February Edition, 2020

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This Newsletter is a monthly letter that updates on all matters connected to Cohasset Public Schools. This letter is sent as part of a District initiative focusing on communication.

Important Upcoming Events

District Happenings:

February Break – February 17-21

3/17/20 All-School Chorus (at Deer Hill), 7PM

3/18/20 - All School Band, HS Gymnasium, 7PM

Half Day: Educator Half Professional Development Day – March 19

No School: Educator Full Professional Development Day – March 20

Cohasset High School

Grade 8 Curriculum Night (Parents / Guardians of In-coming 9th Graders) -February 11, 2020 at 6:30PM in Learning Commons

Spring Sports Meeting - March 9, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Class of 2021 College Planning Night - March 10, 2020 at 7:00 PM

Junior District Festival - March 13, 2020 - March 14, 2020

MCAS ELA - March 24 – March 25th

Cohasset Middle School

Grade 8 Curriculum Night (Parents / Guardians of In-coming 9th Graders) 6 - February 11, 2020 at 6:30PM in Learning Commons...Run by CHS

8th Grade Cornhole Tournament - February 14, 2020

Geography Man Presentation - March 11, 2020

End of Term II – March 13, 2020

Grade 6 ELA MCAS - March 30, 2020 - March 31, 2020

Deer Hill Elementary School

PSO Meeting – Feb. 11, 2020, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Read Your Heart Out Day = February 14, 2020

PSO Meeting – March 10, 2020, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Trimester Ends - March 12, 2020

Progress Reports Send Home - March 19, 2020

PK-5 Conferences March 25, 2020 -Mar 26, 2020

Grade 5 ELA MCAS - March 30, 2020 - March 31, 2020

Joseph Osgood Elementary School

Mr. Dykas Dance Party - March 9, 2020 - March 13, 2020

School Start and Ending Times Confirmed for 2020 - 2021 School Year

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The School Start and Ending Times for the 2020 - 2021 School Year have been confirmed. Below, please find the start and ending times that will be put into place for next year. Please note that the adoption of these start and ending times means that students K-5 will ride the buses together next year.Thank you to everyone who collaborated and provided voice during this process. In the upcoming months, further information will be shared about before and after school offerings, bus routes, bus stops and student drop-off and pick-up.
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Fantastic Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Project-Based Learning at CMS

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Courtesy of Principal Mills and the CMS Spinnaker

"Grade 6 students and teachers recently collaborated on celebrating the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This unforgettable memoir describes how a curious and determined young boy in Malawi creates a working windmill from scrap parts that generates electricity and runs a water pump saving his family and village during a devastating drought.

All teachers in grade 6 enhanced their instruction over the last few weeks to incorporate the book and its themes creating a coherent learning experience for their students. This approach is called Project-Based Learning (PBL). It has been shown to promote student engagement and learning.

There were many enriching activities students participated in as part of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind unit. See the pictures below. These included:

  • Collecting Change to Bring About Change: Students held a change drive and raised over $800 that will be donated to Moving Windmills-a non-profit founded by Kamkwamba to support economic development projects in Malawi.
  • A Taste of Malawian Culture: Students enjoyed a feast of Malawian food made by families and teachers.
  • Taking a Spin: Students built and tested windmill models using recycled materials.
  • Contrasting Story Versions: After reading the book, students watched the film version of the story and then participated in an insightful and substantive group discussion on differences between the film and text.

We were proud of our students and their commitment to their learning. We are also proud and appreciative for the creativity and hard work of our teachers." - Principal Mills

Great job, Sixth Grade Team!

Facetime with William Kamkwamba

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Here is the Press Release for the sixth grade Facetime with the author of "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind."

Cohasset Middle School Students Skype with Famous Malawian Author and Innovator

When Cohasset sixth graders set out to raise funds for The Moving Windmills Project in Malawi, Africa, they never imagined that their “Change the World” campaign would result in a conversation for the world-famous writer and innovator who founded the non-for-profit organization. William Kamkwamba, the New York Times bestselling author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and subject of the 2018 critically acclaimed Netflix movie of the same name, skyped with the students on Monday, February 3rd to thank them for their donation and answer questions about the book and movie.

