Connections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools – October 30, 2015



Please remember to turn your clocks back one hour this weekend. Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00am on Sunday, November 1st.  

News & Notes

 Somerville High’s Joe Tarello Inducted into MA Science Educators Hall of Fame

Science Educator’s Hall of Fame Induction – 1Longtime Somerville High School science teacher Joe Tarello was one of only five educators from across the Commonwealth to be inducted into the prestigious Massachusetts Science Educators Hall of Fame this year. Mr. Tarello was recognized for his “extraordinary contributions to the advancement of education in the sciences” during an induction ceremony at the Massachusetts Science Education Leadership Association fall conference held on Friday, October 23rd.


Mr. Tarello has filled numerous roles throughout his tenure at Somerville High School, including lead science teacher, mentor teaching, acting Science Department Head, National Honor Society advisor, student council advisor, and Science Fair coordinator. In fact, Mr. Tarello has been the SHS Science Fair coordinator for the past 51 years! He began his education career as a chemistry teacher at Somerville High in 1964, and continues to demonstrate a true passion for science and education, and an unparalleled dedication to every student with whom he works. 


“Joe’s ability to inspire others to learn, coupled with his unwavering dedication and commitment to science education in Somerville, in Massachusetts, and beyond have made him an extremely effective and successful educator. I cannot imagine an educator more deserving of the honor,” stated SHS Science Department Chair Karen Woods who, along with Elm Housemaster and former Science department chair Sibby Lagambina, accompanied Mr. Tarello to the induction ceremony and celebration.


Among the extensive list of selection criteria for induction into the Hall of Fame are a minimum of 20 years involvement in science education in Massachusetts, evidence of enthusiastic and continual search for knowledge, evidence of leadership in science education, and evidence of long-term impact on students. Congratulations to Mr. Tarello for this well-earned honor and much-deserved recognition, and thank you for your tremendous commitment to Somerville youth!



Harvard College Ocean Sciences Club Rocks at Winter Hill Community Innovation School

by Jen Capuano, SPS Volunteer Coordinator

For the last two Tuesdays, students at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School were throwing a ball in their classroom, passing rocks, and wondering how on earth pumice can weigh so little. Alvaro Valle, a member of Harvard College’s Ocean Sciences Club, volunteered to present one in a series of marine sciences presentations tailored to students’ science curriculum and teachers’ feedback. Valle and his brother Emiliano have developed presentations across grades, including ABC’s of Oceanography, Marine Invertebrates, Climate Change and others, all tailored to students’ science curriculum and accompanied by interactive props, vocabulary review and built-in time for questions and discussion.       


“Our club believes that these are topics that students might not be fully aware of yet, but are vitally important to understanding our planet’s future and how we impact our planet,” said Emiliano. “We hope that our presentations expose students to 

  science that excites them, and introduces them to future career options. Since marine science is interdisciplinary, our presentations can tie in well with basic science and social sciences that the students have covered.”


Questions and dialogue ensued throughout the presentation, with new vocabulary introduced with an idea, followed by a vocabulary review after each part of the presentation. Pictures and graphics helped students visualize new concepts, and students were encouraged to share what they already knew. 


Asked why he was in their classroom, Alvaro responded: “I love science and both of my parents are oceanographers. I wanted to bring my love of marine sciences and try to relay it in a way that’s exciting and personal.”


Additional presentations are being scheduled with Somerville High School’s Oceanography and Environmental Sciences classes. Educators interested in scheduling a presentation or learning more may contact SPS Volunteer Coordinator Jen Capuano at or call (617) 629-5475.



 PEP Talk – Cycle Kids

Each year across the district, 5th grade students participate in the CYCLE Kids program offered through the Health & Physical Education department. The program is designed to teach students a practical skill that they can use throughout their lifetimes. They learn not only how to ride a bike, but working in partnership with the Somerville Police Department, students also learn basic bicycle maintenance skills and how to ride a bike safely.


The 5th grade students at the Argenziano School began the program a few weeks ago and are quickly showing progress. Some students began the program already knowing how to ride a bike, others were learning for the first time. All students are taught how to properly fit a helmet as well as the hand signals to use when riding to indicate when they are taking a turn or stopping. The hard work by the K-8 physical education staff put into making the program happen seems best rewarded when a student who may have never been on a bike before starts to pedal on their own for the first time after only a few weeks of the program. The Cycle Kids program is, however, not only about the practical skills of riding a bike but the confidence that students build.


The PEP grant has supported expansion of the Cycle Kids program in our District through the purchase of additional bicycles and helmets for students to use and the building of racks to facilitate bike storage. Learn more about Somerville PEP and ways in which you and your family can stay healthy and active year-round by visiting The PEP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


Scrapheap Showdown

Read all about this year’s Scrapheap Showdown, and how a record 18 teams of students “sorted things out” in this annual friendly competition that pits teams against each other for prizes and bragging rights. Read all about it at:


What’s Happening


Somerville Storywalks!

Celebrate Family Literacy Month throughout November with a Storywalk! All month, Storywalks will be available in outdoor locations across the city. Take a walk and read a story – a fun way for families, caregivers and educators to encourage outdoor activity, while at the same time supporting literacy for young children. Here’s where you can enjoy a fun and inspiring Storywalk in November:

· Capuano Early Childhood Center (150 Glen Street)

· Cummings School (42 Prescott Street)

· Central Hill Park/Somerville Central Library (79 Highland Avenue)

· Hodgkins-Curtin Park (Holland Street)


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 opportunities 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 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 during Somerville’s 2015 Hour of Code event! Between December 7th and December 13th students will have 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. We hope you 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 Adult Learning

Learn to drive and reduce your insurance rates!

Somerville Evening School is offering its second session of Driver’s Education


Where: Somerville High School – 81 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA

When: Starting November 10th for 5 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday 6pm – 9pm

Register at SHS: Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm – 9pm, Oct. 29th to Nov. 10th

Register Online:
Initial registration fee is $60, with additional tuition costs available online.



Upcoming School & District 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.

Saturday, October 31: SHS Winter Sports Online Registration Closes

Monday-Wednesday, November 2-4: Nature’s Classroom – Brown School

Tuesday, November 3: No School for Students – Election Day/Staff Professional Development Day

Thursday, November 5, 2:45-4:00pm: Kennedy Harvest Festival at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Friday, November 6, 6:00-8:00pm: Kennedy Middle School Dance (Grades 6-8) at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

Monday, November 9, 6:00-7:30pm: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds Workshop at the Mystic Learning Center (530 Mystic Ave.)


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, November 9, 6:00-7:30pm: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds – Join the SFLC and the Mystic Learning Center for the first in a series of workshops focused on student learning and family fitness. Sponsored in collaboration with Somerville’s Physical Education Program (PEP).

Thursday, November 12, 6:00-7:00pm: Meet the Superintendent/Rankontre Sipèentandan an – Join us at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powderhouse Blvd.) for an opportunity to speak with Superintendent Mary Skipper. A facilitated discussion will be held in English and Haitian Creole. Interpretation is available upon request.


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.)

Tuesday, November 10, 6:00pm: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)

Tuesday, November 10, 7:00pm: Educational Programs and Instruction Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)


Community News & Events

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

SCATV Media and Video Classes. Hone your media production skills at SCATV! Upcoming classes include: Intro to Studio Production (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.

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 Sipèentandan an

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

Friday, November 13: ESCS Quarterly PTA Meeting



Have something to share with the community? Send information to to share an event. Please note that we look for events and programs that support youth development. 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



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.