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The Stoughton High School Art Department will be displaying an exhibition of student artwork at the SAART Gallery in November and December. SHS Fine Arts staff members Dave Wall, Mark Craig and Robin Katz Sussman have chosen and eclectic array of student artwork for the showing. Student artists on display include: LeiAndra Busby, Diep Tran, Christina Galyuk, Joanna Rosa, Zachary DeNapoli, Samantha Delosh, Jacqueline Kuhn, Nicholas Selby, Jennifer Mitchell, Matthew Moore, Amanda Pearson, Stephanie Amaral, Valerie Sammarco, Christina Solem, Ashley Merola, Ava Dubovy, Russell Cummings and Victoria Tripp. The gallery is located in the Felos Memorial Art Center, 720 Park Street in Stoughton. The gallery is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. The SAART Gallery is a collaborative art gallery sponsored by the Stoughton Art Association. For more information about the SAART Gallery, please visit

(Photo of "Portrait of Russell" by Nicholas Selby. Info and Photo provided by SHS Fine Arts Dept.)




Lynne Jardin, principal of the Gibbons Elementary School, presented information on the "Walk to Read" program to the school committee. We'll have it here as soon as we receive it. Pictured inside Stoughton High are (l to r) Jardin, Dawe School reading teacher Barbara Hathaway, Gibbons School reaading teacher Marilyn Fiske, South School reading teacher Joan Standring, and South School principal Maureen Mulvey.

(photo by Mark Snyder)

Elementary School Literary Initiatives


Former SHS Principal Dan Davis Dies

(patch story)

SHS Marching Band 2011 Still Finishing at the Top

On Saturday, October 22, the SHS Marching Band competed in the New England Scholastic Band Association festival held at Reading High School. The band was awarded a GOLD MEDAL for their performance!

On Sunday, October 23, the band participated in the MICCA Championship competition held in Lowell. This competition featured bands from across the state and New England. The Stoughton Marching Band received highest evaluations for both music and visual captions and was awarded a GOLD MEDAL rating in this championship competition!!! Next weekend, the band will continue their season with a competition in Billerica on Saturday and the NESBA Championship festival on Sunday in Lawrence.



The Black Knights Marching Band and Color Guard took home a Gold and received Five Stars at the MICCA Competition Finals this past weekend. Rad Williams, a parent of one of the award-winning musicians, told Snyder's Stoughton, "I couldn't be any prouder of our Town and our fine students who represented Stoughton so well this past weekend. The Music Department at Stoughton High School, and at all the Stoughton schools for that matter, are excellent and provide a great experience for them. " Any band that includes Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" in their repetoire deserves gold! This coming weekend, they'll be playing Friday night at halftime at the Black Knights grid team's home game, and then on Saturday & Sunday, it's their final competition!



The Pit Crew.....

(Photos provided by Marlene Elmowitz)

News Announcements from Dan Davey

On Sunday, October 9, 2011 , the Marching Black Knights kicked-off their 2011 competitive season with a debut performance at New Bedford High School. Their show, titled "British Invasion," includes songs like "I Can See for Miles" by The Who, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zepplin, and "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles. The band is under the direction of Mr. Dan Davey, who said he was very pleased with the group’s first performance of the season.

The marching band received a gold medal rating for their performance on Sunday! The band is under the direction of Mr. Dan Davey, who said he was very pleased with the group’s first performance of the season.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 & Sunday, October 16, 2011

This past Saturday, October 15, 2011, the marching band competed against other bands from the state at the New England Scholastic Band Association competition held at North Andover High School. Drum majors Jordan Benson, Dan Block, and Eddie Ruddy led the band along with Colorguard Captains Samantha Rego and Samantha Souto. The Black Knights were awarded medals for Best Music and Best Colorguard in Division 5. In addition, they earned a Gold Medal and placed first in their division!

On Sunday, October 16, 2011, the marching band stepped up their game as they went on to compete at Norwood High School in their first MICCA festival of the season. The band was awarded the highest evaluation for Music Performance and Musical Effect. They were also awarded outstanding evaluations for their Visual and Colorguard performances.

This weekend, the band will compete in both Reading and Lowell. More information is available at


Stoughton Special Education Parent Advisory Council

Invites parents, teachers and community members to join us


November 2, 2011

National  Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

 "In Our Own Voice"

 (presenter Julie Langbort)


In Our Own Voice ("IOOV") is a free presentation given by two people living with mental illness about their journey with their disorders. The hour-long talk is appropriate for family members, friends, professionals, lay audiences and other people living with mental illness. It includes a videotape, personal testimony, discussion and enriches the audience's understanding of how people with these serious disorders cope with the reality of their illnesses while recovering and reclaiming productive lives. IOOV is presented to any type of group: students, law enforcement officials, educators, providers, faith community members, politicians, professionals, inmates, and interested civic groups. This presentation is open to everyone.


Time : SSEPAC meeting begins @ 6:30

Presentation begins @ 7:00

Location : 137 Walnut St
. Jones School Parent Room

Visit us at /


Contact us





Stoughton Teachers Inducted Into UMass Boston Athletic Hall of Fame

Former Boston State Men's Basketball Head Coach and Boston Celtic great Jim Loscutoff described John "Gabby" Douglas as "an outstanding leader that set a great example and is one of the best pure shooters in Boston State history." One of the most talented shooters in Boston State history, Douglas helped the Warriors post a 72-30 record for a .706 winning percentage over his four-year career and as a co-captain, led them to the first-ever New England State College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship in 1971. During the title run, Douglas scored 91 playoff points over a three-game span in wins over Eastern CT State (83-78), Rhode Island College (101-90) and Salem State (86-80) to help bring home the crown. In the championship game, the forward scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to propel the Warriors to the win and an NAIA New England Regional berth. During his first two seasons, Douglas helped the Warriors capture the 1968 and 1969 Codfish Bowl Tournament championships. He was named a co-captain of the 1968-69 freshmen team in which he led in scoring with a 20.0 ppg average. As a sophomore, he'd lead the team with a .816 free throw percentage. Throughout his career, Douglas was recognized as the ECAC Player of the Week three times, once during each of the 1968-69, 1969-70 and 1970-71 seasons. He was tabbed an All Conference player by the NESCAC in both 1970 and 1971 after ranking second in scoring as junior with a 9.9 ppg average while leading the team in scoring his senior year with a 16.9 ppg average. After being chosen as a Boston State College Scholar Athlete in 1971, the highlight of Douglas's career came when he was chosen as a member of the 1971 class of Outstanding College Athletes in America by coaches and athletics directors who honor America's finest student-athletes that have distinguished themselves through character, leadership, sacrifice, scholarship and perfectly disciplined will. When Douglas graduated he was the fifth all-time leading scoring in BSC history with 983 career points. The former captain and All-Scholastic forward at St. Columbkille's High School went on to teach science and coach varsity basketball at Stoughton High School where he has been for the past 34 years, compiling a 343-287 career record.

Raymond O'Malley has been described as the best playmaking center in Boston State College Men's Ice Hockey history while centering one of the greatest lines in the program's era with fellow Hall of Famers Dick Leahy and Bob Russell. O'Malley was named an All-New England skater in 1971 as well as the ECAC Player of the Week in each of his final three campaigns. He skated in 65 career games and tallied 89 points on 30 goals and 59 assists to average an impressive 1.4 points per game. Aside from his playmaking ability, the center was considered the best face-off man in the program's history, winning 92 percent of the face-offs he took over his career. A member of the first line power play & penalty killing unit his entire career, O'Malley led the Warriors with 30 points and 21 assists in 1970-71 while also leading the team in assists with 18 in 1969-70. His 59 career helpers and eight career game-winning goals both rank third all-time in BSC history. He was also selected to the 1970 Codfish Bowl All-Tournament team before being chosen as one of only three Division II All-Stars in New England to skate in the 1971 New England Division I All-Star game that featured future Bruins in Dave Forbes and Dave Reece. O'Malley would go on to sign his own professional contract with the Bruins in 1971 and eventually collaborated with Bobby Orr in compiling an instructional book called "Orr on Ice". Aside from a few high school head coaching and administrative positions, O'Malley would spend 34 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at John F. Parker Middle School in Taunton, MA before retiring.

(Congratulations to both. Thanks to Stoughton High hockey coach Dan Marks for sending it over.)




Facilities Master Plan Article---under budget so far, according to Supt. Rizzi

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said the school department is moving forward with the work based on the Facilities Master Plan Committee. The work received $200,000 in funding in an article at the May 2011 Annual Town Meeting. Rizzi said, "Gale Associates has started their review of the windows. We hope to have a preliminary report within 2 weeks. The re-lining of the chimney at the Middle School will be complete at the end of this week. A contract has been issued for the Fieldhouse roof replacement, and we hope to get that started with a week or two. I have received two quotes on the various railing and concrete projects (separate projects) but for some reason I am having a tough time getting the 3rd quote for each. I'll keep working on it, but I hope to get these completed this fall as well." Rizzi said that, as of now, they're coming in under budget. "As far as funding goes, we received 200K for the article. This broke down to $70,000 for the window study (We approved 60,000), $40,000 for the chimney (Bid was 21K) and $50,000 for the roof (Bid was 20K). So, we are about $59,000 under our estimates at this point," she said.


(Posted on October 11, 2011 @ 5:20 p.m.)



The O'Donnell Middle School was presented with a framed flag from Command Sergeant Major Greg Widberg, who has two children in the Stoughton school system.  Shown in the picture is 6th grade student Theresa Widberg and Principal ".  

The certificate reads: "This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown by Command Sergeant Major Greg Widberg in the face of the enemy over Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan, during Operation Freedom on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, this 11th day of September, 2011.  In Honor of the Dr. Robert G. O'Donnell Middle School."



Rizzi answers Channel 25 Report


The Stoughton Public Schools and the Stoughton Historical Society are pleased to announce that nominations for the 2012 Academic Hall of Fame for Extra-ordinary Achievement are being accepted. The Hall of Fame was created in 2004, through the efforts of Joanne McEvoy Blomstrom in honor of her father, Raymond; and Anthony L. Sarno, Jr., retired Superintendent of Schools, to recognize graduates of Stoughton High School who have achieved notable success in his/her chosen profession either from a singular extraordinary accomplishment, career of exceptional achievement or significant contribution to society. Those achievements may come from business, medicine, the humanities, the arts, the sciences, education, philanthropy, public service or other similar fields. Candidates may be nominated by any former Stoughton High School student, any present or past employee of the Stoughton Public Schools or any present or past Stoughton resident. All previous nominations will be reviewed.

All nominations must be accompanied by a resume, which includes: date of graduation, degree(s), work experience, hobbies and awards/recognitions. The nominee will be asked to submit a portfolio documenting his/her work. The deadline for applications is Friday, December 16, 2011. Nominations, which will be kept on file and eligible for annual review, should be forwarded to: Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi, Superintendent, Stoughton Public Schools, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072.



Stoughton High Students Work to Wipe Out Breast Cancer

Students from Stoughton High School recently attended the kickoff breakfast for the 19th annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Boston.

They were joined by emcees Dylan Dreyer of 7News on 7-NBC/CW56 and my friend and former colleague, Candy O’Terry of MAGIC 106.7.

Stoughton High School is participating in the Making Strides High School Challenge, which provides students an opportunity to grow their leadership skills and encourages healthy competition between participating schools, while raising funds for the fight against breast cancer.

Students from Stoughton High School will be among 40,000 people making strides to end breast cancer on Sunday, October 2 at the DCR Hatch Shell in Boston.

Julia Quattrucci, Corie Brookshire, Gabby Medina, Lauren Carmichael, Emma Zuk, Malykah Lopes, Katherine Chlus, and recently retired teacher and current SHS volleyball coach Kenneth Gay represented the Stoughton High community at the kickoff breakfast.

Making Strides in Boston, the largest one-day walk to fight breast cancer in the nation, is an inspiring event that unites the entire community to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, educates women about prevention and early detection, and supports the Society’s mission to save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against breast cancer.

2011 media partners are 7News on 7-NBC/CW56 and MAGIC 106.7. 2011 Flagship Sponsors are al fresco all natural, AstraZeneca, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc., The Cumberland Gulf Group of Companies, MFS Investment Management, Inc., Siemens, and WeGotSoccer.

For more information on Making Strides in Boston visit

(from a press release)



August 24


Joyce Husseini Elected School Committee Chair

Joyce Husseini was elected unanimously last night (6/29/11) as Chairman of the Stoughton School Committee. I predicted this result in April. I also had thought that Deb Sovinee would get elected Vice Chair, and make it an all-woman leadership team. But, she fell one vote short. Tom Colburn, immediate past chairman, was elected Vice Chairman on a 3-2 vote. Husseini and George Dolinsky voted for Colburn. Allan Mills supported Sovinee.



The Stoughton High School Class of 2011 had more than $2.4 million offered to their members by institutions of advanced learning—colleges and universities—to try and help them in their decision-making process, according to figures provided by the Stoughton School Department.

In all, 94 percent of the 264 graduates this year will be continuing their education, with 176 attending four year colleges, 63 choosing two year colleges, and six going to technical schools.  In addition, five members of the class will join the military (2 Navy, 2 Air Force and 1 Marine). Eleven graduates will be immediately entering the job force (and good luck to them, with this economy).   The Class of 2011 also has garnered $147,125 in local scholarships this year. 

Looking through the acceptance list for this particular graduating class, it’s apparent that there’s a definite trend toward state schools and community colleges.  Yes, there are some outstanding names staring out from the list where our graduates will be heading.  Included in their destinations are such top-flight schools as  University of Rochester, Boston University, Bryant College, College of William and Mary, Cornell, Fairfield University, George Washington University, Lesley University, Northeastern University, Penn State, Purdue, Quinnipiac, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers, Sacred Heart University, Simmons College, Temple University, Tulane, UConn, Wake Forest University and University of North Carolina. 

 But, the greatest majority of students are going to Massasoit Community College and Bridgewater State, with many also attending Bunker Hill Community College, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Dartmouth and Boston), Salem State, Westfield State, Worcester State, Fitchburg State and Framingham State. Students today understand the economic constraints of our time. 

 Stoughton High School Principal Matt Colantonio told me, “I’d attribute most of that to economics. More kids are going to college than ever before, but they are not attending some of the big-name schools of previous years. But, they are cognizant that it’s not the name of the institution that is of utmost importance. The most important thing is that 94 percent of the graduates this year are going into post-secondary studies. That’s the best I’ve ever heard. There are a lot of very smart kids going the state school and community college route to save $40,000 a year. There are many students who know what they want to do for work, and they also know they don’t necessarily need a big name college in their particular field. The top ten students are still going to schools you’d expect them to go in.”

 Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, told Snyder’s Stoughton, “This class is a diligent hard working group, and they have proven this by achieving the highest percentage of college acceptances in memory, probably ever.  Because the competition for good jobs and college places is more stringent all the time, we ask more and more of our students.  They have to know more earlier in their school career in order to be able to take advantage of the more complex curriculum and higher order thinking tasks that the high school faculty ask of them.  This group has clearly stepped up to that challenge and done themselves proud.  The current juniors show every indication of being able to follow in their footsteps, and the younger classes as well.  The eighth grade class leaving the middle school now has multiple accomplishments to their credit, including top place scores in both Spanish and French national tests.”

 Other schools that 2011 Stoughton High graduates were accepted to, and may attend, included Anna Maria College, Becker College, Burrough of Manhattan Community College, Curry College, Daniel Webster College, Dean College, Eckerd College, Elmira College, Elms College, Emerson College, Empire Beauty School, Fisher College, Full Sail University, Johnson & Wales University, Lake Forest College, LaSalle University, Lasell College, Lee University, LeMoyne College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Lynn University,  Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (4 accepted), Montserrat College of Art, New England Institute of Art, New England Institute of Technology, Newbury College, Nichols College, Plymouth State University (NH), Quincy College, Regis College, Rhode Island College, Rob Roy Academy, Roxbury Community College, Salve Regina University, Southern New Hampshire University, Spelman College, Stonehill College, Suffolk University, The Art Institute of Boston, Thomas College, Tuskegee University, University of Maine (Ft. Kent and Orono), University of New Hampshire, University of Florida, University of New England, University of New Haven, University of North Carolina (Wilmington), Universal Technical Institute, Virginia Intermont College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Zion Bible College.

 In this economy, it’s clear that any program that leads to a career is a good one. College is not necessarily the panacea it used to be. It is no longer a guarantee of employment.  Still, a college degree is a necessary requirement of many top-level professional jobs.  It’s good to see the largest percentage of graduates in the history of Stoughton High School pursuing a continuing education.  Congratulations and good luck to all the 264 students who completed the requirements for a diploma this year!

Class of 2011 top 10 graduates:

Kara Morse
Molly Zuk
Alexander Lobrano
Marissa Petersile
Nicole Beauregard
Rory Siegel
Melanie McFadyen
Sarah Widberg
Kelly Li
Emily Barber



Snyder's Stoughton has learned that the negotiating teams from the Stoughton School Committee and the Stoughton Teacher's Association have come to an agreement on a new three year contract. It comes as promised by School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn, who told Snyder's Stoughton last month he was determined to have it ironed out before the end of of the school year, The terms were ratified tonight at the school committee meeting on a 4-0 vote, with Allan Mills abstaining. Susan Cogliano, president of the Stoughton Teachers Association, should be congratulated on the success of the negotiations. On the length of the 18 month negotiations, Cogliano quipped, "Three negotiators had children during the negotiations." Colburn said he chose not to "posture in the media. We tried to keep the negotiations private. Dr. Rizzi, Joyce (Husseini), Susan, and myself have been working on this since last January. It's nice to see it bear fruit." Colburn is the only school committee member who negotiated through the entire process. Colburn and Cogliano said the contracts would be signed "by the end of the week." As soon as they are signed, Snyder's Stoughton will post the contract, which is a public document. Colburn said the contract "awarded modest increases in salary retroactive to the past year, as well as for 2011 and 2012. We'll also make sure all step raises owed are paid by the end of the school year. The step raises remain in the new contract, which runs through August of 2013. Cogliano told Snyder's Stoughton, "Both sides are happy. Our team brought forward to our members something they could ratify."

(Posted on 6/8/11 @ 4:55 p.m. and updated at 9:50 p.m.)

Photo of Susan Cogliano and Tom Colburn by JEFFREY PICKETTE.



SHS Graduation 2011

Seen (left to right) in this photo by O'Donnell Middle School Principal Wayne Hester is School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn, SHS Principal Matt Colantonio, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Ford. Stoughton High graduated 263 students on Thursday night. Congratulations to all of them!


FRIENDS GRADUATING TOGETHER: (l to r): Laurie Koelsch, Bayla Werman, Kaitlin Greer, and Alexandra Cohen. (photo by Linda Werman)

HATS OFF---photo by Michelle Glickman


Dawe School's Community Reading Day



COMMUNITY READING DAY:  The Dawe Elementary School had their annual reading day yesterday.  I got to read a book called "Zen Shorts" by John Muth, about a panda bear who teaches some children lessons about kindness and forgiveness. The Dawe was centered on "Never Giving Up." I am grateful to Ms. Samantha Lutchen and the great students of Room 34, for showing me respect, and being great hosts. Thanks go out to those Room 34 fifth graders, including Alexandra, Lauren, Jack, Eliza, Amanda D, Adaora, Kyle, Essence, Kayla, Tyaja, Mia, Christian, Carley, Sarina, Anh, Amari, Matthew, Kiernan, Liam, Ravi, Amanda S, Andrew, and Emerson. 

All invited guests came and read (except for Steve Innis, Executive Director of Stoughton Media Access Corp.), according to the Office of Dawe School Principal David Barner. The Dawe PTO served snacks to the participants, who gratefully gobbled the fresh fruit and pastries. Participants included: Dr. Robert Adams, former Dawe School principal; Patricia Basler, Director of the Stoughton Public Library;  Joseph Dawe, Jr, former Dawe School principal; George Dolinsky, STOYAC Director and School Committee member; Joanne Tierney for Rep. Bill Galvin; Karen Hall, director of the Council on Aging and Stoughton Youth Commission; Ted Philips for Rep. Lou Kafka; Anne Marie Kennedy, Community Relations Manager for Barnes & Noble; Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools; Sean Sears of the Dawe School Council; Margaret Sewcyk, director of Creative PreSchool; Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany; Deborah Sovinee of the Stoughton School Committee; Barbara Starkie, the Assistant Principal at the O'Donnell Middle School; Teresa Tapper of the Stoughton Youth Commission; Selectman Cynthia Walsh; and Dr. Judith Waterston, President and CEO of N.E. Sinai Hospital.   







Patch Story


I had the pleasure of coaching Atticus Rentsch in Little League baseball (with the Rangers). He's one great kid, and I expect he will be an asset to any college that is lucky enough to get him. Molly seems to excel at everything, as her photo and name are on this website multiple times. I'm sure she will also do outstanding in college, and in life. Congratulations to both on their well-deserved honor!

(Courtesy Photo from Marcy Zuk)


Internship Program for SHS Seniors

Registration for the 2011-2012 Internship Program at Stoughton High School is now open. Through the Internship Program, Stoughton High School seniors have an exciting opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience in their chosen career field while also earning high school credits.

The Internship Program at Stoughton High School has been designed to assist students in building a resume of experiences that will assist them in getting admitted to colleges, hired for future internships and jobs, and establishing a clearer direction for future career plans.

According to Kevin Smith, Director of the Internship Program, “The feedback we’re getting from colleges and employers has been great. They are excited that students have hands-on experience to go along with their academic credentials. It is an enormous addition to the student’s resume – especially for college internships and careers seeking work experience. We’ve created it so that any student, regardless of their future plans, can benefit from this program.”

Past SHS Internship Program participants have had successful experiences with employers such as: Tufts Medical Center – Boston, Fuller Craft Museum, Caritas Norwood Hospital, West Elementary School, Massachusetts School on Wheels, Adventure Dental, New England Cabinetry, Dawe Elementary School, , and Old Colony YMCA. Through Stoughton High School’s partnership with these employers, students have the opportunity to work alongside professionals and gain valuable industry skills years before many of their classmates.

Students interested in registering for the program should be upcoming seniors for the 2011-2012 school year and have completed the majority of the class and credit requirements. While in the program, students will complete their remaining academic requirements during the first five classes of the each school day. Students will then be released at 12:30pm to fulfill their required 10 hours per week at their internship site.

For more information about the program, students and parents can meet with Mr. Kevin Smith, Director of the Internship Program, in SHS Room D-309 or email him at Program enrollment is limited, so students are encouraged to register soon to guarantee their spot.


