Warrior Wednesdays

News from the Andover Public School District

Wednesday, May 1, 2019- vol. 31

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In a January issue of Warrior Wednesday, we featured Vivian McNeely and her ESL students who participated in a Memory Project initiative in which they created portraits of children from Syria who had been displaced due to violence in their country.

The Memory Project sent the artwork and letters about the portraits to the students in Syria and recorded the students’ reactions as they received their gifts. As a portrait artist herself, Vivian was able to connect students at Bancroft with children across the globe. The video is incredibly touching and it’s remarkable to see the expressions on these children’s faces.

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Students Spotlight- Mr. B’s Buddies at West Elementary School

Students at West Elementary have the chance to apply for “jobs.” They apply and interview for various positions at the school and then participate in those jobs throughout the year. Over 30 West El fourth and fifth graders are part of “Mr. B’s Buddies,” helping Custodian Joe Bevilacqua in the cafeteria by cleaning up after lunch, sweeping the floors and helping clean off the tables. Joe and Principal Liz Roos agree that it teaches the students about work ethic and commitment.

The students are enthusiastic about the work, saying it teaches them about responsibility. Fifth graders and student councilors Ronit Dhingra and Charlie Poor have been a part of Mr. B’s Buddies for three years each. They welcome the opportunity to connect with other West El students; the work allows them the chance getting to know their classmates better while they help Mr. B. Being a part of Mr. B’s Buddies may also have some rewards outside of West El, both Ronit and Charlie say they take on greater responsibilities in their own homes too. Keep up the great work, Mr. B’s Buddies!

Featured Educator- Kathy Meltsakos

Last month, Kathy Meltsakos travelled to Las Vegas to attend the National Educational Associations’ (NEA) Educational Support Professional (ESP) Conference as the Massachusetts nominee for the National ESP of the Year award. While Kathy didn’t win nationally, she represented Andover, and Massachusetts, with pride. Kathy was honored by the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association (MTA) as the Massachusetts ESP of the Year in 2018, with a surprise presentation at Andover High School.

Kathy, or Ms. M, as her students call her, has worked in public education for close to two decades and in the Andover Public Schools since 2011 as a special education instructional assistant (IA).

“No detail is too small, no task is beneath her, and no need goes unmet when it comes to her students,” says Andover Education Association (AEA) President Kerry Costello. “Kathy’s empathy and advocacy for the students, while holding them accountable, is sincere and genuine.”

Kathy serves as the Second Vice President to the AEA. According to Costello, “Her enthusiasm and energy, in addition to her own active involvement, provides a positive role model for Andover’s 213 ESP members.”

Kathy is very active in the Andover community, as an advocate on campaigns and as a volunteer for the Feaster Five and the Step Up For Colleen 5k road races. She cheers on students at many AHS events, and serves as the chairperson of the annual child care program during Andover Town Meetings.

Teachers and administrators around the high school say Kathy is a quiet leader, and no matter what kind of job needs to be done, Kathy jumps right in with a smile on her face. “Kathy is an extraordinarily dedicated, caring and thoughtful leader and it's only fitting for her to receive the recognition of her colleagues, the district and the state as a whole,” notes Superintendent Sheldon Berman.

All at APS are proud of Kathy’s representation at the NEA’s conference and for all she contributes to her students at Andover High School. Her commitment and dedication are wonderful examples for us all!

Superintendent’s Message- Andover Town Meeting

I would like to thank the community for its support at Town Meeting. Passage of the FY20 budget provides support for our efforts to ensure the highest quality public education for our students. The budget enables the district to expand the school day, move textbooks expenditures from a Capital Improvement Project article to the annual School Department budget, and address a number of unmet needs.

The investment to expand the school day was achieved through collective bargaining and is reflected in agreements with several personnel unions, including the Andover Education Association. The increase in the length of school day provides additional instructional time daily at each of the elementary, middle and high school levels. Over the course of a student’s kindergarten-to-12th grade career at APS, this added learning is equivalent to more than a half-year of school for each student.

In addition to the budget, there were a few key articles of importance to the school community. Article 38 allocated $920,000 to major school projects. Each year, the School Department works with the Department of Facilities to identify needs and develops a schedule for major repairs. The community’s support at town meeting will fund numerous projects, including the installation of high velocity fans in the Field House and Dunn gym at AHS, an accessibly ramp to the bleachers at Lovely Field, additional parking at Bancroft Elementary, and air conditioning at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. This funding will also enable us to improve the play area at West Middle School, and renovate and resurface K-5 playgrounds at High Plain Elementary School.

Town Meeting passed other articles supporting additional capital projects. In Article 42, town funds were appropriated to refresh the student computer fleet and support the Andover 1:1 student technology. Funds from this article will be used to refresh low cost computing devices, typically iPads and Chromebooks, for elementary students, and devices in specialized programs such as engineering, music and graphics design that require unique hardware or software. Article 55 permits the Andover High School Feasibility Study Committee to continue its work while it awaits a decision from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on its application. This work includes a wetlands delineation, a geotechnical site study, and an environmental site assessment. Finally, Article 60 provided funds for Sanborn Elementary School site Improvements and water drainage.

The passage of all of these articles enables us to take the next steps in improving our instructional program and our infrastructure. On behalf of our School Committee, administrators and educators, I appreciate the community’s investment and support for APS and our students. Thank you.

Shelley Berman


APS Community News

First Fridays Features Recycled Art from High Plain, Sanborn and South Elementary Students!

The town of Andover continues to offer free events for the community! Andover’s First Fridays began in the fall of 2018, and are free, family-friendly events that will showcase local music, arts, culture, and non-profits in our community.

On Friday, May 3rd from 6-8 p.m., join us for an exhibit of recycled art created by students from High Plain, Sanborn and South elementary schools at Helen Thomas Pop Up Art Gallery, 90 Main Street, Andover.

May 1st is Principals' Day!

May 1st is Principals' Day and the West Elementary PTO wanted to celebrate Principal Liz Roos! The PTO generously provided t-shirts with school colors with "West is Best" on the front and "Roos 34" on the back for students to wear! Staff also joined in the fun, wearing the yellow and blue shirts to celebrate the day!

Principals Day honors the hard work and dedication of America’s principals. Many thanks to ALL our principals at APS!

A Conversation with Massachusetts State Police and the Andover Police Department on Cybercrimes

Parents and guardians of Andover High School students are invited to join Massachusetts State Police Sergeant James Dowling of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Andover Police Detective Kevin Aufiero, and Officer Barry DuBois for an important conversation on keeping children safe on-line on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at West Middle School.

Please contact Officer DuBois at 978-247-5526 or bdub@andoverps.net for questions or comments.

Volunteers Needed for Senior Safari!

Planning is well underway for this year's Senior Safari all-night graduation celebration which takes place on June 3rd. It takes an army of adult volunteers to successfully pull this night off and make it an amazing "last" night for our seniors. We need help in setting up, chaperoning, serving food, donating refreshments, and cleaning up after the big night.

Grab a friend or two and sign up at this link- parent or guardian volunteers of all grade levels are welcome!

School Bus, Van Drivers and Monitors Needed!

NRT Bus, Inc. is currently looking for drivers and will train CDL and 7D drivers, with bonuses upon completion of training.

For more information, please call Beth Paulino at 978-697-1174 or email: epaulino@nrtbus.com