Connections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools – September 12, 2014

We’re off to a great school year! Help your child get a healthy start to the school day with a
free breakfast at their school. Visit your school website for breakfast times.
Remember to stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and by visiting our website.
News & Notes
Cradles to Crayons, Genzyme Donate 1,200 Backpacks to Somerville
Thanks to long-time community partner Cradles to Crayons and their 2014 Backpack Program sponsor Genzyme, Kindergarten through Grade 6 students at the Argenziano, Healey and Winter Hill schools began the 2014-2015 school year with brand new backpacks stocked with a variety of school supplies. For several years, Cradles to Crayons has supported Somerville Public Schools students through their Ready for School Backpack program. Students also discovered a special surprise in their backpacks; along with a generous amount of school supplies, each backpack also included a personalized message to get students geared up for the school year. Students at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School were joined by representatives from Genzyme and Cradles to Crayon, including C2C Boston Executive Director Sharon Reilly, as well as Mayor Curtatone, School Committee Chair Christine Rafal, and Superintendent Pierantozzi for a special Backpack Distribution Event on September 5th. To learn more about Cradles to Crayons, visit

School Committee Launches Search for New Superintendent
The Somerville School Committee has initiated its search for a new Superintendent of Schools, and is seeking the community’s help to develop the leadership profile for the position. Current Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi announced earlier this year that he will retire in July 2015, after 10 years of distinguished service leading the Somerville Public Schools. At this point, community members can participate in three ways:
First: Attend one of the following public forums.
Monday, September 15, 7:00pm at the East Somerville Community School. This session will be conducted in Spanish with English interpretation.
Tuesday, September 16, 8:00am at the Highlander Café at Somerville High School. This session will be conducted in English with Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole interpretation.
Tuesday, September 16, 7:00pm at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. This session will be conducted in English with Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole interpretation.
Second, complete a brief online survey –
Third: School Committee members will be hosting individual meetings in their respective wards to listen to informal comments or suggestions from community members. Times and locations of these meetings will be announced soon.

While the Superintendent search process will be very open, the names of those applying for the position will be held in confidence until the finalists are announced. This will help ensure Somerville attracts the highest quality candidates. The finalists will be interviewed in public.

SPS Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Argenziano School Visual Arts Volunteer Rita Culliton!
Community Volunteer Rita Culliton loves Fridays. That’s because she gets to come in to the Argenziano School and help with the Visual Arts classes. Since 2009, Rita has been coming in once or sometimes twice a week, mostly on Fridays, to help Argenziano Visual Arts Teacher Diana Taremi. “I love coming in to the school and helping,” says the retiree. “I don’t really do art myself, so I appreciate learning about it through these arts classes.” Rita helps out during art classes by talking with students about their work, setting up and organizing supplies, and hanging up student work in preparation for art shows and hallway displays. Says Rita: “It’s a friendly and beautiful place to come to on Fridays. I also love seeing how creative students can be.”

Ms. Taremi says that having Rita there makes a big difference in an arts class. “It’s great having Rita here on Fridays. Students and I love having her around and she’s tremendous support. Rita contributes her skills and is always part of the process. Her presence speaks volumes to our students. Having another adult take interest in their work gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment, and reinforces for them the importance of the arts.”

The Argenziano School and all SPS elementary schools welcome Visual Arts Volunteers, M-F, any time 8:30am-2:15pm. Volunteers may serve one or more hours per week. The Argenziano School is also currently seeking a potter to assist students on their new wheel: Mondays or Tuesdays, from 8:15am-9:30am. Come give it a spin!
To learn about more volunteer opportunities with Somerville Public Schools:

District Transitions to STAR Local Assessment
This fall, Somerville Public Schools is transitioning from the use of MAP to STAR as its local assessment tool for students in grades 2-8. Just like MAP, STAR is administered online three times a year and assesses math and reading skills. STAR provides two advantages; the first is reduced testing time. Students take both the math and reading assessments in a single one-hour sitting, rather than testing for three hours over multiple days. Over the course of the year, that translates into six fewer hours of testing that can be used for classroom instruction. The second advantage is more detailed reporting. STAR gives teachers and parents detailed information about a student’s strengths and what skills are lacking. For more information about STAR, visit For a sample report, visit, and find Sample STAR Report under “Assessment.”

Parent/Guardian Guides Available Online
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! We look forward to a great year of teaching and learning. The 2014-2015 Parent/Guardian Guide is available to you electronically on your school website home page, in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. We encourage you to read and download the document for future reference. If you are unable to access the document electronically from home, please visit your School-based Family and Community Liaison to request a hard copy.

