Masconomet School Committee Adopts “Equity and Anti-Racism Resolution”

On October 21, 2020, the Masconomet Regional School Committee unanimously approved an “Equity and Anti-Racism Resolution.”  This statement, which was developed in response to the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the subsequent demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter Movement, affirms the commitment of the Masconomet Regional School District to embed “diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all aspects of education and learning for our students, families, faculty and staff.”  The text of the full resolution, reproduced below, has also been posted under the “Key Policies and Documents” heading of the “Useful Links” section of the Masconomet District Website Homepage.

In order to bring the principles envisioned in the “Equity and Anti-Racism Resolution” into reality, the School Committee has also created an Anti-Racism Subcommittee.  This group currently meets on Monday afternoons via Zoom teleconference.  Meetings are open to the public.  Future meeting agendas will be posted to the “Public Meetings” page of the Masconomet Website.  

MASCONOMET SCHOOL COMMITTEE  

EQUITY AND ANTI-RACISM RESOLUTION 

Whereas all public and private entities must work to eradicate discriminatory practices and build a culture  where all people are not judged, advantaged or disadvantaged based on their race, religion, nationality,  ethnicity, citizenship status, gender identification, sexual orientation, or economic status; and  

Whereas public schools are responsible for providing students with their civil right to a free and  appropriate public education in a welcoming community for all students; and 

Whereas every school district must commit to recruiting and retaining a diverse and culturally responsive  teaching workforce; and 

Whereas every school district must review and ensure that all policies and practices are actively anti racist; and 

Whereas every school district must provide professional development, discussions, and self-directed  learning on diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and conversation training to all staff, including  school committee members; and 

Whereas every school district’s curriculum and activities must be informed by anti-racism pedagogy  experts and include the history of white supremacy, racial oppression, injustice, resistance and counter resistance, education, activism and legislation, as well as current systems of privilege, power and  ideology; and 

Whereas every school district’s curriculum and activities must holistically represent the world’s many  perspectives and voices, including the work, lives and contributions of BIPOC*, LGBTQ+*, and other  marginalized identities in various fields such as STEM*, business, government, arts, literature, music,  sports, activism and more; and  

Whereas every school district must co-create a learning community where all members feel safe,  respected and supported in examining identity, navigating difficult topics, developing critical thinking and  listening skills, gaining perspective, and engaging in thoughtful discussions that improve emotional  intelligence, growth mindset, empathy, care, and compassion; and 

Whereas every school district must operate from the premise that all lives cannot matter until Black lives  matter; now, therefore, be it 

Resolved that the Masconomet Regional School District is committed to embedding diversity, equity,  inclusion and anti-racism in all aspects of education and learning for our students, families, faculty and  staff. We must act with transparency to ensure that our Masconomet students and community have the  experiences necessary to be aware, thoughtful, active participants in a diverse global environment,  comprehend the repercussions of racism, respect and celebrate differences, strive for equity, dismantle  racist and unjust systems, and work to lift up all members of humanity to solve the problems that plague  our communities, country and world.  

*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, People Of Color 

*LGBTQ+ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Plus 

*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

Hybrid Schedule Update, 11/6/20

We’ve concluded our third week of hybrid classes at Masconomet.  Getting students back into the building has been a lot of work, but the payoff has been seeing our students “in person” again and returning a little bit of normalcy in their lives.  In the almost four months since last June, when we began planning for the return of students, until now, I’ve consistently felt like one of the NASA engineers in the film Apollo 13, who after having a pile of spare parts dumped on the table in front of them, were told to design a solution for fitting a square peg into a round hole.  On an almost daily basis, we have been confronted with new challenges to solve that our pre-COVID educational system of education had not even contemplated.

So far, we’ve been able to overcome the largest of these hurdles to achieve the return of students to our buildings on a part-time basis.  While we’ve achieved the goal of “making it all work,” I know that the school our students and faculty are experiencing right now isn’t what any of us would have intentionally created.  School is meant to be a social activity.  A student’s learning is enriched through personal interactions with teachers and classmates.  As teachers, we improve our practice through a frequent exchange of ideas with our colleagues and supervisors.  COVID-19 has made all of this impossible to achieve. While “Zoom school” might be great for preventing the spread of the virus, it leaves a lot to be desired in allowing the development of the meaningful relationships that are at the heart of teaching and learning.

