If you missed "Superintendent's Spotlight" this morning, click on the link below. This week we talked about the registration process while featuring our new "Welcome Center" located at 94 North Elm St. Suite 101. We also talked about the upcoming autumnal equinox. Thanks for watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzckbTm7IvM
As summer break comes to an end and classes head back into session, one teacher at Highland Elementary School in Westfield got the surprise of a lifetime when the Hyundai dealers are back this month to celebrate an educator whose light shines as bright as a diamond. “We have a great staff overall, but there is always some staff that are shining stars and Miss Diamond has gone above and beyond and for her students and teachers as if they’re her own,” said Highland Elementary School Principal Jill Phelan. “…She epitomizes what good teachers in this district are all about,” added Westfield School Committee Vice Chair Bo Sullivan. [Reporter: What was it like having her as a teacher?] “It was fun to have her,” said student Boaz Jones. With all the praise in the world, that only meant one thing. It’s time for the Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers to give Ms. Olivia Diamond, the kindergarten teacher at Highland Elementary School, the surprise of a lifetime… “On behalf of the Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers, we want to recognize you for all that you do and we know that you were extra special and making sure that everyone was extra safe, spending your own money during the pandemic and you’re like it and you’re like a diamond and we wanna congratulate you and recognize you for being so special. We want to give you $500 to spend any way you want,” said Gary Rome, president of Gary Rome Hyundai. “…And we have $500 that we are going to donate to the school under your name,” said Mike Paquette, general sales manager of Country Hyundai. “We do spend a lot of our own money, so this is very nice. Thank you so much,” Diamond said. The surprises did not end there. Diamond’s aunt, Lisa Killips, nominated Diamond for the Surprise Squad, but since she couldn’t be there in person, we shared this video with her. “You provide a classroom that is warm and inviting, ensuring they have all the materials that you need through the school system through your own funding, as well as engaging in grant funded activities. I hope that your prize helps you through the school year,” Killips said. Diamond told us her teaching career was a happy accident. “It’s actually a funny story. I used to play softball in high school and I actually didn’t want to play my senior year, so I took a job at the YMCA in Granby, CT. I fell in love with teaching and everything I did there made me realize I want to become a teacher,” Diamond added. It’s something Sullivan told us is a win-win for the community. “I have a great connection with the Boys and Girls Club in town, to a lot of our employees. A lot of the kids that we work with go onto teaching, which is great, which is exactly what we want this community to do,” Sullivan explained. However, it has not always been smooth sailing for Diamond, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I started my student teaching right when COVID hit, so I did a little bit in-person and I was also learning with all the other teachers who do it online,” Diamond explained. While the world was adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, Diamond managed to finish her master’s degree in teaching. “Being there in the moment, learning besides everyone else helped me learn all the online and technical stuff and then the following year,” Diamond noted. It certainly paid off, especially for everyone at Highland Elementary. “She makes their first school experience here in Highland, amazing…We’re just thankful she’s part of our team,” Phelan said. The Hyundai dealers said the celebration is well-deserved. “How exciting (it must be) to teach kindergartners every day…You got to be on your game with these kids as far as they are so excited to come in every day and have like you said, these parents request her as a teacher and that shows what she’s doing every day is fantastic,” said Brian Houser, general manager of Balise Hyundai. “It’s very awesome to celebrate her and see how dedicated she is to the kids to have the parents come back looking for her. It’s been just a great day to celebrate her,” Paquette added. Diamond told Western Mass News why teaching the young students is so important to her. “I love that they come in and have their first school experience. I get to welcome them to the school and make sure they love school going forward,” Diamond said. The students told us the feeling is mutual. “She did fun activities with us and she was very sweet,” Jones added. https://www.westernmassnews.com/2023/09/20/surprise-squad-honors-westfield-elementary-school-teacher/?fbclid=IwAR1emjy1oSFiiGulGb1OqgvZ67FIhI2lPyPJCKPZ4k6TsDIaHtJLJkAc9FI
Students at Franklin Avenue Elementary School are getting a close-up view of their future elementary school as it is built beam by beam and brick by brick, right next door. The kindergartners and first graders, who are on the side of the building closest to the construction and will spend the most time in the new school, are especially engaged. “It’s perfect for me and my sister,” said kindergartner Daniel Swider, on his first day of school this year. “Wonderful! It has so many advantages of learning in a new environment with new technology. Emma is so excited to start kindergarten today,” said Kimberlee Cartwright, a new kindergarten parent. First grade teacher Wendy Bard said the start of the construction, when workers had to level the ground, was a bit disruptive, but it’s become part of school life. “Last spring, the construction was initially difficult because of the large trucks and the daily vibrations. It