Masconomet Students Creating Portraits of Ukrainian Children to Provide to Families

Students in Masconomet Regional High School’s Advanced Placement art studio program are taking part in a special project this month to show support for children in Ukraine. 

As part of the Memory Project, a nonprofit that collects portraits of children from around the world, AP art studio students will draw 24 portraits of Ukrainian children using photographs provided by the children’s mothers. 

The Memory Project was started by Ben Schumaker, a former University of Wisconsin student who worked in a Guatemalan orphanage and wanted to provide children he met with a tangible, positive memory of their childhood. 

“This is a way to both connect our students to families in Ukraine who are experiencing extraordinary hardship and provide those families with a nicely drawn portrait that depicts their children in a time before their lives were upended by war,” art instructor Elizabeth Saitta said. 

Once the portraits are completed, they will be delivered to the Ukrainian families for them to keep. Students are scheduled to finish the project on Sept. 30. 

In past years, AP art studio students have completed portraits for children in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Romania, Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Peru. 

Masconomet School District Invites School Community to Parent University

BOXFORD – The Masconomet Regional School District and Superintendent Michael Harvey invite the school community to attend this year’s Masconomet and Tri-Town School Union Parent University and gain valuable insight into their children’s education.

Parent University will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Masconomet Middle/High School, 20 Endicott Road, Boxford.

Parent University presenters will share perspectives on topics including understanding the methods and practices of school curricula, exploring best supports for social emotional learning, creating a community of belonging, and prioritizing parent wellness. These discussions will focus on academics, character education, and preparing students for the journey ahead.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers:

  • Internet safety expert Katie Greer will share strategies to empower students, educators and parents to use technology in a healthy and safe way. Greer has served as Director of Internet Safety for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and as Intelligence Analyst for the Massachusetts State Police. Her work has been featured in national television and print media.
  • Social worker Rick Irving will talk about how the school community can recover and regain confidence with a sense of joy. Irving has worked as a clinical social worker for more than 40 years in both private treatment settings and public education. Irving has consulted with school districts and presented to workshops both in the United States and Europe.

“Families and caregivers of students of all ages will benefit from Parent University,” Superintendent Harvey said. “We hope that attendees will leave with a better understanding about educational challenges, and be able to talk to their children about important skills that will point them toward success.”

On-site childcare will be available.

Those interested in attending are asked to register here.

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, 9/7/22

Masconomet and Tri-Town Union Parent University, September 24, 2022

The Masconomet School District and the Tri-Town School Union will be presenting “Parent University” on Saturday, September 24, 2022 from 8:30 to 12:30 at Masconomet Middle/High School.  Parent University is an opportunity for parents and guardians in Boxford, Topsfield, and Middleton to come together and learn ways to support their children in their educational journey. Parent University is designed to support parents and families across a variety of relevant topics including understanding the methods and practices of school curricula, exploring best supports for social emotional learning, creating a community of belonging and prioritizing parent wellness as a critical component. The conference is designed into a series of engaging presentations and discussions that will provide insight and perspective on topics ranging from academics, character education, and preparing students for the journey ahead. This year’s event will be highlighted by two keynote speakers: Rick Irving, who will talk about how as a community we can recover and regain confidence with a sense of joy in ourselves and our children; and Katie Greer, who will share strategies to empower students, educators and parents to use technology in a healthy and safe way. We see this as a unique way to partner with parents to enrich themselves and to help their children thrive. Childcare will be available.  Please click here to register.

Strategic Plan Kickoff

In 2022-2023, the Masconomet Regional School District is engaging in an aspirational, community conversation to redefine what success looks like for our students and schools and to embrace the practices that will enable the district to realize that vision.  Through this initiative, we will travel down two parallel tracks.

First – We will develop an approach or strategy, a manner in which we as a community can come together – in small and/or larger groups – to solve problems. How do we strengthen our capacity to have more honest conversations, where we can disagree agreeably, and hear and understand the different perspectives that often accompany complex issues?  We know that in order to prepare our students for a rapidly changing world, where learning takes place in so many ways, our schools will have to be nimble and agile.  Faculty and staff want to be part of this conversation, and all interested parties, including students, need to have their voices heard.

