Warrior Wednesdays

News from the Andover Public School District

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - vol. 30

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In Brief

It’s a busy spring for APS! A few, quick items for your consideration; more information is below in APS Community News:

  • Town Meeting- April 29th & 30th
  • School Committee Informal Forum- May 23rd
  • NRT is looking for bus drivers

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Students' Spotlight- Alexander Wu

Wood Hill Middle School eighth grader Alex Wu is committed to learning and welcomes the chance to share his knowledge. Last year, Alex took the initiative to tutor students at High Plain Elementary during his Flex period and continued the program this year. Twice a week, Alex spends his time as a math tutor volunteer and has helped almost 50 elementary students.

Encouraged by his efforts, Alex began tutoring outside of school, and works after-school and during the summer to help students acquire a better understanding of math. While his tutoring is beneficial to other students, Alex also realizes he gets something in return. He enjoys watching people make progress and succeed; tutoring allows Alex to refine his approach to teaching. He learns from those he tutors what might work best for them and he adapts his tutoring style; it’s taught Alex understanding, patience and perseverance—and even made him better at math!

Alex attended High Plain, and feels honored to be able to give back to his elementary school community. In addition to math coaching, Alex also loves public speaking, and presented his cultural diversity project on his great-grandparents’ migration to the U.S. in 1911 to all teachers in the district at the Collins Center last year. He’s not afraid of speaking in front of a large group and he looks forward to connecting with others through tutoring and presenting, and thinks maybe he will be a college professor in the future. Thanks, Alex, for all your efforts to help others.

Featured Teacher- Jill Celata

In our last issue of Warrior Wednesdays, we featured the Warrior Way program, highlighting the importance of giving back to the community. Jill Celata, an adjustment counselor at High Plain Elementary, is a great example of selfless giving through community service projects. Jill has been at High Plain since 2006, and has secured quite a few service grants to help fund community service projects for High Plain’s students.

In March, High Plain was awarded a grant from the Martin Richard Foundation through Jill’s efforts with fourth grade teacher Shannon Siviski. This grant will be used to create care packages for homeless in the Greater Merrimack Valley. High Plain fourth and fifth grade Student Ambassadors take part in this community service project.

Jill knows the value of teaching kindness and respect, and the importance of setting examples for High Plain students. Through a grant from Andover Coalition for Education (ACE), Jill has helped High Plain introduce Second Step, a social development curriculum focused on social emotional learning which helps develop supportive learning environments. High Plain students have also created birthday boxes for children in need, thanks to a grant Jill secured from the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

Jill knows that connecting her students with service projects gives them the opportunity to be part of contributing something to others and builds empathy and responsibility. Jill is thrilled to be a part of the community at High Plain, saying the support she receives from Principal Pam Lathrop and Assistant Principal Marika Lyons sets the example for all students and faculty and drives Jill’s passion for sharing the value of community service with her students.

Superintendent’s Message- Celebrating Administrative Professionals Day

On Wednesday, APS administrators will celebrate Administrative Professionals Day. If you’ve ever visited my office, the first person you will see is Alison Phelan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent. For over thirteen years, Alison has greeted parents, students, and visitors to the office, always with a positive attitude. She is a true professional, and I can’t overstate her value to our daily work at APS.

She loves a challenge, and gracefully can manage calendars, administrators’ meetings, agendas, invites, communications, meeting minutes, organizational projects, School Committee support, and so much more. She also occasionally plays the part of an IT professional. I’m fortunate Alison is a Boston sports fan (particularly the Patriots), and is as passionate about the teams as I am.

Alison’s great work is critical to the success of the Superintendent’s office and the overall operations of the Central Office. I am always impressed with her willingness to help, no matter how busy she might be, and the effectiveness and thoughtfulness she brings to all that she does. It’s possible I’d be lost without Alison’s guidance, and I’m deeply appreciative for all she contributes.

Shelley Berman


Celebrating all APS Administrative Professionals

“Our administrative assistants are the backbone of our school, without them we would not be able to be the high performing school that we are,” says AHS Principal Philip Conrad. “We are grateful for the hard work of Diane Costagliola, Mickey Rivera, Maria Neto, Lucy Rizzo, Deb Lenzi, Shaniel Dejesus, and Kim Lemieux.