SHS Administrator: No Senior Assassination Game 4u!



BUSES REMAIN @ $360 for 2011-2012 school year

Applications Must Be Returned by June 30, 2011!

(Get Application Here)


Teachers Looking for Fair Contract

Jeff Pickette Story

Mark Snyder photo


May 12, 2011

STILL NO CONTRACT FOR TEACHERS:  A marathon negotiating session last night between the bargaining team of the Stoughton Teachers Association, and the four members of the School Committee, the Superintendent of Schools, and their respective legal counsels, went all night.  But, when the parties emerged bleary-eyed at 2:45 this morning, no agreement had been reached.  School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn told Snyder's Stoughton early this morning that, "After over 7 hours of intense negotiations, we are much closer to settling a contract than we were yesterday. I will continue to be in close contact with their negotiator over the next few days with the hope of coming to an agreement."  Despite the pressure of rallys, petitions, emotional speeches, and the upcoming end of school, our teachers still are without contracts.  Here's hoping the NEXT session is the LAST session.  I applaud both sides for working so hard to come to an agreement.

(Posted on May 12, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m.)

Felicia Rosen (West School teacher) speech




SHS Senior Sarah Ocasio, SHS Art Teacher Mark Craig, and SHS Senior Stephanie Hayner

Sarah Ocasio and Stephanie Hayner, both seniors at Stoughton High School, have received national honors through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and will receive their medals on stage in Carnegie Hall at the end of May. The winning artwork is still on display in the school's gallery space on the Superintendent's wing and well worth the viewing effort. Sarah and Stephanie's honor of Silver Medals places them in the elite of the elite.  A special congratulations to each accomplished artist and to their teacher, mentor and friend, Mark Craig, who fosters and who also celebrates such creative talent. Stoughton High English teacher Susan Rockwood writes, "We wish Sarah best wishes as she heads off to the University of Massachusetts in Boston while Stephanie will attend the Montserrat College of Art located in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Enjoy Carnegie Hall and please keep your artistic passions alive and well as you both leave Stoughton High School on June 2."

(Posted on April 29 @ 11 p.m.)



Stoughton Teachers to Rally Tuesday for Fair Contract

Hundreds of Stoughton teachers are planning a rally on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. to support the negotiating team for the Stoughton Teachers Association.  They plan to meet in front of Stoughton High School, where they will march to the school and cheer on members of the bargaining team as they enter the building for the 7 p.m. bargaining session, "to show support and advocate for a. fair contract."   The contract between the 341-member STA and the School Committee expired on August 31, 2010. The bargaining session on March 3 will be the 26th such session.  According to the STA, the major issues remain wages and health insurance. In a prepared statement to the press, STA President Sue Cogliano wrote, “We are holding this rally to let our bargaining team members know that we fully support their efforts to secure a fair contract for Stoughton’s educators – one that shows respect for the work we do teaching the students of this community.”

(Posted on April 29, 2010 @ 4:20 p.m.)



Katelyn Greene (SHS Class of 2008) was inducted into the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Theta Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society for Nursing on Sunday, April 17. Katelyn is finishing up her junior year at Fitchburg State University. She has been on the Dean's List her entire college career. Congratulations!



It's the South School's Third Annual Golf Outing, Monday May 16, starting at 9:30 a.m. at Easton Country Club. $125 a player includes greens fee, cart, dinner, goody bag, Free Wedge Certificate, and contest entry fees. To register, contact Katie Kashian at 781-341-0693 or email To sponsor a hole, contact Gina Coe by April 22nd at 781-775-1578 or email  If you are interested in donating a raffle or auction item, contact Maureen Huminik at 781-341-9107 or email     





The long tradition of award-winning Stoughton High bands continues....Thursday March 10th, the Stoughton High School Tuesday and Wednesday Jazz Bands competed in the 2011 Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education High School Jazz Festival held at Stoughton High School. Twelve high school jazz bands from southeastern Massachusetts made appearances at the festival.

The Wednesday Jazz Band, competing in Division B, earned a Silver Medal for their fine performance. The band performed Lester Leaps In, My Foolish Heart and Four by Miles Davis. Tim McGrath, tenor sax; John Stewart-Racicot, trumpet; Kevin McDonald, trumpet, were awarded Outstanding Musician Certificates for their performances.

The Tuesday Jazz Band, competing in Division A, earned a Gold Medal for their outstanding performance. The band performed Tribute by Bob Mintzer, My One and Only Love, and Samba Dees Godda Do it by Tom Kubis. Tony Barros, trumpet; Adam Elmowitz, trumpet; and Michael Silveria on alto sax, were awarded Outstanding Musician Certificates for their performances.

The Tuesday Jazz Band’s Gold Medal performance qualified the band to participate in the MAJE State Jazz Band Finals at Framingham High School on March 19th. Once again, the band turned in another fine performance and was awarded a Gold Medal. SHS Junior Adam Elmowitz on trumpet; and SHS Junior Michael Silveira playing alto saxophone, were awarded Outstanding Musicianship certificates for their fine performances.

The SHS Tuesday Jazz Band will appear at Boston’s Hatch Shell on Sunday May 15th along with other top high school jazz bands from across the state. SPS Fine Arts staff member Dan Davey is the SHS Jazz Band Director.


Alec DeNapoli, a grade 9 Stoughton High School student, is the 2011 Division 4 winner of the Massachusetts School Library Association Bookmark Contest. Alec's winning entry is shown in our Patch gallery and will available in the Stoughton Public Library: Alex had the honor of spending the day at the State House on Monday for a formal award ceremony.  DeNapoli is a student of Ms. Alyssa Dancey's Art I Class. Thanks to Roseanne Rossi, Stoughton High's Library Assistant, for bringing the story to the attention of Snyder's Stoughton.



As we head into Town Meeting, and you watch the Finance Committee hearings, there will be discussions on minimum state spending requirements, enrollment, comparisons to other towns, and the condition of school buildings. During the presentation at FinCom recently, some documents were supplied to FinCom members, to make the numbers easier to crunch. Some are through charts, others through listings. As a Public Service, Snyder's Stoughton, through the cooperation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, presents those documents---11 pages---HERE.


The new PARENT INFORMATION AND WELLNESS CENTER inside the Jones School was dedicated this morning (3/25/11). Dr. Marguerite Rizzi (above center) addressed the crowd and thanked all those involved. The Center is the result of a collaboration between the Stoughton Public Schools, the Stoughton Youth Commission's OASIS Program, and the Striar Old Colony YMCA. All partners received grants due to the hard work of retired Assistant Superintendent of Schools Prudence Goodale. The room was beautifully furnished and designed by Laura Alves of IKEA. Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Schneider, working with Pat Small, director of Stoughton Public Schools nursing, brought IKEA into the mix. Michelle Jackson, Ellen Green and Joyce Dwyer attended the ceremony, representing the YMCA. Karen Hall and Theresa Tapper were there from the Youth Commission. Other Faces In The Crowd included retired Superintendent of Schools and current mentoring consultant Anthony Sarno; school committee members Joyce Husseini, Dr. Erdem Ural, and Deborah Sovinee; Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Ford, Food Services Director Ed Gilbert (who put out a nice spread); Stoughton High principal Matt Colantonio; Dawe School principal David Barner; South School principal Maureen Mulvey; Hansen School principal Faye Polillio, and Heather Tucker, Director of Special Education. The Center is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30-11:20 a.m. Wednesdays features a school nurse; Thursdays a staff member from the Stoughton Youth Commission, and Fridays a staff member from the Striar Old Colony YMCA. Others that Dr. Rizzi wanted to thank included Dan Forsman and Nordblom Management Company, Mark Berry and IRN Recycling Network, Joel Harding, the O'Donnell Middle School Council, and Dr. Larry Gray.


(Posted on 3/25/11 212:40 p.m.)




(Samantha Blindt's "Stopping Time")

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Alliance recently recognized fifteen Stoughton High School art students for their artistic talents. Founded in 1923, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the longest-running, most prestigious recognition programs for creative teens in the U.S. and the largest source of scholarship funds for young artists and writers. Each year, ambitious students in grades 7 to12 from across the nation and in American schools abroad submit more than 165,000 works of art and writing to be evaluated by visual and literary arts professionals, educators, and scholars.

The Scholastic Art Awards start at the regional level. Students who earn the Gold Key Award will move on to national adjudication in New York City. The Gold Key Award is the highest level of achievement on the regional level. The Silver Key Award is for works worthy of recognition on the regional level. The Honorable Mention Award is for work demonstrating artistic potential.

Four Senior Portfolio students: Tiffany Parsons, Stephanie Hayner, Sarah Ocasio, and Molly Boen, earned Gold Key Awards for their Photography Portfolios.

Gold Key awards for individual works include;
  • Samantha Blindt grade 12 for her painting self-portrait titled "Stopping Time".  
  • Samantha Blindt grade 12 for her painting titled "Portrait of Shane".
  • Sarah Meadows grade 12 for her painting titled "Self Portraitî.
  • Antoinetta Noe grade 10 for her photography self-portrait titled "Wallflower".  
  • Victoria Tran grade 10 for her photography titled "The Listening".
Silver Key awards for individual works include;
  • Samantha Blindt grade 12 for her painting self-portrait titled "Light"
  • Samantha Blindt grade 12 for her painting titled "Portrait of Sarah"
  • Nicholas Selby grade 11 for his painting titled "Russell"
Honorable Mentions awards for individual works include;
  • Brittney Anglin grade 12 for her photography titled "Vacancy".
  • Samantha Blindt grade 12 for her painting titled "Agony".
  • Alec DeNapoli grade 9 for his painting titled "Is there moreî.
  • Stephanie Hayner grade 12 for her photography titled "Unheralded Shadows".  
  • Marisol Luna grade 10 for her painting titled "Self Portrait.
  • Brent MacNeil grade 11 for his painting titled "Mack".
  • Antoinetta Noe grade 10 for her photography titled "Hocus Pocus
  • Alexa Ploss grade 9 for her photography titled "Thirteenî.
  • Julia Sjoquist grade 9 for her drawing titled "two faces of a Soulî.
  • Lee Wormald grade 11 for his Digital Art titled "LoneLeeî.
Gold and Silver Key award winners have their work on display at the State Transportation Building in Boston until April 8th. Gold Key Award winners will have their works forwarded to New York City for national evaluation. SPS Fine Arts members David Wall, Alyssa Dancey and Mark Craig are the art teachers at Stoughton High School.

Meadows' "Self Portrait"



The Stoughton High School Construction Challenge team traveled to Whitman-Hanson Regional High School this past weekend to compete in the Destination Imagination Engineering competition.  The team of 33 students, coached by engineering teacher Mr. Tim Norton, divided into five separate teams for the event "Unidentified Moving Object."  Team 4.0 comprised of Katherine Chlus, Nicole Hayner, Jackie Kuhn, Alex Lobrano, Palak Patel, Emma Zuk, and Molly Zuk took third place in this event while, Team Diesel comprised of Kerry Backman, Stephen Herron, Nicole Kerman, Kevin Linehan, Kristine Payne, Joseph Purdie, and Gabriella Glickman beat out a strong team from Berkley High School to take top honors and advance to the state competition next weekend, March 26th, at WPI.

Photo (2) left to right: Kristine Payne, Kevin Linehan, Gabriella Glickman, Stephen Herron, Joseph Purdie, Nicole Kerman, Kerry Backman

Photo (1) left to right: Katherine Chlus, Nicole Hayner, Alex Lobrano, Palak Patel, Emma Zuk, Jackie Kuhn, Molly Zuk


A Wonderful Garden Project

Seventh grade O'Donnell Middle School teacher Shannon Ventresca is starting a Garden Project. Ventresca writes, "I want to break down the barriers and the stigma between 'regular education' students and students with severe special needs. They are amazing, diverse, and funny.  I teach about 100 students life science on a daily basis. I love to do hands-on activities, and so do they! Although I have some special education students in my classroom, my main goal is to work with the teacher across the hall from me and unite our students. We have been experimenting with creating interactions between the students in my class and the students in hers. We would like to reduce the stigma that students often feel towards people with Down Syndrome and other developmental disorders. We would like to work together, starting this summer during the enrichment program, to create a garden that will unite the two classes of students."  Some gardening materials are needed, and Mrs. Ventresca is trying to raise a small amount of money. Here are all the details on what Mrs. Ventresca is trying to accomplish and the costs.  You can donate $3 by setting your detault search engine to Bing. To Donate via credit card or through your Bing credit, go to



The Stoughton High DECA chapter had another successful day at the State competition last weekend at the Copley Marriott in Boston.  This competition has over 1500 kids from all over the state competing in over 25 different categories.  28 out of our 34 total business students received recognition for getting a 75% or better, on either their test or role play.  We also have two new Massachusetts State Officers from our school, congratulations to Valerie Szeto and Nick Aliquo.  This is a tremendous honor and accomplishment for them as they will be traveling the country next year representing Stoughton High, as well as the State of Massachusetts.  Also, we received the Spirit Award and a Gold Level Membership Award for our increase in  membership.  We also had the team of Seniors Adam Kenney and Molly Zuk take 2 first and 1 second place medallions for their test and role plays, and came in 1st place overall.  Kevin Linehan received a 1st place medallion and 4th place overall. Sophmore Brianna Berry received a 2nd place medallion.  Next stop for us is Orlando, Florida for International competition April 30th to May 3rd. We're taking seven of our students.  I would also like to take the time to thank my whole chapter for all of their hardwork especially my Action Team Bayla Werman, Kait Greer, Alex Cohen, Laurie Koelsch, Val Szeto, Nick Aliquo, Cassie Luce, and Heather Baeta-- we couldn't have made it this far without your help thank you so much. (submitted by Mr. Eddie Rodrigues, DECA Advisor)

Adam Kenney and Molly Zuk--1st Place/ Britannia Berry 2nd Place Medallion/ Kevin Linehan 4th Place trophy (photos by Eddie Rodrigues)


Mr. Eddie Rodrigues, of the Business/Information Technology Department at Stoughton High School, who is Advisor to the DECA progam there, is looking for some financial help from the community. They have seven students who will be traveling to Orlando, from April 29 to May 4, to compete in the Nationals. All the students made in through district and state competition. They all placed in the top four in the State, or were elected to State posts. Rodrigues tells About Town, "I would hate for this opportunity to be wasted because we don't have the money. At this conference, our kids could receive scholarship and internship opportunities on the spot. We will be 'canning' outside of Roche Bros. on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend. Any little bit helps and if people wish to donate any money they can send cash or money order to my attention at Stoughton High School, 232 Pearl St. Stoughton, MA 02072. Thanks for your help." Questions on how you can help? Email  


51st Annual Middle School Spelling Bee

On March 17, 2011 the 51st Annual O’Donnell Middle School Spelling Bee took place in the Media Center with Julie Linehan, OMS Reading Specialist, as the moderator. Ms. Baeta and Ms. LaCivita were judges. Ms. Kate Wasik was the coordinator of Sound and Videography. Thanks to the continued support of the Stoughton Woman’s Club, certificates and monetary prizes were awarded to the school champion and runner up. The outcome was: School Champion- Shauna Millican of 6B; First Runner-up Bernard Bellande of 7B; 8th grade Finalist David Lockhart of 8A.

(From left to right: Hallie Frederick-teacher; Cynthia Walsh-selectman; Deborah Sovinee-School Committee & Woman's Club Member; Wayne Hester-Proncipal;Bernard Bellande-2nd Place; Linda Rondeau-Teacher; Winner Shauna Millican;Three Woman's Club Members; Dr. Rizzi: Superintendent of Schools; Nancy Urell-President of Women's Club; Julie Linehan-Moderator. Wayne Hester photo)



First Reported Here:

Stoughton High Hires New Assistant Principal

With the retirement of Stoughton High Assistant Principal Paul Jacobs, there was a hole in the administrative staff of SHS Principal Matthew Colantonio. But, after an extensive search, Mike O'Neil has been hired for the Assistant Principal position at the high school. Mr. O'Neil is a Stoughton resident, who is well known in the community. A long-time coach (with the Orioles) and Director for Stoughton Little League, he is also a South School parent. He is currently a Social Studies teacher at Norton High School, where he has acted as Interim Assistant Principal, when the woman who held that position went out on maternity leave. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi told Snyder's Stougton that, "We did a site visit last week to Mike's current school, and were most impressed at what his fellow administrators, teachers and students had to say about him and his work." If his baseball style is any indication of his administrative style, then the students will get a fair, well-prepared man who commands respect, who can be tough when he needs to be.

O'Neil starts Monday, March 21 in his new position. Principal Collantonio tells Snyder's Stoughton: "Mike's a Stoughton man who is committed to the community, and to improving the high school. His son recently graduated there, and his daughter is a South School student. He's an experienced, thorough and methodical guy. He's a good third person for the team. I'm a mad scientist kind of guy, and it's good to have someone look at things from a different persepective. He's a seasoned veteran, tough and fair, with a hammer when needed. The other assistant principal Hope Fernandes is more into the instruction and curriculum side of things. She handles grants and MCAS scheduling, as well as instruction and curriculum. Michael is more a student safety and services kind of person. He's great fit, and it makes a nice balance in the office."

(Posted on March 16 @ 2:30 p.m.)


(l to r) Kristina Kozak 1st place, Jessica Young 2nd place, Dahlia Kushinsky 3rd place, Kara Morse, Honorable Mention

(L to R) Daniel Chin and Kevin Roopcharan, Honorable Mention

(l to r) Joe Purdie, Kevin Linehan, Jeremy Lim


(complete list of ALL winners)


We Have A Winner!

Roseanne Sossi of the Stoughton High School Library tells Snyder's Stougton some very good news.  Stoughton High School freshman Alec DeNapoli has won the Massachusetts School Library Assocation (MSLA)  bookmark contest for Division 4.  He will be recognized at the State House in Boston on March 28th. His design from chosen from the hundreds submitted across the state. Says Rossi, "We are very proud of him, and would like to give a special thanks to his art teacher, Ms. Dancey, who had her students participate in this event. It's nice to hear positive things that our students are doing."   I couldn't agree more, Roseanne!  Congratulations, Alec.  


The Visit by the Committee from the Commission on Public Secondary Schools


Sixteen educators will make an on-site evaluation of Stoughton High School on March 6 through March 9. Administrative Principal Matthew Colantonio announced today. The evaluation visit will be conducted under the direction of the Commission on Public Secondary Schools of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The visiting committee will be chaired by Administrative Principal Leslie Murray of Amesbury High School. Murray has had extensive experience in the Association’s evaluation process.

Colantonio said, "The purpose of this evaluation visit is to review and determine from an outside professional viewpoint the extent to which the school is meeting the Standards for Accreditation. As part of the evaluation, the visiting committee will meet with all school constituents, review the school’s self-study, visit a number of classes, and examine examples of student work submitted by the school. During the comprehensive self-study, the faculty attempted to identify the school's strengths and determined those areas in which changes would be beneficial."

The chair of the visiting committee, Murray said, said, "Our purpose in visiting Stoughton High School is not to criticize it but to assist the faculty in its pursuit of quality education for its students."

Colantonio pointed out, "The members of the visiting committee are contributing their services to the school. This spirit of professional cooperation is one of the noted features of the New England Association. The goal of an evaluation visit is to stimulate a continuing drive for improvement in the school."

The members of the visiting committee are teachers and administrators from a variety of schools in the Massachusetts area.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is a voluntary membership organization of more than 2000 public schools, colleges and universities, independent schools, and vocational, technical, and career institutions. Of these, over 650 secondary schools have been accredited through the Association's Commission on Public Secondary Schools. The Commission works with individual public schools to improve the quality of education through a continuous process of accreditation and evaluation.




Nine students graduated mid-term from Stoughton Academy and were honored by the Stoughton School Committee on March 1st. Pictured (l to r) are graduates Kevin Rose, Elise Lemieux, Connor Batchelder, Headmaster Tom McCormick, Joseph Gouthro, Roline Dieudonne, and Charlotte DiClemente. Missing from photo were graduates Molly Jennings, Kerri Ann Kolczewski, and Kimberly Roderick. The full graduation with caps and gowns will take place on June 7, 2011 at the Stoughton High School auditorium at 6 p.m. Congratulations to all the graduates! (photo by Mark Snyder)



Chad Kelley read a petition at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting signed by a number of Stoughton Teachers Association members from the Hansen Elementary School. It read, “We, the undersigned members of the Stoughton Teachers Association, petition the members of the school committee to negotiate a contract with the STA that attracts and retains highly qualified teachers to Stoughton. Further, through this petition, we reaffirm our determination to achieve a contract which fairly and equitably acknowledges our contributions to the Stoughton Public Schools.” The next negotiating session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8.




The Stoughton Public Schools, with assistance from OASIS (Organizing Against Substances In Stoughton) and the Stoughton Police Department, is zeroing in on protecting students on Prom Night. Many parents have in their heads those tragic photos of horrific car accidents that kill high school students. Stoughton High Principal Matt Colantonio is trying to precent that from ever happening. "What we're really trying to do is enforce what is already in the student handbook," he told Snyder's Stoughton. He told the crowd that kids DO listen. "Don't be fooled. They ARE listening, and the time you spend with them will go a long way in keeping lines of communication open." OASIS says parents must come out and oppose drugs and alcohol, and that has an impact on their children's use of these substances.. They are asking that at least one parent be available during prom hours that can be reached by phone, in the event of an emergency. They are also asking students to go to the prom (May 26 at Gillette Stadium) on time, and if they want to leave early, the schools will contact a parent to let them know the student is leaving. OASIS is also urging parents not to allow their children to rent hotel rooms on prom night. Students will not be allowed to buy tickets to the prom, unless they have signed a "prom contract," which stipulates that parents will not sponsor pre or post-prom parties where drug or alcohol is available, and that students will not attend any such parties, that a parent is available by phone during prom hours, and that no one can be admitted to prom after 8:15 (unless approved by administrator in advance), or leave prior to 10:30 (unless parent or guardian is contacted.) ANY quantity of alcohol or drug possession violates the contract. The result could be police action, or following the SHS Student/Parent Handbook, could be anything from suspension to expulsion from school.

Nearly 200 parents, students, and vendors poured into Stoughton High's cafeteria tonight to hear speakers like Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine (above), Melanie McFadyen, president of S.A.D.D; Karen Hall, Director of Stoughton Youth Commission; Dan Tarlin, Director of Partial Hospital Programs; and Dawn Fontaine, Coordinator of OASIS. Vendors included Classic Limousine of New England (below), Fairy Tale Formals, L.A. Express Hair Salon, Giovanni Salon, Pure Skin Care Salon, Stoughton Flowers, Lia Sophia Jewelry, Lifetouch Photos, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and Touch of Design. Stoughton High School students turned model, as well, as they wore formal dresses and tuxes in a mock fashion show.