We’re exploring what we can do to improve our model based on the feedback we’ve received.  Last spring and in the four weeks we were in a remote schedule this year, we heard many concerns from parents that the amount of structured learning time provided in our schedule was insufficient and therefore putting our students at a disadvantage.  Now that we’re been in a hybrid schedule for three weeks, we’re hearing the concerns that this schedule may be too much for both students and faculty to manage.  Here are some of the themes of the feedback we’ve heard regarding the hybrid schedule:

  • There are too many periods per day for students and teachers to effectively manage.
  • Instructional time is being lost to “housekeeping tasks,” such as taking period attendance, that just take longer to complete in a hybrid model.
  • There is too much daily homework assigned to students.
  • Students miss the ability to get extra help from teachers that a WIN period provided in the remote schedule.
  • The lack of rotating periods in the schedule means students may not have the opportunity to be at their best in all of their classes.
  • Teachers do not have the opportunity to work in Professional Learning Communities, which is a valuable practice for collaborative lesson and curriculum development.

Public education seems to have more than its share of rules and regulations.  Any schedule we employ at Masconomet will need to follow the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Our schedule must also allow for the sharing of both personnel and physical spaces between our Middle and High Schools.  So, as we think about creating a schedule that addresses the above list, we also need to address these other requirements:

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Public Health’s Guidance on School Reopening.
  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Requirement of 5.5 hours of “Structured Learning Time” each day.
  • The service delivery requirements of Individualized Education Plans of students with disabilities.
  • Teachers’ contractual requirements as outlined in the current collective bargaining agreement.
  • The inclusion of daily “Mask Breaks” for students.
  • The ability to serve daily lunches to students in both the Middle and High Schools, including:
    • Accommodating separate middle and high school lunch periods in the field house.
    • At least 35 minutes each day per lunch period, including passing time.
    • Sufficient time in the schedule between each lunch period to clean cafeteria space.
  • Coordination between Middle and High Schools schedules to allow staff shared between the two schools to teach in both buildings.

As you can see, developing a schedule that meets all of these parameters is a very complex task that will take time to complete properly.  Our District Leadership Team, made up of department heads, building principals and district leaders has been meeting over the past several weeks to brainstorm possible schedule models that will both meet our identified priorities and comply with state and local requirements.  We fully understand that no one schedule will satisfy everyone in our community and that any model will contain certain advantages and drawbacks.  Our task has been to weigh the impact of these factors to create potential models that best support the needs of our students and faculty.

Ultimately, the working conditions of the schedules used in our middle and high schools are subject to collective bargaining with the Masconomet Teachers Association (MTA).  We will begin engaging the MTA in a collaborative dialogue regarding possible schedule changes in the coming weeks.  After this process has been completed and a Memorandum of Agreement has been negotiated with the MTA, we’ll be able to share any agreed upon schedule model changes and the plan for implementing these changes with the larger community.

Thank you all for your patience as we work to improve our hybrid model.  This is truly a case where we are building the airplane while flying it.  We will do our best to adjust our practices to address the concerns we’ve heard.

Sincerely,

Mike Harvey

Superintendent

Superintendent’s Update

September 24, 2020

Dear Masconomet Community,

We’ve had a great opening week at both Masconomet Middle and High Schools.  We began our school year for students on Monday under our remote learning schedule that was developed by a team of teachers, parents and administrators in August as part of our School Reopening Plan.  Building on the lessons we learned under remote learning last spring, this schedule balances the need for academic rigor and supporting the social-emotional needs of our students.  Our teachers have been formally engaged in planning for the start of school since the beginning of September through completing training on instructional practices that are suited to remote learning, and on technology tools to support these practices.  Our staff training sessions also included work on anti-racist educational practices, meeting the learning needs of all students, social-emotional learning and COVID-19 health and safety practices.  Our teachers are well-prepared to meet the challenges of teaching and learning in a remote environment.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students, the Masconomet District commissioned an Indoor Environmental Quality Study to assess the air quality of our facilities.  In late August, the firm Environmental Safety and Hygiene Associates collected samples from throughout our school buildings in order to assess the overall indoor air quality in our buildings.  We received the final report on September 21st, which contained the following conclusion:

