Dartmouth Public Schools

iInspire, Kindness Matters, You Matter

Dr. Bonny Gifford

Graduation, prom, banquets, field day, step up day, college acceptance letters, capstone projects! All of these signal an end to another school year and the beginning of lazy hazy days of summer and a well-deserved respite! Wherever your summer takes you, please take a moment to reflect on the great work you accomplished this year and the lives you touched. To all of you we say THANK YOU!

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What Makes Dartmouth Special - It is our HOME!

The class of 2019 selected Mr. Will Higgins, DHS English Teacher & Instructional Coach/Lead Teacher, as commencement speaker. The theme of Mr. Higgins' speech centered on Dartmouth being the class of 2019's home. Since one of the members of the class of 2019 was my youngest son, his speech really hit home for me. As most of you know, Dartmouth Pubic Schools has not only been a place of employment for me, but my home. Dartmouth is where my three sons grew up, received a quality education and formed lasting relationships. The lessons they learned at DPS were not all academic but life's important lessons: kindness, caring and compassion. The Oliveira Family is one of many families that thank each and every one you for making an impact on our children. Your dedication and commitment to the children of Dartmouth makes this community a home.

Please enjoy this pictorial newsletter filled with endings which lead to new beginnings!

Mr. Wilbur Higgins 2019 Commencement Address:

One of the oldest words in the English language is the word home, a simple, one-syllable Germanic word that likely predates written history, probably embedded in our collective unconscious. Home has warm connotations that imply safety, security, and comfort. It’s an emotional word.

Homeland sounds like something sacred that has war-like, defensive implications. There are homeroom, homeschooled, homerun, homeward, and homepage – all positive words.

Homeless may be one of the saddest words in the English language defining one as untethered and adrift. Oddly enough, the word for a bank loan on a home, mortgage, comes from French (it has the root mort meaning death) and it means death pledge, likely because it implies that losing your house as a result of foreclosure equates with a death of some sort. Or maybe it’s because you pay it until death.

Most of you, Class of 2019, are about to leave your homes. Some of you quite literally will be moving to a college dorm or apartment, most somewhere in New England, but some as far flung as Indiana; South Carolina; Arizona; Florida; California; Louisiana; Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; and even Madrid.

But there is no doubt that all of you sitting here in caps and gowns are leaving behind your other home for the last four years, Dartmouth High School, and in general, the Dartmouth Public Schools for the last 12 years.

You may be experiencing the oddly paradoxical feeling of wanting two things simultaneously: to leave and stay at the same time.

I’d like to offer just a bit of consolation for that strange feeling many of you are experiencing; admittedly, some of you may be closer to the wanting-to-leave-side of things than the wanting-to-stay-side; nevertheless, I’d like to suggest that Dartmouth High School and the Town of Dartmouth, will always be your home. The place where you became an adult, the place where you developed your identity always holds a special place in your psyche. Princeton, NJ, will always hold that place for me. But Dartmouth is quite unique. Dartmouth is an uber-home if you will. (Uber means super, by the way, not just an app to get a car.)

Take a look at the Dartmouth High School faculty. By my count, about a dozen DHS teachers are DHS alumni. That’s unusual. Really unusual in my experience. There are many more Dartmouth alumni in the town’s elementary and middle schools including the mother/daughter teachers at DeMello, Robin and Sarah Kolbeck. Such affinity for your alma mater creates a sense of ownership and tradition that would be difficult to find anywhere else. Many of us in the district are teaching alongside former students – also unusual.

Then there is the striking number of faculty who send their children to Dartmouth schools. Just in the Class of 2019, we have 10 students whose parents are teachers in the district.

As a teacher who has taught in several districts and states and who has been around the country to meet many other teachers, this one anecdotal piece of information has always been the most compelling to me of how singular is Dartmouth. Many teachers work in the Dartmouth schools specifically so their children can attend the Dartmouth schools usually sacrificing higher salary and benefits to be part of the Dartmouth system.

There is no better endorsement of a school system than educators regularly sending their own children through the schools. My own two children, Luke and Cal, are also students in the Dartmouth schools.

Then there is the list of teachers who live in Dartmouth as well and that is a whole other level of distinctiveness about our schools. Just at the high school, three of us English teachers, a special ed lead teacher, a math lead teacher, and an engineering and robotics teacher all live in Dartmouth within several blocks of one another. Very unusual.

Then there are the parents sitting in the audience today who scrimped and saved to be able to live in Dartmouth in order to get their children into the Dartmouth school system, all wanting to take advantage of the world-class music program, the robust athletics, the inspirational art department, academics, theater, clubs, and the list goes on.

