Connections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools – October 23, 2015


Want to share a skill or support our schools and students in some other way? Join our volunteer team! Learn more by visiting or contact Jen Capuano at



News & Notes


The Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

By: Betsey Reardon, UNIDOS Program Development Specialist

Each year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15. We honor the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.


On Friday October 16, the 6th -8th graders at the East Somerville Community School (ESCS) were treated to a presentation by the ESCS and the UNIDOS Program, in the school auditorium. Reports on famous Latin Americans, poetry by Julia Alvarez, inspiring words from Somerville leader Susana Hernandez Morgan, and a guest operatic performance of ‘Mi Aldea’ by Felix Caraballo brought the students and staff clear examples of the important accomplishments of Latinos in Somerville and throughout the United States. 

Somerville High School Seniors Career Explorations

Nearly 250 Somerville High School seniors participated in a Career Explorations event last week featuring several community volunteers. The College and Career Readiness event was moderated by SHS Guidance Counselor Paula Monahan, and offered seniors an opportunity to learn more about a variety of careers as they prepare for their post-high school transition.


The panelists—all Somerville residents—provided thoughtful and candid insights about their college and career experiences, sharing specifics about why they’re excited about their work, and the education, skills and knowledge required to succeed at what they do. Each of the panelists shared specifics about their work, what a typical day might involve, and career and college advice learned through their experiences. Students also heard about professional challenges panelists may have faced, panelists’ abilities to tap into other interests that they didn’t think possible in their current fields, the indirect trajectories panelists may have taken en route to their current fields, and the range of earning and growth potential in their fields.
Fields represented at this event included school athletics management, engineering, accounting, computer programming, health care project management, research, law enforcement, college educator and artist, beauty salon business ownership, web design and social media, aerospace regulation, yoga instructor and dancer, pharmaceutical scientist, interior commercial design, and business entrepreneur. 
Students were encouraged to ask questions, and feedback from students was enthusiastic and thoughtful with several asking for more information and wanting to learn more about a particular field. Several students met one-on-one with panelists following the presentation, and were provided with contact information for follow-up.            


Thank you to the following community volunteers for sharing their time and knowledge with students: Rahul Bhargava, Elizabeth Cafiero Fonseca, Chandra Cantor, Tara Fitzgerald, Kevin Galang, Anita Hastir, Marianne Manfra, Elizabeth Meek, Nate Mihelis, Steven Novick, Nicole Viele, and Beth Villarreal.  


A second Career Explorations event is scheduled for December 12th.


Individuals interested in sharing their professions with students, including after school experiential learning trips and in-school career presentations, are encouraged to self-register as a Somerville Public Schools Volunteer. Visit and select Apply Online to become a SPS Volunteer. Be sure to select your field. 


If you have not yet been matched with a weekly volunteer opportunity with the Somerville Public Schools, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jen Capuano or call 617-629-5475. There are many opportunities to connect with students through weekly one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, homework support, and exciting after school programs. Thank you for Serving and Inspiring with Somerville Public Schools!



PEP Talk – Celebrating National Food Day and Nutrition Education

On Friday, October 23rd, Somerville Public Schools will celebrate National Food Day 2015 with a Local Harvest Day in all of our school cafeterias. The school lunch menu will include a sustainably harvested regionally sourced fish, accompanied by local winter squash and local apples. Celebrations such as Food Day and Farm to School Month provide students an opportunity to learn about the importance of healthy eating and locally-harvested food products, as well as to establish a connection between what they eat and our local economy. Somerville’s Food Day celebration includes numerous events throughout the City. For details, recipes, tips and more visit the Somerville Food Day blog ( Learn more about National Food Day 2015 at


Superintendent Skipper ‘Featured Educator’ on MassCUE

Somerville Superintendent of Schools, Mary Skipper, shares her thoughts on education, technology, and what she’s passionate about as this month’s ‘Featured Educator’ on MassCUE’s On Cue Online newsletter. Read all about it at



What’s Happening


Somerville 2015 ‘Hour of Code’ – Be Part of a Great Experience!

