By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Tropical Storm Irene may have postponed the start of school for city students but it has not dampened the enthusiasm of Superintendent Anthony Pope and his team of administrators and teachers. At the School Committee's Aug. 29 meeting, Pope told the committee that he, as well as the entire team, was ready to put into practice the newly developed set of shared core values that focus on “the essential work of teaching and learning.
“We reconfigured our buildings to make building transitions more developmentally appropriate and developed district wide goals to increase success for all students,” Pope said. “We are also mapping a preschool-through-graduation curriculum that will allow us to deliver the best instruction possible to each student.”
He noted that his decision to delay the first day of school for city students to Sept. 6 was arrived at jointly with Mayor Nancy Stevens, who is also chair of the School Committee. Stevens was unable to attend the meeting due to storm-related demands, so School Committee member Margaret Dwyer presided at the session.
Assistant High School Principal Dan Riley also gave a presentation at the meeting on the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Early College High School (ECHS) program. It is part of a national initiative of more than 200 similar schools that provides students with access to both high school and college credits. The program will start in the sixth and ninth grades. Additional grades will be added each year until the program houses students in grades six through 12. Collaborating with Riley are high school teacher Bill Rigney and Technology Director Mark Gibbs.
Ronit Carter is an instruction leadership Director.
“When articulated clearly through a process of collaboration and consensus, curriculum communicates our core values, drives assessment, instruction and student engagement and provides a pathway for all students to achieve the intended learning outcomes,” he said.
Team members Maureen Greulich and Gabrielle Abrams spoke about the “written curriculum” and the “taught curriculum,” and stressed that studying and applying curriculum is an ongoing process.
A dedicated group of Marlborough teachers and administrators worked with Carter, Greulich and Adams during the summer, mapping out a curriculum framework for the district. The group of about 30 staff members, representing grades preschool through 12, developed a framework rooted in the national Common Core State Standards Initiative, The Partnership for 21st-Century Skills and other global standards. The resulting collection of documents represents the first formalized pre-K through 12 curriculum framework for the district. It identifies standards, key understandings, and knowledge skills. All staff members will receive professional development of the framework.
Pope said he was excited with the new team of administrators as he presented them to the School Committee. They include: instructional leadership directors – Abrams, Carter and Greulich; Special Education Director Tina Betley; Special Education Coordinator Karen Sturges; Communications Liaison Beth Wagner; Systems Administrator Elaine Braun-Keller; Data Manager Linda Weintraub; Director of Human Resources Veronica Gaudet and Early Childhood Center Director Rebecca Zieminski.
Other team members are: Kane Elementary School – Principal Kirk Gibbons and Assistant Principal Magaly Sanchez; Jaworek Elementary School – Principal Cheryl Piccirelli and Assistant Principal Alyssa Tully; Richer Elementary School – Principal Maria Silletti, and Assistant Principal Robert Skaza, ILT; Charles W. Whitcomb School – Principal Mary Murphy and Assistant Principals Rick Lacina, Bethany Pritchard, Wayne Labbe and Kalliope Pantazopoulos; Marlborough High School – Principal Debra Roy, Assistant Principal Adam Bakr; and Daniel Riley, assistant principal and STEM ECHS administrator.
Pope also told the committee that during the first two weeks of school parents may see a man on their children's bus. That man would be the superintendent himself, he said. Pope plans to ride around on different buses, as a way to get to meet students informally, chat and get to know them. He told the School Committee it will bring him closer to the children and what they are thinking.