Sixth grader Amanda Fox asked Kamkwamba, “What was the biggest impact the windmill has made on your life and the life of people in your village?”

Kamkwamba answered, “I was able to build more water pumps around the village for clean water and clean water was desperately needed.”

Cohasset School Superintendent, Patrick Sullivan, who joined the students for the Skype session, remarked, “Thank you to the sixth-grade educators and students for their amazing work with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Project-Based Learning (PBL) experience. The Skype with Mr. Kamkwamba was a wonderful learning opportunity. The students asked thought- provoking questions, and Mr. Kamkwamba was gracious with his answers. His sentiment to the students to ‘go out and make a difference’ in their communities was motivating and inspirational. Having Mr. Kamkwamba speak to the students was a proud moment for the Cohasset Middle School Community.”

Students were inspired by Kamkwamba’s book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to raise funds for education in Malawi. The book tells the story of how Kamkwamba, at age 14, was no longer able to attend school due to a severe famine and his family’s inability to pay the school fees. He used his time in a local library to learn how to build a windmill to bring power to his home and village. The materials for his invention came from the local garbage heap. Despite unimaginable obstacles, Kamkwamba never gave up trying to help his family and villagers.

Kamkwamba thanked the Cohasset middle schoolers for their donation and explained, “One of the changes I have seen as a result of the movie and book is that young people are excited about science. When I go back to Malawi, young people ask me questions about science. They just want to learn.”

When asked by Cohasset 6th grader what was the most difficult part of the process, Kamkwamba answered, “…finding the materials I needed and being laughed at while I was building the windmill.”

- Courtesy of Sixth Grade ELA Teacher, Donna Melia

Samantha Skunk Presentation to Osgood Students by CMS Safe Harbor Youth Ambassadors

This past month, CMS Middle School Safe Harbor Youth Ambassadors presented on the importance of young children being careful and responsible around prescription drugs. Osgood students were told to always tell an adult when these drugs are seen. Thank you, Safe Harbors, Osgood and Youth Ambassadors for this collaboration.
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Green Team presentation on the importance of Recycling at CMS

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast a big success

Thank you to the over 150 Cohasset residents and educators who attended the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast, which was held at St. Stephen's Church. The event was sponsored by the Cohasset Diversity Committee and included a keynote by Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker. Also that evening a Gospel Concert was provided by The Morning Star Baptist Church Gospel Choir at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Meeting House. The concert was supported by the Cohasset Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was presented by the Cohasset Diversity Committee and First Parish Unitarian Church. A special thank you goes out to Aleisa Gittens-Carle (METCO Director), Ashley Colleary (Cohasset School Committee member), Cohasset clergy, Coach LeVangie and the Cohasset Girls' Basketball Team (for helping to serve food and set-up the event) and to the wonderful Cohasset Diversity Committee for their efforts. Here are some pictures from the event.
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"Distractology" comes to Cohasset High School

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Courtesy of Principal Scott and the CHS Newsletter

"It seems like every day we hear about teens getting into accidents or even dying due to distracted driving. The Arbella Insurance Foundation along with McSweeney and Ricci Insurance Agency and Cohasset High School are committed to help put an end to this problem.

A mobile simulator experience is designed to show new drivers exactly how dangerous it is to text and drive. Our new drivers received first hand experience through car simulation and were able to react on the road, see hidden hazards, and avoid accidents while safely behind the wheel of a driving simulator.

CHS proudly hosted this program on January 27-31. Juniors The program was free to our students thanks to McSweeney and Ricci, and the students who completed the program received a $15.00 gas card along with a chance to win a $500.00 scholarship."

-Principal Scott

For additional information visit"

Cohasset High School Independent Study Projects

Cohasset High School Student Independent Study Projects were displayed in the Learning Commons. These impressive endeavors included ceramics, art, TV production, custom sign making, electronic mapping of Cohasset's trails, analysis of the Credit for Life Fair...just to name a few. Thank you, CHS leadership, faculty, staff and community partners.

