Superintendent’s Update 6/17/2022

Wait, what? It’s the last full week of school? It seems crazy but we have almost completed the 22-23 school year. This year we have experienced many ups and downs, bumps and bruises, but I truly believe that one of the most powerful forces in our district, student-teacher relationships, helped to make this year memorable and successful. I had lots of fun learning and growing as a new superintendent and will miss watching our students and staff in action for the next couple of months.

This week there was so much going on, I could simply drive from school to school to see something new. We had beautiful weather so there were many outdoor activities.  I hear there are more to come next week at the MS. One funny story…I went to Winthrop for their field day and approached a group of preschool students who were looking at me like I was unfamiliar. I realized I forgot to take my sunglasses off.  Once I did, they all remembered who I was, but the act of taking off my sunglasses also presented an opportunity for all of the kids in the class to try them on. All three adults who were with the students cringed and said, “I hope those aren’t expensive”. After everyone tried them on, some more than once, they were off and running to their next event and I was left with 200 fingerprints on my glasses. 

Thursday Ms. Bernardo and Ms. Orlando invited me to Buker to watch the 3rd grade play about the Boston Tea Party. It was wonderful to see the creativity and excitement of the students as they each participated in their specific roles. Each act had its own set design and the sets were moved in and out of the room by students quickly and efficiently as the play progressed. The homemade costumes were awesome, but I think I was most intrigued by the confidence the students had as they presented their speaking parts by heart. 

This morning I was able to meet with the members of Hamilton-Wenham Rotary. I took the opportunity to present the Portrait of the Graduate and to help them to understand how it connected to service organizations like the Rotary. We hope to revive the Rotary Interact program at the HS and MS so that students can have direct access to a local service oriented group and build strong community connections between schools and outside entities.

Our Retirees

I would like to take a moment to thank and recognize the four teachers who are retiring from our district. Last night at the school committee meeting the principals read statements about each of our retirees:

Kevan Sano

It is almost impossible to describe the magnitude of impact that she has had on our students, school, district, and community over the past 31 years. I can say with certainty that Kevan is a passionate, thoughtful, and supportive teacher. She thinks carefully about each student and provides on an individual level the experiences that allow students to maximize their language skills. Kevan is also a passionate, thoughtful, and supportive colleague. She works tirelessly to grow the talents of teachers in the world language department and has also ensured that there is a positive culture for educators and students in grades six through twelve. We are grateful for the service and travel opportunities that Kevan has brought to our community. For many, these are life altering experiences that will continue to have a positive impact for years to come. Although Kevan is retiring, her influence and impact upon her department and the schools will last for many years to come.

Melissa Graham

Melissa joined Cutler School in the fall of 2006, finding her home on our fifth-grade team. It is in fifth grade that Melissa has worked her magic for many years, developing mutually respectful relationships with her students. She was brave to take on new challenges, as she took on our role as library/media specialist in 2019 and was a districtwide 2nd/3rd grade fully remote teacher last year. This year, in the final year of her career, Melissa returned to fifth grade. Melissa shares her love for science and history with her students, but what we will remember her for most is her love of music. Melissa started our String Jam program many years ago, bringing together fifth graders each week to share her passion for the ukulele. String Jammers are a highlight of all our school meetings and a rite of passage for our students. Just recently, Ukes on Deck brought the opportunity for younger students to also share the music. Melissa’s ability to connect with her students and to help them shine with strengths they weren’t always aware they had will be missed. 

Melissa Andrichak

Missy Andrichak has been a strong advocate for developmentally appropriate early childhood education throughout her career. The Hamilton-Wenham School District was fortunate to hire Missy in 2005 as a Kindergarten teacher, bringing more than 15 years of teaching experience to her new position. In 2011, Missy moved to first grade where she spent the next 10 years bringing a love of learning to Winthrop’s 6 and 7 year olds. Missy created a caring, structured and predictable learning environment that sparked academic, social and emotional growth for every student. Each one is lucky to have had Missy Andrichak as their teacher.  

Rebecca Olivera

Becky started her teaching career in Ottawa, Kansas as a second grade teacher in 1985. In 1988 she moved to Newington, Connecticut and the following year joined the Hamilton-Wenham family. She spent her first 10 years at Cutler, teaching a year at third grade and nine years at first grade. In 1999 she came to Buker when it opened as an elementary school. She has spent the last 23 years teaching first and second grade at Buker. Throughout her career she prioritized strong relationships with students and families. There was never any doubt that she cared for her students as if they were her own children. 

As if leading by example, Becky never stopped learning. Even through the final months of her career she was collaborating with colleagues to learn new skills so that she could offer new opportunities to her students. Becky truly has a career to be proud of. She’s had approximately 750 students move through her classrooms, a year I know they will all look back fondly on. In her retirement, she looks forward to knitting, biking, water aerobics, her book club, and doing some part time volunteer work. 

HW Girl’s Tennis Team is Heading to the State Finals

Number one seeded HW Girl’s Tennis (22-0, CAL Champs) defeated Uxbridge earlier this week at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, 4-1 in the MIAA Division IV State Tournament, Final Four. The Generals advance to the State Finals and will play Wareham on Saturday, June 18th at 2:00 PM on the duPont Courts (#7-12) on the campus of MIT in Cambridge. The address is 120 Mass. Avenue in Cambridge.

Tickets for this event must be purchased through GoFan.co. It does not appear that tickets for this event display on the HW specific site within GoFan, so please use the link that connects to the whole day event.

The best spot for Parking for fans is in the Westgate Lot at 282 Vassar Street in Cambridge. The lot charges $11 to park and cars are fine to stay there for the duration of the match. For those with difficulty walking, there is a drop off location near the entrance gate at the corners of Endicott Street and Amherst Alley. Fans are allowed to drop folks there and head to the Westgate Lot. There is also some street parking available, but it is through Cambridge and there is a two-hour maximum. The Westgate Lot is the recommended parking area.

