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Addendum to Summer Reading for Honors English and AP English Courses, 2020-2021

In addition to BookSmart Day, students taking the following courses should read the following books over the summer and be prepared to discuss and write about them…


AP English Literature*

Oresteia, Aeschylus

Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

*Along with the reading of these works, a summer assignment is required, due on the first day of school. There is a mandatory meeting in June to clarify expectations for this assignment. 


Honors World Literature

The Life of Pi, Yann Martel


Honors English, Grade 11

My Antonia, Willa Cather


Honors English, Grade 10

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley 

(1818 edition is preferable to the 1831 edition)


Honors English, Grade 9

CHOICE: A Separate Peace, John Knowles, OR A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith

COVID 19 Update – May 23, 2020

Hello Georgetown Friends,

I hope your Memorial Day weekend is off to a good start! Even though we are not in school for our remembrance ceremonies, I hope you will have time to remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms with your children.

We are moving into the homestretch of the school year and I am urging all of you to stick with remote learning for the next few weeks. I know with the nicer weather coming and the releasing of the stay at home orders from Governor Baker, it will get harder to remain focused.  I know because I can feel a little of that urge myself but there is still much to do to end this year and continue planning for the fall. When we return on Tuesday after a three day weekend, there will be 19 days remaining in the school year, four days left for the senior class and 15 days until graduation but who’s counting? While the closing this year is unlike any other year, we are  looking forward to enjoying  several special celebrations with our families. At the Penn Brook School grade levels are planning to share a video tribute to their Celebration of Growth and  the 6th grade moving on ceremony is being planned remotely with all of the special features that usually come with that celebration. At the Middle High School, they are putting together a video celebration of award and scholarship winners and of course we are going to be holding our exciting drive by graduation and parade through town. Keep your eyes open for an end of the year Rolling Rally with a slightly different twist. Instead of the faculty driving through town, the faculty will stand outside of their schools, socially distanced, and families can drive by waving and cheering so our students and staff can have one last time to see each other before the year officially closes. A very different end to the year but one in which we can take pride that we survived it and we made the best out of a challenging situation that was beyond our control. I am pretty darned proud of all of us!

A few announcements and reminders for your information.

Picking Up Personal Belonging Scheduled for Next Week

This is just a friendly reminder that next week is the time for parents to come by the schools and pick up your child’s personal belongings according to the schedule that was posted and sent out to you. We ask that you wear gloves and masks and adhere to the signage and taped areas  to ensure proper social distancing. Just a reminder not to bring your children and if it is absolutely necessary they will have to remain outside of the door until they can reunite with their parents. The playgrounds will be off limits. If you have any questions, please contact the Principal and if you have multiple children in the same school, you can pick up all of their belongings at once. Thanks for your cooperation in ensuring everyone can stay safe and retrieve their belongings.


If you have not already heard we have a unique, creative and safe way to celebrate our amazing senior class as they graduate from high school. In meeting with the senior class officers, they identified three priorities that they would hope for to end the year. These were to have an in person/ not virtual graduation , a ceremony their families could attend and a prom. With this in mind, we, along with the community, will deliver a live outdoor graduation on Saturday June 13 at 10 am in the parking lot of the Saint Mary’s Church. The students will be together as a class and seated six feet apart. They will have matching masks with the school logo. The ceremony will include the same format as always but there will be some differences in the way the crowd will watch the ceremony to be in compliance with the Governor’s orders regarding gathering in groups. In order to do this, families must remain in their cars throughout the ceremony. They will be parked strategically in the parking lot and to assist in their viewing and hearing of the ceremony, there will be a big screen set up, each car will be able to hear the ceremony through their radio thanks to a transmitter. it will also be live streamed and taped by GCTV. We are encouraging families to decorate their cars ( the School Committee Chair said they will pick a winning car) and the police and fire departments will lead a parade through town celebrating the graduates! More Information will be coming out from the school but I just wanted to give you the highlights. We have so many people to thank for bringing this together. It has been a true community project because we want to give the senior class a send off they will never forget!