Between December 7th and December 13th, every student in Somerville will experience the thrill of learning computer programming! This amazing event is called the ‘Hour of Code’ and it will give our students the opportunity to learn the basics of computer science. Software and computers are everywhere, and these basics help nurture creativity, problem-solving skills, and prepare our students for any future career. Please join us!


You don’t need to be a computer expert to volunteer. In fact, last year we had volunteers from some of the best technology companies on the planet–Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Uber, and Amazon working alongside parents and other community partners. Thanks to this amazing public/private partnership, Somerville won the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Mass Technology Leadership Council – see


To be a part of this event, register to volunteer at Get more information on the ‘Hour of Code’ at


Somerville Early Childhood Literacy Fair

Save the Date! Somerville’s ‘oh-so-fun-and-popular’ Early Childhood Literacy Fair will take place on Saturday, November 21st, from 10:00am to noon at the Healey School Gymnasium (5 Meacham St.). This FREE family event, sponsored by the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) and SomerPromise, offers families information about the many resources available to Somerville families with young children. The event will include an opportunity for families to explore books with their children, participate in a wide variety of family literacy activities, arts and crafts, and enjoy presentations by local museums. The theme of this year’s event is Health and Wellness, so be on the look-out for our visiting veggies! Hope to see you there.


Somerville Adult Learning

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 6:00-8:00pm or online at Classes include Academic Recovery, Driver’s Ed, Sewing, Computers, Spanish, ESL, Real Estate License, Medical Interpretation, Zumba or Yoga. Call Evening School Principal Sophia Carafotes at (617) 628-2594. 


Mark your calendars for a FREE LECTURE on:

Estate Planning and Asset Protection for 55+

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00pm

with Attorney Thomas Colonna

and Attorney Filippo Mastrocola

@ Somerville High School, 81 Highland Avenue

Bring a friend and your questions!

Also offering:

· Real Estate Sales Certification – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9pm

· Yoga – Thursdays, 7:15-8:15pm (5 classes for $30 or $7 walk-in)

· Spanish – Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00pm

· Driver’s Ed – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9pm


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.

Friday, October 23: Local Harvest Day – Somerville Farm to School Project at all District schools

Friday, October 23: ESCS Grades 7 & 8 Field Trip to the Boston Museum of Science

Friday, October 23, 6:00-8:00pm: WSNS PTA Harvest Festival Family Dance at the West Somerville Neighborhood School Cafeteria (177 Powderhouse Blvd.)

Saturday, October 24, 10:00am-1:00pm: Healey Garden Volunteer Work Day at the Healey School Garden (5 Meacham St.)

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

Monday, October 26: Healey Grade 6 Field Trip to Biogen

Monday, October 26: Healey Grade 3 Field Trip to Plimouth Plantation

Monday-Friday, October 26-30: Healey Grades 5 & 6 Field Trip to Nature’s Classroom

Monday-Friday, October 26-30: Somerville Farm to School “School Garden Week”

Tuesday, October 27, 8:30am: Kennedy Parent Coffee Hour at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Wednesday, October 28, 8:30-9:30am: WSNS Principal Coffee Hour at the West Somerville Neighborhood School Cafeteria (177 Powderhouse Blvd.)

Friday, October 30: Pajama Day at the Capuano Early Childhood Center (150 Glen St.)

Friday, October 30, 1:00-2:20pm: ESCS Grades K-4 Harvest Book Character Parade to Windsor House

Friday, October 30, 6:00-8:00pm: Kennedy Kids’ Nite Out (K-6) at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Saturday, October 31: SHS Winter Sports Online Registration Closes


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.

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, November 2, 6:00-6:55pm: Rules Management Subcommittee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Monday, November 2, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)


Community News & Events

Saturday, October 24th, 10:00am-1:00pm – Healey School Garden Work Day. Let’s Dig! Parents and members of the Healey community interested in being involved with the garden are invited to participate in a volunteer work day event at the Healey Garden on Saturday, October 24th. Help plan perennials, prune, weed, mulch, stain the shed and garden mural, and ready the garden beds for winter. For more information about the event and ways to engage students in the garden throughout the school year, contact Please wear work clothes and plan to get dirty! Kids welcome! Gloves, tools and materials will be provided.

