Your Weekly Update from Kennedy Middle School
Week 4 of the school year and we are off and running...
Dear Kennedy Families and Caregivers,
I hope everyone has been enjoying the crisp air and maybe a puddle or two! In my travels around the building this week students were working collaboratively around our amazing classroom technology, 5th grade was working on social emotional learning across the entire grade on our half day, new clubs have been started and are filling up quickly, and the library has been a fabulous hub of wonder, excitement, and exploration each afternoon. We have had a smooth transition back and it's officially a normal start to school.
This week included our first professional learning half day. Teachers were working in their communities to set norms, determine student learning and professional practice goals to guide our work and student success this year, and curriculum work has been set for the year. These days are always beneficial professionally and the effect on student learning is huge. We are grateful for these days to spend together as a faculty refining and refreshing our practice.
Don't forget that open houses start next week. The teachers and staff are very excited to share with you how this wonderful year has started. Dates for each open house at Kennedy are:
- grades 5 and 6 - Thursday, September 29th
- grades 7 and 8 - Thursday, October 6th
We look forward to seeing everyone there.
If you are thinking of attending the Natick Redhawks vs. the Milford Scarlet Hawks football game this Friday at 6:00pm, you can pick up a ticket here. I can't think of a better way to kick off the long weekend than being under the Friday night lights at the NHS football field. Go Redhawks!
I want to wish a Happy New Year (L'Shana Tova') to all Kennedy families celebrating Rosh Hashanah this coming week.
Jodie Cohen, Principal
Twitter - @KennedyMSNatick
Instagram - @KennedyMSNatick
Ms. Hacket's Hispanic Heritage Month Hallway Bingo
Big shout to Ms. Hacket's Spanish class celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with an awesome Hallway Bingo Game. Her students were having SO much fun! Thank you for educating our students with fun, engaging activities, Ms. Hacket!!
Visits with Kennedy's therapy dog, Jax!!
Our therapy dog, Jax, has started his Friday visits with students. If your student is interested in visiting with Jax, tell them to speak with their teacher to get signed up.
Five Things You Need to Know
1 - Paper online tutoring information for families
Here are a few ways Paper can support you and your students this school year:
Unlimited 24/7/365 tutoring support — sessions can run for as long as students need!
Revisions for any typed writing assignments in 24 hours or less!
Tutoring and writing support in 4 different languages — English, Spanish, French and Mandarin.
To learn more about Paper visit The parent & guardian’s guide to implementing Paper at home. Here you will be able to register for an upcoming parent & guardian info session, available in both English and Spanish, and find resources on how to get started with using Paper with your students right away! If you’d like to speak to a member of the Paper team directly, you can reach them at email@example.com.
2 - After school clubs UPDATE
Although the list of clubs is still in flux, it is growing as we finalize the last clubs on our after school schedule. Please check out our after school club list on the Kennedy Middle School Website to see all of the fun activities we have at Kennedy for your students. Clubs in yellow are still being determined/finalized.
3 - Kennedy Middle School #HASHTAG submission form
Kennedy is looking for that PERFECT hashtag that says who we are and will help us brand our school going forward on all our platforms. If you have a suggestion, please fill out this form to submit your suggestion. Directions on how to submit are on the form. For those students and staff who have already submitted suggestions - THANK YOU! They are awesome!!! Let's keep the suggestions coming in. Anyone in our community may submit - parents, caregivers, students, teachers, staff members, EVERYONE!!! Give it go and submit TODAY!
4 - UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS for your calendar
- Monday, September 26: No School- Rosh Hashanah
- Thursday, September 29: Grade 5 & 6 Open House (6:30 - 8:00pm)
- Wednesday, October 5: No School, Yom Kippur
- Thursday, October 6: Grade 7 & 8 Open House (6:30 - 8:00pm)
- Thursday, October 20: Picture Day
5 - **NEW** Staff member of the week - Leigh Smyth - Nursing at Kennedy
Leigh Smyth joined Kelly McNeill in the Kennedy Clinic on Tuesday, September 20th. Let's give her a warm welcome to Kennedy! Here is a little blurb that Leigh wrote to introduce herself to the community:
"I am a proud graduate of the undergraduate nursing school at the University of Delaware and University of Massachusetts, Boston for my Masters Degree. I have been fortunate to work in a variety of nursing roles over the past ten years including inpatient med-surg and outpatient oncology. Most recently, I have been working as a Nurse Practitioner at CVS MinuteClinic. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, exercising, and spending time with my family. My two girls (2 and 6 months) keep me busy! I’m excited to join the KMS team!"