Flags of Recognition and Accomplishment

When you head by Harry Murch Park beginning on Tuesday May 26 th, check out the display of senior flags at the  end of the park. Thanks to a group of senior parents and financial support from the Georgetown Light Company, each of our seniors is featured on a  flag with their picture and name on it. It is going to be  a wonderful recognition of their hard work and a job well done.

Warning Signs of Stroke

One of our parents who has been a stroke victim reached to me and asked if I might mention  the warning signs in one of my updates because in his case if it was not for the quick action of his family, his situation might have gone differently. Due to his personal circumstances he has joined Tedy Bruschi’s team and runs marathons to raise awareness.  Here is what he asked me to share.

May is Stroke Awareness month and I thought it may be a positive idea to have you share about this in one of your updates. There have been several articles noting the increased risk of stroke in Covid 19 patients and awareness of the signs is a key towards saving a life and/or a successful recovery.  The  important piece for me is to raise awareness of the signs of a stroke.  I have included a jpeg that you may use/attach to one of your updates. #BeFast is the knowledge people need to make a difference.  There are many out there, that given the current circumstances, may NOT go to the hospital when they really need to.  Even if this reaches one person and they can recognize the signs quickly, it can make a big difference.  (See attachment)

Budget FY 21

As you can imagine with the pandemic and its effect on the economy due to the closure, there will be a significant impact to the federal, state and local economies. I  have been involved with local and state leaders and legislators as well as local and state education leaders and the budget forecast at this time  and it can go either way up or down is dire. They are expecting  $6-8 billion dollars in revenues and as much as a 20% reduction in local aid for next year.  In Georgetown, the budget for FY 21 was built based on the state budget prior to the pandemic so we are all bracing for that to change.  We are being told that the legislature and state government are “ going back to the beginning” to put together a new budget based on the new projected revenues.  As of right now, the schools are scheduled to get a 2.5% increase over this year’s budget but that will not allow us to keep everything that we have and will require making cuts to programs and personnel. If the prediction of a dire budget comes true and state aid comes in 10-20% less, then the town is going to have some very tough decisions to make for the town and not just the schools. We are currently wrapping up the finances for this year and determining the cuts that will have to be made to get to the 2.5%.  The School Committee will be discussing this at their meeting on June 11th.  In addition, we are waiting for guidance on if schools will be able to open in September and , if so, with what modifications and that will have a further impact on the school budget. The biggest challenge is the lack of answers which is no one’s fault but it is difficult to plan when there are so many moving parts including not knowing what this virus is going to do next. I will keep you posted on the budget developments as they transpire and we will appreciate your advocacy and support for our schools. The awful irony of this situation is that this is the time to invest in our schools and not the time to cut services in order to meet the needs of this new normal yet the revenues are going to make it challenging for us to give our students what they need when they need it most. More to come and wish the news was better.

 Remote Learning Surveys

Sometime in the month of June, you will be receiving a survey asking for your feedback about remote learning and we urge you to complete it so we can use the information to make improvements should we have to continue remote learning in the fall or return to it if there is a second wave of the virus in the fall/winter. When we were thrust into remote learning within a two week period, we put together a system that in essence changes the way school is delivered. We did our best, learned a lot and can see the need to make some changes before next year comes. The summer will afford us  time to focus on this but the majority of the summer is going to be spent trying to find a safe way to open our schools in the fall if that is at all possible. We are first and foremost following the guidelines of the public health experts and we expect much more guidance in June and July. We will be making a number of plans so that we will be ready for the fall and whatever that will bring.

Happy Retirement Mrs. Bakas

I am delighted to share the happy news that Mrs. Bakas, kindergarten teacher at Penn Brook and formerly from  Perley,  will be retiring at the end of this school year to enjoy some well deserved time for herself and with her family. Donna has devoted over 20 years to the little people of Georgetown and her calm and loving  way of taking students under her wing and making them feel safe and proud of themselves will be greatly missed. I know you join me in wishing Donna a long, healthy and joyful retirement and many new adventures to come. Thank you Donna!

Enjoy the long weekend and no remote learning on Monday.