Second – Where are we going, as a district? By what beacons should we be steering this “ship,” imagining our students, schools and community, five plus years from now?  We are overwhelmed with possibilities:  pressures to change, different directions we can go, with limited resources.  What are we going to do and what aren’t we going to do?  Through a series of conversations with all interested parties, we will review, and where necessary revise, a vision for where we want to head and craft strategic plans to move us forward collaboratively.

During this fourteen (14) month engagement, we will ask: What are we doing well?  Where are there opportunities to stop or accelerate programming? How can we build on successes, expand or imitate, to continually evolve and adapt to a changing student profile and world? Through small and large group workshops, we will begin to craft a shared plan for how Masco might prioritize personnel, programming, budgeting and policy decisions over the next five years. Any final strategic plan should be used as both a guide and a tool for measuring performance.

A Team of community members will serve as the organizers, data collectors, authors and co-leaders of this work and direct and inform the process.  Together, they represent a broad cross-section of the school and district communities of Masco. With guidance by an outside facilitator, we will explore and craft strategic objectives and initiatives and find consensus, and make recommendations for strategic planning, communications, leadership, and resources. A final plan will be completed tentatively by November 1, 2023.

“Promoting Inclusion ~ Promoting Friendship” presentation on September 13 @ 7:00 PM

The Masconomet and Tri-Town Special Education Parent Advisory Committee and the Tri-Town Council will be presenting “Promoting Inclusion ~ Promoting Friendship: The Role of Community Members and Families of Students Without Disabilities,” a presentation by Lisa Drennan, founder of Merge Educational Consulting.  The presentation will be at 7:oo PM on Tuesday, September 13 in the Masconomet High School Library.  Please register to attend.

Support Staff Contract Negotiations

Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sands and I will be beginning negotiations with the Masconomet Association of Support Staff next week on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  The last CBA expired at the end of June 2022.  We hope to have a tentative agreement for the School Committee to approve as soon as possible.

Upcoming School Events

High SchoolMiddle School
9/8 Open House @ 6:30 PM
9/14 & 9/16 Picture Days
9/22 Senior Parent Counseling Workshop (evening)
9/29 Homecoming Dance
10/10 Columbus Day (No School)
10/12 PSAT Testing
10/13-10/15 Fall Musical Chicago
9/13 Picture Day
9/15 Open House @ 6:00 PM
10/10 Columbus Day (No School)
10/14 Trimester 1 Mid-Point  

For more on these events and school-specific information, please see the High School Principal’s Blog or the Middle School Principal’s Blog.

Masconomet School District Welcomes Three New Administrators

MASCO_admins

Joining the Masconomet Regional School District are, from left, Social Studies Department Chair Eva Hughes, Director of Safety and Security Bob McCarthy, and Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Lynne Bennett. (Photos Courtesy Masconomet Regional School District)

BOXFORD — Superintendent Michael Harvey is pleased to share that the Masconomet School District is welcoming three new administrators for the 2022-2023 school year.

Lynne Bennett joins the District as Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. Eva Hughes was selected as the new Social Studies Department Chair (7-12). Bob McCarthy will serve as Director of Safety and Security. 


Lynne Bennett

Bennett joins the District from the Arlington Public Schools, where she served for seven years as Special Education Administrator at Arlington High School.

Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree from Simmons University, and has received a certificate in education leadership from Cambridge College. She also is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, and is trained in problem mediation and collaborative problem solving.

She has worked in special education in both public schools and in private therapeutic school settings. She has worked in positions of increasing responsibility during her career.

Eva Hughes

Hughes comes to Masconomet from the Wayland Public Schools, where she worked for 17 years.

Hughes began her educational career in New Hampshire, where she taught special education and Social Studies. At Wayland High School, she worked as a Social Studies teacher and Instructional Coach. Hughes also played a leading role during the COVID-19 pandemic. She developed and coordinate a remote learning program for hybrid teaching, and offered professional development to assist teachers.

Hughes has earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a master’s degree from Endicott College.

Bob McCarthy

McCarthy has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, most recently as Director of Security at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston.

McCarthy began his career as a Correction Officer at the House of Correction in Billerica, ascending in rank and responsibility. For 11 years he served as Director of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department Youth Public Safety Academy, which served 1,500 cadets each summer. While with the Sheriff’s Department he was a member of the School Threat Assessment and Response System within the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. He also has worked in security leadership positions at other hotels.