“The laboratory testing results did not identify any significant elevations of airborne fungal spores, airborne culturable fungi, or culturable bacteria.  In addition, all COVID-19 air samples were negative for the presence of COVID-19.  The HVAC laboratory results of the AHUs [Air Handling Units] and VUVs [Vertical Unit Ventilators] did not identify any significant elevations of culturable fungi or culturable bacteria.  In addition, all COVID-19 HVAC swab samples were negative for the presence of COVID-19.  Finally, visual evaluations of the AHUs and VAVs [Variable Air Volume box] indicated that the units were fully operational, filters were clean and recently replaced, units were clean and in very good condition, and the building(s) are subject to good airflow and exchanges.  Therefore, in our professional opinion, the air quality of the building(s) at the time of the study is safe and we see no reason why staff and students could not occupy the building at this time.” (“Indoor Environmental Quality Study Masconomet Regional Middle/High School,” p. 10)

Because of this positive test result, we were able to welcome all teachers and paraprofessionals to work in-person in our schools beginning this past Tuesday.  It was definitely different to see teachers working alone in their classrooms conducting their lessons via computer, but overall it was great to have everyone back!

We’ve also made significant progress towards completing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Masconomet Teachers Association.  On Monday, we reached a tentative agreement on the MOA.  The document outlines the agreed upon changes in working conditions for teachers for the duration of the pandemic emergency.  The next step in the negotiations process will be for the Teachers Association to hold a vote to ratify the agreement.  If the vote successfully passes the Agreement, the School Committee will hold its own acceptance vote, hopefully as early as October 7th.

While we’re fully engaged in remote learning, we’re also continuing to work towards implementing our plan to move to our Hybrid Learning Model.  We’re receiving and deploying equipment, such as hand sanitizer stations, air purifiers, and window fans, installing new signage around student traffic flows, and continuing to develop written protocols regarding how students will learn in our buildings during our hybrid learning model. 

We still have work to do before we are ready to accept students for in-person learning.  As part of our School Reopening Plan that was submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in August, the School Committee will be re-evaluating our instructional model and considering whether to move to our hybrid model at its meeting on Wednesday, October 7th.  While the local COVID-19 infection rates remain low, this is only one factor of several that the School Committee will be considering as they make the decision to institute our hybrid plan. 

One emerging challenge to moving to a hybrid model is the large number of faculty and staff members who have requested accommodations to work from home during the pandemic under state and federal law and their collective bargaining agreements.  As it would be impossible to find substitute teachers with the experience and qualifications of our current teachers,  we’ve advertised to hire Classroom Proctors to supervise students in the classroom while they continue to receive remote instruction from our highly-qualified faculty.  Moving to a hybrid model will not be possible unless we’re able to hire enough proctors to supervise the classrooms of teachers working from home under these accommodations.  We’re also looking for applicants for the position of Hallway/Cafeteria Monitor to help students safely move through the buildings and to supervise our lunch periods and daily mask breaks.  Applications can be submitted through the above links.  Please pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested as filling these positions is integral to our ability to move to our hybrid model.

We will do our best to keep you informed as we continue to work through the many challenges that teaching and learning in a pandemic have thrown our way.  This time has certainly not been an easy one.  We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we continue to work to meet these challenges.

Sincerely,

Mike Harvey

Superintendent

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!

September 18, 2020

Dear Masconomet Community,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year! Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the uncertainties of this year’s school reopening. You stepped up in extraordinary ways this past spring to fill the gaps caused by our sudden school building closures and we know that the decision to open remotely will continue to place a burden on your family. Our commitment to partner with you this year is unlike any other.  We have heard repeatedly that “we are all in this together” but nowhere is that truer than in educating our students. We spent the summer exploring the possibilities of opening under one of three scenarios this fall: remote, hybrid, and in person. Our highest priority is to keep our students, teachers, and staff safe and although Massachusetts has some of the lowest transmission rates at this time, we have chosen remote learning as the model that we feel is best for the Masconomet Regional District at this time.

