March 8, 2023
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Welcome to the March edition of the Connections Newsletter. We are well into the second half of the school year and this month’s Newsletter highlights some great recent events and upcoming opportunities. Please enjoy!
The Superintendent Search Needs You!
In late January, the School Committee voted to reopen the application process for a new Superintendent of Schools. Finalists, chosen by the Screening & Interview Team, will make site visits and have interviews with the School Committee on March 27. The public interviews will be streamed live online and viewable on the City's Cable TV station. Community members may provide feedback on the candidates between March 27 and April 2. Find more information on the Superintendent Search page.
Beautiful Recorder Music Happening Across the District
Third graders across Somerville have begun playing the recorder. Each year, every third grader receives a recorder to play in music class. Students are able to apply the musical skills they have been learning to this new instrument. For example, students use their musical literacy skills to read the rhythm and melody of a song and then play it on the recorder. Students also work on their fine motor skills and breath control when playing the recorder.
If you know a third grader, ask them to tell you about their recorder playing and encourage them to keep playing. Or, if you have one, dust off your recorder from elementary school and play together. In Somerville, we believe that every person can be an active music maker! Article and photo credit: SPS Music Teacher Ms. Cathy Ward
Bike Safety in Schools
During the week of February 13th, all 5th grade students across the district participated in bike safety assemblies led by Safe Routes to School and MassBike. Students learned about helmet safety, the ABC’s of bike maintenance, and how to use hand signals when turning. As part of the trainings, students were able to request a new helmet, if they did not already have one, to be able to practice the helmet safety tips they learned in the assemblies. In the photo, students at East are practicing the first part of the ABC check, which is to check the air in the tires before riding. Safe Routes to School also leads pedestrian safety trainings for all 2nd grade students in collaboration with SPS and the Office of Food Access and Healthy Communities. These trainings will take place in March. There was a full circle moment this year when we realized that the 5th grade students who received bike safety this year were the first grade to have received pedestrian safety training in 2nd grade as well in February 2019! Photo and article credit: District Wellness Coordinator Caitlin Kelly
Author Visits in Schools
Our librarians are hosting author visits across the district, organized by Director of Library and Media Tania Connor and thanks to books generously donated to attending students by Porter Square Books. Authors Nina Varela, Sara St. Antoine and Jarrett Lerner are on the schedule at K–8 schools and Somerville High School hosted a virtual author visit with Priyanka Taslim. Authors read from their books, share their writing process, and field questions. Below is a photo of Cambridge-based author Sara St. Antoine talking about her latest book, Front Country, with middle graders at the Argenziano.
Free Tennis Clinic at Tufts
The Tufts Men's Tennis Team and SPS volunteers joined forces over Presidents' Day weekend to offer a free tennis clinic to SPS students ages 7 to 18 years old. Forty-eight students got to play on indoor courts, try some new skills, and earn cool prizes. This event was organized and held in partnership with Drew Hendrickson Tennis and the SPS Volunteer Program. Learn more about how you can get involved with Somerville Public Schools by volunteering here.
Restorative Justice Training
SPS is in the first phase of a three-year plan to implement restorative justice practices. Administrators, educators, and counselors from across the district are being trained in this values-based approach to community building and conflict resolution. Staff received an overview of restorative justice at a district-wide professional development seminar and are now delving deeper into the model. The plan is for them to begin using community circles in their classrooms and as they work with students and other staff members. Pictured below are staff working with two members of Suffolk University's Center for Restorative Justice. Learn more about available supports at the Somerville Together website.
SHS Hockey Team Held a Staff Appreciation Ceremony
Somerville High School Hockey team members took time to thank a staff person or educator who had been a positive influence in their life. Eighteen teachers and staff from different schools received an honorary hockey jersey and participated in a short ceremony before the game against Boston Latin Academy. Watch the ceremony at the beginning of the game video: https://youtu.be/9IJ9p02pbms
Staff Winter Wellness Outings
As part of an effort to offer more staff wellness activities this year, our Physical Education & Health Teachers and Wellness Champions have led a variety of activities this fall and winter. In the fall, they offered pickleball, yoga, and a hike at the Fells. This winter, they coordinated an afternoon at The Bouldering Project and Muse Paintbar in Assembly. It has been a great way for staff to come together with colleagues from within their school or department as well as to meet new colleagues from across the district! They are planning to offer additional activities this spring including some of the same activities as well as some new ones such as a Couch to 5k meet-up and opportunity to run a 5k together. Written by District Wellness Coordinator Caitlin Kelly. Photo credit: Caitlin Kelly (L) and WSNS Wellness Champion Jess Roffi (R),
Grants for Teaching Mathematics
Congratulations to the SPS teachers who won grants for enriching their classroom mathematics teaching. Due to the incredible work of the Somerville Mathematics Fund, educators received grants of up to $500. Thank you to the Somerville Mathematics Fund for these grants and for setting up the program to capture generous donations from multiple local business and organizations! Read about the teachers and their project plans here.
Information for Families
Spring Sports Registration
Don't miss registration for spring sports. Registration opened February 27. High School athletes must attend medical clearance events on March 14 or 15. Middle grades athletes must attend a medical clearance event on March 29. Visit the Athletics Department page to learn more.
Afterschool Enrollment, Grades 1–6
Enrollment in Somerville Public Schools site-based afterschool program, offered through Community Schools, is open until March 31. Space in the Community Schools program is limited. Find information and a registration link on the Afterschool webpage. Families are also encouraged to visit the SomervilleHub website, run by SomerPromise, to find afterschool programming available to students through local providers.
Register for the Adventure Summer Program
Registration for the Adventure Summer Program, through Community Schools, runs from March 28 at 9:30a.m. to March 31. Programming takes place in two of our schools and runs from July 6–August 11 from 8:15a.m.–4:15p.m. Please visit the vacation webpage to register.
Find Summer Camps and Activities
Thank you to SomerPromise for putting together a guide to local camps and enrichment opportunities, the Somerville Summer Guide. Please note, some of the programs described in the guide are anticipated programs and will run based on the availability of funding.
Maple Syrup Boil Down
Join the Somerville Community Growing Center and Groundwork Somerville for the 24th Annual Maple Boil Down on Saturday, March 11, 11:00a.m.–2:00p.m. at the Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave. Families are invited to learn about tree anatomy and physiology, and experience maple syrup production firsthand. One hundred fifty gallons of sap were collected from trees on the Tufts University campus by teams from the Somerville Community Growing Center, Groundwork Somerville, and Tufts' Environmental Studies students. Find more information, including a rain date.
Protect Against COVID-19 and Get a $75 Gift Card
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering free, family-friendly “Get Boosted” clinics where anyone ages 6 months and up can get a COVID-19 vaccine or updated booster. Massachusetts residents who get vaccinated at participating Get Boosted clinics will receive a $75 gift card while supplies last. Find a participating clinic.
Free Walk-In Flu & COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
The City of Somerville hosts weekly walk-in vaccination clinics for residents each Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the City Hall Annex, 50 Evergreen Ave., through March 29. The City's COVID-19 booster appointments are open to individuals ages 6 years and older, at least two months after their last dose. Pre-register online or by calling 311 (617-666-3311).
Park Closings for Tree Maintenance
Several Somerville parks will close temporarily for tree maintenance. Learn more and see the park closure and maintenance schedule.