Connections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools – October 2, 2015



The leaves are starting to turn and the air is crisp; there’s no denying that New England fall has arrived! Bundle up and enjoy a variety of community events and activities. Check the Community News & Events listing below.



News & Notes


Somerville Kicks off Farm to School Month with Annual Corn-Shucking Event

Students, staff members, community partners, and parent volunteers kicked off the start of Farm to School Month by shucking an estimated 3,000 ears of corn during its annual Corn Shucking event held on Thursday, October 1st, at schools throughout the District. Corn Shucking teams everywhere were hard at work starting at 7:30 Thursday morning to get the 3,000 ears of local corn from Tavares Farm in South Dartmouth shucked and ready for students to enjoy fresh corn on the cob at lunch that day. This mammoth task was made possible through the collaborative work of students and teachers, parent volunteers, Food & Nutrition services staff members, custodial staff members, and awesome community partners including Groundwork Somerville, Shape Up Somerville, UMass Extension, and Physical Education Program (PEP), who worked side-by-side to ensure that it was a positive learning experience for all.

For many, the anticipation of this annual event had them at school early, eager to partake in the fun. They arrived before 7:30 as the corn shucking areas were being set up and stayed until it was time to go to class. One student fondly recalled how his grandfather used to shuck corn daily on his farm in Puerto Rico, while another shared how he had enjoyed shucking corn with his family in Brazil this summer. Some parents and students also had a little creative fun, making mustaches out of the corn silk. In the end, students learned about teamwork, locally sourced products, and how a delicious and healthy food item gets from the farm to their plate.






SHS Environmental Science Classes Explore Mt. Auburn Cemetery


Field Trip-Mt. Auburn Cemetery-group pic sans MM

Students in Ms.Quigley’s Environmental Science classes at Somerville High School, on a recent field trip to Mt. Auburn Cemetery.


For the first time this year, Somerville High School is offering Environmental Science classes (AP and College Prep). On September 28th this year, students in Ms. Quigley’s Environmental Science classes took a field trip to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge to learn about Mt. Auburn’s ecosystem. In their words, here are some of the things students learned through their exploratory work:

· “… that this area has a really diverse ecosystem. I also learned that many famous people are buried at this cemetery.” -J.D.

· “… how to measure the diameter of a tree.” -V.F.

· “… that algae [lichen, and fungi] on a tree shows that the air is clean.” -R.J.

· “… that as the years went on people began to live much longer.” – K.B.

· “… that turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid.” -D.K.

· “… how to test for Dissolved Oxygen and that with a little silence you can see a world that you’ve never experienced before.” – N.E.


Learn about Healthy Snacking in the Latest FNS Newsletter

Get some simple tips on identifying and preparing healthy snacks for your children and yourself. How about a tasty snack tray? Learn this and more in the latest edition of Somerville’s Food & Nutrition Services ‘Empowering Mindful Eaters’ Newsletter at




PEP Talk – Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK)

On October 9, Patty Lanier from the SPARK Institutes, University of Florida, will present a new and exciting participatory workshop for physical educators and after school staff members. The goal of SPARK, which is funded through the PEP (Physical Education Program) grant is to assist Somerville schools and organizations that work with youth to collaborate enabling our “kids” to get at least one hour of physical activity per day! SPARK enters its second year of implementation with professional development and support for school, afterschool, and recreation program teachers. The October 9 program for staff will be a refresher for some, while expanding and reinforcing prior SPARK initiatives.


Starting off, SPARK lessons “build a foundation” for learning by addressing boundaries and routines, activity from the start, involvement by all, instructional cues, and supervision and feedback. Activities are fun and active! For an Active As Soon as Possible (ASAP) start to a lesson, one might see, “Meet Me in the Middle”. This is an active warm up in which students jog to the middle, meet a partner and perform a task (high 5, jump and turn, jump and high 10, do-si-do, swing on elbows), jog back, and each time add a task to the old one!


Social skills are a primary focus in SPARK. Those introduced and practiced are: K – kindness and caring, 1 – courtesy and showing appreciation, 2 – self-control and respect for others, 3 – responsibility and helpfulness, 4 – encouragement and acceptance of personal differences, 5 – competition and positive disagreement, 6 – sharing ideas and compromise, 7-8 responsibility, respect, acceptance and appreciation. All students learn and use “rock, paper, scissors” to solve issues of sharing, taking turns, and resolving disagreements. All students are included by starting the year with fun and humorous physical activities involving trust and cooperation. During “Hog Call,” for example, blind-folded partners find one another using only their specific animal sounds! In “Designated Driver,” one partner steers their blind-folded partner through obstacles. In “Stepping Stones,” groups strategize to move from one place to another with specific rules and without touching the ground!


What about tag? “Partner tag”, “double tag”, “flag tag”, “triangle tag”, “four corners scramble”, “elbow tag”, “tunnel tag”, “side by side tag”, “addition tag”, “hospital tag”, “catch the dragon’s tail tag”, and “clothes pin tag” are just a few in the tag repertoire of our students and teachers. There are no longer “I’m safe areas,” and there’s always a quick way to re-enter after being tagged. “TAG! YOU’RE IT!”


