Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Snow
33°
Snow
Hi 38° | Lo 25°

Back to School Special Section: What's new for local students this fall; In Northampton numerous new hires

  • Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school,  interacting with students left, Izabella Manca,10, Catherine Shaw and Carlito Santiago,10, during a visit Wednesday morning.

    Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students left, Izabella Manca,10, Catherine Shaw and Carlito Santiago,10, during a visit Wednesday morning. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Northampton Interim School Superintendent Regina Nash said she was pleased that the state reduced the number of city schools being asked to undertake a trial run for a test being considered as a replacement for the MCAS standardized tests. <br/>Gazette File Photo <br/><br/>

    Northampton Interim School Superintendent Regina Nash said she was pleased that the state reduced the number of city schools being asked to undertake a trial run for a test being considered as a replacement for the MCAS standardized tests.
    Gazette File Photo

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Bonnie Palmer, a first grade teacher at Leeds, l and Mary Jo Nagle, a 2nd grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Bonnie Palmer, a first grade teacher at Leeds, l and Mary Jo Nagle, a 2nd grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning.


    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Patty Dubiel, a first grade teacher at Bridge Street School and Laura Vachula, a 2nd grade teacher at Bridge Street, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Patty Dubiel, a first grade teacher at Bridge Street School and Laura Vachula, a 2nd grade teacher at Bridge Street, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning.


    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cindy Maggio, a first grade teacher at Leeds, and Patti Kline and 4th grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Cindy Maggio, a first grade teacher at Leeds, and Patti Kline and 4th grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning.


    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students during a visit Wednesday morning.


    Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students during a visit Wednesday morning. Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students left, Jenna Baranowski,9, and Raechel Parent,10, during a visit Wednesday morning.


    Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students left, Jenna Baranowski,9, and Raechel Parent,10, during a visit Wednesday morning. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Leeds School Principal Sal Canata is the former assistant principal for the JFK Middle School.

    Leeds School Principal Sal Canata is the former assistant principal for the JFK Middle School. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Regina Nash, interim Northampton schools superintendent in her office at school headquarters.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Regina Nash, interim Northampton schools superintendent in her office at school headquarters.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school,  interacting with students left, Izabella Manca,10, Catherine Shaw and Carlito Santiago,10, during a visit Wednesday morning.
  • Northampton Interim School Superintendent Regina Nash said she was pleased that the state reduced the number of city schools being asked to undertake a trial run for a test being considered as a replacement for the MCAS standardized tests. <br/>Gazette File Photo <br/><br/>
  • Bonnie Palmer, a first grade teacher at Leeds, l and Mary Jo Nagle, a 2nd grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • Patty Dubiel, a first grade teacher at Bridge Street School and Laura Vachula, a 2nd grade teacher at Bridge Street, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • Cindy Maggio, a first grade teacher at Leeds, and Patti Kline and 4th grade teacher at Leeds, during a robotics training session at Leeds elementary Thursday morning. <br/><br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • <br/>Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students during a visit Wednesday morning.
  • <br/>Sarah Madden, the new principal at Ryan Road Elementary school, interacting with students left, Jenna Baranowski,9, and Raechel Parent,10, during a visit Wednesday morning.
  • Leeds School Principal Sal Canata is the former assistant principal for the JFK Middle School.
  • Regina Nash, interim Northampton schools superintendent in her office at school headquarters.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

Scroll to the bottom of the article to read stories about your school district.

Sal Canata, the new principal at the Leeds School, describes the lead-up to the start of the school year this way: “We’ve had a ton of change.”

In a recent letter to school families, Canata reported several new hires at Leeds, including a new kindergarten teacher, first-grade teacher and fifth-grade teacher — among other new staff.

Canata is one of three new principals beginning the school year in Northampton, though he is no newcomer to the district. A veteran assistant principal at JFK Middle School, Canata was chosen in June to replace Joseph Smith, who left Leeds after two years as principal.

In addition to staff changes, the city schools will be rolling out a new computer system this fall as part of a three-year technology improvement plan. Technology Director Angelo Rota said the system will help streamline communications and make it easier to collect data on student achievement. Wi-Fi access has been installed in all city school libraries and a new Web-based portal, offering students and parents online access to grades and homework assignments, should be up and running by January, he said.

The city schools also have a new interim superintendent. Regina Hurley Nash, a retired superintendent for the Frontier Regional and Union 38 districts, was hired to replace Brian Salzer — who left Northampton in July for a job overseas — while the search for a permanent city schools chief is underway.

In other key leadership changes, Bryan Lombardi, a veteran assistant principal at Northampton High School, is now head of the school. He replaces Nancy Athas, who retired in June after five years as NHS principal. Celeste Malvezzi, formerly an assistant principal in the Gateway Regional School District, has been hired as one of two associate principals at the high school.