I offer this notion to the Class of 2019 because I want you to always know and remember that when you come back to Dartmouth, you are coming home. Maybe you’re coming to visit, maybe to live and work, maybe just to buy a Chippi at Mirasol’s, maybe to hit the drive-thru at Tropical Smoothie, maybe to see your cousin play soccer at DYSA, maybe to watch the band’s home show, maybe to check out your younger sibling’s art work in the art show, or maybe to watch a Friday night homecoming game on the new turf field at Memorial Stadium. No matter what, always remember that you are home.

Senior Prom


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College Athletic Signings


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2019 Magical Summer of Reading!

This year students in grade K-12 were given able to choose titles for summer reading enjoyment! Check out what our students will be reading and join in on the Magic of Reading.

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After Prom

The Class of 2019 was treated to a Western Country Theme thanks to Ana Velso, Melinda Garcia and Andrea Abreu, Grade 1 teachers Potter School and After Prom Advisors.
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Staff Spotlight

Name: Kelly D’Ambrosio

School/Position: Math Specialist/DeMello School

Hometown: Rehoboth, MA

Education: UMass Dartmouth

One goal I have achieved in my career so far that I feel most satisfied about: Receiving a Golden Apple award from a former student.

Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: My Dad, he was the best! Always taught me to be the best person I can be.

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be: I would love to travel to Costa Rica one day.

If I could eat dinner with someone famous, dead or alive, it would be: Bruce Springsteen

Pet Peeve: The sound of knuckles cracking.

Favorite leisure time activity: Traveling. reading at the beach, listening to music

Favorite movie: The Sound of Music. I remember watching it with my Dad when I was a kid.

Favorite book: One of my favorites is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

I think the world’s greatest invention is: GPS, I use it all the time!

My favorite motto or saying: It is what it is!

What I like best about working at DPS: My colleagues at DeMello are very supportive, caring, and fun, they are like a family. The students are so appreciative and thankful.

Kindness Matters!

In case you missed it, we had a fabulous example of how a simple gesture of kindess can go a long way! Here is a FaceBook Post to Dartmouth Helping Dartmouth about one of very own, Mr. Donny Green!

"Too often we use this platform to complain but today I would like to use it in a positive way. I was leaving Southworth Library playground with my two kids today as I was helping my son in the car with my daughter on my hip she hit my car key out of my hand and what do you know there was a sewer drain right below us to catch my one and only car key My three year old starts having a meltdown at the exact same time and it’s pure chaos! A nice man picking someone up at the school stopped and tried to help. I assumed it was gone for good. While I was getting my kids inside of my mother in laws car that nice man went and got help inside of the school. Another man who works at Cushman School came out with a magnet on a cord and started fishing for my single, closed switchblade car key. It didn’t look too promising but then he got it. These guys went out of their way and tried everything to help out a hot mess momma on this beautiful afternoon and I’m forever grateful for that!!! I didn’t catch their names in all the excitement but if you guys know who these guys are tag them! They saved our day today! They’re the real MVP’s!!!!"

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Staff Spotlight

Name: Ann Fifield

School/Postion: DHS, English Teacher

Hometown: Duluth, MN

Education: BA in Latin American Studies, University of Minnesota Licensure Secondary English Education, University of Minnesota MA in Professional Writing, University of Massachusetts--Dartmouth

One goal I have achieved in my career so far that I feel most satisfied about: Being selected from hundreds of applicants to be one of 16 to participate in National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes--one in England/the Netherlands and one in Appalachia.

A long term goal I am working toward: Getting a book published

Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: My dad. He was a surgeon and a marine. He believed in honesty and hard work and travel. He was also humble. He was published in the New England Journal of Medicine for discovering that Tylenol attacked the kidneys, but he never told his family. We found out at his memorial service. He was a class act.

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be: Anywhere I haven’t been yet. One of my favorite sayings is “It’s not a map. It’s a to-do list.”

If I could eat dinner with someone famous, dead or alive, it would be: David Sedaris or a dozen or two generations of my ancestors

Pet Peeve: When people don’t follow traffic laws

Favorite leasure time activity: Traveling, writing, reading

Favorite movie: I have a lot of them, but an old standby is Room with a View

Favorite book: Prodigal Summer

I think the world’s greatest invention is: GPS on cell phones

My favorite motto or saying: Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.” Henry Ford

What I like best about working at DPS: The people I work with