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9 AHS students get 10-day suspensions in bullying

Villano reaches out to parents; successful dance reported

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All nine Arlington High School students involved in alcohol-related bullying incident in which a female student was injured have received 10-day suspensions, interim Principal Mary Villano said Wednesday, Nov. 21.

"During the course of the investigation" of what she called an assault, Villano wrote in an email to parents and guardians Tuesday, Nov. 20, "it became very evident that the use of alcohol was a strong contributing factor to the behaviors exhibited that night.

"This concerns us. We are reaching out to you, our parents and community members, to continue to partner with us to educate our children on the dangers of destructive decisions."

After learning about the incident last weekend, she said the school's administrators and Ned Walsh, the school resource officer, "immediately began a thorough investigation."

She wrote that the deans interviewed many students with their parents to determine the facts leading up to and during the incident. "Once all of the facts

were obtained, several students were assigned serious disciplinary consequences," she wrote. "I am confident that our investigation was thorough and the discipline issued was immediate and appropriate."

In the email, she did not say what the discipline was, or how many were affected, but she responded to a request from YourArlington.

"Presently, we are working with the Arlington Police Department to ensure the safety of all students at AHS," she continued in the Nov. 20 email. "We will continue to provide opportunities for students to express their feelings and concerns about bullying with trusted adults in the school and in advisory periods."

She wrote that the administration would continue to work with the Arlington Youth Health & Safety Coalition  

to facilitate conversations with the community, around underage alcohol use by students.

"In closing, I encourage you to speak to your children about healthy decision making. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to collaborating with you on all important issues involving our children."

The incident is reported to have occurred at a sporting event, but details could not be learned.

Asked the location, date and time of the incident, Capt Richard Flynn of Arlington police wrote in an email Nov. 21:

"This is an ongoing investigation. Pursuant to the law, any information in conjunction with, including the report itself, will be released publicly upon the completion of the investigation."

Junior/Senior semiformal

In contrast to this report, the Junior/Senior semiformal dance at AHS drew praise from parent Karen Dillon. She told the Arlington email list Nov. 21: "I want to publicly congratulate and thank Mary Villano and staff for not giving up on our kids."

Villano reported in her monthly newsletter that 172 students attended. Apparently, the numbers were lower because students faced Breathalyzers. More than 300 usually attend.

Dillon wrote to the email list that Villano "has has a firm stance on a zero-tolerance policy toward teen drinking before or during school events.

"Mary and other school staff have been meeting with students to try and determine how to have 'safe' dances and lift the previous moratorium. This has been a collaborative and controversial effort."

That has been continuing since January after a dance last November resulted in the removal of two students who had been drinking.

"At first, there were grumblings among the student body that the dance would be poorly attended, because some kids just couldn't imagine having a dance with these new policies," Dillon continued.

"Ticket sales lagged. I heard kids talking about how sad it was that some students wouldn't consider coming to a dance sober.

"Students were concerned that their friends and classmates are so insecure and self-conscious that the only way they can feel free is to be under the

influence .... that a sober dance was 'lame' or uncool. That being intoxicated is the only way to have a good time.

"Luckily, the dance was very well attended, and the many teens I've talked to reported having a fantastic time. 'Best Dance ever!' many have said.

"The teachers who volunteered their time to chaperone were not wiping up vomit, picking up empties or helping sick teens. They looked happy and proud of their students. There was minimal to no drama. No fist fights. No one got sick or had to be taken to the hospital.

"Instead, this was in inclusive experience. There was a great new DJ, fantastic decorations and light show, loads of food and those kids who are usually too intimidated by the rowdy kids actually were able to come out and dance on the floor and have a blast. All of the student body interacted on the dance floor.

The dance was not dominated by any one group of kids.

"These new guidelines for school dances were put in place as a collaboration between the student body and the administration and clearly quite effective."

This story was published Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.

School Committee evaluates Bodie publicly a 2nd time

Dr. Kathl;een BodieBodie  The School Committee faced a key step on Thursday, Nov. 15, in deciding whether to renew the contract of Superintendent Kathleen Bodie, which must occur by Dec. 31: She was evaluated in public, as she was a year ago, for the $167,260-a-year top school position.

According to the meeting agenda, the two-hour evaluation was to begin at 7:20 p.m. At its Oct. 25 meeting, School Committee Chairwoman Kirsi Allison-Ampe pointed to policy CBI, which calls for preparing written public reports rather than oral ones.

The policy says: "Prior to the public evaluation, members of the Committee may complete the written evaluation instrument described in CBI-E. However, any notes or written evaluations read or referred to in the public evaluation shall become part of the public record.

"Committee members are urged to carefully consider the criteria and factors in the evaluation tool and to provide honest, objective feedback that is free of politics and personal agendas. Committee members are also reminded that their evaluations are public documents; they should refrain from personal attacks, and strive to maintain a respectful tone befitting of civil discourse."

Series of questions to consider

An Oct. 19 memo presented to the committee Oct. 25 suggested that the following questions be among those considered in the evaluation:

-- What is the strategy for helping the approximately 13.5% of students who are not at grade level in reading by grade 3?

-- Goal 1(f) talks about making students aware of opportunities in STEM fields. Is there any conversation taking place within the district of placing students in science-related internships at Iocal companies during high school? Is t here any interest in this on the part of the science leadership?

-- Goal 1(h) discusses a plan to offer PSAT to sophomores and juniors on Oct. 17. How many participated?

-- Please give an update on the search for permanent Director of Special Education and a high school Principal.

-- Please provide a list of ways you have stayed "informed of all aspects of state and national educational activities which have the potential for affecting the Arlington Public Schools." (from CBI-E, part 2)

-- Please describe the steps you've taken to work "effectively with collective bargaining units to ensure high quality teaching and learning in our schools." [from CBI-E, part 4)

-- What are the top 3 things you accomplished in this evaluation period? What have you fallen short of? What will you do to correct?

-- Give three specific examples of how you have successfully communicated with stakeholders? What are you doing that works in this regard? What would you like to do better?

-- Give three specific examples of curriculum improvements that have been positively received by staff and students.

-- How has your leadership improved the culture and implementation of differentiated instruction in the classroom?

-- Who are the people you evaluate and what were the dates that their evaluations were completed during the 2011 2012year?

-- Provide your timeline for the Special Education Director search.

-- Provide your timeline for the high school principal search?

-- What protocols have you implemented regarding confidentiality in the school system? Give your evaluation of these protocols.

-- How has the reading response to intervention program been evaluated for success?

-- How are you ensuring that all staff at all levels are receiving performance reviews on a regular basis?

-- Although their CPI scores were acceptable, grade and 6 and 7 had very low SGP scores in mathematics in 2011-12 for all students, and in all subgroups. When, and how, were these scores discussed with subject teachers and leaders? What action items came from these discussions? What was the follow-up?

-- What has changed this past year to improve Special Education communication?

Superintendent-search-related events since 2007

To provide context, here are some key events of the last five years:

Bodie, named an assistant superintendent in 2007, was elevated to superintendent in 2008 following the departure of Nate Levenson.

In October 2008, she was named interim superintendent in a vote of 5-0-1.

In January 2009, the committee voted to extend her contract to June 30, 2010.

In February 2010, after a search committee chose eight candidates for superintendent, Bodie did not say whether she had applied.

A little more than a week later, Bodie was reported to be a finalist for the top school job in Swampscott.

Five days after that, three finalists were named, and Bodie bowed out.

Late that month, the two remaining finalists withdrew and Bodie accepted the permanent position.

Her evaluations were reported in April 2010.

In November 2011, the School Committee evaluated Bodie in public for the first time.

