Dartmouth Public Schools

District Newsletter

Dr. Bonny GIfford

Kindness Matters

A Philosophy that Drives Culture

Each year the MA Association of School Committees and the MA Association of School Superintendents hosts a joint MASC/MASS conference in Hyannis. Session topics run the gamut; folks can always find something they are interested whether it be Special Education, Early Education, SEL, Finance, School Board and community relationships, leading change and more. This year I found one session particularly thought provoking. Through engaging storytelling, facilitator Aaron Polansky, Old Colony Superintendent, asked us to think about our district’s core philosophy. Posing the question “is there a philosophy that drives your culture?” Aaron provoked our thinking by suggesting not all cultures inspire all children. He asked if we are doing and saying things that instead of inspiring students to dream, we are shutting them down. Do we teach with a growth mindset? How do we teach kids that failure is ok? How do we show them there is always a chance to grow and improve? Mr. Polansky prompted us to embrace a philosophy through our everyday work that ensures every action and every word comes from a place of kindness, honesty and a desire to improve. “If we are kind, honest and constantly improving the situation for those around us, we can transform lives and entire cultures.” I’m suggesting Mr. Polansky is spot on! It’s up to us to establish relationships and eliminate threats in education. When we do we teach kids to believe in themselves and inspire them to shine!

Ideas for Transforming Culture

· Learn a new name every day

· Smile

· Find their why! And design the how!

· #positivesignthursday

· Leave a note that matters: Have a great day! You are appreciated!

· Talk with students about their passions, goals and dreams

· Link assignments to the passions of students with risk taking, curiosity and creativity

· Identify favorite mistakes and coolest corrections on a regular basis

· Put couches and comfortable chairs in places you want students to read

· Ensure the rules are in place to prevent the 1% rather than the 99%

· Hang a picture of your hero with the words ask me under it.

· Tell a meaningful story

Kudos to our Students

The Community Resource & Craft fair was held on October 22nd at Dartmouth High. What you may not have known is that several of our students volunteered HOURS of their free time to help us to make this event a success. One more piece of evidence that we have AMAZING students! Students received certificates for their service.

Each year, SEPAC sends our request for students to volunteer. Students sign up to set up the day before the event, they help vendors with materials, meet vendors at their cars and wheel their supplies into the field house. They assist by walking the perimeter, asking if vendors need anything throughout the day, they help with the kid craft area and they also help with clean up.

Their service to this event is invaluable and we appreciate their hard work and their professionalism. These students exemplify the best of Dartmouth in so many ways.

The student volunteers are listed below:

(some students volunteered during set up on Saturday, some on Sunday, and some did both)


Aaron Fishbein Senior

Noah Filipe, Senior (both days)

Brett Cabral, Senior (both days)

Jack Dias, Senior

Will Weaton, Senior

Anthony Poente, Senior

Dane Ashton, Senior

Grace Woodcock, Junior (both days)

Jackie Racine, Junior (both days)

Will Cote, Junior (both days)

Charlie Gamache, Junior (both days)

Patrick Mello, Junior

Mason Shea, Junior (both days)

Jessica Amaral, Junior

Cyla Roderigues, Junior

Emma Amaral, Sophomore

John Gamache, Freshman (both days)


Robert August, 8th grade

Lucas Dion, 8th grade

Evan Garcia, 8th grade

Jack Kertscher, 8th grade

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Kindness Matters

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Amy Slavin, First Grade Teacher at Demello School, poses with "Leader of the Pack" kiddos wearing her Kindness Matter Shirt. Amy won the shirt at our Project TIME Mentor Training by being the first person to fill up her "Give One Get One" board. Participants were exchanging strategies to build relationships with mentees. Give One Get One is a sharing protocol that can reinforce any topic and build collaboration.

Visit to Barrington Public Schools

Dartmouth Public Schools visited Barrington Public Schools to see personalized and blended learning in action. Led by Michael Kline from Highlander Institute, DPS district and school administration chatted with administration, students and teachers of Barrington Middle and High School. Administrators engaged in enlightening conversations with high school Geometry students about their experiences in blended learning classrooms and the difference from previous experiences in math class. We observed students working at their own pace using formative playlist and the teacher conferring with students. A high school student gave us a tour of the iCreate Lab, a student-run makerspace. We also visited the BHS television studio where students livestream their daily student news show Sunrise. At the middle school, we visited an Entrepreneurship Class for the Shark Tank. Students work in groups to come up with an idea for a product and test the product to determine if it can be successful. Students learn soft skills such as teamwork and more technical skills such as research and marketing. Products students had designed included, an adjustable bottle brush, a ping pong return wall and a XX.