R.K. Finn Ryan Road School also has a new principal. Sarah J.B. Madden, formerly principal of Brayton Elementary in North Adams, began work in July as head of the Northampton elementary school. She replaces Margaret Riddle, who retired this summer after more than 30 years with the city schools, seven as principal at Ryan Road.

Nancy Cheevers, a reading specialist at JFK, has been hired for the director of academic effectiveness position, which has been renamed director of curriculum and assessment and reduced to less than half time. Cheever will work part-time as a teacher and part-time in the administrative post. She replaces Johanna McKenna, a former longtime city school principal who retired this summer after two years in central administration.

A record number of retirements is one reason for the accelerated pace of staff change in the district. This summer, 26 city school employees, ranging from classroom aides to the head of school maintenance retired from the Northampton schools.

A $2.5 million property tax override city voters approved in June restored 12 of the 17 full-time positions that had been cut from this year’s schools budget. Among them were associate principal positions at JFK and Northampton High School, a districtwide custodian, and arts and electives teachers at NHS. The measure also staved off the elimination of busing services to the high school. The schools received $985,000 of the additional tax money from the override.

At a recent School Committee meeting, Nash expressed confidence about the coming school year.

“You’ve got many professional people here and a good administrative team in place,” she told board members. “So far, so good.”

School Committee member Stephanie Pick, the board’s point person on the superintendent search, said a search panel will convene early next month and hopes to present finalists to the committee in October. The New England School Development Council in Marlborough is handling the search for a new Northampton schools chief.

Among the pressing issues facing the district is implementing a later start time at Northampton High School. In June, the School Committee voted to direct the superintendent to move the high school bell from 7:30 a.m. to a time between 8 and 8:30 a.m. by the start of the 2014 school year.

Complicating that task is the fact that busing services to NHS were added back into the budget following the override, which means a later start time plan must be developed within the district’s three-tiered transportation system that also covers the middle and elementary schools.

Contract talks with the Northampton Association of School Employees are also on the agenda. Nash said those talks are progressing well, with an agreement expected in time for the School Committee’s Sept. 12 meeting.

The School Department also will be working to provide more special education services within the district this year and more supports for English language learners, administrators said.

Here are highlights of other initiatives for the coming school year at individual city schools:

BRIDGE STREET: Hired a full-time early education teacher to strengthen language instruction in the early grades. A new buddy program will regularly pair fifth graders with kindergartners at lunch and recess. Data teams will be studying ways to boost student achievement at all grade levels and a new “home school contract” outlining roles and responsibilities for students, teachers and parents will be sent to school families in September.

JACKSON STREET: Continuing its “mindfulness education” curriculum, with plans to offer school families training in meditation and other practices shown to improve concentration and behavior. Launching a fundraising campaign for a $30,000 redesign of the school’s signature playground structure, parts of which were removed over the summer for safety reasons.

R.K. FINN RYAN ROAD: Starting a new program for English language learner students that will also serve students at Leeds. Also offering a new support program for 10 special education students in the second and third grades that aims to help them spend more time in regular classes.

LEEDS: Kindergarten through fourth grade teachers at Leeds and Bridge Street were trained in classroom Lego robotics over the summer. Leeds parent Adena Calden wrote a successful grant application to the Northampton Education Foundation for the program, which will offer students hands-on units in math and engineering. Elementary school students from the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech begin their second year of being housed at Leeds.

JFK: Offering more English language learner training for teachers and continuing a successful small-group advisory program for students. Will fully implement a plan to better align math instruction with teaching at NHS. Last year, JFK eliminated its accelerated math track in grades 7 and 8 and added more advanced math units in all grades.

NHS: Offering a new Advanced Placement psychology course, two new computer science courses and a course in child development. Filled three math and two English teaching positions and added a special education teacher. Also filled athletics coaching slots. Will convene a panel of teachers and students this fall to review content of a small-group advisory program now in its third year at NHS.

Detailed information about school programs in Northampton is available on the district’s website, www.northampton-k12.us.