This story was published Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.


Aftermath of alcohol party affects 13 student-athletes

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The impact of police action Oct. 19 at 48 Chatham St., the home of a former selectman and her family, has hit the Arlington High School sports program: Four student athletes cannot participate in their next scheduled events, and nine others cannot participate in events next spring.

Robert DiLoreto, dean of students at Fusco House and interim athletics director, says the immediate effect falls on one boys' soccer player, one football player and two members of crew.

No one has been suspended, because the event was not school-sponsored, he wrote in an email Thursday, Oct. 25.

On a rainy Friday after an AHS football game had been postponed, police found 33 people under 21 involved in a party that included loud music and alcohol at the home of Annie LaCourt and Mark Burstein. They face a Nov. 7 magistrate's hearing on criminal charges.

Police said that of the 33, 21 were found to have consumed alcohol in varying concentrations. They also said that LaCourt and Burstein were home at the time.

Police said that those underage and found to have consumed alcohol will face criminal charges or be offered participation in the Juvenile Diversion Program, which allows children with no prior criminal record, who commit a minor offense, an opportunity to be diverted from the court system.

DiLoreto said the student athletes affected "were found to be in violation of the MIAA rule 62 chemical health rule." Read about that rule here >>

The consequence for first violation for rule 62, he said, is "the student shall lose eligibility for the next consecutive interscholastic contests (regular season and tournament) totaling 25% of all interscholastic contests in that sport."
Besides the four in fall sports, nine winter or spring student-athletes also violated rule 62, he said. "Those student-athletes will serve their consequence during their next season of play," he wrote.

Mary Villano, the Arlington High School principal, and DiLoreto were asked whether students were suspended.

DiLoreto responded: "Because this was not a school-sponsored event, so no school consequences were given to any of the students involved."
A police report has been requested. Capt. Richard Flynn said it would be released to the public once police are ready to do so.

La Court has not responded to a request for comment or a second request to identify her attorney.

YourArlington does not report the names of those under the age of 18.

This story was first reported Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.

Elementary schools get $1.1m grant to expand counseling

Money logoThe Arlington public schools have been awarded a $1.1 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand counseling services in the elementary schools.

With the first year's funding totaling $376,538, Project SUCCESS (Schools Uniting and Coordinating Counseling in Elementary School Settings) will increase elementary school counseling staff, expand parent outreach, provide curriculum focused on social and emotional health, and offer professional development for teachers and school social workers.

In addition, the effort will support closer ties with local family support services to improve access to additional counseling services.

Arlington’s application was one of three Massachusetts districts chosen, with 60 awards given nationwide in 24 states.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said in a news release from her office, "We are extremely pleased to receive this opportunity to provide our youngest students and their families with excellent social and emotional supports that result in positive approaches to the challenging situations students can sometimes face."
Cindy Bouvier, director of health, wellness and counseling, said: "Project SUCCESS provides a wonderful opportunity for Arlington to increase its counseling staff and to support students, families and teachers in creating an ever more supportive and safe learning atmosphere in our schools."

This story was published Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.



Kindergarten mom digs out lead that helped end fee

Money logoA Googling mom has helped parents find a way out of the forest of increasing fees for all-day kindergarten.

Ruthellyn Jacob, whose daughter just started kindergarten at Peirce, spotted a news item last spring that led the school subcommittee of which she was a part to information that resulted in wiping out the long-contentious fee.

"Oh, my goodness," Jacob said in a telephone interview a day after the School Committee's vote Sept. 13 put an official sanction behind the ground work that she and the committee laid.

"I was so happy to tell other parents at Peirce the next day. Many did not know."

Apart from the initial enthusiasm, which must face a Town Meeting vote Oct. 10, she took a longer view. The removal of the fee is a "selling point for the community," she said.

This story begins about a year ago, when Jacob saw the program's stiff fee, $3,000 a year, which her family faced. As the school year proceeded, she saw news stories about the steps the school business office had to take to collect the fee, including establishing a deadline to pay in January.

Of course, since 1997, when full-day kindergarten became a full-fledged school program, with a $1,500 fee, school officials have wanted to reduce or eliminate the annual payment. Over the years, the fee has dropped to $500 but risen to $3,000.

Signs up for subcommittee

Eager to work on the issue, she signed on in February with the subcommittee, led by School Committee member Bill Hayner, charged with looking at a variety of kindergarten issues.

Among others, the group compared what parents paid in other Massachusetts towns. Some, such as Stoneham, pay more than the $3,000 tuition in Arlington. Others pay less. Then she found some who didn't pay.

One was Melrose. In news stories she found by Googling, she learned that Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan proposed removing the $1,500 fee for all-day kindergarten last March -- and his plan was approved in May.

Here's what caught Jacob's eye: The move was projected to cost about $500,000 in 2012-13, but Melrose's Chapter 70 state education funding would cover the cost of the full-day students in subsequent years.

As of last spring, Melrose got 50 percent of state aid that it receives per student for each full-day kindergarten student whose family paid the fee, but Melrose would get full funding for each student who went to full-day kindergarten free.

Jacob, whose background includes pharmaceutical sales, wondered: "What about Arlington?"

So she and others on the subcommittee, including Julie Dunn and Hardy Principal Deb D'Amico began investigating to find out.

Johnson helps confirm numbers

That work, in which Diane Johnson, the schools' chief financial officer, played a nitty-gritty role, concluded in August, with confirmation that what Melrose did would fly here.

With that nailed down, key leaders of Arlington's finances got involved. Among other matters, they discussed whether tuition already paid this year could be refunded. They decided it could, and on Sept. 12, the town's Finance Committee voted to transfer $970,000 from a reserve fund. Town Meeting must vote on that transfer.

In announcing the end of the fees Sept. 14, a school news release said: "This change has been made possible thanks to support from the Town of Arlington, which has agreed to provide additional funding to cover this year's kindergarten fees in anticipation of increased state aid next fiscal year.

"All fees collected for the 2012-2013 school year will be refunded to parents.

"Under the state’s current educational funding formula, which was recently adjusted, offering free full-day kindergarten will increase Arlington’s Chapter 70 aid during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The expected increase in Chapter 70 aid will fully offset the cost of this year’s Kindergarten fees."

The reference to the adjustment of the state-aid formula is likely music to the ears of Allan Tosti, longtime Fincom chairman, who has spoken out for years about needed adjustment to the formula that brings state aid to Arlington.

Athletics, music fees are extracurricular

Hayner has made clear that the removal of the kindergarten fee does not work for other school fees. "Kindergarten is a curriculum issue," he said. "The others [athletics or music] are extracurricular."

The final report of the kindergarten committee, issued in June, recommended working to end the fee. Now it has been.

Members were parents Dolores McGee, Brendan O'Day, Farhana Riaz and Jacob; Deborah D'Amico and Julie Dunn, administration; and William Hayner.

This story was first reported Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.

Rossi got Newburyport principalship at the end of May

The day that Tara Rossi announced she was leaving the Dallin School as its principal after three years, the Newburyport Daily News reported she had taken a principal post in that North Shore city.

The Hampton, N.H. resident has a shorter commute after taking the job at the Molin Upper Elementary School, according to a story published May 31, the day she emailed the Dallin community to say she was leaving.

At the time, YourArlington made calls to learn where Rossi was going, but they were not returned.

Dallin will have an interim principal in the 2012-13. The appointment of Dr. Eileen Driscoll Woods, principal of the year in 1998, was announced in mid-June. Woods retired from the Andover public schools in 2008 after a long career in Andover.

In the May 31 email to parents, Rossi said she is leaving because of her long commute from New Hampshire and a family decision to remain in the seacoast area.

