Category Archives: Carol’s Corner

Trees Down Causing Bus Delays

I heard from Cindy MacKenzie this morning letting me know of trees down which will affect the bus routes this morning. The buses are currently not able to get down Spofford Road and others may be delayed. Please be at the bus stop at the regular time but be prepared just in case there are some slight delays.

Trick or Trunk Happening Today

The weather for today is expected to improve this afternoon so the Trick or Trunk event at Penn Brook scheduled for this afternoon is on. Tom Stewart, the Chair of the SEPAC  who sponsors this great event has contacted us to let us know and we all hope it will be well attended. This has  become an annual event that brings families together to enjoy an afternoon of  Halloween fun. For those who might not  know how this works, families who wish to do so decorate the trunks of their cars and hand our candy to all of the costumed little people who are walking around having a blast! Decorating is not required and all children from Georgetown are welcome to attend!  Last year, almost 200 parking spaces were decorated which is quite an amazing sight to see!

The SEPAC is an organization that supports special education students and families . Funds raised are used to provide scholarships to special education students and to recognize our staff as “shining stars” every year. They also sponsor expert speaker series for all families and  fun community such as Trick or Trunk. We are grateful for their commitment to making our schools the best they can be!

See you at Trick or Trunk today!

 

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!

Weather Brief- Roof Leak at Penn Brook

I am just writing to update you on a couple of things that occurred with the weather today in case you hear things from others. This afternoon, the custodians dealt with a water leak coming from the ceiling in the lobby which was caused by organic debris clogging the vents on the roof.  These were cleaned this summer but with so many trees around the school, they must have clogged up again. Once removed the water stopped leaking in, ceiling tiles were replaced and the water was completely cleaned. We heard that there were rumors going around with some students that there was a crack in the ceiling which is not accurate and I don’t want anyone to worry that this indicates a serious problem because that is definitely not the case. There is nothing to worry about and the maintenance crew has added a schedule to regularly check the vents on the roof to make sure they were open.

You may have heard that there was a tornado warning for Essex County for a time today. The Chief of Police is the Emergency Management Director for the town and as soon as we heard it we contacted his office.  He was following it closely and notified us that no action was being taken at that time and the warning passed without incident.  I want to reassure everyone that we were monitoring the situation and did not take it lightly.  If there was cause for concern, parents would have been notified by our automated  notification system.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the flooding and aftermath from Florence.  We saw just a tiny bit of it with today’s  rain but it is hard to imagine the damage that can be caused from a storm of the magnitude of Florence.  Such a tragedy for those involved.

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/