Molly Greer becomes the first Cohasset Girls Basketball player to score 1000 Points!

Congratulations to Molly Greer on becoming the first CHS Girls Basketball Player to score 1000 points. This is a wonderful achievement for a talented student-athlete. It was an excellent event and celebration. Molly is Cohasset's all-time leading scorer for Girls Basketball. Way to go, Molly!
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Wrestler Danny Nolan Wins 139th Match

Senior Dan Nolan broke the record for the most career wins by a Cohasset Wrestler with his 139th win! This is an amazing accomplishment for this amazing student-athlete... And he is not done yet! Congratulations, Dan, and good luck with the rest of the season.
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Congratulations to Steve Rotondi for being named the Cohasset Boys Lacrosse Coach

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Happy Birthday Celebration for SRO Taylor

This past week, students surprised Officer Taylor with an impromptu birthday celebration. Thank you, Officer Taylor for all you do for Cohasset Public Schools.
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Thanks for wearing Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Day!

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Amazing Cohasset Student Art on Display at Cohasset Starbucks...Great job, students!

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Screenagers the Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience

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Thank you to the PSO and Safe Harbors for collaborating with Cohasset Public Schools to present Screenagers the Next Chapter last month in the Middle and High School Auditorium. The film followed the film maker as she discovers solutions for improved adolescent well-being in the digital age. This film, and the discussion that followed it, fit perfectly within our District-wide focus on social-emotional learning (SEL). The high turn-out for this showing is proof that the community also values this focus. Thank you to Leanne McCarthy and Emily Manewal for their great work on the discussion panel. Thank you for all you do to help the SEL development of the students, as we seek to help build resiliency and support wellness.

Internet Safety for CMS Sixth Grade Students

Last month, all sixth grade students participated in an internet safety program that showed great collaboration between CMS staff and the Cohasset Police. Students rotated through three classroom experiences, learning about Cybersafety and digital responsibility. Thank you to Detective Jenkins, Officer Taylor and CMS educators for leading discussions regarding Cybersafety.
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Jeopardy Competition at Deer Hill to reinforce Skipper Creed Expectations

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Asian Culture Club Presents to Deer Hill Students about Chinese New Year

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Science and Social Studies Collaboration at CHS

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It's Science . . . and Social Studies

Courtesy of Principal Scott and the CHS Newsletter

"Ms. Thompson's Biology classes teamed up with Coach A's World History classes last semester in a PBL-inspired, interdisciplinary symposium on environmental issues. The students were charged with defining their own topics/issues, conducting their own research, interviewing a local expert and after the 2 months of work, they presented their findings to the joint classes.

Students utilized the Learning Commons for several research classes, and the actual presentations were in lieu of a final exam in World History.

Student Presentations were as follows:

Green House Gases and Climate Change
Conservation of Natural Space

Nuclear Energy

Climate Change and its effects on the Fishing Industry

Plastic, Climate Change and its impact on the Environment

Coastal & Oceanic Health

Pharmaceutical Drugs and their Impact

Renewable Energy

Illegal Drugs and Cartels

Carbon Footprints and ways to improve

Space Travel & Technology

Healthy Life Styles"

- Principal Scott

Cohasset Safe Schools Committee

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At last month's Safe Schools Committee meeting, members discussed the role of the committee for this year going forward. It was determined that, in line with the sub-committee goals, each team would work to produce one product this year. Here are the planned products:

Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness Subcommittee: Communicating resources that can be used to help students with stress and mental wellness

Building Security and Protective Measures Subcommittee: Creating and potentially finding funding for a “Safety Bag” for each classroom in the event of an emergency

Promoting a Safe and Inclusive Culture Subcommittee: Creating a bridge workshop between the high school (diversity club, AP classes etc) and Deer Hill around a to be determined topic (word choice, empathy, civic discourse, etc)

Safe Schools Bullying Procedure and Safety Policy Review Subcommittee: Reviewing and clarifying the Bullying Incident Reporting Form. The goal is to inform staff of the procedures for reporting such incidents and the process of the investigation.