In an email May 31, she wrote: "I have greatly enjoyed my three years as principal here. I want to thank the teachers, students, parents, administration, school committee, and community, for their support during my tenure.

"Dallin is a very special school and I shall cherish the relationships that I’ve made with the staff, students, and the Dallin community. The strong value that the community places on education is a sustaining force in helping to support our students’ recognition of the importance of their education. The Dallin staff is the most passionate, dedicated, hard-working and enjoyable people I’ve ever known.

"I sincerely thank you for your support of the school and me. I wish you all the best."

Bodie announced Rossi's replacement June 12, writing, "I am very confident that Dr. Woods will provide excellent leadership next year while we begin search for a permanent principal."

This story was published Tuesday, July 17, 2012.

New METCO director announced

Margaret Credle Thomas of Hyde Park has accepted the position of METCO director for the school district, the superintendent's office of the Arlington public schools announced Tuesday, Juily 10. Longtime director Stephen Pereira retired last month after for 32 years in Arlington.

Credle Thomas comes to Arlington with broad experience in the METCO program. Her previous positions include METCO specialist for the Wayland public schools, assistant METCO director for the Lexington public schools and interim METCO birector for the Brookline public schools.

The Metropolitan Council for Education Opportunity, or METCO, is a grant program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Founded in 1966, it is a voluntary program intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public school in other communities who have agreed to participate. Over 3,000 students take part annually. During the 2010-2011 school year, Boston and Springfield sent pupils to 37 school districts across the state.

Credle Thomas also has a strong background in antiracist education, having served as an Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (EMI) facilitator for the last 10 years. EMI works to increase cultural sensitivity and instructive skill among educators by providing graduate level courses for teachers and administrators in multicultural and antiracist education and effective teaching. EMI is part of the Education Collaborative for Greater Boston Inc., or EDCO, a voluntary collaborative of urban and suburban school districts dedicated to enhancing equity, intercultural understanding, and equal opportunity in education.

"We are pleased that Ms. Credle Thomas will be joining the district team to oversee this important program," said Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent of Schools in a news release. "METCO is the largest and oldest not-for-profit integration/desegregation program in America, and Arlington is proud to be part of this effort."

Credle Thomas received her undergraduate degree from UMass./Boston and a master of science in social work from Simmons College. Her background also includes serving as a school social worker/adjustment counselor and as an adjunct professor at Wheelock College and the Urban College of Boston. 

This story was published Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

Rossi leaving Dallin; retired Andover principal named interim

The Dallin Elementary School will have an interim principal in the 2012-13 school year after the current leader, Tara Rossi, has announced she is leaving after three years.

Dr. Eileen Driscoll Woods, principal of the year in 1998, will take over at Dallin, Superintendent Kathy Bodie has said. Woods retired from the Andover public schools in 2008 after a long career in Andover.

Woods met parents at Dallin Tuesday, June 19, in the library.

Rossi said she is leaving because of her long commute from New Hampshire and a family decision to remain in the seacoast area.

In an email May 31, she wrote: "I have greatly enjoyed my three years as principal here. I want to thank the teachers, students, parents, administration, school committee, and community, for their support during my tenure.

"Dallin is a very special school and I shall cherish the relationships that I’ve made with the staff, students, and the Dallin community. The strong value that the community places on education is a sustaining force in helping to support our students’ recognition of the importance of their education. The Dallin staff is the most passionate, dedicated, hard-working and enjoyable people I’ve ever known.

"I sincerely thank you for your support of the school and me. I wish you all the best."

Rossi succeeded Wallis Raemer, who moved up to interim assistant superintendent and has served in that position until this month, when a permanent assistant superintendent, Laura S. Chesson, was named.

Bodie announced Rossi's replacement June 12, writing, "I am very confident that Dr. Woods will provide excellent leadership next year while we begin search for a permanent principal."

Bodie said Tuesday's meeting will not be the only opportunity for parents to meet Woods before school reopens in September. Notice of future events will be sent to parents over the summer, she said.

Woods served as principal of Sanborn Elementary School from 1985-1991.ln 1991, Sanborn was designated a Blue Ribbon School.

After serving one year as assistant superintendent, Woods became principal of South Elementary School and served from 1992 to 2008.

Before her years in Andover, Woods worked in Reading as the gifted and talented coordinator and a teacher in grades three through six.

Woods holds National Board Certification in mentoring principals.

She has received many other awards, including the Pathfinder Technology Leadership Award (2003) and Andover's Unsung Hero Award (2005).

Woods received her Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. She holds a master of education from University of Massachusetts in school administration.

Her undergraduate degree is from Boston College with a bachelor of arts in sociology with a minor in education.

This story was published Saturday, June 16, 2012.

Marblehead principal to lead Stratton

Mark Hanna in  2012Mark Hanna

Three days after meeting the public, Michael Hanna of Marblehead has been named as the new Stratton School principal, and plans to start July 1.

In an email Friday, June 8, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie announced the appointment. Hanna is the principal of the Village School (grades 4-6) in Marblehead and the only finalist following a reopened search.

In a news release, Bodie said Hanna has accepted the position. The appointment means help for Sheri Donovan, who has been the principal of Thompson and Stratton for this school year. Work is underway on the $20 million Thompson School. Longtime Stratton Principal Alan Brown retired last June.

Asked to comment, Hanna wrote Monday, June 11:

"I am delighted to begin leading the Stratton School. Dr. Bodie, the faculty, parents and students have all been welcoming and supportive already. I think it's going to be a great fit, and can't wait to get started! Anyone is welcome to leave a message for me at Stratton in advance of my starting on July 1st."

Hanna plans to visit the school this Friday, June 15, arriving at noon for lunch and will tour the building. He then plans to be in the playground at dismissal until 3 p.m. to meet with parents.

"We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Hanna to Arlington," Bodie wrote. "Michael brings a leadership style that is approachable and thoughtful, along with a good sense of humor."

Parents, teachers and administrators alike who met with Hanna felt that he would be an excellent match for Stratton, she wrote.

She thanked parents who attended the candidate forums during this process and provided thoughtful comments. She gave a special thank you to representatives on the Search Committee -- Chris Carmody, Leanne Rodd and Megan Caradonna.

Donovan was assisted in the current academic year by Jacqueline Daley, a lead teacher at Stratton, who served as administrative liaison.

According to a news report in February, Hanna said Marblehead's school superintendent told told him that his contract would not be renewed when it expired July 1.

Hanna brings a wide range of administrative and classroom experience to his new position, Bodie wrote. He has served Marblehead Public Schools in various roles since 2001, including classroom teacher, curriculum director and curriculum director coordinator. Since 2009, he has been the principal of Village School.

College teaching is also part of Hanna’s background. He has taught classes ranging from philosophy to logic, and business ethics to French at Salem State University, North Essex Community College, Bristol Community College and Fitchburg State University.

Hanna holds degrees from Seattle University, Boston College, and Endicott College. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership at Lesley University.

In March, three finalists to be principal of the Stratton School were identified, and they met the public in early April. None was chosen, and the search was reopened.

The three were Maureen Devlin, associate head of school of the Rio Grande School in Santa Fe, N.M.; Bridget Harris, who has been a principal, assistant principal, curriculum supervisor and classroom teacher in the West Irondequoit Central School District in Rochester, N.Y.; and Shamus Brady, an Arliongton High grad who is the interim assistant principal for the Clark Avenue Middle School in Chelsea.

This story was published Friday, June 8, 2012, and updated June 11 and 13.