Grade 8 Students Visit the HS

On Wednesday the HS invited the 8th grade students to visit and gain some insight about the HS.  Students were able to connect with other students, key personnel in the school and had tours of the building. The transition work will continue when they have their orientation day in the fall and meet their HS mentors.

MRMS Principal Search Update

This week, each candidate visited the MS for a tour of the building and further interviews, including a parent meet and greet on zoom. I intend to review the feedback data, finish reference calls and make a decision early next week.

Summer & Back-to-School Resources for Families:

Summer Lunch Bag Program for Students: Need extra food this summer while your kids are out of school? Weekly lunch bags are available from June 28th – August 23rd through the Vacation Lunch Bag Program at Acord Food Pantry. All Hamilton-Wenham families with school-age children (K-12) are eligible. Email acord.director@gmail.com for more information.

BackPack Program: If you need assistance with Back-to-School supplies, Beverly Bootstraps provides free, new backpacks and school supplies to students (grades K-12). More information and pick-up dates are linked HERE.

Summer Reading Book Fair: Beverly Bootstraps is partnering with Copper Dog Books to provide summer reading books for anyone who may have trouble affording them. The fair will focus mainly on required summer reading books for middle & high school students, but will also have lots of new picture and chapter books for younger students too. More information is linked HERE.

Summer Professional Development

This summer, our educators intend to be busy learning and reflecting on their own professional practices. We are pleased to have over fifty teachers across the district taking professional development classes starting next week. More than half of our elementary teachers will be studying elementary mathematics teaching and learning with the Investigations Center for Curriculum and Professional Development at TERC. Landmark Outreach is supporting our literacy teaching again this summer, as we have more than twenty teachers from all three levels participating in offerings such as Supporting Student’s Reading: Phonemic Awareness to Comprehension and Comprehending Language: Reading and Listening. We are excited to send over twenty teachers to a variety of classes to learn with Novak Education about Universal Design for Learning. Our summer will end with Studying Skillful Teaching with Research for Better Teaching, a class our classroom teachers all take within their first few years in the district which serves as the foundation of our teaching practices. And lastly, we will be running ten professional book groups on a variety of subjects ranging from supporting students’ reading and writing skills to implementing equitable practices and helping neurodivergent students thrive. This dedication to continuous learning is a reflection of our teachers’ commitment to our students.

COVID Information

MA DESE has announced that pooled testing will end as of the end of school. We submitted our final pooled tests on Wednesday of this week. As of now there is no guidance as to how we will proceed in the fall but we will continue to work with MA DESE to gain insights and share as soon as they become available.

Did you know… 

…Wednesday is the last day of school for this year. It is an early release day. Kind of makes me sad, but I am already getting excited for the work we will do this summer to prepare for an amazing 22-23 school year!  

Reminder: Monday, June 20th there is no school in observance of Junteenth. 

Thank you all for your support, guidance and direction. I truly enjoyed my transition to the superintendency and look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make our schools amazing places to be and to learn! While this will more than likely be the final weekly communication, I will be in touch often with important information throughout the summer, including setting up some times for meet and greets with parents.

Superintendent’s Update 6/10/2022

Today was a very busy day throughout the district! I started my day watching the Winthrop school 4th grade Living Biography presentations where students dressed as their chosen character and presented various facts they learned from their research.  It was fun and amazing to see all of the different costumes. As I left Winthrop I noticed a large number of our students and teachers at the pond at Patton Park checking out the frogs and other fun stuff around the pond.  They were involved in the Buker Experiential Learning Day. Back at the Buker, students were making games, creating T-shirts and learning about different types of animation. What was interesting is that students were able to choose the activities they wanted to be part of throughout the day. Also, I wasn’t able to attend, but I heard that the 6th graders had a talent show at the MRMS in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, I spent time with Ms. Caccivio’s class as they worked with a representative from the Discovery Science Museum in Acton on an engineering/science experiment. Using a cup, piece of tin foil, piece of parchment paper, 2 pipe cleaners, 3 elastics, and 4 stirring straws, the students had to construct a safe and dry place for a small furry ball. The structure had to withstand a 5-second “monsoon” which was water being poured from a watering can directly on top of their projects. Even though the structures were very different, their furry little friends stayed nice and dry.

Grade 5 transition at the MS:

On Tuesday morning, 5th graders from all three elementary schools went to the MS to learn about Miles River, get a tour of the school and to meet the peer mentors and 6th grade teachers. 

On Tuesday night at 6:45 there was a parent/guardian welcome night where parents were invited to learn about the middle school, hear from student speakers, and get a tour of the school led by our peer mentors.

MRMS Principal Search: 

This week a number of candidates were interviewed for the MRMS principal position.  The committee forwarded 3 final candidates to me.  Next week, each candidate will visit the MS for a tour, to meet some students, staff and the leadership team.  On Monday evening, the parents will meet the candidates on Zoom.  If you are a current or incoming parent of a MRMS student be on the lookout for the Zoom link on Monday. The meet and greet for parents will begin at 6:30 PM. Each candidate will be available for 45 minutes.

Introducing Meagan Liani to the HWRSD: 

Meagan joined the district as the Winthrop Head Custodian in May. Outside of work, she enjoys singing, dancing, and exploring nature with her children as well as writing poetry.  Meagan brings supervisory experience in school custodial services.  Her strong attention to detail, high expectation of cleanliness, and organization skills will be a great asset to our Winthrop Team. Please join me in welcoming Meagan to the district. 

