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November 25, 2020

News & Notes

SHS Students Learn about new Biogen, APHA Climate and Health Curriculum

Earlier this month, the Somerville High School Science Department partnered with Biogen and the American Public Health Association (APHA) to introduce an exciting new Climate and Health curriculum as part of Biogen’s 20-year initiative called Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives. Biogen’s Senior Vice President of Therapeutics Development, Kate Dawson, M.D., presented the lesson to several SHS science classes. Surili Patel, Director of the Center for Climate, Health and Equity at APHA, and Johanna Jobin, Global Head of Corporate Reputation and Responsibility, were also part of this virtual lesson. Learn more about the introduction of this curriculum at

SFLC, Community Partners Working to Support Families as Winter Approaches

With the cold winter weather quickly approaching, the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative and community partners are working to provide families in need with much-needed winter gear to help them stay warm over the next several months. The SFLC, with the support of community partners, have compiled a wish list of winter gear that can be purchased and donated to Somerville families in need. It is critical for children to get outside and to be able to do so safely during the cold weather months. For those looking for a way to support local families this winter, this program allows you to do so safely and easily. If you prefer, you can purchase a gift card from the wish list and the SFLC will use it to purchase much-needed clothing items for families on your behalf. Thank you in advance for your support.

Amazon wish list:

Target wish List:

What's Happening  

Somerville SEPAC Hosts Virtual Workshop – Thursday, December 3, 7-8pm

The Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC) will host a virtual workshop with Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) on Thursday, December 3, from 7-8pm. Leslie Hughes will talk about the state special education guidance regarding COVID-19 compensatory services for students with disabilities. This is a chance to learn and ask questions about how districts will determine whether children need compensatory services due to the unexpected school closures required because of COVID-19. This workshop will be helpful for parents of children with all types of disabilities. For more information please email

Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy

Somerville Public Schools students in grades 11 and 12 can apply for the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy shows that a student is biliterate in two languages; English and another language. It can be useful for college admissions or future employment opportunities. The deadline to apply for the Seal of Biliteracy is December 31, 2020 using this link Seal of Biliteracy Application. Please email Lisa Machnik at with any questions.

City of Somerville FREE Skills Training Program for Youth

Join a FREE Skills Training & Career Development Workshop for Somerville Youth ages 13 - 21! Learn how to use job search tools, network, and communicate with potential employers for a successful job search. Participants will also learn skills that make them valuable team members at their employment site and other topics requested, based on their experience levels. Application Deadline December 21, 2020.

SPYC Collaborates with Childcare Providers to Offer High-Quality Preschool Experiences

Somerville Partnership for Young Children collaborates with eight childcare providers in Somerville to offer high-quality preschool experiences for children. These childcare programs are open and adhering to the Department of Early Education and Care COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements. If you are looking for care for your preschool-aged child, please reach out to Alyssa Corrigan ( for more information. You also may be eligible for tuition assistance in one of our partner programs – please fill out an application here and we will contact you if we have a spot available.

Save the Date! Next Somerville SEPAC Meeting and Workshop – Tuesday, January 12, 7-8pm

Tuesday, January 12th from 6:30-7pm: 

Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC) business meeting. All are welcome. Zoom link forthcoming or for more information please email: 

Tuesday, January 12th from 7-8pm: 

Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC) hosts Linda K. Murphy, speech and language pathologist, Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI) consultant and co-founder of Peer Projects Therapy from the Heart for a presentation about her new book, "Declarative Language Handbook: using a Thoughtful Language Style to Help Kids with Social Learning Challenges Feel Competent, Connected, and Understood".  Zoom link forthcoming or for more information please email:

Community News & Events

Community Growing Center. Join the Community Growing Center this December for their twice-weekly Open Hours! All month long, volunteer hosts make sure the garden is open for visitors to enjoy every Tuesday, from 3-4:40pm, and Saturday, from 12-2pm. Everyone is welcome to come by the Growing Center, stroll the paths, enjoy the plants in the garden, and take a moment to enjoy this little green oasis tucked right into Union Square. Remember to bundle up to stay warm, dry, and comfortable: dress in layers (base, insulating, and outer shell), bring a thermos of something warm to sip, and keep moving out there! Due to current public health conditions, a limited number of visitors are allowed in the site at any one time. But if you come by and they’re full, please just swing by again soon! To learn more about the Community Growing Center, visit

Groundwork Somerville. Groundwork is celebrating 20 years of service to the Somerville community! Join them in a series of free virtual events to celebrate their work and community. Visit to learn more.

Debate Spaces. Debate Spaces, a local, Harvard-affiliated non-profit, is offering fully-interactive, fun, virtual debate workshops for Somerville students (grades 5-8). No debate experience is required. Sessions will take place once a month on Saturdays (September through May) from 1-4 pm. The two best former debaters in the U.S. run the sessions. To register and get more information, visit, or email Register for nine sessions at $15 per Academy or $20 for an individual session. Scholarships are available upon request.

SomerSocial. Calling all young ’Villens: Winter may, in fact, be coming, and daylight hours are dwindling, but don’t forget -- SomerSocial is here to brighten your weekday afternoons with fun, free, virtual after-school programming! Perfect your podcast pitch, join a crew for Among Us, or get crafty with local creatives. Sign up for parkour lessons, nature club, animation workshops, theater classes, and more. All sessions are live, synchronous programs for youth in grades K through 8, taught by community partners from Somerville Media Center, the Beautiful Stuff Project, Parkour Generations, Somerville Arts for Youth, Parts and Crafts, and Farrington Nature Linc. Learn more and register now at!

Somerville Mathematics Fund Virtual Game Jam. The Somerville Mathematics 2020 Scrapheap Showdown has gone virtual! Students are invited to team up for a Game Jam. Compete individually or in teams of three on a different kind of challenge, one where you design a game that will be played and judged in part by the other teams. Participants will create their games between December 8-13. The winner will be announced by December 20. Register individually or as a team by Wednesday, December 2nd. Sign up at

Somerville Snow Shoveling Program. The City of Somerville invites teens ages 13 and older to consider being part of the Somerville Teen Snow Shoveling Crew and earn money while helping your Somerville neighbors this winter. Participants are paid for each house upon completion. Visit: to apply. Contact Jennifer Mancia at or (781) 490-3878 if you have questions.

Just for Fun

Try one of the suggestions from PBS's “Adapting Holiday Traditions during Coronavirus.” For more great #JustforFun activities, visit:

City & District Employment Opportunities

Consider joining a winning team! Current city and district opportunities include:

  • Customer Experience Manager, Constituent Services, City of Somerville
  • Preservation Planner, Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD), City of Somerville
  • Urban Revitalization Specialist, OSPCD-Economic Development, City of Somerville
  • Charter Review Project Manager, Mayor’s Office, City of Somerville

Visit for a complete listing of current open positions in the City of Somerville.

  • Special Education SHIP Paraprofessional, Somerville High School, Somerville Public Schools
  • Speech and Language Pathologist, Healey School/Somerville High School, Somerville Public Schools
  • Student Insights Lead Product Engineer, Somerville Public Schools
  • Library Utility Aide – Part-time, Brown School, Somerville Public Schools
  • Special Education Homebound Tutors – Part-time, Somerville Public Schools
  • Temporary Paraprofessionals, through 06/2021 – Somerville Public Schools

Visit for a complete listing of current open positions in the Somerville Public Schools.


Connections Newsletter: November 25, 2020