Sunday, October 25th, Tufts’ Annual Halloween on the Hill. The Tufts Leonard Carmichael Society hosts its annual Halloween on the Hill event for students in grades K-2 this Sunday from 10:00am to 3:00pm at the Carmichael Hall. All children MUST be pre-registered to participate. For more information and to register online, visit

Tuesday, October 27th, Latino Open House and Photo Exhibit. Explore a photo exhibit by Mario Quiroz celebrating the contributions of Somerville’s Latino community, and enjoy Latino music, art, and culture at an opening reception to be held Tuesday, October 27th at City Hall. Learn more about this special celebration at 

Sunday, November 1st, 12:00-4:00pm – Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Family Event. Families can enjoy hands-on activities, folk dance, live music, and craft demonstrations at this Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead family event at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology (11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge). Decorate a sugar skull, try a traditional snack, or design a message to place on the altar. Experience the customs that make this holiday a joyful celebration. Free with museum admission; sugar skull craft $5 extra. Visit for more information.

MasterChef Junior is Now Casting! MasterChef is looking for talented young home cooks in America, ages 8-13 (as of April 1, 2016) for an upcoming casting call in Boston! The casting call will be Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, 9am to 5pm at the Hyatt Regency on 1 Ave. de Lafayette. Minors attending an Open Call MUST be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times. To apply and learn more, visit

Final Weekend for Somerville Mobile Farmers Markets: 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.

· Friday, 10/23, 11:00am-12:30pm @ the Council on Aging (167 Holland St.)

· Friday, 10/23, 2:00-3:30pm @ the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore St.)

· Saturday, 10/24, 11:00am-12:30pm @ the North Street Housing Development

· Saturday, 10/24, 1:00-3:00pm @ the Mystic Housing Development

SCATV Media and Video Classes. Hone your media production skills at SCATV! Upcoming classes include: Editing with Adobe Premier (Oct. 27, 7-9pm), and Intro to Studio Production (Oct. 28 & Nov. 4, 7-9pm). Visit for more information.

Somerville Youth Hockey’s Learn to Skate (LTS) and Learn to Play Hockey (LTPH) Clinics. Rolling registration at the Veterans Memorial Rink on Somerville Avenue runs 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

The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy invites you to learn to skate at the Somerville Campus. Classes available for anyone ages 4 through adults, and are held at the Founders Memorial Arena located at 570 Somerville Avenue. Somerville classes available Saturdays and Tuesdays. Learn more and register at

Youth Arts Arise. Registration for the Youth Arts Arise free afterschool arts education fall program for students ages 11 to 19 is still open! Fall sessions are October 6th to December 8th; 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

Expressive Explorers. This Arts at the Armory program is an 8-week series of drop-in workshops on Thursdays from October 22nd to December 17th, 9:00 to 11:00 am (except Thanksgiving). Parents and toddlers ages 18 months to 5 years can express creativity through a wide range of hands-on art activities. Join the fun each week or just a few times, and drop in at your convenience anytime during each session. No registration is required. Suggested donation of $5. Visit for more info.


Looking Ahead

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

Tuesday, November 3: NO SCHOOL for Students; Election Day and Staff Professional Development Day

Thursday, November 5: Kennedy School Harvest Festival

Friday, November 6: Kennedy School Middle Grades Dance

Monday, November 9: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds workshop

Tuesday, November 10: ESCS PTA/Principal Roundtables

Tuesday, November 10: WSNS Cultural Heritage Night Potluck

Wednesday, November 11: SCHOOL HOLIDAY – Veteran’s Day

Thursday, November 12: Serve & Inspire Volunteer Orientation

Thursday, November 12: Meet the Superintendent/Rankontre Sipeentandan an

Thursday, November 12: SFLC Parent Chat – Toys, TV and other Technology

Friday, November 13: ESCS Quarterly PTA Meeting


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