District School Field Trip Procedural Manual/Forms Available Online
Somerville Public School’s new School Field Trip Procedural Manual is available online. The document can be found on the District’s Curriculum site (, under Useful Resources and Websites.

Summer Spotlight
Students from around the District spent two weeks attending daily music technique classes, participating in orchestra or large-group string rehearsals, learning about music theory, and generally having a great time at the 20th annual Somerville String Camp held at the Kennedy School this summer. The two-week program culminated with a free concert, open to the public.

What’s Happening

String Instrument Rentals and Loans
Did you know that Somerville Public Schools offers FREE instrument Instruction for band and string Instruments in applicable grades? All you need to get started is an instrument!
String Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass; Grades 4-8 District-wide (Grade 3 also at ESCS/Brown)
Band Instruments: Flute, Trumpet, Trombone, Clarinet, Alto Sax and Percussion; Grades 5-8 District-wide
Clarinet and Trumpet: Grade 4 at the Healey School
Instrument rental and loan opportunities are coming up. Parents or guardians must accompany their student in order to rent or borrow an instrument.
Instrument Rental Opportunities: Tuesday, Sept. 16, 3-6pm at Somerville High School (81 Highland Avenue)
Band instruments available for rent through Rayburn Music Co:
String Instruments available for rent through Acoustic Strings of New England:
To rent an instrument, bring an I.D, a check or a credit card. Payments are monthly; rent to own.
School Instrument Loan (for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch): Thursday, Sept. 18, 3-8pm at Somerville High School; Loan instrument maintenance/repair fee of $20 ($30 for alto sax and cello), payable by cash or check
Questions? Please contact Mr. Saunders at 617.629.5248 or

Somerville Adult Evening School Registration
It’s never too late to join the learning adventure! Register online today for fall Adult Evening School classes at the Somerville Evening School’s new online registration site. (Credit card payments accepted online.) Or, you can register in person at the Somerville High School main office (81 Highland Ave.) on September 11th, 16th and 17th from 6-8pm.

Choose from more than 50 courses, including a 5-week Driver’s Ed course which meets both Tuesday and Thursday nights. Classes begin September 23, 2014, run for 10 weeks, and will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm. Course fees vary, up to $165. Select from Ballroom Dancing, Zumba, Sewing, Knitting, Choral Workshop and show tunes for the American Idols. Other courses include Jewelry Making, Pastels or Watercolor Art and Acrylic Painting, Computers, Culinary, How to Manage Multi-Family Homes, Casting and Mold-making, Furniture Making, beginner Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, French and English as a Second Language (ESL). How about The Art of Medical Interpretation, New Resume and Professional Strategies, Real Estate Licensing, Know Your Legal Rights (A DIY dealing with Civil or Criminal Issues), Hypnotherapy or YOGA at a bargain?

Questions? Contact Principal Sophia Carafotes at 617-628-2594, visit, or register online today.

This week in the schools:
Visit your child’s school website,, and click on the “calendar of events” link at the top of the page for a complete list of all the activities happening at school this month.
Monday, September 15, 6:00pm: Special Education PAC Business Meeting at the Kennedy School Library (5 Cherry Street)
Monday, September 15, 6:00-7:30pm: West Somerville Neighborhood School Open House (177 Powderhouse)
Monday, September 15, 6:00-7:30pm: Next Wave/Full Circle Open House (8 Bonair St.)
Monday-Thursday, September 15-18: Brown School PTA Book Fair (201 Willow Avenue)
Tuesday, September 16, 6:00-7:30pm: East Somerville Community School Open House (50 Cross Street)
Tuesday, September 16, 7:00-9:00pm: SHS Sports Information Night at Somerville High School (81 Highland Ave.)
Wednesday, September 17: Half-Day Wednesday for PK-8 students (PK dismissal at 11:30; K-8 dismissal at noon)
Wednesday, September 17, 7:00-8:30pm: Somerville High School Back to School Night (81 Highland Avenue)
Thursday, September 18, 6:00-7:30pm: Brown School Open House (201 Willow Avenue)

Upcoming School Committee Meetings
Find the complete School Committee schedule, agendas and meeting minutes (as approved) online at
Monday, September 15, 7:00pm: Superintendent Search Community Focus Group at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross Street). This session will be in Spanish with English interpretation services.
Tuesday, September 16, 8:00am: Highlander Cafe at Somerville High School (81 Highland Avenue). This session will be in English with Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole interpretation services.
Tuesday, September 16, 7:00pm: Superintendent Search Community Focus Group at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powderhouse Blvd.). This session will be in English with Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole interpretation services.
Monday, September 22, 7:00pm: School Committee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Avenue)