was loud and we could not open the windows. It was distracting to both students and teachers. But after a few weeks, Fontaine Brothers set up two trailers that blocked the activity, and that helped,” Bard said. “We have used the construction for teachable moments, such as how a big excavator can balance on a pile of dirt,” she added. New first grade teacher McKenna Mortimer said her students are taking it in stride. She said when they ask about a particular noise from the site, she explains about the different equipment that they could be hearing. “I notice the vibration, but it doesn’t affect my teaching. The students are engaged in learning, so they don’t notice it much,” Mortimer said. Principal Chris Tolpa commented on the rapid progress of the building, which is anticipated to open in December 2024. “Since July 1, every day two loads of steel have come in, and every day two loads of steel have gone up,” she said. Tolpa said the students at Franklin Avenue and Abner Gibbs elementary schools, who will move into the new school, are going to be signing their names on one of the beams to be included in the frame. Tolpa, who also serves on the School Building Committee, said although the structure seems to be going up quickly, work on the interior will take a long time, with wiring, heating and piping to be installed. At a building committee meeting on Sept. 12, Dan Pallotta, owner’s project manager from P3 Project Planning Professionals, said the project is going extremely well for a public construction project. He said the underground plumbing and electric are already in, and workers will be done with the concrete work at the end of the third week of September. In the kitchen area, where they are getting ready to lay concrete, the piping is all installed. Next, they will work on the flat roof portion, where they have been installing duct work on the north end and roof drains. The front facade of the school will have slanted roofs. The committee also voted in favor of the interior color palette for the school that had been selected by a subcommittee, with a lot of natural wood browns, blues and greens, and some maroon or plum accents. The floor in the public entrance area will have a river motif that runs throughout the building, with dark green lattice work around the stage in the gymnasium meant to reflect the Great Bridges in Westfield. A unique color has been chosen for each of the pre-K through grade 4 “neighborhoods,” and panels throughout the school will have complementing accent colors. Pallotta said actual color boards with real samples are available for public view at Purchasing Director Tammy Tefft’s office in City Hall, Room 101. City Hall is at 59 Court St., Westfield. https://www.thereminder.com/localnews/westfield/westfield-elementary-school-pupils-see-their-futur/
At the School Committee meeting on Sept. 18, Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski and School Business Administrator Shannon Barry asked members to approve the creation of a new Arts Gift Account, for monetary gift donations to the district earmarked for the arts. Czaporowski said he was contacted by the trustees of the estate of Gerald Patrick, a Westfield alumnus who had a successful career as a professional artist and designer. The trustees said Patrick left a $100,000 donation to the arts programs in the schools in his will. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/09/estate-of-artist-raised-in-westfield-donates-100k-for-arts-in-city-schools.html
If you missed "Superintendent's Spotlight" this morning, click on the link below. This week we talked with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Dargie about our curriculum renewal process and our new Social Emotional Learning Curriculum PreK-12. Thanks for watching! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL0RBFEBDVk
If you missed the season premiere of "Superintendent's Spotlight" yesterday morning, click on the link below. This week we talked all about Westfield Middle School with Principal Jesse McMillan. Happy Friday! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvhT5bQdak
Nine seniors from Westfield Technical Academy participated in the heat this week in the Massachusetts Pre-Apprenticeship and Vocational School Training Program, sponsored by MassDOT through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration. For the past several years, students in the program have been working on digging up the broken slate entrance to the school at 33 Smith Ave., Westfield, to prepare for pouring concrete slabs, under the auspices of program director Jeffrey Cathcart and lead instructor Thomas Lemon. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/09/westfield-tech-seniors-gain-construction-union-experience-in-massdot-program.html
While we were expecting a cooler day on Friday, September 8, the latest forecast from the National Weather Service predicts that the Heat Index tomorrow will remain between 95-100 degrees. The Heat Advisory also remains in effect. As a result, Westfield Public Schools will dismiss staff and students early again tomorrow. High School students will be dismissed at 11:00 a.m., Middle and Intermediate School students at 11:30 a.m., and Elementary School students at 12:15 p.m. Fort Meadow Early Childhood Center will be closed. Thank you.
Hello Families, We are excited to announce that all back-to-school forms and medical information will be completed through the PowerSchool Parent Portal and SNAP Student School Health Portal this fall rather than using paper forms. You should have received 2 emails with instructions about how to do this today. If you did not receive two emails, please check your SPAM folder. If you don't receive either of these emails, please contact your child's school
This evening's SEPAC Meeting is postponed (September 7). We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you.
