Connections: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools 



Please join the ‘visiting veggies’ this Saturday at the Somerville Early Childhood Literacy Fair at the Healey School. See What’s Happening for details.



News & Notes


82 SHS Seniors Earn John & Abigail Adams Scholarship Awards

Eighty-two Somerville High School seniors qualified for John & Abigail Adams scholarships this year. To be eligible, starting with the class of 2016 students had to score Advanced in one of the three high school state assessment tests (Math, English Language Arts, Science/Technology/Engineering) and score Proficient or Advanced on the remaining 2 tests. Students must also have a combined score in all 3 tests that ranks in the District’s top 25%. Recipients of a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship award are eligible for a non-need based tuition waiver to one of 27 participating institutions. Award recipients must enroll full-time in a participating public college or university, must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and annually complete the FAFSA for continuing eligibility. For a list of participating institutions and additional information about the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship, visit


Congratulations to this year’s SHS John and Abigail Adams Scholarship award winners:

Miguel Aguilar, Neha Amatya, Haley Aronson, Paulo H. Azevedo, Alyvia Baker, Fattouma Bekali, Cesar Benavides, Justin Berry, Anmol Bhargo, Ashutosh Bhargo, Christina Bissereth, Brianna Bravo, Bukhari Brown, Allyson Caprigno, Younes Charane, Fru’nwi Che, Yuen-Ning Che, Keren Colarullo, Lin Feng Collins, Anna Cooleybeck, Alexander Costa, Karina Cruz, Andre Dangi, Bianca DeBarros, Tori DeFarias, Davis Downie, Nickolas Eliadis, Anthony Flores, Aaron Form, Yaritza Funes, Cristian Garcia, Joshua Gauyo, Shayna Harrington, Paul Anthony Hart, Joy Jarnagin, Vincent Jiang, Mandeep Kaur, Shreyek Khadka, Sarthak Khanal, Ila Lama, Pericles Liapis, Bruna Lino, Kristie Lino, Brigid Long, Pratik Maharjan, Navdeep Maini, Catherine Marquez, Beatriz Martins, Maureen McNabb, Lexi Melo, Brooke Metivier, Evan Morales, Nicole Morales, Jeremy Nelson, LeighAnn Nguyen, Donovan Palmer, Gabriel Parreira, Denise Pimentel, Christian Quadros, William Quan, Naomi Rafal, Brazeen Ranjit, Miranda Rego, Alexis Ripley, Anmol Saini, Christian Santos, Henry Schneiderbeck, Anjila Shrestha, Diksha Shrestha, Joanne Simon, Selena Sounlamphant, Benjamin Stevens, Molly Swanton, Jehan Tavares-Mathurin, Isabella Teixeira, Samira Teixeira, Shayla Tran, Michael Vaglica, Kristynna Valdes, Stephanie West, Brianna Williams, Karen Zeferino.


World Language Clubs Visit Berklee Performance Center

Somerville High School students in the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese/Brazilian Clubs recently enjoyed a Flamenco performance during a visit to the Berklee Performance Center. The students enjoyed a beautiful traditional Flamenco dance performance by Paco Peña Flamenco Company. Paco Peña is a Spanish flamenco composer and guitarist, and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional flamenco players. To learn more about this iconic “guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer, and artistic mentor”, visit his website at:  


Healey School Fifth Grade Students Interview New Superintendent of Schools, Mary Skipper

Earlier this year Ellie Churchill and Ryan Mack, fifth grade students at the Arthur D. Healey School, had an opportunity to visit with new Superintendent of Schools Mary Skipper. They conducted an in-depth interview with the Superintendent, gaining her perspective on a wide range of topics including school lunches, sports, arts, technology, homework, and more. Their article was published in The Somerville Times. Learn what they found out during their interview with the District’s new Superintendent of Schools at:



Somerville Public Schools Students Participate in Computer Science Education Week Kickoff Event at Massachusetts State House

On Tuesday, November 17th, Somerville Public Schools students and teachers participated in a Massachusetts State House event with the Legislative Tech Caucus to promote Computer Science Education Week. During the 4-hour event, students had an opportunity to hear from and interact with state legislators, and work with legislators and aides including Somerville State Senator Pat Jehlen, on hands-on Hour of Code activities.