Covid-19 Update – May 9, 2020

Hello Georgetown Friends!

I hope you are all staying well and hanging in there. I am excited that we are making some important decisions as we move forward during the month of May. There is a lot to do to close out the year and begin planning for what school will look like when we hope to reopen in the fall. I appreciate your patience as we figure things out since COVID 19 is like nothing else we have
Ever had to deal with in our lifetime. The biggest challenge is that scientists are telling us that the virus is not yet under control while we are all craving the opportunity to return to a sense of normalcy. Some describe this time we are in as a “new normal” whether we like it or not and predictions are that we will be dealing with some restrictions for quite a while up until a vaccine is available. In the meantime, we are all seeking ways to reassure ourselves that we will stay safe going back to work and our lives. A major issue on my mind is trying to deal with a virus that is highly contagious and spreads by contact with people who may be asymptomatic and do not know they have it. While many people with the virus do not experience the worst symptoms, they can and do pass the virus onto others when in groups where social distancing is not used or available. It is a misnomer that children are not affected by this virus as confirmed by the scientific data and the situations where the greatest spread is seen is when groups gather. As we make our decisions about how to proceed, I know that not everyone will agree with what we decide although I hope we are unified in a commitment to taking actions that keep people safe. It is a delicate dance between taking a measured approach to reopening our facilities and programs and the desire to get back to normal as soon as possible. This will be a fluid process as guidelines from state and local officials change and I appreciate your patience as we consider the information we have available and make the best decisions possible. As promised, I am sharing information as decisions are made and please contact me at if you have any questions of thoughts.

1. Picking Up Student Belongings

This is the number one question I have been asked so I am pleased to let you know that a schedule will be included in Principal Maher’s This Week and Principal Richard’s Blog and email blast this weekend. Pick Up times for parents at each school have been scheduled during the week of May 25th. Details are in the information you will receive. Parents in Preschool- grade 8 should plan to come alone and not bring your children. There will be a separate schedule for seniors to retrieve their belongings when their cap and gowns come in. If you have any questions, please contact your Building Principal at or

2. Reimbursements

Now that we know school will be closed through the end of the year, we have reached decisions about providing reimbursements to families for the following programs.

  • –  Sports User Fees- All user fees for spring sports will be returned. Any families that owe for fall or winter sports must pay their balance by June 1st. Any questions, please contact
  • –  Perley and Penn Brook Extended Day Programs- Refunds for these programs are in process. Checks will go out in the next 2-4 weeks.
  • –  Preschool- Parents who paid in full at the start of the year will be reimbursed for two months or have the opportunity to apply these tuition funds to next year. Checks will go out in the next 2-4 weeks. Parents paying on a 10 month schedule will not owe any more money for the year but the March payment made for April will not be refunded because teachers have been providing remote learning since the closure and will be doing so through the last day of school on June 19th.
  • –  Penn Brook Extended Day Program will be collecting registration information but will not accept payment until we know if and when we can safely open a program in September.
  • –  Field Trips At Penn Brook The reimbursement for kindergarten and third grade field trips are delayed because we are waiting for refunds from the vendors. We will get them to you as soon as we can. We have not forgotten you.
  1. Summer Programs

    The district will be offering Extended School Year Programs ( ESY) for special education students this summer using a remote learning format.

    All other camp programs usually offered by the district are cancelled for this summer. This is a very difficult decision for us because we know that parents and students look forward to taking advantage of our camps. However, the guidelines for phasing the reopening of activities, strict restrictions around the size of gatherings and requirements for social distancing and the uncertainty of testing to reassure parents, staff and students of their safety are the reasons for our decision. If you have sent a deposit for the summer camp program at PB, you will receive a refund.

  2. Extended Day Registrations for the Fall

    We are hoping that when school opens, the state will be in Phase 2 which will allow us to run our extended day program with modifications but we have to wait and see as the summer progresses if and when we can begin our program. Parents may continue to register their children so we will know of your need and interest but we will not be accepting any registration fees at this time. If you have sent one in, you will be refunded.