Sayonara, seniors: AHS '12 graduation summed up in memorable words

Balloons at AHS graduation, June 10, 20120.Commencement exercises at Arlington High School were held on a sunny Sunday, June 10, at Peirce Field. At left, seniors led by school leaders and a bagpiper, walk in. Balloons in the foreground are a reminder of the prank seniors pulled off this spring.

Words to live by ...

A highlight of the program were the addresses by students, faculty and administrators. YourArlington has requested the full text of all speeches.

Received are those by Nanci Ortwein, the faculty speaker; Mary Villano, the interim principal; Gabby Newell, the Student Council president; and Anna Blachman, an honors speaker.

Addresses that have not been received are those by James A. Jackson III, 2012 class president; and honors speaker Will Dexter Sullivan.

Who got awards, scholarships for 2012?

The school held its annual awards night on Thursday, June 7, and the following 327 students received sholarships and awards, in a list provided by the school's administration:

School-awards logo

COUNTY, ERICA AFL-CIO Labor History Exam Scholarship
CUNNINGHAM, MITCHELL AFL-CIO Labor History Exam Scholarship
KOSLOWSKY, LAUREN AFL-CIO Labor History Exam Scholarship
COUGHLIN, MEGAN AHS Early Childhood Scholarship
BROWN, ALEXA Amy Walsh Memorial Scholarship
CARNEY, KEVIN Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
CHAULAGAIN, SHRADHA Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
CHEN, ADAM Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
CRESPO, BRIDGET Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
GELAGAY, HEYAW Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
JAMGOCHIAN, JEFFREY Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
JANTZ, THOMAS Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
LEVERONE, THOMAS Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
MALLA, CHANDANI Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
MORRIS, CLARE Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
MOSES, JORDAWN Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
NEWMAN, DECLAN Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
PALMER, JAMES Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
PILLICH, THEO Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
ROBBINS, ETHAN Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
SAINI, RAMANVIR Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
SOTIROPOULOS, DEMETRI Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
SULLIVAN, SEAN Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
TARANTINO, NATALIE Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
TAYLOR, SAMUEL Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
TUFENKIAN, ANDRE Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
WAH, MATTHEW Ann Rosalie Pierce Scholarship
TARANTINO, NATALIE Anthony G. Raduazzo Memorial Scholarship
JIGARJIAN, DANIEL Arlington Boys Youth Lacrosse Club Scholarship 
PALMER,JAMES Arlington Boys Youth Lacrosse Club Scholarship 
MOSES, JORDAWN Arlington Center of the Arts
MURIE, SKYE Arlington Center of the Arts
DEMORE, TERESA Arlington Girls Lacrosse Club Scholarship
ROCHE, MARY Arlington Girls Lacrosse Club Scholarship
MURIE, SKYE Arlington Historical Society Scholarship
MORRIS, CLARE Arlington Association of School Secretaries
SAINI, RAMANVIR Arlington Association of School Secretaries
CARTAGENA, HILARY Arlington Education Association
STASKUNAS, SENECA Arlington Patrolmen's Betterment Association
THOMAS, CHRISTOPHER Arlington Rotary Club Scholarship
CHAPMAN, LINDSEY Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
HIRSCH, SOPHIA Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
LO, PETER Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
MCINNIS, GRAHAM Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
STREUVER, HANNAH Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
WAH, MATTHEW Arlington Soccer Club/Sam Oliver Memorial Scholarship
COUNTY, ERICA Arlington Sons of Italy Scholarship
BINGHAM, LUCY Arlington Town Tennis Assoc. - Change of name - Dottie Maher Memorial Tennis
CARRIER, KATELYN Arlington Town Tennis Assoc. - Change of name - Dottie Maher Memorial Tennis
SCHMITT, EMMA Arlington Town Tennis Assoc. - Change of name - Dottie Maher Memorial Tennis
WAH, MATTHEW Arlington Town Tennis Assoc. - Change of name - Dottie Maher Memorial Tennis
HOURICAN, MEGAN Armstrong Family Scholarships
WILKE, RYAN Arthur  McAvoyJ. Touchdown Club Scholarship
SCHAEJBE, CASEY Bertagna Memorial Scholarship
SULLIVAN, SEAN Bertagna Memorial Scholarship
BRAZILE, CORDELIA Brackett PTO Scholarship
JARVIS, EDWARD Brackett PTO Scholarship
MURIE, SKYE Brescia, Catherine Memorial Scholarship
ATER, RACHEL Class of 1930
POUDYAL, DIWESH Class of 1955
ROCHE, MARY Class of 1960
MARTIN, MATTHEW Art Coughlin Holovak-Logan Memorial Scholarship
MOSES, JORDAWN Art Coughlin Holovak-Logan Memorial Scholarship
CADORETTE, CLAIRE David Crisafulli Memorial Scholarship
CALI, ABILGAIL Denis M. Fitzpatrick Scholarship
WINSLOW, ANDREW Donald A. Sandrelli Memorial Schoalrship
DAO, WINSON East Cambridge Savings Bank
WEINBERG, JULIA East Cambridge Savings Bank
JANTZ, THOMAS Ed Burns Scholar Athlete Scholarships
TARANTINO, NATALIE Ed Burns Scholar Athlete Scholarships
CARTAGENA, HILARY Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
CO, KENNY Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
CONNOLLY, SEAN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
FLECKENSTEIN, HANNAH Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
GRENIER, JACLYN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
KANE, COLLEEN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
KEARNEY, TED TK Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
KEARNEY, TIM TP Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
KEENAN, SARAH Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
MACCARN, GRIFFIN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
MCDERMOTT, MATTHEW Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
PETERS, ALEXANDER Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
PILLICH, THEO Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
POUDYAL, DIWESH Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
SARPARD, DALE Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
SCHAEJBE, CASEY Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
STIPPS, QUENTIN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
SULLIVAN, SEAN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
WILKE, RYAN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
HIRSCH, SOPHIA Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
CAMPBELL, EVAN Edward A. Bailey Scholarships
COUGHLIN, MEGAN Ellen E.  Sweeney Scholarship
BROWN, ALEXA Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
CASSIDY, THOMAS Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
CHOETSO, TENZIN Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
COUTSOUKIS, CHRISTOPHER Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
CUNNINGHAM, JILLIAN Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
DUFFY, MICHELLE Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
FRESCO, NICHOLAS Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
FRIEDMAN, CLARA Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
GHOFRANI, JOSHUA Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
GONZALEZ, ALEXANDRIA Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
HIREGOWDARA, SIDDARTH Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
HOWE-LUBOWICH, HANNAH Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
KANE, COLLEEN Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
LEE, JEREMY Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
MAHIN, MICHAEL Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