(Posted on 2/17/11 @ 8:30 p.m. Photos by Mark Snyder)


Jeff Johnston, a 2010 graduate of Stoughton High School, was accepted to West Point (USMA) class of 2015 on Tuesday. Last year, he got thru the entire process, which is very lengthy, and was considered a qualified candidate without a seat. He was told to start at Norwich and work hard and try again. He is in the Corp of Cadets at Norwich and was in the lineup for all 24 games of the club hockey season. Jeff is studying mechanical engineering and received a 3.86 in his first semester. He recently received a nomination from both Senators Kerry and Brown, and Congressman Lynch. Jeff was 7 years old when he attended the 100th Army Navy game in Philadelphia in 1999 with his grandfather and his father, Ken. That was the day his dream started. His grandfather, a fighter pilot and captain in the navy, passed away in 2005 and would have been so very proud of this honor. He had made over 250 carrier landings during WWII and the Korean conflict. Johnston may not have been the biggest kid on the ice, but he was a four year starter at Stoughton High. Dreams do come true if you work hard and continue to chase them. I've known Jeff and his family for many years. They are good people, and Jeff is just a great kid. The community joins in congratulating Jeff for this amazing achievement.

(Posted at 7 a.m. on February 17, 2011)



Stoughton Teachers Association
The Teacher's Speak....


Stoughton teachers seek fair contract and back pay

"Stoughton teachers are frustrated. We have been trying to resolve some important issues out of the press in the hopes that they could be settled at the bargaining table, but we have come up against a brick wall. That is why we have decided to speak out at School Committee meetings and in other public forums at this time.

We have two key concerns. After over a year of negotiations, we still have no new contract. In addition, we have filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the Stoughton Public Schools for failing to pay teachers previously negotiated “step” increases: the salary increments teachers receive in their early years as they gain experience and become professionals. Failing to pay step increases is extremely rare in any district, always contentious and never justified. Inexplicably, school employees were singled out for this treatment. Town employees are continuing to receive their step increases.

So what is it we want? First, the step increases must be paid immediately. The school committee should not waste taxpayer dollars trying to fight this obligation. The money for those increases was approved by Town Meeting members last year. There is no legal or moral justification for withholding them. Failing to pay these increases is a breach of faith.

Those outside teaching and other similar professions may not know what step increases are. Here’s how it works in Stoughton and in every single district in Massachusetts and probably nationwide. Teachers are typically hired at relatively low salary levels. Most are inexperienced when they arrive and are learning a lot on the job. The salary schedule that is negotiated provides them with an entry level salary and an increase every year until they reach the top step. In Stoughton, the top step is reached in the 13 th year. The top step is designed to provide teachers with a salary that is commensurate with their expertise. Teachers may also receive additional pay for advanced academic degrees.

In our prior history, and across the state, the step increases are given as a matter of course. Even if the contract has expired and a new one is still being negotiated, the step increases are a “given.” Teachers understood they were going to receive them when they were hired. A deal’s a deal.

This year, the Stoughton Public Schools took the extraordinary and unprecedented action of denying teachers these increases. That is unacceptable, and is the basis of our charge.

Our second concern is the district’s failure to put on the table a fair contract. No one benefits by bargaining in the press so I will not go into details about what the district has offered and what we are seeking. What I can say is that the members of the Stoughton Teachers Association bargaining team are reasonable people and are not asking for big raises or new benefits. We understand that these are difficult times and we have adjusted our expectations accordingly. We feel that the School Committee has not come close to meeting us half way.

Because of these two unresolved problems, we have decided it is time to take action. We have asked our members to refrain from participating in certain voluntary activities. This is not a so-called work-to-rule . Under work-to-rule, teachers typically only remain at school the exact hours they are contracted to work: They come in with the bell and leave at the end of the school day. Our members are still coming in early and leaving late, if needed, in order to provide students with the help they need. We are also continuing to write college recommendations and to help students with their college essays. We do not want to do anything that would jeopardize our students’ future success. And, of course, we are planning lessons, grading papers and doing all the other work we are paid to do.

What we have asked our members to do is refrain from strictly voluntary activities. For example, at the high school a teacher is the advisor to the recycling club .In the past this was a paid position, but the district stopped paying that stipend a couple of years ago. The teacher has continued to work with this club voluntarily. That is the kind of volunteering we are stopping. At the elementary level, voluntary activities would include activities such as mathematics committee and school fairs.

Not volunteering is actually very difficult for us to do. Teachers are by nature helpful people. We didn’t enter this profession to get rich; we did it to make a difference. We are taking this step because we have very few ways to make the school committee take our concerns seriously. The sooner our contract and pay issues are resolved, the sooner we can all get back to normal.

We understand that some special activities will be missing when we don’t volunteer, though academics will not be hurt. We hope that our students understand and that our students and their parents support us at this difficult time."

(Posted on February 12, 2011 @ 8 a.m.)


"The issue of the steps is related to the SC's proposals at the bargaining table, and so I don't believe I can respond at this time without getting into details that would be inappropriate to make public at this time."  



Stoughton High's DECA Advisor, Mr. Rodrigues reports: DECA Districts in Mansfield on Friday was a success for Stoughton High School.  37 out of 44 of our students are moving onto State Competition on March 10th- 12th.  We took 10 first places, 9 second places and 8 third places.  The following students will be moving on:

LAST NAME, FirstName
Aliquo, Nicholas
Hotel and Lodging Management
Andler, Ross
Principles of Marketing
Baeta, Heather
Quiz Bowl
Barboza, Damani
Principles of Hospitality & Tourism
Berry, Brianna
Principles of Finance
Brauneis, James
Principles of Marketing
Cohen, Alexandra
TD Sports & Entertain with Drew Mad
Collins, Kelly
TD Hospitality Services w/ Leesa
Elmi, Asad
TD Marketing Communication w/ Kaplan
Floro, Kayla
Quiz Bowl
Gallagher, Melissa
Apparel and Accessories
Greer, Kait
TD Travel and Tourism w/ Bobby Johnson
Hanson, Tim
Principles of Marketing
Hoffman, Brett
TD Sports & Entertain with Adam Leonard
Hoffman, Riordan
Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Johnson, Bobby
TD Travel and Tourism w/ Kait Greer
Kaplan, Brian
TD Marketing Communication w/ Asad
Kenney, Adam
TD Hospitality Services w/ Molly Zuk
Koelsch, Laurie
TD Buying and Merch w/ Bayla Werman
Leonard, Adam
TD Sports & Entertain with Brett Hoffman
Levenson, Josh
Automotive Services
Linehan, Kevin
Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Luce, Cassie
Marketing Management
Madoff, Drew
TD Sports & Entertain with Alex Cohen
Mahan, Brittany
Principles of Marketing
Marseille, Emanuel
Principles of Bus. Management & Admin
Morrison, Lindsey
Apparel and Accessories
Noyes, Daniel
Principles of Bus. Management & Admin
Resurreccion, Rachel
Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Roch, Elizabeth
Quiz Bowl
Scott, Jasmine
Quiz Bowl
Shockley, Brianna
Retail Merchandising
Smith, Terry
Food Marketing
Snyder, Leesa
TD Hospitality Services w/ Kelly Collins
Szeto, Valerie
State officer Can.
Werman, Bayla
TD Buying and Merch w/ Laurie Koelsch
Zuk, Molly
TD Hospitality Services w/ Adam Kenney


Stoughton Teachers Association
The Teacher's Speak....

Sue Cogliano, president of the Stoughton Teachers Association, spoke with About Town before last night's school committee meeting (2/8).  I'm hoping it will be the first of many future communications, since it's imperative that both sides be heard.  Since November, there have been two negotiating sessions (one in December and one in January), with another coming in February.  Cogliano would not discuss specifics of the negotiations, as she preferred to keep those under wraps. But, she did express concern regarding the contracts that expired, but that are still being honored by the teachers and their union.  Cogliano said it was hard to negotiate new terms for a contract when some of the older ones are not being honored: "STEPS that are included in this years budget (and the proposed one for next year) were not honored. STEPS are the way teachers are rewarded for each additional year of experience they bring to the classroom. They are included in the contract that teachers are working under."   Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools,  would not comment on the reasons that STEP payments, included in the budget, have not been paid out to teachers. She told Snyder's Stoughton, after a long school committee meeting and executive session only that, "I can't talk about the details of the negotiations."  

Cogliano also cleared up the afternoon "club" situation.  She says that it is not a "job action," adding, "We have requested that all teachers who are volunteering cease.  Anyone receiving any stipend was not asked to stop working in their afternoon assignments. I also wanted to emphasize that nothing was done that would hurt seniors. We have continued to encourage teachers assisting with references, and helping students with their college essays and pursuits."  Ken Kalin, a fourth grade teacher at the Gibbons School, presented a petition to the School Committee, signed by a number of Gibbons School teachers, supporting a contract for the STA, "that will fairly acknowledge our contributions to the Stoughton Public School system."  


(Posted on February 9, 2011 @ 8 a.m.)  


Roof collapses have been happening at an alarming rate around New England, due to all the snow, ice, and rain.  Many schools have fallen victim to considerable damage, and forced closings.  Stoughton’s Supervisor of Support Services, Joel Harding, took the bull by the horns when considering the safety of students in the Stoughton Public Schools.  According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Harding had all the roofs evaluated, and while the situation was deemed safe, things could have changed with another storm.  Rizzi said that Harding contracted to have all the snow removed from school roofs.  Stoughton High and the South School are finished; while the O’Donnell Middle School and Gibbons school are nearly completed. The Jones, Dawe and West Schools are on the list next. Rizzi said they are “trying to minimize risk to students.”  School Committee Vice Chairman Allan Mills was pleased. “There is currently no danger. This was money well spent. A special thanks to the DPW for moving the snow to safer areas twice already. We appreciate it.”




2002 SHS Grad Kenny Wormald will star in "Footloose"



Stoughton High Class of 2011

Early College Acceptances

Anna Maria College
Bridgewater State University - 5
Colby-Sawyer College
Curry College – 3
East Carolina University
Elmira College
Emerson College
Emmanuel College
Framingham State University – 2 
Franklin Pierce University – 2
Gordon College
Hartwick College
Johnson & Wales University – 2
Long Island University – CW Post Campus
Lynn University
MA College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
New England College
Northeastern University Honors Program
Paul Smith’s College  
Plymouth State University
Purdue University
Quinnipiac University
Regis College – 2
Rutgers University
Salve Regina University
Towson University – 2
Tulane University
University of Findlay
University of Hartford
University of Hartford Honors Program
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of New England
University of New Hampshire – 4
University of North Carolina/Wilmington
University of Rhode Island – 2
University of Vermont
Virginia Intermont College


An Important Message from the Superintendent of Schools


To the Stoughton Community from the Superintendent of Schools:

The school year is well under way and there is much to celebrate. Our MCAS scores from last year’s tests have come back, and there are many positive trends that our students, teachers, and administrators can be very proud of:

The school department is proud to say that we use the money with which the town has entrusted us in a frugal and efficient manner. Due to shrinking revenues in the last couple of years we have

After cutting significant amounts from our budget in the last couple of years, there is nowhere left to go that will not significantly impact the services that our customers: students and parents, depend upon. It is simply a financial reality that you cannot provide the same level of service without providing the money to fund it. It is a mistake to believe that somehow we can continue to do more with less, when every dollar is now squeezed for its maximum impact. Level funding will never be level service.

I would like to address some comments and assertions that I have heard related to school finance. We are already embarked on the process of determining the budget that the town, including both the municipal and school departments, will be working with next fiscal year- a year predicted to be worse than the previous two, perhaps the worst in living memory. The people of Stoughton have a history of doing the right thing where funding of the schools is concerned. The percentage that the school department receives, about 2/3’s after the joint accounts have been split evenly, is a fair disposition, of long standing, agreed for many years by the three governing boards, the School Committee, the Fin Com, and the Selectmen. It is important to note that while the school department receives a larger percentage of revenue, when times are hard, we absorb 2/3’s of the cuts as well. These proportions are based on the number of employees that the departments have, the maintenance of the facilities, and the materials and supports that the schools must have to deliver a quality product in an era of ever increasing demands and fierce competition for our students.

During the 3 years that I have been here, first as Assistant Superintendent and now as Superintendent of Schools, I have had the honor of working with the many wonderful members of both the Finance Committee and Town Meeting, as well as the School Department employees of whom we are very proud. One of the main reasons I chose to come here is because the Town of Stoughton, over many years, has done all of the right things to create and support a strong and healthy school system. So much is in place to build a truly great system, able to provide our future graduates with everything they need to compete for the best employment opportunities of the 21 st century. Stoughton Town Meeting has always done the right thing, the wise thing, for the schools, and by extension, the town. There is no reason to change, and every reason to stay that course.

I am troubled by conversation I have heard in which it is alleged that the schools may be getting more money than they need, illustrated by the fact that Stoughton funds the schools above the minimum amount required by the state, so called Net School Spending (NSS). Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Net School Spending number is generated using the formula established in 1993 as part of the Education Reform Legislation. The funding formula is outmoded, and has been for 10 years. A recent report from the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education entitled “School Funding Reality: A Bargain Not Kept,” confirms this. The cities and towns that only fund up to the minimum NSS have crumbling and deeply underperforming school systems. Make no mistake, if Stoughton changes its formula, we will step inevitably on that same path. It is much easier to recover from a recession, as we will have to do, if we at least maintain the gains made over the years, rather than having to rebuild a school system that has been deprived. The towns that support strong, healthy school systems, including the towns with which we compete and compare ourselves, fund their schools above NSS. In fact, the average of districts across the state is 14.6% above Net School Spending. Stoughton is, therefore, 7% below the state average. An argument could be made that the town should increase its contribution by 7% to correct this.

Let me give you a few examples. According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Office of School Finance, some of the school systems that are at or below Net School Spending numbers are Gloucester, Fitchburg, Fall River, Holyoke, Haverhill, Palmer, and Taunton.

The overwhelming number of school systems are well above Net School Spending, including some of our nearby neighbors.

By comparison, Stoughton, is a mere 8% above NSS.

Mansfield, which dropped below Net School Spending last year, is a cautionary tale for us. Last year, due to significant and crippling budget cuts, the town lost 16 regular ed teachers, resulting in spiking class sizes. The test scores have already suffered, and the superintendent has had to propose a budget 10% above last year’s in an attempt to stop the slide before it gets any worse. Randolph is an example of a community that has had to pass an override after multiple years of underfunding which led to a collapse in the quality of the schools, and by extension impacted the quality of the entire town. Most observers agree that it will be many years, if ever, before the schools are again providing a product that is acceptable. Many would say that the entire quality of life in that town has suffered enormously for everyone, not just parents of school age children.

Education is expensive, good education more so. Here in Stoughton the school department makes the very most of every dollar that the town has been able to provide. We work every day to make sure you get value for money and the students get what they need. It would be nice if there were some unused or underused revenue in the schools that could be diverted to other purposes, but the stark reality is, this is simply not the case. There are no easy answers, but tearing down the good work of a generation that built this school system, is, I submit, the wrong course of action. All Stoughton needs to do is what the town, in its wisdom, has always done. We will do the rest in the service of our students and community.

Stoughton Special Education to Undergo State Review

During the week of January 31, 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will be in Stoughton to conduct a routine audit of the school district’s compliance with special education laws. The review will include an examination of selected student records, classroom visits, and interviews with staff, parents and other interested individuals from the general public.

Federal and state special education laws guarantee that students with disabilities will receive an education that prepares them for education beyond high school, employment, and independent living. If you feel that your child, or a child you know, is not receiving the special education services to which they are legally entitled, you are encouraged to request an interview with ESE to share your concerns. Call Susan Nichols, Stoughton’s ESE liaison, at (781) 338-3722 to request an interview. ESE focuses its attention on areas that interviews indicate may be particularly problematic, so be certain to contact ESE well ahead of the January 31 on site date.

If you have any difficulty with this process please notify SPEDWatch at (978) 433-5983.

Ellen Chambers, MBA
SPEDWatch Director




Stoughton High School principal Matthew Colantonio announces the December 15th induction of the following students:

Heather Baeta, Jordan Benson, Kenneth Boykin, Lauren Cellucci, Marie-Renée Chamblain, Katherine Chlus, Alexandra Cohen, Kelly Collins, Paul Comeau, Josh Dressler, Danisha Durmonay, Adam Elmowitz, Jillianna Farietta, Zachary Finer, Kayla Floro, Rebecca Goldberg, Nicole Hayner, Michelle Henry, Mackenzie Hudson, Joseph Ialuna, Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste, Anthony Jeudy, Dahlia Kushinsky, Kristina Kozak, Emily Lamplough, Jeremy Lim, Loreen Louiny, Cassandra Luce, Brittany Mahan, Sydney Matook, Muhammad Mir, Kara Morse, Kevin Overko, Mitchell Price, Julia Quattrucci, Rachel Resurreccion, Julia Rodenbush, Eddie Ruddy, Jasmine Scott, Deirdre Simms, Michael Silveira, Leesa Snyder, and Arden Tran.



Stoughton resident Rachel Steinberg will be performing at the Handel and Haydn Winter Vocal Apprenticeship Soloist Recital on Saturday afternoon, December 18, 2010 at Boston Conservatory (in Seully Hall). This concert is free to the public. This summer Rachel auditioned for and received the honor of being chosen as one of a handful of young vocalists to participate in the Handel and Haydn Vocal Apprenticeship Program for Soloists. As a recipient, Rachel receives weekly intensive private voice lessons and theory classes at the New England Conservatory, and will get to be caroling as part of a small group from Handel and Haydn's Young Women's Chorus at Symphony Hall as part of the annual Handel and Haydn Messiah Concert..


(Parents: Download Permission Forms)


Stoughton's O'Donnell Middle School Bucking National Trend

(Kate's story)


Talented Photo Artists at Stoughton High

This is Michelle Bisbee. See her other classmates (HERE)
Kudos to SHS photography teacher Mark Craig.


Volunteer Football Coach Fired Mid-Season

Many football players and their parents are upset about the mid-season firing of volunteer Stoughton High football coach Robert Gelly. Gelly, who coached Freshmen and assisted with JV and Varsity Football during games since 2008, was cut loose after the third game of this season. He told Snyder's Stoughton, "I want the truth to be told. Dr. Rizzi is the judge and jury. What changed since last year? Why go through all that trouble to secure funding for the second freshman coach when I volunteered. Gelly said that he was let go as the result of his CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information.) "I have never been convicted of anything, but I was charged in 2000---ten years ago--with a DUI. I was here the two previous seasons with the same CORI. What changed? The whole story is not being told. Wild rumors and innuendo are flying. I want to clear my name." Many football players, current and former, have spoken out in defense of Gelly. My own son Dan, who played for Gelly in 2008, said he was a "great guy and an excellent coach."

Stoughton High Athletic Director Ryan Donahue said, "We're trying to hold our volunteers and coaches to the highest standards around our kids. A decision was made that a violation on the CORI prevented him from helping this year." When asked about the fact that it wasn't a conviction---and it was ten years ago-- Donahue said that "It's unfortunate, but I can't really comment on it. Bob's a nice guy and we hope he continues to make good decisions." Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi would not talk about the specific problems contained in the CORI. "That is confidential. If Robert wants to hand out copies, he's welcome to it. I can't discuss them." When asked why he was pulled off the field this year, when he had volunteered the previous two years without incident, Dr. Rizzi said, "Last year, his CORI never crossed my desk. This year, I saw it. The administration has the obligation to make sure that there is absolutely no question about volunteers--they are to be above reproach. I will say that things in that report could have been discussed upfront. Our requirements are extremely high, and people should not draw any conclusions about Mr. Gelly." Dr. Rizzi said that a number of volunteers, for many school functions and organizations, have been quietly told to leave when CORI results came back. "You have to set the standard extremely high. It's an honor to work with our students." Rizzi did apologize for the mid-season removal. "Our CORI checks came back late this year. Next year, we will make sure they are done before the season starts."

School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn said, "I am aware of it. A number of parents have spoken to me about it. I called Dr. Rizzi when Mr. Gelly first came to me. I suggested he meet with her and try to resolve it. I explained that all CORI's are reviewed by the Superintendent and she makes decisions based on what's on there. I encouraged him to work through channels. Dr. Rizzi reinforced that the decision is hers. We encourage volunteerism, but the CORI check is a safeguard for students. If there's a concern with the process, I will redirect that back to Dr. Rizzi. We as a Committee will look at the process because enough questions were raised. As far as this particular instance, I really encourage Mr. Gelly to go through the process with the administration. We will look at the overall process at our next meeting. But, I don't want to pull our students into the middle of it. In this instance, as in all these types of incidents, I maintain it lies in the hands of the Superintendent. To publicly raise this in the media--like your website--that's not the way to sway the person you are appealing to. "

Both Donahue and Rizzi left the door open for Gelly's possible return next year. Adds Rizzi, "Mr. Gelly was told he could re-apply next year, with a proper letter and application disclosing everything before hand." Gelly wasn't buying that. He added, "Nowhere on the CORI form does it ask you to divulge the information up front. I have nothing to hide. I don't know if I will sign up and go through this again next year. Dr. Rizzi seems to make up the rules as she goes along. I'm born and raised here and she comes in and rules by fear and intimidation. She destroyed my football season this year, and hurt a lot of players, who have supported me since this happened. I'd like to know what the guidelines are for volunteer coaches. I haven't seen any written down. She must make up the rules."

(Posted on October 20 @ 6:30 p.m. Updated on October 26 @ 10 p.m.)



Dozens of members of the Stoughton High football team showed up to support fired volunteer football coach Robert Gelly on Tuesday night. Parent supporters Matt Woodard and Bob Evangelista spoke up and asked the obvious questions. They wanted to know why Gelly, who had coached the freshman football squad, and assisted at JV and Varsity games in 2008 and 2009, was told that ten year old charges on his CORI report was the reason he was let go. Those in attendance were hoping that the School Committee would vote to re-instate Gelly, who was fired by Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi (who also said that Athletic Director Ryan Donahue was involved, as well.) Dr,. Rizzi said that she would reconsider the decision, if the school committee voted to tell her to do that. She also said she would re-instate him, if so voted by the school committee. But, after numerous speeches by SC members, no motions were made. On the one hand, a unilateral decision by the School Committee could have started the Committee on a slippery slope of caving in to crowd pressures,and undermining the Superintendent of Schools. On the other hand, it seems that in these days of tightened budgets, and cutting of coaches, to let one go under these circumstances could be questioned. The fact that Mr. Gelly coached the past two years---without incident---lends credence to his case. The fact that he was fired, 30 minutes before the start of the third game, is also troubling. Obviously, rumors fly when something like that happens, and therumors were much worse than reality. Mr. Gelly has admitted that on a night ten years ago he made some mistakes. But, he never hurt anyone, and he has been an incredible coach. My own son Dan, who played for Gelly in 2008, said he was a "great guy and an excellent coach."