  1. Celebrating Our Wonderful Staff

    I would like to thank you and your children for taking the time to recognize our teachers, nurses, Principals and school lunch heroes his week! We are so very lucky to have such a dedicated staff of caring, kind and dedicated employees keeping the needs of our students in the forefront always. We all appreciate your kind words of thanks and encouragement for the work we do. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts!

  2. Sharing Success

    Hopefully you have heard that we are trying to get the word out about sharing positive news and information, pictures, affirmations of students etc. on our district’s Facebook page Georgetown MA Public Schools. I have seen many wonderful posts on personal Facebook pages that I would love to see shared on our page. If you are not already following our page, please do so. If you have something to share for all to enjoy, please send the information in a little blurb and/or picture/video to We have a team of great people who will grab the information and post it on the page. I have heard many positive comments about the things we have been posting so far but would love to have more contributions from families. I would love to keep this positivity and fun going, so please help us by sharing good news, positive messages, examples of student pride and learning and family fun during this time of quarantine. We are missing our end of the year fun and celebrations. Help us end the year by sharing happy moments and making us all smile!

  3. Happy Mother’s Day

    I want to wish all of our mothers a heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day! There is nothing more special than a mother’s love. Here is a short poem in celebration of your special day.

    Of all the
    Special joys in life
    The big ones and the small
    A mother’s love and tenderness Is the greatest
    Of them all

    Have a wonderful weekend! See you next week!

AP Updates for Schools Impacted by Coronavirus

UPDATE – APRIL 6 , 2020.  The College Board is recommending that students have the option to not take the the AP exams this year. Our surrounding districts are honoring College Board’s request and we are doing the same. If students paid for the exam they will be reimbursed. 


The health and safety of educators and students are the AP® Program’s highest priorities. As schools and communities navigate the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we’ll support AP students with free, optional remote learning and at-home AP testing. These options will give students the opportunity to earn the college credit and placement they’ve been working toward all year.

The AP Program will invest heavily in solutions that are designed to be as simple and lightweight as possible for both students and teachers—without creating additional burdens for school leaders during this time.

AP Exam Administration
Students remain eager to take AP Exams and have a chance to earn credit and placement. We surveyed 18,000 AP students and 91% indicated they want to complete this important step, urging us not to cancel this opportunity.
The AP Program will invest heavily over the next month in the following ways:

• For the 2019-20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online exam at home. Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered.
• Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates.
• AP curricula are locally developed and we defer to local decisions on how best to help students complete coursework. To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
• Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they’ve worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.
• Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
• We recognize that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, we’ll invest so these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If your students need mobile tools or connectivity, you can reach us directly to let us know.
• The exam questions are designed in ways that prevent cheating. We use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams. Scoring at-home work for an AP Exam isn’t new to the AP Program. For years the AP Program has received and scored at-home student work as part of the exams for the AP Computer Science Principles and AP Capstone™ courses.

We’ll continue to support students with free resources through exam day. And while we encourage students to wait until closer to the test date to decide, any student already registered for an exam can choose to cancel at no charge.
Information about the reduced scope of content that will be covered on each 2020 AP Exam is currently posted on AP Central®. The specific test dates and the free-response question types will all be posted by April 3. We’ll also unlock any relevant free-response questions in AP Classroom for digital use so students can access all practice questions of the type that will appear on the exam.

Daily Online Review AP Classes
Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and schools will have access to free, live AP review lessons, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. The lessons will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. These mobile-friendly classes are:
• Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
• Recorded and will be available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
• Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.

The schedule will be posted online today.

Get AP Updates

As we have additional information and resources, we’ll update this webpage and share updates by email, the online AP communities, and our social media channels.
We appreciate your partnership and all you’re doing on behalf of your students.


Advanced Placement Program

Airing it out: Georgetown’s MacDonald, Galley have formed historic passing tandem (story courtesy of Mac Cerullo of the Newburyport Daily news).

For the story click here.

Congratulations to the Georgetown High School recipients of the 2019 John & Abigail Adams Scholarship!

The Scholarship is based on students’ high academic achievement on the MCAS exams. This entitles students to a four-year tuition waiver at any Massachusetts State College or University.