MILLER, JACKSON Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
MURIE, SKYE Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
PALMER,JAMES Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
STASKUNAS, SENECA Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
TANG, BRENDAN Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
TAYLOR, SAMUEL Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
TIGHE, GREGORY Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
WILKE, ERIK Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
WINSLOW, ANDREW Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
BEVERLY, HALLE Felicia M. DeLorenzo Scholarship
MCLELLAN, MARISSA Betty Fiorenza Memorial Scholarship
COUTSOUKIS, CHRISTOPHER Harry Haroutunian Scholarship
HOURICAN, MEGAN Harry Jean Memorial Scholarships
LO, PETER Harry Jean Memorial Scholarships
FITZGERALD, DANIEL Henry Ottoson Memorial Scholarship
MITRI, SARAH Henry Ottoson Memorial Scholarship
FRIEDMAN, CLARA Ida Robbins Scholarships
SULLIVAN, WILL Ida Robbins Scholarships
DEMORE, TERESA James F. Leverone Memorial Scholarships
JACKSON, JAMES James F. Leverone Memorial Scholarships
CAMPBELL, EVAN Joan Flannagan
LINOV, SHAYNA Joan Flannagan
MCDONALD, AMY Joan Gallagher Scholarship Award
FRESCO, NICHOLAS John L. Asinari Memorial Scholarship
KELLY, LAUREN John L. Asinari Memorial Scholarship
NUGENT, EMILY John L. Asinari Memorial Scholarship
VILLABOS ORTIZ, WILMER John L. Asinari Memorial Scholarship
BINGHAM, LUCY John L. Asinari Memorial Scholarship
PALMER, JAMES Joseph E. Palmer  Memorial Scholarship
PERRON, CAMERON Joseph Keating Memorial Scholarship
CLARKE, MICHAEL Karl Kaprelian Memorial Scholarship
HUEBER, GRACE Kathleen Crawley Memorial Scholarship
ATER, RACHEL Kevin J. Fitzgerald Scholarship - Camb. Savings Charitable Found.
HIREGOWDARA, SIDDARTH Kevin J. Fitzgerald Scholarship - Camb. Savings Charitable Found.
STASKUNAS, SENECA Kevin J. Fitzgerald Scholarship - Camb. Savings Charitable Found.
HOURICAN, MEGAN Lions Club Health Care Profession Scholarship
CARTAGENA, HILARY Marie Biciocchi Memorial Scholarship
CROWLEY, MATTHEW Marilyn Flaherty Scholarship
DUDDY, ELLEN Mary Lou Serra Sheehan Scholarship
JAMGOCHIAN, JEFFREY Mary Nolan Memorial Scholarship
BUSIEK, EMMA Mt. Auburn Hospital Nursing Scholarship
KANE, COLLEEN Nicholas Iacuzio Memorial Scholarships
REEDY, DAVID Nicholas Iacuzio Memorial Scholarships
TANG, BRENDAN Nicholas Iacuzio Memorial Scholarships
TIGHE, GREGORY Nicholas Iacuzio Memorial Scholarships
ALLEN, MILES Pasquale Tassone Scholarship
ROCHE, MARY Peirce Sch/Steve Conroy
COLONNESE, HANNAH Performing Arts Parent Assn Scholarships
ATER, RACHEL Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee
PALMER, JAMES Revell, Pauline Mem Scholarship  
NEWELL, GABRIELA Sharon Boyle Memorial Scholarship
FOGARTY, HUNTER St. Agnes  ParishScholarship
KANE, COLLEEN Symmes Arlington Hospital Nurses Alumni
COUGHLIN, MEGAN Thelma Sonnichsen Scholarships
CASEY, EMILY Thelma Sonnichsen Scholarships
PETERSON, LAUREN Thelma Sonnichsen Scholarships
CLARKE, MICHAEL Theresa A. Dooley Scholarships
CURRAN, KATELYN Theresa A. Dooley Scholarships
THOMAS, CHRISTOPHER Thompson AHS Community Service
GONZALEZ, ALEXANDRIA Thompson AHS Guidance Department Scholarship
CO, KENNY Thompson Bridge Builders
ALLEN, MILES Thompson Bronze
ARRUDA, DAVID Thompson Bronze
BINGHAM, LUCY Thompson Bronze
BIRKERTS, LIAM Thompson Bronze
BLACK, SIMONE Thompson Bronze
BUSIEK, EMMA Thompson Bronze
CALI, ABILGAIL Thompson Bronze
CASSIDY, THOMAS Thompson Bronze
CHICOJAY Moore, KATRINA Thompson Bronze
CHOETSO, TENZIN Thompson Bronze
CLARKE, MICHAEL Thompson Bronze
CO, KENNY Thompson Bronze
CRESPO, BRIDGET Thompson Bronze
DUDDY, ELLEN Thompson Bronze
DUFFY, MICHELLE Thompson Bronze
HUEBER, GRACE Thompson Bronze
KANE, COLLEEN Thompson Bronze
KEENAN, SARAH Thompson Bronze
LAHEY, CAROLINE Thompson Bronze
LEE, JEREMY Thompson Bronze
LINOV, SHAYNA Thompson Bronze
LO, PETER Thompson Bronze
MORTON, ARIEL Thompson Bronze
NASS, JEREMY Thompson Bronze
NEWMAN, DECLAN Thompson Bronze
NICHOLS, BRIANNA Thompson Bronze
PALMER, JAMES Thompson Bronze
REISS, EMILY Thompson Bronze
ROGERS, NICOLE Thompson Bronze
TIGHE, GREGORY Thompson Bronze
WEINBERG, JULIA Thompson Bronze
WILKE, ERIK Thompson Bronze
WINSLOW, ANDREW Thompson Bronze
HIRSCH, SOPHIA Thompson Effort
JEAN, ROSE-LAURE Thompson Effort
MAHAT, SAMIR Thompson Effort
MARTIN, SAVANNAH Thompson Effort
SHVARTS, EMILY Thompson Effort
THAPA, SAKUSHAL Thompson Effort
BEVERLY, HALLE Thompson Gold
BLACHMAN, ANNA Thompson Gold
COUNTY, ERICA Thompson Gold
KAMBIL, TINA Thompson Gold
KIRBY, LINNEA Thompson Gold
SALOCKS, RYAN Thompson Gold
ABBOTT, AMANDA Thompson Participation
AHERN, SAMANTHA Thompson Participation
BARRETT, PATRICK Thompson Participation
BIALACH, OLIVIA Thompson Participation
BOONSTRA, JACKSON Thompson Participation
BOYLE, DYLAN Thompson Participation
CARNEY, KEVIN Thompson Participation
CASEY, EMILY Thompson Participation
CHAPMAN, LINDSEY Thompson Participation
CONNOLLY, SEAN Thompson Participation
CORNELLA, EMMA Thompson Participation
COSTA, DEREK Thompson Participation
CROWLEY, MATTHEW Thompson Participation
CUNNINGHAM, JILLIAN Thompson Participation
CUNNINGHAM, MITCHELL Thompson Participation
D'ANGELO, LUCAS Thompson Participation
DAO, WINSON Thompson Participation
DAWIT, HELEN Thompson Participation
DECAMP, WILLIAM Thompson Participation
DEMORE, TERESA Thompson Participation
DENATALE, PHAEDRA Thompson Participation
DOBRUSHKIN, MAXWELL Thompson Participation
DURANCEAU, NATALIE Thompson Participation
HUANG, TONY Thompson Participation
KAMBIL, TINA Thompson Participation
LEE, JEREMY Thompson Participation
MAHIN, MICHAEL Thompson Participation
MARTIN, SAVANNAH Thompson Participation
MCINNIS, GRAHAM Thompson Participation
MYJER, ISABELLE Thompson Participation
NASS, JEREMY Thompson Participation
NEE, SAMANTHA Thompson Participation
NORMAN, TAYLOR Thompson Participation
PALMER, KATELYN Thompson Participation
PARSEGHIAN, ANI Thompson Participation
PEOPLES, KELSEY Thompson Participation
PRETZMAN, JAMES  Thompson Participation
REID, JAMIE Thompson Participation
REILLY, MICHELLE Thompson Participation
RICHARDSON, DEREK Thompson Participation
SARPARD, DALE Thompson Participation
SCHMITT, EMMA Thompson Participation
SPARGO, ERICA Thompson Participation
STREUVER, HANNAH Thompson Participation
SYED, FARAZ Thompson Participation
TANG, BRENDAN Thompson Participation
TIGHE, GREGORY Thompson Participation
TONKIN, ELIZABETH Thompson Participation
WEINBERG, JULIA Thompson Participation
WINSLOW, ANDREW Thompson Participation
YOSHIDA, AYUMI Thompson Participation
ZHOU, PHILIP Thompson Participation
TRAVASSOS, ALEXANDER Thompson Participation 
AWAD, HELENA Thompson Silver
CHEN, ADAM Thompson Silver
COUGHLIN, MEGAN Thompson Silver
ECKHAUS, ANA Thompson Silver
HOPEMAN, MORGAN Thompson Silver
JANTZ, THOMAS Thompson Silver
JARVIS, EDWARD Thompson Silver
MACCARN, GRIFFIN Thompson Silver
MAHIN, MICHAEL Thompson Silver
MILLER, JACKSON Thompson Silver
NEWELL, GABRIELA Thompson Silver
REEDY, DAVID Thompson Silver
TANG, BRENDAN Thompson Silver
ZHOU, PHILIP Thompson Silver
AHERN, SAMANTHA Thompson Spirit
BROGAN, ERICA Thompson Spirit
CARRIER, KATELYN Thompson Spirit
CASSIDY, THOMAS Thompson Spirit
CENTER, MARISSA Thompson Spirit
CHOETSO, TENZIN Thompson Spirit
CURRAN, KATELYN Thompson Spirit
GRADWOHL, LUCAS Thompson Spirit
GRENIER, JACLYN Thompson Spirit
WILKE, ERIK Thompson Spirit
ZHOU, PHILIP Thompson Spirit
DEELY, BRITTANY Thompson Spirit 
HALLING, ERIN Thompson Spirit 
BRANSFORD, ELIZABETH Tower Mothers Club Scholarship
HOURICAN, MEGAN Tower Mothers Club Scholarship
MOISAND, ALEXIS Virginia Leonard Memorial Scholarship
TARANTINO, NATALIE Vito Sammarco Memorial Scholarship
MURIE, SKYE Write with Grace Memorial Scholarship
POOR, KATHARINE Zonta Club Scholarship

