Stay Connected with the Somerville Public Schools

Stay up-to-date with what's happening in the Somerville Public Schools and in our community by subscribing to CONNECTIONS: A Newsletter from the Somerville Public Schools. CONNECTIONS goes out weekly during the school year, except holidays. If you would like to receive CONNECTIONS, send us a note with "SUBCRIBE to CONNECTIONS" in the subject line at:

October 11, 2019

News & Notes

Boston Chamber Music Society and SHS Partnership Fosters Love of Music

It’s a typical afternoon for the 47 students in Somerville High School’s String Orchestra. Students tune in small groups by instrument before practice begins, and the orchestra’s conductor and teacher Andrew Blickenderfer distributes sheet music with the new arrangements he has completed for Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” What is different this and every Tuesday, however, is that each instrument section is coached by a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society’s (BCMS) string quintet in residence at SHS. This unique partnership between SHS and BCMS, now in its third academic year, brings professional musicians to mentor, teach, and perform with Somerville High School Orchestra students weekly for the entire school year. 

Boston Chamber Music Society’s musicians---two violinists, one violist, one cellist, and one bassist---provide technical instruction and music literacy instruction to the String Orchestra members, which is open to all interested students, regardless of their skill level or prior musical experience. The BCMS musicians also help support the inclusive, welcoming climate of a love of music and sense of community created by Mr. Blickenderfer and the entire Somerville Music Department team, where musicians of different backgrounds and levels of experience share the common goal of making great music together. The BCMS String Quintet performs twice a year at Somerville High School. The BCMS partnership with the SHS String Orchestra also provides free tickets for students to attend Boston Chamber Music Society's concerts at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

As SPS Music Director Rick Saunders says of the partnership, “The importance of our students being able to form relationships with classically trained musicians cannot be underestimated. The mentors serve as a bridge to another world of music making and community engagement. The learning environment is transformed through the exchange of ideas and skills that happens with small group instruction of the highest caliber.” For more information about SHS’s music ensembles and upcoming performances, visit For more information about the Boston Chamber Music Society, please visit

Learning to Make Great Teams at the Argenziano

Sixth Grade teachers at the Albert F. Argenziano School are using their Advisory Blocks to teach kids how to be great teammates. Teachers Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. Morales started their lessons recently by asking questions about the benefits of working as a team, rather than forming "cliques." After a group discussion, students broke into small groups to brainstorm best practices for working with peers on a team. They came up with ideas like "being friendly," "getting to know each other," "not judging people," and "listening carefully." The lesson plan was part of a curriculum called Responsive Classroom that has been used successfully at schools around the district, starting with a pilot program at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School. To learn more about Responsive Classroom’s approach to "student-centered, social and emotional learning," please visit

iWalk: International Walk and Roll to School Day

Last week was International Walk and Roll to School Day (iWalk), and Wellness Champions across the district promoted the event at their schools. The event is an opportunity to encourage students to participate in a healthy and active lifestyle by safely walking, biking or scooting to school. Safe Routes to School distributes stickers to schools that register for the event to give to students who participate. Schools added their own special twist to the event. Argenziano had a Walk & Roll Star picture frame that where students could have their picture taken, and the East Somerville Community School drew a finish line that students could cross as they completed their trek to school. The Brown School offered healthy snacks that students could enjoy, and students who did not have the opportunity to walk to school were encouraged to complete the new outdoor sensory path. The Healey School also encouraged students who were unable to walk to school to do a loop around the schoolyard as they arrived.

A huge shout out to the volunteers, parents, Family Liaisons, custodians, cafeteria staff and school administrators who supported the event at their school as well! Two additional days that will be promoted at schools this year are Winter Walk and Roll to School Day in February and MA Walk and Roll to School Day in May, which is National Walking Month. Anyone is interested in supporting these events, is encouraged to reach out to your school Wellness Champion or Caitlin Kelly, District Wellness Coordinator, at

What's Happening  

Somerville Health and Human Services Offers Free Flu Vaccines

With cold and flu season quickly approaching, it’s time for the annual flu vaccine clinics offered by the City of Somerville Health and Human Services (HHS). All clinics offer free flu vaccines for Somerville residents ages 3 and older (children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). Due to limited availability, vaccines will be offered during official flu clinic hours only. Clinics will be held at various times and locations in the community until the City’s supply of vaccines is exhausted. While there is no charge for vaccinations, attendees are asked to bring an insurance card if available, including Medicaid cards. Upcoming Flu Clinics include:

  • Thursday, October 17: Council on Aging (167 Holland St.), 10:00am-1:00pm
  • Thursday, October 17: City Hall Annex (50 Evergreen Ave.), 4:00pm-7:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 22: Somerville Public Library – Central (79 Highland Ave.), 12:00pm-2:00pm
  • Thursday, October 24: City Hall Annex (50 Evergreen Ave.), 4:00-7:00pm
  • Thursday, October 31: Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.), 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Sunday, November 3: St. Anthony’s Church (12 Properzi Way), 10:00am-2:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 5: East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.), 7:00am-9:00am and 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • Thursday, November 7: City Hall Annex (50 Evergreen Ave.), 10:00am-12:00pm and 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • Thursday, November 21: Council on Aging / project Soup (165 Broadway), 4:30pm-6:30pm
  • Thursday, December 5: Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.), 5:00pm-7:00pm

2nd Annual Women in STEM Summit – October 21

Somerville High School will host the 2nd annual Women in STEM Summit on Monday, October 21st, 3:00-5:30pm at the SHS Auditorium. All Somerville Public Schools high school and grade 7 and 8 students are invited to participate in the Summit and spark their interest in STEM! The Women in STEM Summit aims to create an empowering space that encourages young women to explore their interest in pursuing a profession in STEM. Student participants will gain insights from women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields about their educational and occupational goals and experiences. Small group discussions allow students share their own goals and how they’re doing in their STEM classes, ask questions, and help generate ideas and plans for post-secondary career and education. Keynote speaker for the event is Tufts Researcher Rachael Bonoan, Ph.D., TEDxTufts Speaker: Embracing Science as a Verb, For more information about the event, contact SHS Science Department Chair, Marianna Hosking at or (617) 625-6600, x6285 or SHS Science Teacher and FIRST Robotics Mentor, Michael Friedman at

Special Education Parent Advisory Council Meet & Greet – Tuesday, Oct. 22

The Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) will host a Meet & Greet event on Tuesday, October 22, 7:00-9:00pm at The Neighborhood Restaurant, 25 Bow Street, in Somerville. All parents and guardians are welcome.

Upcoming School & District Events:

Visit and click on the “calendar” link at the top of the page for a list of upcoming activities in our schools and in our District this month.

  • Monday, October 14: No School – Indigenous People’s Day; All Schools and District Offices closed
  • Tuesday, October 15, 8:10am: ESCS PTA Board Meeting (50 Cross St.)
  • Tuesday, October 15: Kennedy Picture Day (5 Cherry St.)
  • Tuesday, October 15, 6:00-7:30pm: WHCIS Governing Board Meeting at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore St.)
  • Wednesday, October 16: WSNS Spirit Day – Backwards Day (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 16: Half-Day Wednesday for PK-8 Students (PK students dismissed at 11:30am; K-8 students dismissed at noon)
  • Thursday, October 17, 5:00-7:00pm: Kennedy School Open House / Curriculum Night (5 Cherry St.)
  • Thursday, October 17, 6:00-8:00pm: Serve & Inspire Volunteer Orientation at the SFLC Center (42 Prescott St.)
  • Thursday, October 17, 7:00-8:00pm: Healey Families Community Meeting (5 Meacham St.)
  • Friday, October 18: Brown School Grade 3 Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation

Upcoming School Committee Meetings:

Find the complete School Committee schedule, agendas and meeting minutes (as approved) online at

  • Monday, October 21, 6:00-7:00pm: Finance and Facilities Subcommittee Meeting at the 3rd Floor Conference Room, City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)
  • Monday, October 21, 6:00-7:00pm: Rules Management Subcommittee Meeting at the City Council Chambers – City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)
  • Monday, October 21, 7:00-8:30pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the City Council Chambers – City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops, Events, and Resources:

Find a complete list of SFLC events and workshops at

The Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) enhances the capacity of families and schools to support children’s learning and well-being by collaborating with community partners and promoting welcoming, responsive schools and programs. Take a look at the work and impact of the SFLC “by the numbers” in this 2018-2019 report.