Last year, under the guidance of Charlie LaFauci – SPS Supervisor of Library/Media Services, Shawn Stzurma – Brown School parent and Director of Financial Services Solutions at Pegasystems, Marie Foreman – Math Department Chair at SHS, all district Library Media Specialists, and Math teachers at Somerville High School, Somerville Public Schools earned the MassTech Leadership Council’s “Distinguished Leadership” award. The award recognized Somerville’s leadership in providing every student in the district the opportunity to learn the basics of coding during the 2014 Somerville Hour of Code event. Learn more about Somerville’s 2014 event at


Plans are well under way for the 2015 Somerville Hour of Code event, which will take place at every school in the District during the week of December 7th through 13th. Interested community members are invited to be part of this outstanding initiative. Register to volunteer at Learn more about the Hour of Code at



Somerville High School Building Project

Visit the Somerville High School Building Committee website ( to stay up-to-date on this exciting project.


PEP Talk – Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds at the Mystic Learning Center

The Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) and the Mystic Learning Center (MLC) recently partnered on a Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds workshop for families, which included a delicious and healthy meal from Dave’s Fresh Pasta, and opportunities to discuss PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) in the schools and physical activity programming offered in afterschool programs and throughout the community.


Families were introduced to PBIS by Barbara Strell, a staff member at the Arthur D. Healey School. Families then engaged in several fun SPARK activities led by Nick Ortolani who works at the Mystic Learning Center. The SPARK program is being implemented both during the school day as well as at school-based and community-based afterschool programs. SPARK implementation is part of the Physical Education Program’s (PEP) goal of strategically aligning and increasing physical activity programming offered to our students. The evening culminated with an interactive PARKOUR demonstration that had workshop participants jumping, balancing, and swinging their way around the room!

The Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds events are an ongoing series of workshops offered as part of a partnership between SLFC, PEP, and the afterschool programs throughout the city. Monday night’s event was the first in which the Healthy Bodies Healthy Mind workshop series included a community-based afterschool program. We look forward to continuing to foster and support strong partnerships and connections between in-school time and out-of-school time while promoting “A Culture of Health Living” for our students and their families.

Learn more about Somerville PEP and ways in which you and your family can stay healthy and active year-round at The PEP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

What’s Happening


Somerville All-America City Grooversity Festival 2015

Join the celebration at the All-America City Grooversity Festival 2015 on Saturday, December 5th, from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross Street). This free youth activity fair and drumming festival will include arts & crafts, games, prizes, school garden tours, live music, food, and fun!


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

There’s still time to sign up to be part of Somerville’s 2015 Hour of Code! Between December 7th and 13th students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of computer science. 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. To be a part of this event, register to volunteer at Learn more about ‘Hour of Code’ at


December 12th College & Career Day – Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for the first district-wide College and Career Day, Saturday, December 12th from 9:00am-12:30pm at Somerville High School. The event will include workshops led by college and career experts for each grade level to help you plan for the future. You can also learn about financial aid, preparing for college, college options, job preparation skills, and more. All students and families are encouraged to attend. Don’t miss this great opportunity to get an early start on college and career planning.


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.

Tuesday, December 1: Book Fair at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powderhouse Blvd.)

Tuesday, December 1: Healey Grade 4 Field Trip to Paul Revere House

Tuesday, December 1, 6:00-8:00pm: East Somerville Community School Parent-Teacher Conferences (50 Cross St.)

Tuesday, December 1, 6:30-8:00pm: Brown School Winter Concert at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)

Wednesday, December 2, 8:30am: Healey Picture Make-up Day

Wednesday, December 2, 8:50am-noon: Healey Grade 8 Field Trip to Moakley Courthouse

Wednesday, December 2, 6:00-8:00pm: Capuano Parent-Teacher Conferences (150 Glen St.)