We are THRILLED to have you with us, Leigh. Welcome aboard!!
From the Special Education Coordinator's Desk
September is an exciting month for educators! I hope that your students' transition back into school has been a successful one. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you and to some of our new administrative staff in the Special Education Department.
I am Jennifer Braman-Parikh, the Special Education Coordinator; Afrothidi Papathanasiou, is our Evaluation Team Leader/Educational Assessment Specialist; Mark D’Angelo, is our Evaluation Team Leader working with 8th graders at both Kennedy and Wilson as well as 9th graders.
This is my 19th year in special education, I started out in a private, residential setting. I began my public school career in Newton at Newton South High School, where I spent time working as a learning center teacher, and ending my career there as a lead teacher in a program. I left Newton to try out a new role, Evaluation Team Facilitator at Brookline High School, where I spent 3 years before coming to Natick in 2016 as the 8th-9th Evaluation Team Leader. When the student services department restructured in 2019 I applied and became the Special Education Coordinator at Kennedy. I live in Natick and I love it here! I have a husband, Jiggy and two beautiful girls, Meera, 6 years old, who attends Memorial Elementary School, and Erica 27 years old, who now lives out in the Portland Oregon area.
Afrothidi is in her 20th year in special education. She began her public school career in the Acton/Boxborough Public School, where she completed her student teaching and continued as an educator there for 2 years. This is my 20th year in special education; I began my public school career in the Acton/Boxborough Public School, where I completed my student teaching and continued as an educator there for two years. I left that role to become a special education teacher at Fitchburg Public School, where I remained for about 18 years. As a special education teacher, I have had opportunities of leading many educational initiatives, including Universal Design for Learning, which provides accessibility to the curriculum for all our students and assisted in structuring RTI for my school.
Mark is beginning his 11th year in the Natick Public Schools and has over 17 years of experience in special education. Mark has assumed the roles of paraprofessional, case manager, small-group instruction teacher, and evaluator during his time in education. Helping young people learn, grow and develop their gifts to their fullest potential is both a great joy and an important responsibility. It requires the collective efforts of each student’s village and collaboration to best support and prepare each student.
Welcome back to a new school year!
Special Education Coordinator
Paper - On-Demand Tutoring
Natick Public Schools is excited to announce our partnership with Paper for on-demand tutoring for NHS students. Paper is a secure, online tutoring service that provides students with unlimited, 24/7 academic support. Whether they’re stuck on homework, studying for a test, or need someone to read and make suggestions to their essays, there will always be experts available online to assist students in over 200 subjects and more than 4 languages.
Paper tutors have been specially trained to conduct expert, academic support in a secure, chat-based platform. With a commitment to helping students learn, they’ll never give students answers, but rather interact with them in an encouraging tone to lead them forward.
This is a free service that we’re providing, so students are encouraged to use it as much as they need, whenever they need. Our teachers also have accounts and will be able to review all student activity to see what they’re working on and provide more targeted instruction as needed.
If you’d like to learn more about Paper you can sign up for a Paper hosted Parent Info Session, available in both English and Spanish.
To see Paper and the help it offers firsthand, we encourage you to login with your students. To get started, simply visit PAPER’s student login page, type your school’s name, and log in via Google using your school credentials
We’re thrilled to offer our students the unlimited, 24/7 support that Paper provides and we can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish together.
Our Kennedy Middle School PTO works hard behind the scenes to support our school in a variety of ways. They are working diligently to bring great activities to our school community. Please check out their website for more information.
- Title I: Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990Title II
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990Title VI
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964Title IX
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
- MGL, Ch.76, Section 5: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 76, Section 5