Category Archives: Uncategorized

GEF Spring Fling – Celebrating Education

Recently, I had the privilege to celebrate education with many of our educators , parents and community members who gathered at the Peirce Farm at Witch Hill in Topsfield for the Georgetown Education Foundation’s  Spring Fling annual fundraiser.  Each year the GEF awards mini grants for projects that support innovative teaching methods  in science, technology and the arts. I was very excited that this year they were able to fund ALL nine grants that were submitted for a total of more than $15,000! Two of our teachers , Terri Brooks and Liz Marchetti , received Golden Apple Awards and ,since nominations came from their colleagues, it was only fitting that the people who nominated them had the chance to speak about each of the winners. Thanks to Patty Slack and Julie Homans (Terri Brooks) and Amanda Girard (Liz Marchetti) for your kind and touching remarks about your friends and colleagues. Your words touched my heart and those in the room had no doubt that these two woman are very deserving of this award!

Selectman Joe Bonivita presented the Partner  in Education  Award to Jeff Boragine from Jeff and Maria’s Homemade Ice Cream because of his commitment to the community and the schools,  especially the young people. Jeff accepted the award along with this sister-in-law Emma on behalf of himself and his late wife Maria who passed away suddenly and expectantly earlier this winter. Many people ,including me , had tears in their eyes as Jeff was filled with emotion and gratitude as he accepted his award and the GEF definitely got it right in selecting Jeff.  He epitomizes community, commitment and selflessness and I am sure Maria was smiling down happily as he accepted the award for both of them.  The venue was beautiful , food was delicious , the atmosphere was celebratory and the company was amazing! Congratulations GEF for putting on another wonderful Spring Fling and  THANK YOU from the bottom of my hearts for recognizing and celebrating our educators!

Connecting Technology to the Curriculum – A Great Example

I recently had the chance to speak with World Language teacher Amanda Girard about a project she felt very excited about and I want to share it as a good example of ways that our teachers are integrating technology into their curriculum using a project based approach. The district has been working on increasing student’s access to technology as a tool for working and learning and it’s integration into the classroom for the past several years . We are fortunate to have three talented teachers working full or part-time as Technology Integration Specialists who work side by side with teachers to make these connections.  Amanda is a world language teacher that teaches Spanish.  In all of her classes, she works on grammar, vocabulary and teaches students how to read and write in Spanish. Amanda wanted to create a project that would teach these important skills and would be engaging for the students so she worked with Liz Marchetti, one of the Tech Integration Specialists  at the MHS and designed a t-shirt making project. Each of the students had to research and / or create a message, saying or motto, translate it into correct Spanish and create a design using correct grammar and knowledge of the language that could be transferred onto a t-shirt. Using vinyl and tools from the Maker Space, the students made some amazingly creative t-shirts showing their knowledge of Spanish and their use of 21st century learning skills. Amanda sent me some pictures of the finished products of which the students were very proud! They were able to tap into their own interests and creativity and use technology and the design process as a tool to help them create something of personal value to each of them. I guarantee that the students learned more by doing this project than they would have by using a more traditional approach to mastering the objectives.  We know that learning in the 21st century calls for creative problem solving, critical thinking, collaborating with others and the ability to innovate when learning essential skills and content and these were all at play in this activity.  Amanda and her students were excited and proud about the end products and also enjoyed the process.  Check them out! #learningforlife, #21stcenturyskillsinaction

STEAM Night at Penn Brook- An Awesome Experience!

Wow! What a great event STEAM  Night  was for the Penn Brook School families that attended . This is the second year of this event and , judging from the large crowd and the smiling faces, the evening was a HUGE success !  The school has been working on STEAM programming through their curriculum, especially Project Lead the Way and STEM Scopes science and through time spent in the school’s Maker Space.  Last night’s event was planned and executed by Penn Brook math  interventionist John Crossman and other  interested Penn Brook staff members and they offered 14 different experiences for families to try.  The handout that families received pointed out that the variety of activities were based on ” the STEAM approach to learning that uses science, math engineering , art and technology  as access points for  guiding inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.  The end result is that students take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning , persist in problem solving , embrace collaboration and work through the creative process.” Each of the activities required participants to design, create, solve problems, collaborate, build and/or experiment depending on the task in each room. There were activities for younger students, older students and many that all students could enjoy  and the nice thing was that many of the tasks were open-ended enough that the difficulty could be adjusted up or down depending on the problem they were trying to solve. Students were given a medallion and as they finished each activity, they added a sticker to their medallion and turned it in for a pie in honor of Pi Day. The activities included Family Folk Dancing, PreK and K STEAM, Fractions Quilt,Neuroscience for Kids, CH-ch-ch-ch-Changes, Are You a Future Engineer?, The Pringle Ringle, The Super Cube Shuffle, The Great Wall, Ozbot Mania,Rubik’s Cube, Earthquake Safe House, Straw Tower and I-Robot.

It was wonderful to see parents and their children working together and coming up with creative solutions to the challenges. I commend everyone who worked hard to design, create and execute this event. It was a wonderful way to showcase the work that the school is doing with STEAM programming but ,more importantly , an opportunity to excite our students about this type of hands-on learning. After all… these are the future innovators, educators, leaders and learners of the 21st century. Well done Penn Brook staff!

Middle School to Start National Junior Honor Society Chapter

I am very excited to announce that the Georgetown Middle School is beginning a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Just like its counterpart the National Honor Society ,which we offer in the Georgetown High School, the  National Junior Honor Society is a nationwide organization that recognizes excellence in middle school aged students. While report card grades are a factor in the selection of the students who are invited for induction into this society, it is not the only criterion that is considered. Students must complete and submit an application that is based on five key pillars ( qualities).  They have the opportunity to provide evidence of how they demonstrate these qualities in their school and community  in their application. A selection committee of faculty members  will review all applications, determine the students who meet the criterion and recommend them for induction into the chapter. Four of these five pillars (qualities) are consistent with National Honor Society including scholarship, leadership, character and service and the fifth quality of citizenship is added for the middle school level. This makes sense since middle school is a very social time where students are figuring out who they are and navigating a more complex social world. Being a good citizen and a good friend to others is particularly important at this age.