Communication and Action Planning Subcommittee: Creating and sending out an edition of The Navigator Newsletter to Cohasset families that highlights national trends, school initiatives and resources in each of the subcommittee areas: Bullying Prevention, Social Emotional Learning and Wellness, Inclusive Cultures and Building Safety

The Cohasset Safe Schools Committee plans to meet in April to review progress and to finalize work products in a May meeting.

Thank you to everyone on this committee for their great work!

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan and Policy

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Here is an informational article written by CMS Principal, John Mills

CPS is No Place for Bullying

"The Cohasset Public School District is committed to maintaining a school environment where students are free from bullying and cyber-bullying and the effects thereof."

These are the first word of our district's anti-bullying policy and state clearly our goal. In order to better understand our approach to bullying, a guide to the policy and it is implemented follows below.

A Suspected Instance of Bullying is Reported

A student, parent or faculty who suspects that bullying may have occurred reports the incidence. The report can be made:

  • Directly to a school official in person, by phone or in writing such as an email
  • The Tips Line allows for individuals to make a report anonymously online.

The Reported Incident is Investigated by School Personnel

  • The Bullying Prevention/Incident Reporting Form is utilized to systematically gather information about the incident. In order to make an informed determination about whether an incident constituted "bullying", the following steps are taken:

  1. The alleged target is interviewed by school personnel
  2. The alleged aggressor is interviewed by school personnel
  3. Incident witnesses are interviewed by school personnel
  4. Student records and school staff are interview to determine whether any prior allegations relevant to bullying or retaliation involving the alleged target as well as the alleged aggressor have occurred.

A Determination of Bullying is Made

Bullying, as defined in M.G.L. c.71, s. 37O, is the repeated use by one or more students students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:

(i) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;

(ii) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property;

(iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the target;

(iv) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or

(v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Based on a thorough investigation, school personnel will make a determination as to whether the reported incident met this standard for bullying. It is important to note that although some incidents may not meet the definition of bullying, they may violate other aspects of the Student Conduct Code.

Critical Final Steps

Whether an incident constitutes bullying as defined legally, school personnel will take the following steps to ensure all students will be able to enjoy a safe and supportive school environment:

  • Appropriate disciplinary consequences may be assigned (possibly including: verbal warning; restorative meeting; written warning; reprimand; loss of recess; detention; out of school suspension or expulsion)
  • A Safety Plan will be created
  • Follow-up with meetings will be conducted with target and aggressor
  • Communication with parents/guardians of target and aggressor
  • Law Enforcement will be notified if the principal or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor and then must document reasons for notifying law enforcement
  • The Report is forwarded to the Principal and the Superintendent.

More Resources:

Parents are encouraged to review the Bullying Resources page on the district website to review these forms and the School Committee policy about bullying.

We are committed to achieving our district vision which, among other things, includes our efforts to "collaboratively support an academically challenging, safe, respectful, and student-centered learning environment".

Here is a link to our Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan and Policy. Cohasset Public Schools takes reports of bullying very seriously, and we work with staff and students each year to ensure they know how to report and handle incidents of potential bullying. In addition, we have anti-bullying programming at all of our schools.

Reading Fun at Osgood's Read-A-Thon!

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Cohasset Students to Present Little Women on February 27 & February 28

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Kindness Week coming to Cohasset Middle School

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Next week, Cohasset Middle School will celebrate their inaugural Kindness Week. The week will include students adding their kind "I"deas to the wall mural, appreciation stations, where students can share notes of kindness, kindness challenges and focused kindness curriculum activities in classrooms. This is a part of our focus on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and focuses on relationship building. We are looking forward to this week of kindness.

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Cohasset High School students spent the morning on February 3rd as guests of Hingham High School to view the one act play, Thurgood, featuring Joshua Wolf. It was the kickoff of activities for Black History Month. Thank you to Hingham High School for inviting us.

Celebrate Black History Month

Throughout the month of February, each school will be involved with activities to celebrate Black History Month. One example is Cohasset Middle School, where students making morning announcements will be highlighting black historical figures, pioneers and innovators who made a significant contribution to the world.

Please see information by clicking on the link below to learn about some activities you can partake in to celebrate Black History Month.