McCarthy holds a degree in criminal justice from Middlesex Community College, and has studied management development at the Boston University Corporate Education Center.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and is certified as an EMT.

“We are excited to welcome these talented professionals to Masconomet,” Superintendent Harvey said. “They all bring a wealth of experience in their fields, and will help us grow stronger as a school district.”

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Masconomet Regional School District Shares COVID-19 Guidance, Protocols & Vaccine Clinic Information Ahead of New School Year

BOXFORD – Superintendent Michael Harvey and the Masconomet Regional School District wish to share an update on COVID-19 mitigation measures and protocols ahead of the start of the school year. 

“We are committed to conducting this school year in a way that’s mindful of the dangers of COVID-19, while ensuring an engaging in-person learning experience for all of our students,” Superintendent Harvey said. “I urge all in our school community to familiarize themselves with virus protocols, continue making decisions with safety in mind, and get vaccinated or boosted.” 

Vaccine Clinics

Masconomet will be hosting multiple vaccine clinics through the fall that are open to the public. The clinics will be held on the following Fridays from 3-6 p.m. at the Masconomet Regional High School cafeteria: 

Sept. 16 and 23, Oct. 14 and 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16. 

Those receiving a booster dose are asked to bring their vaccine card. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The following vaccines are available at each clinic: 

Pfizer, including primary doses for those 6 months old and above, and boosters as authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Moderna, including primary doses for those 6 months old and above and boosters for those over the age of 18. Moderna boosters are not authorized for anyone under the age of 18. To learn more and register, visit CapeAnnClinic.com.

Additionally, there are several family-friendly vaccine clinics available to coincide with the beginning of the school year. Information about these and other clinics is available via the state’s VaxFinder tool: Vaxfinder.mass.gov.

All individuals over the age of six months are eligible to be vaccinated with a primary series vaccine. Everyone over the age of five is eligible for a booster as well. 

Isolation and Exposure Precautions

The district is following state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Public Health guidance around COVID-19 exposure and isolation protocols. https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop.html

In alignment with those guidelines, students and faculty who have a known exposure to the virus but are asymptomatic may attend school, though a self-administered rapid test is recommended after confirmation of exposure. 

Masks 

There is no statewide mask mandate at this time. Masconomet will open the year with a mask-friendly approach, which empowers faculty, staff, and students’ families to make their own choices regarding masking. All members of the Masconomet community will be supported and respected, regardless of their choice. 

Testing

While Masconomet will not be conducting testing this year, members of the community are encouraged to take advantage of fully reimbursable home tests, which they can obtain through their local pharmacy. 

Everyone is eligible to be reimbursed for up to eight tests per month through their health insurance. For answers to frequently asked questions about this program, visit the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website here.

To learn more about the process for reimbursement through a specific health insurer, visit that insurer’s website. Families and staff are encouraged to utilize home tests regularly, especially when symptoms of a possible COVID-19 infection are present.

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A message from the Masconomet Regional School District

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, 6.22.22

School Security Update

Since my last communication on June 2nd, we have concluded our review of the incident on May 13th.  To date, we have taken the following steps as a result of this review:

  • Reminded all faculty and staff not to prop open doors.
  • Had our campus security personnel remove any rocks, sticks, wedges, or other items that could be used to prop a door from all doorways.
  • Reminded all faculty and staff to keep vigilant, to report anything out of the ordinary, to wear their ID badges, and to make sure all visitors follow the proper procedure for entering the school.
  • Arranged for a second police officer from Boxford or Topsfield to patrol outside the building every day since June 1, 2022.  This officer is in addition to our regular school resource officer, who is on campus daily during school hours.
  • Developed and implemented a new communications plan around school safety related events.  This plan includes sending messages regarding regularly scheduled drills, any called “shelter in place” or lockdowns, and any other “out of the ordinary” events.  The Masconomet Community has received several communications this month as part of this plan.
  • Agreed to more regular communications with our local police chiefs.

We continue to enjoy a productive working relationship with the police and fire departments of Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield, and have worked with these public safety departments to develop comprehensive school crisis response plans which include regularly scheduled A.L.I.C.E., active shooter, lockdown and fire drills.  These plans are frequently reviewed and practiced by our schools under the guidance of our public safety departments and school-based safety committees.  We are also grateful to have the support of dedicated school resource officers (SROs) from Boxford and Topsfield assigned to work in our schools every day.  In addition, we have full time District Security staff, closed-circuit video monitoring (CCTV), and visitor management systems in place to help ensure the safety of our school community.  We will continue to do our best to keep students, staff and visitors to our schools safe and will implement any other measures as we deem necessary.