Starting a school chapter is actually something we have been talking about for a couple of years and I am beyond delighted that it is coming to fruition. We have many students who work very hard in school to get good grades, stand up for what is right, actively participate in making their school and community a better place and serve as a positive role model for their peers.  We recognize these qualities in our high school students and want to do so with our younger students as well.  Establishing a National Junior Honor Society  at GMS is one of the ways that we can send the message that we appreciate the positive choices students are making and we value their hard work and desire to succeed. We hope this will be an opportunity to which students will aspire and I look forward to seeing how the application process will play out.

Many thanks to teacher Patrick Corr who has stepped forward to be the Advisor of this new venture and Principal Dan Richards for approving and championing this new opportunity for students.  If any student would like more information about how to apply, they should see Mr. Corr and  applications will be available in the middle school office.  Usually the timeline for applications is in the late fall and the induction ceremony is in March but since we wanted to start a chapter this year, we are thinking that students might be selected before school ends but would be inducted at a ceremony in the fall.  Don’t hold me to that but more information will be coming out about this.

This will be the first time students experience putting together an application on their own and we know they will learn a lot in the process. We expect there will be a little angst on their part especially in this first year but the Mr. Corr and the school staff will get them through it. We encourage parents to allow their children to lead this process themselves with some gentle encouraging and minor assistance from parents as to what might be included if students are stuck but we want the applications to reflect the student’s work. We appreciate your help in getting this program off the ground and we hope this will be the first year of many for the National Junior Honor Society program at the Georgetown Middle School.

Time for Action- Youth Rec Center in the Works

For the past year or so , there has been discussion in town about converting the second floor of the Perley School into a Youth Rec Center and the time is now to take action to make it happen. The kids in town are asking for this and studies have shown that in communities where youth are engaged in positive and healthy activities, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. Our goal with this center is to build positive youth development strategies in our kids to positively affect their choices and keep them healthy, happy and safe through their adolescent years.

At this time, the town is unable to provide funding for a Director or the staff to man this center but I am optimistic that there will be funding in the near future so we want to be ready to go if and when that comes through. I have been heartened by the broad support that has been expressed by all groups in town for this project but ,this year, the town budget was not able to take on any of the costs to get the center up and running. Do not fear though because the PTA recently held an event that resulted in an excited group of parents coming forward who want to get this center open and that are calling for action.  If this is going to happen for our kids, it will take a large group of willing and committed people throughout the town,  including business and corporate sponsors,  who can help out whether that be  by:

– helping to secure donations of materials and supplies for the center

– finding corporate partners who can help fund stipends for staff to oversee the center until a Director can be hired by the town and to plan programs

– setting up the center itself such as arranging furniture, painting walls, organizing the space

– participating on the steering committee and/or a Friends of the Rec Center group who can take a leadership role

– volunteering time to work with youth in the center and help plan and offer programs

– acting as a “worker bee” available to help in any way needed

This is truly an “ it takes a village” project and many hands will make light work for all involved. If the town wants to make this center a reality, it will take the commitment of a lot of volunteers and people in town who believe deeply in the need for this center and eventually some funding to sustain it.

The first step is mobilizing a group so the purpose of this blog post is to solicit your help and invite you to an organizational meeting on Monday April 8,  2019  at 6:30 on the second floor at Perley in the Rec Center Space. This meeting is a Call to Action and the goal is to leave this meeting with concrete action steps to move this project forward. We will also be tapping into the expertise of Essex County Asset Builder leader Tina Los who has valuable experience setting up and operating a youth center and she will also help us bring the youth in town into the planning  process which is critical to the success of the project going forward.

If you are interested in being part of something great for the youth in this town, come and be part of this exciting project in any way you  big or small.

First meeting : Monday April 8

6:30-8:30 PM

2nd floor Perley School

If you have questions, please drop me note at and someone will get right back to you. If you can not make this meeting but want to become involved, let Erin Duggan know ( and we will include you in future meetings. Thank you in advance for joining us on this important journey. Our young people deserve  this center and together we can make it happen!

What????Pink Bird Sightings on Georgetown Lawns

I have just learned that reports that flocks of pink flamingos will soon be landing on the lawns of unsuspecting Georgetown residents. These plastic pink flamingos travel in flocks and they love getting the chance to rest on the beautiful lawns throughout Georgetown. Now, for the first time ever, the Georgetown Royals Sports Boosters has arranged to have these flamingos stop in a yard near you!  Here’s how it works, easy as 1,2,3…

1. Place an order for a flock of flamingos to be sent out to a yard of your choosing. Just visit our website to learn more and place your order.

2. One adult leader and a group of athletes from a variety GMHS sports will be sent out to covertly “flock” that yard.

3. The “Flockee” will then have the opportunity to pass along directions to the Flock’s next migration location for a donation of their choice. Let the flocking begin!

Don’t wait, order now as “The Flock” will arrive May 1st and nest through May 31st. The flock’s flight pattern will be determined on a first come first serve basis. Be the first to complete your order and get the flock moving! There are already 30 flockings scheduled so think about who you want to flock and get your name in the list. This is going to be a blast seeing these flamingos pop up around the town all in good fun and for a great cause!

All proceeds will benefit GRSB to provide support for items like; Bluetooth / audio systems for turf & gym, seating for the turf, update weight room, banners, trophy case and much more. Visit our website at to learn more