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Rosemary Larkin settles into first year as New Hingham principal

  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School Principal Rosemary Larkin greets students arriving Tuesday on a blustery morning at the Chesterfield school.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    New Hingham Regional Elementary School Principal Rosemary Larkin greets students arriving Tuesday on a blustery morning at the Chesterfield school.
    KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Hingham Principal Rosemary Larkin helps prepare third-graders Emma Brown and Connor Mott to read the Pledge of Allegiance and the morning announcements over the school's public address system on Tuesday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    New Hingham Principal Rosemary Larkin helps prepare third-graders Emma Brown and Connor Mott to read the Pledge of Allegiance and the morning announcements over the school's public address system on Tuesday.
    KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.
    KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.
    KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School Principal Rosemary Larkin greets students arriving Tuesday on a blustery morning at the Chesterfield school.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • New Hingham Principal Rosemary Larkin helps prepare third-graders Emma Brown and Connor Mott to read the Pledge of Allegiance and the morning announcements over the school's public address system on Tuesday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • New Hingham Regional Elementary School principal Rosemary Larkin.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

— With several months as principal now under her belt, Rosemary Larkin says things are going very well at the New Hingham Regional Elementary School.

“It feels like a whirlwind with lots of things happening and a lot to juggle,” said Larkin. “As with any new job there is a learning curve, but overall, things are going very well,” she said.

Larkin came on board during a significant period of change for the school. Not only had former Principal Michael Fredette resigned in July 2012, but longtime secretary Carol Wrobleski also left the school at the same time, creating a need for two new key administrative positions. The school, which is located at 30 Smith Road, serves 180 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade from Chesterfield and Goshen.

“The staff here had the same principal for five years and the same school secretary for 10 years. That is a big change to have the entire front office be different,” Larkin said.

Terry DiGiacomo replaced Wrobleski as secretary at New Hingham.

One of Larkin’s first objectives as principal was to meet as many local educators, parents and community members as she could. Thus far, Larkin has met with Chesterfield’s Select Board, fire and police departments and Council on Aging.

“Getting to know the students and parents is obviously important, but I also try to involve myself in as many meetings as possible so I can get to know the community as well,” Larkin said. “This is a close-knit community and I really want to honor that,” she added.

Her desire to create and maintain good relationships with the town has not gone unnoticed.

“She has worked very hard to make the transition and to fit into the school and community,” Hampshire Regional School Superintendent Craig Jurgensen said. “She has really reached out to people and let them know that she is interested in maintaining many of the traditions at the school as well as implementing some of her own innovative ideas.”

One of the biggest things on Larkin’s plate is the implementation of the state’s new education evaluation system. Next year, all school districts in Massachusetts will be required to implement the new evaluation system, which, in addition to the traditional classroom observations, uses standardized test scores and other assessments to rate teacher performance.

“We are a race-to-the-top district and we have already adopted the new model evaluation system. It requires time and training as we want to be as well-versed as possible,” Larkin said. “It is a big initiative, but in the long run it will be a great system in place for the staff.

This is the first time Larkin has served as a school principal. Prior to coming to New Hingham, she was an elementary and middle school science teacher at the Richmond Consolidated School in Richmond. As principal, Larkin receives an annual salary of $80,000.

Larkin credits the Hampshire Regional School system for providing her with welcome support and guidance.

“Stacey Jenkins, the principal in Williamsburg, is the president of MESPA (Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association). I rely heavily on Stacey. She is my mentor and I am lucky to have that support and encouragement,” Larkin said.

According to Larkin, making the switch from the classroom to the principal’s office has been an easy evolution.

“No matter what role you play, the benefit and glory of being in education is that you see kids grow and become successful; nothing can touch that,” she said.

“As principal, the connection with kids is still there, it is just from a different perspective,” she said.

New after-school programs

Larkin is currently working with the PTO to provide after-school enrichment programs offered by teachers and members of the surrounding community.

“Michael (Fredette) had done a survey of the kinds of things kids would like to see. We tried to work off that and it is nice to see it starting to unfold,” she said.

When implemented, there will be 10 one-hour programs that will run for six weeks.

“Everybody seems very open here and they have a desire to work together,” Larkin said. “We are very lucky here to have teachers that continuously strive to be their absolute best for the students.”

Jurgensen said that he has confidence in Larkin’s leadership and is happy to have her on board.

“She was an excellent choice for us,” he said.

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