • Neither accepted the position
  • We have reopened the position

Clarke School Principal

  • Earlier this week, Mrs. Hunt accepted a principal position in the Andover Public Schools
  • We posted this position yesterday afternoon and already have 10 applicants
  • I anticipate forming an interview committee composed of teachers/staff, parents, and administrators.