First day of school gets high marks from superintendent

Sep 1, 2021

The first day of school is in the books, and it was a good one, Superintendent of Schools Bonny Gifford said Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The district faced what Gifford described as “few little glitches’’ that she said are normal for first days, such as a few parents being unclear about a bus assignment or a child arriving in the wrong bus. 

But, she said, “we have seasoned administrators running each school.”

Each school had a first day assembly, she said. This year’s theme is “Accelerating Learning,” she said.

“We’re not focusing on learning loss,” Gifford said. “We are going to take them from where they are to where they need to be.”

She reassured the community that “safety is the number one priority” entering this new school year as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Students are required by state mandate to wear masks, a decision that was made by the School Committee prior to the announcement of the statewide requirement.

Along with pandemic safety, Gifford said students will continue to “engage in high-level learning.”

An emphasis had also been placed on relationship building.

“That’s kind of our message this year,” Gifford said. 

The schools also welcomed several new teachers this year. They include: 

DeMello School: Brittany Martins, grade 1; Danielle Caron, grade 3;  Meagan Phillips, physical education, Cushman/DeMello schools.

Potter School: Rachel Farmer, grade 4; Kayley Stevenson, grade 3 special education; Caitlin Durand, grade 5.

Quinn School: Bethany Dumont, grade 4; Rebecca Kelly, grade 2; Keisha Julian, grade 5; Taylor Saltmarsh, grade 5; Veronica Smith, grade 5.

Middle School: Matthew Doane, grade 6 English; Frances Gauthier, grade 6 special education; Linda Medeiros-DaSilva, grade 7 special education; Paula Pacheco, acceleration/recovery; Brian Wildeman, grade 5 special education.

High School: Samuel Bianco, choral; Jarrett Brown, physics/chemistry; Nathan Carvalho, world language; Aimee Correia, special education/step-up; Paula Pacheco, acceleration/recovery; Geena Pham, English; Nicole Simas, physical education/wellness.

New hires also included Jennifer Fitton, elementary math coach, and Kristen Greene, special education/team facilitator, district.