Gelly still held out some hope that something could be worked out and he could return before the final game on Thanksgiving. “I’m disappointed that I wasn’t reinstated tonight. Hearing the process, I know I need to take the proper steps. I look forward to speaking with Dr. Rizzi.”


Coach Gelly has been REINSTATED for the Thanksgiving Game!!!!!

(posted on November 18, 2010)




Tuesday night, before the school committee meeting, word was out that a couple of hundred people would be descending on the high school to march in support of teachers trying to reverse the contract extension voted Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi last week by the School Committee in executive session. Stoughton Teachers Association president Susan Cogliano was handing out buttons, and gathering the troops together. This intrepid columnist sought to ask a few questions. She replied, “My presentation will give you all the information you need.” She said she would address any questions I had after the presentation. About 1/3 of the members of the STA had voted 121-6, with one abstention, to vote “no confidence” in the superintendent shortly after the renewal, in a hastily-called meeting. This was all in the midst of hardball negotiations for contracts, between the STA, the School Committee and the Superintendent.

As a former teacher, I am quite cognizant of the incredible dedication, hard work, and long hours that it takes to be an excellent teacher. Great teachers put a lot of themselves out to their pupils; they inspire them to achieve greatness that may have eluded them with others in front of the classroom. Great teachers feed the natural thirst for learning, while using creative ways to cull interest from students who, in this day and age, are often with very short attention spans, and much distraction around them. So, I am a solid supporter of those who teach our children well. Both of mine have had fantastic teachers along the way (At the Dawe Elementary School, the O’Donnell Middle School and Stoughton High), and have learned so much from them—not just about material covered in the classroom, but about life, as well.

With that said, Cogliano picked a battle she could not win. She painted herself---and unfortunately those she represents—in a proverbial corner. An STA member filed an open meeting law complaint, citing the vote and discussion on the matter in executive session. They hoped to force reconsideration from the original vote, and have it reversed in open session. The vote was 3-1 in executive session for the contract extension (with Allan Mills recusing himself from the discussion and vote.) The reconsidered vote was the same as the original. Even School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, the lone vote against the extension, had good things to say about Dr. Rizzi: “There is no disagreement on this committee that Maggie is doing a good job. It’s that she’s only been on the job one year. She got good reviews, but there are areas that need improvement.” But, Dr. Ural added, “I was disappointed in the vote of no confidence.”

Cogliano denied that the vote of “no confidence” was related to the contract negotiations. “Our concerns with Dr. Rizzi began when she took over the reins of leadership in the Stoughton Public Schools and are well documented.” She said that an STA leadership team met in July with two members of the school committee, and Dr. Rizzi, to give “concrete examples of her failings as a leader. We had hoped that Dr. Rizzi would enter a period of self-reflection and make the changes necessary to become an effective leader.” She noted that since Dr. Rizzi became Superintendent of Schools, the STA has filed 10 grievances. They have also filed four unfair labor practices charges at the Division of Labor Relations. Cogliano noted that in the previous 15 years, no unfair labor practices charges were filed.

Gibbons School principal Lynn Jardin, speaking for the administrative leadership team of the Stoughton Public Schools, expressed total support for Dr. Rizzi. “She has instituted an open door policy that has fostered an atmosphere of open communications. She is approachable, as well as an active listener. She has been supportive of Stoughton town educators by promoting teachers from within the system to her administrative team, nine times over the last three years.”

Here’s an example of something Dr. Rizzi instituted that ruffled some feathers: She had a choice to make when putting together this year’s budget. She could lay off three teachers, or cut $150,000 in teacher’s stipends. She chose to retain all teachers (there were no layoffs) and cut the stipends. For many teachers, who may have lost several thousand dollars in stipends, it was the wrong decision. To the three young non-tenured teachers who got to keep their jobs in this horrid economy, it was the right decision.

School Committee member Deborah Sovinee had nothing but praise for Dr. Rizzi. “She has done a wonderful job in the first year and a half. I evaluated the Superintendent and found her to be a creative thinker, decisive, and particularly gifted in the area of curricula. My hope is that Dr. Rizzi’s creative leadership will continue to move the district to the next level and to do so during a time of restrictive budgets. Research that I did showed that her salary compared to other school systems of similar size and with the same experience, is on the low side. While our town may not be able to offer as high a salary as wealthier towns, we could offer her some job security in terms of a contract extension.”

Holly Boykin, a parent of two high school students, and chair of the finance committee, spoke of her own feelings towards the battle lines being drawn. “I’m upset at how this has progressed. I can’t believe it’s come to this. Change is difficult for everyone. Not everyone gets what they want. 360 teachers--10 grievances in two years. That’s not many. This is not the way we’d teach our children to handle their problems. To move forward, you have to agree to disagree. The real losers are the children and their parents. I’d urge the STA, the School Committee and the Superintendent to come together and move the town forward.”

Superintendent Dr. Rizzi told Snyder’s Stoughton that she’s not happy that her reputation and credibility is being damaged by the STA actions. “It could discredit them. And, unfortunately it reflects negatively on everyone.” But Rizzi cautions that the results of the poor economy are going to have a big impact as we move forward: “There’s no money. We have a lot of teachers being paid from one-time federal stimulus money. Even with some of the new proposed federal funds, we’ll end up with a negative number. The new money won’t replace the money lost. If you agree to contracts that will swell in size, you are building in future layoffs.” Dr. Rizzi engineered a budget this year with no teacher layoffs, a very rare feat in these tough fiscal times.

As everyone knows that has been reading this column the past 12 years I like to weigh both sides of the equation before I give my opinion. In this case, there wasn’t much to go on.

I approached Cogliano after her presentation to ask some questions. I wanted to know what the union hoped to accomplish by putting the superintendent---and the school system—publicly in a bad light. I wanted to know more about the specific issues they had with Dr. Rizzi. I wanted to determine how earnest the school department was in dealing with them to get contracts for our teachers. If the STA was getting the short end of the stick, I’d be the first to stand up and defend them. So, what did STA President Cogliano tell me? “I’m disappointed.” OK-- and what else? “That’s all.” That’s all? No answers? Just walk away into the crowd? That’s not the way to inform the public, or to garner their support.

Someone by the name of LadyNight on the Journal’s blog under last week’s column put it perfectly: “The school committee is going to have to figure out how to resolve the issues and repair the relationship so there can be peaceful coexistence. The union and the superintendent don't have to agree on everything. The union has to respect that there are certain decisions that are management's prerogative, and the superintendent has to respect that the union has certain rights, and that teachers may also have valid ideas about improving education.” And I would add that all must work together to hammer out fair contracts, in a dismal economic arena. It’s easier said than done.

Still, the words of Stephens Stills somehow run in my mind:

“There’s battle lines being drawn;
nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong.”

(Posted on October 13, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.)




Deborah Sovinee's Remarks

Jardin's Letter

Tony Sarno's Letter


New: STA Presentation to School Committee (received on 10/23/10)

Globe's Article on Education



to Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Academic Award of Excellence winners Molly Zuk and Alexander Lobrano

Attorney General's Letter to School Board of December 27, 2011

Statement of Interest (high school)
Statement of Interest (South School)

both passed unanimously by Selectmen and School Committee


Stoughton Schools Propose Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan

The Stoughton Public Schools have worked on a draft of a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. If you have any comments on it, suggestions for change or improvement, send them to by October 22, 2010.




Dr. Rizzi's Contract Extended

In times when a superior Superintendent of Schools is highly-coveted, the Stoughton School Committee made a great move on September 28. The Stoughton School Committee voted 3-1 (with Dr. Erdem Ural voting against it, and Allan Mills abstaining due to his wife's position in the District) to extend Superintendent Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi’s contract for four years, bringing her term through June 2016. Terms of the contract were not released.

School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn told Snyder's Stoughton that the Committee felt comfortable extending the contract, but did nothing beyond that. "We did not increase salary, stipends or benefits. It was strictly an extension of the length of the contract. It would be premature to have begun any negotiations for a salary increase, until we settle other contracts in town."

Dr. Ural told Snyder's Stoughton that the discussion and vote took place in Executive Session. He also said that, "I voted against the motion for the extension until June 2016 because it was extremely premature. First, Dr. Rizzi had only one year to demonstrate her performance as the Superintendent. Furthermore, the School Committee did not yet fully discuss and resolve the areas identified by the School Committee members for performance improvement.”

Ural cited the Superintendent's self evaluation, which he requested be posted ("I know that you feel your readers like simple positive stories, but is it not your duty to give them access to all the facts and views?"). The self-evaluation IS a public document, according to School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn. It can be found at:

Colburn said he understands Dr. Ural's concerns and encourages all members of the School Committee to speak up in meetings. "As a group, it's important to discuss matters together. Controversial issues are best worked out at meetings. I strongly encourage dissenting opinions during our meetings, not outside of them. This whole contract matter was handled in Executive Session. The process of Dr. Rizzi's review is ongoing."

School Committee member Joyce Husseini was excited about the contract extension. "In the position of Superintendent of Schools, consistency and longevity is important. Tony Sarno was able to establish change through his long tenure. Dr. Rizzi is an out-of the box thinker. We'd like to give her time to continue to move the schools in a forward direction."

Deborah Sovinee of the School Committee added, "It's great for the school system to have continuity. It's halfway through the contract and she apparently has had interest from other school systems. It was a superlative year under her leadership. For those reasons, we decided to give her a big vote of confidence and extend her length of contract. Some examples of her effectiveness are the 7th Grade MCAS scores. They put us in the top 15% in the area. We scored higher than the Foxboro Charter School that people are always talking about. In addition, there's a huge increase in AP courses and the number of students who will be taking them. This is all supported by a grant. As a parent who is touring some quality colleges, I will tell you that more than grades, they say they are looking for students who take the toughest courses that the school offers. The good news here is that more of our high school students will be taking these types of courses, and will have the opportunity to attend even better colleges than they previously could have."

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said she was very excited, too. She said, "I love being in Stoughton. I love the people in the school system. You need to have three to five years to put ideas into practice. Educational change doesn't happen overnight. We have a good, strong system and we intend to make it truly great. It can be as great as much more affluent communities. We may not have all the socioeconomic advantages of some of our neighboring towns, but I think we can have a school system as good as any in this state.”

In the high school, the MCAS tests reflect a giant leap in scores. Towns are required to get everyone proficient by 2004. According to Dr. Rizzi, “So many schools are close together near the top. We moved up 34 places in the past year overall and 49 places in English. There were only 3 tenth graders who didn't pass one of the tests, and only by a few points. It was an excellent showing. The teachers and students did just a fantastic job. When schools have a lot of failures, they need to spend resources into successful retesting. Now, we can put our resources into going to the next level. It's a nice thing for the community and the District.” As far as the final word on her contract extension, Rizzi said: “It's a commitment on the part of the school committee to me, and from me to them.”

Sovinee says that both Dr. Rizzi and Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ford “have a definite vision, and a place they want to take the school system. Snyder's Stoughton believes strongly that the school committee made a smart move tying up this superintendent long-term. I've seen excellent leadership from Dr. Rizzi that is already showing results in a very short time. I can see that vision coming into view, and seeing is believing.

(Posted on September 29 @ 5:50 p.m. Updated on October 3 @ 8 p.m. and October 5 @ 11 p.m.)


School Committee Approves Two Committees

The Stoughton School Committee on September 28, following the recommendation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, approved The Facilities Master Plan Committee which is (Chairman) Dick Fitzgerald, Joel Harding,  Joyce Husseini, Justin Alpert, Lou Gitto, Dan Wheeler, and Doug Zorn. This committee is charged with developing articles for repair work to school buildings as recommended by the plan.

The second committee approved is the Feasibility Study Committee, which includes Deborah Sovinee, Rabbi Jonathan Hauseman, Bruce Dolinsky, Joe Baeta, Len Anastasi, Gretchen Barron, Robert Bornstein, Barry Crimmins, John D'Addieco, and Adam Thornton.  This one will determine which facilities need to be replaced, and then move that process forward, according to Dr. Rizzi.


(Posted @ 5:45 p.m. on September 29, 2010)




By now, you have probably heard of President Obama’s “Race to the Top” educational competition. The President is trying to get weaker districts around the country to move up, to improve student graduation rates, raise math and reading scores, and to insure that every public school student in the country has a fair educational opportunity. It sounds good at first blush. Here’s my initial take on the program in OUR State: Our legislature jumped into the pool before noticing that the water level was dangerously low. The level of education in Massachusetts--as tested by MCAS and national standards-- is TOPS in the country. Why change the most successful system in the country? Why drink the Kool Aid without looking at the ingredients? State Senator Brian Joyce said he thought it was a good change. He told me Sunday evening, in a visit to Stoughton, that “This program will bring much-needed funding to Stoughton. It will also provide for more of an opportunity for additional Charter schools, and will improve the education of our students.”

Senator Joyce is correct regarding the choice of Charter schools. Currently, Stoughton residents who try to go to the Foxboro Regional Charter School face long odds in their lottery. There have been applications to the Massachusetts Department of Education for a number of new Charter schools, which would serve Stoughton. Excel Academy of Academic Achievement (800 students maximum), Greater Life Academy of Performing Arts and Technology (230 students maximum), and Southeastern Entrepreneurial Leadership Regional Charter School (300 student maximum) could all be welcoming Stoughton students. But, as Stoughton Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi pointed out, when Stoughton residents go to private schools or charter schools, Stoughton loses both money, and promising students. “As far as charter schools, they are not a done deal,” Dr. Rizzi said. “They still have to hold public hearings regarding them.”

Let’s look at the numbers. In a news release dated August 25, Senator Joyce informed Stoughton residents, “ I am happy to report that Stoughton is scheduled to receive $241,411 over the next four years, for ‘reform activities’ such as teacher training and evaluation. Massachusetts will receive an additional $204 million in school funding in the form of federal Education Jobs Funds.  This money is designed to save educators’ jobs.  The funding will be distributed directly to school districts through the state’s education funding formula.  Stoughton can expect to receive an additional $612,126 in funding for this fiscal year.”

So, to put the $60,000 per year extra (based on the $241,411 over the next four years), we asked Dr. Rizzi about the costs. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “J ust to put the  $60 000 in perspective, we have spent about that much in three summers worth of curriculum revision work, and that doesn't include the professional development days, and trainers. These revisions were improvements and enhancements to curricula, not complete replacement, which would take longer.  We have had teams of teachers work on aligning the elementary report card to the Mass Frameworks also, and this work may all need to be redone.”

In addition, Dr. Rizzi added, “We have a full professional development day and 6 afternoons a year (two others are set aside for parent conferences) devoted to Professional Development.  There is a whole wish list of Professional Development activities that we do not have sufficient time to address as it is, including technology training, differentiated instruction, achievement gap issues, the teaching of writing, and other things.  Now we may have to devote a lot of that time in the next few years to the new standards.  We pay teachers to revise and redesign curriculum every year, and many thousands of dollars have been spent on projects to align our curriculum with the Mass standards.  Now much of that work may all have to be redone.  Our materials, purchased over the years at great expense to the town are mapped directly onto the Mass Frameworks, that was a big part of our purchasing decision, and if the Core does not align well, we may have to look at new purchasing.  This is not yet clear.  We are allowed to implement Common Core + if we think our standards are better, so there is a bit of hope there, but then we have to find the areas where the Mass standards are stronger in our view and add them to the Common Core, a project that teachers and administrators will have to be paid to do.”

Dr. Rizzi is not alone in her concern for maintaining the standards of education, while changing the entire core curriculum. Richard Livingston, a Republican candidate for Joyce’s Senate seat, tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “It would not come as any surprise to anyone to find few, if not all, of the superintendents in the Norfolk-Bristol-Plymouth senate district, will not be happy with the ramifications that this will have on their schools. I feel that the federal educational standards will be more of the same mandates without money. When you review the federal government’s track record with regards to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which led to the collapse of the housing industry, and how the Securities and Exchange Commission ‘monitored’ Bernie Madoff, who established the biggest Ponzi scheme bilking billions of dollars, do you really want to turn over the education of our children to them? The control of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts students’ destiny should stay in the hands of the local cities and towns and not some bureaucrat in Washington.”

Joyce defends his vote, writing in a news release: “ In January, I voted in favor of and the Legislature passed, comprehensive education reform legislation designed in part to secure these federal funds that encourage innovative techniques to lift student achievement in historically underperforming schools.  I am pleased to see this legislation bear fruit today and I am encouraged that this funding, along with the tools provided for in the reform legislation, will allow educators to tackle the state's long-standing achievement gap. The bill increases the state's ability to intervene in underperforming schools and districts, promote widespread innovation in education and increase the number of high-performing charter schools serving students in the lowest performing districts.” Not sure what “long standing achievement gap” Joyce is referring to here. The State was at the top in English and Math in national assessments.

Jonathan Considine,
the Director of Board and Media Relations, for the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, applauded Senator Joyce and the legislature. After telling me that Senator Joyce “has been a leader in supporting local educational reform to assure each child is getting a world class education,” he told me, “in order to be counted as a participating district, they had to submit memorandums of understanding that committed them to a set of ambitious education reforms. These memorandums had to be signed by the school committee chair, superintendent of schools and local teacher’s union president.” He said this committed the Stoughton Public Schools to implementing the state’s plan for Race to the Top in up to six areas: 1) Improve teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance. 2) Ensure effective teachers and leaders in every school and classroom. 3) Use data to improve instruction. 4) Increase college and career readiness through secondary school initiatives (optional). 5) Help develop and use a statewide teaching and learning system (optional). 6) Turn around the lowest achieving schools (Stoughton NOT among them.)

Considine said that the grant is not an insignificant amount of money for the Town of Stoughton. “By committing to this reform, they will get financial help implementing it. Other districts that did not sign on will have to conform to the new Common Core, and will not get funding.” But, Dr. Rizzi cautioned that, “We knew this change was going to happen, and we wanted a chance for reimbursement. The problem with unfunded or underfunded mandates is that it’s easy for the state to set the price, but it might not be realistic.”

The Department of Education voted in July to support the new Common Core Standards in Mathematics, English Language, Arts and Literacy, History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, which according to Considine, “demonstrated a 90% alignment between the current draft standards and the new.” The Race to the Top helps align curriculum to the Common Core. Considine also said that the entire program was conceived within the state’s department of education, adding, “They would not have voted to support it if they felt it was lowering the standards.” He also touted a new teacher and administration evaluation that is part of the program (The Boston Teachers Union has termed this “punitive teacher testing measures.”), as well as improved tools. Considine adds, “The data systems will be upgraded. Currently, districts have immediate access to MCAS results. The new system will make it easier to submit reports to the State, and allow real time access to data, which is instrumental in improving deficiencies in the classroom at the local level.”

To be fair, for some towns and cities, the money coming in through the legislature’s vote WILL save some teaching jobs. In Stoughton, no teachers were laid off. But, instead of saving programs and jobs (some were eliminated or reduced) it appears like this money will go for re-educating faculty and staff toward re-designing curriculum. According to an education website, Race to the Top funds may be used “only for activities that support initiatives specifically identified in the state’s Race to the Top plan.  These are not general-use dollars .” Meanwhile, Dr. Rizzi said she will meet with teacher’s union representatives, administrators, and the school committee to discuss the RFP to access funds, and work to come to an agreement on the ancillary issues on what to spend the Race to the Top grant on.

No matter how much rhetoric is offered here, this could be another giant waste of taxpayer dollars. And, for the 38 states that are getting NO federal money at all (because they didn’t “win” this phase of the Race), it’s just another giant rip off of taxpayers who are already overly-taxed. This may be a shell game—with our money—and when the shell is lifted, we lose every time. Instead of making slow and steady changes, they tend to blow things up and start again (think of health care “reform”). Perhaps this was all designed to help the weak schools systems around the country, but at the expense of the best ones: a “redistribution of education”, similar to the “redistribution of wealth” that our president has discussed on myriad occasions.

This could be one Race that has no winners. Let’s hope I’m wrong. I’m just afraid taxpayers will be left at the starting gate, once again.

(Copyright 2010 by GatehouseMedia/Published in Stoughton Journal edition of 9/3/10)


Ahavath Torah Congregation Announces Free Class for Pre-Schoolers

 Begins Sunday, October 17

A new class entitled, “Nitzanim” (Little Buds) is being offered five times at Ahavath Torah Congregation (ATC) in Stoughton over the course of the upcoming school year. Beginning Sunday, October 17 th preschoolers will enjoy stories, crafts and songs to celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions together with ATC family and friends. This class for preschoolers is open to all, whether congregation members or not. To enroll, simply download the registration form found at the synagogue website at or call Sue Rosman, Education Director at 781-344-8755 for further information. There is no charge for this class; call now to reserve a spot for your child.

first reported here:

Stoughton High Principal Brett Dickens Resigns

Snyder's Stoughton learned today (8/12/10) that Stoughton High School principal Brett Dickens has suddenly resigned to take a position in the Boston Public Schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi tells Snyder's Stoughton that Boston schools "are a big bureaucracy. They do transfers and internal promotions first. So, they hire from outside later in the summer." Rizzi said the suddenness of the news was "shocking" and said that Dickens "was an important and significant contributor to the success of the high school." Dickens contract requires that she give 60 days notice, but Dr. Rizzi said she won't hold her to it.

However, I've learned that Dr. Rizzi is one who is always considering contingency plans, and a recent one paid off big time. Matt Colantonio, a former English teacher (for six years) and head wrestling coach at the high school, was recently promoted from assistant principal at the O'Donnell Middle School to an assistant principal position at Stoughton High School. "He has been getting excellent administrative training from one of the best, Wayne Hester (principal of the O'Donnell Middle School), and he was moved to the high school in hopes of eventually becoming principal there. It's happening a bit sooner than expected," Dr. Rizzi said, adding, "The plans for succession were well under way. And, Brett has promised to help in the transition."

Stoughton High students and faculty contacted today (8/12) were excited by the prospects of Colantonio. "He is such a cool guy," said one junior. "I think he will be an excellent principal. He's nice." Two faculty members both said they worked with him. One said that he is "down to earth and very well organized, and a people person, as well as a leader." The other: "He's a good choice, but it is could be a difficult transition for him so soon from the start of school." One graduate, who wrestled under Coach Colantonio, said the news was "awesome. I wish I could go back again and have him as principal!"