Fort Meadow Early Childhood Center Principal Jonathan Scagel said staff and families just received the news that the preschool peer model program will be tuition-free this year. The change means that Fort Meadow’s program will join the Southampton Road, Munger Hill and Highland elementary schools in offering free preschool to families. All of the preschools open on Sept. 6. Scagel said they just received word last week that Fort Meadow would be tuition-free, which he said lines up with the objective of Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski’s goal to expand preschool throughout the city. He said families that have already made a payment for this school year may call or stop by the main office for a refund. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/09/westfields-early-childhood-center-offers-free-preschool-tuition-this-year.html
Good afternoon, There is a heat advisory in effect for our area on Wednesday, September 6 and Thursday, September 7. Heat indices are expected to reach between 95-100 degrees. These temperatures make teaching and learning especially difficult in the majority of our buildings that are not air conditioned. For that reason, Westfield Public Schools staff and students will be dismissed early the next two days. High schools will dismiss at 11:00 a.m., Intermediate and Middle Schools at 11:30 a.m., and Elementary Schools at 12:15 p.m. Fort Meadow Early Childhood Center will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday as well. Sincerely, Superintendent Czaporowski
A reminder that schools are closed on Monday, September 4, 2023, for Labor Day. Schools will reopen on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Thank you.
As is their normal practice, central office staff members visited public schools throughout the city on Wednesday morning to observe the first day of school, with plans to return in the afternoon. Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said he visited Westfield High School, Westfield Middle School and Munger Hill Elementary School, and would visit Westfield Technical Academy at the end of the day. “There are seven of us, and we divide ourselves around,” Czaporowski said. Also onsite was the district’s new transportation manager, Bridgette Marquis, who will record all of the times that buses are arriving or departing. Czaporowski said sometimes it takes a week or two to perfect the bus schedules. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/08/westfield-school-administrators-report-smooth-opening-day-for-2023-24.html
Approximately 20 incoming Westfield High School freshmen are meeting staff, learning their way around and having fun at the school’s free two-week summer transition program. Participants Raeghan McGrath and Gabriella Melo were at the school early waiting for the doors to open. “It makes me nervous to start high school,” said McGrath. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/08/incoming-freshmen-learn-to-navigate-whs-at-transition-camp.html
Friday was the last day of band camp at Westfield Middle School, a one- or two-week session for 125 student-musicians entering fifth through 10th grades. Students spend part of their camp sessions, which run from 8 a.m. until noon, in small groups, then come together as a whole, receiving invaluable guidance from four band directors — William Choe and Amanda Metcalfe from Westfield Intermediate School, Ryan Emken from Westfield Middle School and Patrick Kennedy from Westfield High School. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/08/westfield-band-campers-benefit-from-attention-of-directors-teen-mentors.html
Westfield Public Schools is hiring: Speech and Language Pathologists Special Education Teachers ESL Teachers Paraprofessionals Click on the link below to view our current openings. Thank you! https://www.schoolspring.com/jobs?employer=11953&fbclid=IwAR1GNsNa8Kvxp-JJN--3K6AuBq0q3d6vHQUsWwUIrmfgXYI1N6IrLcygiMg
To encourage their students to continue reading over the summer, the staff at the Southampton Road School gave every student in the school a copy of “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies in June, before school ended. The book is about two siblings who compete with each other to have the most successful lemonade stand. “We encouraged the kids to read it, and raise money for the Community Closet,” said Southampton Road principal Mary Cieplik. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/08/second-grader-takes-school-project-to-heart.html
One hundred forty soon to be fifth graders from elementary schools across the city attended the Westfield Intermediate School’s summer transition program during the mornings of Aug. 7-10. Principal Greg Miller said the class coming in at 368 students is much bigger than the 315 rising sixth graders. Next year the school will have 683 students. “It’s exciting for us. It’s the first time all of the students in the district come together,” Miller said. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/08/incoming-fifth-graders-work-to-unlock-their-future-at-transition-camp.html
The School Committee voted July 17 to approve a new grant-funded position of early childhood coordinator. Whoever is hired will oversee the Westfield Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative, a three-year $750,000 grant the school district recently received in collaboration with the Greater Westfield Boys & Girls Club and YMCA. Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said the coordinator position being advertised is a requirement of the new grant, and the person who is hired will report to Christine Shea, director of assessment and accountability. Shea said the grant is in year 1 of a three-year cycle. The new coordinator, managing the grant, will be responsible for building a community of support and gathering a leadership team of partners, principals, school staff, a parent or caretaker representative, and a community representative. Shea said Diane Chambers, the new director of the Amelia Park Children’s Museum, has already stepped forward, as has CFCE coordinator Paula Hebert-Pike. https://www.masslive.com/westfieldnews/2023/07/westfield-schools-to-hire-grant-funded-coordinator-to-lead-expanded-preschool.html