HWRHS Athletic Teams in the State Tournament

Congratulations to the HWRHS Girls & Boys Tennis Teams, Girls & Boys Lacrosse Teams, and the Baseball Team for making it to the state tournament this spring. For more information, updates, and schedules: https://hwrhs.hwschools.net/extracurriculars/athletics

Summer Lunch Bag Program for Students:

Need extra food this summer while your kids are out of school? Weekly lunch bags are available from June 28th – August 23rd through the Vacation Lunch Bag Program at Acord Food Pantry. All Hamilton-Wenham families with school-age children (K-12) are eligible. Pick up will be on Tuesday evenings between 5 – 6 pm at Acord Food Pantry (69 Willow Street). Program Registration is required if you are not a current client. If you are a current Acord client, please pick your bag up during your regular distribution day/time. Email acord.director@gmail.com or call 978-468-7424 to sign up or for more information!

HWRHS Summer Reading:

The Summer reading selections were sent to all students at the HS on 6/8. The students should review the book list and sign up for one on 6/12. There are 15 slots available for each book. Students will have an assignment to complete that they will bring with them in the fall when book discussions meet.

HWRHS Underclass awards:

Thursday evening, I was able to attend the HW Underclass Awards presentations.  It is a wonderful event that recognizes the current academic, social and civic activities students have been involved with throughout the school year.  You can check out the award winners here.

COVID Information

You can find out current case counts on the new website on the HWRSD Health Office web page under HWRSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Families are encouraged to keep their students home when they are sick. Masking is optional and masking is supported and encouraged for all who wish to continue with this mitigation practice. Masks remain available in all schools.

HWRHS Senior Symposium:

On May 23, the HWRHS English Department, led by senior teachers Dr. Pape and Ms. Stephens, hosted the 2022 Senior Symposium at the Hamilton-Wenham Patricia A. Alger High School Library Media Center. This culminating event featured more than 100 senior students who researched topics of interest this semester and then presented their findings to the junior class.

The literature reviews they wrote will help to prepare them for the critical thinking, research skills, and presentation skills which are now required of most incoming college freshmen.  These seniors all worked hard this semester, and this event allowed them to showcase their research findings.    

Pic link here: https://hamilton.redesign.finalsite.com/fs/resource-manager/view/0ab5b09a-5665-4efa-ba21-84e3bbd1ef81

https://hamilton.redesign.finalsite.com/fs/resource-manager/view/f5d2f60e-d711-4b95-9540-0df217f29ebe

Did you know… 

…that today was cell phone free Friday at the HS? Students were asked to leave their phones at the front of the room during their classes. At the end of the day there were follow up meetings to discuss how it felt to not have constant access to your phone.

Reminder: Monday, June 20th there is no school in observance of Junteenth. The last day of school is Wednesday, June 22, 2022. It is an early release day.

I hope you have an amazing weekend!

HWRHS – State Tournament Updates

  • Number four seeded HW Boy’s Tennis (14-3, CAL Champs) defeated Lenox yesterday at Gordon College, 5-0 in the MIAA Division IV State Tournament, Round of 32.  The Generals advance and will play Nantucket High School in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday, June 9th at 2:00 PM at Gordon College.  There is no admission for this event.

    For those attending the event at Gordon College, please take careful note to follow the parking guidelines in and around campus found within this schematic.  There is a “turnaround” by the courts so elderly family members and/or those with difficulty walking can be dropped off by the tennis courts.  
     
  • HW Girl’s Tennis (18-0, CAL Champs) has earned the #1 seed in the upcoming, MIAA Division IV State Tournament.  The Generals will play Mohawk Trail in the Round of 32 on Tuesday, June 7th at 4:00 PM at Gordon College.  There is no admission for this event.

    For those attending the event at Gordon College, please take careful note to follow the parking guidelines in and around campus found within this schematic.  There is a “turnaround” by the courts so elderly family members and/or those with difficulty walking can be dropped off by the tennis courts.  
     
  • HW Girl’s Lacrosse (11-7) has earned the #6 seed in the upcoming, MIAA Division IV State Tournament.  The Generals will play Waconah High School in the Round of 32 on Wednesday, June 8th at 5:00 PM at HWRHS. There is no admission for this event.
     
  • HW Boy’s Lacrosse (5-13) has earned the #18 seed in the upcoming, MIAA Division IV State Tournament.  The Generals will travel to South Shore Vocational Technical School in Hanover (476 Webster Street) in the Round of 32 on Wednesday, June 8th at 6:00 PM at SSVT.  There is no admission for this event but bleachers are small and the admin from SSVT recommends bringing lawn chairs!
     
  • Number four seeded HW Baseball (12-9) defeated Littleton, 4-1 earlier this week in the MIAA Division IV State Tournament, Round of 32.  The Generals advance and will play Leicester High School in the Sweet Sixteen on Wednesday, June 8th at 4:00 PM at Patton Park.  There is no admission for this event.

Superintendent’s Update 6/3/2022

June 3, 2022

During Wednesday evening’s School Committee Meeting I introduced two reports: The Superintendent’s Entry Plan Report and the End of Year Report on the District Goals for 21-22. These two reports along with our upcoming Equity Audit Report will be used as foundational documents for both district improvement and the development of our long-term Strategic Plan. Here is my closing statement to the committee after introducing the reports: “There is nothing in these reports and the forthcoming Equity Audit that is insurmountable. Our consistent instability at the district leadership level has created a number of issues that can be rectified with a long-term commitment to stabilizing and supporting the realities pointed out in these reports. There is a lot of work to do that will take several years. I believe we have the people in place and the support of our communities to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and to be a great school district. There will be difficult days ahead, but successful navigation of these difficult times will bring us to new and impressive heights that have not been reached in years. All in all, we must commit to developing a strong strategic plan and executing the plan without veering off course.” 

Change in the Athletics Fee Calculation for the 22-23 School Year:

On Wednesday night I presented a change in the athletics fee calculation to the school committee. At the meeting I recommended going to a tiered system of calculation. This is the first step in reducing many of our fees while also keeping in mind that some sports are much more expensive to run. I would like to continue to examine ways to reduce fees even further.