“Our Admin Assistants are vital to our survival and positive climate at WMS,” notes West Middle School Principal Becky Franks. “In addition to their traditional duties, Norine Edmondson, Marlene Theodorou, and Jenn Insogna make the office a warm and welcoming place to be. They help supervise an entire cast of student office assistants, manage parent requests, and keep us all on track. Maureen Cranitch rounds out our support staff by helping with special education paperwork and scheduling.”

From Wood Hill Middle School Principal Patrick Bucco: “It is said, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’ and we couldn’t ask for anybody better than Andy (Andrea) Chase, Kim Buxton and Deb Saba to create a positive first and last impression for the Wood Hill community.”

“Our administrative professionals are amazing,” says Doherty Middle School Principal Robin Wilson. “Jacki Barry, also known as the BIGGEST Patriots fan in the world, is the backbone for DMS special education department. Karen McCarthy has been at Doherty for more than 20 years and takes great pride in helping our students, staff and families through the middle school journey. Maureen Belbin greets students with a warm welcome and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure every student and staff member have what they need to be successful whether it’s a lunch, a musical instrument or a pencil case.”

Mara Shanahan and Jai Mistry are the glue that holds us together at High Plain Elementary,” says High Plain Principal Pamela Lathrop. “They are usually the first face or first voice a family hears and they go out of their way to make sure every child and family feels welcomed at HPE!”

“For 13 years, Colleen Barr has been the “mayor” of the office and makes great connections with all who enter West Elementary,” says West Elementary Principal Liz Roos. “Rose McPherson is in her first full year as the senior secretary and finds joy in her job daily. She and Colleen and they make a great pair. We are so fortunate to have such a great hard working team in our main office!”

“We can’t live without Alice Dorant and Laureen Parvin at Bancroft Elementary,” says Principal Michelle Costa. “They are the heart of the school. Our families, our students and our staff are dependent on them…for knowledge, for safety, for reassurance, for guidance. Thank you for what you do…every day!”

“At Sanborn Elementary, Deborah Morrison is always helpful, NO MATTER what the topic or issue. She is a true problem solver when she helps out and does not ever give up,” notes Sanborn Elementary Principal Jason DiCarlo. “She’s empathetic, kind, very honest and caring. She’s both the security and the queen of the office at the same time.”

“South Elementary School recognizes Sue Comeau, Patty Hajj and Maureen Cranitch for being the most amazing administrative assistants,” says South Principal Tracy Crowley. “They always have a smile on their faces and welcome everyone to South with care and happiness. They run the office and the school with a can-do attitude and are always willing to step in to help anyone! We love you!”

Mary Kay Poe can solve almost anything,” says Carol Green, Early Childhood Coordinator at Shawsheen Preschool. “The kids love to visit with Mary Kay! She knows them all by name, makes sure everyone has lunch, and is her friendly smile is a warm welcome to all who come to Shawsheen.”

“Words of thanks seem so inadequate in expressing appreciation for the work of the Human Resources staff,” notes Candace Hall Nourse, Director of Human Resources. “Undaunted by the volume of daily demands, they carry on without complaint. Their focus is on being responsive, courteous and timely in addressing the needs of staff and applicants. Thank you Rita Marconi, Kathleen Golini, Karla Kohl, Cara Morrison and Gillian Chartier. You’re the best!”

The Business Office staff is a team,” says Paul Szymanski, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Administration. “Betty Ann Zackular, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Doreen Billie, Anne Tentindo, Mary Lu Walsh, Janet Wright and Diane Krafton are a group of dedicated employees there to make sure that employees are paid, purchases made to support learning, vendors paid on a timely basis, students picked up and returned home safely and a copy center operating behind the scenes to support teachers. I might be the coach, but they are the ones who make the department look good.”

“We have often said that having Colleen Sheehan is like having an extra, super-charged brain! Colleen is the best, and she is always there when we need her,” says Assistant Superintendent Sara Stetson in the Office of Student Services. “Also, Carol MacMillan is a wizard! Somehow, she manages all our financials- all with a smile and a great sense of humor. We don’t know how she does it, but we love her spirit!”