  • NEW! Register now for SFLC Playgroups at the Capuano Early Childhood Center starting in October! To register, call (617) 625-6600, x6990, or register online at:
  • SFLC Playgroups – Session 1, October 7-December 13, 2019. Somerville parents and caregivers with infants, toddlers and preschool children meet and play in age and language-based groups that gather weekly at the SFLC Center (42 Prescott St.) and the Capuano (150 Glen St.). Drop-in groups are available.
  • Thursday, October 10, 7:00-8:30pm: Sharing Our Stories Support Group. Monthly support group for families with young children who have special needs. Raising a child who does not always fit in can be challenging. This open-ended group offers adults the opportunity to share joys, concerns, frustrations, questions and resources. Facilitated by Amy Bamforth, LICSW. SFLC Center, Room 14 (42 Prescott St.)
  • Friday, October 11, 12:00-1:00pm: English Learner Parent Advisory Council (EL PAC). Parents/guardians of students identified as English Learners are invited to join EL PAC. The EL PAC exists to advise the district and participate in planning and development of programs to increase English Learner opportunities and support student success. For more information about monthly meetings, please contact Sarah Davila at us or (617) 625-6600, x6097. SFLC Center, Room 12 (42 Prescott St.)
  • Thursday, October 17, 6:00-7:00pm: Legal Services Clinic. Meet representatives from the SFLC, Somerville Health and Human Services, and SomerViva for information and resources, and make an appointment for a free legal consultation with representatives from Greater Boston Legal Services and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. For an appointment, email or call (617) 625-6600, x6994. The SFLC Community Clothing Closet, a resource for free clothing for families in need, will be open.
  • Thursday, October 17, 6:00-8:00pm: Serve and Inspire Volunteer Orientation. New to volunteering in the Somerville Public Schools? Attend an orientation to learn about district schools and how SPS volunteers serve, inspire and support student learning. For more information, please contact your school-based Volunteer Coordinator or Jen Capuano at (617) 629-5475 or
  • Tuesday, October 22, 7:00-9:00pm: Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Join the Somerville SEPAC for a meet and greet. The Somerville SEPAC exists to support families, to advise the school district, to support a network of parents of children who have special needs, and to provide a forum to share information. Find out more by contacting the Special Education office at (617) 625-6600, x6851 or email The Neighborhood Restaurant (25 Bow St., Somerville)

Looking Ahead:

  • Monday, October 21, 3:00-4:00pm: Kennedy School Improvement Council Meeting (5 Cherry St.)
  • Monday, October 21, 3:00-5:30pm: 2nd Annual Women in STEM Summit at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Tuesday, October 22: Winter Hill Community Innovation School Picture Day (115 Sycamore St.)
  • Tuesday, October 22, 8:30am: Kennedy Coffee Hour (5 Cherry St.)
  • Tuesday, October 22, 9:00-11:00am: Healey Ms. Brown’s Class Field Trip to Somerville Public Library (79 Highland Ave.)
  • Tuesday, October 22, 7:00-9:00pm: Somerville SEPAC Meet & Greet at The Neighborhood Restaurant (25 Bow St., Somerville)
  • Wednesday, October 23: WSNS PTA-Sponsored Author Visit, all grades (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 23, 5:00-6:30pm: WSNS Council Meeting at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, Room 205 (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 23, 5:30-7:00pm: Healey Literacy Night at the Healey School Library (5 Meacham St.)
  • Thursday, October 24, 7:00-8:00am: SHS College Coffee Talk: Paying for College, Morning Session at the College/Career Office, SHS Room 220 (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Thursday, October 24, 3:00-4:00pm: SHS College Coffee Talk: Paying for College, Afternoon Session at the College/Career Office, SHS Room 220 (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Friday, October 25: West Somerville Neighborhood School Picture Day (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Friday, October 25: ESCS Harvest Parade starting at East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.)
  • Friday, October 25: Argenziano 3rd Grade Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation
  • Friday, October 25, 8:30-9:30am: Argenziano Character Day Parade, K-2 at Argenziano School Yard (290 Washington St.)
  • Friday, October 25, 10:00am-12:00pm: Argenziano 2nd Grade Eversource Wattsville Game Show (290 Washington St.)
  • Friday, October 25, 5:30-6:30pm: Argenziano PTA-sponsored Fall Ball, K-4 at the Argenziano School Cafeteria (177 Powder House Blvd.); students must be accompanied by an adult
  • Friday, October 25, 6:00pm: East Somerville Community School Family Dance (50 Cross St.)
  • Friday, October 25, 6:00-8:00pm: West Somerville Neighborhood October Family Fun Dance (177 Powder House Blvd.)