Congratulations to Girls Tennis on Winning the State Championship

On Saturday, the Masconomet Girls Tennis Team defeated Westborough to capture the Division 2 State Championship!  Congratulations to a great group of student-athletes.  You make us all proud.

2022-2023 School Schedule Pilot Information

In September of 2022, Masconomet Middle and High Schools will be implementing a pilot daily schedule.  The schedule was developed by a Schedule Task Force made up of Masconomet faculty, administration and support staff, who began their work by developing a list of priorities they would like to see included in a new schedule based on the feedback we had received over the past two years.  After looking at several different schedule models from our region, the Schedule Task Force chose a model that met the greatest number of identified priorities.  The pilot schedule for 2022-2023 includes a daily, 36-minute flexible Masco-Block (M-Block).  Each class will meet 4 days per week.  Three meetings are 49-minutes per day and the fourth is an extended 68-minute period.  The pilot schedule contains a substantial increase in the Structured Learning Time for students as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Schedule Task Force will continue to meet next year to review feedback on the pilot schedule and make any necessary changes to the pilot based on this feedback.  The Middle and High School Principals will be sending separate communications to students, parents and staff regarding the pilot schedule this week.  Documentation regarding the pilot schedule is available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fGuqzZFI18hsa4-sM5OhGiYXvnRl_aWTOA_fn4ekwQA/edit?usp=sharing

Congratulations to our Retiring Staff

As we close the 2021-2022 school year, I would like to recognize the members of our faculty and staff who are retiring this week and wish them all the best as they move on to the next phase of their lives!

Patty Bullard, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

Patty Bullard is retiring after nine years with the Masconomet Regional School District.  She joined Masconomet in July of 2013 as the Director of Pupil Personnel Services.  In 2018, Patty’s position was reclassified to Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.  Before coming to Masconomet, Patty served as the Director of Pupil Personnel Services in North Reading for three years, and the Administrator for Special Education for the Peabody Public Schools for two years and was a special education teacher and  IEP team chair in both Peabody and Melrose. 

Norman Clark, High School Science

Norm Clark joined Masconomet in 2001 as a High School Science Teacher.  Prior to coming to Masconomet, Norm worked as a High School Science Teacher at Pentucket Regional High School for 10 years and one year at Nauset Regional High School.  Norm was instrumental in the development of the Biopsychology Course at Masconomet, an interdisciplinary course co-taught with a member of the Social Studies Department. Norm also served as the Science Fair Advisor.

Kathy Hostetter, High School Nurse Assistant

Prior to coming to Masco, Kathy had extensive experience as a nurse, mainly in hospital settings. She first came to Masconomet as a High School Nurse in September of 2002. After a break in service, she returned to Masconomet as a Nursing Assistant in 2005, a position she held until she retired in October of 2021.

Joan Murphy, Special Education Transition Specialist

Joan Murphy began working at Masconomet in 1989 as the Coordinator of the Peer Education Program for Masconomet Middle and High Schools.  In 2002, Joan changed roles and became the Student Adjustment Counselor for the Middle and High Schools.  She held this position until 2010, when she became the Transition Specialist for students in our special education programs.  She held this position until she retired this past December.  In her role as Transition Specialist, Joan worked with our “high-needs” students as they prepared to leave Masconomet.  Both her students and her colleagues appreciated her constant smile and upbeat personality.

Craig Nicoll, Multi-Purpose Facility Technician (MPFT)

Craig Nicoll joined Masconomet as a Multi-Purpose Facilities Technician in January of 2007.  In his 16 years at Masconomet, Craig was known for his skill in carpentry and woodworking, and his “can-do” approach to any project.

Dorothy Rose, High School Mathematics

Dorothy “Dot” Rose started her career at Masconomet in September of 2003.  She joined the faculty after completing her student teaching at Masconomet the previous spring.  Prior to coming to Masconomet, Dot was a Certified Public Accountant at the firm KPMG.  In her 19 years at Masconomet, Dot became known as a practitioner who has the content knowledge to teach a range of mathematics courses and the teaching skills to meet a diverse range of student aptitudes and motivations.