The following tiered system of athletic fees was accepted by the school committee for the 22-23 school year:

Sports / TierTiered Fee
HOCKEY – TIER 1$1,000
GYMNAST / FOOTBALL – TIER 2$700
ALL ELSE – TIER 3$480

In an effort to reduce fees, there will no longer be a family cap offset. The monies set aside for the offset will be added into the overall district contribution. This change is just one step of many to begin to reduce fees for our students with the goal of giving more students the opportunity to participate in athletics.

Introducing Ali Kaba to the HWRSD:

Ali will join the district as Buker School’s night custodian. He enjoys spending time with his family on the beach and playing soccer.  He even played soccer on a professional level at one point in his life. Ali has a background in the security field and his positive attitude, attention to safety, and willingness to help will add great value to our Buker Team.

Ali Kaba

Fundraiser for Acord Food Pantry:

The Mockler Center and First Congregational Hamilton are hosting a fundraiser for Acord Food Pantry at GCTS. The guest will be the captain of the Patriots, Matthew Slater. The event will consist of a leadership breakfast for adults followed by a family fun event. Families are invited to Gordon-Conwell’s great lawn for a special event beginning at 10:00 a.m. organized by First Congregational Church. Enjoy coffee and donuts, games and drills with New England Flag Football, and hear Matthew Slater’s story. In addition, you’ll have an opportunity to meet Matthew, grab a selfie, and get a signature.More information and tickets linked HERE

Website

As you have read in previous issues, we have a new website. Please take a moment to update your bookmarks in your browser with this link: https://www.hwschools.net/. If you are still seeing the old website pages, please take a moment to clear your browser cache and cookies.  

COVID Information

You can find out current case counts on the new website on the HWRSD Health Office web page under HWRSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Families are encouraged to keep their students home when they are sick. Masking is optional and masking is supported and encouraged for all who wish to continue with this mitigation practice. Masks remain available in all schools.

HWRHS Senior Symposium:

On May 23, the HWRHS English Department, led by senior teachers Dr. Pape and Ms. Stephens, hosted the 2022 Senior Symposium at the Hamilton-Wenham Patricia A. Alger High School Library Media Center. This culminating event featured more than 100 senior students who researched topics of interest this semester and then presented their findings to the junior class.

The literature reviews they wrote will help to prepare them for the critical thinking, research skills, and presentation skills which are now required of most incoming college freshmen.  These seniors all worked hard this semester, and this event allowed them to showcase their research findings.  The pictures below are two of the many presenters:

Dominic Cirinna
Alexa Sellars


Did you know… 

Tomorrow is graduation day for the Class of 22!  The ceremony will be at 10 AM on the field behind the HS.

Reminder: The last day of school is Wednesday, June 22, 2022. It is an early release day.

Enjoy the nice weather this weekend!!

Superintendent’s Report 5/27/2022

Today students at all schools attended a Memorial Day presentation that was presented by Bill Martin and 9 other local Veterans. His message was clear and designed to help students of all ages to understand why we celebrate Memorial Day. I was proud of how respectful our students at all schools were. Many of our youngest learners were able to answer some questions like what kinds of jobs are there in the military? Do you know anyone in the military? What are the names of the different branches? I am grateful for Mr. Martin and the other Veterans who took time out of their days to visit our schools and pass on a wonderful opportunity to learn about Memorial Day.

COVID Case Numbers Are Up

Masking is optional and masking is supported and encouraged for all who wish to continue with this mitigation practice. Masks remain available in all schools. You can find out current case counts on the new website on the HWRSD Health Office webpage under HWRSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Families are encouraged to keep their students home when they are sick. 

NEW Information from MA DESE:

Pool testing will continue through the end of June. DESE will provide I-Health Tests for those in school through the summer with the focus on symptomatic testing.

At the end of the current school year, DESE will no longer provide funding for testing in schools.  

 There is new guidance for K-12 students. Changes include:

  • Students who test positive and are unable to mask may return to school after testing negative on day 6.
  • Unvaccinated, asymptomatic individuals identified as a close contact may attend school.

Thank you for your support as we work together to keep our students in school.

Congratulations to our HW Choruses & Bands

On Saturday, May 21st, the HW Bands & Choruses competed at the Music in the Parks Festival at Westfield State University. They nearly had a clean sweep with 1st place in almost every category and they won best overall in every division. We are so proud of all the performers!

Cutler Family Fun Night A Cultural Festival – Friday, June 3rd, 4:30 – 7:30

The Friends of Cutler is pleased to announce that the community tradition of Family Fun Night returns this year – with a twist! Join friends and neighbors to celebrate cultural diversity with international games, entertainment, food, and activities! From origami to croquet, there will be fun for the whole family! Enjoy Food Available For Purchase From Mei Mei Dumplings: Enjoy interactive dumpling-making demonstrations, a variety of steaming hot choices, or frozen to take home.

Tres Latinas: Yummy Fresh Arepas – and for dessert Quesillo and S’More Tequenos! The Hot Dog Lady: For those not as adventurous, our favorite is back, and as American as Apple Pie.

Featuring Performances by:

The Afro-Brazilian Ensemble: Discover Capoeira, combining martial arts and folk dance (4:45)

Illstyle & PeacePromoting Positivity through Hip Hop (5:45)

Odaiko Drumming: Taiko Thunder, Enjoy the Voice and Spirit of Japanese Storytelling (6:45)

June is Pride Month

June 1st is RAINBOW DAY and the official kick-off in the district so wear your rainbow gear to celebrate!

Please join us to decorate each of the schools with chalk rainbows on May 31st. Sign up below:

Chalk Decorating – Tuesday, May 31st

⭐️ Google Form Sign-Up  – for parents and students

⭐️ Google Sheet – for teachers and staff 

Credit For Life Fair

Ninety-plus members of the Junior class participated in the annual Credit for Life Fair on Tuesday May 24, 2022. The Credit for Life Fair is sponsored by the Institution for Savings Bank and was held at Masconomet Regional High School.

The Credit for Life Fair is an interactive event held at high schools across Massachusetts and beyond and hosted by financial institutions and other organizations. 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 was: to balance their budget and not overspend! This event was organized and underwritten by the Bank and was entirely free for students.

Here is the link to the Channel 5 “spot” highlighting this year’s fair:  

HWSEPAC Executive Functioning Presentation: 

On May 17th the HW SEPAC held virtually an event to discuss Executive Functioning. Leading the discussion was Leigh Perreault (M.Ed., Ed.S.) a Licensed School Psychologist with our District. This session is a follow-up to the presentation Leigh gave last year, which overviewed Executive Functioning skills at different ages and how to support the development of executive functioning in children and adolescents. The recording can be found here.  Passcode: @.YnPH1u

HWRSD Students Invited to March in the Memorial Day Parade

The American Legion, Post 194 is inviting kids of all ages to march with them on Memorial Day.  Students participating in youth sports can wear their team jerseys, but it’s open to all kids to march with us, not just athletes. Kids who don’t wear Jerseys wear Patriotic colors if they can. But all are welcome! If interested, you should bring your child to the Hamilton Town Hall at 8:00 AM, and the Parade steps off at 8:30. If kids could be there before 8:30 we would love to have them march with us and see the ceremony and hear the Memorial Day speeches. 

Welcoming Marlon Nunez to the HWRSD

We are excited to welcome Marlon to the district as the Winthrop School Night Custodian. In his spare time, Marlon enjoys spending time riding his bicycle on the local beaches, hiking, playing soccer, and cooking Costa Rican dishes with his family. Mr. Nunez has many years of experience in school custodial services. His willingness to assist others, positive attitude, and standard for cleanliness will benefit all students and faculty at the Winthrop School. 

Did you know… 

…the members of the Class of 2022 will graduate in a week? Wednesday night some members of the class received scholarships at the annual ceremony. Last night the class attended their Prom. Next week they will have several events including the Senior Farewell, Candlelight and Graduation which will take place at 10 AM on Saturday, June 4th under the tent on the main field behind the HS.

Have a great weekend!!

Superintendent’s Update 5/20/2022

This is a short week for me. I was out Thursday and today to attend my daughter’s graduation from Roger Williams University. This is my second daughter to attend college and I am amazed at how quickly the time went by.

Thanks to information emailed by Missy Gula, our Speech Language Pathologist, I learned that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. You can find more information here.

On Tuesday, I attended the Human Powered Amphibious Vehicle Race at Patton Park. The race has not been run for the last two years because of Covid. Lots of parents and students stopped by to cheer on the students and their vehicles. Essentially, seniors work in their fabrication class throughout the year to plan, design, and build a human-powered vehicle that can also be propelled across the pond in Patton Park. It was fun to watch but also fun to see everyone really getting into the competition. Thank you @HamiltonMAPD, Hamilton Fire department, and @HWRecreation for keeping our students safe during the race!

On Tuesday night I was also able to attend the MRMS Spring Concert. I am always amazed by the talents that our students and staff demonstrate during these shows. It is also interesting to see the growth of students’ musical/singing abilities from 6th through 8th grade. It was lots of fun and an excellent culmination of our student’s work throughout the year!

This week we also had a number of animal sightings at our schools. It seems that the senior class prank at the HS was “bring your dog to school day” on Monday. Dogs of all sizes showed up to come to school. At Winthrop, Ms. Shediac and her staff had to wrangle a lost baby duckling that was stuck in the preschool play yard.  The duckling was safely returned to the pond across the street.

COVID Case Numbers are Up

Since we have returned from April vacation, our Covid-19 case numbers are spiking. Masking is optional and masking is supported and encouraged for all who wish to continue with this mitigation practice. Masks remain available in all schools. You can find out current case counts on the new website on the HWRSD Health Office webpage under HWRSD COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Families are encouraged to keep their students home when they are sick. Also, after 5 days at home with Covid-19, anyone returning to school must wear a mask for an additional 5 days. Thank you for your support as we work together to keep our students in school.

June is Pride Month

With Pride Month rapidly approaching, I wanted to let you know that the GSA is once again selling T-shirts this year and they will also be decorating the front of each of the schools with chalk rainbows again. You can sign up to help with chalk decorating through the links below.

GSA T-Shirt Order Form – DUE Monday, May 23rd

Orders are due May 23rd so they will be delivered to folks before the Pride Picnic on June 11th.

⭐️ T-Shirt Order Form

Cutler School Building Project Committee Members Wanted

We are looking for community members who have architecture, engineering, or construction experience to volunteer to participate as members of the School Building Committee for the Cutler school project. 

The SBC is required by the MSBA to be made up of town representatives with backgrounds in construction, architecture, landscape, and education as well as the town administrator (municipal school districts), the district superintendent of schools, a school committee member, the school principal, district schools’ facility management director, at least one teacher from the school, a member of the finance committee or local budget official, and a representative from an office authorized by law to construct school buildings. Hamilton and Wenham residents will serve on the committee.

If you have architecture, engineering, or construction experience and would like to volunteer as a member of the School Building Committee, please email me at e.tracy@hwschools.net

School Committee Meeting Date Change:

Final reminder: The school committee agreed to change the originally scheduled Thursday, June 2nd meeting to Wednesday, June 1st so there was no interference with the Candlelight Ceremony leading up to graduation.

Class of ‘22 Seniors Helping Seniors

Could you use some help? Once again, the Senior Class of HWRHS is giving back to the HW community. On Tuesday, May 31st from 8:30 AM-12:00 PM our students will be sprucing up the yards of our senior residents of Hamilton and Wenham. Small teams of our students can provide help outside with chores that could include lawn care, raking, cleaning flower beds, planting flowers, and spreading mulch. If you would like to put in a work order call Mrs. Lisa Heitz at 978-468-0496 or email l.heitz@hwschools.net before May 24th.