(C) 2010 by


Dr. Gray to Retire

Stoughton is looking for a new IT Director with the upcoming retirement of Dr. Gray. He has been instrumental in the purchase of equipment and development of the Stoughton High TV Studio, the updating of the town's website, the upcoming cabling of all town buildings, and so much more. When the cable advisory committee needed a survey posted, it went up immediately. His plate was always full, but he was able to deliver. He'll be missed.

Galanis Honored

(from Facebook)

Bridgewater State College graduate Allison Galanis, a resident of Stoughton, has been named by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to the “29 Who Shine’’ list. A graduate from each of the 29 Massachusetts public university and college campuses is named to the list, which recognizes students who have demonstrated academic achievement and a commitment to community service. “We are exceedingly proud of Miss Galanis,’’ said Bridgewater State College president Dana Mohler-Faria. “We join Allison and her parents — Peter and Amanda Galanis, who are themselves both graduates of Bridgewater State — in celebrating this landmark achievement.’’ Galanis majored in biology, with a chemistry minor, at Bridgewater State. She has been accepted into Johns Hopkins’ cellular and molecular medicine doctoral program, and will enter John Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Fall. Congratulations to the future Dr. Galanis for all her hard work, and the honors bestowed upon her for it! Stoughton is proud of you, Allie!

(From PR Release from Bridgewater State College. Posted on 7/29/10)


Stoughton Public Schools will become a leader in technology this school year, due to the actions of Town Meeting in May.  Dr. Lawrence Gray, Stoughton’s Director of IT, said that Stoughton would have 115 classrooms with interactive white “smart” boards this year, one of the most in the area’s school systems. Total cost was $360,000.  Dr. Grey said he was able to buy them for all classrooms because “They had a special, buy five projectors and get one free. In essence, all the ones in the high school cost us nothing. And they all utilize the same software as what we have in the ones we purchased previously. So the teachers who are skilled with them can pass their knowledge off to other teachers.”  In addition, Dr. Gray said that another purchase approved by Town Meeting - fiber optics for a Municipal Area Network (M.A.N.), will be installed in all school buildings for $190,000. “I initially thought we could have the fire department install the fiber optic cable. But the maker of the cable, Corning, requires its own certified installers to do the work in order to get its 25-year warranty.”  Gray said “there’s a lot of capability in this. Twelve strands of fiber will go in each school building. That’s a lot more than we currently use and will serve our needs well into the future.”  

(Posted on 7/28/10 @ 7 p.m.)


Will freshmen football be a more dangerous sport this year? That’s what Bob Evangelista and Jack Raeke feared when they heard that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi and the School Committee had cut a freshman football coach out of this year’s school budget, leaving one coach for an estimated 30 freshman players. Evangelista and Raeke, who both played high school and college football, and currently coach the youth of Stoughton, were worried. “It’s a contact sport.  Drills need to be well organized and properly supervised. You can’t have 30 players and one coach. It’s a recipe for disaster.  The league recommends a 19-1 play-coach ratio,” Evangelista told the School Committee. He volunteered to help spearhead a fundraiser to raise the $3,000 paid as a stipend to the freshman assistant football coach.  Stoughton’s total number of football coaches would be the lowest in the Hockomock League, according to Stoughton Teachers Union President Sue Cogliano.  “We believe the reduction to one coach for 30 freshmen players is not a proper ratio for instruction or safety,” she said. “The league could find Stoughton Public Schools liable if injuries occurred. The number one priority should be the safety of our athletes. The football coaches don’t think this plan will work, and it was done without consulting the head football coach or the athletic director.” Dr. Rizzi, who has been forced to implement extensive cuts in all areas, said the plan was to move some of the more advanced freshmen players to the JV team, thereby limiting the number of freshman participants. She also said that for the first time in memory, some players could be cut this year from the football squad.  School Committee member Deborah Sovinee added, "These are very tough times for EVERYONE and Dr. Rizzi has done an amazing job making sure no teachers were laid off. These same individuals have come to the School Committee asking for subsidies to use the school buildings and fighting paying a fair share of that use. Now they are asking why the schools don't have the money to pay for extra coaches.
Clearly, some extra thousands in building usage fees would help pay for this." School Committee member Erdem Ural also sent in his opinion on this matter: "I share Bob Evangelista's safety concern regarding the freshmen football coach issue. I also applaud his volunteering to help spearhead a fundraiser to raise the $3,000 paid as a stipend to the freshman assistant football
coach. I would like to take this opportunity to urge all Stoughton non-profits to resist the temptation to use professional fundraisers. This is particularly important in these tough economic times when the charitable donations are so tight, because professional fundraisers take the lion share of the donations. For example, last summer STOYAC enlisted the services of William Carlucci of Quincy to raise funds.  Carlucci collected $18,000 for STOYAC, but kept almost $13,000 of the money to himself, per his contract. Also, the prospective contributors should always ask before making a donation, how much of their contribution will go to the charitable organization."


(Posted on 7/28/10 @ 7 p.m. Updated 7/30/10 @ 4 p.m.)

Assistant Principals Restored for 2011 School Year

Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, announced that the positions of Assistant Principal in all the district's elementary schools has been restored. Parents will be breathing a sigh of relief, because drop off time at the elementary schools with remain 8 a.m., instead of the recommendation of 8:15 a.m. that was passed by the School Committee, in the absence of those teachers who are given a stipend to become Assistant Principal, that allows them to welcome students safely earlier in the morning.

Stoughton High 1990 Grad Hits HGTV!

(photo courtesy of HGTV)

Read The Story

Stoughton High '02 Grad Hits The Big Screen!

So, you thought that 2002 Stoughton High School graduate Kenny Wormald had made the big time. He was inducted into the Stoughton High Hall of Academic Achievement a couple of years ago. He got a national fan club through his dancing efforts on MTV’s “Dancelife.” Last time I spoke with Kenny, he was dancing on Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex/Love national tour in 2007. The Gold School of Dance in Brockton alum starred in 2008 in a dance flick called “Center Stage: Turn it up.” But now, according to Entertainment Weekly, Wormald is going to be a major star. Kenny, now 25, has been cast in the role of Ren McCormack in the remake of “Footloose.” That’s the role that led Kevin Bacon to enormous success. Such stars as Zac Efron (“High School Musical”) and Chace Crawford (“Gossip Girl”) were in discussions for the role, but had to back out. Wormald has appeared in music videos with Prince and Madonna (among many others), and has shared the stage with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. The new “Footloose” will also star Dennis Quaid and Julianne Hough (“Dancing with the Stars”). According to Entertainment Weekly, producer Craig Zadan (who handled the original and is doing the remake), “When we discovered Kevin Bacon in 1984, we were both excited and gratified—and also knew the chances of ever duplicating that effort was a million-to-one shot. Decades later, Kenny Wormald proved history could repeat itself.” The town of Stoughton is proud to see one of its own getting national recognition. Hard work sometimes does pay off, kids.

(Posted on June 23, 2010 @ 10 a.m.)


 Dawe School students and staff get certificate of recognition from Veteran's Agent Mike Pazyra for their participation in Letters from Home Program.


Deadline for Bus Application & Payment is June 24, 2010. Cost is $360 per child for the 2010-2011 school year.Payment can be made by bank check, money order, cash and also by credit card.  The credit card option is closed on June 24, 2010, therefore, if more applications are accepted in September, the only forms of payment accepted will be bank check, money order or cash. For more information, go to or call 781-344-4000 and ask for Joel Harding.


Severe Accident for Phil Iacobacci

Stoughton High School's beloved retired principal has suffered a devastating injury. Iacobacci, who has been enjoying his retirement doing what he loved to do--boating and building---fell off a roof and was seriously injured. The active, always-smiling Iacobacci was paralyzed from the waist down. Many of his friends and former co-workers plan on holding some kind of event for him right after summer. I know that dozens of individuals have called asking about him-- and what they can do for him. There is no one who has ever met Phil who doesn't love the guy. We're all praying for him, and will pass along any information on his progress, and any events scheduled for his benefit.

Phil's Message for June 19, 2010: "Seems like a beautiful boating day out there. I have a nice view of the Museum of Science, Duck Boats and part of the Charles (of course I always joked that locals call it the Chuck). We knew that not all days would be good, and Thursday and Friday were in the not-so-good category. Sharp blood pressure drop on Thursday, again on Friday, so I got a blood transfusion last night. I asked for blood with a lot of energy, but you can only request so much. The transfusion finished about 1 AM, so we'll take it from there. Thanks so much for all the kind words and prayers, it's amazing how much this page can lift my spirits. Lou Gehrigs farewell speech is always on my mind. I am very lucky to have met so many wonderful people in my life."

If you would like to follow his progress, and stay in touch with Phil, go to:

To send a card:
Spaulding Rehab Hospital, Room 922W
125 Nashua St., Boston, MA 02114


Maureen Mulvey Named New South School Principal

Stoughton Public Schools K-8 Math and Science Co-ordinator Maureen Mulvey, a former teacher at the South School, was named the new principal at the South School by Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi tonight (6/8) at the School Committee meeting. Mulvey is a graduate of the Stoughton Public School system. She replaced current South School/Jones School principal Mark Chitty, who is moving to a new position.

(posted on 6/8/10 @ 9 p.m.)

Dawe School's Improvement Plan

Dawe School principal David Barner (far right) discusses the Dawe School Improvement Plan,
assisted by students and staff, at the Stoughton School Committee meeting on June 10, 2010 (snyder photo)


Stoughton High: Senior Class Night Awards

Class of 2010


Scholarship Winners for Class of 2010


No School Layoffs


Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, told an audience at Stoughton High School Tuesday night that she would not be forced to make any layoffs, despite having to cut $1.2 million off her 2011 budget. 

“We are cutting nine positions, including seven teaching positions, but they will be eliminated through attrition. But, eliminating positions does have an impact on the district. Since 2002, we have lost 45 teaching positions, plus numerous aides and secretaries, compared to what is included in the proposed 2011 budget,” she said. 

Rizzi was at the School Committee meeting and budget hearing, despite being involved in an accident the day before when her bike and a car collided.

Stoughton spends $2,000 per student less than the state average. But, Rizzi said, the “teachers deliver a superlative product,” and the town has been more than fair when it comes to supporting the school system financially.

“When the money is good, we’ve been given two-thirds of all available funds,” she said. “When it’s not there, we’re asked to carry two-thirds of the loss. That’s more than fair. We generally do well as a department.”

One initial result of the $1.2 million in cuts was the elimination of all the elementary school assistant principal positions. Teachers who have the added responsibilities of being an assistant principal are given a small stipend for their additional time.

"For $12,000, and the safety of our children, they should keep all assistant principals", Gibbons School parents David and Maria Sousa said at the meeting.  John Perry, a Town Meeting member, also spoke in agreement, adding, “I think we should re-instate all the assistant elementary school principals in the 2011 budget.” The residents pointed out they had extensive interaction with the assistants, and spoke of their importance in early morning, guiding the children to safety through crowded parking lots.

Special Education costs make up more than 25 percent of the 2011 budget. There has been a 73.4 percent increase in the 2011 budget due to out-of-district tuition costs, coupled with $970,000 that the state will not be reimbursing for circuit breaker costs. Just another instance where the state and federal government reps pass extensive mandates, and then don’t fund them - leaving cities and towns drowning in expenses they can’t afford.

Overall, the Stoughton Public School budget has increased an average of 2.34 percent per year since fiscal year 2002. Textbooks and supplies have decreased by 75 percent in the past 10 years. The cost of paper has increased by 27.5 percent in the past few years.

Transportation costs have been spiraling out of control. Transportation for homeless students is one of many unfunded state mandates. Stoughton Public Schools pay an average of $16,000 per month to transport homeless students. Students from out of district can have bills sent to their original hometowns to reimburse the town 50 percent of costs. But there also are additional costs for the town involved in billing these other districts. If a homeless student is also a special education student, Stoughton must pay all of the transportation costs.

Some changes are being made to special education, as part of the $1.2 million in cuts. But Rizzi reassured parents they wouldn’t notice any of the changes.

“These changes in special education will not impact any students,” she said. “There will be no elimination of any programs, or anything in any student’s IEPs. We were 100 percent in compliance last year, and we hope to maintain that standard. The structure of these changes is part of impact bargaining. Parents will see no difference in services or meetings.”  

In the Stoughton School District, 16 percent of students have an IEP (Individualized Education Program).  An IEP is a written plan for students eligible for special needs services.  (Source: NCES, 2007)

As far as the total proposed budget, here’s the breakdown on where the pieces of the public school pie are being divided:

* 73.02% of the 2011 budget is for instruction

* 9.73% for operations/maintenance

* 7.44% programs w/other districts

* 7.38% other school services

* 1.96% for administration

* 0.47% for fixed charges.

(from Snyder's Stoughton in Stoughton Journal, May 28, 2010. Posted on May 27 @ 7 p.m.)



Stoughton High School Improvement Plan

(Read It Here)

What Does It Really Cost?
A survey of FEES charged around the State's schools


School Committee Member Explodes On National Scene

Dr. Erdem A. Ural is not only a Stoughton School Committee member, he is also an internationally recognized scientist. A technical paper co-authored by Dr. Ural, entitled “Practical Issues with Marginally Explosible Dusts - Evaluating the Real Hazard” was recently voted as the best paper of the AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium held in San Antonio, TX in March 2010. Dr. Ural won other best paper awards at the same symposium in 2004 for his paper entitled "Airplane Fuel Tank Explosions", and in 2006 for his paper entitled "Dust Explosion Venting through Ducts".

(Posted on May 21 @ 7:30 p.m.)

Voice of Democracy 2010 Winners

Stoughton Historical Society's Joe Devito (l) and David Sears, Chair of VFW's Voice of Democracy, present awards to (l to r) Kristina Kozak   Danielle McCullough  and First Place winner Alexandra Cohen (Hank Herbowy photo)


School Cuts Detailed Here



Raffle Winner

Raffle winner Hanna gets a ride to school from Police Chief Paul Shastany in a raffle to raise money for charity. Her parents look on. (SPD photo)


Tom Colburn was elected by a 3-2 vote as the new Chairman of the Stoughton School Committee on April 27. Supporting Colburn was Allan Mills and Joyce Husseini. Dr. Erderm Ural received two votes, including one from new school committee member Deborah Sovinee, who nominated him. Allan Mills was elected vice-chairman by a 4-1 margin, with Dr. Ural voting for Sovinee.





SHS Sophomore Michaela Curtin awarded a Gold Medal at the National Level in the Scholastic Art Awards

SHS sophomore Michaela Curtin, has been honored with a Gold Medal at the national level from the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Gold Medals are awarded to “the most outstanding works in the nation”. Of the 150,000+ works submitted for judging, Michaela’s digitally manipulated self-portrait titled “Guilt Follows” was one of the 1000 works honored and one of only 300 selected for exhibition in New York.  Michaela will travel to New York in June to receive her award on the stage at Carnegie Hall. All 300 works will be on display June 9th -25th at the World Financial Center in New York. Michaela, a sophomore, created the work in Mr. Craig’s Intro to Digital Photography course earlier this year.



SHS freshman Jemin Patel: Nikon Photographer’s Forum 30th Annual College Photography Finalist

SHS freshman Jemin Patel is a finalist in the Photographer’s Forum Magazine’s 30th Annual College Photography Contest (Sponsored by Nikon). Jemin, competing against both high school and college level work, was recognized for his digitally manipulated self-portrait. His image will be published in the Best of Photography Annual 2010. This is the third year in a row that Stoughton High School students have been published in the Annual. Mr. Mark Craig is the Photography teacher at SHS.


On the evening of April 14th, nine students from Stoughton High competed in the legendary "Mr. SHS" contest for bragging rights around the school. The big winner---Bobby Brown, a senior, who happens to be the son of legendary R & B singer Bobby Brown of New Edition. Looks like Bobby the younger has that "show biz" success in his own blood, too! Other winners included Patric Jordan (Best Casual Wear); George Williams (Formal Wear and Q & A); and Willy McNamara (Best Talent). A fun time was had by all! Congratulations to all the winners, and everyone else who competed, as well!




Selectmen and the School Committee picked the individual to take Tony Bickerton's seat on the school committee, in a joint meeting on Wednesday night at Great Hall (4/14). It wasn't until after 9:30 p.m. that the dust settled, and Deborah Sovinee edged out Jeff Benson, 5-4. The field of candidates was an impressive group. It also included attorney David Madoff, who has a son at Stoughton High; George Dolinsky, Treasurer and vice president of Stoughton Youth Athletic Club (STOYAC); Dr. Kathleen Cronin, retired director of the Stoughton Youth Commission; Town Meeting member John D'Addieco, an O'Donnell Middle School parent; and Molly Cochran, an attorney and mother of two Dawe School students.

In the first round of voting, Bensen got 4 votes, Sovinee got 3, and Madoff and Cochran got one each. The top two vote-getters squared off in the finals, and Sovinee got the 5-4 edge. Sovinee is best known for her role as Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, and a senior exhibit designer for museums.
Benson is an accountant, who had two children graduate from Stoughton High school, and another still there. Benson is well known for his service to the high school council, and as a former president of Parents of Performing Students (POPS).

Sovinee tells Snyder's Stoughton that she was "thrilled and excited" by the vote. Her daughter is a senior at Stoughton High. She added, "I know all the wonderful things that the school system does, but also learned some of the improvements they need. I have a passion for science." Asked why she went from redevelopment authority to the school committee, she replied, "Through my work in the redevelopment authority, I have come to realize that there is no aspect of the town that is not affected by the schools. Whether you buy a house, or start a business, one of the first questions you are asked is, 'how are the schools?' The schools affect every avenue of life in town." Sovinee was quick to recognize the talent that had applied for the seat: "I thought some of the other candidates were quite impressive. I hope they get involved in town government, in some form."

(Posted on 4/14/10 @ 10:35 p.m.; updated on 4/15/10 @ 7 a.m.)


The SHS Music Department recently participated in the 2010 Big Apple Classic held at the College of Staten Island, Staten Island NY. The Jazz Choir under the direction of Ianthe Marini placed first in their division and earning a silver medal. The SHS Choir, also under the direction of Ianthe Marini, placed second in their division and earned a silver as well.

The SHS Concert Band directed by Dan Davey, placed first in their division and earned a silver medal for their efforts. The Monday Jazz Band placed first in their division and earned a silver medal. The Tuesday Jazz Band placed second in their division and earned a gold medal. Dan Davey is the director of the SHS Jazz Bands. Congratulations to all of the students that participated. What a great accomplishment!

Don't miss the Spring Fling Art Show and Concert to be held at Stoughton High School on May 12th.  This annual event showcases the Art and Music Departments of the high school.  You can view the selected projects of our talented artists as well as enjoy the wonderful sounds of the music students.  Please join us at the Christianson Performing Arts Center located at the Stoughton High School.  Art can be viewed beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Please join us after the concert for our annual raffle drawing to be held in the cafeteria.  You can still purchase tickets from a member of Pops or a student of the music program.  Tickets will also be available at the concert.  Grand Prize is $500 cash!  There are many other prizes available as well.  



2010 Inductees Sarah-Ann Lynch (Class of 1978) (l) and David Allan Lambert (Class of 1987) surround Hall of Fame founder Joanne McEvoy Blomstrom. (photo by Hank Herbowy)




SHS singer Bianca Sellitto selected to All-State Chorus

SHS Senior Bianca Sellitto has been selected to participate in the 2010 Massachusetts All-State Choir. Bianca recently participated in the Southeastern District Festival. Her successful audition at districts earned her a recommendation to audition for the All-State Choir. The All-State auditions were held at Shrewsbury High School in January.

The All-State Festival was held March 18th through the 20th at the Seaport Convention Center in Boston. The All-State Choir performance was held at Symphony Hall on March 20th.



The 2010 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have been announced and fourteen Stoughton High School students have earned recognition for their work. The awards are sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and the Boston Globe.

The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers celebrate the creative achievement of America’s teens since 1923. The awards were founded to offer recognition and scholarships for students who excel in the visual arts and creative writing.

The first tier of awards are Regional Awards. The Gold Key Award is the highest achievement on the regional level. Gold Key works are forwarded to New York City for national adjudication. The Silver Key Award is awarded for works worthy of regional recognition. The Honorable Mention Award acknowledges works demonstrating artistic potential.

Congratulations to all the award winners and their teachers, Mark Craig, David Wall, and Alyssa Dancey. Visit the SPS Fine Arts website to view all the winning entries.



Senior Jessica Drago - Gold Key- Photography

Sophomore Michaela Curtin - Gold Key - Digital Art

Sophomore Alex Finnerty - Gold Key - Photography



Senior Kelly Hickey - Silver Key - Painting

Senior Stephanie Hayner - Silver Key - Design

Sophomore Matt MacDonald - Sliver Key - Design

Freshman Christina Galyuk - Silver Key - Photography



Senior Willy McNamara - Honorable Mention - Drawing

Senior Willy McNamara - Honorable Mention - Painting

Junior Sevtozar Draganitchki - Honorable Mention - Drawing

Junior Lindsey Walsh - Honorable Mention - Drawing

Junior Brittney Anglin - Honorable Mention - Digital Art

Sophomore Alex Finnerty - Honorable Mention - Photography

Freshman Jasmine Cole-Marrow - Honorable Mention - Photography

Kelly Hickey             Svetozar Draganitchki                              Willy McNamara




Schools Lose Another Bus

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting that she’ll need to cut another bus from the transportation budget for the coming year due to expected budget cuts in 2011. The School Committee, behind a motion by Tom Colburn, voted unanimously (with Dr Erdem Ural not present), 3-0, to raise the bus fee from $250 to $360 per year, and give a preference to those who live a distance from their school, when selecting students to ride the bus. Legally, the Stoughton Public Schools must transport any elementary school student who lives two or more miles from school. They also must give free bus rides to students who are eligible for free lunches. The bottom line—families will be scrambling to form car pools, parents will have to get their fees and applications in by deadline, and drop-offs will become even more congested than they are currently. The schools don’t really have much of a choice here. With the economy tanking, and the State cutting local aid, the town must tighten its belt. Dr. Rizzi said she would prefer making cuts to budget lines that don’t directly impact the students’ education, and hopes to keep as many teaching positions as she can. Joel Harding, who is in charge of transportation for the Stoughton Public Schools (among his many other responsibilities), said, “We could have elementary school students that want to ride the buses that will be unable to do so if we eliminate a bus. This also could preclude high school students from the bus next year.” But Harding agreed with Colburn’s determination to make distance a bigger priority than age in determining who would get to ride the bus.  