Whaling Museum Grade 5 Field Trip Demello School

DeMello School fifth grade visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum. They were treated to a guided half day tour throughout the museum. They were able to visit many exhibits where they were able to learn not only about the different types of whales but also the history of whaling in New Bedford. Students were able to go aboard the Lagoda, the model whaling vessel and see many other rooms depicting what life was life as a whaler. The second half of the day, students spent in the classroom learning about food chains and webs. Here they accessed technology that allowed them time to further explore this topic. The day was both enjoyable and educational!

Vertical Teams at Quinn

Vertical teams have been established at Quinn to support the focus of building school wide collaboration, community, and culture! As opposed to students always doing everything with their grade level peers, vertical teams enable the opportunity for students to see and meet both teachers and students from other grade levels at PBIS rallies, morning meetings, assemblies, classroom buddy reading partnerships, and more!

DHS Visual Arts Media Program

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Dartmouth High School students in the Visual Arts and Media programs traveled to Martha's Vineyard this week as part of their on-going collaborative project celebrating the upcoming 400th anniversary of Plymouth. Upon arriving on Martha's Vineyard ​DHS students visited with members of the Wampanoag Aquinnah filming footage of the Tribal Council as well as conducting interviews as part of their production of a series of mini-documentaries that will eventually be shared with our sister city in the United Kingdom. Learning experiences such as this provide students with tremendous opportunities that cross disciplines and allow them to demonstrate a variety of skills and knowledge in creative ways.

DMS Pink Day to Support Breast Cancer

Dartmouth Middle School continued their yearly tradition of supporting Cancer Awareness by declaring Tuesday, October 31st "Pink Day "! Instead of wearing Halloween costumes, hundreds of students along with the faculty and staff wore the color Pink! The school was a sea of pink with many students literally dressed from head to toe in Pink. There was a grade level contest and 8th Grader Emma Fernandes, 7th Grader Lexie-Bella Nicolosi, and 6th Grader Jillian Medeiros were picked for having the Best Pink Outfits. That day over $300.00 was collected and will be donated to support Cancer Research.

DHS and Higlander PD

Principals Advisory Council

Thirty one Dartmouth High School student leaders serving on the Principal's Advisory Council met with Principal Ross Thibault and Associate Principal Rachel Chavier to discuss important educational and social issues at Dartmouth High School. While there were a range of issues discussed, many students advocated for an opportunity to celebrate the post-secondary plans of all members of the Class of 2018 specifically brainstorming ways to celebrate each individual's plans for life after high school whether it be continuing their education at a two or four year college or university, attending a trade or technical school, entering immediately into a career or the workforce or by enlisting in one of the service branches. In addition, students also asked many questions about the transition to a 7 period schedule. As a result of their service, members of the Principal's Advisory Council are able to ensure that Dartmouth High School remains an inclusive school where students come first.


Name: Judy Botelho

School/Position: Potter Elementary School/Teacher Assistant

Hometown: Dartmouth, Ma

One goal I have achieved in my career so far that I feel most satisfied about: Building an environment where children feel safe to learn.

A long-term goal I am working toward: : Continue to learn more about children on the Spectrum in addition to American Sign Language

Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: Peggy Gallagher for taking me under her wing and always believing in me.

If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be: Australia….

If I could eat dinner with somebody famous, dead or alive, it would be: Princess Diana...she was the perfect elegant lady

Pet peeve: Inconsiderate drivers who don’t obey the rules of the road

Favorite leisure time activity: Spending time with my family...it doesn’t get any better than that.

Favorite movie: Gone With the Wind

Favorite book: Mysteries...any kind!!

I think the world’s greatest invention is: GPS technology

My favorite motto or saying:: “You can do it!”

What I like best about working at DPS: Seeing and being part of the growth of the children I have worked with both present and past!
Project TIME Mentee Staff Spotlights

Get to know a little more our new Instructional Staff!

Orchestra Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute

Saturday, Dec. 23rd, 7pm

684 Purchase Street

New Bedford, MA

We are thrilled to announce that Mark Wood, original violinist from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is performing with us at Dartmouth Springs Trans-Siberian Ochestra Tribute Concert! This concert will take place at the Zeiterion Theater on December 23rd.

Click below to purchase tickets


This is what you're in for!