Did you know… 

…that this past Wednesday was the last day of classes for our members of the Class of 2022? This week was busy for our seniors. Monday, they pulled off a little prank, Tuesday night they attended the Red Sox, met together Wednesday morning on the front lawn before school to ride their scooters and skateboards around the outside of the school building, attended senior seminars on Thursday and Friday, and finally coming together for a senior breakfast on Friday. Graduation will be on June 4th at 10 AM on the field under a giant tent!

Have a great weekend!!

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging statement 

Superintendent’s Update 5/13/2022

Nurses Appreciation Day:

On Wednesday, May 11th we celebrated our nurses and the way they have all gone way above and beyond to perform their duties while also making sure everyone was healthy and safe. Say thank you to a school nurse if you have a chance!

Covid-19 Update    

As expected, since we have returned from April vacation, Covid-19 cases in the district have been rising. Currently, masks are optional. MA DESE has extended pooled testing through the end of the school year and at home tests are still available to any student or staff member who would like one

You can find more information on the district Heath Office webpage.

North Shore Scholars Dinner 

Last night, HS Principal Bryan Menegoni and seven HW students attended the annual North Shore Honor Scholars Dinner. The North Shore Chamber of Commerce recognizes the top students at North Shore high schools each year at this special event. The following seniors represented HW: Ian Castracane, Elizabeth Collins, Ryan Luo, Luke McMahon, Sarah McMahon, Jeremy Reed, and Sophie Strozier. We are very proud of these students and thank them for their hard work and dedication over the past four years! 

Cutler School Building Project Committee Members Wanted

We are looking for community members who have architecture, engineering, or construction experience to volunteer to participate as a member of the School Building Committee for the Cutler school project. 

The SBC is required by the MSBA to be made up of town representatives with backgrounds in construction, architecture, landscape, and education as well as the town administrator (municipal school districts), the district superintendent of schools, a school committee member, the school principal, district schools’ facility management director, at least one teacher from the school, a member of the finance committee or local budget official, and a representative from an office authorized by law to construct school buildings. Hamilton and Wenham residents will serve on the committee.

If you have architecture, engineering, or construction experience and would like to volunteer as a member of the School Building Committee, please email me at e.tracy@hwschools.net

Hamilton Police Donation to the HW Special Education Parent Advisory Council:

In an effort to raise awareness and acceptance during National Autism Awareness Month, the Hamilton PD  partnered with Five Sons Pizza for a fundraiser to benefit our school district’s special education department. On May 11th the Hamilton PD presented a check for $2,512.30 to the Hamilton-Wenham Special Education Parent Advisory Council. A special thank you to the entire staff at Five Sons Pizza and the residents of HW for their support. 

HWRHS Student-built Amphibious Vehicle Race: 

Don’t miss the 2022 human-powered amphibious vehicle race this Tuesday, May 17th, at 3:30 at Patton Park. Thank you @HamiltonMAPD, Hamilton Fire department, and @HWRecreation for making this race possible!

Acord Food Pantry working with the Local Letter Carriers:

Saturday, May 14th is the annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. All donations in Hamilton & Wenham will benefit Acord Food Pantry. To donate, place a bag of non-perishable, non-expired food next to your mailbox by 8:30 am on 5/14. Letter carriers will pick up donations and deliver them to Acord. Here is a link to Acord’s most needed items:

https://www.acordfoodpantry.org/food-donations

School Committee Meeting Date Change:

Just a reminder, the school committee agreed to change the originally scheduled Thursday, June 2nd meeting to Wednesday, June 1st so there was no interference with the Candlelight Ceremony leading up to graduation.

Spring Concerts:

The HS hosted its annual art show and a spring concert on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, and it was a wonderful showcase of our student’s work. The MS will host its annual concert on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 7 PM in the Ferrini Auditorium at the HS.

Updated Website:

On Monday, May 9th we launched our new and improved, user-friendly website. I hope you all have had a chance to take a look and familiarize yourselves with the new layout. This is a huge step towards improving communication across the district. Stay tuned for more exciting updates in the future! www.hwschools.net

Class of ‘22 Seniors Helping Seniors

Could you use some help? Once again, the Senior Class of HWRHS is giving back to the HW community. On Tuesday, May 31st from 8:30 AM-12:00 PM our students will be sprucing up the yards of our senior residents of Hamilton and Wenham. Small teams of our students can provide help outside with chores that could include lawn care, raking, cleaning flower beds, planting flowers, and spreading mulch. If you would like to put in a work order call Mrs. Lisa Heitz at 978-468-0496 or email l.heitz@hwschools.net before May 24th.

Did you know… 

The annual Melody Miles is on Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m.? Melody Miles is on event that helps to keep the arts vibrant in HW! To learn more about Melody Miles and to sign up to run click here

This week the school committee approved our 1st submission to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for the Cutler school project! As described above, we will be looking for a couple of members of the community with commercial construction experience who would be willing to volunteer to be a member of the school Building Committee.

The weekend looks like a beauty!  Enjoy!

Superintendent’s Update 5/6/2022

Hello HW Community, 

On Wednesday I was fortunate to be invited to Ms. Gallant’s pre-school class to read a story about bees. During one of my walkthroughs a few weeks back, I came upon the students making paper bees for a spring project. While talking with the students and teachers, I let them know that I was a beekeeper. One thing lead to another and I was invited back to read to them. We had fun reading a book about bees and I also showed them some of my close-up pictures of honey bees collecting pollen, the queen bee, and a slow motion video of the bees going in and out of their hive. I hope the kids had fun, I sure did! 

