SPS logoConnections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools – September 25, 2015

October is National Farm to School Month, and we’re only days away from our annual Corn Shucking event on October 1st. Read all about it, and

other great events coming up in our schools and our community, under What’s Happening.



News & Notes


District Maintains High Growth Rates, Upward Trajectory on Spring 2015 MCAS

According to Spring 2015 MCAS results released this week by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Somerville students recorded a third consecutive year of sustained high growth across the District in both English Language Arts (56.0) and Mathematics (60.5), well above the state median. The District maintains its lead among urban districts in the Commonwealth, and ranks in the top 12% of all Massachusetts school districts as measured by Student Growth Percentile (SGP), which provides a clear measure of a school’s ability to help students at every level of proficiency show growth compared to their “academic peers” from across the state.


The continuing high growth trend was matched by a notable improvement in the percentage of students moving out of the Warning/Needs Improvement categories, as well as an increase in the percentage of students scoring Proficient or Advanced, particularly in Math. Somerville’s continuing high growth rate was also matched by an increase in the Composite Performance Index (CPI) score in Math (74.7), while also showing a slight uptick in ELA (81.3) and Science (76.5) CPIs. The DESE defines CPI as “the extent towards which students are moving toward proficiency (a CPI of 100).” Somerville’s overall district CPI has continued to improve in every subject for the last 4 years.


Learn more about Somerville’s spring 2015 MCAS results on the District home page (www.somerville.k12.ma.us) where you can access and download the press release and supplementary MCAS highlights.



Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Day of Service at Next Wave/Full Circle

Volunteers from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government were at Next Wave/Full Circle on Saturday, September 12 for a full day of service. An important part of the Harvard Kennedy School’s annual orientation and team-building for new students, the event has provided a day of service and support to local nonprofits and schools for the past 5 years. More than 250 HKS students, staff members, faculty and alumni donated more than 1,200 volunteer hours throughout the Boston area this year. Volunteers spent the day painting and brightening classrooms and hallways to support a great year of learning at NW/FC.


Thank you, HKS Serves, and student Bethany Pierre for a great day of service to Next Wave/Full Circle! To view photos of this service day, visit https://hks.exposure.co/hks-serves-2015.




PEP Talk – Fun at Recess with Playworks

As part of the Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, students across the district will be enjoying new games and fun at school recess with the introduction of Playworks at the Healey, East Somerville, West Somerville, Kennedy, and Argenziano Schools. Playwork’s mission is to work with schools on creating a recess environment that is safe and inclusive. They do this by training “…adults to create fun, safe, and inclusive playgrounds through games and positive group management techniques,” which results in a fun, safe and sustainable program.


Learn more about Somerville PEP and ways in which you and your family can stay healthy and active year-round by visiting http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/pep for more information and a list of resources. The PEP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.




What’s Happening


School Open Houses Wrap Up This Week

Stop in to meet your child’s teacher(s) and find out what their school day will be like this year. Here’s the remaining Open House schedule:

· Kennedy School – Monday, September 28, 6:00-8:00pm

· Winter Hill Community Innovation School – Tuesday, September 29, 6:00-8:00pm

· Capuano Early Childhood Center – Wednesday, September 30, 6:00-8:00pm


Thursday, October 1, 7:30 to 8:00am: Corn Shucking Day!

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, Somerville Public Schools students are invited to shuck local corn alongside school staff, community partners, and parent volunteers on Thursday, October 1st. Farm fresh corn will be served at lunch at every school in the District that afternoon. Corn-shucking takes place at the Capuano, Brown, and every K-8 school in the District from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. Interested volunteers should contact Karyn Novakowski at knovakowski@k12.somerville.ma.us.


Saturday, October 3, 6:00pm: Duhamel Education Initiative 20th Annual Fundraiser Supper

The Duhamel Education Initiative cordially invites you to their 20th Annual Fundraiser Supper to enjoy a delicious pasta and meatball meal Saturday, October 3rd, starting at 6:00pm at the First Church Congregational (89 College Avenue in West Somerville). Ticket donations are $30.00 per family, $12.00 Adults, $9.00 Seniors and $6.00 for children. For more information about this event, contact Doris at (617) 623-3168. Reservations are requested by September 26th. Visit http://www.duhameleducationinitiative.org to learn more about DEI.


