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Back to School: Granby

New school, new leader highlights academic year

  • Carol Hepworth, director of pupil services for Granby Public Schools, left, and project superintendent Derrick Piemonte of Springfield-based Fontaine Brothers walk through a new building which is being constructed alongside East Meadow School as part of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project on July 20, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Chris Fontaine of Springfield-based Allied Testing works on structural steel inspection July 20, 2017, at the site of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project, where a new building is being constructed alongside East Meadow School. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Project superintendent Derrick Piemonte of Springfield-based Fontaine Brothers, left, shows Carol Hepworth, director of pupil services for Granby Public Schools, through a new building which is being constructed alongside East Meadow School as part of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project, July 20, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The east connector, shown July 20, 2017, will join East Meadow School and a new building set to replace West Street School as part of the elementary schools consolidation project at the Granby Public Schools site. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Carol Hepworth, director of pupil services for Granby Public Schools, left, and project superintendent Derrick Piemonte of Springfield-based Fontaine Brothers walk through a new building being constructed alongside East Meadow School as part of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project on July 20, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Carol Hepworth, director of pupil services for Granby Public Schools, left, and project superintendent Derrick Piemonte of Springfield-based Fontaine Brothers walk through a new building which is being constructed alongside East Meadow School as part of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project, July 20, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Chris Fontaine of Springfield-based Allied Testing works on structural steel inspection at the site of the Granby elementary schools consolidation project, where a new building is being constructed alongside East Meadow School, July 20. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@RebeccaMMullen
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

GRANBY — A new elementary school building, a new principal for the junior-senior high school and the continuation of a “peace-building” student support initiative are on the horizon for Granby’s 2017-2018 school year.

The new building, which will house grades pre-kindergarten through 3 and replace the old West Street School, will be constructed in front of the East Meadow Elementary School, which is for grades 4 through 6. The project also includes renovation of East Meadow.

Though the school won’t be officially complete by September 2018, Superintendent Sheryl Stanton estimated that students will begin moving in this winter.

The new complex will share some facilities, including a gymnasium as well as a library, cafeteria and a music room.

Meanwhile, the junior-senior high school welcomes a new leader in Principal Stephen Sullivan, who has been Holyoke High School’s principal since 2014 and an educator in Holyoke since 2003. He previously told the Gazette that his work history has given him a unique experience that he’s excited to bring to Granby.

“The more we can realize where our strengths are and build on those, our strengths will outweigh our weaknesses in the long run,” Sullivan said. “I want to talk to parents about our strengths.”

In addition to Sullivan, three teachers were hired to replace faculty members who retired or moved on for other reasons.

Another five positions, however, were cut due to budget shortfalls. That, coupled with dwindling enrollment in recent years, will lead to what Stanton describes as soul-searching by school officials and others this year as the district figures out how to best support students after an unexpected budget shortfall forced programming cuts.

“We are continuing to establish an open dialogue with the community, faculty and staff regarding the best ways to support student learning and student success,” she said.

The district will continue the “peace-builder” initiative that was launched at the beginning of last school year. Stanton said the goal of the program is to bring a “shared understanding” of helpfulness, safety, inclusivity and good decision-making to the school community.

Last year, a group of community members including police officers, sports coaches and religious leaders came together to brainstorm ways to address student concerns. What emerged, Stanton said, was a “recognition that students need support in developing not just their academic side but their social and emotional sides.”

Students face new pressures because of information technology like social media, Stanton said.

“We’re very excited to see that work move forward,” she said.

High school students took control of part of the initiative and made videos to illustrate the program’s core concepts.

In addition to the “peace-building” workshops, a new behavioral support classroom was added in an elementary school. Students can go there to take a break from class, de-escalate conflicts and focus on their social and emotional needs, Stanton said.

The first day of school is Aug. 31. The last day is June 13.