Although we will be starting our school year remotely on September 21st, our goal remains to bring students back to some form of in-person learning as soon as possible.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, working with our state’s top medical professionals, have put comprehensive safety guidelines in place to greatly reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Our school leaders and staff have worked diligently to create detailed school plans to ensure that we are fully prepared to execute all of the recommended safety measures, including: mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand washing and notification of positive cases. The Masconomet School Committee will be revisiting our school model in early October when we have more information on the feasibility of implementing our plans and the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities.

In the meantime, our teachers have spent the last three weeks training on best practices for remote learning. We are confident that they are ready to teach our students through the Blackboard Learn platform, using a combination of teaching methods that will include live, whole class instruction, teacher-led small group work, and independent student work. Many families have expressed challenges around technology – whether having the technology they need, or using it, for remote learning. If you are in need of a device to access our remote resources, you should contact your child’s principal or assistant principal. If at any time you are having difficulties using your device or finding your way around the Blackboard Learn platform, please reach out to one of your child’s teachers and they will complete a “help desk ticket” for your child.

We are committed to frequent communications to our families to ensure that we are transparent in our decision making and are providing families with information as soon as it becomes available. You should have already received communications from High School Principal Delani and Middle School Principal McManus regarding specifics around the start of school and expectations for remote learning.  Not only will you continue to receive regular blog posts from your school principals, but you can also expect to hear regularly from your child’s teachers to ensure you have a clear understanding of your child’s learning expectations for the fall. It is important that we hear your perspective regarding your child’s learning needs as well as his/her/their social emotional development in order to put a plan in place for your child’s continued growth. 

Last week, our School Committee hosted a Community Forum where members of our District Leadership Team responded to your “Frequently Asked Questions” around remote learning. The recording of the presentation is available on the Masconomet School District Website. This is a great place to start if you have questions regarding our remote learning program. If after viewing this presentation, you still have questions, we ask that you reference our District’s “Problem Solver and Communications Quick Reference Guide” to help you direct your questions and concerns to the appropriate staff member. We look forward to meeting this challenging time together and welcome your input to best serve your students.

Sincerely,

Mike Harvey

Superintendent

Masconomet to Open Under Remote Learning Plan in September

Last night, the Masconomet School Committee voted to begin the 2020-2021 school year under the remote learning option presented in the Draft Masconomet Reopening Plan.  We are currently planning for student instruction to begin on September 21st.  The Committee also endorsed the Administration’s plan to revisit the decision to implement the remote plan on October 7, 2020, and make the decision to either shift to a hybrid model or remain in a remote model based on the trends in local COVID-19 infections that occur between now and early October.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to provide the School Committee and me with their thoughts around the best way for the District to restart school for students in September.  There are many points of view on this very important decision and I know that I speak for the members of the School Committee in saying that we appreciate the respectful and constructive tone that has characterized the dialogue around this decision.

Over the next few weeks, we will be finalizing our plans to implement the remote learning model.  At the same time, we will also continue our preparations to implement a hybrid model in October if the conditions allow it.  We will keep you informed of our plans, including orientation activities for students, as we get closer to the first day of school for students in September.

Sincerely,

Mike Harvey

Superintendent

Reopening Plan Update, 8.12.20

Good Morning,

I am writing on behalf of the School Committee to remind you that the School Committee will be meeting on Zoom tonight, August 12, 2020, to approve the Masconomet Reopening Plan submission to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and to select the model (In-Person, Hybrid or Remote) that our schools will use to start the school year.  The School Committee will be meeting in Executive Session at 7:00 and plans to begin the public portion of the meeting around 8:00 PM.  The meeting agenda and Zoom link can be found at: https://www.masconomet.org/domain/184

On Monday August 10th, the School Committee met to review the District’s Draft Reopening Plan and discuss specifics around implementation of the In-Person, Hybrid and Remote Models.  A recording of this meeting is available at:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/15FpCfxP5SqhzhOk14kMUExgT1OyBxWcI/view?usp=sharing  (The recording is 3:44 long and will take some time to download)