Susan Sooaar, Middle School Paraprofessional

Susan Sooaar joined Masconomet in September of 2002 as a Special Needs Tutor.  Prior to coming to Masconomet, she held Teaching Assistant Positions at the Fuller Meadow School in Middleton and at Doyon Elementary School in Ipswich.  At Masconomet, she worked in both the High and Middle Schools.  Susan has also served as the President of the Masconomet Paraprofessionals Association since 2013.

Karen Trevenen, High School Nurse

Karen Trevenen first came to Masconomet in September of 1999 as a Nurse Leader for the Enhanced School Health Services Grant.  In this role, she assisted in the school health offices at both Masconomet and in the Tri-Town Union Elementary Schools, served as the 504 Coordinator for Masconomet and coordinated the health services programs for the two districts.  In 2002, Karen was appointed to the position of High School Nurse.  From 2018 through 2020, Karen was the Interim Director of Health Services.  During her time at Masconomet, she also served as the Nurse Leader for the District and the Nurse for our Special Education Summer Program.  She also chaired the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) and was responsible for developing many of our current health services protocols and procedures.

Mark Verry, High School Business Teacher

Mark Verry was originally hired in at Masconomet in 1989 as a tutor in the Computer Room and to teach business education classes.  After leaving Masconomet in 1990, Mark taught in several residential and self-contained special education programs.  He returned to Masconomet in 1996 to be a Special Needs Teacher.  In 2005, he transferred into the Business Department and has continued there for the last 17 years.  In the Business Department, Mark has been one of the driving forces behind the growth and success of the High School’s DECA program for future business leaders.  Mark has also served as the Freshman Softball Coach and Driver’s Education Coordinator in his time at Masconomet.

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, May 25, 2022

School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

We are devastated over the tragic events that took place at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday, May 24th.  We can’t understand or imagine the pain the families and members of the community of Uvalde must be experiencing at this time.  Mass shootings in our schools and in our society are happening all too frequently in the United States.  We need to continue to work to find solutions to the issues of hate and division in our society, the lack of available treatment for mental illness and too easy access to firearms that are the underlying causes of these tragic events.  The cost of our inaction is unfortunately the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society.

The health and safety of our staff and students continues to be our highest priority at Masconomet.  We enjoy a productive working relationship with the police and fire departments of Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield, and have worked with these public safety departments to develop comprehensive school crisis response plans which include regularly scheduled  A.L.I.C.E., active shooter, lockdown and fire drills.  These plans are frequently reviewed and practiced by our schools under the guidance of our public safety departments and school-based safety committees.  We are also grateful to have the support of dedicated school resource officers (SROs) from Boxford and Topsfield assigned to work in our schools every day.  In addition, we have full time District Security staff, closed-circuit video monitoring (CCTV), and visitor management systems in place to help ensure the safety of our school community.

At Masconomet, we are also committed to addressing the social-emotional needs of all our students.  Our school counseling staff has been trained in Mental Health First Aid and is available to support any member of our school community at any time.  If your child has questions about the tragedy in Texas, the National Association of School Psychologists has developed the resource document Talking to Children about Violence:  Tips for Parents and Teachers, that you may wish to consult. 

I know we all can agree that children and adults need to feel safe and supported in our schools.  We at Masconomet are all committed to this bedrock principle and will continue to do everything in our power to make this a reality.

Credit for Life Fair

Masconomet hosted the Credit for Life Fair on May 24th.  11th grade students from nine local high schools came to the Masconomet Field House to participate.  Here’s the description of the Credit for Life Fair from its Website:  “The intent of Credit for Life is to prepare students to survive financially in the everyday world BEFORE they leave high school. Students choose professions, assume the roles of 25-year old ‘professionals with paychecks’ and use their monthly ‘salaries’, ‘credit cards’ and ‘savings accounts’ to purchase everything they will need to live as adults. The goal of the day: to balance their budget and not overspend.”  The Credit for Life Fair is organized and underwritten by the Institution for Savings.  Special thanks to Director of Business, Technology and Computer Science Ben Hodges for his work in organizing this fantastic event!