(posted on March 24, 2010 @ 4 p.m.)

Race To The Top

Massachusetts is a finalist in Phase 1 of the federal government’s “Race to the Top.” President Barack Obama said, “Race to the Top is the Department of Education's $4.35 billion effort to dramatically re-shape America's educational system to better engage and prepare our students for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace.”   If Massachusetts makes the cut, Stoughton would receive $74,000 a year for four years, according to Dr. Rizzi. It cannot be used for budget restoration, but for “innovative programs,” many of which are already being developed.      



Saturday March 13th, the Stoughton High School Jazz Choir and SHS Tuesday Jazz Band participated in the 42nd annual Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The Berklee festival is the largest festival of it’s kind in the country with more than 3,000 students and over 200 ensembles from as far away as Florida and California.

The SHS Jazz Choir, under the direction of Ianthe Marini, turned in a wonderful performance in the Vocal Jazz Ensemble 1 division. Their program included Barbecue, Danny Boy, and I Get a Kick From Champagne. Junior Damani Barboza received the Outstanding Musicianship Award for his solo work in Danny Boy.

The SHS Jazz Band directed by Dan Davey, took First Place in the Large Ensemble 3 division. The band performed I Snore, You Drive, Always and Forever, and Gumbo Street. Junior Tony Barros received the Outstanding Musicianship Award for his flugelhorn solo in Always and Forever. By placing 1 st in their division, the Tuesday Jazz Band was invited to perform at the Winners Showcase held in the Hynes Convention Center Grand Ballroom. The band is no stranger to the awards podium, they placed 1 st in 2008 and 2 nd in 2009.

At the evening showcase, the jazz band had the privilege to perform with three world-renowned jazz musicians. Performing before Stoughton, with the Crescent City Superband from Salt Lake City, was drummer Peter Erskine, formally with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and Weather Report; Abe Laboriel, bassist with George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones; and trumpeter Eric Miyashiro, lead trumpet player with Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson.

By virtue of the jazz band’s first place award, the SHS Music Program received four tuition scholarships to Berklee’s acclaimed Summer Performance Program.

SHS Jazz Choir members include: Bianca Sellitto, Whitney Simon, Danisha Dumornay, Katherine Scabia, Shannon Chisholm, Becca Griffing, Jamesha Clark, Abby Kobrin, Erica Schiappa, Monique Hawkins, Dan Block, Nick Petitpas, Damani Barboza, Shaul Kushinsky, Jezar Albaniel, Caleb Rodrigues and Ross Andler. Ms. Ianthe Marini is the director of the SHS Jazz Choir.

SHS Tuesday Jazz Band members include: Flutes, Danielle McCormick, Sydney Matook; Saxophones, Paul Clermont, Alex Peixinho, Michael Silveira, Jeff Twerago, Harry Stewart-Racicot; Trumpets, Adam Elmowitz, Tony Barros, Dennis McCormick, Steve Schneider, Kara Morse, Andre Tran; Trombones, Shaul Kushinsky, Alan Recca, Tyler Carlton, Eddie Ruddy; Drum Set, Damani Barboza; Piano, Mikala Gilroy; Bass, Maggie Widberg; Vibes, Katie MacDonald. Mr. Daniel Davey is the director of the SHS Tuesday Jazz Band.





School Seat Will Remain Open for Now: The scheduled March 23rd combined meeting of the Selectmen and School Committee, to pick a new school committee member to replace Tony Bickerton, has been postponed.  This is the second delay in taking action on this appointment.  School Committee member Dr.Erdem Ural had insisted that the search be properly advertised, according to law.  So, the joint meeting was scheduled for March 23, after the new March 16 deadline was advertised in a local shopper.  But, Dr. Ural has informed the school committee that he will not be available on March 23rd, and has requested that the joint meeting be postponed. Members of the school committee, considering that a new member of the Board of Selectmen will be elected on April 6th, have agreed to postponing the joint meeting until after the election.  School Committee chairman Eric Milgroom said that, "The first time the newly elected member could be eligible to participate as a School Committee member would be April 8th.  I am waiting for a few dates from the Selectmen."     




Giuliana Loffredo

Students from the Stoughton Elementary School District participated in a week-long Jump Rope For Heart program from February 8th- 12th, 2010,  to help fund valuable research supported by the American Heart Association. This is the first year all elementary schools in the district have participated in the physical fitness program and they raised over $14,900. Stoughton District includes:  South Elementary, West Elementary, Joseph R. Dawe Elementary, Joseph H. Gibbons Elementary and Helen H. Hansen Elementary. The fundraising efforts were led by Stoughton Public Schools Physical Education and Health Director Chad Kelley. (Hansen School student Giuliana Loffredo is pictured in photo above).

"Jump Rope for Heart was an important program for our kids to get involved in for two reasons,” said PE Director Chad Kelley. “Students learned the benefits of cardiovascular health and also helped to raise money for heart research. This was the first year all of the Elementary Schools in Stoughton got involved. From all accounts it was a big success"

Kids need to stay physically fit. With so few hours to spare in the busy life of today’s child, it gets harder to find ways to incorporate physical activity into the schedule. About 12 million (17.1%) kids in the U.S. are overweight. An additional 12 million are at risk of being overweight and a recent national study from the Journal of School Health reports that only 8 percent of elementary schools, 6.4 percent of middle/junior high schools, and 5.8 percent of senior high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year.      

Teaching children about good health starts at home but having comprehensive and quality physical education (PE) programs in our schools helps to reinforce the message.  








Friday, March 5th
SHS Singers Knight

The SHS Music Department will present Singers Knight in the Christianson Performing Arts Center. The concert will begin @ 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. $5.00 Adults/ $3.00 Seniors and Children, with a $10.00 family maximum.


Friday - Saturday, March 5th & 6th
Town-wide Raffle - SHS Music Department
SHS Band and Chorus members will be selling raffle ticket in various locations around
town. The proceeds will go to individual students to help pay for the New York City trip in April 2010

Saturday, March 13th
Berklee High School Jazz Festival.

The SHS Jazz Bands, Jazz Choir and Jazz Combo will participate in the 2010 Berklee High School Jazz Festival. The festival will take place in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street.


Wednesday, March 17th
Evening of Jazz Concert

The Music Department will present the 2010 Evening of Jazz to be held in the Christianson Performing Arts Center. The concert will feature jazz groups from the O'Donnell Middle School and Stoughton High School. The concert will begin @ 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door. $5.00 Adults/ $3.00 Seniors and Children, with a $10.00 family maximum.

Thursday, March 27th
MAJE State Jazz Band Festival

The festival is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education. The festival will be held at Framingham High School. Tickets will be available at the door. $7.00 Adults/ $5.00 Seniors and Children.


On Friday, February 12, 2010 the 50th Annual O'Donnell Middle School Spelling Bee took place in the Media Center. A special thanks was offered acknowledging the continued support of the Stoughton Woman's Club for sponsoring this event. At this event Judith Hamilton, retired Stoughton High School English Chair, was the moderator as finalists of grades six, seven, and eight competed for the title of School Champion. Ms. Brookshire and Ms. LaCivita were the judges for this event. The School Champion from grade seven was Courtney Simon. The runner-up was seventh grader Alana Sabadin. The sixth grade finalist was Bernard Bellande, and the eighth grade finalist was Mike Sabanty. Principal Wayne Hester says, "Thanks to all of the individuals that made this a memorable event."



Developing an Alternative and Extended Curriculum for Students in the Stoughton Public Schools by Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools

While many traditional methods of teaching and learning will remain valid for years to come, it is time to look at additional approaches and new ideas to expand and supplement our current educational offerings in this rapidly changing world. Virtual learning, experiential learning, and extended school days with enriched curriculum are some of the emerging trends. It is no longer possible to offer all that we need to give our students, especially those who come less academically prepared, within the limits of the school day. Research and practice from around the world are showing us that expanding the curricular time is essential for students to truly be able to compete in a global world. Many students already extend their day be many hours through participation in many co-curricular offerings, but we must do more. In the interest of being ahead of the curve in this area, I am convening a Task Force to examine what alternatives we might be able to add to our current offerings that could utilize our facilities after 3:00 P.M., enrich our curriculum for students at all grade levels, provide opportunities for our advanced students, students at risk, and perhaps adults in the community. I would like the Task Force to consist of 12 members including teachers, students, administrators, parents, community members. The work will include discussion of models already in place elsewhere, exploration of new models and creative funding ideas. The first meeting of the Task Force will be February 24 th at 5:00 P.M.. Please contact Gini Bulger in the Superintendent’s Office if you are interested in participating in this important work. (781-344-4000, ext 1232 or email



Snyder's Stoughton has learned that former Stoughton Police Detective and School Committee member Tony Bickerton---using snail mail---has resigned from the School Committee. His letter of resignation arrived in the office of Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney today (Tuesday, January 26). School Committee Chairman Eric Milgroom told Snyder's Stoughton, "Tony has been a member of the Stoughton School Committee since April 2008,  Tony's presence and work as a School Committee member has been valuable to the School Committee and School Department; I thank him for his time and effort." Vice Chairman Tom Colburn said it was important to note that any alleged wrongdoing "had nothing to do with the Stoughton School system."

As for how he will be replaced, a joint meeting of the Selectmen and School Committee will pick the person to fill in the remainder of the term by a clear majority, with each individual board member casting a vote. Steve Anastos, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said, "I'm just learning of his resignation. We need to meet quickly and start the process of filling his seat." Those interested could send letters of introduction and resumes to Eric Milgroom (Stoughton School Committee, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072) and Steve Anastos (Board of Selectmen, 10 Pearl St., Stoughton, MA 02072).




School Cuts Could Be Devastating

Selectmen, citing fiscal conditions in the state, and an anticipated drop in local aid, are cutting 1.3 million dollars from the municipal budget for 2011, and have asked the Stoughton Public Schools to cut 2.5 million from their 2011 proposed budget. The proposed budget was a 3.5% increase over 2010, but Supt. of Schools Marguerite Rizzi said that the budget was essentially level funded. "There was only contractual step increases included. No one got a raise." Rizzi said because 2010 was a difficult financial budget it was lean. "We've got out all the fat. It was cut right to the bone. There's no place else to go," she told Snyder's Stoughton, "The only place to go is direct services. We will try to make it as painless as possible." Dr. Rizzi will present a series of choices for recommended cuts, and the Stoughton School Committee will decide which ones are acted upon. "We're looking at cuts that will have an impact system-wide. But, even with this, we are still ahead of other towns." As a for instance of one of the problems Rizzi faces, she said that seven teachers are included in a one-time $300,000 stimulus package from the federal government. "We didn't want to lose these positions, and included them in our proposed 2011 budget." $970,000 that the government was expected to pay towards special education costs won't be coming in 2011. "That's an almost immediate million dollar cut alone." Rizzi said. Dr. Rizzi said they will be looking at sports, and everything else in the budget. "My philosophy is to look at anything that is not a direct service to the students. We tried to cut as deeply as we could this year (2010 budget). There's no where to go in these cuts. We'd like to try to keep our programs intact, and do some trimming, rather than eliminating them. We're looking at proportional cuts across every part of the budget, without damaging the education we offer to Stoughton students. We lost 20 positions last year. You can cut maintenance and supplies only so much before nothing is left." Dr. Rizzi is working on alternative methods of improving education, through inexpensive means. "The Quincy College course programs will be expanding. Those programs don't cost us any money. Also, since the high school is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights already for Stoughton Academy, we're looking at the viability of advanced or alternative opportunities for those nights. We're looking for grant-funded after school programs that are school-supported." Dr. Rizzi did say that once programs are disassembled by cuts, they are very difficult to put back together.

School Committee Chairman Eric Milgroom says the cuts will be extremely painful. He wrote Snyder's Stoughton, " An additional budget reduction of $2.5 million will have a severe adverse impact on the Stoughton Public Schools affecting every single area.  Previous budget reductions have been made in mostly non-personnel areas allowing us to have relatively moderate teacher-position reductions.  This additional reduction will include all areas of the school system including significant teacher and support staff positions." Milgroom, who is up for re-election in April, went further in detail ing what could happen. "First there will be a reduction in all infrastructure areas including building maintenance, repair, and cleaning.  All supplies, both administrative and classroom will further be drastically reduced as will textbook replenishment and replacement.  This in turn will result in the basic programs such as Math, Science and English not continuing to be kept current with up-to-date information and techniques.  Most importantly, there will be a significant reduction in teaching positions.  In the elementary and middle schools, this will translate into larger class sizes.  At the high school, fewer teachers will mean fewer courses available for student selection.  Fewer courses and programs adversely effects the students being able to qualify for the better colleges and universities and, of course, there will be larger class sizes," said the veteran school committee member.

School Committee member Allan Mills thinks it’s too early to talk cuts. “If we pink slip people, they’ll look elsewhere for employment. Then, if the money is there, the employees won’t be. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. These are not scare tactics. No one’s hiding any money. I don’t see any way around this. We have to look at alternative ways of getting money, maybe even an override. If the figures we’ve been given by the state are accurate, the Stoughton Public Schools will not look the same. It will be devastating.”

Bottom line for parents of school children, and taxpayers who know how much good schools are tied with good real estate values: We need to get the schools some money for next year. Perhaps the community can come together to raise funds for a nonprofit set up last year to benefit the students. Or, perhaps we look towards the Stoughton Boosters Club to fill in the gaps for athletics, or the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce to generate corporate sponsors for programs. It’s going to take outside-the-box thinking to navigate these rough fiscal waters. I think that Dr. Rizzi is the perfect Captain to steer the ship through the minefields of the State’s unfunded mandates.





School Committee Member Files Complaints against SSC w/Norfolk County District Attorney

Dr. Erdem Ural, a member of the Stoughton School Committee has filed 14 allegations of violations of the open meeting laws with the Norfolk County District Attorney's office during the past year. Town Counsel Darren Klein to the School Committee that the letter received from the Norfolk County D.A.'s office "did find the committee guilty of a couple of minor violations. They were in no way the type that would be considered deliberate. They were found to have already been remedied by the Committee. The D.A. figures you will have to learn from your mistakes, and won't repeat them." Klein said as of July 1, 2010, the Attorney General will be hearing these types of complaints, rather than the local District Attorney. But Dr. Ural said that there were three violations in 9 months, and that "The issue is a matter of law. We were all sworn to uphold the law. Town Counsel is arguing the shade of the violation." Klein said that one violation was the lack of posting a subcommittee meeting on March 10, and whether the March 31 meeting was properly posted. That one was held at the beginning of a finance committee meeting, before FinCom members, and residents. "They were declared as non-intentional violations," said Klein. He added, "Violations like these are not uncommon. No decisions were ever made at these meetings. And, the substance of the subcommittee meeting was heard in an open school committee meeting. The School Committee will hopefully not repeat these mistakes. I'd offer a refresher course on the open meeting laws for the committee at no charge." School Committee Chairman Eric Milgroom was not happy with Ural's complaints. "These complaints have cost the school committee $7000 in legal fees, so far. They have resulted in no action against us by the D.A. These complaints have no value to this committee, and the students we are trying to educate." Milgroom added, "If we are to be a functional committee, I'd like to see all five members working towards the real obligations of the school committee. Currently, this is the waste of a seat." Dr. Ural has been critical of the school system since he was elected. Some of his observations can be found on his website.

(Letter from Norfolk County D.A. <with highlights by Dr. Ural>)

(One of Dr. Ural's Complaint Letters)



Stoughton High Principal Brett Dickens, Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Alexandra Cohen, Kristina Kozak, Danielle McCullough, and SHS Social Studies Director John Gallivan.

Lee Parker, Dave Williams, Alexandra Cohen, Kristina Kozak, Danielle McCullough, Dave Sears and Joe DeVito.
(Hank Herbowy photos)




Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi has announced that two students at Stoughton High School have won Academic Awards of Excellence. The awards, sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, will be given to Laura J. Purcell and George D. McCormick. Congratulations to both hard-working, high-achieving students!


Congratulations to the Stoughton High Black Knights cheerleading squad for their third place finish in the State Finals at Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on Sunday, November 22!! They also had second place finish at Taunton High on Sunday, November 15, to get them to the State Finals. Great job, Knights!

Watch Them

The Dawe School second grade was recently presented with a grant for $500 from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.  The grant was presented to Mrs. Ana Celia, grade two teacher at the Dawe School.  Mrs. Celia applied for the Harvard Pilgrim Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant to support the Helping Hands Program of the second grade.  The Helping Hands Program rewards second grade students with incentives for noticing their peers doing acts of kindness.  Students are awarded Helping Hands for providing a helping hand in school.

Dawe School Thanksgiving (David Barner photo)




Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi presented the School Committee a proposed 2011 budget, which increases 4% over the 2010 budget. Rizzi explained that 96% of the budget is "fixed costs." The budget includes $500,000 in Step Increases, but "no raises for anyone in the District." Rizzi told the Committee that, "The difference of what we need and what the town is able to provide" will be the subject of any further cuts. "This level of service is not what we need to create a first class 21st century school system that we envision. But, we'll do the best we can with the funds we receive, and we'll do well by every student that we serve." One item noticeable in its absence from the Stoughton High budget was Peer Mediation. Although it's not in the budget, Rizzi says she is hoping to keep it through private funding, or a grant. "We've taken some of the federal stimulus money to be used to hire a part time grant writer for the schools." School Committee Chairman Eric Milgroom says if there is a budget shortfall, "we may have to take steps where people and programs are cut." Rizzi says the proposed budget maintains everything as is, including the current fee structure. "If revenue does not meet the numbers, then we'll discuss any cuts, and fees. If FY 2012 is worse than 2011 is projected, it will be a difficult issue for all school districts." Allan Mills looked to see if the Stoughton Public Schools could get some of the ferderal stimulus money for "charter schools." "We already have a successful school within a school, with the Stoughton Academy. We could set up a gifted program, and do a for-profit operation targeting students from Stoughton and nearby towns." Rizzi said that she and Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ford have already discussed the possibility. Mills also mentioned a few potential articles for Annual Town Meeting, including an ADA Compliance article, a Jones School roofing and electrical article, and a $40,000 article to replace a vehicle in the school department maintenance fleet, from 1999.


Return of the Champions!

Stoughton High Marching band plays at Veteran's Day, Town Hall in Stoughton


This weekend, the Black Knight Marching Band competed in it's final two competitions of their 2009 season. They could not have asked for a better end to their season!

On Saturday, the band received a GOLD MEDAL for their performance at Dedham High School! On Sunday, the band competed in the New England Championships, held at Bridgewater Raynham High School. The Stoughton Marching Band engaged their audience and the judges, receiving a GOLD MEDAL as well as a 1st place rating!!! The marching band and colorguard also earned the title of New England Champions!

As the buses returned to Stoughton, they were graciously greeted by members of the Stoughton Police and Fire Departments who proudly led the band back home to a roaring reception of friends and family! Thank you to both the Police and Fire Departments for helping to make the night so special!

Congratulations to all members for a fantastic culmination to your season!

Full Story



Class of 2010 Earns 72 State School Scholarships!

72 members of Stoughton High School's Class of 2010 have earned the John and Abigail Adams Scholarships. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi explains, "That means free tuition at any state college or university for all four years. It am sure it will mean the difference for some students in their ability to attend a four year school." In order to qualify for the Adams Scholarship, students must have two Advanced MCAS scores, or an Advanced and Proficient.

SHS Marching Black Knights

(Photo by Nancy Morris)

On October 10th, the Stoughton Marching Band competed in its second competition for their 2009 season, featuring their show "An American Journey." Their show consists of songs that represent a road trip through various cities across the United States. The songs they are playing include California Dreaming (by the Mammas and the Pappas), Whoopin' Blues (a New Orleans dixieland blues), Make Me Smile (by the band Chicago), That Lonesome Road (by James Taylor), and Shipping Up to Boston (by the Dropkick Murphys). At this competition they won 1st place in Division IV and best colorguard.  
Sunday, October 18th, the SHS Marching Band competed in their first MICCA Competition held indoors at King Philip HS. The band performed their best yet and received 4 star ratings in the Music Performance, Music Effect, Colorguard, and Percussion.

The Marching Band will compete next in the MICCA State Championships on Sunday, October 25 in Lowell.  


The remaining schedule is as follows:
10/31 -  Competition at Dedham High School
11/1 - NESBA Finals at Bridgwater/Raynham

Not only will this talented group participate in competitions, they also will perform at the home football games during the season. Please come to cheer this award-winning group on. To check the dates and times for football games and competitions, please visit the website at


Boston College High School

Admissions Community Reception in Stoughton
(for entry to grades 7 & 9)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 @ 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Mullen Family

For RSVP info, (click here)



School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, Retired Supt. of Schools Anthony Sarno, and current Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi attended the event at the Stoughton Historical Society last weekend. (Hank Herbowy photo)






An Important Video for Parents of Teens


**Do you know what your teens are doing when you're not home?**

Join SHS SADD and Stoughton OASIS on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the SHS auditorium to:

1) hear the story of Kathi Meyer, a Norfolk parent who learned the hard way, and
2) learn about social liability laws and how they affect you!
**Be a parent, NOT a pal.**



Stoughton High School Principal Brett Dickens announced that student email addresses will be set up for all high school students. She tells Snyder's Stoughton, "We will be establishing an email account for all students at Stoughton High School this fall. This will streamline schoolwide communications from the main office and guidance, as well as for all student clubs and activities. Teachers may set up workspaces for their classes that will allow students to collaborate on projects and activities online. Student accounts will be set up as an Intranet, meaning that students can only send and receive email within the Stoughton High School community. Information about student accounts will be provided to students on September 1.




Snyder's Stoughton sends condolences to the family of Anita Brennan. As a teacher, a volunteer, and a human being, she was among the best, and will be sorely missed by the people of Stoughton, a community she served well. Anita was a long-time reading teacher at the West Elementary School. Principal Brendan Dearborn tells Snyder's Stoughton, "Anita came to work each day with a smile on her face. The children and their parents all loved her. She was a big part of the West School, and a big part of the Stoughton Community." Brennan, as a volunteer with the League of Women Voters of Sharon/Stoughton, was the official timekeeper of the town's debates which I moderated. She was a special woman, brightening up a room with her smile, and contributing thoughtful, insightful ideas at meetings.