Thanks,

Mike Harvey

Superintendent

Masconomet Reopening Plan Update

Dear Masconomet Community:

I am writing with an update on our planning process for the start of the new school year at the Masconomet Regional School District. The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education has granted all school districts in Massachusetts ten additional days for staff training at the beginning of the year.  With these ten additional days factored in to our calendar, we are scheduled to resume student learning on Monday, September 21st, pending approval by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Our planning process for what education will look like on September 21st continues to be guided by a vigilant monitoring of public health data in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth’s careful and disciplined approach has enabled our state gradually to begin reopening, in part because of strong compliance with health and safety precautions. The question now on all of our minds is how and when we apply those lessons learned to begin safely reopening our public schools.

As you have heard, the Massachusetts Department of Education has directed districts to submit on July 31, 2020 a preliminary plan that addresses the feasibility of three options for serving students at the start of the school year. Those options include a full return to daily, in-person attendance, a hybrid plan combining in-school learning with remote learning, and finally, a 100% remote learning program.  Last week, a group of 40 stakeholders from the District, including teachers, nurses, department heads, building leadership and district administration met to review the guidance documents provided by DESE and to draft plans for each of the three options.  These drafts formed the basis for our July 31st submission to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  An outline of the main components of these three plans, in-person, hybrid and remote, follows this letter. 

Our district’s final plan, once it is approved by the School Committee on August 12th, will be submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on August 13th.  This submission will indicate which option the School Committee has selected for our students to begin the school year.  At this time, it is clear that we cannot implement an in-person model given the current health and safety requirements.  This leaves our hybrid and remote plans as the remaining two viable options.  Given the significant changes these plans will require in the way schools operate, we also must negotiate our proposal with all employee unions impacted: teachers, administrators, support staff, maintenance staff and paraprofessionals.  We are on a very tight timeline to meet the August 13th DESE deadline for submitting final fall plans.

We recognize that the circumstances and needs of every family and staff member are different, and that no plan will satisfy everyone in our community. But rest assured we are working diligently to explore every option available to us, we remain guided by the data and science to keep our students and staff safe and healthy, and we will be prepared to make adjustments along the way if and when the public health conditions or other variables change. 

We will keep you informed of our progress in developing a final plan, selecting the option for starting the school year, and in our negotiations with our unions.  If you have questions regarding our plan, our School Committee has developed a survey for you to send us your questions.  The survey can be found at this link:  https://docs.google.com/forms/u/2/d/e/1FAIpQLSeLRrYZzmQgkuYt1AKn_AXUCACrTIn5tAAoc1h_Lol5wehNiQ/viewform?usp=sf_link  Your questions will be used to help us develop future communications around our plan.

I am confident that we can prioritize both safety and learning as we prepare for the start of a successful school year.  Thank you for your patience and cooperation in these difficult times.

Sincerely

Michael M. Harvey, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Summary of Masconomet Reopening Plan

All In-Person Learning

The goal of this plan is to return 100% of students to in-person learning in school environments that have been appropriately modified to address health and safety requirements issued by DESE.

  • All students and staff will be required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing stations will be available throughout the buildings.
  • Ensuring mandated three-foot minimum spacing in classrooms would require extensive furniture purchases and storage solutions.
  • Unable to provide minimum required spacing in many courses (Arts, Music, Physical Education, Science Labs).
  • Unable to transport all students using the maximum capacity of 25-students on busses.
  • Unable to feed all students using the 6-foot minimum social distancing during lunch.
  • Our feasibility study has led us to conclude we cannot implement an in-person model given the current health and safety requirements.

Hybrid Learning

Students alternate between in-person learning with safety requirements and remote learning.