Related

Three new administrators at Easthampton schools, but only one is a fresh face

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Public school students will see three new administrators in top jobs in September, which Superintendent Nancy Follansbee acknowledged is a big change. But two of them are already familiar faces in the schools. Former White Brook Middle School principal Allison Rebello stepped in to fill a new assistant principal position at Center/Pepin Elementary School and veteran White Brook health teacher …

Amherst schools kick into high gear to connect with families

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AMHERST — Making stronger connections with families, giving students more voice in school affairs and hosting a national conference for minority students are among the plans for the 2013-2014 school year. Most visible will be the new family center being carved out of former business offices in Amherst Regional Middle School across from the superintendent’s office. School officials say the …

Hampshire Regional School District sees new staff and new programs

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WESTHAMPTON — This year, students and staff at Hampshire Regional Middle and High School will see a new face in the principal’s office, when Kristen Smidy takes over as interim principal, replacing former principal Laurie Hodgdon. Smidy had previously served as the assistant principal for middle level programming and academic affairs. Filling in as interim assistant principal will be former …

Hatfield Schools step up security, promote healthy habits

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

HATFIELD — New security measures are being put in place this year at Smith Academy and the Hatfield Elementary School. Smith Academy Principal Andrew Berrios said cameras will be focused on main corridors and parking lots. He called the expanded security measures a proactive safety strategy that aims to dissuade any violence, vandalism or poor conduct. “The installation should be …

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts fields new teachers, expanded technology in new year

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SOUTH HADLEY — There will be 100 new iPads in the classrooms at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public (PVPA) when school opens Aug. 29, as well as a host of new teachers and staff members. Head of School Scott Goldman said he intends the new tablet computers to help bring the school up to speed with some of …

New technology, new hires for Hadley schools

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HADLEY — New faces, Advanced Placement courses and a whole lot of new technology are some of the changes Hadley schools face this year, when classes open next Wednesday. The school department this summer hired veteran special educator Patricia E. Bell as the district’s new assistant superintendent, a role Bell began this month. In an interview with the Gazette, Bell …

Charter uses satellite campus for upper grades

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

HADLEY — For the next academic year, students in the upper grades at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School will take the bulk of their classes at a satellite campus in Amherst. As enrollment grows from 280 to 330, and planning continues to add high-school grade levels, school administrators are temporarily shifting the sixth through ninth grades from the …

Four new adminstrators sign on in Union 28

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Union 28 school district’s administrative staff has been shuffled around a bit for the school year that begins Aug. 28, with three new principals and an interim superintendent joining the ranks. Robert Mahler, Shutesbury Elementary School’s retiring principal, was selected in June by the Union 28 Joint Supervisory Committee to replace former Superintendent Joan Wickman, who will take a …

Peacebuilders program, technology highlight of upcoming Belchertown school year

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BELCHERTOWN — This coming school year promises a new technology in the classrooms of the town’s public schools as well as continued involvement with the Peacebuilders anti-bullying program, now in its third year. Superintendent Judith Houle said the drive to incorporate new technology in the classroom began four years ago when the school took advantage of federal stimulus funds. “Technology …

South Hadley offers college-level courses for high school students this year

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SOUTH HADLEY — Superintendent Nicholas Young said he is excited to unveil the new South Hadley Scholars program at the high school this school year. Through the program, which was designed in partnership with American International College, high school juniors and seniors can take college-level classes and earn college credit. “This is a huge thing for us,” Young said. Courses …

Administration changes, new staff evaluation process on tap at Frontier Regional

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DEERFIELD — The Union 38 and Frontier Regional School Districts will see changes to their administrative staff and teacher evaluation methods this fall, with a new superintendent, a new principal and the implementation of new state regulations for educators’ reviews. Martha H. Barrett, who has been principal of Frontier Regional School for the past 12 years, has taken on the …

Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School gets new math curriculum and looks forward to new location

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

WILLIAMSBURG — Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School students in kindergarten through fifth grade will be working with a new math program this year called “Math Expression.” Educational Coordinator Daniel Klatz said staff at the Hilltown school like the program because it offers clear, quality material for students and teachers. “We think that this program offers a really good blend of …

New computers, new administrators greet Granby students

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GRANBY — Students at West Street School this fall will find 25 flat-screen computers replacing the 10 year-old machines that were stationed in the library. West Street School Principal Deborah Barthelette said that as members of the faculty have trickled in, they can’t help but notice the change. The old computers had box-shaped monitors. “As they walk in, they cannot …

Berkshire Trail Elementary School forges partnerships and fortifies environmental education

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cummington — Principal Lorraine Liantonio says she is excited about Berkshire Trail Elementary School’s new partnership with Expeditionary Learning, which she believes will help teachers build on their teaching and leadership skills. Expeditionary Learning is an Amherst-based organization that provides school leaders and teachers with professional development, curriculum planning resources, and new school structures designed to boost student engagement, character, …

Surprise move: Belchertown superintendent Houle decides not to seek contract renewal

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — Belchertown Superintendent Judith Houle silenced around 40 community members who turned out to the School Committee meeting Tuesday with word she will not seek to renew her contract at the end of the coming school year. Among members of the crowd were several parents who said they had planned to express concern had Houle sought to continue in …

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.