Donna Estes and Maureen Von Euw, two of her colleagues from the West School, said they were shocked and saddened by her passing. "She loved the children she served. She was always persistent in getting assistance for all children who needed help beyond what she could offer. She noticed disabilities that affected learning, and insisted that they were addressed. She was a leader of the BBST (Building Based Support Team) for many years, and would keep everyone on track. She loved her family, reading, cooking, the Celtics, Theatre and the Symphony. She was going for another Master's Degree in writing at Lesley College. She felt that being able to read was a key to her student's future, and she tried to instill an appreciation and love of reading in all the children she served."

Anita's daughter Julia Camp, who is expecting her first baby in September, said that Anita was in the hospital since June 24, when she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor, that was evidently in its later stages. "What made it so difficult is that we were told it was treatable, and she seemed to be doing better about two weeks ago, before things turned for the worse." Added Camp, "My mother was known and loved by so many people in Stoughton, a town she has lived in for 35 years."

Sharon Fradkin of the Sharon/Stoughton League of Women Voters wrote that, "She worked out faithfully at Terban Health & Fitness, at healthy foods, and had a great vegetable garden for many years. She even grew grapes when the kids were young. She was a very organized, thorough, capable pretty woman---a loss for Stoughton."

Brennan is survived by her parents, Anthony and Frances Pietricola of Liverpool, N.Y., her husband David Brennan of Stoughton; her children Michael and Chia Brennan of Millbury, and Julia and Robert Camp of Norton. She also leaves behind her beloved granddaughter, Amanda Brennan. Both Chia and Julia are expecting two new grandchildren soon.

The residents of the Town of Stoughton have been dealt a big loss. Her memory will live on in the hearts of everyone whose life she's touched.

The family has requested donations made in her memory be made to:

Literacy Volunteers of America - Stoughton
84 Park St
Stoughton, MA 02072



O’Donnell Middle School language teacher Allison Baker was honored by the Boston Red Sox in their Most Valuable Teacher program on Saturday, July 25. She was selected due to an essay written by a former student, Kelly Maloney. At the presentation on the field, they had their photo taken with Wally the Green Monster. Ms. Baker is a 1992 graduate of Stoughton High School. Congratulations Allison!




On September 17, 2009, President Barack Obama will award Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. SFC Monti will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat in Afghanistan. He displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor - eventually sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his comrade. SFC Monti’s parents, Paul Monti and Janet Monti will join the President at the White House to commemorate their son’s example of selfless service and sacrifice. Paul Monti was a well-regarded science teacher at Stoughton High School from 1970 until his retirement in June, 2005.

Jared C. Monti was born on September 20, 1975. He was a native of Raynham, Massachusetts and graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham High School. He enlisted in the United States Army in March, 1993 and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His military decorations include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, to name a few. He is also survived by sister Niccole Monti, his brother, Timothy Monti, and his Niece, Carys Monti. He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class

The Medal of Honor is awarded to a member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while: engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

We offer our congratulations, as well as our condolences to Paul and his family. The people who loved Paul through his many years as Stoughton High School, are proud of Jared, and feel for Paul and Janet, and their children, family and friends.


Concerned about non-residents attending Stoughton Public Schools and sapping the available resources from taxpaying residents? So is Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, the Superintendent of Stoughton's Public School System. She reported to the School Committee Monday night (7/20) that "If we find people who are perpetually committing fraud by claiming residence, we not only remove them from the schools, but are actively exploring recouping some of our costs through legal remedies."

Dr. Rizzi On The $300,000+ Budget "Gap": "We're freezing our 2010 budget just 20 days into the fiscal year. If we need to make adjustments, we need to do it with the most flexibility. We will look at requests on a case by case basis."




Stoughton Resident A Musical Hit!

Alex Pattavina, of Boston Boys Choir, is becoming more well known with each passing week! Upcoming, he’s playing the U.S. and Canadian National Anthems for the Brockton Rox on Friday, July 10.  Then, he’s playing at the N.E. Sinai on July 28 for the sixth time. The residents there just love him!

Watch him on video!



The Stoughton Public Schools threw a party for retiring (again) superintendent of schools Tony Sarno on Friday night (6/19) at the VFW Hall. A crowd of about 100 people came in and heard some wonderful music, ate some food donated by Little Italy, Denneno's Pizza, drank coffee from Panera, bid on some silent auction items, heard a few speeches, and enjoyed themselves. Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, incoming Supt. of Schools (on July 1), performed with her band Sympatico (including Bob Ponte, Steve Thomas, and Greg Conroy). Performing with them, and as an ensemble, were Stoughton High 2009 graduates David Morris, Jeff Numero, Zach Schwartz, Andrew Solem, and Jack Pombriant. A special guest was former SHS Fine Arts Director Ron Christianson. Speakers included School Committee Chairman Allan Mills, and members Tom Colburn and Tony Bickerton. Faces In The Crowd: Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz, School Committee member Eric Milgroom, Selectman John Anderson, Finance Committee Chair Holly Boykin, former Town Manager/Clerk Jeanne Fleming, and Stoughton Historical Society president Joe DeVita. The event benefitted Stoughton Public Education Foundation, Inc.



The Dawe Elementary School held their second annual Community Reading Day on Friday, June 12th, and it was a big hit for the kids. A slew of well-known individuals in town read for a group of students in a specific classroom. Children were able to ask questions about the book, as well as the individuals job. Participating were former Dawe School principals Joseph Dawe and Dr. Robert Adams; School Committee members Dr. Erdem Ural and SPD Detective Tony Bickerton; Selectmen Steve Anastos and Cynthia Walsh: Acting Police Chief Tom Murphy (in his wife Kendra's class) and Fire Chief David Jardin; Fire Captain James Bertram and Police Det. Roger Hardy; Stoughton Library Director Pat Basler; State Rep. Lou Kafka; Hanson School principal Faye Polillio; Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz; Dawe School Council members Bruce Dolinsky and Sean Sears; Stoughton Youth Commission director Karen Hall; Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Assistant Superintendent of Schools; Joel Harding, Stoughton Public Schools Supervisor of Support Services; Target Store rep Robin Wilson, and Snyder's Stoughton's own Mark Snyder. I got the honor of watching the children in Mrs. Caizza's class perform an excellent play, "The Cheetah and the Sloth."




Monday, June 8, the Stoughton High School received a bomb threat and followed their emergency procedures by sending students next door to the O'Donnell Middle School. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi tells Snyder's Stoughton, "We evacuated the building to allow the Stoughton Police to investigate a bomb threat. None were found after a thorough scouring of the building. The procedures instituted worked like clockwork. It was efficient and well done." (Stoughton Police officials now say this threat was called in as a diversionary tactic for an attempted bank robbery. Details on News Page.)



(Students Going to Some of the BEST Schools)

Adds Stoughton High Principal Brett Dickens, "Over the course of the past two years, Stoughton High School’s graduating class has increased from 82% attending post-graduate education to 89%. In addition, 1% of the class are going into the military and 10 % are going into the work force."

Full Article on The Achievements of The Class of 2009:
This Friday in Snyder's Stoughton in the Stoughton Journal!

List of Class of '09 Plans

Swine Flu Case hits OMS

Incoming Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi notified parents tonight (5/27) via reverse 911 that a case of the swine flu has been diagnosed at O'Donnell Middle School. But, don't panic folks. Despite the media making this flu out to be the plague, it's actually a mild form of flu. Best thing that parents can do is to keep their sick children home, and to remind their healthy children to wash their hands or carry around a small purell with them, and use it! And, keep those hands and fingers away from their mouths and noses. Over-reacting by calling for the closing of schools for this flu is ridiculous. No one wants to be sending their kids to school in July, or on weekends. Caution is a good thing. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is another! I think the way Dr. Rizzi handled this is PERFECT.



Receiving the 2009 Stoughton Lions Club Scholarship Awards (L To R) Chairman Lion, John Pires;  Winners Rachael Alpert & Erica Batchelder; King Lion, Ed DeFelice.  Presented at Noceras Restaurant on May 27, 2009. (Photo by Hank Herbowy)


Roger William University graduate Christine Maltby’09 received the 2009 Law Student Ethics Award sponsored by the Northeast Chapter-Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).  The award recognizes law students who have demonstrated an early commitment to ethics through their work in a clinical program representing their first real clients.  The award was presented by Paul Cushing, president of the Northeast Chapter, and Kristen Campbell, general counsel of Staples. Christine serves as chair of the Honor Board, and a member of Phi Alpha Delta and Trial Team.  She was a student attorney for the Roger Williams Criminal Defense Clinic, Providence.

Anthony L. Bastone II, Dean of Career Services, says, “Christine Maltby has received rave reviews from her legal employers, faculty and professional staff during the course of her legal education. In addition to her work on the Honor Board at the law school, she has been employed during the last year of her legal education to help defray the costs. Receiving the Ethics Award by the ACC was well deserved and earned. In fact, Ms. Maltby has always done it the old fashion way - she has earned it!”

RWU Law Professor Niki Kuckes says “Christine Maltby is a terrific choice for this honor.  Christine has led the Roger Williams Honor Board, which can be a thankless job, fearlessly and with dedication to high ethical standards.  Her service elevates the law school and her broader community.  Awarding her this ethics scholarship is a wonderful act of generosity by the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.” The ACC has 49 chapters representing more than 23,000 corporate counsel around the world. Chapters offer opportunities for members to network with in-house counsel in their local areas, sharpen skills and gain leadership abilities through involvement within their chapters.

In addition, Maltby was awarded the John Birnberg Memorial Award. The award was established through the generosity of the Birnberg Foundation and honors a student who has demonstrated perseverance, determination, and dedication to succeed throughout his or her entire law school career at Roger Williams

Christine, a 2001 graduate of Stoughton High, is the daughter of Robert and Barbara Maltby of Stoughton. Congratulations on a job well done, Christine!





Congratulations to the three O'Donnell Middle School Jazz Bands that participated in the 2009 MAJE Middle School Jazz Festival held on May 7th. The OMS 6th Grade Jazz Band under the direction of Mr. Dorgan earned the highest possible rating, GOLD! Three 6th graders were recognized for their playing and were awarded Outstanding Musicianship Certificates.Kelly Barros, flute; Abby Roane, tenor sax; and Brandon Curran, piano; were selected for their fine solo work at the festival. The OMS Tuesday Jazz Band turned in an inspired performance which earned them a SILVER MEDAL. Aaron Needs, clarinet; Darlene Irons, alto sax; and Timothy McGrath on tenor sax were all awarded Outstanding Musicianship awards for their efforts.


The OMS Wednesday Jazz Band, following fine performances by the 6th Grade and Tuesday Band, produced a GOLD MEDAL performance. Alex Peixinho, alto sax; Joy Liu, flute and John Stewart-Racicot, trumpet won Outstanding Musicianship awards for their jazz improvisations. All three jazz bands will perform at the JAZZ & DRUMS concert on Wednesday June 10th at the O'Donnell Middle School;. The concert will be held in the cafeteria and start at 7:30 p.m. Congratulations to all participants of the jazz festival. (submitted by Pam Barros)



"Dear Parents and guardians: Please be advised that the Stoughton Schools Food Service Department stopped accepting credit card payments through the Mealpay Plus system May 8, 2009. All prepay payments to a student meal account must be paid with cash or a bank check (made payable to Stoughton School Lunch Program.) Personal checks are no accepted. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The reason for turning off the service is to avoid a 4.75% fee all Mealpay Plus users would be charged, because the district is going to start accepting bus fees. The reason for the % fee instead of the flat fee is; Bus fees and meal fees are processed differently through MealPay. All payments made to a child's meal account before Friday evening will carry the standard $2.00 flat transaction fee. The payment system will be back to normal in the fall. if anything is different, we will be sure to post information on our district website and each of the schools websites. Thank you for a wonderful year."--Edward Gilbert, Director of Food Services, Stoughton Public Schools (781-297-1051  ext. 1)

Stoughton High Student Makes Top Ten in DECA

Mr. William Kitchen, DECA Advisor at Stoughton High School, tells Snyder's Stoughton, "I am extremely elated to announce that Stoughton High School finished in the top ten in one event at DECA's 63rd Annual International Career Development Conference held last week in Anaheim, CA.  David Rysin (sophomore) finished in the top 10 for sports and entertainment marketing event series (individual).

Courtney Clough and Meagan Greene received competency certifications in Buying and Merchandising Management Team Decision making event. A fantastic job was done by all the DECA competitors. 

Kitchen had written to thank the Terry Schneider and the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce for their financial support of the program. Hopefully, 2010 cuts will not affect this program or its reacher. The DECA program is a wonderful preparation for students into the "real world." Graduates of the program are going to the best colleges in the country.  


2009 Stoughton High Academic Hall of Fame for Extraordinary Achievement

  2009 Inductees

1984 David S. Saperstein, M.D.

Well-known neurologist, served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force 92-02,

published in various medical journals, invited professor and lecturer.


1987 Francis (Butch) Brien

Achieved the highest rank of Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force,

Security Forces Manager assigned to Las Vegas, achieved “Top Gun”

Award in 1988.


1982 Maria Sangiolo

Enchants audiences with her pure vocals and warm stage presence, developed

a music career in the National Folk Circuit, travels extensively around the US

and Canada, released 6 CDs of original music for both adults and children.



1963 Thomas Gay

 Developed and sold two successful technology companies, while supporting various

charities; traveled to South Africa to volunteer and fell in love with the people; founded

Monte Christo Ministries to help the South African poor and underprivileged from a

life of hopelessness and survival to stability, success and significance.

 Quote from Tom: “Our experience is that if we invest in the mind and heart, the rest will fall into place. Change the way children look at themselves – it’s amazing what

that does for a child who previously had no place to develop.”



O'Donnell Middle School's 7C students learned about the 1960's as the background to their study of S.E. Hinton's novel, "That Was Then, This Is Now" (also the name of a Monkees tune from a later decade.) Throughout the unit, one class tie-dyed shirts during the school day to use in place of a poster board for a project, while the other students took turns staying after school to learn how to tie-dye their own shirts.  Once the students finished studying the novel, took their test, and wrote papers, they had a 1960's celebration. They decorated the classroom in 1960's fashion, wore their tie-dyed shirts, listened to music of the 1960's (the BEST ever made), and played a variety of games.
(submission by OMS principal Wayne Hester)




Kevin Bechet, the Video Production teacher at Stoughton High School, led some of his students on a field trop to visit the Woburn Public Media Center. "This trip would not have been possible without the contribution of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce," he said. "The experience proved to be vital for the Video Production 3 class.  These students spent a day working with cutting edge state of the art technology.  Some of the equipment that they worked with included J.V.C. High Definition cameras, JVC Robotic Switchers and controllers, Avid Non- Linear Editing Stations and Virtual Set. I believe that this experience has expanded their knowledge concerning Digital Media and Television Production.  The students were able to have hands on experience with equipment used in today’s workforce to create high quality productions."     The Stoughton Chamber's AIM Program sponsors a number of Stoughton High field trips each year.   

SHS Students Luke Hrenko and Anthony Ferzoco enjoy visit to Woburn Public Media Center.



Drug Sweep @ High School April 8

The Stoughton Police Department, along with the Stoughton High School administration, did a sweep for drugs throughout the school, and in the student parking lots this morning (4/8) Some student cars were searched, but nothing was found. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine tells Snyder's Stoughton, "It was uneventful. From a school point of view, this was the best sweep we've every done. The dogs had a few false readings, but absolutely nothing was found." This proactive work by the administration is a good thing. Taking on the drug problem head on, is an effective tool in fighting it. While some neighboring towns ignore the problem, Stoughton High's administration is facing it, publicly and strongly. There's really no excuse for kids bringing drugs into the school. So, this exercise is a good one at reinforcing that belief.




Saturday March 21st, the SHS Tuesday Jazz Band traveled to Framingham High School to participate in the 2009 Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education State Finals Competition. The Stoughton band was invited to participate at State Finals after winning a Gold Medal at the regional level. Competing with schools from across the state, the Tuesday band once again earned Gold Medal Status. Seniors Andrew Solem, Zachary Schwartz, and David Morris, were recognized for their individual performances and each earned the "Outstanding Musicianship Award". The Tuesday Band, on the strength of their Gold Medal performance, has been invited to perform at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, Sunday, May 17th. This will be the band's 10th appearance at the Hatch Shell. Congratulations to Mr. Davey and the members of the SHS Tuesday Jazz Band.



Tickets to this year's all night graduation party can be reserved by sending your payment to PANL, P.O. Box 821, Stoughton, Mass 02072.   


The ticket price is $30.00.  Tickets will be available for pick-up on the mornings of May 5th, 6th and 7th, between 7:00-7:30 in the high school cafeteria.  Any questions, call 781-344-0014!



A Special Opportunity for SHS Choral Students

A very unique and special opportunity has taken place for our choral students.  Dr. Christopher Kiver, one of the leading choral professors at Penn State University, brought his Glee Club here to Stoughton High School to perform for the concert and jazz choirs. He then offered his services to work with the choirs in a master class.  Dr. Kiver is an internationally acclaimed conductor and educator; having brought his expertise to multiple states in the US, and having been invited to work with choirs both in England and Australia.  He truly is the best of the best and the fact that he offered to come to Stoughton is just astounding! This was really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the choral students to be offered his perspective, and the Stoughton educational community is grateful for his generosity of time, talent, and spirit!

The visit took place on Tuesday, March 10th, Dr. Christopher Kiver and the Penn State Glee Club performed for Ms. Marini’s concert choir and jazz choir. The following day, Dr. Kiver returned to do a workshop with the choir and jazz choir. Ms. Marini is a graduate of Penn State and studied with Dr. Kiver.

Christopher Kiver joined the Penn State University faculty in 2005, and directs the Penn State Glee Club and the Chamber Singers. He received a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Michigan, a masters degree in choral conducting from Florida State University, and a bachelor of music degree from the University of London.

A native of the United Kingdom, he has received numerous prizes and scholarships including a Fulbright Award, and the 2002 Sydney World Symposium Foundation Scholarship. In February 2006, he was a double Grammy Award winner as a chorusmaster for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcomís monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

Kiver has appeared as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. He currently serves as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Menís Choirs for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

After their tour of Boston, the Glee Club performed at the 2009 Music Educator's National Conference Convention in Providence, Rhode Island; a prestigious honor bestowed upon those superior music ensembles that have earned a performance time through audition and invitation.   Stoughton thanks the Glee Club and Dr. Kiver for their inspiring work with SHS. (Story submitted by Nancy Morris.)


Outstanding Performance In New Hampshire!

On Saturday, March 14th, the SHS Jazz Choir, Jazz Combo and Jazz Band traveled to the University of New Hampshire to participate in the UNH High School Jazz Festival. This festival attracts schools from all over New England and New York. All three Stoughton groups took the top award in their respective divisions and were awarded "Most Outstanding Performance" for their efforts. Congratulations to Ms. Marini, and Mr. Davey, and all of the SHS Jazz Musicians on their outstanding achievements! Help these outstanding musicians from Stoughton.





O'Donnell Middle School Student Alec DeNapoli was the First Place Winner of the Peace Poster Contest by the Stoughton Lions Club, recently presented at Nocera's Restaurant. Pictured (l to r): Lion Suzzane Sicliano, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Art Teacher Karen O'Connell , Student Winner  Alec DeNapoli, and Lion Lester Davis. (Photo by Hank Herbowy)



SHS Students Heading to California for DECA Competition

Mr. Kitchen of Stoughton High reports: "Unlike last year, our winning record was lessened by some of the larger schools in other Districts. 33 DECA students from Stoughton participated in various events. Upon completion of the necessary testings and role plays, here are the finals. Going onto Disneyland in Anaheim CA  (4-29-09 to 5-3-09) to compete on the national level are: David Rysin, 2nd place in Sports and Entertainment Marketing; Courtney Clough, 3rd place in Buying & Merchandising Management Team Decision Making Event; Meagan Greene, 3rd place in Buying & Merchandising Management Team Decision Making Event. In addition, Erica Melito was elected as Mass. DECA's State Representative. This is the 3rd straight year that Stoughton has a member as a state representative. Word at the convention was that she was the highest vote receipent. (Last year's State Representative Justin Madoff will also be part of the California contingent.) Other pertinent events at the convention: David Rysin received 3rd, 1st and 2nd medals in the testing catagories for his event the night before! Impressive!!! Jessica Angelos & Carolyn Grundy also received medals in the testing for their subject area. Everyone that competed are winners. The true score should read  33-0. No losers!

A thank you needs to go out to the Garofalo's that did a tremedous job and was deeply appreciated by the entire DECA chapter for chaperoning. Another key member to our team effort is Mrs. Rabouin for the tireless hours baking, baging and welcoming the students in the DECA store. Without her effort on our team, we would have had a difficult time getting to state's. Also, to the entire Administration for their support behind the scenes in encouraging our chapter to be the best.


Mr. Kitchen & the entire DECA chapter.

Night of Excellence

On April 16, from 6:30 to 8:00 the O'Donnell Middle School is hosting the 5th annual NIGHT OF EXCELLENCE.  This is a fun evening where parents and Stoughton residents can come and go as they please and see many of the things that are happening in the school.  The World Language Department has a huge display in the cafeteria including food, 6th grade has Blues singing, see various plays, the band will perform, wall climbing in the gym, a poetry reading coffee house and various displays.  Everything is free.

MAJE Jazz Band Results

Thursday, March 5th the Tuesday and Wednesday Jazz Bands competed in the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education Festival held at Stoughton High School. The Wednesday Band earned a Silver Medal for their fine performance.  Three students from the Wednesday Band earned Outstanding Musicianship Awards for their efforts:  Michael Silveria, alto saxophone; Alan Recca, trombone; and Andre Tran on trumpet.
The Tuesday Jazz Band earned a Gold Medal for their performance and received an invitation to the State Finals to be held on Saturday, March 21st at Framingham High School.  Three Tuesday members were also recognized for their performances and earned Outstanding Musicianship awards; David Morris, alto saxophone; Jack Pombriant, bass; and Shawn Bailey, trumpet.
Senior David Morris won the Most Valuable Player Award for the festival for his work on the alto saxophone.  Congratulations to the SHS jazz band students and their director, Mr. Daniel Davey.

This Saturday, March 14, the Stoughton High School Tuesday Jazz Band, Jazz Combo and Jazz Choir will travel to the University of New Hampshire for the 2009 UNH/Clark Terry Jazz Festival. The Jazz Choir will perform at 10:30 a.m, The Combo at 1:20 p.m. and the Jazz Band will take the stage in the Granite State Room at 3:30 p.m. Wish them luck!