Memorial Day Assemblies

On Friday, May 27th both the Middle and High Schools will be holding their annual Memorial Day Assemblies.  This is the first time in two years that the assemblies will be held in person.  As has been our practice pre-COVID, members of our local veterans’ organizations have been invited to participate in these assemblies.  Thanks to Middle School Faculty Members Marnie Butler and Nicko Tzortzis and High School Faculty Member Ben Hanchett for their efforts in organizing these events.

Senior Activities

We are beginning our series of events to celebrate the Class of 2022.  We have a full week of events planned:

  • Thursday 5/26
    • Senior Internship Fair.  Seniors who participated in the Senior Internship Program will return to school to present projects documenting their internship experience.
  • Tuesday 5/31
    • Senior Baccalaureate, 6:30 PM
  • Thursday 6/2 
    • Senior Awards Ceremony, 9:00 AM
  • Friday 6/3
    • Graduation Ceremony, 6:00 PM

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, 4/27/22

Masconomet Operating Budget to be Considered at Annual Town Meetings

The final step in the approval process for Masconomet’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget will be a vote at each town’s Annual Town Meeting, which are scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd at 7:00 PM in Topsfield and Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 PM in Boxford and Middleton.  Topsfield and Boxford’s Town Meetings will be held in the Masconomet Auditorium. Middleton’s Town Meeting will be held in the Gymnasium at the Howe Manning School. In order for the Masconomet Budget to pass, at least two of the three Town Meetings must vote to approve the Masconomet Budget.

The School Committee’s adopted FY23 Masconomet General Operating Expense (after Offsets) Budget is $37,574,382, which is an increase of $853,893 (2.3%) over the current year’s budget.  The adopted budget includes funding for “level services” or a continuation of all current programming, plus an increase in staffing to bring our current part-time drama teaching position to full time.  The School Committee’s adopted budget also includes the funding necessary to implement an across the board 25% reduction in student athletic and extra-curricular fees.  Please come to your Annual Town Meeting to support the FY23 Masconomet Budget.

For more information about the FY23 Masconomet Budget, please go to: https://www.masconomet.org/Page/845

In addition to the FY23 Masconomet Budget, all three Town Meetings will also be considering the approval of several Warrant Articles containing Amendments to the Masconomet Regional Agreement. These Amendments were recommended after a review of the Masconomet Regional Agreement by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and seek to ensure the Masconomet Regional Agreement reflects current state statutes and regulations for the operation of a regional school district. Amendments to the Masconomet Regional Agreement require the approval of all three Town Meetings in order to be passed. For more information about these Warrant Articles, please refer to your town’s Annual Town Meeting Warrant Book.

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, April 6, 2022

Senior Citizens’ Concert a Success

Thanks to Masconomet faculty members, Ben Hanchett, Brian Ocock, and Randy O’ Keefe as well as School Committee members Bill Hodges and Joe Ciampa for their efforts in support in our Senior Citizen St. Patrick’s Day Concert, which was held on Tuesday, March 29th.  Approximately 50 senior citizens from Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield were treated to great performances by our instrumental and choral groups.  The afternoon also included a raffle for gift baskets that were prepared by our student council representatives.  Thanks to all of our faculty and students who had a part in putting this show together.

Staff Development Presentation by Tom Guskey, PhD.

On Monday, April 4th, the Masconomet Faculty participated in a staff development training by Dr. Thomas Guskey, a nationally recognized expert on the topic of student grading and assessment.  Dr. Guskey’s remarks centered on how we could change our practices around grading in order to better document a student’s progress towards mastering our curriculum and communicate this progress with families.  A first step in this process is to develop a shared “purpose statement” as to why we grade students.  This purpose statement is then used to guide decisions around how student progress is reported.  In his remarks, Dr. Guskey also explored many common practices in grading, such as the use of percentage grades, “plus” and “minus” grades, and a single grade that combines academic achievement and study habits and explained the drawbacks associated with each of them.  Ultimately, Dr. Guskey advocated for a grade reporting system that separately reports a student’s progress on meeting academic standards and their progress on essential “workplace readiness” skills.  After the presentation to the entire faculty, Dr. Guskey spent an hour with our department heads discussing ideas on how to implement the type of grading system he favors.  This presentation gave us a lot to consider.  We will be continuing the discussion of Dr. Guskey’s ideas beginning with our middle and high school faculty meetings next week.