Thursday, December 3, 5:30-6:00pm: Healey Conference Welcome in the Healey Cafeteria

Thursday, December 3, 6:00-8:00pm: Healey School Parent-Teacher Conferences (5 Meacham St.)


Upcoming Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops and Events

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

Wednesday, December 9, 6:30-8:00pm: Learning About the Somerville Public Schools. Prospective Somerville Public Schools families are invited to join us at the Capuano Early Childhood Center (150 Glen St.) for an overview of curriculum and day-to-day life in classrooms throughout the city, with a focus on Kindergarten. Educators and current parents will be available for questions.

Thursday, December 10, 6:00-7:00pm: SFLC Parent Chat – Mealtime and Bedtime Routines. Join SFLC staff and fellow Somerville parents for a series of focused conversations on parenting topics. For parents of children birth to age 5. Cummings School Building (42 Prescott St., Room 14)


Upcoming School Committee Meetings

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

Wednesday, December 2, 7:00pm: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)

Monday, December 7, 6:00-6:55pm: Rules Management Subcommittee Meeting at the Board of Aldermen’s Chambers, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

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

Tuesday, December 8, 7:00pm: Educational Programs and Instruction Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (42 Cross St.)


Community News & Events

Middle School Writer’s Den. Writers in grades 5 through 8 are invited to write and celebrate with the Middle School Writer’s Den on Monday, November 23, 2015 from 6:00-7:45pm at the Somerville Central Library Auditorium (1st floor). Participants should bring a short completed piece of writing. The evening will include mini workshops, readings for writers, creative writing, dynamic writing, free write, collaboration, micro-parties, and publication opportunities. We are celebrating that we have the following publications in process, and invite students to write for these publications: Happening at the Healey; East Somerville Phoenix; John F. Kennedy (not yet named); West Somerville Neighborhood School (not yet named). If your school does not have a student publication, Middle School Writer’s Den can help you create one. Writer’s Den also publishes three “Everywhere” magazines for student writing:

• Kid! multimedia magazine (5th grade through young teen)

• Happeningnow everywhere (young adult)

• Snowflake! (readers K-5th grade)

We write poetry, fiction, nonfiction, features, opinion, commentary, school news, brief items, student sports, points of view, etc. Any subject, any genre. Another celebration is scheduled for Monday, December 21st from 6:00-8:15pm. Mark your calendar! Writer’s Den is FREE of charge and open to all who are interested. Drop-ins are welcome. Contact for more information.

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 1:00-3:00pm: Somerville All-America City Grooversity Festival 2015. FREE youth activity fair and drumming festival featuring arts and crafts, games, prizes, school garden tours, live music, food, and loads of fun! East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.)

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 1:00-2:00pm: Tufts University Wind Ensemble – Pixar! The Tufts University Wind Ensemble will be performing music from popular Pixar films under the direction of John McCann. Featured pieces include those from Up, Toy Story, and Ratatouille. Children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to enjoy this concert.

Somerville Youth Soccer League (SYSL). Registration for the Somerville Youth Soccer League spring season is still open until December 19th. Early registration is recommended. To learn more about registration, financial aid options or the SYSL, please visit their site

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. Questions? Please contact David Zraket at

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, December 8: ESCS PTA Roundtables

Wednesday, December 9: Half Day Wednesday (PK-Grade 8)

Wednesday, December 9: WSNS PTA Spirit Day Fundraiser

Wednesday, December 9: WSNS School Council Meeting

Wednesday, December 9: Learning About the Somerville Public Schools workshop

Wednesday, December 9: SHS School Improvement Council Meeting

Thursday, December 10: SFLC Parent Chat – Mealtime and Bedtime Routines

Thursday, December 10: All-City Middle School Winter Concert

Friday, December 11: ESCS Winter Concert

Saturday, December 12: College and Career Day!


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