  • While in-person, all students and staff will be required to wear a mask.
  • Handwashing/sanitizing stations will be available throughout the buildings.
  • Approximately 50% of students will be in-school on a given day.  Students will attend in-person on an alternating basis (Either every other day or two consecutive days in school per week).
  • Students who are not in school will follow their daily schedule remotely.
  • 6-foot physical distancing will be the standard in all spaces in the building, including classrooms.
  • Students will eat lunch in the field house with 6-foot minimum physical distancing.  Prepackaged lunches will be available for students.
  • Reduced student numbers will make it possible to transport students using the current DESE guidelines.
  • All students will follow a seven-period day, regardless of whether they are attending in-person or remotely.
  • Special Education Cohorts as identified in DESE guidance will attend school full-time.
  • Grading Periods, (Quarters and Semesters in the HS and Trimesters in the MS) will remain the same regardless of the teaching and learning environment.
  • As during in-person learning, students may be assigned homework to be done outside of scheduled remote class instruction.
  • Attendance will be taken in PowerSchool for every class.
  • Teachers will maintain current instructions, assignments and learning materials in Blackboard and will provide clear learning objectives and expectations.
  • Instruction in the curriculum will be done in coordination with Department Chairs.  Courses will follow the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Documents.
  • Students will receive alphanumeric grades.  Standard Masconomet Grading policies will apply for grading periods.
  • Parents will have the option to choose an all-remote learning plan for their children. 

Remote Learning

In this model, remote learning is the default model of instruction for all students, though some High Needs students may still be served in-person.

  • DESE “Time in Learning” Requirements will apply to the Remote Schedules.
  • Students will follow a five-day, eight period schedule.
  • Students’ seven courses will each meet three times per week.
  • All seven courses will meet on Monday.
  • W.I.N. Block is added as a “What I need” period for students to access guidance counselors, coordinators, teachers, advisors, etc. as needed.
  • As during in-person learning, students may be assigned homework to be done outside of scheduled remote class instruction.
  • Students and teachers are expected to have a live, video presence during instructional time.
  • Attendance will be taken in PowerSchool for every class.
  • Teachers will maintain current instructions, assignments and learning materials in Blackboard and will provide clear learning objectives and expectations.
  • Instruction in the curriculum will be done in coordination with Department Chairs.  Courses will follow the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Documents.
  • Students will receive alphanumeric grades.  Standard Masconomet Grading policies will apply for grading periods.
  • Grading Periods, (Quarters and Semesters in the HS and Trimesters in the MS) will remain the same regardless of the teaching and learning environment.

Masconomet Reopening Plan Planning Committee

The following group of teachers, administrators, parents and community members met at Masconomet on July 28-July 30 to develop the In-Person, Hybrid and Remote Learning Plans for the Masconomet Regional School District

UrsinaAmslerMiddle School Teacher, MTA Vice President
DougBatchelderDirector of Facilities
MarieBridgesSpecial Education Team Chair
PattyBullardAsst. Superintendent for Student Services
SteveBurtDirector of Safety and Security
MarcButterworthParent
JohnDaileanesDirector of Athletics and Phys Ed.
CathieDalyHS Secretary — Support Staff Association Co-President
PeteDelaniHS Principal
KristenDeMarcoSEPAC Chair
BradDentonAsst. Director of Special Education
KatieDiNardoHS Asst. Principal
IreneDurosGuidance and Counseling Department Head
TammyFayScience, Technology & Engineering Dept. Head
MeaganHildebrandEnglish Department Head
BenHodgesBusiness and Comp. Sci. Department Head
MarshallHookParent
KathyHostetterHS Nurse
RyanKingTechnology Integration Specialist
GwenLemireMS Nurse
KendellLongoBoxford Director of Public Health
StacyMannheimArt Department Head
PhilMcManusMS Principal
GavinMonagleMS Asst. Principal
CarrieMurphyDirector of Food Services
LisaNovackParent
JeanneO’HearnForeign Language Department Head
RandyO’KeefeMusic Department Head
VinRuoccoDirector of Information Technology
JeffSandsAsst. Superintendent for Operations and Finance
AlyssaSchatzelHS Asst. Principal
SusanSooaarParaprofessionals’ Association President
MelissaStanleyHigh School Teacher, MTA Professional Improvement Committee Chair
JillStorySocial Studies Department Head
DeniseTenantyMath Department Head
KarenTrevenenHS Nurse

Letter Regarding DESE’s Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance

Dear Masconomet Community,

Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released its Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance.  In this document, the DESE prioritizes reopening school with in-person instruction for all students in September following a comprehensive set of health and safety guidelines.  The document also instructs school districts in Massachusetts to develop contingency plans should our local conditions change for both a remote learning model and a hybrid model that incorporates both in-person and remote instruction.  Over the course of the summer, we expect further expansion of the reopening guidance and clarification of the requirements of each plan to be issued by the DESE.