Visit to learn more about SPARK. Learn more about Somerville PEP and ways in which you and your family can stay healthy and active year-round by visiting 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


Somerville Adult Evening School – Registration Open

There’s no better time than now to learn something new or hone a skill! Sign up for a Somerville Adult Evening School course. Register in person at the SHS Main Office (81 Highland Ave.) Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:00-9:00pm or online at Questions or suggestions for teaching a new course? Call Evening School Principal Sophia Carafotes at (617) 628-2594. Current course offerings include: 

Tuesday Nights

· Spanish 6-8pm

· Computers 6-8pm

Thursday Nights (walk in $7 or 5 classes for $30)

· Zumba 6-7pm

· YOGA 7:15-8:15pm

Both Tuesday and Thursday Nights

· Drivers Ed 6-9pm    

· Medical Interpretation 6-9pm

· Real Estate 6-9pm 

· Sewing 6-8pm

· Academic Recovery 6-9pm in person or online at home.


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

The Duhamel Education Initiative will be holding their 20th Annual Fundraiser Supper this Saturday. Enjoy a delicious pasta and meatball meal, starting at 6:00pm at the First Church Congregational (89 College Ave., Somerville). Ticket donations are $30.00 per family, $12.00 Adults, $9.00 Seniors and $6.00 for children. For more information, contact Doris at (617) 623-3168. Visit to learn more about DEI.


October 21 & 22: SCALE Orientations – Learn how to get your HiSET

SCALE’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) program teaches reading, writing and math skills in addition to providing the academic skills needed to take and pass the HiSET. Learn how to enroll in classes to get your HiSET by attending a SCALE orientation. Orientations will be held at 167 Holland Street in Somerville (02144), and are scheduled for:

· Wednesday, October 21, 2015 – 6:30 to 8:00pm

· Thursday, October 22, 2015 – 9:30 to 11:00am

Registration is required. Please call (617) 629-5500 to register.


Somerville is Looking for Crossing Guards

If you’re looking for a way to support Somerville students, this may be just the right opportunity! Crossing Guards provide essential public safety by ensuring safe student crossing at intersections along the routes to school. Salary is $33.66 per day. Click here for more information. Applications are available and must be submitted at the City Hall Personnel Office, located at 93 Highland Avenue in Somerville. Inquiries can be sent to School Safety Officer Sean Sylvester at (617) 625-1600, ext. 7248 or by email at



Upcoming School Events:

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, October 5: Picture Day at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Wednesday, October 7: Half-Day Wednesday (pre-K students dismissed at 11:30; K-8 students dismissed at noon)

Thursday, October 8: Somerville Farm to School Salad Bar Day @ all K-8 schools and Somerville High School.

Thursday, October 8: Healey preK-2 Field Trip to Parlee Farms

Thursday, October 8, 8:30am: Healey Grade 6 Family Breakfast at the Healey School Science Lab (5 Meacham St.)

Friday, October 9: NO SCHOOL for SPS STUDENTS – staff professional development day

Monday, October 12: SCHOOL HOLIDAY – Columbus Day. All Schools and District Offices will be CLOSED.


Upcoming Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops and Events

Find a complete list of SFLC events and workshops, and register for upcoming workshops at

Visit to learn more about Somerville Parent-Child Playgroups for children ages birth to 5 years old, and Parent Support Groups.

Thursday, October 15, 6:00-7:00pm: SFLC Parent Chat: Challenging Behaviors at the Cummings School building (42 Prescott St.)

Monday, October 26, 6:30-8:30pm: Special Education District Update at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Wednesday, October 28, 8:30-9:30am: SFLC Charlas para Padres/Conversa com os Pais – A parenting conversation in Spanish and Portuguese, at the Capuano School (150 Glen St.)

Thursday, October 29, 6:00-7:00pm: Conozca al Superintendente/Conheca o Superintendente – A facilitated discussion with the Superintendent of Schools, Mary Skipper, held in Spanish and Portuguese with English interpretation available. At the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.)


Upcoming School Committee Meetings

Find the complete School Committee schedule, agendas and meeting minutes (as approved) online at

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.)

Tuesday, October 13, 7:00pm: Educational Programs and Instruction Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)

Monday, October 19, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Wednesday, October 21, 7:00pm: School Committee Meeting for Long Range Planning at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)


Community News & Events

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

Sunday, October 4th, 11:00am to 3:00pm – Tufts’ Annual 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, 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

Saturday, October 17th, 11:00am to 3:30pm – Navigation Addiction – A Community Forum: The Alex Foster Foundation invites you to a free educational event for parents, adolescents, educators, and other professionals who are interested in learning more about addiction – covering topics from risk factors to prevention to dual diagnosis. Speakers include D. Peter Collins (C.A.S.P.A.R.), Dr. Hilary Connery (McLean Hospital), Dr. Brandon Bergman (MGH), Paul Kusiak, parent (BOD M.O.A.R.). Featuring a Special Session for Youth facilitated by Dr. John Teal and Dr. John Rodolico (McLean Hospital). Event takes place at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross Street) from 11:00 am to 3:30pm. For more information, visit

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. 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. Hone your media production or grant-writing skills at SCATV! 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 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 or visit

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

Youth Arts Arise: Registration for the Youth Arts Arise free afterschool arts education fall program for students ages 11 to 19 is now open! Fall sessions are October 6th to December 9th; workshops run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:00pm. Participants can explore creativity in a wide range of artistic mediums and disciplines. To learn more, visit


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

Wednesday, October 21: Half-Day Wednesday (PreK students dismissed at 11:30; K-8 students dismissed at noon)

Thursday, October 22: SHS Fall College Fair

Friday, October 23: Local Harvest Day – Somerville Farm to School Project

Monday, October 26: Special Education District Update



Have something to share with the community? Send information to to share your event.

Include date, time and name of event, along with any additional pertinent information. Or, submit your event to



Susana Hernandez Morgan

Director of Communications and Grants

Somerville Public Schools

42 Cross Street

Somerville, MA 02145


Internal office extension: 6013



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