Teacher Appreciation Week:

This week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. During the last few years our teachers have consistently gone above and beyond to shift, adjust, recreate, redesign and redeploy all of the ways they “used” to teach in order to deliver quality educational opportunities for our students. I wrote the following in an email that I sent this week to our teaching staff, “I appreciate and value the time and effort that each of you puts in on behalf of our students. This year has been a difficult year and it is important for you all to know that you are valued in our schools and community.” Thank you to our teachers and teaching assistants!

Today is National Lunch Hero Day:

Today we celebrated School Lunch Hero Day with all of our cafeteria staff. During much of the year, our cafeterias have been short staffed and have consistently met the mark to be sure our students had their lunches. Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who work in our cafeterias!

School Committee Meeting Date Change:

At their last meeting, the school committee agreed to change the originally scheduled Thursday, June 2nd meeting to Wednesday, June 1st so there was no interference with the Candlelight Ceremony leading up to graduation.

Last night the School Committee voted to support a joint Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging statement written by HWEA President Nicholas Ristaino, School Committee Chair, Dana Allara, and me. The statement serves to support our educators and students as we continue to work together to create and support safe and welcoming learning environments for everyone.

Spring Concerts:

It is concert season at the secondary level! The HS will host the annual art show and a spring concert on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, starting with the art show at 6 PM and the concert at 7 PM.  The MS will host its annual concert on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 7 PM. Both concerts will be held in the Ferrini Auditorium at the HS.

Lizzie Borden and the 40 Whacks:

The HWFOTA graciously awarded Deb Clapp from the HWRHS Science Department, a grant to bring in the Delvena Theater Company’s play and workshop, “Lizzie Borden and the 40 Whacks.” Now, maybe a science class is not where you expect to see a play, but this 2 actor, 1.5-hour performance took 83 Forensic students through the infamous trial of Lizzie Borden right in the school’s library. Students were immersed, listening to actual testimony from witnesses from both the prosecution and the defense during the 2-week trial as well as hearing the details of evidence presented by both sides. Students reported that they had a great experience, one that really made them think, and enjoyed being a juror.

HW’s Nutrition Program to be Recognized:

Our Director of Nutrition received the following message from the Massachusetts Health Council:

“The Massachusetts Health Council would like to recognize the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District’s excellent nutrition program at our award dinner on October 6 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. Every year the Mass Health Council, a 101-year-old health advocacy organization, honors people and organizations that contribute to good health—school nutrition is vital to a community’s health and we hope to highlight that by featuring your school and a few others at the award program.” Way to go Ms. Ng!

MRMS Principal Position:

As many may know, our MS principal, Mr. Hovey has made the decision to resign at the end of the year. On Tuesday I sent out a survey to MS staff and faculty and on Wednesday one was sent to the parents of MS students. Initially, I want to understand what traits and characteristics people believe we need in our next principal. Thank you to the MS parents who have taken the time to fill out the survey. If you haven’t, it should be in your email inbox.

Updated Website:

As we continue to improve communication, we will be launching our updated website on Monday, May 9th. The new website has a fresh, clean look with updated information, pictures, calendars, etc. It also has a translation option to translate the site into different languages. We are still completing some of the work so images and layouts (and spelling errors) will change as we move forward, but be on the lookout for the new page.

Class of ‘22 Seniors Helping Seniors

Could you use some help? Once again, the Senior Class of HWRHS is giving back to the HW community. On Tuesday, May 31st from 8:30 AM-12:00 PM our students will be sprucing up the yards of our senior residents of Hamilton and Wenham. Small teams of our students can provide help outside with chores that could include lawn care, raking, cleaning flower beds, planting flowers, and spreading mulch. If you would like to put in a work order call Mrs. Lisa Heitz at 978-468-0496 or email l.heitz@hwschools.net before May 24th.

Did you know… 

Our school lunch program must serve and meet a weekly minimum requirement of dark greens, red/orange vegetables, legumes, and starchy vegetables? Despite staff shortages, supply chain issues, increase in food costs – the Food Services Department has served 124,495 meals so far this school year. 

This was a bit of a crazy week with lots of visits from local news channels. We continue to work together to investigate the incident from the junior prom. Our student government and junior class officers are working with the HS administration and staff to determine the next steps including appropriate speakers and or workshop opportunities. The class officers have also written this statement to the community from their perspective. The section of the letter that stuck out to me was:

“What happened at prom affects all of us, regardless of whether or not you were at prom, whether or not you feel personally attacked by the use of the word, and whether or not you ever have said or even considered saying it. When hate speech is used, it is up to all of us to right the wrongs of what happened, and look inwards to see how we – ourselves and our community – can do better.”  – The Class of 2023 Officers and Representatives

Stronger together!

Have a great weekend!

Superintendent’s Update 4/29/2022

This week I was able to participate in a lesson by one of our almost 9-year-old “teachers”. While visiting a second-grade classroom, I joined a group of three students on the floor to learn about what they were doing. Immediately, Jessie identified herself as the “teacher”. She explained that she was teaching her peers to sort and categorize so that they could place the correct order for a party that was being planned. She made it very clear that this was “not a real party”. Once the students properly sorted the different kinds of foods, healthy, sweets, and some things in between, the students created graphs that gave them a visual picture of the popularity level of each category of food. Using the information from the graphs, the students had to write explicit directions to the people hosting the party about what to order. It was mesmerizing to watch Jessie guide her peers while keeping me well informed, through the process with ease. The interaction also reminded me that research shows that teaching someone else is the best way to learn. It was evident in this class.

I was talking with a teacher early in the week and she mentioned a double whammy that can occur just after vacation. The first is when all of the iPads have been updated during vacation and are “different” to our littlest learners and the second is how many times you hear your name while you are trying to get everyone set up and working on their iPads. Twenty kids times the minimal 4 times they say your name is a quick 80 call-outs!

School Committee Meeting Date Change

Last night the school committee agreed to change the originally scheduled Thursday, June 2nd meeting to Wednesday, June 1st so there was no interference with the graduation Candlelight Ceremony. The time is still at 7:00 PM in the Buker Cafeteria.