SCHOOL CALENDAR for 2008-2009


2/24/09 Stoughton School Committee, Stoughton High, Media Room (agenda)

Stoughton High Honor Roll--Second Term (here)

O'Donnell Middle School 1st Term Honors (6) (7) (8)

Rating Our Schools (here)


Norwood Jazz Classic Results

The SHS Tuesday Jazz Band performed at the Norwood Jazz Festival on Thursday, February 12th.  Bands from Framingham, Wakefield, King Phillip, Wellesley, Medfield, Oliver Ames, Reading, Beverly, Boston Latin and Norwood participated. Stoughton was one of only three schools that earned the highest rating:  Gold.  Senior Jeff Numero won the Outstanding Rhythm Section Player Award for the entire festival and Senior David Morris won the Outstanding Saxophone Player Award as well.  Congratulations to Jeff, David, Mr. Davey and the SHS Jazz Band. The band's next appearance will be Thursday March 5th at the MJAE Jazz Festival to be held at Stoughton High School.




Seven Stoughton musicians have been accepted to perform with the Southeastern Massachusetts School Bandmasters Association.  SEMSBA has a membership of thirty high schools and their associated junior/middle schools that participate in SEMSBA Jr. and Sr. Honors Festivals.  After going through a rigorous audition process, the following students have been selected to participate in the 2009, Jr. and Sr. SEMSBA Festivals: 
At the Senior High School level, Margaret Leoffler and Sarah McCormick, both seniors, and Trumpeter Dennis McCormick and Trombonist Shaul Kushinsky will perform with the Honors Concert Band.  This festival will be held at Silver Lake High School on April 3rd and 4th. The Junior Festival, which is open to students in grades 7-9 will be held on May 1st and 2nd at the East Middle School in Braintree.  Performing in the Honors Concert Band will be Milkala Gilroy, clarinet and Michael Silveria, alto saxophone.  Both Milkala and Michael are freshman.  Alex Peixinho, Timothy McGrath and Daniel Block, 8th graders at the O'Donnell Middle School, have been selected to perform.  Alex and Tim will both play saxophone in the Honors Concert Band and Daniel will be singing Baritone in the Honors Chorus. Congratulations to all the students on their acceptance into the SEMSBA Honors Festivals.

49th Annual Spelling Bee, Hosted by Stoughton Women's Club

O'Donnell Middle School held its 49th annual Spelling Bee hosted by the Stoughton Women's Club. 1st place was Connor Hay, 2nd place Abigail Roane.
 Pictured is (l to r): Mr. Colantonio, Assist. Principal; Wayne Hester, Principal; Abigail Roane, Connor Hay, and Judith Hamilton, Moderator.





2009 Berklee High School Jazz Festival

Saturday, January 31st the Stoughton High School Jazz Choir, Jazz Band and Combo participated in the 41st Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston.
The SHS Jazz Choir, making their competitive debut under the direction of Ianthe Marini, turned in a wonderful performance. Junior Bianca Sellitto was presented the Outstanding Vocalist Award in the Jazz Choir division.
The Jazz Combo, and Jazz Band under the direction of Daniel Davey, wowed the crowds with their outstanding performances.  Both groups placed second in their respective divisions.  Senior bass player Jack Pombriant received the Outstanding Musician Award for his performance with the combo.  Senior alto saxophone player David Morris earned the Superior Musician Award for his playing in the SHS Jazz Band.  BEcause of the groups second place finishes, the SHS music department will receive 5 tuition awards to Berklee's summer music performance programs.
The groups performances will be aired on the schools' television channel in the near future.  Congratulations to Ms. Marini, Mr. Davey and all of the SHS Jazz Musicians.


Three Musicians Selected for All-State Festival


On January 24th three Stoughton High student musicians auditioned for the 2009 Massachusetts Music Educators All-State Music Festival.  This festival showcases the "best of the best" student musicians across the state. In order to audition, students have to be accepted into their District Honors Band and Chorus, and receive a recommendation to audition for the All-State Festival. Seniors David Morris and Zachary Schwartz, Jack Pombriant (l to r above) traveled to Algonquin Regional High School to audition.  All three students have been accepted to perform in the 2009 All State Honors Festival.
Jack will be playing bass in the All-State Jazz Band, David Morris will be playing alto saxophone in the All-State Jazz Band and Zachary Schwartz will be playing baritone saxophone in the All-State Concert Band. The concert is held at Symphony Hall in Boston on March 28th.


Stoughton Parents Of Performing Students


FEBRUARY 19 @ Nocera's

(details & coupon)

O'Donnell Middle School Science Project

As a science project, O'Donnell Middle School 6th grade students built earthquake-proof structures made of sphagetti and gum drops.
(l to r)  Matthew Jenkins, Nour Fakih, &  Brandon Jung ( Wayne Hester photo)




The VFW Post 1645 has just been informed that John Gallivan, Director of the Stoughton High Social Studies department, who was chosen Stoughton Teacher of the Year last month, was selected as VFW Massachusetts 2008 Teacher of the Year.   Mr. Gallivan will be honored at the State Convention in June, 2009.   His nomination will now be forwarded to headquarters in Washington, along with other State winners for the VFW National Teacher of the Year Award.   Congratulations to John for this honor.      



New Assistant Supt. of Schools Hired

The Stoughton School Committee went to Hull again. They hired Jonathan Douglas Ford of Hull High School as the new Assistant Superintendent of Schools. Incoming Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi worked with Ford in the Hull School System. That’s another reason why Interim Supt. Anthony Sarno called him a “perfect fit,” adding “He thinks out of the box, and has great communications skills.” Committee member Tom Colburn said he was “articulate and focused.” Committee member Tony Bickerton called Ford, “energetic, hands-on, and ready to go.” Good luck to Mr. Ford and Dr. Rizzi. With Speaker of the House Sal Dimasi talking about possible cuts up to 10% in local aid, and the proposed net school spending of $34,780,448 (up 3.72%), it’s going to be a rough ride.


Southeastern District Honors For Musical Students

Five Stoughton High School Musicians have been accepted to perform with the 2008 Southeast District Honors Band and Jazz Band! Congratulations to Tony Barros, Trumpet; Shaul Kushinshy, Baritone Horn; Zachary Schwartz, Baritone Saxophone; David Morris, Alto Saxophone, Jack Pombriant, String Bass. On the strength of their auditions, Zachary Schwartz, David Morris and Jack Pombriant have been recommended to audition for the All-State concert and jazz bands. An All-State recommendation is quite an achievement. Good luck to Zach, David and Jack at the All-State auditions. The Southeast District Festival will be held at Brockton High School January 9th and 10th.



AP Scholar Awards


Twenty-six students at Stoughton High School have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams. Four students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are James Barber, Adam Bauman, Philip Connors and Matthew Petersile, who all graduated in May of 2008.

Four students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students, who have also graduated, are Erin Flaherty, Julianne Leaver, Jonathan Widberg and Mikkal Williams.

Eighteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with grades of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Jeremy Blumenthal, Ann Dorgan, Michael Guerard, Christine Howe, Matthew Hubler, Nicole Joseph, Jenna Kelly,Brett Kirkland, Stacy Kravitz, Jenna Levine, Lindsay O’Regan, Kathleen Peucker, Samantha Pickette, Brendan Riske, Sean Rodrigues, Zachary Schwartz, Zachary Weed, and Joseph Worthy.

Of this year’s award recipients at Stoughton High School, seven are seniors this year: Christine Howe, Matthew Hubler, Kathleen Peucker, Samantha Pickette, Brendan Riske, Zachary Schwartz, and Zachary Weed. These students have one more year to complete college-level work and possibly earn a higher-level AP Scholar Award. Congratulations to all these hard-working young people!



OMS has brought three pickup truck loads of food to the local food pantries.  Helping to load the truck are (from left to right): Anthony Myers, Kevin MacLellan, Tommy Martini, and Akim Falaise (W. Hester photo)



Stoughton High School Principal Brett Dickens gets a Certificate of Appreciation for her service on the
Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from Chairman Rick Kaplan (l) and Vice Chairman Mark Snyder. (T. Schneider photo)


Chamber AIM Program Sends Students on Field Trip

On October 24, six Stoughton High School students took advantage of a great opportunity to experience a unique school. The field trip, sponsored by the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, allowed the students to visit New England Institute of Technology, and they learned about the various career opportunities the school offers. They were able to explore firsthand the school’s diverse, hands-on academic programs, which range from automotive repair technology to software engineering.

“It was a great experience, to go and see what is out there,” Junior Matt Sera said.

Christine Carr of the Guidance Department, who accompanied the students on the trip, also believed it was an excellent learning experience, and a fun field trip, for the students.

“One of the most unique experiences was when one of the students had the opportunity to try his hand at using one of the airbrushes,” she said. “He got so excited.”

NEIT is an accredited technical college, located in Warwick, Rhode Island, that offers bachelor’s degree programs. The school enrolls about 3000 students. Though it is one of the premier technical colleges in New England, many students are unaware of the excellent opportunities offered by the school.

“Hearing about it, and seeing it close up, really changed my mind about what kind of school it is,” Senior Steevens Noel said.

Overall, the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and learned a great deal. Stoughton High Principal Brett Dickens offered her appreciation of the effort and excitement over the students’ success: “I am glad these students had this opportunity, and also thankful that the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce could sponsor this career exploration opportunity,” she said.

Other trips are planned and corporate sponsors are welcome to help with the transportation costs. Email Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Schneider ( if your company would be interested in assisting the AIM Program.

Last Year's West School MCAS Results Being Probed By State

(story here)

Too Good To Be True? (Here)

Is retired West School principal Deb Levitz still clapping?



O'Donnell Middle School celebrated Veterans Day by inviting local Veterans to speak to the entire school in three separate assemblies.  After speaking the veterans then ate lunch with students who had a loved one currently serving in the armed services.  Local restaurants provided food for the luncheon. (Papa Ginos, X's and O's, Denneno's, Town Spa, and Noceras). Photos by Principal Wayne Hester.

Front row (l to r): Paul Flynn-Vietnam, Joe Noe-Korea, Tony Novello-WWII, Joe McPherson-WWII; Second row (l to r): Frank Noe-Vietnam, Jack Sidebottom-WWII, Charlie Large-WWII, Pat King-Korea, Joe DeVito-WWII, Mark Hausammann-Vietnam

Students and Veterans Mingle at O'Donnell Middle School








Twelve year-old Alexander Pattavina of the Boston Boy Choir will be performing as a soloist with the Harvard University Choir on Sunday, November 16 and with the Zamir Chorale on Saturday, December 6.  The Harvard University Choir will be performing Benjamin Britten’s “Cantata for St. Nicolas” at Memorial Church, Harvard University.  Alexander’s solo with the Zamir Chorale is in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms at Northeastern University’s Fenway Center.  This Winter, the Stoughton youth hopes to perform on piano and keyboard at area nursing homes.



The Stoughton High School Athletic Department, along with the Student Council, Music Department and Boosters group, will be collecting non-perishable food items on November 14, 2008 at the home football game versus Sharon. This game begins at 7:00 pm. Anyone that brings a non-perishable food item will be given a free popcorn and coffee or hot chocolate, compliments of Stoughton Boosters. All items collected will benefit local food pantries. If you cannot make the game, you may drop off items at the athletic department. Please support our school and community!

David Guglia, Assistant Principal of the O'Donnell Middle School writes, "In honor of Veteran's Day, the O'Donnell Middle School held an assembly that celebrated the contributions of our veterans from Stoughton.  I would like to thank Joe Devito for helping to organize the event, along with the veterans that spent the morning with the middle school students sharing their courageous stories.  Following the assembly, the veterans joined students from the O'Donnell Middle School that currently have a loved one serving our country for a luncheon sponsored by area restaurants.  Town Spa, Nocera's, Panera Bread, X & O, Peppercorn's, Denneno's and Papa Gino's all donated dishes to this event."


Andrew Solem, a senior at Stoughton High School, has been accepted into the U.S. Army All- American Marching Band. The U.S. All-American Marching Band features the nation's top 97 high school marching musicians. Andrew will be performing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl to be played in the Alamodome, San Antonio, TX. The bowl game features the nation's top 90 high school senior football players. The Bowl will be televised live on NBC Saturday, January 3rd, 2009. Last year a record 2.3. million viewers tuned in for the 2008 Bowl. On Friday, November 7th, The U.S. Army will send representatives to Stoughton High School to announce Andrew's acceptance to the community! The ceremony will take place in the Christianson Performing Arts Center at Stoughton High School. The Event will kick-off at 9:45 a.m. on November 7th. Local, regional and national media have been invited to cover the event. Congratulations to Andrew Solem and Dan Davey, Director of Bands at SHS, for this wonderful achievement!



The SHS Marching Black Knights completed their competitive season Sunday, November 2nd at the New England Scholastic Bandmaster Association Finals(NESBA). Stepping off to a program entitled, "Come Together"--featuring music of The Beatles in both a musical and visual performance-- Stoughton put on an amazing show! The New England Championship Competition held at Veteran's Stadium in Quincy, MA featured bands from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Black Knight's hard work throughout this season paid off as they place 2nd in Division V and were presented with a PLATINUM MEDAL - the highest medal given by the association!

On Saturday, November 1st, the marching band and color guard performed for the New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA) at East Bridgewater High School. The group was awarded a GOLD MEDAL for their crowd-pleasing performance!

The group also  competed for the MICCA Marching Band State Finals at Cawley Statium in Lowell on October 26th. They were awarded a 5 star SUPERIOR rating for their visual performance and 4 stars for color guard, music, and percussion. Their overall rating from MICCA was 4 stars of EXCELLENCE.

If you have not had the opportunity to support these talented and dedicated students they will be performing at home football games this month. Come out and show them your support.




In a surprise move Tuesday night at the School Committee, Dr. MargueriteRizzi, assistant superintendent of schools for curriculum and instruction, was named as the next permanent Superintendent of Schools, to begin on July 1, 2009. Interim Supt. of Schools Tony Sarno will stay for the remainder of the year, and mentor Dr. Rizzi. The move makes a lot of sense. The town, after spending nearly $20,000 in taxpayer funds, discovered that the pool of candidates for the position wasn’t too deep. They lucked out bringing Sarno out of retirement to steer the schools, and having Dr. Rizzi working alongside him.

School Committee member Tony Bickerton, who made the motion to appoint Rizzi, said, “It would be a shame to lose her. She’d be a free agent at the end of the year. She has proven herself.” Chairman Allan Mills agreed, adding, “The highest seniority for any of our administrators is three years. Dr. Rizzi is the perfect choice to lead.” Added Committee member Tom Colburn, “Dr. Rizzi has been a leader, in a thoughtful, caring and educated way. Mr. Sarno and Dr. Rizzi have made an incredible team.”

Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural voted to abstain. “The right way would be to do a search and have Dr. Rizzi apply, and then appoint her. I’m protesting the process, not Dr. Rizzi.” But Colburn disagreed. “We spent $20,000 before and went through the process. Why should we spend more money and time? Those candidates we saw were not proven. Dr. Rizzi has a proven track record in the Stoughton School System. I can say with confidence she can lead our school system.” Committee member Eric Milgroom agreed. “We’re knowing what we’re getting, and we’re happy with what we have.”

Student Representative Matt Hubler, a senior at Stoughton High, was quick to endorse the vote. “I believe we need someone who can talk to students. You told me you have an open door policy. The student council will be happy if you are chosen to take over.”

Snyder’s Stoughton gives this move “high honors”. Instead of another of the re-cycled superintendents who interview from town to town, we have someone who knows the system, commands respect, and has proven herself. Now, it’s time to find another assistant superintendent of schools. Let’s hope we have the same success as the last two times with this position.

(c) 2008 by

District Impact of Apartment Buildings in Stoughton
(View info compiled by Dr. Erdem Ural HERE)


Knights of Excellence

     Lillian Donnelly, senior at Stoughton High School, was awarded a 2008 NCTE Achievement Award in English by the by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  525 students were selected nationwide from a pool of 1,789 nominated students......SHS Senior Cole Turno participated in the prestigious National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine this summer. Over 10 days, Turno explored Boston, underwent specialized training in medicine, was a participant in meetings with leaders of the local medical community, and explored hospitals, clinics and other centers of public health.   Congratulations to both talented students!


O'Donnell Middle School Students Score Perfect MCAS

These students all scored perfectly on their MCAS tests. Back row (L to R): Arden Tran, Stephen Zorn, Patrick Raeke, Robert Mone, Brianna Fogarty, Kevin MacDonald, Alexandra Dawson.
Front row (L to R): Tim McGrath, Jacob Finer, Daniel Block, Aaron Needs


Know An Out-of-Towner Attending A Stoughton School?

Bruce Jackman wants to know about it. He's the new truancy and residency officer for the Stoughton Public Schools. He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "Students from outside the district not only impact the taxpayers, but also cause the building administration to use valuable educational time on these matters. If you could let your readers and viewers know of the value of this new position, perhaps they will report residency issues so that I can handle them. There is an anonymous Residency Tip Hotline for anyone to report possible residency violations.{781-297-1050}." For years, this columnist, as well as school officials, have heard rumors of students commuting to Stoughton Schools from out of town. Since every student costs taxpayers thousands of dollars to educate, it is in our best interests to keep people honest. Exceptions are sometimes made when personal family situations arise. But, flagrant violators should be reported, for the good of the community. Jackman adds, "In addition, I am in charge of truancy, and alerting parents and guardians in these matters. The discipline for truancy, however, is handled at the individual school the student attends. Superintendent Sarno and I think it is important to get the word out to the community that there is an individual who is checking for both residency and truancy."


Lipkind: Save Money with G.I.C.

Activist Al Lipkind spoke before the School Committee Tuesday night (9/9) and suggested a way for the town to save money on education costs. Lipkind suggested the Committee explore joining the Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Lipkind said that the cost of a family policy with Harvard Pilgrim is $400 less per year, but does have higher co-pays. He also said that retired teachers pay only 10% of their health insurance costs, with the town picking up the other 90%. "I'd like to see that change. Newer teachers would pay more, similar to retired municipal employees, who pay 50% of the health care costs. Instead of raising lunch fees, raising insurance premiums would be more reasonable." Although the Committee listened attentively to the man who introduced defibrillators to the town, Chairman Allan Mills responded, "You're saving money by putting a financial burden on retirees." Still they didn't close the door on the idea. Dr Erdem Ural said, "I'd hate to miss an opportunity. I've heard good things about the GIC plan." It would take 70% of teachers and/or municipal unions to adopt this plan in the middle of a signed collective bargaining agreement. It is highly unlikely any unions would support increased co-pays, no matter what it may save the town.

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It is bleak out there. The search for a new superintendent of schools is going to be difficult. After a nationwide search, costing around $18,000 yielded a thin crew of candidates, Stoughton was lucky enough to lure Tony Sarno out of retirement and solidify the system. Sarno has permission from the retirement board to serve on an emergency basis until the end of the year. After that, the town would need to get Sarno a further exemption, or find another interim superintendent for the remainder of this school year. Currently in the State, 43 towns are looking for Superintendent of Schools. Last year, 60 towns hired new Superintendents. School Committee Chairman Allan Mills said last night (9/9), "We will have to look at all the options. There are not a lot of people out there. We will tackle this in the near future. Meanwhile, I'd like to thank Mr. Sarno for stepping in during a stressful time."



Stoughton Public Schools interim superintendent of schools Anthony Sarno announced that Steve Levine would serve as interim director of special education for the '09 school year. Levine had been a consultant and evaluator of special education programs, and was lured out of private practice by Sarno for the upcoming year. (More on this in Friday's column.)



:Heather Thibeault Tucker, former special education teacher and assistant principal at the Dawe School, has been named Assistant Director of Special Education. According to Sarno, she will be overseeing out of district placement, observing, evaluating, and coordinating the teacher aides.


Stoughton Public Schools teacher's aides will be unionizing. As soon as a union is formed, and leaders chosen, negotiations will begin on a contract. According to Interim Superintendent of Schools Tony Sarno, it could be difficult to negotiate. "We're in the business of educating children. They are not all the same. Some of the special education children require aides with them all day. Other aides don't have that same schedule. It will be difficult to negotiate when everyone's responsabilities are so different. But, that's a sign of the times."


The Stoughton School Committee Monday night (8/4) approved support for a newly-reconfigured Stoughton Boosters Club. (More on this in Friday's column.)




For the 1000 Stoughton children who play basketball, the School Committee Tuesday night hit a three pointer. A 2-1 vote (with two abstentions) brought a smile to school committee member Tony Bickerton, who doubles as the president of STOYAC. But, it wasn’t just hoop players celebrating. The vote to eliminate fees for non-profits utilizing school buildings in Stoughton, also helps the Little Theatre of Stoughton, Stoughton Stars, and numerous other cash-strapped groups. Bickerton, who recused himself from the vote, said that the $5 savings per child could be reflected in “a discount, or at least holding the fee at the same level.” The user fee, which is negotiated for each organization, was $5000 this past year for STOYAC. All other fees combined for the other organizations was around a grand. STOYAC uses the basketball courts in a number of schools for practices and games. Jan Jones, president of Little Theatre of Stoughton, told the School Committee, “We need a home. We had a hiatus at Stoughton Cinema since the building has closed. This is our fifty-first year.” Jones got permission to use the building in August for her upcoming production of M.A.S.H.

The change to the policy for the use of school facilities was not unanimous. Dr. Erdem Ural voted against eliminating the fees for non-profits. “We have a budget deficit. We lose $5000, and for an organization like STOYAC, $5000 is nothing. We just raised the lunch money for kids, too.”

School Committee Chairman Allan Mills saw it as a contribution to the community. When he asked if the Stoughton Public Schools could afford losing the fee, Acting Superintendent Tony Sarno replied, “Yes.” The original resolution had stated that non-profits that qualified under the program needed to have boards 100% from Stoughton. Member Tom Colburn pointed out that boards for the Stoughton Chamber and Little Theatre had out-of-town members on their boards. On his suggestion, it was changed to Stoughton-based non-profits that qualified.

The School Committee also passed a policy change Tuesday night to check all new employees with a nationwide police record inspection that will cost $18 per applicant. Why not use the Massachusetts CORI system? Sarno said that the “ Massachusetts legislature has voted not to make the CORI tied to the national system. We are one of only a few states that don’t do things on a national basis.” Colburn said, “Our legislators are not giving us the protection of a national CORI.” With Governor Deval Patrick aiming to derail the CORI system altogether, don’t look for any improvements soon. But, feel free to let your legislators know how you feel. Kudos go to Eric Milgroom and Colburn who expanded the original motion to make it more effective.


Ahavath Torah Congregation names new Education Director (here)





All Contents (c) 2009 by PMPNetwork/Snyder's Stoughton