Lisa Coults is new to our team, but it feels like she has been a part of our family for many years,” adds Nancy Koch, Assistant Director of Student Services. “She is a breath of fresh air, we just love having Lisa with us at APS.”

“Dee is Andover, and Andover is Dee,” says Assistant Superintendent Sandra Trach of Dee Delorenzo. “Everyone knows and respects Dee. I truly believe she can leap tall buildings and I am so grateful for her guidance and support. She is amazing, and I would be lost without her.”

We wish all our administrative professionals a wonderful day!

APS Community News

Andover Town Meeting- April 29 & 30

Andover Town Meeting will be held Monday, April 29 & Tuesday, April 30th at 7pm at the Collins Center at Andover High School.

Town Meeting is convened annually to adopt an operating budget and to consider other matters such as capital improvements, town purchases, and by-law additions and amendments. The business of each Town Meeting is contained in a document known as "the warrant,” which is mailed to all registered voters as part of the Finance Committee Report.

Every article at Town Meeting is important and will have an impact on the town, but these specific articles have particular bearing on Andover schools, community projects, or general interest.

So that parents may participate in Town Meeting, the Andover Education Association (AEA) will be offering free child care onsite at AHS on April 29th. No prior registration is required.

Andover Recreation will be providing free child care in the cafeteria at AHS for the second night of Town Meeting, April 30th, and the potential third night of Town Meeting, May 6th. For these nights, advanced registration is required and can be completed online at www.andoverrec.com or by calling 978-623-8340.

The 2019 Town Meeting book will arrive at your house prior to Town Meeting, and you can view the warrant on the town website here. Both evenings are important so we look forward to seeing you at Town Meeting!

Earth Day Celebrations

The first day back from vacation was also Earth Day! Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries.

High Plain Elementary students will participate in week long observations. The rain held off long enough on Monday so that “Green Mom” Geeta R. and her volunteers raised awareness for Earth Day through a craft table.

At Bancroft Elementary, students starred in a video on recycling for all to enjoy! Many thanks to Sean Murphy, Bancroft parent, who directed and edited!

CORRECTION: School Committee Informal Forum

On Monday, an invitation to join the School Committee at its Informal Forum was distributed with an incorrect date. The forum will be held on Thursday, May 23rd from 9- 10:30 a.m. We apologize for any inconvenience.

As with previous informal forums, there is no set agenda and we welcome comments on any topics related to our schools. The community is welcome to join at any time during the forum. We invite you to join us on the top floor of Memorial Hall Library.

Because these session are attended by only two School Committee members, they allow an interactive dialogue outside of the Open Meeting Law legal parameters. Issues raised at the forum that might require further discussion with the entire School Committee will be communicated during a regular business meeting.

We hope to see you if you have an issue you'd like to discuss.

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Math Stars at High Plain Elementary

Students at High Plain Elementary participate in Continental Math League and second grader students Aiden Kang and Elmer Yen were recently honored as national winners. Both Aiden and Elmer received perfect scores during every math meet held this year. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

Wood Hill Crew Service Learning Project- Out of Darkness

On April 5, Wood Hill Middle School hosted many speakers as part of the seventh grade Crew Service Learning Project. The Wood Hill Crew program provides a small group setting for students to encourage open communication about topics of adolescent concern with a thoughtful, caring adult. The speakers provided guidance to WHMS Crew students’ question: How can students at Wood Hill create a school community that can help reduce teen depression?

Wood Hill Middle School students will join thousands of people in hundreds of cities across the country this spring walking in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. Anyone from the district can join the Wood Hill team at the Out of Darkness- Andover Campus Walk on Sunday, May 5th, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For more information, please click here.

Students take Don Quixote to Mexico City

Students at Wood Hill Middle School performed their adaptation of Don Quixote last month, and expanded their audience last week by making a connection to Mexico City through the portal.

Students shared their work with Dario Nernal, a musician and professor of music from Mexico City. Students took turns playing instruments, dancing and singing with Dario! Great work by Spanish teacher Norma Villarreal and Music teacher Gina Murray for all their good work!

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