This story was first published Friday, June 8, 2012, and updated June 10, 12 and 15.

Finalist met public in reopened Stratton principal search

Stratton sign

Michael Hanna, the principal of Village School (grades 4-6) in Marblehead, and a finalist to be principal at Stratton, is scheduled to meet the public Tuesday, June 5.

In an email to Stratton parents and guardians June 3, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie noted that she reopened the Stratton search after April vacation and that the search committee has "interviewed a few candidates in the last couple of weeks."

Hanna is to meet with all stakeholders. The parent forum is set for 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. in the Stratton library. As in past forums, parents will have the opportunity to provide written feedback to Bodie.

Hanna holds a master of education in organizational management, as well as a masters of arts in philosophy. He is enrolled in a doctoral program in educational leadership at Lesley University.

In March, three finalists to be principal of the Stratton School were identified, and they met the public in early April. None was chosen, and the search was reopened.

The three were Maureen Devlin, associate head of school of the Rio Grande School in Santa Fe, N.M.; Bridget Harris, who has been a principal, assistant principal, curriculum supervisor and classroom teacher in the West Irondequoit Central School District in Rochester, N.Y.; and Shamus Brady, an Arliongton High grad who is the interim assistant principal for the Clark Avenue Middle School in Chelsea.

Sheri Donovan is the principal of Thompson and Stratton for this school year. Groundbreaking for the $20 million school has taken place, and work is underway and continues through the next school year. A new Stratton principal is expected to be in place by summer.

Longtime Stratton Principal Alan Brown retired last June.

This story was published Sunday, June 3, 2012.

Restitution ordered after 3 AHS students disrupt MFA field trip

AHS logoInterim principal decries rumors; 2 officials say no alarm pulled at school

Three Arlington High School students disrupted a field trip to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, as two of them jumped on an antique bed, but caused no permanent damage, Mary Villano, interim principal, wrote in an email to parents and guardians Friday, May 25. The Globe reported May 28 that the two have been suspended from school and students have been asked to pay restitution. She told YourArlington that the amount has not been determined.

In an update May 27, the town's fire chief said he has no record of an alarm pulled before the trip at AHS, and the interim principal says an alarm was "bumped."

The trip on Thursday, May 24, involved about 260 sophomores and was organized by the history department as part of the US History I curriculum. "For the most part the trip was a wonderful event," she wrote. "Most students behaved beautifully, were fully engaged in the activities that were assigned by their teachers, and represented Arlington in a way that made us proud."

She described "one very unfortunate incident involving a couple of students who upset a display.  The students involved were immediately taken out of the museum and returned to Arlington High with a chaperone. It was close to the end of the visit, so the lead chaperone decided to end the trip about 15 minutes early. Students then loaded the buses and returned to the school."

YourArlington learned about the incident about 8 a.m. May 25 and called Villano, asking for comment. She did not respond.

At the MFA, Karen Frascona, associate director of public relations, was asked for details May 25. She responded: "We cannot discuss specifics or matters related to security, but can tell you that no damage was done."

A source had told YourArlington that there had been damage after one student jumped on a "300-year-old King Henry bed." Those details could not be learned directly. Henry VIII reigned in the 16th century.

The incident occurred in the museum's Art of Americas wing, and the bed dates to the 1800s, according to a report by CBS Boston.

Villano responds to rumors

Villano addressed apparent misinformation in the community.

"Several rumors have been circulating around town and on Facebook regarding the incident," she wrote. "Many of what you have been hearing is inaccurate and blown out of proportion. After a very comprehensive investigation by our administrative Team and by the Arlington Police, we have verified the following information as true.

"• Three students entered the display area, two of them went on top of an antique bed, which caused it to collapse.

"• There is no permanent damage to the display. The supports to the bed were reassembled and the display has been restored to its original condition. There is no damage to the bed itself.

"• Security at the museum asked that the students responsible leave the museum.

"• No other AHS students were asked to leave.

"• We are not being charged by the MFA.

"• Arlington High School is welcome at the museum any time.

Fire chief cites no alarm that day

One report about the MFA field trip posted to the Arlington email list claimed that one of the students who jumped on a bed had earlier pulled a fire alarm at the high school before the trip got underway.

A resident who said he was at the school from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. said he heard no alarm while he was there.

YourArlington asked Fire Chief Robert Jefferson whether an alarm had been pulled at AHS between 7 and 11 a.m. that day. His response: "The AFD did not respond to AHS on 5/24/2012."

He wrote that the department's log shows no incident at AHS that day.

"If an alarm is pulled, it would go to our dispatch," he wrote.

Asked whether an alarm could be pulled but not sound, Jefferson wrote: "An alarm could be pulled and not sound. That would be a system malfunction and if that happened, the APS should have notified the AFD and building maintenance who would notify the alarm company."

Villano comments on alarm, chaperones

Villano offered her own response May 27:

"No alarm was pulled. Someone bumped into the pull box, and the warning alarm sounded (a local noise for that room only). We simply snap the cover back in place, and the sound stops.

"This system is a deterrent for students so they don't pull fire alarms. The noise draws attention to them before they can pull the real alarm. Works great. We have not had a false alarm in years since this was installed that I can remember."

In addition, she wrote, "There were plenty of chaperones (28). That is better than a 10-to-1 ratio."

Villano's earlier statement continued that the school resource officer and court liaison met with the director of protective services, Craig McQuate, at the museum on the morning of May 25. He assured us that there was no permanent damage to the display.

He stated emphatically that they recognized this was an unfortunate incident and that "the actions of these students do not reflect on the entire school."

Villano said she spoke to McQuate, "and he assured me that the museum staff was in agreement that all of our other students were very respectful on the trip. He added that it is a credit to our school that many of the students apologized to them as they left the museum. He also told us that Arlington High School was welcome at the museum any time.

"I am pleased that the museum has responded so positively to this regrettable incident and was able to see that the actions of a few do not reflect poorly on everyone.