Scam Alert

School Resource Officer Richards informed me of a scam that has hit close to home. Please be aware that scammers are convincing boys ages 14-17 to send compromising pictures/videos in trade for the same of a young lady. Once they send the pictures, the scammer uses names of friends from social media to extort money by telling the victim that they will release the compromising pictures to all of their friends unless the victim sends money. Please take a moment to talk with your kids about safety with social media.

Peru trip

The Peru trip was not without it’s challenges. After several false COVID test results along the way and a transportation strike, our students and chaperones have returned from Peru! Judging by the pictures they posted on Instagram @hwmrtravels and having been on the trip myself in 2019, I am sure it was amazing. 

Master Planning Survey

The Town of Hamilton is in the process of developing an update to its community master plan and we need your help to make it the best possible plan by providing input through the Hamilton Master Plan Community Survey. The survey should take approximately 8 – 10 minutes to complete and your input is extremely valuable to us and we appreciate you taking the time to help improve our community. The survey will be open until May 12th.

Hamilton Master Plan–Community Survey

Updated Website

As we continue to improve communication, we will be launching our updated website on Monday, May 9th. The new website has a fresh, clean look with updated information, pictures, calendars, etc. It also has a translation option to translate the site into different languages. We are still completing some of the work so images and layouts may change as we move forward, but be on the lookout for the change.

Class of ‘22 Seniors Helping Seniors 

Could you use some help? Once again, the Senior Class of HWRHS is giving back to the HW community. On Tuesday, May 31st from 8:30-12:00 our students will be sprucing up the yards of our senior residents of Hamilton and Wenham. Small teams of our students can provide help outside with chores that could include lawn care, raking, cleaning flower beds, planting flowers, and spreading mulch. If you would like to put in a work order call Mrs. Lisa Heitz at 978-468-0496 or email l.heitz@hwschools.net before May 24th.

Did you know… 

On Saturday, April 30th at the Hamilton Public Safety Building you can:

1. Drop off all your unused, unwanted, and expired prescription medications between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM

2. Make sure your child’s car seat is safe and properly installed by trained Child Car Seat Technicians between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM

Custodial Help Needed

We are very much in need of several building custodians, mostly on the night shift. If you know of anyone who may be looking for a first or second job at night, please have them email our Director of Maintenance and Operations, Tom Geary at t.geary@hwschools.net.

I hope you have noticed some of the clean up happening at the schools. During vacation we started the mulching process to enhance the look of the facilities. The access ramp to the Buker was refinished and brought up to code and several projects were kicked off including upgrades to the MS/HS phone system that will allow improved access to the system during an emergency, an overhaul of the sound system in the MS/HS gym and thanks to a generous donation from Youth Sports, an overhaul of the gym floor that will take place once school is out in June.

We will continue to chip away at a number of projects at our schools that have been put off during the last few years. 

Have an amazing weekend!

Superintendent’s Update 4/15/2022

Hello HW Community, 

I apologize for this weekly being sent out late. I suffered a torn retina mid-afternoon yesterday and had to have it repaired. I will find out later today if the fix worked. 

I started my week in the preschool classrooms learning about a the activities they use to learn about numbers and counting. While being taught how to complete one of the activities by two students I was holding a dried bean in my hand. At one point one of the students looked at this tiny bean in my hand, looked at me, and said, “Whoa! Your hand is super big!” Reminding me that I have to be very aware of my size with our littlest learners.

Peru trip

On Wednesday over 30 HS students left Hamilton-Wenham for Peru. This trip combines some sight seeing and cultural study with service work.  One of the projects will be to update a classroom. Having been on this trip in the past, it is an amazing cultural experience for our students and staff. As of the writing of this, they group was stuck in the Lima airport due to flight cancellations. By the look of the posts on the trip Instagram, @hwmrtravels, they are having a blast. We wish them all safe travels.

DEIB

The Family/Caregiver Survey due date has been extended to Friday, April 22nd. Thank you to all who have completed and submitted a survey. We have received 211 responses so far! Your voice is important to us! We hope, with the extension of the due date, you have the opportunity to complete the survey and share your experiences if you have not already done so. The survey can be accessed here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWRSDFamilyCaregiver

What is Social Identity

Social identity groups are based on socially constructed characteristics of individuals such as physical, cultural and racial, to which individuals claim membership or are externally applied. These groups give a sense of how we belong to the social world. What are your social identities?

Social Identity Wheel

History Day Winners

A big congratulations to all the participants who presented their research at the Massachusetts State History Day competition last weekend at Winchester High School. This was the first face-to-face event that we have had in two years and all of the students demonstrated excellence in their presentation, interview skills, and scholarship. Those students are: 

Winter Baird

Adison Caufield

Nina Finn

Jacob Hano (Advanced to Nationals)

Ellie Holbrook

Zoe Horner

David Joung (Advanced to Nationals)

Angelina Meimeteas

Olivia Soolman

Ella Tran (Advanced to Nationals)

Jaden Wang (Advanced to Nationals)

Two of our projects advanced to the National History Day Competition which will be held virtually from June 12 – 16, 2022. Click here for results and access to their projects.

Did you know… 

The following HS DECA students will be competing at the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, GA next week:

Hannah Ciriello 10

Ellie Holbrook 10

Julia Tsappis 10

Sophie Wilbur 11

Mathilde Gordon 12

Caitlyn Story 12

Good luck to all!

Custodial Help Needed

We are currently in need of several building custodians, mostly on the night shift. If you know of anyone who may be looking for a first or second job at night, please have them email our Director of Maintenance and Operations, Tom Geary at t.geary@hwschools.net

This week I was back at the HS because the principal, Mr. Menegoni, is a chaperone for the Peru trip. It felt great to be back with the students and staff. Like riding a bike. I am always amazed at the unique opportunities our students have at the HS.

I hope everyone has a safe and restful April vacation!!