This week, our District’s Executive Leadership Team, which consists of Assistant Superintendents Patty Bullard and Jeff Sands, High School Principal Peter Delani, current Middle School Principal Jim Dillon, incoming Middle School Principal Phil McManus and me, met to review the Initial Fall Reopening Guidance.  We also developed a timeline for our work this summer to develop the three plans.  Our goal is to have our plans completed in time for submission to the DESE in early August.  We expect to communicate them to the Masconomet Community around the same time.

While we hope that the trend in COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts continues on the current downward trajectory, and allows us to have all students safely in school in September, we’ll be ready with our contingency plans if the need arises.  In the meantime, please do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, washing your hands and practicing social distancing. 

Sincerely,

Michael M. Harvey, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Congratulations to Masconomet’s 2020 Retirees

As we wrap up what has become the most unusual school year of all time, I wanted to take a minute to recognize five very special members of our faculty who are retiring this year.  I would have hoped to have done this in person with all of us together today, but this will have to do.  Please join me in congratulating Vicki Aguilar, Jim Dillon, Jennifer Reyes, Karen Simi and Greg West on their retirements.  These people have played a great role in making Masconomet a wonderful place to learn and work. 

Vicki Aguilar

Vicki Aguilar retired in September of 2019 after serving in the Masconomet District for nineteen years.  She was first hired in November of 2001 as a part-time school secretary and in 2004 became the Registrar of Masconomet High School.  In this role, Vicki was responsible for maintaining student transcripts, assisting students with college applications, and helping students obtain working papers.  She was also the first face many Masconomet students and families met as they enrolled in the school.  Vicki is known for her up-beat personality, attention to detail and her ability to put students, parents and co-workers at ease.

2004                                                                                                                2020

Leslie Brooks

Leslie Brooks is retiring after 15 years as a Paraprofessional in the District.  She was originally hired as a Special Education Tutor in the Middle School in 2005 and then moved to the High School in 2006.  Leslie also worked regularly in the Masconomet’s Student Services Summer Program.  Leslie is known for her positive attitude, willingness to be flexible in the face of changing schedules, and her commitment to her students.

                                                            

Jim Dillon

Jim Dillon came to Masconomet Middle School in September of 1998.  Jim came to Masco with 9 years of classroom experience:  two at Rockland Junior High School and seven at Alvirne High School in Hudson, New Hampshire.  In his time as a teacher at Masco, Jim served on a number of staff committees, including the Professional Improvement Committee, the Middle School Advisory Council, and as a mentor to new members of the faculty. 

Last year, when Masconomet Middle School Principal Dot Flaherty resigned, Jim applied for the position of Interim Principal.  He did this, not because he particularly wanted the job, but because he so felt strongly about Masconomet Middle School, he wanted to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.  In most cases, a person in an interim position is there merely to keep things running and not make any changes until their successor takes the reins.  Apparently, no one told Jim this.  In the past year, he has led the school through several major initiatives, been an active member of the District’s Executive Leadership Team and, most importantly, served as an overall champion of the Masconomet Middle School Program. 

1998                                                                                                                            2019

Jennifer Reyes

Jennifer Reyes was hired as a mathematics teacher at Masconomet Middle School in the summer of 1998.  Jennifer came to teaching after working for ten years in high-tech sales and marketing.  After working in the Middle School for two years, Jennifer moved to Masconomet High School in 2000.  In her time at Masconomet, Jennifer was very involved in the life of the school.  She was instrumental in developing the Masconomet Architecture Fair, a culminating exhibit of projects created by geometry students.  She also served on the National Honor Society Faculty Committee, the Professional Improvement Committee, worked in the High School’s Engineering Day Curriculum, mentored new faculty members and taught the SAT Prep Course.  Jennifer embodied what it means “to be a good teammate,” as she cared deeply about her colleagues as well as her students.  She embraced what “Masco” is all about.

