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


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


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!


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. 


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)