Feel free to contact Ms. Aleisa Gittens-Carle or Ms. Atisha Winslow at (781)383-6117 with any additional questions.

From the Director of Finance and Operations...Michael MacMillan

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The first draft of the State's Budget indicated a little more money for Cohasset than was expected and the School District leadership team have firmed up the list of priority of items to be funded next year.

The first step in the development of the State's budget for FY21 was taken on January 22nd, when the Governor released his proposed budget. This budget includes the proposed aid (funding) and assessments (charges) for municipalities. The Governor's proposal will be examined by the House Committee on Ways and Means, which will then release its own proposed budget - see here for more information on the state budget process:

The Governor's proposal indicated a slight improvement on Cohasset's forecast for FY21. While the forecast state aid was within a dollar of the Governor's proposed budget, the state assessments were around $80,000 less than expected.

Further positive news was that the number of Cohasset students expected to attend the South Shore Vocational Technical High School was revised down reducing that cost to the town by $27,576.

This translated to an increase to the draft school budget of $26,534. The reason it wasn't more was that the Technology department's budget was increased by $67,060 to fund more secure email software. The Technology department supports the Town and School departments and it's budget is appropriated before the Town / School budget split is applied.

On Monday, February 3rd, the School Leadership team met to review the list of budget priorities for the next school year. At this meeting, the following items were presented as essential for next year's budget.

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The District Leadership Team also ranked the next level of priorities. These are items that are crucial for delivery of the district's budget priorities but are not as essential to the operation of the district.
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The final budget (and the priorities included) will have to be approved by the School Committee before being submitted to the Town.

What's next?

There will be a detailed budget presentation at the February 26 School Committee meeting (7pm, Cohasset Middle High School, Community Room).

There will then be a Joint meeting of the School Committee, Selectmen and Town Advisory Committee. On March 4th, there will be a public hearing on the budget before the School Committee votes on the final budget to be submitted to the Town.

Any Questions?

Please contact with any questions you might have.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Compass: Assistant Superintendent Leslie Scollins, Ed.D.

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Curriculum is not just reading, writing, and arithmetic - it can be all three and more with amazing outcomes! Great work by students in Furniture Design course.
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Elementary Math Pilot Update

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Presentations about the Math Pilot were made to the School Committee and the Deer Hill PSO. Math Specialists Chrissy Thonet and Marcia Campbell have been instrumental in supporting staff and families in this process.

Professional Development

Here is a snapshot of what staff do on 1/2 days.

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Cassy O’Brien facilitating a workshop called Creating your Own Personal Learning Network. Deer Hill will have the same workshop in February.

From the Office of Mary Buchanan, Director of Student Services

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Office of Student Service:

Events and Happenings in January and February:

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Progress Reports will available the same day as Report Cards although will not be visible on the Aspen Portal at this time.

Cohasset High School student IEP Progress Reports were mailed home on January 28, 2020. If you have questions about IEP Progress Reports, please reach out to The Office of Student Services at 781-383-6104.

Peer Preschool Process

Preschool Peer Lottery for morning and afternoon sessions was held on February 3, 2020. Parents were notified of status on February 4, 2020. Preschool Parent Orientation will be held on February 28, 2020 at 10:00am for the morning session and 1:00pm for the afternoon session. The location for the Orientation will be Joseph Osgood School, Preschool classroom. Questions about the preschool process can be directed to Mary Buchanan at 781-383-6104 or

Special Education Parent Advisory Council SEPAC

There was a General SEPAC Meeting held on February 5th where updates to the preschool process, coteaching at the middle/high school level and language-based programming were discussed. Additional information regarding Dyslexia screening and evaluations were also discussed. The group also discussed upcoming professional development opportunities for inclusive education.

There was a SEPAC presentation held at the Paul Pratt Library on February 6th for Social Strategies in Social Settings that provided information, tools and resources for parents to help their children navigate social interactions throughout their day in and out of school.

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We are excited for Cohasset's 250th Celebration

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Positive Words on Whiteboard at Cohasset High School

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Have a great weekend.

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