"As an administration, we have addressed the incident with the students responsible for the incident as well as their parents. Appropriate consequences have been assigned. We hope that this can now be put to rest and that our sophomores can remember the positive aspects of the visit to the museum."

In closing, she wrote: "Someone generated and passed on incorrect information in the community around this incident which raised serious concerns and created undue angst for many of us. I cannot do anything about this unfortunately and I am saddened that individuals choose to bring negative publicity to our school.

"This is the third incident this year where someone called the media and shared descriptions of events that were false or blown out of proportion. I can only hope that our community members consider the source of information before jumping to conclusions. Just because it is 'out there' does not mean it is true.

"Our administrative team is committed to getting the true facts out to all of you once they have been verified."

This story was first published Friday, May 25, 2012, and updated the next day as well as May 27 and 28.

Interviews for 5 seeking 1-year school seat

School Committee logo

Five candidates will be making their cases for the one-year School Committee on Thursday after one has withdrawn.

David Brecht told YourArlington on Monday, April 30, that he has "decided, with regret, to withdraw my application for the committee. I work downtown as a bond analyst by day, and my workload can be unpredictable. I realized that given the considerable demands of the committee, I wouldn't be able to do the position justice."

Meanwhile, all five still in the running have provided statements saying why they want the seat left vacant after Joseph Curro Jr. was elected to the Board of Selectmen.

April 25: 6 apply for 1 year seat

Presentations will take place in the School Committee Room, sixth floor, Arlington High School, between 8 and 10 p.m. After they are delivered, the committee will take a roll-call vote to choose the new member.

Under the board's policy, "All candidates for membership on the Committee shall be invited to an open meeting to make a case for their appointment, and each member of the School Committee may ask the candidates questions. The appearance of the candidates will be determined by lot prior to the first speaker.

"The order of the questions from School Committee members shall be by rotation. The Chair of the School Committee has the discretion to set an appropriate time limit for each candidate's presentation and for questioning by the School Committee.

Under the policy, "Balloting shall continue until one candidate secures a majority. The candidate with the least amount of votes shall be excluded in the next round of balloting. Upon winning a majority, the new member shall begin service on the School Committee after taking the oath of office."

The statements, which were the ones provided in their application for the position, are in alphabetical order.

Karen Bjorkman

"My request for consideration for the school committee is based on my standing as a parent of two girls who have grown up in the Arlington schools. One is a senior, the other a sophomore, at Arlington High School. As my younger daughter’s home school, Dallin, was being rebuilt, we migrated to Peirce, then Hardy.

"I have taught school as well, in New York City as a public school teacher in Chelsea, at Charles Evans Hughes, and at B.U as an instructor. This gives me a toehold on another side, the educator's side, of the system. I have worked on the peripheries as well: In the my older daughter’s younger days I was involved with Safe Routes to School at Dallin; currently I am investigating, with a group of concerned Arlingtonians, how we might serve Arlington teens in the community.

"Not a stranger to committee work, I have participated as a member and a chair of committees in my career as a documentation professional, at IBM and as a consultant. This work in documentation will help me navigate the material that a school committee member might encounter.

"With this and with other committee experience I believe I have a rich perspective on Arlington schools and on group work to offer the position. I would like to contribute through this work to the education my daughters and their friends have seen in the Arlington Schools, and to the town."

James Flanagan

"I am interested in serving with you as a member of the School Committee because I have a strong desire to contribute to the success of our schools and to our community as a whole, and I feel I will bring added skill sets to the committee and a personality that will complement the other members of the committee very well.

"I understand that some people may feel that a candidate with experience as a School Committee member and/or a background in the field of education is best suited to fill this vacancy. I don't question the value in these qualifications; however, our School Committee currently has these pieces in place -- veteran members with a number of you from a background in education.

"I believe what is important right now is to consider what type of additional skill sets will be most beneficial to the committee moving forward. In my opinion, strong management experience will prove to be extremely valuable.

"My professional background is in managing staff, large projects, and complex communication to thousands of clients. The bulk of my time for the past 15 years has been spent interviewing and hiring staff, coaching employees, performing employee evaluations, managing projects, implementing process improvement, working to bring groups and departments together on sensitive issues, and facilitating communication and feedback. With this experience, I truly feel that I would be a valuable member of your team as we navigate complex and sensitive issues.

"There will be a learning curve involved for any candidate who has not served on the Arlington School Committee within the past year and been directly involved with the current day issues facing our district. I hope that during my time campaigning for a seat on the committee over the last several months I have illustrated that I have a strong understanding of the issues and also have fresh ideas on how to help address many of the issues we face. I have spent the last few years working to educate myself on our school district, and during the past year I spent much of my time considering our goals and the obstacles we face in attaining those goals, as well as contemplating what I could contribute to the committee in these areas.

"I have been connecting with many people and groups in town and I feel these relationships will be beneficial to the committee as we move forward. The commitment involved with filling this seat is not something I've spent just the last two weeks considering, it is something I have been serious about for more than a year now.

"I do intend to run for this seat next year. I know there are mixed thoughts on this, but if appointed this year, the time spent on getting up to speed on procedures and policies will [hopefully] be a positive long-term investment, which I believe is a more productive solution than a temporary fill-in for one year. The summer break will also afford additional time for working with members of the committee to get up to speed in these areas.

"I enjoy working with people and being part of a team, especially a team that faces challenges and is tasked with finding solutions. I also have three young kids, and I know that doesn't make me better qualified than other candidates, but it does mean that I have a serious personal investment in our public school system. I want to get deeply involved, I want to form strong relationships with other members of the committee, and I want to stay involved for the long haul and do great work with all of you. I hope you will provide me that opportunity."

Len Kardon

"I have been following school committee matters very closely for the last few years since the budget crises first started emerging three years ago. I became a leader with FYArlington and the override campaign to ensure that our great schools in Arlington would be preserved.

"I have appeared before you several times and communicated with many of you on specific topics frequently. Although not directly affected by any of the redistricting proposals, I have been attending the redistricting committee meetings out of concern for the disruption to our school communities that could have been caused. While I prefer to watch your meetings from the comfort of my living room, I am fully up-to-speed on the matters likely to come before the committee over the next year.

"Stepping in to fill this seat for the next 11 months would be a natural progression of my involvement with the Arlington Public Schools. In addition to my service with FYArlington and the override, I have been a town meeting member for a year and on the board of the Special Education Parents Advisory Council. I have two children at Dallin and a third at Menotomy Preschool at the High School.

"I believe my background in public administration, particularly my experience with budgeting and performance measurement in government programs, would be an asset to the committee. While I understand that the School Committee must be reactive to the various matters that come before it, I would like to help my colleagues focus on a few key areas:

"1) Develop a three-year budget and strategic plan.

"2) Reassess the capital needs of the school department in technology and at Stratton, Ottoson and Arlington High School and work to get those integrated into the town capital plan.

"3) Ensure submission and implementation of the Corrective Action Plan related to the Coordinated Program Review of special education, English language learners, and civil rights.

"4) Adopt and ensure successful implementation of a new policy on Elementary School assignment (buffer zones).

"If selected to fill the seat, I would not run for re-election to that seat in 2013 and I would resign from the SEPAC board."

Andrew O'Brien

"I am the father of 2 children in the Arlington schools. I have master’s degree in education with a concentration in middle social studies from UMass./Boston and an undergraduate degree in Visual Arts History at the college of the Holy Cross. For several years I was a substitute teacher in the Arlington school system. I got the chance to observe classrooms from pre-school to high school.

