Category Archives: Carol’s Corner

Rest In Peace Maria

The Town of Georgetown lost a kind and beautiful soul yesterday with the passing of Maria  Boragine,  half of the amazing couple and self proclaimed “dynamic duo”  known as Jeff and Maria .  Both town residents all of their lives, Jeff and Maria love this town and it loves them.  Sadly, Maria was stricken with a medical episode less than a week ago and passed away yesterday surrounded by her loving family. Sadly , she  was only 30 years old but in her short life she married her soul mate, established a successful business with Jeff, dedicated her life to family, loved and mentored countless young people who  she considered “her kids”  and brightened the lives of everyone who knew and loved her.  There are no words to explain or understand why tragic things like this happen to good young people like Maria with her whole life ahead of her. This news is an unimaginable shock and tragedy and it is now time for us  to surround her husband Jeff and her entire family with love  and support as they will need it in the days and months ahead. Maria may be gone by she will not be forgotten. She will be remembered for her kind spirit, selflessness, big heart and her compassionate dedication to helping and making other people happy. Maria was a giver and together she and Jeff have made all of our lives a little sweeter through their generosity, positivism and incredible love of this town and it’s people. That will be her legacy. Maria did not have enough time in this earth but she lived a full life in the time she was given especially if the measure is how much good she did to make a real difference in the lives of others.  She certainly did that and more!

Rest in peace Maria and we will take care of Jeff and your family in their time of need. One of my friends said ,” Georgetown has another angel now” and that made me smile through the sadness.  Hopefully others will feel the same.

Special Education Department Wants Your Help

Recently, the district contracted with an outside consulting firm Walker Partnerships to conduct a comprehensive audit of our special education programs. We are a mission driven organization which means we try our best to operate our programs and services based on data, information and student needs and in a way that is consistent with our collective vision and mission for excellence in our schools. As a matter of practice, we periodically bring in an outside organization like Walker to conduct interviews with parents, teachers and students, visit classrooms  and programs and review policies and procedures. The information gleened from this review will let us know how consistent we are with the federal law, the degree to which our programs meet high quality standards, whether our programs meet the needs  of our students and the  level of satisfaction that our parents have about our programs.
During their recent visit to the district, the consultant from Walker Partnerships met with a small group of parents at the end of the school day. Our Director of Student Services Jack Tiano requested a time for parents to to meet with the consultant  beyond the school day but that did not work into the  contracted hours. While we appreciate the input provided by this small group of parents, we realize that hearing the voices of other special education parents is  also important. With this in mind, I have included a link to a brief survey ( no more than 10 minutes) that special education parents can fill out to help us in our program evaluation. You and your child are our customers and we want to be sure we hear your voice in this important process. We need to hear feedback on what is going well and what we can improve  upon. Please complete this survey as soon as possible but before school closes for the holiday break on Friday, December 21, 2018. Thank you in advance for your help and assistance!

Crossing Guards Needed Immediately

I spoke to Police Chief Donald Cudmore today about our crossing guard situation. The crossing guards fall under the Police Department  but they work outside of each school so we work together.  We have been fortunate to have had some very dedicated crossing guards but we now are in dire need of two new guards with one of the posts open from a previous resignation and the other because this is the Perley crossing guard’s last week.

We are looking for two guards, one at the light across from the Middle High School and the other guard will be posted outside of the Perley School. The Perley post is our most pressing need.

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a crossing guard , please contact the Chief at dcudmore@georgetownma.gov or me at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us.

Hear are the details:

Hours and Pay

We need people who can work from 8:00 Am-9:00 AM and 2:30 PM -3:30 PM. This is a school year position and there will be some training  done by the Police Department. You must enjoy working with people but especially with young people.

The pay is $15 per hour. Not having crossing guards  in front of every school poses an issue  so spread the word and hopefully we will find 2 people with the time and Interest in filling this role.

Contact me or the Chief if you have questions. I know there are people out there who would like this job but we just have to find them. Feel free to share this post widely!

All Sports Boosters Makes a Revival! Need Your Help!

Our schools are so fortunate in Georgetown we have so much support from groups in town that support our children!  No matter what we need to supplement the budget, there is always someone or some people who step up to help us make it happen. I can not tell you how much we appreciate all of these efforts because they all enhance the education for our students.

I am very excited to announce that a group of parents has stepped forward to help us revive the Georgetown All Sports Boosters.  Dating back before my time here, I have been told there was an active Sports Booster Organization that supported all sports but over the years as sports became more expensive, budgets were limited and equipment and uniforms needed to be upgraded, specific sports began raising money for the things they needed and so less money went to support the overall sports program.  User fees increased, fundraising efforts for each sport began to explode and the – Sports Boosters group dwindled as a result. If it weren’t for people like Ken Woodbury and others who kept it going for as long as they could, it would not have lasted as long as it did!

The mission of the Sports Boosters is help  promote a positive image of GMHS sports and to support the athletic teams that represent GMHS.  The Sports Boosters used to support purchasing  jackets and pins as well as provided  equipment and supplies beyond what the athletic budget could provide. Many of these purchases have stopped since the All Sports Boosters dissolved and now it is up to individual teams to raise their own funds.