Sunday, October 4, 11:00am to 3:00pm: Tufts Community Day

Tufts University invites you to enjoy an early afternoon of family fun at the 13th Annual Tufts Community Day, rain or shine. Activities include a free BBQ lunch, music and dance performances by several groups, fun family-friendly crafts and activities, robotic kits and play dough circuits courtesy of Tufts Engineering STOMP, information tables from community groups in Medford and Somerville, educational displays from Tufts academic departments, and more! Community Day takes place on the green at the top of the hill, on the Tufts University campus. Free parking in the Tufts garage at 419 Boston Avenue. For more information, visit http://communityrelations.tufts.edu/communityday/.
SCAP Hiring Youth Leaders for Somerville Positive Forces (SPF100) Program

SCAP is currently hiring Youth Leaders (High School Age) for their Somerville Positive Forces (SPF100) Program to work as part of a team to promote positive social norms and teen wellness; and address issues related to underage drinking and drug abuse. 

Youth Leaders will meet every Thursday from 3:30pm-5:30pm, Nov-April. 

Leaders will earn 90 volunteer hours and $100 per month! 

Please download the application and job description for more details. Applications are also available for pickup in the Somerville Public Library main branch Teen Room. Return completed applications by 9/30/15 to Lovelee Heller-Bottari, SCAP, 50 Evergreen Avenue, Somerville, MA 02145. Questions? Contact Lovelee at (617) 625-6600, x4322.


Somerville Adult Evening School – Registration Open

Somerville’s Adult Evening Program offers just the course you’ve been waiting for. Registration for fall courses is now open. Register in person at Somerville High (81 Highland Ave.) on September 15, 17, 22, and 24 from 6:00-8:00pm or online at http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/eveningschool. Questions? Call Evening School Principal Sophia Carafotes at (617) 628-2594.


Classes (6:00-9:00pm) begin Tuesday, September 29th and/or Thursday, October 1st. Classes include: Academic Recovery, Driver’s Ed, Sewing, Computers, Spanish, ESL, Real Estate License, Medical Interpretation, Zumba, or YOGA 5. Zumba or YOGA 5 special rates of $25 or $7/walk-in. Why not enroll and begin your fall learning something new?



Upcoming School Events:

Visit your child’s school website, http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/schools, 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 28, 6:00-8:00pm: Kennedy School Open House (5 Cherry St.)

Tuesday, September 29, 6:00-8:00pm: Winter Hill Community Innovation School Open House (115 Sycamore St.)

Tuesday, September 29, 6:30pm: Nature’s Classroom Parent Meeting at the Healey School Library (5 Cherry St.)

September 30-October 2: Kennedy School Scholastic Book Fair (5 Cherry St.)

Wednesday, September 30, 6:00-8:00pm: Capuano Early Childhood Center Open House (150 Glen St.)

Thursday, October 1: SHS Winter Sports Online Registration Opens

Thursday, October 1, 7:30-8:00am: Corn Shucking Day at the Capuano, Brown, and all K-8 Schools in the District


Upcoming Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops and Events

Find a complete list of SFLC events and workshops, and register for upcoming workshops at http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/families/workshops.

Visit http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/playgroups to learn more about Somerville Parent-Child Playgroups for children ages birth to 5 years old, and Parent Support Groups.


Upcoming School Committee Meetings

Find the complete School Committee schedule, agendas and meeting minutes (as approved) online at http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/school_committee.

Monday, September 28, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Monday, October 5, 6:00-6:55pm: Rules Management Subcommittee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Monday, October 5, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Wednesday, October 7, 7:00pm: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)


Community News & Events

Saturday, September 26: 10th Annual Fluff Festival. Union Square Main Streets presents the 10th annual Fluff Festival from 3:00-7:00pm (rain date is Sunday, September 27th). Join in celebrating Archibald Query, who invented Fluff in 1917, and enjoy musical and theatrical performers, games, cooking contest, activities, delicious Fluff treats, and more! Find out more at http://www.flufffestival.com/.

Monday, September 28: Middle School Writer’s Den. Are you a student in grades 5-8 who loves to write? Students in grades 5-8 interested in creative writing are invited to Middle School Writer’s Den on Monday, September 28th from 6:00-7:45pm at the Somerville Public Library’s central branch on Highland Avenue. Free and open to all interested students in grades 5-8. Creative writing includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, school newspaper reporting, whatever your interest. The group meets informally to share writing work, learn some tips and discuss publishing possibilities. There will be writing and discussion of writing. Please bring a short completed piece of writing. Need more information? Contact Alan Ball at (617) 636-9033 or aball@tuftsmedicalcenter.org.

Saturday, October 3: Archaeology Fair at Harvard. From 12:00 to 4:00pm, the Harvard Semitic Museum (6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge) and Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology (11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge) host the Archaeology Fair at Harvard. The Fair will include NeferKITTY the cat mummy, clay artists, spear-throwing demonstrations, an archaeologist, exhibition tours of From the Nile to the Euphrates, and more. Activities are free with museum admission. For more information, visit http://www.hmsc.harvard.edu.

Sunday, October 4: Tufts Community Day. Residents, neighbors and friends are invited to celebrate the 13th annual Community Day on the Tufts University campus. The event will take place on the academic quad at Tufts’ 

Somerville and Medford campus and is co-sponsored by the two cities. Highlights of the day include a complimentary BBQ lunch and refreshments; exhibits, activities and resource information presented by Tufts faculty, departments/organizations, and by Somerville and Medford community groups; tips on safety and fire prevention by police and fire departments; music and dance performances; and family-friendly activities.

Fresh Local Produce at Somerville Mobile Farmers Markets: Check our website Calendar of Events for upcoming Mobile Farmers Markets on Fridays and Saturdays throughout Somerville. The Somerville Mobile Farmers Market sells fresh, local produce at an affordable price. Anyone using SNAP or WIC receives a 50% discount, and a small portion of all full-price purchases supports produce for low-income families. For more information, contact Shape Up Somerville at (617) 625-6600, x4321.

· Fridays, 11:00am-12:30pm @ the Council on Aging (167 Holland St.)

· Fridays, 2:00-3:30pm @ the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore St.)

· Saturdays, 11:00am-12:30pm @ the North Street Housing Development

· Saturdays, 1:00-3:00pm @ the Mystic Housing Development

FREE Technology Skills Classes by Appointment @ SCATV. SCATV wants to help you get comfortable in the digital world with free technology skills classes offered the third Tuesday of each month, 11:00am to 1:00pm. Classes are by appointment only and are offered at SCATV (90 Union Square). Learn Apple Computer Basics, How to Create Picture Slideshows, Google Research, and Internet Navigation. Schedule your appointment by phone by calling Heidi Downing at the Somerville Public Library (617-623-2920) or Erica Jones at SCATV (617-628-8826).

SCATV Media and Video Classes. Want to hone your media production or grant-writing skills? SCATV is offering great classes this fall to help you do just that! Upcoming classes include: Editing with Adobe Premier (Oct. 6, 13, 20, & 27, 7-9pm), and Intro to Studio Production (Oct. 14, 21, 28 & Nov. 4, 7-9pm). Visit http://www.scatvsomerville.org/classes for more info.

School of HONK. School of HONK invites you, your family and your friends to join their band as they prepare for the 10th annual HONK Festival on Saturday, October 10 (2 performances in Davis Square) and Sunday, October 11 (parade down Mass Avenue and performance in Harvard Square). We play really fun songs, with some very simple parts for beginners, and more challenging parts for those with more experience. Check us out here. We have extra brass and reed instruments to loan if people need them to borrow, just let us know what you want to play. Practice Dates:

· Wednesday afternoons 9/30, 10/6, 3:00-4:30 pm @ Cuisine en Locale (156 Highland Ave, Somerville)

· Sunday afternoons 9/27, 10/4, 3:00-5:00 pm, VFW Dilboy Hall (371 Summer St, Somerville)

For more information, contact schoolofhonk@gmail.com or visit http://schoolofhonk.org

Somerville Youth Hockey’s Learn to Skate (LTS) and Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH) Clinics. Rolling registration begins Saturday, October 17th, at the Veterans Memorial Rink on Somerville Avenue, and will run every Saturday until early March. LTS begins at 8 a.m.; LTPH at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $90 for Somerville residents/$150 for non-residents. Make checks payable to Somerville Youth Hockey Association. All skaters must use hockey skates (no figure skates allowed) and wear a hockey helmet with face cage. Elbow and knee pads are also recommended. Questions? Please contact David Zraket at dzraket@somervilleyouthhockey.org.

Youth Arts Arise: Registration for the fall program is now open! Fall sessions are October 6th to December 9th; workshops will run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:00pm. Youth Arts Arise is a free afterschool arts education project for students from ages 11 to 19. Participants can explore creativity in a wide range of artistic mediums and disciplines. Workshop themes encourage positive self-express while exploring a multitude of cultures and traditions, embracing diversity while simultaneously working towards a better understanding of individual identity. To learn more, visit http://artsatthearmory.org/learn/youth-arts-arise/.


Looking Ahead

A look at some of the events/activities in the Somerville Public Schools that are taking place in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 5: Rules Management and Subcommittee Meeting

Monday, October 5: Regular School Committee Meeting

Wednesday, October 7: Half-Day Wednesday (preK dismissal at 11:30; K-8 dismissal at noon)

Wednesday, October 7: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting

Thursday, October 8: Salad Bar Day – Farm to School Project

Thursday, October 8: Healey School pre-K to Grade 2 Field Trip

Thursday, October 8: Healey Grade 6 Family Breakfast

Friday, October 9: No School for Students – Professional Development Day

Monday, October 12: School Holiday – Columbus Day (all schools and district offices closed)

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