School Choice Application Available for Entering Grade 9 Students

The Masconomet School Committee has voted to participate in the Massachusetts School Choice Program for incoming grade 9 students at Masconomet Regional High School for the 2022-2023 school year. The School Choice Program allows students who are not residents of Boxford, Middleton, or Topsfield to apply to attend school at Masconomet. The School Committee has voted to accept up to 10 new students to 9th grade under this program. Interested applicants can apply by filling out the form at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScBLFsTFvCo6xMHn-Xi5BYYarZsIGxftVerzPiiP8LG8fZGpQ/viewform?usp=sf_link. Completing this application does not guarantee acceptance in the Masconomet Regional District. If there are more applicants than spaces available, a lottery will be held on May 20, 2022.
Students will be notified if they have been accepted or placed on a wait list by May 23, 2022. If you know someone who is not a resident of Boxford, Middleton or Topsfield who has an incoming 9th grader who would like to attend Masconomet next year, please pass this info along.

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee, March 23, 2022

Welcome to Lynne Bennett as Masconomet’s New Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

Last night the School Committee unanimously approved my recommendation to appoint Lynne Bennett to the position of Assistant Superintendent for Student Services for the Masconomet Regional School District, effective July 1, 2022.  Ms. Bennett is currently the Administrator for Special Education at Arlington High School in Arlington, MA, a position she has held since 2014.  Prior to working in Arlington, Ms. Bennett has been an Evaluation Team Chair in the Haverhill Public Schools, the Principal of Wayside Academy in Framingham, MA, the Director of the Family and Student Support Team at the Boston Renaissance Charter School, and the Director of Student Services in the Danvers Public Schools.  She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).  Ms. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bridgewater State University, a Master of Social Work Degree from Simmons University and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration from Cambridge College.  

Through the interview process, Ms. Bennett made two visits to Masconomet, one in January and one in February.  At the beginning of March, the members of the Executive Leadership Team and I also traveled to Arlington High School to speak with Ms. Bennett’s colleagues regarding their experiences working with her.  Through this interview process, several themes emerged regarding Ms. Bennett.  She is a competent program administrator, who understands the legal complexities of the special education system in Massachusetts and is able to develop and implement systems and processes that ensure compliance with state laws and regulations.  She is also a strategic thinker, who looks to develop a complementary portfolio of programs that meet the needs of her students.  She is a team player who fully understands that change is a process, that new initiatives need constant monitoring and fine-tuning and that faculty need her support in order to be successful.  She is also fully committed to developing the social-emotional needs of all students.  I look forward to Lynne joining our leadership team and bringing her skills and her passion for serving the needs of all students to Masconomet.   

Congratulations to the Cast and Crew of Grease

Congratulations to the cast and crew of the high school’s production of Grease.  Congratulations also to Mr. Brian Periera, Mr. Brian Ocock, and Ms. Marcia Kilgallen for their work with our students on the production.  I had the pleasure of attending on the opening night last Thursday.  It was great to see a full house enjoying the amazing work of our students.

Masconomet Certified Operating Budget Transmitted to Town Treasurers

On Monday, March 14th Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sands and District Treasurer Jeannie Gioioso delivered the School Committee’s Adopted FY23 Operating and Debt Service Budget to the treasurers of Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield.  The FY23 Masconomet General Operating Expense (after Offsets) Budget is $37,574,382, which is an increase of $853,893 (2.3%) over the current year’s budget.  The adopted budget includes funding for “level services” or a continuation of all current programming, plus an increase in staffing to bring our current part-time drama teaching position to full time.  The adopted budget also includes the funding necessary to implement an across the board 25% reduction in student athletic and extra-curricular fees.  The final step in the approval process for Masconomet’s FY23 budget will be approval of the voters at Annual Town Meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd in Topsfield and Tuesday, May 10th in Boxford and Middleton.  For more information about the FY23 Masconomet Budget, please go to: https://www.masconomet.org/Page/845

Masconomet to Host Concert for Senior Citizens on March 29th

Thanks to School Committee Member Bill Hodges, Student Government Advisor Ben Hanchett and Music Department Head Randy O’Keefe for organizing a St. Patrick’s Day Concert for senior citizens in Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield on Tuesday, March 29th.  Seniors will be treated to performances from our Masconomet High School Band and Chorus and a boxed lunch.  Thanks also to School Committee Member Joe Ciampa for his generous donation to support the lunches for the seniors.