Most school districts have a Sports Booster Organization to varying degrees and, since Georgetown as a community has a lot of Royal Pride for our sports, we would like to revive our program here at the school. At a School Committee meeting last spring, I made a plea to see if any person or group would like to help us get one started again and the next day I heard from parent Shannon Dow who took up the call.   Anyone who knows Shannon knows that she  is a go-getter who loves to work with people and gets things done which are the perfect qualities in the person we need to lead this effort but she can’t do it alone!  Shannon is interesting seeing who else would like to join her and I hope she hears from many of you!  As she says,”  All degrees of interest is welcome – suggestions, board members, volunteers etc. No experience necessary.”  In this busy world with schedules being crazy, I know it is hard to make time for one more thing but I also know many hands make lighter work.  Even if you don’t have much time, anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.  While this group will help raise funds, more importantly, it is a group who will help us build Royal’s pride, promote excellence in our athletes, teams and programs, ensure high quality facilities and help to make overall improvements to our  athletic program.  We need many people to be successful so please let Shannon know you are ready and willing to help!

I hope every team will be represented in the new and improved Boosters even if you are involved with an individual sport.   Please check it out by contacting Shannon Dow at shannon.dow@comcast.net to learn more.   Please feel free to pass this along to others you think might be interested.

Thank you and Go Royals!

Second Step Program Comes to Penn Brook

Elementary parents probably heard about a new social emotional curriculum that will be used at Penn Brook beginning this year.  This program focuses on the themes that are developmentally appropriate for the age and are intended to help students strengthen their social skills.  Some have asked me what happened to Responsive Classroom (RC) which is the social curriculum we have been using for the last decade or so.  There are a number of teachers who have been teaching here for years who have been fully trained in RC and implement the practices they learned such as morning meeting and rules and logical consequences as they see fit to build their classroom community.  However, as we have hired teachers over the years, they have received limited training mostly from their colleagues but were never formally trained. As a result, the implementation of RC has not been consistent and so we looked for a curriculum that we could use across the school at all grades that would accomplish the same thing. After  many months of research, we selected Second Step and teachers were trained right before school opened. Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Collin MacDonald led the search for a new curriculum and he is working closely with Margaret Maher and the staff to begin the year with this new program.  Some of the reasons it was selected include:

  • It is research based and on the list of recommended comprehensive health and wellness programs
  • It considers the age and development of the children when selecting the themes in the program.
  • The materials and lessons are engaging such as they use puppets for the younger grades and scenarios for the upper grades.
  • It focuses on healthy decision-making, considering options and social skill development
  • The lessons from year to year build on one another and reinforce previous learning.
  • It is user-friendly for teachers which will increase consistency.
  • It is comprehensive because it includes classroom materials, a Principal’s Guide and a parent component.
  • It has a Middle School component in case we want to extend it beyond PB. We would have that option.

This program supports the CARES philosophy and reinforces the PBIS  framework that the school has been working with for the past 2-3 years. It is like PBIS is the umbrella and Second Step is the spokes/ the underpinnings that make it work.  In our world today, schools are more than the 3 Rs and in order to learn at their best, children have to feel safe socially and emotionally.  I am sure you will be learning more about Second Step as the year goes on but if you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Maher at maherm@georgetown.k12.ma.us or macdonaldc@georgetown.k12.ma.us or me jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us

Georgetown High School Ranked 32nd Best Public High School in Boston

Congratulations to the administration, faculty and staff, students and families of Georgetown High School on being selected as the 32nd best high school in the Boston area in the most recent edition of Boston  Magazine.  The list is  comprised of public high schools that were selected based on how they compare on a number of measures including:

  • enrollment
  • average class size
  • Student to teacher ratio
  • %  Proficient on 10th grade MCAS ( reading, math and science)
  • % Average SAT scores ( reading,writing and math)
  • % Proficient on advanced placement
  • % graduation rate
  • % attending college
  • % of teachers rated Proficient, Advanced and Combined  on educator evaluations

While we have our own district goals to attain, we take a look at how we ranked against the district closest to us The following is a list and their ranking out of the 150 schools that were named:

Manchester Essex-     5

Hamilton Wenham-  21

Pentucket-   30

Georgetown-  32

Masconomet-  34

Andover-   35

Lynnfield-   40

Ipswich-    41

Newburyport-  51

North Reading-   52

Rockport-   57

North Andover-   63

Triton-   81

Danvers-  82

Amesbury-  90

Beverly-   91

Gloucester-   99

Peabody-   101

Saugus-   111

Haverhill-   118

Salem-   119

I am pleased to say that  our school has been ranked on this list every year which is a testament to hard work and skills of our staff , beginning at the elementary level and continuing to the Middle High School , and of course our students who work hard every day to build their skills, knowledge and level of proficiency !  Getting consistent results like these is a truly a team effort which also includes assistance from the central office administration, district support personnel and , of course, our families who provide important guidance and support to the educational process!

I am very proud and excited for the school and the district to be recognized for this honor. Congratulations to all of us!  If you are interested in looking at the data , I have provided the link below.

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/best-public-high-schools-boston-2018-chart/