"I’m confident my children are receiving a very good education but I feel that the schools could be better. Parents and teachers have complained about student’s over reliance on step counting and not enough math skill building but feel administrators don‘t share their concern. Experienced teachers know where skills are inadequate and know where to supplement the curriculum; information new teachers are not privy to. During the recent school committee debate all candidates agreed that communication in the schools needed to improve.

"I think improved communication between parents, teachers, and administrators could better identify and solve curriculum as well as other district problems. In Japan an assembly line worker can stop the assembly line when they observe a problem together the workers, engineers, and management solve the problem. I hope in the future an Arlington teacher can do the same.

"I would also like to advocate for co-teaching in the middle school. In one district in New York 2 teachers and 4 aides effectively taught close to 70 children. The teachers divided duties; one could correct student work or take aside students who needed extra help while the other taught. Experienced teachers could also more easily mentor new teachers. Teachers in the co-teaching environment could also model proper group work behavior. Teachers in the 6th grade have had difficulty with student motivation and behavior co teaching could remove teacher stress. The Ottoson has removable walls and could easily be set up for a co-teaching environment."

Paul Schlichtman:

"When I was a member of the school committee, we had a vacancy due to the resignation of Suzanne Owayda. The committee was fortunate that a former member, Katharine Fennelly, returned to the committee to fill the seat until the next election. I was grateful to have the benefit of a “new” colleague with considerable experience on the school committee.

"I hope to be able to contribute to the work of this school committee, in the same way we benefited from Ms. Fennelly’s service during the 2006-07 school year.

"For 10 years, I have served the Town of Arlington as a school committee member. I served on the Minuteman Regional School Committee from 1997-2001, and on the Arlington School Committee from 2001-2007.

"During my tenure as a school committee member, I was active on statewide issues of public policy as a member of the Board of Directors and an elected officer of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). In 2003 I served as MASC President-Elect; in 2004 I served as MASC President; and in 2005 I served as MASC Immediate Past President. During that time, I also served on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Local Government."

This story was first published Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

6 candidates apply for 1-year school seat

School Committee logo

The School Committee on Thursday, April 26, announced six candidates for the seat left vacant when four-year member Joseph A. Curro Jr. was elected as a selectman. They are, in alphabetical border:

Karen Bjorkman, 142 George St.; David Brecht, 55 Norfolk Road; James Flanagan, 49 Trowbridge St.; Len Kardon, 65 Tanager St.; Andrew O'Brien, 109 Hillside Ave.; and Paul Schlichtman, 47 Mystic St. A seventh person applied but was not a registered voter.

Flanagan and O'Brien are tecent town election candidates, Kardon is a parent activist and Schlichtman is a former School Committee member.

Schlichtman had earlier told YourArlington that he had not thought about applying, but he has changed his mind.

Committee secretary Karen Fitzgerald received applications until 4 p.m. April 26. The committee will interview all applying publicly at a special meeting from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in the committee's room, sixth floor, Arlington High School.

Flanagan, who polled third in town election voting, wrote in response to an earlier query April 26:

"I have decided to apply for the open seat. Due to my strong desire to serve on the committee, the value I feel my professional background will bring to the committee, and the knowledge on issues and policy I've acquired in the last few years (especially leading up to the campaign this year) I feel I would be an ideal fit for the Arlington School Committee."

Kardon provided his application to YourArlington on April 26.

O'Brien said his application was received April 23. Two other recent candidate, A. Matthew Pallett and Ian Jackson, have decided not to apply for the appointed position. Pallett said he wants to leave open the option of running in the future.

In his application, Schlichtman explains why he seeks the seat:

"When I was a member of the school committee, we had a vacancy due to the resignation of Suzanne Owayda. The committee was fortunate that a former member, Katharine Fennelly, returned to the committee to fill the seat until the next election. I was grateful to have the benefit of a “new” colleague with considerable experience on the school committee.

"I hope to be able to contribute to the work of this school committee, in the same way we benefitted from Ms. Fennelly’s service during the 2006-07 school year.

"For ten years, I have served the Town of Arlington as a school committee member. I served on the Minuteman Regional School Committee from 1997-2001, and on the Arlington School Committee from 2001-2007.

"During my tenure as a school committee member, I was active on statewide issues of public policy as a member of the Board of Directors and an elected officer of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). In 2003 I served as MASC President-Elect; in 2004 I served as MASC President; and in 2005 I served as MASC Immediate Past President. During that time, I also served on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Local Government."

At its April 12, meeting, a number of School Committee members said applicants should understand the time commitment involved and that they should be committed to improving Arlington's public schools.

Members did not see eye to eye about whether election involvement -- in the recent past and in the future -- should be a factor in who is chosen.

In 2006, member Jeff Thielman said, the committee chose former committee member Fennelly to replace departing Owayda in part because she was not interested in continuing after a year.

"I’d prefer someone who has not gone through the electoral process" and does not want to run for the seat," said member Cindy Starks, reelected Tuesday.

Members Leba Heigham, Judson Pierce and Thielman said they wanted to attract as many qualified applicants as possible.

Among former committee member, Fennelly and Barbara Goodman do not plan to apply.

For more information about the application process, call Fitzgerald at 781-316-3540. More information is expected soon on the town and school district websites.

The application is available online >>

It should be returned to Fitzgerald, School Committee secretary, Arlington High School, sixth floor, 869 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA 02476.

This story was first published Wednesday, April 25, and updated the next day.

Search for new special-education director put off

Kathleen Bodie

In an email to parents on Thursday, April 12, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie wrote that she has informed the School Committee that "we were unable to choose a director of special education following our search this year." Three finalists recently visited Arlington.

"We will conduct another search next year, but we are fortunate that our current interim director, Kathleen Lockyer, has agreed to serve another year," pending approval by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"As always, we will continue to focus on our ongoing Special Education initiatives and improvements," the statement concluded.

As a search for a permanent director of special education got underway last year, pay was an issue.

"We have been on the low side," Bodie told the School Committee on Thursday, Nov. 17. She said she will be looking in the range of $110,000 to $120,000.

Mark Ryder, who directed the department for three years and announced he was leaving in March for a nonprofit in Maine, was paid $110,000 a year.

The job description the committee approved last week does not state the salary.

The committee received a list of annual salaries paid to top administrators of special education in some Massachusetts school districts. Here is the list (at the end are explanations of what the varying asterisks mean):

Arlington: $110,000 *

Belmont: $120,923 *

Lexington: $135,194 *

Acton: $119,734 ***

Bedford: $92,745 ***

Boxborough: $96,663 ***

Brookline: $101,663-$136,000 ***

Carlisle: $122,400 ***

Concord: $133,900 ***

Dedham: $103,000 (260 days) **

Dover/Sherborn: $100-$105,000 (3 administrators of special education, 220 days) **

Framingham: $116,032 (12 months) **

Holliston: $113,300 (260 days) **

Hopkinton: $114,477 (225 days) **

Lincoln: 132,487 ***

Medfield: $116,500 (220 days) **

Medford: $103,000 *

Millis: $106,406 (260 days) **

Natick: $114.000-$130,000 (220.5 days) **

Needham: $123,814 (260 days) **

Newton: $130,000 ***

Norwood: $113,497 (260 days) **

Walpole: $88,000 (261 days) **

Watertown: $117,260 ***

Wayland: $122,148 (261 days) **

Wellesley: $131,078 (260 days) **

Weston: $125,065 (260 days) **

Westwood: $120,983 (225 days) **

*Winchester: $114,000 *

TEC: $110,000 (260 days) ** 

* Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Winchester data given by HR/payroll, Nov. 12, 2011

** Data with number of days is from TEC 

*** Data without number of days is from EDCO 


This story was first published at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2012.

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