Dr. Mary Jo Carabatsos Hired as Masconomet Regional High School’s Principal
It gives me great pleasure to announce the hiring of Mary Jo Carabatsos, Ph.D. as the next Principal of Masconomet Regional High School. Through our interview process, Dr. Carabatsos distinguished herself as a school leader who is visionary, data-focused, thoughtful, and engaged in the lives of her students and faculty. In her work as the Dean of Teaching and Learning at the Brooks School, Dr. Carabatsos led the implementation of a competency-based assessment system that teaches students the skills necessary for lifelong success. I’ve spoken with Dr. Carabatsos several times over the past week, and she is eager to begin the process of meeting our community, learning more about Masconomet, and working with us to achieve the goals of Masconomet Vision 2025. I’m excited to have her join our team on July 1, 2021.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of our community who participated in our search process. Thanks to our Screening Committee, which was co-chaired by Patty Bullard and Phil McManus, and was made up of High School Student Justin Crosby; High School Faculty Members Jenna Almeida, Kathy Natale, and Melissa Stanley; Department Heads Irene Duros and Tammy Fay; and High School Parents Mark Butterworth, Alexis Kostas and Karen Porter for conducting initial interviews and recommending our three finalists. Thanks also to the members of our community who participated in the interview sessions during our virtual site visits, including the 60+ students of our Masconomet High School Student Council, high school faculty, department heads, and parents and community members. The feedback on the three finalists provided by these groups was invaluable in helping me to reach this decision.
Updated Guidance on Learning Models
Since February 11, we have received several communications from our state and federal governments around how we will conduct school in the spring of 2021. On February 11, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released updated guidance around student transportation. This guidance removed some of the restrictions relative to the number of students that can be transported on a school bus. On February 12, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) released “Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation.” This document presents guidance for the best practices to both safely open schools and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Finally, on February 23rd, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education released “Initial Information on Expanding In-Person Learning this Spring.” In this letter, the Commissioner expresses his goal of shifting away from remote and hybrid learning models and returning to in-person learning this spring and promises a plan to be released in March that provides for a phased approach to returning students to the classroom beginning in April with students in the elementary grades .
I will be reviewing these communications in greater detail with the School Committee this evening. Some of the key takeaways for our schools are:
- Masconomet currently has a strong COVID-19 mitigation plan in place that meets the requirements of the CDC. To date, we have had 92 reported student cases and 20 adult cases of COVID-19 since October 29, 2020, and no known instances of transmission of COVID-19 between students or staff while in school.
- The elimination of the requirement of 6ft of social distancing for students on school busses has removed a major hurdle for a return to full in-person learning.
- The requirement that students are separated by 6ft of social distancing while they are unmasked to eat lunch remains a major impediment to returning to in-person learning. We do not possess the physical space to accommodate the students in our largest high school lunch at 6ft distancing.
- We are awaiting the Commissioner’s plan for returning more students to in-person learning to see what other changes may be made to the state’s reopening guidance. This plan has been promised in the next two weeks.
- The District’s Executive Leadership Team and School Committee remain committed to safely returning all students to in-person learning as soon as it is practicable.