1998                                                                                                                              2020

Karen Simi

Karen Simi has been a member of the Masconomet community for the past twenty years. She began her career at Masconomet as a Secretary in the Technology Department in 2000.  She was quickly promoted to the position of Administrative Assistant to the Technology Director in 2001.  In 2005, Karen became the “House C” Secretary and then moved to the position of Administrative Assistant in the School Counseling Department in 2005.  In all of these roles, Karen distinguished herself because of her dedication, work ethic, dependability, and willingness to tackle any job. Karen’s kind demeanor with faculty, parents, and students always made them feel welcome at Masconomet. 

2000                                                                                                                                        2020   

Greg West

Greg West is retiring after 31 years in the Masconomet District.  He was first hired as a Health Education Teacher at Masconomet in 1988.  As a Health Teacher, Greg was the driving force behind the institution of the EMS Certification Program for students at Masco.  He was known for his engaging teaching style, particularly his classroom discussions in his Intro to Medicine classes, and the hands-on skills training in his Honors EMT courses.  Greg has also worked as an advisor on many student activities.  Most notably, he has served as the Drama Club Advisor and Directed the fall and spring student productions.  Greg also served as the Yearbook Advisor, and the Yearbook Photographer.  Greg has also served on several District Committees, including the District Crisis Team, School Health Advisory Council, and the Substance Abuse Prevention Team.  He embraced being a part of “Masco,” holding himself and others to a standard of excellence whether in the classroom, stage or working with staff and administration.

1988                                                                                                                            2020

Congratulations to the Winners of the First Masconomet Vision 2025 Challenge!

Congratulations to Katie Bernard and Justin Crosby, the winners of the First Masconomet Vision 2025 Challenge!  Students were asked to use any media (video, visual arts, music, poem, essay, persuasive writing, journal entry, etc.) to create your own response to the question, “What knowledge, skills and dispositions do Masco students need for success?” and connect their responses to the current COVID-19 global pandemic and school closures. 

Thanks to all of our students who submitted an entry.

I’d also like to announce Challenge #2. . .

Masconomet’s Vision 2025 Challenge Series

Empowering our youth to create meaning and success. 

Challenge #2:

  1. Watch the Video “Failure and Growth Mindset” from the film Most Likely to Succeed  https://vimeo.com/178681594
  2. At the beginning of the clip, Ted Dintersmith describes the contradiction between the need to “risk failure” in order to be successful in life and our system of education that discourages risk-taking in schools.  How has the avoidance of risking a bad grade influenced you in school?  What might you do differently in school if the risk of a bad grade wasn’t there?  Consider what this makes you think about yourself, your interests, your curiosity, and the systems around you. Take some time to brainstorm and organize your thoughts. Dig deep. Push your creativity.
  3. Use any media, approach and style to create your own original response to the statement: “If I could learn about anything I wanted in school, I would choose to learn about ­­­_________, because _________.” 
  4. Connect your response in any way you choose to the current COVID-19 global pandemic and how life has changed during this time.
    1. Use ANY media — video, visual arts, music, poem, performance, essay, persuasive writing, journal entry, etc.
    2. Use ANY style — artistic, thoughtful, humorous, ironic, dramatic, scientific, etc.
    3. Projects can be collaborations, as long as collaboration is done virtually.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of community members for their originality, concept, skill, delivery and presentation, as well as overall impact and use of the challenge. Submissions will also be assessed in the context of the student’s age/grade.

Participation is optional, but I can promise “eternal glory” for a select few. Chosen projects will be highlighted in Masco and local media, and the honor of being selected will certainly have merit on a resumé. This is also a chance to positively impact all those who will see your amazing work during this challenging time. 

Please submit your project with your name/s and grade/s by Monday, May 4 to: Vision2025Challenge@masconomet.org

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