Community News & Events
Saturday, September 13, 10am-2pm: Mobility Revolution Workshop at the Center for Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue). Initial results of community mapping data gathered from My USQ (, will be presented. Be part of the conversation by mapping your own experience of Somerville’s Union Square using this fun, interactive mapping tool, then attend Saturday’s Mobility Revolution Workshop at the Center for Arts at the Armory to learn more. For more information and to register for the Mobility Revolution Workshop, visit
Sunday, September 14: 7th Annual Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day 4.2-mile Road Race to benefit the Brian Higgins Foundation. Pre-registration $20; day of registration $25. Register at: Walkers start at 9:45am; runners start at 10:00am. Friend the Brian Higgins Foundation at
Tuesday, September 16: East Somerville Foodie Crawl. Our friends over at @TheEastSomervilleFoodieCrawl ( are hosting their annual Foodie Crawl. Tickets are just $20 to experience a delicious walking neighborhood tour of Somerville’s finest authentic flavors and hidden gems. Eat your way through a dozen restaurants representing five continents! For more information, visit
Thursday, September 18, 7:00pm: Tap Water 101 – A Movie Screening and Discussion. Shape Up Somerville, Cambridge Health Alliance, SCATV and MWRA invite you to a Somerville Community Access Television hosting of this free community event to educate the Somerville community about tap water. The event will be held Thursday, September 18th at 7pm in Union Square at the Uniun (11 Sanborn Court, behind The Independent. Three movies will be shown to raise awareness about the benefits of tap water, the “trickle down” effect of the bottled water industry and the origin of our local tap water supply.
Sunday, September 21, 2:00-4:30pm: Somerville Historic Preservation Commission Union Square Walking Tour. “Union Square: An Intermixing of Industry, Immigration and Innovation.” The tour is free and will step off from Somerville High School, 81 Highland Ave., and include interior tours of the historic St. Anthony’s Church and the new Greentown Labs. Reception at Machu Picchu Restaurant following the tour. Rain date is Sunday, September 28. For more information, contact Brandon Wilson at or (617) 625-6600, x2532.
Sunday, October 5, 11:00am to 3:00pm: Twelfth Annual Tufts Community Day, co-sponsored with the Cities of Somerville and Medford. You’re invited to a day of family fun, performances, BBQ, crafts, and more! All events, including lunch, are FREE. The day’s events will include arts, learning across Tufts, music and dance performances, and community resources. Event will be held On the Green at the top of the hill. Free parking in the garage at 419 Boston Avenue.
Arts at the Armory “Youth Arts Arise.” Arts at the Armory is offering a free afterschool arts program for youth ages 11-14. If your child is interested in art, this is a great opportunity for them to learn and explore their creativity in a wide range of artistic mediums. Fall semester runs from October 7-December 16, every Tuesday from 3:30-5pm. The program is free but advance registration is required. Registration forms are available at or in person at 191 Highland Avenue, Suite 1A. Registration deadline is September 23. For more information, contact Bridget Galway, or (617) 718-2191.
Somerville Youth Hockey Registration. Learn to Skate (LTS)/Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH) for ages 4 and up begins October 18, 2014 and runs until early March, 2015. Sign up at the Somerville Rink Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30pm until the program begins, then on or after October 18th, from 8-10:30am on Saturdays. $90 registration fee for LTS/LTPH. For more information, visit
Gilman Street Bridge Construction Pedestrian Detours. As part of the Gilman Street Bridge construction, some sidewalks will be closed starting Monday, September 8, 2014 through late next year. Information on sidewalk closings and detours can be found at:

Looking Ahead
A look at some of the events/activities in the Somerville Public Schools that are taking place in the coming weeks.
Monday, September 22, 6:00-7:30pm: Healey School Open House
Tuesday, September 23, 6:00-7:30pm: Kennedy School Open House
Wednesday, September 24, 7:00pm: SHS Seniors’ Post High School Planning Night
Thursday, October 2, 6:00-7:30pm: Capuano Early Childhood Center Open House

Susana Hernandez Morgan
Coordinator of Grant Writing & Information
Somerville Public Schools
42 Cross Street
Somerville, MA 02145
Internal office extension: 6013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.