Community News & Events

Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship. Citizen Schools is currently hiring for National Teaching Fellowship, a two-year service opportunity to work with Somerville middle school students, serve local communities and develop your leadership, communication and problem-solving skills. As a Teaching Fellow, you help Citizen Schools to provide students with access to hands-on learning, access to more caring adults (both during the day and after school), and opportunities to learn about themselves and others. Are you ready to make a difference in your life and the lives of Somerville students? Find out more and apply here:

Somerville Parks & Recreation Free Boys Basketball Clinics. For students in grades 4-9. Clinics are held Wednesday evenings at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore), and are conducted by Somerville High School Boys Basketball staff and Somerville Tradition Basketball staff. Upcoming clinic dates are:

  • Wednesday, 10/16: Grades 4-6 from 6:00-7:30pm; Grades 7-9 from 7:30-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, 10/23: Grades 4-6 from 6:00-7:30pm; Grades 7-9 from 7:30-9:00pm
  • Wednesday, 10/30: Grades 4-6 from 6:00-7:30pm; Grades 7-9 from 7:30-9:00pm

Learn more about the many Somerville Parks & Recreation programs at:

Somerville Arts Council LCC Grants. The Local Cultural Council (LCC) grant cycle for 2020 is open! Funding is available for individuals, schools, community groups, and non-profit organizations in the fields of dance, film/video, literature, theater, music, visual arts, interrelated media, and cultural heritage. Grants can be used for youth programs, arts events, exhibitions, public concerts, and more. Application deadline is October 15. To learn more about the LCC application process, review the guidelines at:

Somerville Youth Hockey. The SYHA Learn to Skate / Learn to Play Hockey Clinic begins on Saturday morning, October 19th, with rolling registration throughout the Fall / Winter. Clinic details and registration information can be found at

October SomerStreets Festival. Join the City of Somerville & Somerville Arts Council for Monster Mashed-Up, the October (and final) installment of the City’s SomerStreets festival, on Sunday, October 20th (rain date Oct. 27). The festival takes place from 2:00-6:00pm on Somerville Avenue from Union Square to Park Street. This event is FREE and open to the public! For more information, visit:  

Debate Spaces, a local non-profit that teaches students public speaking and debate skills while helping them build their leadership potential, will be running a debate academy for middle grades students (grades 6-8) on Saturday, October 19th and November 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Suffolk University. Attend and you'll find out what debate is all about through fun and interactive activities. The Academy is taught by the former #1 debater in the U.S.  Pizza is included. Students will have fun and get to know kids from all over the Boston area. To enroll, sign up at The Academy is $20/day, though scholarships are available.  Have questions or need a ride or able to give a ride? Email:

Duhamel Education Initiative Annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser. The Duhamel Education Initiative (DEI) invites you to its annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser to support the good work of Somerville’s teachers. The event takes place Saturday, October 26, starting at 6:00pm at the First Church Somerville, UCC 89 College Ave. in Somerville. Tickets are $12-adult, $9-senior, $6-child, or $30-family. Enjoy a fantastic spaghetti dinner and support Somerville youth!

City & District Employment Opportunities

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

  • Assistant Purchasing Director, Purchasing Dept., City of Somerville
  • Door Monitor, OSPCD-Economic Development, City of Somerville
  • Archives Intern, Archives Dept., City of Somerville
  • Senior Substitute, Somerville Public Libraries, City of Somerville

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

  • Full-time Lead Teacher, Community Schools Afterschool Program, West Somerville Neighborhood School, SPS
  • SPED ASD PreK Paraprofessional, Winter Hill Community Innovation School, Somerville Public Schools
  • Girls Lacrosse Coach, Somerville High School, Somerville Public Schools
  • El Sistema Symphonic Ensemble Conductor, East Somerville Community School, SPS

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


Archive of this year's CONNECTIONS e-Newsletter: