Friday, August 29, 2014

Superintendent's Notes

School has Begun!

There has been a lot of concern around the massive amounts of change in public education.  The lead article in the Beacon Villager last week was "Change is in the Air".  It is times like these that the Arts and Music provide us with happiness and resiliency.  If you get a chance please listen to the YouTube link  for Pharrel William's song "Happy" at the end of this message.

Right now the central office employees feel like they're in "a room without a roof" due to the conditions at Coolidge.  However, we are excited about the approved plan to move the central offices to Fowler.  I would ask all of our school community including administrators, teachers, and families to listen to the song "Happy" and remain resilient and positive about the direction of the Town and Schools in Maynard.

Change in the Air at Fowler

As, mentioned in the article above, there are a lot of changes at the Fowler School.  The 5th grade team, Lois Cohen, Principal Mela and I have held meetings to work on how to best adapt to those changes as a result of the central office relocation to Fowler.  I will be sending the 5th grade parents a special letter providing all of the details once they have all been worked out.  I am hoping that letter should be completed soon as all of the meetings on this issue have been productive and positive.

There have been some changes in recess for both the 4th and 5th grades at Fowler.  Recess for 4th and 5th graders at Fowler is something that has been worked on this summer with input from the Physical Education Teachers to make it more inclusive, and safer physically and emotionally for kids.  

We have become a little clearer with the boundaries of the physical space.  We don't allow students to do handstands or flips, so we've created an easy-to-remember "one foot on the ground at all times" rule.  We have a Physical Education Teacher on duty in addition to classroom teachers each day for the 5th grade and a Physical Education Teacher on duty a few days a week to help with the 4th grade.

We are still working with the Capital Planning Committee in the Town of Maynard to build a traditional playground at Fowler.

As mentioned in the Boston Globe, on exhibit in Maynard:

"WINDOWS ON EARTH" Photographs by Astronauts on the International Space Station on display at Gallery Seven, 7 Nason St. in Maynard thruogh September 27th.  Opening Reception: Saturday, Sept. 6th from 7-9 p.m.  Free and Open to the public.  Gallery Hours: Tues. - Fri. 10-6 and Sat. 10-5.  

International Exchange Program

Kevin Caruso has been supporting our International students and families in his role as our International Program Leader.  He  asked the host families how the first day was for our international students and those families that had a chance to respond have said that the students had a great time and felt welcome.

Kevin thanked everyone for going out of their way to make sure the foreign exchange students felt welcome. We hope that everyone will continue to support them over these next few weeks until they begin making those lifelong international friendships in our community that we are hoping to achieve.

We still have a need for additional host families. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a host family please contact:

MaryEllen McCarthy at or 978-758-2817  

Amanda Hemm at or 617-312-7359. 

Listen To Pharrel Williams song "Happy" at the link below:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Superintendent's Notes

Welcome Back to School Next Week!

The first day of school is coming next week, welcome back.  Since the first day I entered Kindergarten, I always get excited about the first day of school. Wednesday night, the outstanding staff at Maynard High School held the Annual 8th Grade Orientation for Students and Parents.  Something about getting 30 or 40 students in a room is electric!  I had fun catching up with the students and parents and just can't wait until next Thursday for that first day back to school.

International Exchange Program

Also on Wednesday, Educatious International held a Host Family Meeting.  It was a pleasure to meet the host families and I want to thank all of the host families for providing this opportunity for our community to be a cultural center in our region.  You are pioneers!

I was impressed to see the outstanding resources that the International coordinators, MaryEllen McCarthy and Amanda Hemm are providing to help this be a successful initiative.  I am excited to meet the international students and welcome them.  I am sure the rest of our school community is also looking forward to doing the same.

We still have a need for additional host families. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a host family please contact:

MaryEllen McCarthy at or 978-758-2817  
Amanda Hemm at or 617-312-7359. 

WAVM/Music/Sports BBQ

The WAVM/Music/Sports BBQ is being held on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 between 6:15 and 7:45.  Our students and staff at this event would also like to invite the foreign exchange students to this event so they can learn directly from the students how wonderful these programs are.  Our students have also volunteered to give the foreign exchange students tours of the high school during that time.  The BBQ is being held on the back patio of Maynard High School.

Fall Sports

Fall Sports have already begun.  If there is any student who missed tryouts, please see Mr. Caruso.  He would like to help you.

Tiger Pride!

We have such respectful students.  I want to thank our Maynard High School Seniors.  I was included in an email between one of our outstanding students and principal Caragianes.  The seniors just wanted to know if we could renew the previous tradition of painting tiger paw prints on Tiger Drive to acknowledge our senior athletes.  This got disrupted by the new construction.  Principal Cargianes responded with a hardy "Best wishes and Go Tigers!!"

In The News

I always like to highlight the good press about Maynard Schools in the Beacon Villager and this week is no exception.  You should pick up a beacon villager at your local retailer.  The Cover Article "Change is on the Horizon" has three great quotes from three great Maynard principals! 

1. In talking about our new additional online course options for this year principal Caragianes said "It can be used as  a remediation assistant, it can help kids who are home bound with an illness or it can challenge kids...We are pretty excited to have a robust package to fill the needs people have"

2. Principal Mela said "It is all about best practice and teaching the Common Core Standards"

3. Principal Dankner said mandated changes create opportunities and followed that up with "It can be exciting to refine the curriculum, so there are lots of great opportunities".

Maynard is fortunate to have such great administrators and teachers who are focused on improving instruction!

On the 3rd page you will also see an Education Spotlight that identifies how our food service director has been providing cutting edge service for over two decades in "Maynard schools strive for the freshest food".  Also on that page are three very interesting "Meet the Teacher" profiles.

Important Events and Reminders:     
In an effort to streamline the Superintendent’s Notes, I will provide important upcoming events or announcements that have already been posted in previous Superintendent’s Notes in this section.

Summer Family Fun and Learning!

Free Fun Fridays are happening now!  There are still opportunities available this weekend. For more information go to the following link:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Superintendent's Notes

Maynard Students Start School in only 23 days!

I hope everyone is enjoying this season but are also as excited as I am to get the 2014-2015 school year started!  Even though this is the middle of our summer vacation, there are some important messages and reminders that I would like to share. 

A message from Amanda Hemm - International Student Coordinator

A number of international exchange students, who have chosen to spend this academic year at Maynard High School, will be arriving over the next month.  This is a really exciting time for the school and our community.  The students are coming to learn more about our culture but ultimately end up sharing theirs as well.  Keep an eye out for opportunities to interact with the students and welcome them to Maynard.
We are still looking for host families for three students.  Host families would welcome the student into their home and be given a stipend of $700 per month to cover expenses.  The students would need a room with a bed, dresser, and desk. If you aren’t able to commit to the year but are still interested in trying it out we are also open to “Welcome families” who would host a student for 2-4 weeks until a long term placement could be made.
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a host or welcome family please contact me, Amanda Hemm at or 617-312-7359.  You can also contact Jodi DelRazo, Regional Manager of Educatius, at 617-543-8626.

Meet our students:
Haoze (Tom) Wu, 18 years old, lives with his father, mother, and 4 year old little brother in Xian China.  Tom enjoys playing soccer, basketball and enjoys American music and films.  His dream is to become a professor and hopes that studying in another country will help him reach his dreams. He looks forward to getting a degree from MHS.
Jose Cabezas is a 14 year old from Madrid, Spain.  He will be entering the 9thgrade at MHS.  Jose lives with his father, mother and 3 older sisters (ages 25, 20, and 17). Family and friends play a key role in his life. “I would love to live in a home with younger children so I can help take care of them, children are fun and cheerful” says Jose. He loves dogs.  Jose enjoys skiing, golf, swimming and is very excited to learn about Maynard!
Julie Grape is a 16 year old from Asker Norway.  Julie has a younger brother (12) and sister (10).  She loves fashion, volleyball and spending time with family and friends.  Julie also speaks Spanish.  She wants to have a close relationship with her host family and is looking forward to spending quality time with them.  Julie’s passion is Media and she attends a media focused high school in Norway.  She looks forward to school each day and is excited to see all the opportunities Maynard High School can offer.  
Central Office Relocation Public Meeting for Community and Parent Input, August 12, 2014
Unfortunately, the Maynard Public Schools Central Office finds itself in a situation where this building cannot meet the needs of its current inhabitants without expensive major renovations and upgrades.
With the 8th grade class moving from Fowler to the new MHS there is some space available in the Fowler School for a Central Office Relocation.  At the July 24, 2014 School Committee Meeting several potential temporary and permanent locations were discussed.  
The School Committee approved the hiring of an architect to develop a feasibility study of the various options.  To be specific, the 5th grade wing and the Band room are the current areas where space has been identified.  The School Committee has had great success with Architect Brooke Trivas, of Perkins + Will, 225 Franklin Street, Boston, MA.  
Brooke and I will be hosting a meeting to explain the various options being considered and we would greatly appreciate parent and community input.  The meeting will be held at the Fowler Assembly Hall on August 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM.
Important Events and Reminders:                                                                                                      
In an effort to streamline the notes, I will provide important upcoming events or announcements that have already been posted in previous Superintendent’s Notes in this section.

Summer Family Fun and Learning!

Free Fun Fridays are happening now!  There are still four more weeks for this opportunity available.  There are 66 museums & cultural venues that are open for free on Fridays all summer. For more information go to the following link: