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I just got off the phone with Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Stoughton's Superintendent of Schools, who responded to this morning's posting here from the Stoughton Teachers Association.

She said the STA mailed their statement to Massachusetts Teachers Association members who live in Stoughton. "It's just another example of the politics of personal attack that I have been dealing with here for the past six years. All of the contracts in the school department are public documents. Everyone has a right to know. If they ask for them, they get them."

John Gunning, the President of the Stoughton Teacher's Association, was concerned that the six year contract was related to the online consulting business that Rizzi, Ford, and other Administrators are running. "Going into business with full time employees. There's a hint of behind closed doors. The Enterprise found the contract before any of the school committee members knew about it. We have serious concerns about the arrangements. There's certainly nothing personal."

Rizzi responded, "The school committee members could have asked for the new version of the contract. But, once they decided to appoint, then the contract was in my hands. It was never a secret."

When I mentioned to Gunning, a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at the O'Donnell Middle School, that stories like this cast a negative reflection not on only the Superintendent, but the entire school system, he said, "There's no question it gets messy when it gets out there. We don't want to detract from all the great things our students do, whether its DECA, athletics, music, etc. We just want things in the open."

Rizzi, who is a finalist for the top Dartmouth school job, said that the School Committee passed a policy last year after questions were asked about School Committee hires--do they take them on from start to finish? This was after a member referred to some prior hiring practices as "unscrupulous." She tells me, "To clarify, they voted a hiring policy. Once they appointed people, the Superintendent would evaluate them, and would manager their contracts thereafter. This was helpful for maintaining the reputation of the district to help bring in good quality personnel, and to keep them." Previously, managing was "outside the realm of normal practice."

Rizzi added, "Mr. Ford's contract was in my hands. I'm the person who was in position to evaluate it. Talented educational administrators are at a premium. They are not easy to come by. They should be treated well. Six years is the limit we can write. They gave me a 5 and a half year extension when they wanted to keep me."

The question I had was why did the STA send out a news release? Where did they get the contract (since it wasn't requested from the Supt's office)? There's no contract negotiations going on now. So, it's not a contract ploy. So, what did they have to gain?

Gunning said the sole motivation was for openness and transparency. "Ithink it's a concern for Stoughton residents. There are serious goings on on Pearl Street."

Rizzi, for one, doesn't understand the uproar over a contract, that was her job to negotiate. "Mr. Ford is a very talented administrator, and we're lucky to have him under contract until 2020." Rizzi had previously answered questions about her educational consulting firm, saying that no one would be missing any time at their full time jobs in the Stoughton School System to work for it.


(Posted on March 23, 2015 @ 6:50 p.m. Updated at 9 p.m.)

From John Gunning of the Stoughton Teachers Association:


In mid-January, the Stoughton Teachers Association learned that Superintendent Rizzi and Deputy Superintendent Ford have created a website advertising a new business venture: Level 1 Educational Consulting:http://www.drmaggierizzi.com/?page_id=4

Several weeks ago, the Brockton Enterprise published a story about Dr. Rizzi’s business venture. It was through this article that the STA first learned that, with two years and three months remaining on his four year contract, Superintendent Rizzi gave Deputy Superintendent Ford a new six year contract - April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2020. According to the contract, the agreement was entered into on April 1st, which was one week before last year’s School Committee election; however, it was not signed until April 21, 2014. The terms of the new contract include the following: a minimum 2.5% raise for each of six years plus merit increases for “services rendered in a satisfactory or better manner”; full reimbursement for all graduate courses; an apparent reduction of responsibilities because “curriculum and instruction” has been removed from Mr. Ford’s job title and the word “consulting” has been inserted as a permissible activity.

STA President John Gunning remarked, “There are only two signatories to this contract – Dr. Rizzi and Mr. Ford. The fact that this deal was negotiated behind closed doors and that the contract was never, to our knowledge, made public is a cause for concern. In spite of our best efforts, we have not been able to identify a single person, including any elected town officials, who know that Deputy Superintendent Ford has a contract through 2020!"

(Posted at 9:50 a.m. on March 23, 2015)












SHS Music Department presents 2014 Holiday Concert

The Stoughton High School Music Department will present their 2014 Holiday Concert on Friday, December 12 th. The concert will feature the SHS Concert Choir and SHS Jazz Choir under the direction of Christopher Nickelson-Mann. The SHS Concert Band and SHS Tuesday Jazz Ensemble will be directed by John Mange.

The concert will be held in the high school auditorium and begin at 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00 with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit http://www.spsfinearts.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6280






Kristy Curtis, Head Coach of the Stoughton High School Black Knights Cheerleaders, has done an amazing job with the team, in her first year. "I was a cheerleader for Pop Warner and then two years for varsity at Stoughton High. I was Assistant Coach for two seasons, and then took over as Varsity Head coach last winter."


Some would look at the beautiful 23-year old and think she can't have enough experience to be an effective head coach. But, Stoughton High School Athletic Director Ryan Donahue was profuse in his compliments of Black Knights Cheerleading Head Coach Kristy Curtis, a 2009 graduate of Stoughton High School. He told Snyder's Stoughton, "She took over last year in winter season. She had been a varsity cheerleader. And, I think with Kristy she showed dedication and consistency for a long time as a volunteer. She lent a hand. There's only one head coach, and no paid assistants for cheerleading. It's a very difficult position. She volunteered to help for over 2 years. When she applied for the job, her level-headedness overcame her youth. Her dedication to the program spoke volumes about what we were looking for."


Curtis said she came in knowing what she had to do, telling me, "I have a lot to learn and a lot to prove. Some assume because I'm young I don't know anything. It's nice to prove I'm capable, and that being young is a benefit rather than a detriment. "


Barbara Mofford, a Randolph native, was the previous Head Coach for cheerleading. Adds Curtis, "As an assistant and as a cheerleader, I learned the basics on how to coach successfully from Coach Mofford. Truthfully, without her, I wouldn't be where I am today. To not only be one of her cheerleaders, but to coach with her, she taught me an awful lot."


Donahue continued, "The season before Kristy was hired, they didn't qualify in the Hock Championships There was talent on the team and we decided to move in a different direction. People had been turned off because they had a few unsuccessful years. Now, the numbers are starting to grow. She is making it positive for them and the kids are responding really well."


The cheerleaders go to all the football games, and recently competed at Hocks and the Milford Invitational. They had a second place finish in the Small Co-Ed Division of the South Regionals, and were invited to States this weekend. If they win first or second, they'd get automatic bid to Nationals, according to Curtis, who added, "if the score is at a certain level, we could also secure a bid."


Nationals are in April in Florida. "We'd have to fundraise, if we make the bid. Those currently on the team would be invited."


Some don't consider cheerleading a sport. Curtis begged to differ. She said, "People who don't consider cheerleading a sport, probably have never done it. It takes strength to hold people up for a time. We condition at every practice. We do tumbling every week. We run. It's exhausting. Competitions are less than three minutes, but it's the most exhausting time. We work all season for a competition that could be all or nothing. It's not easy. It takes a lot of conditioning--including yelling while running. It's not easy to be a cheerleader."


The young woman with the easy smile adds "Our goal is to cheer for the team we are supporting, whether football or basketball. We're supporting our teams. That's our main priority. We prepare for games, learning cheers and dance. At the games, it's not apparent that we might have spent three hours practicing for a routine for an upcoming competition. Football was a great run this year (going undefeated in the regular season). We'll secure a new team in December for basketball. There's a chance to make Nationals with that team, too.


Kristy thanked her two assistant coaches Heather Lamplough ('08) and Felicia Baptista ('12), both Stoughton High grads and former varsity cheerleaders.


Donahue said he's never seen the young men and women athletes at Stoughton High working so hard. "We have boys and girls teams working out like mad at the weight room. And, you can see the results. Field Hockey, Boys Soccer and Men's Football all made post season in the Fall."


(Photo by Jeffrey Pickette of SMAC)

From left to right in the photo: 
Front Row: Meghan Moore, Captain Johannah Smith, Captain Bianca Batte, Jordan Lazarian, Isabella Hobbs, Amanda Gallant Back Row: Amanda Mellyn, Arianna Thomas, Courtney Weiner, William Thomas, Emily Wilson


Bottom photo courtesy of Carolyn Batte (l to r: Captain Johannah Smith, Head Coach Kristy Curtis, and Captain Bianca Batte.



The Stoughton High School Marching Black Knights Band and Guard finished its 2014 competitive season with a Gold rating and third-place finish at the New England Scholastic Band Association’s 2014 NESBA Marching Band Championships at Lawrence High School Nov. 9.

The band and guard turned in the best performances of the year and scored a 94.8.
This season’s Marching Black Knights field show, “Soul With A Capital S,” featured James Brown’s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and “I Feel Good”; “Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man”; “After the Love Has Gone” by Earth Wind & Fire; Tower of Power’s “So Very Hard to Go” and “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars.
SHS band member Matthew Carlson designed and painted the Soul Town backdrops for the show. Parents of Performing Students member, Robert Connor, built the staging for the show and was the captain of the parent pit crew that set up the staging for each performance.
SHS Band & Color Guard Members: Rachel Armany, Julia Awad, Amanda Ayochok, Alex Barros, Mia Bennett, Theresa Billo, Nathan Bodette, Vandy Bontemps, Stevens Bontemps, Ashley Burrowes, Shelbi Byron, Rachel Call, Samara Callender, Leslie Camilo, Lea Campanario, Heather Cardella, Peter Cariofiles, Demetra Cariofiles, Matthew Carlson, Brian Carlson, Allison Carter, Amelia Cochran, Megan Connor, Andrew Crean, Brandon Curran, Ashley DeAmicis, Eoin Doherty, Vanesiah Dos Anjos, Elizabeth Eckhart, Rachel Estremera, Michael Fetherston, Emily Gareri, Hannah Garey, Janelle Gibson, Katharine Gover, Connor Hay, Hannah Holden, Katherine Howe, Alexandra Howe, Jamal Husseini, Marie-Therese Ikoro, Antonio Irons, Brianna Ivaldi, Jaime Jabon, Alexander Jarasitis, Hugmaelle Jean, Anthony Jordan, Fatima Julien, Jonathan Julien, Hassan Kahn, Rashad Khan, Conor Kavanagh, Mathew LeBlanc, Danielle Lerette, Eric Levy, Hannah MacDonald, Hannah Mace, Chad Macomber, Cesar McElaney, Cassandra Melo, Julia Melo, Mackenzie Munroe, Joshua Myrtil, Kristina Nguyen, Malina Nguyen, Connor Nye, Edmund O’Donoghue, Sarah O’Neil, Anna O’Neil, Monica Pabla, Kevin Patel, Micah Pellegrini, Kara Ploss, Jessica Podesta, Jonathan Podesta, Diksha Pokharel, Adam Potter, Victoria Rego, Kyle Reis, Abigail Roane, Samantha Roane, Ethan Rosenberg, Rickelia Samuels, Kristalyn Selden, Isabelle Solem, Jamie Solimine, Carly Solimine, Joseph Souto, Samantha St. Clair, Matthew St. Clair, Brendan Stebbins, Ryan Struck, Danielle Tarchara, Katie Taylor; Matthew Tellier, Caroline Tobin, Valerie Tobin, Meaghan Tracey, Adren Tran, Samantha Turner, Marissa Wade, Sierra Watson, David Twerago, Derek Westhaver, Tess Widberg, Breanna Williams, Cassandra Williams, Joshua Williams, Mikayla Williams, Mariah Williams, Ashley Yanoff.
Marching Band staff members: John Mange, John Kearns, Ann Dorgan, Danielle Horan, Andrew Davey, Lindsay Heffernan, Bill Heffernan, Jennifer Walden and Brad Conant.
The SHS Marching Black Knights have two upcoming appearances to finish off their 2014 season – at the annual Thanksgiving game at SHS Nov. 27, with game time at 10 a.m.; and marching in Stoughton’s Holiday Parade Saturday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m.




The Stoughton School Committee has decided to start holding office hours. The purpose is to provide convenient School Committee member access for parents, students, taxpayers, and employees. It is hoped that this effort will help them improve transparency, as well as community and parent engagement. Two regularly scheduled office hours per month are envisioned: possibly one in the School Committee room, and another in the Town Hall or at the Police Station. Days, times and locations will be selected to maximize opportunities for public participation.

Please feel free to contact the Committee Chair, Dr. Erdem A. Ural, to indicate your preferences for times and locations. Dr. Ural is accessible by telephone (781-818-4114) or by email (erdem.ural@lpsti.com).


Stoughton High School honored Dr. Paula J. Olsiewski, a member of the class of 1971, as a new inductee in the Hall of Fame for Extraordinary Achievement at an assembly on October 17, 2014.

The induction ceremony is intended to provide Stoughton High School students with inspiration and encourage them to follow their dreams. Paula J. Olsiewski, Ph.D. works as a Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York City, where she’s been employed since 2000.  The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation website states “Dr. Olsiewski directs the Indoor Environment and Biosecurity programs as well as the Synthetic Biology Initiative. She co-directs the Energy and Environment Program and oversees the Sloan Public Service Awards and the Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. She received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Yale College in 1975 and a Doctorate in biological chemistry from MIT in 1979."

All inductees are past Stoughton High School graduates who are nominated by community members, past students, and families. The nominees are carefully selected by a committee in order to select the truly extraordinary. Many no longer live in Stoughton and make the journey back to Stoughton with their family and friends to receive this great honor.







Twenty-seven students at Stoughton High School have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program ® (AP ®) provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams. About 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams.

At Stoughton High School:

One student qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. This student is Kevin J. McDonald.

Three students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Alex DeNapoli, Kevin J. McDonald and Robert Mone.

Eight students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are Tess Connor, Peter da Silva, Kaitlin Elwood, Monica Peterson, Abigail Roane, Emma Sinkus, Madeline Sinkus and Joseph Souto.

Fifteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Kayla Burgos, Matthew Colburn, Katrina Daly, John Eppenstein, Jacob Finer, Darlene Irons, Kassandra Melo, Ashley Merola, Kristina Nguyen, Abigail Roane, Corey Shore, Julia Sjoquist, Elizabeth Sloane, Michaela Sullivan, Adren Tran, and Timothy Tullis, Jr.

Of this year’s award recipients at Stoughton High School, seven are juniors: Kaitlin Elwood, Ashley Merola, Kristina Nguyen, Abigail Roane, Joseph Souto, Michaela Sullivan, and Adren Tran. These students have at least one more year in which to complete college-level work and possibly earn a higher-level AP Scholar Award.

Congratulations to All!








Stoughton's Superintendent of Schools will miss the first day of school on Tuesday, September 2, recovering at home from injuries suffered in a bike accident on West Street on Labor Day. Rizzi was treated at the scene of the accident by Stoughton Police and Fire personnel, and then transported to a hospital in Boston. Snyder's Stoughton texted with her early Monday evening, and she was happy to hear that all her tests were negative, and that she'll be released for home on Tuesday.

Dr. Rizzi has been the town's Superintendent of Schools since 2009. A year earlier, she was named Assistant Superintendent of Schools. She came from the Hull School System.

We are VERY happy to hear she is doing ok. And, I know that dozens of residents showed their concern via Facebook Monday afternoon.





On April 1st, the same night that the Stoughton School Committee voted 4 to 1 to remove $342,000 from the teachers’ salary account, the Mass. Department of Labor Relations issued two new complaints against the  Stoughton School Committee for failure to bargain in good faith in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 150E, Section 10(a)(5).  The Department found probable cause that the Stoughton School Committee illegally refused to provide information to the Stoughton teachers and bargained in bad faith over a proposed change. 

The complaints reads:

“By the conduct described in paragraphs 21 and 23, the School Committee has failed to bargain in good faith with the Union by failing to provide the Union with prior notice and an opportunity to bargain to resolution or impasse about the School Committee's decision to change from a seven period day to an eight period day and the impacts of the decision on employees' terms and conditions of employment in violation of Section 10(a)(5) of the Law.

By the conduct described in paragraphs 21 and 23, the School Committee has derivatively interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed under Section 2 of the Law in violation of Section 10(a)(1) of the Law.”

The Mass. Department of Labor Relations had issued six (6) complaints against the School Committee for bad-faith bargaining in the past six months.

“It’s simply time for the school committee to bargain in good faith and settle the teachers’ contract.  The dysfunction must end.” said STA President Andrea Pires.

(Provided by Stoughton Teachers Assoc.)  


From Joyce Husseini, Chair, Stoughton School Committee:

Concerning the recent press release from the Stoughton Teachers’ Association concerning the probable cause findings:

Information requested by the union is routinely sent to the union president via “yard mail” – or sent to the school along with all of the other daily correspondence between schools.  Information requested had been provided, as is has been for decades using this method, but the union alleges it was not received.  The practice has now been changed requiring signature from the recipient.

The School Committee does have a proposal to change the school day at the High School from a seven period day to an eight period day.  An early proposal also asked for an additional 20 minutes added to the school day to accommodate this change, thereby changing the conditions of the contract.  The additional time was dropped several proposals ago.  We would still like very much to see an eight period day within the current school hours.  Changes have been made to the format of the High School schedule many times previously and the union has never insisted that they be bargained.  The School Council and the High School Principal suggested this change to help fix a scheduling system that is badly broken.  With the increase in requirements for graduation from the state (four years of physical education, three years of lab science), and Stoughton’s additional requirements (credits in Fine Arts, Information Technology, and Financial Literacy), it is difficult for many students to fit in the requirements along with all of the classes they feel are important to them.  Students are often faced with having to drop an Advanced Placement (AP) course in order to get a required PE or Computer course.  These are choices students shouldn’t have to make.

The current proposed eight period day:
Both sides met for the first mediation session last Wednesday.  Additional sessions had been scheduled and agreed upon by all for April 7, 8 and 9, yet the union has chosen to not utilize the Monday or Tuesday sessions.  Hopefully this is not just another delay tactic to stall the talks over implementation of the eight period schedule.  The people most hurt by this are the students and families.






Two teams in the Stoughton High School Destination Imagination Club have qualified to compete against 14 different countries at the Global Finals in Knoxville, TN in the Technical and Structural competitions.

SHS Team DIesel, with Amanda Glickman, Hunter Goodrich, Deana Sanford, Emma Sinkus, Guy Eddy, Katie Cellucci and Samantha Tullis~.

SHS Team R.E.E.L., with Sarah Purcell, Elizabeth Sloane, Jenna Morris, David Bunce-Grenon, Leslie Camilo and Nick Quatrucci.

Help send them to Globals on May 21-24! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-send-these-kids-to-globals

Photo credit: Jeffrey Pickette/Stoughton Media Access

Picture: Team DIesel... Back row: Guy Eddy, Hunter Goodrich, Samantha Tullis, Katie Cellucci,  IN FRONT: Amanda Glickman,  (Seated) Deana Sanford, Emma Sinkus

Picture (jungle): Team R.E.E.L.  Elizabeth Sloane, Jenna Morris, Dylan Freitas, Sarah Purcell, David Bunce-Grenon, Nick Quattrucci.


National Junior Honor Society Service Project

The National Junior Honor Society is running a Spring Greening Service Project at the O'Donnell Middle School from March 31 - April 11, 2014 . The clothing drive for Cradles to Crayons is a collaboration with the NJHS and our Project 351 Ambassador, Amanda McGillicuddy, who is also a member of the NJHS. They are collecting gently used and new children’s clothing, and footwear for newborn sizes through adult size medium.





16 Stoughton High School Students Attended the State DECA Career Development Conference in Boston March 6-8, 2014.

Over 2000 students and 200 advisors attended from Massachusetts high schools. Some of the categories the Stoughton High School students competed in were in the area of finance, marketing, retail and hospitality and quiz bowl.  

Jonathan Kerman, a junior, qualified to attend the National DECA Competition in May in Atlanta, Georgia in his category called Marketing Management Series. Over 15,000 students will be competing at the national level.




STA members jammed last night's school committee meeting (3/11) to show support for STA President Andrea Pires who was once again denied the right to speak. 

During the public comment portion of the agenda, Andrea asked, "Chairman Husseini, Members of the School Committee and Superintendent Rizzi: My name is Andrea Pires.  I am the President of the Stoughton Teachers Association and I respectfully request the right to be heard." 

After SC Chair Husseini denied the request, the STA  members read the speech below in unison and then left the room.   It was powerful!

"We are the Stoughton Teachers Association.  Since December, we have asked to be placed on the School Committee agenda on four occasions and all four times we have been denied.  When you deny us the right to speak, you silence every educator in the Stoughton Public Schools. We represent the educators who still must live at home with their parents because they can't afford to pay rent and pay their student loans. We represent the teachers who struggle to make ends meet, but who willingly spend $500 or more on classroom supplies for their students.
We represent the teachers who feel that your proposals devalue our profession and deny our passion. We represent the educators who must earn a master’s degree within their first five years. We represent many educators who attended the Stoughton Public schools and who now teach in Stoughton. We represent the 177 educators who are owed over $350,000 in step increases that you have illegally withheld. We represent 350 educators who continue to arrive early and stay late for their students despite the way they are being disrespected and mistreated by the superintendent and the school committee. We represent 54 STA members and their families who pay taxes and vote in Stoughton. We will not be silenced in the voting booths. We are the Stoughton Teachers and we demand to be heard."

(Provided by Marlene Silva, via Facebook)



The Stoughton Woman's Club 54th Annual Spelling Bee was held at the O'Donnell Middle School on March 13, 2014. Forty-two students in grades six through eight competed for the top speller. Coordinating the event was English Language Arts teacher, Alison Mezzetti.

1st place winner: Hassan Khan
2nd place winner: Jacob Sigel
3rd place winner: Brendan Campbell

Presenting the awards from the Woman's Club: Nancy Urell, president, Alice McGibbon, treasurer, and Selectman Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh.

(Photo by Kathleen Wasik)


61 SHS students will be competing in the regional Destination Imagination Competition at the Whitman-Hanson High School on Saturday March 15th.  

The students work on their projects throughout the year but most of them will only compete one time! They work at their problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills all year for a single 8 minute performance.  

More information about SHS' DI program, including the different challenges they will be competing in, can be found on their website: http://www.shsengineering.org/destination-imagination.html.





Dear Parents,

We are writing to update you on the status of our contract negotiations.  At our last bargaining session, the Stoughton Teachers Association and the School Committee mutually agreed to enter into contract mediation.  A private mediator has been mutually agreed upon and, subject to the mediator’s availability, our first session is tentatively scheduled for April 2nd.   Although a mediator does not have the authority to compel either side to move, it is our sincere hope that the mediator can assist us in reaching an agreement on a successor contract.

As of today, there are still one hundred and seventy-seven teachers whose step increases have been illegally withheld by the school committee and the superintendent despite a finding of probable cause that the law has been violated by the Massachusetts Division of Labor Relations.  By our estimate, Stoughton teachers are owed over $375,000 at this point in time and the amount increases with each paycheck.  It is regrettable that so much of the taxpayers’ money is being spent on legal fees to defend the indefensible.

Since our last update in December, the STA has filed three additional Unfair Labor Practice charges with the Massachusetts Division of Labor Relations. These charges are in response to the school committee’s failure to bargain in good faith; their refusal to provide information, and a unilateral change in policy in an attempt to interfere and restrain the union from speaking at school committee meetings

STA President Andrea Pires has requested the opportunity to publicly address the School Committee three times and has been three times denied.  The STA will, once again, be requesting the right to speak on March 11, 2014.  Please join many of our Stoughton teachers who will be attending the meeting to support Andrea and the STA Bargaining Team.

Lastly, we would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the parents who have supported the teachers throughout this crisis.  Having to fight for a contract that is fair and acknowledges our contributions to Stoughton Public Schools is disappointing but the signs we see around town, the friendly emails we receive, and the kind smiles and words have been truly uplifting.


The STA Bargaining Team

Andrea Pires, Grade 5, South School
John Gunning, Grade 7, O’Donnell Middle School
Lynne Bonarrigo, Special Education, O’Donnell Middle School
Melanie Ingrao, Social Studies, Stoughton High School
Ken Kalen, Grade 4, Gibbons School
Mollie O’Connell, Social Studies, Stoughton High School
Susan Rock, Nurse, Hansen School




The Stoughton High School hosted the Regional Science Olympiad Competition on Thursday February 27th. Eighteen of SHS students competed in 5 events: Astronomy, Boomilever, Compound Machine, Dynamic Planet, and Forensics. Nine SHS students won medals for outstanding performance in their events. The top-ranking students were: Adren Tran who won Gold in the event Boomilever, Patrick DeFreitas and Steven Borst who won Gold in the event Compound Machine, Abbie Roane and Kristina Nguyen who won Gold in the event Forensics, Joseph Souto and Peter Carofiles who won Silver in the event Astronomy, and Will Longwe and Brian Kavanagh who won Bronze in the event Dynamic Planet. The next competition is the Science Olympiad State Tournament on Saturday, March 22 at Framingham State University.




Stoughton High DECA Students Make a Big Impact at Districts!

13 SHS students received an award at Thursday's District Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Competition, which qualifies them to participate in the 56th Mass-DECA State Development Career Conference and Competition in Boston, MA.

Almost half of the students who competed in our District competition on January 30th are eligible to advance to the State DECA Competition on March 6-8th at Marriott Copley Place in Boston, Ma. Approximately two-thousand MA-DECA students will be competing from Massachusetts at this competition.

Overall, we had twenty-seven SHS DECA members attending the District conference held at the Holiday Inn, Mansfield, MA. Over 450 students competed from area high schools to qualify for the next round of competition from our District. Our students were all “Dressed for Success” and had a lot of fun competing and provided support and encouragement to each other as they prepared for their role-plays. I am very proud of all of our students who participated! ~writes Mrs. Ciccatelli, SHS DECA Advisor.

The following thirteen SHS students received an award on Thursday, January 30th at our DECA District Competition becoming eligible to attend the State DECA conference. Four others will attend the State DECA conference as part of the Stoughton High DECA Quiz Bowl Team. Stoughton High received three first place medals, two second place medals and six third place medals, two fourth place medals in the following categories:

First Place
Donyea Holloway – Business Services Marketing
Jonathan Kerman – Marketing Management Series
William Longue – Principles of Business Management

Second Place
Craig Goodrich – Quick Serve Restaurant Management
Julia Sjoquist – Retail Merchandising

Third Place
Corey Ayochok – Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Dan Armany – Principles of Marketing
Jesse Miller – Accounting Application Series
Jason Marshall – Finance Service Team Decision Making Event
Peter Cariofiles - Finance Service Team Decision Making Event
Kaitlyn Eckler – Restaurant and Food Service Management

Fourth Place
David Cellucci –Retail Merchandising
Robbie Gair – Retail Merchandising

Quiz Bowl Team
Ashley Chipman
Jessica Greer
Hannah Quinn
Olivia Leonard





 Representatives William C. Galvin (D-Canton), Louis L. Kafka (D-Stoughton), and Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) today announced that they will go before the Stoughton School Committee at their meeting on Tuesday, January 28 th, to formally relay that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) will be extending an invitation to the Stoughton Public Schools at their January 29 th Executive Board Meeting to join the MSBA’s Eligibility Period, the first step toward town eligibility for tens of millions of dollars of state money and expertise for the renovation of the existing or construction of a new Stoughton High School.

Being invited into Eligibility Period is not the approval of a project. Moving forward in the process requires further collaboration between the District and the MSBA.

“This is incredibly exciting,” said Representative Kafka. “Our foot is now in the door and we have the ball rolling towards a badly needed new high school. I look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Galvin, Senator Joyce, Dr. Rizzi, the School Committee and the community of Stoughton to make this a reality.”

“This is wonderful news for a community that truly deserves a new high school.  I have toured the building and met with school administrators and school committee members on numerous occasions to discuss the building’s condition.  I have also received hundreds of letters from Stoughton residents addressing their concerns that the current building does not allow teachers to deliver a 21 st century education.  I agree, and I shared these sentiments with the MSBA on numerous occasions.  I am so pleased to deliver the news that the MSBA has put Stoughton on their agenda.  The school committee and school officials worked tirelessly in appealing to the MSBA, and they deserve a lot of credit for getting the project this far,” said Representative Galvin.

“I am completely committed to working with town leaders and Representatives Galvin and Kafka to make certain the MSBA supports our efforts to give Stoughton’s children a school that can provide them a world class education and a facility the entire community can be proud of,” said Joyce.

Stoughton School Committee member Deborah Sovinee said, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would not have happened without the efforts of our legislative delegation on our behalf. Thousands of parents and students contacted their offices and helped make the case for help on a desperately needed renovated or new high school. Joint efforts of support by Town Meeting members, and the Stoughton School Committee and Board of Selectmen were also critical in helping our legislators help us."

John Anzivino, Chair of the Board of Selectmen said, "I was thrilled to hear Stoughton was invited into the process to qualify to receive MSBA funding towards the renovation or rebuilding of Stoughton High School. While this is just the first step in a long process it is a major step forward for the Town."

“This invitation is the culmination of several years of hard work by our legislators, Ms. Sovinee, the School Committee, municipal officials, and many people in the town who have participated in this effort. The high school project will not only contribute immensely to the education of our students, but also to the revitalization of Stoughton. There is a long road of hard work ahead of us to bring this project to a successful conclusion. Let us begin,” said Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools.

Further information about the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the school building process can be found at their website, www.massschoolbuildings.org .

(Press Release provided by Sen. Joyce, Rep. Galvin and Rep. Kafka's PR Dept.)



Submitted by Joyce Husseini, School Committee Chair

Articles -
These numbers are all on the high end based on early work with the architect on the current accelerated repair projects.  The final numbers presented to FinCom are expected to be significantly lower.  Early issues with the window projects had projections for issues that were not found to be in the scope of the projects - the presence of hazardous materials on both of the window projects and estimates for full remediation that involved masonry removal and replacement turned out to include no issues at the Dawe and isolated issues at the Hansen that will not require the extensive abatement that was projected.  Final numbers reflecting these changes are not in yet but expected before these articles are presented to FinCom.  Likewise discrepancies in the projections on the West roof replacement are being further investigated by the OPM (Owner's Project Manager) assigned to us by the MSBA.  This number is also expected to be significantly lower.  The Gibbons window and roof replacement costs were estimated based on the same percentage increase over our study numbers to be conservative but will be adjusted as well when  final numbers are returned on the current accelerated repair projects.  The votes on all of these articles were 3 to 1 with Dr. Ural voting against on the Gibbons articles because he would prefer to see the SOI's submitted first and on the current accelerated repair articles because he objects to the School Facility Committee being the authority under which funds are expended.

Budget -
unanimous vote to bring a budget of $41,128,051 forward to the Selectmen - an increase of 4.02%

This budget includes many programs and positions which reflect the values of the School and District Improvement and Action Plans, including several new positions related to Special Education and programs that offer remediation and enrichment in an extended day format, including late buses for students involved in these programs.

SHS Musicians Perform at Honors Festival






SHS Band Wins 2013 New England Marching Band Championship


The SHS Marching Black Knights Band and Guard finished their 2013 competitive season by capturing the 2013 New England Scholastic Band Association Division IV Championship held at Lawrence High School on Saturday, November 2nd. The band and guard turned in their best performances of the year and scored a 95.2 earning them a platinum rating and a 1st place finish! The SHS Color Guard also won the Best Guard Award for Division IV. The 2013 New England Championship is the band’s 5th championship. The band was crowned NESBA Champions in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2009.


The Knights 2013 halftime show featured the Latin sounds of Miami with music from Gloria Estefan, Santana, Dizzy Gillespie and Will Smith. Local artist Steve Leahy designed and painted the backdrops of the Miami skyline and POPS parent George Gibson designed and built the staging for this year’s show. Band parent Bob Connor, Pit Crew Captain, led the enthusiastic parent volunteers at each show.


Band and guard members: Rachel Armany, Julia Awad, Alex Barros, Vandy Bontemps, Lisa Bontemps, Stevens Bontemps, Rachel Call, Leslie Camilo, Peter Cariofiles, Matthew Carlson, Brian Carlson, Allison Carter, Amelia Cochran, Matthew Colburn, Tess Connor, Megan Connor, Andrew Crean, Brandon Curran, Dieyniella daCosta Vieira, Peter DaSilva, Elaana DePina, Eoin Doherty, Vanesiah Dos Anjos, Elizabeth Eckhart, Rachel Estremera, DerekFaria, Niccolo Fiandaca, Michael Fetherston, Hannah Geary, Janelle Gibson, Katharine Gover, Connor Hay, Heather Cardella, Katherine Howe, Jamal Husseini, Darlene Irons, Antonio Irons, Brianna Ivaldi, Jonathan Julien, Rashad Khan, Brenda Lambert, Mathew LeBlanc, Danielle Lerette, Eric Levy, Hannah MacDonald, Chad Macomber, Kevin J McDonald, Tessa McKeen, Cassandra Melo, Mackenzie Munroe, Kristina Nguyen, Calvin Nguyen, Malina Nguyen, Connor Nye, Edmund O'Donoghue, Sarah O'Neil, Micah Pellegrini, Monica Peterson, Kara Ploss, Jonathan  Podesta, Adam Potter, Samantha  Roane, Abigail Roane, Ethan Rosenberg, Benjamin Sheehan, Corey Shore, Matthew Sinclair, Julia Sjoquist, Isabelle Solem, Jamie Solimine, Joseph Souto, Jarrod Sprague, Brendan Stebbins, Ryan Struck, Danielle Tarchara, Danielle Tessler, Caroline Tobin, Adren Tran, Samantha Turner, David  Twerago, Marissa Wade, Derek Westhaver, Theresa Widberg, Mikayla Williams, Cassandra Williams, Breanna Williams, Mariah Williams, and Joshua Williams.


Marching Band staff members: John Mange, John Kearns, Ann Dorgan, Danielle Olivier, Andrew Davey, Lindsay Heffernan, Bill Heffernan, Jennifer Walden, Cathy DeBruyn and Colin Jaros.


The band’s last appearance of the year will be at the Stoughton Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 7th.

(photos and story courtesy of John Kearns, Director of Fine Arts, Stoughton Public Schools)


The Stoughton High football team wasn't the only group that delivered an impressive victory last weekend! Led by senior sensation and singing prodigy Kassandra Melo, Outside City Limits captured this year's Open Microphone Competition held Sunday night at the Lansdowne Pub on Lansdowne Street behind Fenway Park.

The band, which also features Stoughton High seniors Dan Goldberg and David Elmowitz, finished first out of seven total acts that featured talent from both the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory of Music!

The Stoughton Trio is also part of the Ensemble program at Stoughton Music School, located right in Stoughton Center. Directed by Stoughton area native Mike Rubin, the Ensemble program at Stoughton Music has been in existence since April of 2010 and performs regularly at the Granite Rail in Quincy.

For winning, they got $200, and the promise of a future paid gig at the Lansdowne! In winning, they cruised through renditions of "Ain't No Sunshine", "Superstitious", "Dream On", and (a Melo solo) on "Landslide."

Owned and operated by Robert Tarchara, Stoughton Music has served the needs of local and national musicians since 1988, while also providing lessons to aspiring talent.
The program is currently looking for up and coming talent for shows and recordings.

For more information, contact  at 617-312-6123, email supabassmon@gmail.com or contact the store at 781-344-8772 or visit the store's web site at www.stoughtonmusic.com.

We'll be following the progress of Outer City Limits here.  All three talented musicians continue the Stoughton High tradition of musical excellence!

(courtesy photo)





The Stoughton Public Schools and the Stoughton Historical Society are pleased to announce that nominations for the 2014 Academic Hall of Fame for Extraordinary 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 20, 2013.

Review of applications will be made by a committee composed of the Superintendent of Schools, the Stoughton High School Principal, a member of the National Honor Society, and two members of the Stoughton Historical Society.

Nominations, which will be kept on file and eligible for annual review, should be
forwarded to: Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072.



SHS Marching Band Earns Gold at State Championships

Sunday October 27th, the Marching Black Knights continued their competitive season at the 2013 Massachusetts Instrumental Choral Conductors Association Marching Band State Championships held at Cawley Stadium in Lowell Massachusetts. Thirty-one bands from across the state performed for a very enthusiastic crowd. Competing in Division 4, the SHS Marching Black Knights were evaluated in five categories, Music Performance, Visual Performance, Percussion, Color Guard and Overall Effect. Bands are rated from a scale of one through five. The band earned a Gold Medal with a 5 Star rating of Superior. Only 8 bands in the state achieved a Superior Rating.

The band is led by student Drum Majors Darlene Irons, Peter Cariofiles, and Peter da Silva  along with Color Guard Captains Leslie Camilo and Corey Shore. SPS Fine Arts Department members John Mange and John Kearns are the high school marching band directors.  

(Story and Photos from John Kearns)



Stoughton High Marching Band Marches To The Top!


On Saturday October 5th, the SHS Marching Black Knights traveled to King Philip High School in Wrentham Massachusetts to compete in the US Bands Marching Competition. 

In their second and final appearance in the US Bands circuit, the Knights took First Place Honors in Division IV A. The band also captured all three caption awards, Best Music, Best Visual and Best Overall effect.

The following week, SHS Marching Black Knights competed at the NESBA Framingham competition on Sunday, October 13th at Bowditch Field. The band took first place in Division IV and earned a Gold Medal and the high caption awards in music, color guard, percussion and effect.

(Courtesy photos from John Kearns, K-12 Director of Fine Arts, Stoughton Public Schools.)

At left, Junior Leslie Camilo spinning with the guard. At right, Junior Peter Cariofiles conducting the band.


SHS Marching Band Season Starts On A High Note


The Stoughton High School Marching Band recently began their 2013 competitive season performing their field show “Welcome to Miami”. The Marching Black Knights show featured the songs “Rhythm is Going To Get You” and “Get On Your Feet” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine; A Night In Tunisia” by Dizzy Gillespie; “Novis” by Santana; and “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente.

The season began at Weymouth High School on September 21 st at the New England Scholastic Band Association Marching Festival. Ten high school marching bands from Swansea, Bishop Feehan, Falmouth, Bishop Kendricken, Shepard Hill, Somerset-Berkley, Weymouth, Oakmont-Overlook, Everett and Stoughton competed in NESBA's first competition of the 2013 season. Stoughton Marching Black Knights competed in Division Four, placing first and winning the Best Percussion, Best Visual, Best Music and Best Effect awards. The band also earned the highest score of the entire competition.

On September 28 th, the SHS Marching Black Knights made their second competitive appearance at the US Bands Marching Festival held at Medway High School.

Thirteen high school bands from 3 states performed for the enthusiastic crowd. Stoughton competed in the Division IV A class, which features bands with membership between 75 and 100 members. The SHS Marching Black Knights placed second behind Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. The Knights also earned the Best Music Award and the Best Overall Effect Award in the Division IV.

(Content and Photos provided by John Kearns, Director of Fine Arts for Stoughton Public Schools)



The Smelly MCAS/SPED Room

B202 Antiquated Heater

Guidance Office

SHS Room A 405

The SHS Technology Room

SHS Broken Lockers

These photos were taken by me during one of the SHS tours. Take one for yourself! I think it is imperative we get started on getting a new high school built in Stoughton. If you agree, there are things you can do to help.

MAKE CALLS to your Reps.


Tours of Stoughton High School facility:
Thursday October 10- 6PM and 7PM
Tuesday, October 15- 6PM and 7PM

(photos by Mark Snyder)


Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, whose contract expires on June 30, 2016, asked for an additional year, and got it. The School Committee extended her contract to June 30, 2017 at their October 8 meeting. The vote went 4-1 in favor. Dr. Erdem Ural couldn't understand why Rizzi needed an additional year now. He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "She already has almost three years left on her contract. Giving her another year is unneccesary. This is putting the horse before the cart--the committee did not perform her evaluation yet. Dr. Rizzi never answered my question of why she needed another year's extension." School Committee chair Joyce Husseini, in a statement released to the media, cited the results of the District Review, and noted that "alignment to the Common Core curriculum is complete at a time when many school districts are struggling to commit resources and manpower to this task."


Andrea Pires, Stoughton Teacher and President, Stoughton Teachers Association :  

"I will begin this with a tale of two towns.

Over this past weekend, I had an opportunity to speak with the President of the Milton Educators Association. Milton is similarly situated to us in that their teacher contract expired on August 31 st. The MEA held their general membership meeting last week and their members are beginning to engage in crisis activities very similar to ours.

This is what is happening in Milton.

When the Superintendent learned that the union was holding an emergency general membership meeting, she scheduled a principals’ meeting and asked the School Committee’s labor counsel to make a presentation on what the administrators should expect and what their role should be. The School Committee attorney told the principals to expect that the teachers will fight for the contract they believe they deserve. This can take many forms: petitions, demonstrations, work to rule, picketing, etc. The attorney told them that the law guarantees teachers the right to engage in these concerted activities and that it would be unlawful for any administrator to try to interfere, restrain or coerce the teachers when they exercise these rights. He told the principals that this fight is between the School Committee, central administration and the teachers and that they should stay out of it – “This is not your fight!” He explained that all contracts settle at some point and when all is said and done, the most important thing is that the principals and their teachers have a positive and trusting relationship so that they can move forward as a school.

This is what is happening in Stoughton.

The Superintendent is telling you and the principals that the STA is engaged in a work to rule. A "work to rule" is legal. Work-to-rule means that teachers fulfill their contractual duties, but no more. For example, often under work-to-rule, teachers arrive at school and leave school together at the contractually required time. Also, under "work to rule" teachers only do work that can be done during contractual time.

Contrary to the Superintendent’s assertion, we are not engaged in work-to-rule. For example, Stoughton teachers have continued to come to school early and stay late. We continue to work with our PTOs, write letters of reference for college, work on the SPS crisis team, and give extra help to students. Take a drive by any one of our schools tomorrow morning 30 or 45 minutes before the start of the work day and you will see many teachers’ cars in the parking lots as they have been since the day school started this year.

What we will not do, however, is raise our hands to volunteer for certain committees or teams.

We will NOT raise our hands to volunteer for 3 reasons:

1. We have hundreds of members who are being paid less than they are supposed to be paid. They have earned the right to advance a step on the salary schedule. You are refusing to pay it. This is unlawful.

2. You are proposing that 86 salaries of the 110 salaries on our salary grid be reduced. The salary grid you are proposing will put Stoughton in a position where we can no longer attract and retain great teachers. This will set our schools and, ultimately, Stoughton’s property values on a downward spiral from which they will never recover.

3. We still do not have a contract. At the same time you are saying that our salaries are "unsustainable", you are returning approximately $670,000 in unexpended funds to the Town. The facts contradict your premise. What messages does this send to your teachers? Your contradictory position does a disservice to our schools.

Rather than recognize teachers’ legal rights to engage in union activity like the Milton administrators, Superintendent Rizzi recently sent a memo to the principals with a copy to the SC chair addressing the issue of “Work to Rule.” In this memo, she directs principals to create a spread sheet so that the docking of teachers’ pay can be recorded. For the record, the teachers are not citing the Small Necessities Leave Act when they want to leave school early. The teachers are asking to leave early in the same way and for the same reasons as they always have. The only difference is that now their pay is being docked in retaliation. No matter how many minutes early the teacher leaves, the teacher will be docked one hour’s pay.

As a result of this directive, this is what is happening in our schools.

A teacher asked her principal if she could leave 10 minutes early to take her own sick child to a doctor's appointment. The principal said she could leave but she would be docked an hour's pay so she might as well leave an hour early. The teacher told the principal that she couldn't leave an hour early because she needed to get the children in her self-contained special education class on the bus safely.

A teacher asked if he could leave 5 minutes early to go to a dentist's appointment. The request was granted but the teacher was told that his pay would be docked for an hour. He and his wife who is also a Stoughton teacher, just had a baby. They now have two children under the age of 3. By the way, he was named Teacher of the Year last year by the VFW.

A pregnant teacher asked her principal if she could leave 15 minutes early to get to her obstetrician appointment in Boston. The principal granted permission but told her that her pay would be docked for an hour. This teacher, who will be taking some unpaid parenting leave this year to be with her newborn, cannot afford to be docked pay. Now she will have to schedule her regular required obstetrician appointments during the day and will have to call in sick. As a result, her students will be taught by a substitute teacher each time she must have an appointment with her obstetrician.

A teacher stayed 45 minutes late last week to finish an I.E.P. The next day she wanted to leave 5 minutes early to take her elderly father to a medical appointment. By the time the administrator in the office found the new form that teachers are now required to sign, it was 2 minutes early. This teacher was directed to sign the form that she was leaving early by 2 minutes. Her pay will be docked an hour. After 29 years of going the extra mile, she is very angry about it.

All of these stories are examples of illegal retaliation that is taking place systemically at the direction of the Superintendent. By anyone’s measure, a principal’s job is extremely demanding and challenging. Successful principals know that it is absolutely essential they have the positive relationships built upon trust, cooperation and respect to move a school forward. In this case, principals are being put in the middle – deputized in a war against the teachers. This will strain and fray relationships at the building level. Some will recover and some will not.

In closing, we hope that you will reflect upon these two communities and ask yourselves which of the two communities would you want your own children to attend school? Which community is more likely to have future success? Finally, what are the qualities that you value most in a leader?"


Joyce Husseini, Stoughton School Committee Chair:

The School Committee and the Stoughton Teacher’s Association are in the midst of protracted contract negotiations for a contract that expired on August 31, 2013. Protracted through no fault of the School Committee. These negotiations are important not only to the teacher’s union but also to the Town. Within these negotiation, we are discussing a salary grid. In this salary grid, there is a long history of steps, lanes and longevity; terms that I do not think most of the public fully understand.

As a School Committee member I represent the interests of all parties involved in the operation of the school district; the teachers, the staff, the administration, and most especially the students, the parents, and the taxpayers. I weigh the impact on every stakeholder in making policy decisions, in making budget decisions, and in making contract decisions. We are all taxpayers. We all understand the importance of a town budget that addresses infrastructure, public safety, and economic development. Stoughton needs to start concentrating on funding economic development, on home values and the value of our schools. In our budgeting we need to look at all of our expenses, including how we structure salary schedules, so that we provide for the welfare of our employees, maintain our aging building stock, and provide a high quality education for our students.

Contrary to the union president’s claim, we are not offering a salary structure that is a salary cut. 60% of the teachers are currently receiving an average increase of 4.9% before any new programming or educational incentives. The union is proposing a 2.75% annual raise for the next three years. Under their proposal, 60% of our teachers would see a yearly increase of at least 7.75%, or 23.25% over the course of the three year contract. For most taxpayers in this town those numbers are difficult to accept. The Town’s proposal is to bring the annual steps down to 3% from 4.9%. This is being represented by the Union’s bargaining team as a pay cut. Who among us would not be happy with a 3% raise. Don’t you think a 4.9% raise in one year is excessive?

The School Committee has heard the Teachers’ concerns that our proposed pay scale would not attract and retain talented young staff. We proposed an amended schedule that increased the starting pay of a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree by 10% ($44,785) with step increases of 3% each year for 19 years. This addressed their concerns while still allowing our young teachers to afford to buy a home, start a family, and in general make a living wage.

In addition, the Town’s new schedule would ensure that any teacher for whom the new step would be less than their current step would be moved up to a higher step. No one would be financially harmed and no one would make less money than they are now. In fact, the Town’s proposal would allow younger teachers to make significantly more than they had previously and would provide for salary increases for those presently at maximum .

The Committee has in fact made a very difficult decision to not pay step increases on the old salary schedule because the negotiation of new steps is a large part of our proposals. The union filed an unfair labor practice for the nonpayment of the old steps in July. Yet the decision to withhold the steps was not voted by the School Committee until days before the contract expired on August 31 st. The Committee’s view is that the union had made a decision to not negotiate over a new step structure long before the contract expired.

And contrary to the union president’s statement, we have not asked for a reduction in sick time.

Unfortunately, the union has directed its members to cease any volunteer activity other than writing college recommendations and reviewing college essays. While they are well within their rights to not put in additional hours outside of the contractual day, there are many activities that have normally been part of the teacher’s day. These important activities include participation in data teams, literacy teams, and building based support teams that meet during school hours that have had no participation this school year. These teams provide essential services to our students and normally involve a dozen or more teachers at each building. I ask our teachers to consider what the term volunteer means and to stop boycotting those services which directly impact students. I ask the Union officers to please make sure that your message as to which volunteer activities are allowed is communicated to your membership. I have heard reports directly from your members about not being available for after-school help for students and I know that this is not consistent with your professionalism and the message you intended to send the School Committee. I do believe we can find a common ground, but it will involve all of us coming to the table, conversing openly and honestly, and solving the issues at hand.





Pat's Defensive Star McCourty Pays a Visit to O'Donnell Middle School

The Pats star visited O'Donnell Middle School to reward the students who took part in the summer reading program, where 2090 books were read by the sixth to eighth grade students there.


Here's a video, by SMAC's Jeff Pickette, with highlights of the visit. Photo is also by Jeffrey.



Stoughton Police Officer Sheanna Isabel is the newest School Resource Officer for the O'Donnell Middle School. Pictured with her is long-time school resource officer Roger Hardy.



Kassandra Melo, a senior at Stoughton High School, won the first round of an open mic competition held Sunday night at the Lansdowne Pub right behind Fenway Park and next to the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street. She was accompanied by Dan Goldberg on acoustic guitar, also a senior at Stoughton High.

Finishing first out of 10 total contestants, some of Melo's competition included current and recent graduates of the Berklee College of Music.

A high honors student at Stoughton High School, Melo is also a member of several choirs, including jazz, show and concert choir.

A participant of the Ensemble Program at Stoughton Music School since April of 2010. Melo advances to the championship round, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 20th at 8pm. She'll be performing with members of her band Outside City Limits (which also includes Goldberg and David Elmowitz), who are also a part of the Ensemble Program at Stoughton Music.

(photo courtesy of Peter Nakili)



Educators were shortchanged in paychecks distributed Thursday, the Stoughton Teachers Association has charged.

In a news release they wrote:

" The school committee and superintendent refused to pay contractually guaranteed rates, which the STA contends is a violation of the law.

In June, school Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi and the Stoughton School Committee told the STA that teachers would not receive their previously approved step increases, meaning salaries would not be increased for length of service, after the current contract expires and while a new contract is negotiated. But the STA, in an attempt to avoid taking legal action, pointed out that past practice and state law require that terms and conditions of employment (including step increases) must remain unchanged until a new contract is negotiated and that educators are entitled to the step increases established in the contract that expired Aug. 31.

The STA filed a charge of prohibited practice with the state Department of Labor Relations and an investigation is scheduled for Sept. 23.

 “This is yet another example of the district disrespecting teachers by failing to honor its obligations,” said STA President Andrea Pires.  “The salary schedule in the contract that just expired is supposed to be in effect until we reach a new agreement. I am concerned that the school committee is making it harder to reach that agreement as it continues to bargain in bad faith and treat teachers this way.”

Pires also expressed concern that the administration’s persistent violation of the law is creating a situation where vital resources are being  diverted from the classroom to pay for legal fees for an attorney to defend the unlawful actions of the superintendent and the school committee.

Last month, the Department of Labor Relations found probable cause that the school committee violated the law when failing to negotiate with the STA over a schedule for training sessions for the new teacher evaluation system.  The investigator further found probable cause that the administration illegally interfered in union business.  A hearing on that complaint is being scheduled."




The School Committee began negotiations with the Stoughton Teacher’s Association (STA) on February 4, 2013. We have met regularly up until our last bargaining session. At our last bargaining session on August 26 th, the School Committee’s negotiators offered to meet once more before the end of the contract and the beginning of the school year to present yet another proposal but that offer was turned down by the Teacher’s Association. The School Committee did offer another proposal by email on August 30 th. This offer was in direct response to the Teacher’s Association’s concerns that the School Committee was not doing enough to attract and retain new teachers. Since February 4 th there have been three substantive offers on the table by the School Committee. Each offer presented a fair but new salary plan that included increases which are equitable and also sustainable in light of budgetary constraints. The STA made no movement to come to resolution. In fact, the STA filed their Unfair Labor Practice against the School Committee for non-payment of steps on July 11, 2013, demonstrating that they had no intention of having a negotiated contract in place for the beginning of the school year.

On the opening day of school, Andrea Pires, STA President, told the teachers that the School Committee was proposing a cut in pay, a longer school day, and less sick days. This is a gross misrepresentation of the School Committee’s proposals. The latest proposal has a base pay and step structure that increases the starting salary of a new teacher by 10% and increases pay for teachers at the top step by 1%. This is without any consideration for other contractual increases in compensation such incentives for new programming or educational advancement. The Committee’s plan spreads the increase over a few additional steps, thereby reducing our yearly escalation in our salary line in the budget. No one will be taking home less money than they did the year before, and many will be taking home substantially more. We have asked to increase the school day at the Middle and High School levels by 40 minutes per week (eight minutes a day) to allow us to overhaul the High School schedule and thus be able to offer our students an opportunity to take more electives. This proposal would allow our students to fit in desired classes that are often bumped from their schedules due to conflicts. At all levels we are working to build more teacher collaboration time into the schedule. And lastly we have not proposed the elimination of any sick time, rather the tightening of reporting and documentation of sick time in excess of three consecutive days. This is in large part to answer to the rampant abuse of sick time that has for too long infected the culture of the system. This pattern of abuse was recently highlighted in our District Review by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The tactic of the Teacher’s Association in filing numerous unfounded complaints, Unfair Labor Practices, and grievances timed with the expiration of their contract is not new. It is a common tactic used by the statewide Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA). It is an intimidation tactic used to try to gain public support and sympathy. In the past they have used political demonstrations, votes of no confidence, and work to rule practices to garner attention. These practices are extremely irresponsible and only hurt our students. We are deeply troubled that the Association has stooped to these radical tactics to win what they could not gain at the bargaining table. These hurtful tactics only benefit the Association while damaging the finances and reputation of the Town of Stoughton. The School Committee is extremely grateful for the overwhelming support in the town for the schools, including our most recent efforts to secure funding for new school facilities. While Ms. Pires has already asked her union membership to cease all but a limited number of volunteer activities, the School Committee is ready to continue to bargain a fair agreement for the teachers and the taxpayers.

All of the other School bargaining units in the schools have reached agreement and had ratified fair agreements, including the Unit B administrators (Vice Principals and Directors) which are also represented by the MTA. All completed collective bargaining contracts, including the expired Unit A contract, will be posted to the school website at:


We are grateful that the other unions worked with us to come to agreement on equitable contracts that offer our employees a reasonable increase of 2.5% now and into the future. These agreements provide long term predictability and sustainability, and provide security for our employees. The School Committee and administration deeply value our teachers and want to continue attracting first choice teachers into the system by continuing to offer competitive salaries. We urge the Teacher’s Association to share with its membership the entirety of School Committee proposals, and to come to the table prepared to work towards resolution of the contract.





State board issues complaint
against Stoughton School Committee


The state Department of Labor Relations found probable cause that the Stoughton School Committee violated the law by unilaterally implementing new policies affecting teachers’ work schedules and interfering in the business of the Stoughton Teachers Association.

“Over the past four years, the school committee and the administration have ignored the contract and the law on numerous occasions, so we are pleased that the labor board found probable cause that they broke the law and failed to bargain in good faith,” said STA President Andrea Pires.  

The labor board issued its complaint of prohibited practice on Aug. 22 after investigating an unfair labor practice charge the STA filed in February. Amid negotiations last year to set up a training schedule for a new teacher evaluation system, the Stoughton School Committee unilaterally determined that all training sessions would take place outside of contractual hours, and that teachers would not be paid for their time. The investigator further found probable cause that the administration illegally interfered in union business.

"This was all avoidable because ultimately the school committee and administration agreed to schedule the training during work hours.  After we filed the original charge, we began negotiations for a new contract and, regrettably, the school committee and administration have continued to find new ways to violate the collective bargaining law.  As a result, the STA intends to pursue the original charge and has filed a new unfair labor practice charge," said Pires.

 A formal hearing is expected to take place in January.

In a related matter, Nicholas Chalupa, Investigator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Labor, said he did "not find probable cause to believe that the School Committee violated the law in the manner alleged" and dismissed another portion of the charge.

Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, tells Snyder's Stoughton, "There can be a lot of confusion about the Labor Relations Commission process.  When a party files a complaint, as the STA did in this case, there is a pre-hearing conference at which time a hearing officer decides if the case is even worth hearing at that level.  Most of the time the case is moved on to hearing.  It is exceedingly rare for the responding party ( School Committee in this case) to get a complaint dismissed at the first level.  What this document means is that the hearing officer decided that there was enough to examine or find facts about to have a hearing in this matter.  It does not mean that there has been any finding of fault whatsoever, only that the matter is worth a hearing in the mind of that hearing officer, and so he has moved if forward to the hearing stage.  Nothing, in short has been decided, except that a hearing should be held on the Union's allegations."

It should be noted that the contracts of Stoughton teachers expires this weekend.



Dawe School Flag Day Celebration

The annual Flag Day Celebration was celebrated with songs and poetry readings at the Dawe School on Friday, June 14 at 1:30 in the afternoon. The weather miraculously cleared and the event was held outdoors by the flagpole.

Each grade level performed several patriotic songs and read poetry. Mr. Barner also gave a lot of fun facts about the flag to the school. Under the direction of music teacher Mrs. D’Angelo, the entire school sang all of the traditional patriotic music such as Star Spangled Banner, America, America the Beautiful, and God Bless America. This celebration is a culminating activity for the study of America through song and readings. It is a wonderful event for the whole school to participate in.

Pictured above is the third grade class that made their “Yankee Doodle Hats”. They also performed their recorders and sang at the celebration.






Mazie Loayza , a first grader at the South Elementary School in Stoughton, was one of 12 regional winners of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) annual “My Ideal School” contest sponsored by Sovereign Bank. The contest asks first grade students to draw their ideal school and write a short essay describing three things they love about their school. Over 2,500 first grade students from across the Commonwealth participated.

“Here are the 3 things I love about my school,” Mazie wrote in her essay. “ (1) I love my teacher because she is smart, gorgeous and cute. (2) I love phys ed because we did jump rope for heart and we helped people’s hearts. (3) I love computers because we learn and after learning we do activities if we have time."

“We are proud to work with the State Treasurer’s Office and the School Building Authority to be the primary sponsor and supporter of such a positive event over the past seven years,” said Pat Packard, Sovereign | Santander director of government banking. “Our combined efforts have helped to make for many happy first graders, parents and family members.”

“We were delighted to receive thousands of submissions for the My Ideal School contest and were deeply impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm of students from across the Commonwealth,” said Treasurer Grossman. “This contest is a great opportunity for us to engage schoolchildren because it offers them the chance to demonstrate their ideas and imagination in a thoughtful and artistic way.”

The 12 winners received awards at a State House ceremony attended by State Treasurer Steven Grossman, chair of the board of directors of the MSBA. Winners were awarded a check provided by Sovereign Bank, which has sponsored the event for the past seven years.

“The primary goal of the ‘My Ideal School’ contest is to promote discussion among students and teachers as to how thoughtful design and construction of schools in Massachusetts supports student learning,” said Jack McCarthy, MSBA Executive Director.



Stoughton High Students Earn High Marks on Prestigious National Language Exams


As has been tradition for many years now, Stoughton High School students took part in prestigious national language exams in Spanish, Latin, and French earning high marks in all three languages. The exams are a time-tested method for assessing proficiency in the language and they represent one way to gauge a student’s fluency level based on reading, listening, speaking, vocabulary, and grammar. Because the exams are rigorous, they have long been used to prepare students for other national exams such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam, the SAT, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

The National Spanish Exam, whose mission is to recognize Spanish language achievement and promote the learning of Spanish, is the most widely used test of language acquisition in the United States. This year, over 180,000 students took this exam and 18 Stoughton High students received national recognition for their high scores on the exam. 9 th grader, Adam Potter, scored highest with a Premio de Plata or Silver Award on the Spanish 2 exam, followed by Christina Solem, who received a Premio Bronce or Bronze Award on the level 5 exam. Additionally awarded Premios de Bronce were Kaitlin Elwood and John-Paul Noé on the level 3 exam, Darya Musatova for level 2, and David Mallock for level 1. A Premio de Excelencia for success on the exam went to the following students: Taylor Ewing, Niamh Fennessy for level 5; Shannon Hickey, Brian Kavanagh, Ashley Merola, Ethan Rawl, and Michaela Sullivan for level 3; Mikayla Berteletti, Nicholas Khuu, Brian LeBlanc; Raj Patel for level 2; followed by Maikel Beshara for level 1.

The National Latin Exam, jointly sponsored by the American and Junior Classics Leagues, promotes scholarship in the Latin language and the history of Latin-speaking countries. The exam covers a wide-breadth of history and language acquisition. This year, over 150,000 students took the exam world-wide. 23 Stoughton high students received various honors for their high scores. For the Latin Prose category, Adam Lurie was awarded Maxima Cum Laude or Silver and Will McGrath was awarded a Cum Laude honor. In the Latin I category, Darya Musatova, Raj Patel, and Kathleen Walsh were awarded Summa Cum Laude or Gold while Michael Fetherston, John Paul Noe, and Brian Carlson were awarded Maxima Cum Laude. In this same category, both Lara Deb and Ariana Riske received Magna Cum Laude recognition and Cum Laude winners included: Emily Wilson, Conner Nye, Monika Benson and Shanel Ford. In the Latin II category, the following students were honored with awards: Samantha Langmead achieved Maxima Cum Laude, Jacqueline Hausman, Rachael Kimball, and Mikaella Dutra received Magna Cum Laude while Manahil Mir earned Cum Laude. In the Latin III exam category, Peter DaSilva achieved Summa Cum Laude while Danielle Fountain was awarded Maxima Cum Laude. Additionally, Niccolo Fiandaca was awarded Magna Cum Laude in the Latin III category and Jonathan Clerveaux was awarded Cum Laude status for their outstanding performance on this exam.

Stoughton High School students also performed admirably on the National French Exam (Le Grand Concours). This exam, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French, seeks to promote French language and cultural literacy in the United States. In 2013, over 95,000 students took the exam nationwide. 15 Stoughton High students scored impressively with Destiny Delarosa who received a Certificate de Mérite on the level 5 exam. Marie Maillet and Lancy Desir also placed well on the level 5 exam with a Certificate de Réussite. On the level 3 exam, Katherine Jolley received the Certificate de Honneurs while Shannon Barkey, Sierra Watson, Evan Schulze, Jennifer Nye, and Joseph Souto received the Certificate de Réussite. Mackenzie Finnerty was awarded a Certificate de Honneurs for her performance on the level 2 exam. These students were awarded chapter winner status for their high marks well above the median percentile on this rigorous exam. The Lauréat National or National Winner status is awarded to students who rank exceptionally within the top ten percent of test takers nationwide. This award was received by Rochnard Raymond who placed third in the national ranking for the level 5 exam. On the level 2 exam Amanda Mellyn received the Lauréat National. Danielle Tessler and Alyssa Ferrandiz also achieved the Lauréat National for their performance on the level 1 exam.

The students’ high scores on these exams can be attributed to both their hard work and their parents’ guidance and support. However, one can also trace these same students’ success to the hard work, determination, and skill of their world language teachers in grades 7-12. Stoughton High School students continue to perform well because of the districts’ focus on a global-21 st century education which at its core fosters international understanding through language acquisition and cultural proficiency. Congratulations to all of the award winners and to their families, as well as the Stoughton Public Schools’ faculty that guided them to victory!






OMS Jazz Bands Perform at the MAJE Middle School Jazz Festival

The Music Department hosted the 2013 MAJE Middle School Jazz Festival on Thursday, May 9th at Stoughton High School. This festival was sponsored by the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education. Middle school bands from Stoughton, Mattapoisett, Easton, Hull, East Bridgewater, Norwood, Rochester, Medfield, Needham and Foxboro attended this year's festival.

The 6th Grade Jazz Band, directed by Ann Dorgan, received a Silver Medal for their strong performance. Three 6th grade students were recognized for their individual performances and received Outstanding Musicianship certificates. Students who received  certificates included Hanna Holden on clarinet. Alessandra Loffredo on flute, and Andrew Elmowitz on the drum set.

The Wednesday Jazz Band, directed by John Kearns, earned a Gold Medal for their fine performance. Janelle Gibson, alto saxophone; Angel Camilo, bass; and Andrew Crean, tenor saxophone also received Outstanding Musicianship awards. 

After the each band's performance, students attended a clinic by one of the adjudicators at the festival. Jim O'Dell, Associate Dean of the Boston Conservatory, was the clinician for both the 6th Grade Jazz Band and the Wednesday Jazz Band. He is pictured above with the 6th Grade Jazz Band.


(Photo and story courtesy of John Kearns, Director of Fine Arts, Stoughton Public Schools)




The Stoughton High School Fine Arts Department will present their 2013 Spring Fling Art Show and Concert on Friday, May 17th. The Art Gallery will be open at 6:30 PM. The concert portion will begin at 7:30 PM in the auditorium. The concert will feature the SHS Choirs under the direction of Griffin Coombs and the SHS Bands directed by John Mange. The SHS Drum Club will be directed by Andrew Davey.

Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00, with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit http://www.spsfinearts.org/or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.

11 Stoughton Musicians at SEMSBA


Pictured (left to right): Courtney Weiner, Adam Potter, Jon Podesta, Stevens Bontemps, Vandy Bontemps, Connor Nye, Hannah Peterson, Isabela Solem, Samatha Roane, Allison Carter, Tess Widberg


Eleven music students from the O’Donnell Middle School and Stoughton High School recently participated in the 2013 Southeastern Massachusetts School Bandmasters Association Honors Festival. The festival was held at Rockland School on Saturday, May 4th. Stoughton High School Freshman Connor Nye performed with the Honors Orchestra. Trumpeter Hannah Peterson and trombonist Adam Potter, freshman at SHS, performed with the Honors Concert Band.

Eight O’Donnell Middle School musicians also participated in the SEMSBA Festival. 8th grade students Samantha Roane and Courtney Weiner, along with 7th grade students Isabel Solem, Tess Widberg and Alison Carter, performed with the Honors Treble Choir.

8th grade students John Podesta, alto saxophone; Vandy Bontemps, clarinet; and Stevens Bontemps, baritone saxophone, performed with the Honors Concert Band.

SEMSBA is music collaborative with 30 member schools in Southeastern Massachusetts. Students who are accepted to the Honors festival went through a comprehensive audition process before being invited to participate.

(photo and story provided by John Kearns, K-12 Director of Fine Arts, Stoughton Public Schools)




Stoughton in bottom 10%


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the combined SAT scores of all of the 351 Towns and Cities in Massachusetts. Of the 48 schools in the regional area, Stoughton High students finished 43rd, with a combined score of 1417. Sharon was first with a 1775. The only places with lower scores than Stoughton were Avon (1304), Brockton (1289), Randolph (1309), Holbrook (1292), and Wareham (1375). Neighbors scores included Braintree (1612), Canton (1573), Easton (1601), Norwood (1464), Quincy (1450), Weymouth (1494) and Walpole (1590). Obviously, socio-economic conditions, and the number of native English-speaking families enters into this equation, as well. But Marion and Rochester had the same scores, with the average house in Marion going for $552,700 and $335,705 in Rochester. Stoughton's average home goes for $272,752, according to the Mass. Dept. of Revenue. Sharon's goes for $419,720. The highest priced average home in the area was $858,072 in Cohasset, where the combined SAT score was 1667.

I requested, via text, comments from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rizzi, and members of the School Committee on these results, yesterday. I am still waiting for a response.

(Posted on April 22, 2013 @ 5:30 p.m. Written by Mark Snyder)



Timothy Norton, an engineering and robotics teacher at Stoughton High School, tells Snyder's Stoughton that one of the programs that he runs at Stoughton High called, "Construction Challenge." has done fantastic! He writes, "A couple weeks back, one of our teams placed second in the State and qualified to represent the State and compete against 47 other states and 14 different countries in the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee on May 21-26."

The students who achieved this amazing feat include Beth Sloane, Sarah Purcell, Jenna Morris, Mikey Cardoso, Leslie Camilo, David Bunce-Grenon, and Dylan Freitas. Congratulation to every one of them for making Stoughton High School standout throughout the entire State of Massachusetts!
The only caveat to this incredible showing is the enormous costs involved to get the Mr. Norton and the kids to Tennessee. He tells me, "We are approaching many of the local businesses telling them about what we do and, of course, asking for donations.  A trip like this is costing $10,000 and we only have a couple weeks left to raise all of the funds." The Prone Family Foundation has offered to pay for up to half of the costs incurred for the trip. "The Prone Foundation has stepped up and helped the kids like they always do. We have to pay by May 2nd.  I'm not sure without this generous donation we could have been able to raise the funds to send them," Norton added.  
20,000 students from elementary to high school are in the global finals.  Norton says, "We'll be competing against somewhere between 75 and 100 teams in our level of 'structural competition.'  They had to build an 8" tall structure that weighed less than 175 grams, and it had to be able to support compressional weight and torsional force."
Norton proudly stated that, "The structure for the State competition was only 41 grams and held 515 pounds, and was hit 12 times with torsional force before it broke. That's the science part of this. They also look for the creative, the artistic, and good public speakers.  The students also had to do an original narrative while this was all going on, making it one seamless story. They really have to be well-rounded students.  Jenna Morris won individual awards at regional and state for the 36 foot mural she designed. Their story was a superhero theme. They unrolled her mural to illustrate the scenes."  
Norton joked with Snyder's Stoughton that his kids should get Varsity Letters for what they do. "I have 35 kids, spending three or four hundred hours on this Challenge. For two months, they stayed at Stoughton High until 11 p.m. It's impressive to see the level of dedication these kids have.  It's also expensive to do. You have to buy a lot of supplies because they keep getting destroyed. They have to continually fix it and build new ones.     
If your business would like to help Stoughton's Construction Challenge team try to win the World Championship, contact Timothy Norton at t_norton@stoughtonschools.org.  Business checks can be made out to Stoughton High School.  Money orders are also acceptable. No personal checks can be accepted. Any amount helps. It all adds up!  Send it to Mr. Tim Norton, c/o Stoughton High School, 232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072. To donate online, go to www.igg.me/at/stoughtonDI. Don't forget, their deadline to pay for entry is May 2nd.



Once Again, Snyder's Stoughton reveals ALL:

2012 Municipal Salaries

2012 School Salaries

(information provided by Town Treasurer Donna Erickson)

Posted on march 28, 2013


Stoughton School Dept. Social Media Policy



The Story



According to Stoughton School Committee Chair Deb Sovinee, "The Stoughton Public School system is very close to going to one to one computing – one
student, one computing device - using mobile technology. Whether that will be using iPads, Chromebooks, Nexus, or some other version of a tablet/netbook remains to be seen.




DID YOU KNOW---the costs of Special Ed???


Term Two Honor Roll O'Donnell Middle School

Term One Honor Roll O'Donnell Middle School

2011 Stoughton MCAS Scores

Comparing 2008-2011 MCAS Scores




The Official Letter




Seventh grade students at Dr. Robert G. O’Donnell Middle School in Stoughton will soon be exploring North America in a big way — with one of the world’s largest maps of the continent . The map, measuring 35 feet by 26 feet gives student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography. It will be at O’Donnell Middle School from March 13, 2013 – March 15, 2013 as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program, organized by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society. The middle school was able to have access to the maps through a grant from Southeast Massachusetts Geography Network (SEMAGNET) out of Bridgewater State University.

The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map accurately illustrates North America’s oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, countries and capitals. The m ap, designed for grades K-8, comes with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of the continent as well as its rich history and varied cultures. One of the activities included is “A Tale of Twenty Cities,” in which students explore the physical and economic reasons behind the locations of North American cities.

“Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography,” said Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships for National Geographic Live. “Whether they are using the map to learn place names or to compare state-to-state CO 2 emissions, students are physically involved in a hands- and feet-on way that makes geography into an event.”

O’Donnell Middle School Principal Matthew Colantonio echoes this message: "At OMS we really emphasize experiential learning. This traveling map is a perfect example of how a hands-on learning activity can make a more meaningful experience for students -- plus they get to have fun as they learn."

National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa, and has since expanded to maps of North America, Asia, South America, and the Pacific Ocean. The maps measure 26 feet by 35 feet and are loaned to schools and other hosts with an assortment of activities. In the 2011-2012 school year it is estimated that more than 450,000 students interacted with one of these maps.

The maps also help showcase My Wonderful World, a multiyear, National Geographic-led campaign to improve geographic literacy and to help students become more informed global citizens. The campaign (mywonderfulworld.org) is designed t o improve the geographic literacy of young people ages 8-17 by motivating parents and educators to make geography more available and accessible in school, at home and in the community.

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, for borrowing information, or to download map activities, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/giantmaps.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.


Stoughton Music Department Presents 2013 Evening of Jazz

The Stoughton Schools Music Department will present their 2013 Evening of Jazz on Wednesday March 13th. The concert will feature the O’Donnell Middle School 6 th Grade Jazz Band, Tuesday Jazz Band (pictured) and the Wednesday Jazz Band. The concert will also feature the Stoughton High School Tuesday and Wednesday Jazz Bands, the SHS Jazz Choir and Jazz Combo.

The concert will be held in the high school auditorium and begin at 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00, with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit www.music.stoughtonschools.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.




SHS Music Department presents “Stoughton’s Got Talent” Talent Show

The Stoughton High School Music Department, in collaboration with Parents of Performing Students (POPS), is sponsoring it's First Annual "Stoughton's Got Talent" show on Friday April 12th, at 7:00 p.m. in Stoughton High School’s auditorium. If you sing, dance, play an instrument, play in a band, tell jokes, or do magic, this is the show for you! There are cash awards for the top three contestants: $150.00 for 1st, $100.00 for 2nd and $75.00 for 3rd place.

All residents of Stoughton and students of the Stoughton Public Schools are welcome to participate. There will be an audition night on Monday March 11th at the O’Donnell Middle School. For a registration form, please contact Donna Connor at: popsvolunteer@verizon.net. Registration forms for students of the Stoughton Public Schools can be picked up in the music room at each school. This could be your big break on the road to stardom!

For more information, please visit http://www.stoughtonfinearts.org or call the Fine Arts office at 781-344-7002 x 6171.





The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Alliance recently recognized eight 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 7–12 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 Awardis 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.

SHS Senior Ashley Andrade earned the Gold Key Award for her photography portfolio “Pediophobia”. Senior Samantha Delosh won a Gold Key Award for her painting “Julia”.

Silver Key Award winners include Senior Sam Butera for his painting “Berts”; Samantha Delosh for her painting “Happiness”; Junior Alec DeNapoli for his painting “Girl on Fire”; Senior Maria Lourie for her painting “A Taste of India” and Amanda Zacks for her photograph “Fading Repetition”.

Honorable Mentions award winners include Samantha Delosh for her digital art “Right is Right”; Sophomore Arman Leal for his digital artwork “Mr. Brightside”; Samantha Delosh for her painting “Self-Portrait” and Junior Emma Sinkus for her photograph “In The Wake Of Betrayal”.

Gold and Silver Key award winners have their works on display at the Massachusetts State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza in Boston. The exhibition will run February 11 th through Friday, April 19 th. The hours are Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. Gold Key Award winners will have their works forwarded to New York City for national evaluation. SPS Fine Arts staff members David Wall and Mark Craig are the art and photography teachers at Stoughton High School.




Michael Romanuk VFW Post 1645 announced the local winners of this year's National VFW competetive educational programs on January 9th. Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the VFW's premiere scholarship program.  Each year over 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.3 million in scholarships and incentives.  Students write and record a broadcast script on an annual patriotic theme.   This year 's topic was, "Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?"

Stoughton Historical Society's Past President Joe DeVito, who is co-chairman of the local Voice of Democracy competition with VFW 1645 Quartermaster Rudy Medeiros, tells Snyder's Stoughton that the First Place winner at Stoughton High School is Ashley N. Merola, 2nd Place winner is James E. MacDonald, and Third Place finisher is Joseph M Souto.

The Patriot's Pen is a youth essay contest giving Middle School students an opportunity to compose an essay expressing their views on Democracy.  This year's theme was "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers?"   First Place winner from the O'Donnell Middle School is Dylan Flynn, Second Place is Lauren E Sears, and Third Place is Mackenzie Lally. All winners will be recognized and receive their awards at the VFW Post 1645 annual Installation of Officers banquet on Sunday, May 19, 2013.



The national VFW recognizes America's  educators who instill a sense of national pride in  their students. Michael Romanuk VFW Post 1645 has announced that this year's Stoughton High School Teacher of the Year is Michael Ingrao (history). Their O'Donnell Middle School Teacher of the Year selection is Russell Clough (technology trainer) . All winners will be recognized and receive their awards at the VFW Post 1645 annual Installation of Officers banquet on Sunday, May 19, 2013.   Co-chairmen  for  this  VFW program  are Rudy Medeiros and Joe DeVito.

(Illustration of Russell courtesy of DigitalWish.com)


Stoughton Schools Technology Plan


Stoughton Science Olympiad Team Soars to Victory


If you walked through the halls of Stoughton High school Tuesday evening, you may have thought you were on the campus of MIT. In one lab students were analyzing satellite imagery, in another students were testing zero-emission vehicles, while around the corner investigators were gathering and analyzing evidence to solve a crime. These events are just a sampling of the exciting activities taking place as Stoughton High school hosted the third South Shore Science League Science Olympiad Meet of the season.

Stoughton earned the top spot with 58 points in this four-school event beating out rivals Medway (52 points scored) Bridgewater-Raynham (36), and Oliver Ames (21). The key to the success of the 25-member Black Knights team seems to be, appropriately enough, team chemistry. Team captain Tim McGrath explained, “We work really well together, the seniors and more experienced members help out and mentor the newer kids.” Michael Carey has been coaching the team for 26 years and agrees saying, “We have a nice mix of all grade levels, they all support one another and there is great enthusiasm among this team. We have a diverse group with a wide range of interests and areas of expertise.”

The team’s wide knowledge base and experience paid off as the Black Knights earned medals in every event. Kristina Nguyen and Joe Souto earned gold medals for Stoughton in the Remote Sensing event where they utilized remote sensing imagery to analyze information concerning Earth’s hydrosphere. Adren Tran and Tom Ward took silver medals while Ben Call and Igor Pryadko took the bronze in the Boomilever event in which they designed and constructed a catilevered structure for maximum efficiency. Stoughton also earned medals in the Gravity Vehicle event where students designed, constructed, and tested vehicles powered only by gravitational potential energy. Robert Blint and Christina Solem took 2nd place while the team of Alex Peixinho, Hunter Goodrich, and Christina Galyuk took 3rd place. Abigail Roane, Steven Borst, and Zackary DeNapoli combined to earn silver medals in the Experimental Design event, while Elias Tamarkin placed third in Forensics.

The team travels to Medway for the next event where they hope to have another strong performance. Senior Sheldon Oliveira commented, “It is very challenging but a lot of fun, I am really looking forward to the next meet and then states.” When asked if there was any additional effort to excel this year in light of Mr. Carey’s impending retirement in June, senior Nicholas Keith commented, “Mr. Carey is a great coach, and a good motivator and we want to win the league and do well at states for him.” To be sure, both Mr. Carey and the entire SPS community is proud of our award-winning team!

(Posted on December 23, 2012 @ 7:45 p.m.)

Courtesy photos and story from Janet A. Sullivan, K-12 STEM Curriculum Administrative Supervisor, Stoughton Public Schools

School Department's Presentation
to the Board of Selectmen

October 30, 2012

Watch It Here

(Photos by Mark Snyder)

Stoughton High School Hall of Fame of Academic Achievement
2012 Inductees~!


1973 Peter David Green

A Navel Officer, Engineer, Test Pilot, and Leader in the Defense

Services Industry. A career of making a difference in National Security.


1980 Lynda Ann Tyer-Viola, Ph.D.

A Nurse with a passion for caring for vulnerable others. A researcher and care provider, globally promoting the health and well being of women and children.




Stoughton High Musicians Play Outside Fenway Park

Four Stoughton High school students played outside of Fenway Park and About Town has the story!   Stoughton High 11th grader David Elmowitz and his band Outside City Limits played two sets of music at Lansdowne Pub immediately following Sunday's Red Sox game. Kassandra Melo, another 11th grader is the incredibly talented lead singer. David plays the drums, while fellow 11th grader Dan Goldberg is on guitar) and 12th grader Bret Guaraldi is on bass guitar.  Elmowitz told About Town, "We've been playing a couple of years together. I play in the jazz band at school. We've played in Quincy's Granite Rail, in Cambridge, and now in Boston.  We play Aerosmith, Maroon 5, Journey, and other classic rock. We have a couple of original songs, but mostly covers."

Stoughton residents who were there were full of compliments.  One told me, "The people couldn't believe how awesome the band was and mostly playing classic rock songs like 'Dream On" and "All Along the Watch Tower'."   One woma told Marlene Elmowitz (David's mom) "she couldn't believe the talent these kids had. She said  these kids are going places."

The reason that Outside City Limits got to play at the Lansdowne Pub was Kassandra.  She won an open mike competition, and won money and a time slot.  So, instead of doing the gig herself, she brought the band. And they rocked the house.  
Let's see what we can do about booking Outside City Limits in a Stoughton gig!




Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi announced on Friday, August 17, that Margaret Morgan was named principal of the West Elementary School. "I think she will make a great addition to our team and the school," she told Snyder's Stoughton. "An experienced principal will be a good, strong leader for that school. She will lead the school to a higher level of achievement." She was the principal of the Chocksett Middle School, and was Recipient of the 2012 MSSAA Edmund K. Fanning Middle School "Principal of the Year."






Parents, students, faculty & staff are invited to join the SHS Administration for a Meet & Greet on Wednesday, August 29th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the SHS Media Center.  Before the hustle and bustle of the school year begins, take this opportunity to meet the new Principal, Ms. Juliette Miller and the two Assistant Principals, Ms. Hope Fernandes and Mr. Michael O'Neil.  Light refreshments will be served.  Pop in and say hello.  We look forward to meeting you.




CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS WEST SCHOOL PRINCIPAL'S EXIT: In a letter to parents on Friday, Brendan Dearborn announced his resignation as principal of the West Elementary School to take a position in Walpole.

Just about six weeks from the start of the 2012-2013 school year (school starts September 5 for students in grades 1-12), Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi told About Town that there is already a job posting for the position of West School principal.

"We will be conducting a search. I'm sure we can find a good candidate," she said.

When asked about the possibility of an internal candidate, Dr. Rizzi replied, "we will do an open search."

Dr. Rizzi acknowledged it was late in the summer to be searching for a new principal. "It is late because of the time of [Dearborn's] move," she said. "It's not the first choice when looking for a principal. I'd rather start in February or March."

Dearborn had a controversial reign since becoming principal at the West in July of 2008.

He had followed principal Debbie Levitz, who was embroiled in a controversy about MCAS scores when she retired. Dearborn had been an assistant principal and a teacher at the school for three years prior to his appointment.

About Town learned that Dearborn had run into a buzz saw at the school, with concerned parents requesting a meeting to discuss problems at the  school, including issues with student safety, academic performance and communciation.

In a letter dated July 10, School Committee Chairman Deborah Sovinee had denied the request for the group of parents to come before the school committee, and instead had suggested they meet privately with her and Joyce Husseini to discuss the situation, along with school administration.

A survey revealed that the faculty at the West didn't have an effective process for making group decisions to solve problems. They were unable to get the ear of Dearborn, one told me.

A current teacher there, who didn’t want her name mentioned, said that Dearborn’s attitude toward the faculty was, “unless someone’s bleeding, don’t bother me.”

She said that any attempts to discipline students, by faculty or staff, were met with resistance by Dearborn. “He said ‘we don’t believe in punishment.’ By allowing the inmates to run the asylum, he crippled learning for anything. A gym teacher and special ed teacher who wanted discipline was told ‘the West School wasn’t the place for them.’"

She said a Title I reading teacher position was eliminated and there were plans to use that funding to hire a vice principal who would deal with discipline issues. At this point in time that was not instituted.

This teacher said "Mr. Dearborn was clearly a man with no vision.”

West School gym teacher Matt Bernstein, who was an outstanding coach in soccer for the middle school and high school, is leaving to teach in Easton.  What a loss this is for our town and our children. Bernstein didn’t want to speak about Dearborn.  He would only say, “I’m moving on. A lot of good things are happening for me. I’ve been able to land on my feet. Things have a way of working themselves out. I love coaching and teaching. They are my passions. I’m from Stoughton. It’s a town I love.  But, it’s time to move on.”

Dearborn’s farewell to parents on Friday was short, and even shorter on details: "I hope everyone is having a great summer! I write this email with very mixed emotions. I have recently accepted a Principalship in another school district. I have loved my time at the West School both as a teacher and as the principal. I have met so many wonderful families and children here over the last seven years that I will never forget. I wish all of you the best in the future and will miss the West."

Sovinee told About Town, "Brendan Dearborn is a gifted educator who will be missed. He is a truly caring and creative principal and I envy his new school. An example of his innovation is the Multiple Intelligence Camp which is so popular at the West School - over 160 children are enrolled there now, supplementing their school curricula by learning and being exposed to everything from art to science, as well as receiving a free lunch! I wish Mr. Dearborn all the best."

Ann Hopkins wrote in the comments section of a Patch article that the lunch program cited by Sovinee at the West School wasn’t Dearborn’s idea.

“Let it be known that it is Ed Gilbert, the head of food services for the town of Stoughton, who is the person who brought the free lunch program to the school system and who, along with the women who work in the cafeteria there, cook, serve and clean up after the children who take advantage of the program, despite the fact that there is no air conditioning in the school. Last week the temperatures in the building hit 90 degrees and yet this dedicated group of people cheerfully served lunches to many of the town's kids.”

Some parents have told About Town that a parent’s group at the West School is the reason for Dearborn’s exit, and that he was doing a great job there.

One told me that there is no way they will find someone as competent as him in the short time period that a search would take place. "He was just outstanding. Those parents continually complained and gave him a hard time. I don't blame him for moving on. They will never find anyone as dynamic as him."

Debra Cote, of the Concerned Parents of West School Group, denied her group had any responsibility for Dearborn’s exit. “The group never had any intention of attacking any employee or administrator in the school system. The group has clearly outlined its goals and they involve policy and planning requests so that the school can achieve the same standards of education that the other elementary schools in Stoughton provide," she wrote in the comments section on Patch. "The West School is rated a 3 out of 5 by the DOE, scores on MCAS have not risen and the school has not met its Adequate Yearly Progress goals since 2008."

A commenter named Theresa, another parent at the West, defended Dearborn. “They will never find a better person than Mr. Dearborn. Not only was he an awesome principal, but he also cared about the students. Never once did I ever worry about the safety of my children or their education while at the West. When my daughter was being bullied on the school bus in kindergarten by a second grade student, he took care of it by the next day. He will be missed dearly. My daughter is very upset about this.”

We wish him good luck in Walpole, and the same to whoever is recruited to take his place.

(Photo by Jacob Belcher/(c) Gatehouse Media NE)


Message from SHS Principal Matt Colantonio

Students who received a passing grade in a course but lost credit due to excessive absences are encouraged to sign up for Summer School to have credit restored. Students who have lost credit due to excessive absences are reminded that they must complete the four-week Summer School program, meet the Stoughton Summer School attendance requirements, and pass the course in order to receive credit. Sign up this week at Stoughton High School in the Summer School Office. The phone number for the Summer School Office is (781) 341 - 8844.    


Foreign Exchange Student Gets Into His Year @ SHS

Stoughton High principal Matt Colantonio writes, "AFS Intercultural Programs (formerly known as the American Field Service) would like to thank the Stoughton community for their wonderful embrace of our student from the Netherlands, Thomas Berntsen.  Thomas thrived at Stoughton High School making many friends, participating in the Mr. SHS pageant, and even learning the American sport of baseball.  Mary and Kevin Roane and their daughters, Abby and Samantha, welcomed him into their home as the newest member of their family.  We hope that the Stoughton High School family has had an equally positive and enriching experience getting to know Thomas."

As far as the experience, About Town spoke with Kevin Roane (it was easy--he lives across the street.) He told me, "Welcoming Thomas into our family has been a wonderful and interesting experience this year. There is no easy way to encapsulate the entire year.  Let it suffice to say that Thomas will always be a part of our family no matter where in the world we all are. It's been an absolute great experience. All positives."
Roane sent thanks to Stoughton High principal Matt Colantonio, "whose open mind and enthusiasm made the whole experience possible at the eleventh hour. Guidance counselor Barbara Regan, and Athletic Director Ryan Donahue were also invaluable to Thomas. Thanks also to all of Thomas' coaches in soccer, swimming, and baseball, and all of his teachers who supported him throughout the year.  Lastly, we would like to thank all of Thomas' new friends and their families who welcomed him into their lives.  There is no way to repay all of your kindnesses.  We simply hope that he has enriched your lives the way he has enriched ours.  Thomas will leave us on July 24th (we extended his stay by a month), and will continue on with his life in Amsterdam.  He has applied to a school of aviation in Amsterdam, where he hopes to study to become an aviation engineer."
The AFS program is currently seeking host families for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Local AFS Volunteer Robie McGowen writes, "We would love for another international student to be able to have an American experience at Stoughton High School.  In order for that to happen, AFS needs a family who is willing to open their home and hearts to a 15 - 18 yr old high school student from any one of over 90 countries. This family would provide a bed and meals, share their daily lives with the student, and help guide and support them as they would their own children.  Local AFS volunteers will provide training and support throughout the year to the family, student and school to help them get the most out of this amazing and life-changing experience. The international students have already been selected and are currently being matched to host families.  Please be that Stoughton family who steps up.  It’s a gift you’ll give and receive.  Most families have no idea how much they’ll gain until they say yes!"

If you are interested in learning more about hosting an AFS student next year, please contact McGowen, at 339-225-2657 or robie.mcgowen@gmail.com.  You can also visit www.afsusa.org to find out more.
(Photo courtesy of Kevin Roane. L to R: Berntsen, Abbie and Samantha Roane at Empire State Building in NYC.)






For a variety of reasons, not everyone graduates from the traditional high school. Some people drop out and have a difficult time navigating the financial waters without a high school diploma. Others leave high school to have children, or because they had difficulty with the curriculum or other aspects of school. Still others must get jobs because of family circumstances, and school at night works out better for them. But, the fairy-tale ending to some of these difficulties comes in a concept from the mind of retired Superintendent of Schools Anthony Sarno and retired guidance counselor Ronald Homer . Their vision was to give some of these kids a second chance at success, and they helped to create what became Stoughton Academy.

On Tuesday, June 12th, 25 students got their high school diplomas at the 17th Annual Stoughton Academy Commencement, held in the Stoughton High School auditorium. Academy principal Thomas W. McCormack III served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, which was attended by family and friends of the graduates. McCormack told graduates, “This is your day. You have proved to those around you, and most importantly to yourself, that you can do it! Graduation is not the end, but the beginning of the rest of your lives.” McCormack also proudly announced that the two dozen graduates all passed the MCAS tests.

School Committee Vice Chair Joyce Husseini told the grads that, “You are better prepared than most. You have set an example of perseverance and success for the entire community.”

Interim Town Manager Joseph D. Feaster, Jr. also addressed the graduates: “This is another opportunity—a second chance at success. Your family and friends have come to watch you be successful. Don’t fail them.”

Speaking for the class were Steven M. Giusta and Amanda Madeline Yaitanes. Mary Shea did much of the work around the event. Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, handed out the diplomas. Also up on stage to congratulate the grads were school committee member George Dolinsky and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Ford.

The faculty and staff of Stoughton Academy, in addition to McCormack and Shea are Dianne Dolan, Barry Hecht, Wayne Madan, Francis Mandosa, Steven Thomasy, Shannon Ventresca, and Erin Wiggin.

Dr. Rizzi told Snyder’s Stoughton that Stoughton Academy is a tuition-based system, and was created by Sarno and Homer because of the need they perceived. “Some students dropped out because they weren’t suited for the traditional structure, and some just couldn’t cope,” she told me. Stoughton Academy isn’t just for Stoughton residents, however. Rizzi said, “There are young people from surrounding towns that attend. It is Stoughton-based and the most successful candidates have a couple of years of traditional high school under their belts. They are prepped for MCAS tests, and must pass them at Stoughton Academy, unless they had passed them at the previous high school they attended. Curriculum for the exam is the same standard as a traditional school.”

Rizzi told me she and Ford brought the Quincy College program to Stoughton High School, and it was a good fit for the Academy. “Some students who may have never considered college are now dually-enrolled in college and high school. They realize that they can do college-level work. Their diplomas are a great accomplishment. Many can’t picture themselves finishing, but they did.” Rizzi and Ford also expanded the amount of courses at the Academy. Rizzi explains: “Some classes we just don’t have the faculty to offer. But, through Plato software, we are able to offer a number of courses through the internet.”

The graduates, in addition to Giusta and Yaitanes, are Francys Layon Costa Araujo, Keith Alan Barkey, Rebekah Abigail Berardi, Kendall Marie Bozek, Keenan Denard Brasfield, Brooke Ashley Bullens, Paris Amos-Hakeen Coleman, Christiane Sposito Costa, Martin S. Dion, Daniel Stephen Donahue, Walter Pinoceto Dunn, Marie Evelyn Elie, Brian Patrick Foley, Raheem Lavel Hart, Matthew Robert Keller, Edward Leo Kolczewski, Jacob Mann, Evan Scott Matthews, Nelson Jose Moura, James Thomas Myers, Thomas Michael Nixon, Dylan Patrick Powers, and Jeni-Lyn Thomas.

Snyder’s Stoughton sends its congratulations to all the grads, and salutes their determination to succeed.

(Story & Photos by Mark Snyder. Posted June 13, 2012 @ 8:15 a.m.)



Juniors Get Awards, too!

The 2012 Stoughton High School Junior Awards -- June 11, 2012

Many colleges and universities offer books and certificates to honor the academic, extracurricular, leadership and volunteer work of members of the junior class.  Recipients are encouraged to apply to the college or university from which they received their award.  While receipt of a book award does not guarantee admission to the college or university, it will get the recipient’s application a second look.  Today we will be presenting four certificates and 11 book awards to deserving juniors.  

The Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award is presented to a junior who has high achievement and rigor in science classes and a high PSAT math and/or SAT math score, and is given to a junior who demonstrates exceptional promise in the sciences.  This year, the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science award is presented to Timothy McGrath.

The Boston College Book Award is presented to a student who reflects Boston College’s ethos of academic excellence, leadership, service and high moral character.   This year the Boston College Book Award is presented to Brianna Shores.

The Brown Book Award is presented to honor a student who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression.  This year the Brown Book Award is presented to Niamh Fennessy.

The Colby Book Award is presented to a student who has shown outstanding academic achievement and has contributed significantly to the school community.  This year the Colby Book Award is presented to Kelsie LaFerriere.

The Dartmouth Book Award is given to a student in the top 10% of the Junior Class.  The student has attained an outstanding combined academic average in college preparatory classes, two of which include math and English.  Above all, the selected student has demonstrated outstanding leadership in a highly visible school sponsored activity and/or service to the community.  This year the Dartmouth Book Award is presented to Joy Liu.

The Holy Cross Book Award is presented to a junior who has achieved academic excellence and has admirable personal qualities.  The student should be in the top 5-10% of their class and show sincere concern for others and a responsible attitude in all of his or her endeavors.  This year the Holy Cross Book Award is presented to Daniel Block.

The Princeton Book Award is presented to a student who has demonstrated outstanding personal traits of character, leadership, and performance in sports, music, student government, service to the community, or other extracurricular activities.  The student is in the top five percent of the class academically and achieved appropriate high performance in the PSAT or SAT.  This year the Princeton Book Award is presented to Alexander Peixinho.

The Regis College Book Award is presented to a student who has demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills, displayed academic promise, and exhibited exceptional leadership qualities.  
This year the Regis College Book Award is presented to Christina Solem.

The Rensselaer Medal is presented to promising secondary school students who have distinguished themselves in math and science.  This award recognizes the superlative academic achievement of young men and women and serves to motivate them toward careers in science, engineering and technology.  This year the Rensselaer Medal is presented to Jessica Morse.

Saint Michael’s College provides two book awards to be presented to both a male and female student.  The students should exhibit the characteristics of an ideal Saint Michael’s student, based specifically on achievement in academics and social conscience evidenced through commitment to community service, issues of peace and justice and concern for others.  This year the Saint Michael’s book awards are presented to Marie Maillet and Will McGrath.

The Smith College Book Award is presented to young women who exemplify the academic achievement, leadership qualities and concern for others that characterize the thousands of women who have graduated from Smith College.  This year the Smith Book Award is presented to Nzinga Moore.

The Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Rochester is presented to a junior who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues, shows leadership and a dedication to community action.  The student should also have strong grades and rigorous courses taken in the humanities and social sciences.  This year the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award is presented to Adam Lurie.

The George Eastman Young Leaders Award from the University of Rochester is presented to a junior who shows strong leadership in both school and the community, has high grades in challenging courses, and has extensive involvement in extracurricular activities.  This year the George Eastman Young Leaders Award is presented to Rachel Romeiro.

The University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovations & Information Technology is award to a student who has a strong interest in innovation and/or information technology and has a high level of achievement in this area.  This year the University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovations & Information Technology is presented to Nicholas Keith.

The Yale Book Award is presented to a student who exemplifies the characteristics of a Yale University student.  The junior should possess outstanding personal character and intellectual promise. This year the Yale Book Award is presented to Benjamin Call.



Sovinee is School Committee Chair

Deborah Sovinee is the newest Chair of the Stoughton School Committee. She was elected unanimously on Thursday, June 7th in a special meeting of the SCC for reorganization. Joyce Husseini, the current Chair for the past year, was not interested in another term in the top seat. She was elected unanimously as the Vice Chair of the School Committee.

We'll have some of Deborah and Joyce's comments in an upcoming article!



Congratulations to Stoughton High's




The O'Donnell Middle School Jazz Bands recently participated in the 2012 Southeast District MAJE Middle School Jazz Festival held at Stoughton High School on Thursday May 3rd. This festival is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education. The festival featured middle school bands from Easton, East Bridgewater, Old Rochester, Mattapoisett, Needham, Dedham, Hull, Medfield, Foxboro and Stoughton.

The OMS 6th Grade Jazz Band, competing in Division E, earned a Silver Medal for their fine performance. Isabelle Solem - tenor sax, Amari Kinch - alto sax, and Andrew Crean - tenor sax, were awarded Outstanding Musicianship Certificates for their efforts. The 6th Grade Jazz Band is directed by Stephen Dorgan.

In Division B, the OMS Tuesday Jazz Band earned a Silver Medal for their efforts. Trevor Dubovy - alto sax, Hannah Peterson - trumpet, and Stevens Bontemps - bari sax, were recipients of Outstanding Musicianship Awards. The Tuesday Jazz Band is directed by John Kearns.

Also competing in Division B, The OMS Wednesday Jazz Band earned a Gold Medal for their wonderful performance. Ava Siegel - bass, Jamal Husseini - trumpet, and Nicholas Quattrucci -  piano and vibes, were also nominated for Outstanding Musicianship Awards. The Wednesday Jazz Band is directed by John Kearns.



School will close according to the following schedule:

Grades K-5      Monday, June 18, 2012 - Full Day
                        Tuesday, June 19, 2012 – Report cards issued - 12:00 p.m. Dismissal
Grades 6-8      Monday, June 18, 2012 - Full Day                                                                
                        Tuesday, June 19, 2012 – 11:15 p.m. Dismissal
Grades 9-11     June 13, 14, 15, 18, 2012 - Final Exam Schedule – Full Days
                        Tuesday, June 19, 2012 – 11:15 p.m. Dismissal
Pre K-12                Regular Full Day Schedule – Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The above is based upon school being held until the closing date of June 19, 2012. This is in accordance with the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  

Bag lunches will be available for students in Grades K-11 on Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Courtney Hargreaves

A SMILING FACE AT STOUGHTON PUBLIC LIBRARY:  If you see someone with an ear to ear smile, walking around Stoughton Public Library, that would be Secretary Sue Hargreaves.  Who could blame her? This Sunday, June, 3, 2012, the Oliver Ames High School Class of 2012 will hold its graduation ceremonies at Frothingham Park in Easton.  285 students will be graduating.  Who is number 1?  That would be Courtney Hargreaves, the Class Valedictorian.  She'll be heading to the Ivy League's Dartmouth in the fall.  Now, wouldn't you be smiling if Courtney was your daughter? 



at O'Donnell Middle School!

(photo by Wayne Hester)


SHS Jazz Combo and Choir Strike Gold

On April 4th, the Stoughton High School Jazz Choir and Jazz Combo performed at the 2012 Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education High School Combo Choir Festival held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester Massachusetts.

The SHS Jazz Choir, directed by Griffin Coombs, earned a Gold Medal rating for their fine performance. Danisha Dumornay was recognized for her individual performance and received the "Outstanding Musicianship Award" for her vocal talents.

The SHS Jazz Combo, under the direction of student director Michael Silveira, also earned a Gold Medal rating for their strong performance. Senior trumpet player Adam Elmowitz received an "Outstanding Musicianship Award" for his jazz solo work with the combo.

By earning a Gold Medal rating, the SHS Combo and SHS Jazz Choir are invited to perform at the MAJE Showcase at the Hatch Shell this spring.



Celebrating Cinco De Mayo @ OMS

Students and Teachers at O'Donnell Middle School celebrated Cinco DeMayo recently. In photo, bottom row (L to R) Sean McDougal, Raj Patel, and Standing (L to R)  Dary Mastova, Mr. DeAndrade, Phyliss Paolilio, Jacob Roman, and Ms. Starkie.

(Photo by OMS Principal Wayne Hester)




"Hi everyone, I thought it was important as a parent to update you on the CHARMS situation.  The beginning of May, a notice was put up at Town Hall announcing that the CHARMS Board of Directors (which consists of each towns
superintendent) were meeting on June 1st to discuss dissolving CHARMS. Staff was not told until a few days after the posting was made.  Parents at this point have not been notified.  Tim Farmer, Sharon School Superintendent, made a presentation about CHARMS Wednesday night which I have attached for you. Yesterday, an emergency board meeting was held in Stoughton and approximately 15 staff members and I attended.  The first part of the meeting was held in Executive Session as they were interviewing a possibly new Executive Director.  (There is currently an interim Executive
Director who will be there until the end of June.  He is a retired Superintendent from Canton (Alan Dewey) and is not interested in a long term contract).  About 1 1/2 hours later we were invited back into the meeting. The BOD (6 superintendents from Canton, Holbrook, Avon, Milton, Sharon and Stoughton) went through the options that were available.  The options are as follows:

1.  Dissolve CHARMS, vote will be taken at June 1st meeting.  Need approval from 4 out of 6 superintendents to be followed by approval from each school committee.

2. 2 year revitalization plan

3. Merger with another collaborative which would have 2 options.
    A.  Direct takeover
    B.  CHARMS board and school would continue under an agreement that the other collaborative would "manage".  (The BOD needs to investigate if this could be allowed and will have information PRIOR to the June 1st

4.  No Change.  Although they admitted that this was really not an option.

5.  Each town that "houses" a program can "take over" that program.

6.  Each district can give notice to leave in June.  They would still be obligated for 1 year and the students could still stay within the program. (School district would pay a higher tuition to have them stay).


1.  As you know parents have not been notified regarding this June 1st meeting.  Please share this information with any parent you know that may have students in any of the other programs.  Also, please share with parents of CHARMS graduates.

2.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, try to attend the June 1st meeting!  It is at 2 p.m. at Jones Elementary School, 137 Walnut Street in Stoughton.  Many of the CHARMS staff will be in attendance as well.

3.  EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, prior to meeting, talk to YOUR superintendent and school committee members about your concerns.  At this time there is no way of knowing how each superintendent with VOTE. Every call will have a big
influence on the vote.

4.  Please know that the staff was just as surprised as you are and are also advocating for CHARMS.  (Actually, they were please that a parent was at the meeting because it can be quite uncomfortable for them to discuss this with you.)

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at 781-784-1939.

Sue Linehan (parent of Patrick)

8 Stoughton Musicians at SEMSBA

Eight music students from the OíDonnell Middle School and Stoughton High School recently participated in the 2012 Southeastern Massachusetts School Bandmasters Association Honors Festival. The festival was held at the East Middle School in Braintree on Saturday May 5th.

Stoughton High School Freshman Abigail Roane performed with the Honors Choir. Matthew Williams, freshman at SHS, performed with the Honors Concert Band playing trombone.

Six OíDonnell Middle School musicians also participated in the SEMSBA Festival. 8th grade student Mallory Breen and 7th grade student Samantha Roane performed with the Honors Choir. 8th grade students Jamal Husseini - trumpet, and Adam Potter - trombone, performed with the Honors Orchestra. Eighth grade students Connor Nye - French horn, and Derek Westhaver - Percussion, performed with the Honors Concert Band.

SEMSBA is music collaborative with 30 member schools in Southeastern Massachusetts. Students who are accepted to the Honors festival went through a comprehensive audition process before being invited to participate.


(Story and Photo from John Kearns. Photo: left to right: Adam Potter, Jamal Husseini, Connor Nye, Derek Westhaver, Matt Williams, Mallory Breen, Abigail Roane, Samantha Roane



Take My Tour

YOU TELL ME (send your thoughts to pmpco@aol.com).

There's no doubt that the high school needs a radical repair job or total replacement. It seems that the myriad of problems--many involving the health of teachers, staff and students--is beyond a simple repair job. It is estimated that it could cost 15-20 million dollars for repairs to the building. But, there are SO many problems---particularly the mold, mildew, asbestos, and water problems---that would really require that portions of the building would need to be torn down. And, like repairing an old car, it might run, but it would not be the most modern vehicle. Learning is constantly changing. Whiteboards replaced blackboards. IPads are replacing books. Technology changes on a daily basis. Preparing students for college (and the Real World), means training them on the latest equipment, in comfortable, healthy facilities.

Stoughton High School's "plant" is an embarrassment that was flagged by the accreditation committee for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Would residents want to take the chance of losing accreditation in the future? That would be devastating to our schools (and our property values.) So, what is the next step towards getting a new high school?

It's a LONG process. The Stoughton Public Schools need to get into the grant program of the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Their first step was a "Statement of Interest" that was sent earlier this year to the MSBA. The next step is to fund a feasibility study for the possible replacement, renovation or addition to Stoughton High. The cost---a staggering million dollars--could be a major hurdle. Town Meeting members are being offered a tour on Wednesday night, starting at 7 p.m, to see the depths of the high school building. Those that go would be inclined to support the study. If the MSBA puts Stoughton in its sights, then the town could be reimbursed 57% of the cost of the study. But, even then, that is still a $430,000 nut to crack. No money would be spent unless the MSBA invites Stoughton High into its eligibility process.

If the Town Meeting passes this study, then we'll all know if we can get away with renovations or an addition, or if we'll need a new school. Every angle will be covered in the study and all the facts will be before us. But, if all goes as is hoped, one day in the future Stoughton could have a school like Norwood High or Whitman-Hansen, a true community and learning center that would make us all proud---and pump up the value of your home (because people WANT to move here.)

Preliminary estimates are that a similar-type high school would run about 70 million dollars, and with all the various programs, the MSBA could end up paying up to two-thirds of the cost. It's a long way down the road. Would the town try to do a Debt Exclusion? Would they try to finance it through the regular borrowing process? That remains to be seen. But, if we don't prepare now, we'll never get a new or refurbished building. And, that is a dank, dark, and smelly thought.


As an additional voice to this debate, School Committee member Deborah Sovinee writes, "Attached is the presentation that will be given tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 16) on a borrowing article before Town Meeting. It is not a request for money for a new high school. It is a required step to examine the problems and develop cost-effective options that we as a town can discuss. An affirmative vote would send a positive message to the Massachusetts School Building Authority about town support for addressing the physical problems of the schools. The money will not be spent unless we get an invitation into the
school building process.

Our minimum reimbursement rate is 56.6% and will only go up in the future. Important information about what the problems are that need to be
addressed, why we need to do this, and when, is contained in the presentation. I hope readers will tune in tomorrow night, or better yet,
come down to the high school auditorium to support this important initiative.

(Posted on May 15, 2012 @ 12:15 a.m.)




Jane (Szum) Tremblay, 1978 graduate of Stoughton High School, was named 2012 “Thomas C. Passios Outstanding Principal of the Year” at the 2012 Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association and Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Education Foundation event on May 2, 2012.  Tremblay, the principal at the Sumner Street School in Lynnfield, shows the award with Dr. Thomas Jefferson (in photo above), Superintendent of Schools in Lynnfield. He noted that the nomination was submitted on behalf of all of Lynnfield, including parents, students, faculty, administrative colleagues, the School Committee, and the community-at-large. Jefferson said, “Jane is a leader with vision.  She understands the role of data-informed instruction, and has left no stone unturned to guarantee that every student in Summer Street School receives first class instruction and whatever supports are needed to guarantee success.”   He adds, “It is always about the kids—what needs to be done, and where, to make sure that everyone is making progress.” The actual presentation of the award came from Dr. Robert Evans, the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service, a psychologist and author, who was standing in for the Commissioner of Education who couldn’t be there.

After her graduation from Stoughton High, Tremblay graduated from Fitchburg State in 1982 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She got her Master’s Degree in School Administration from Salem State in 1989, after also attending Bridgewater State grad school.  Tremblay has been Principal of Summer Street School for eight years.  Prior to that, she was an elementary school teacher for 18 years.  Dorothy Presser, Chairperson of the Lynnfield School Committee, says of Jane, “She is relentless in working to ensure that every student in her school has the resources and supports necessary to master the foundational skills to be successful students throughout their entire education.”    She adds, “Creating and maintaining a respectful, responsible community of learners is a constant focus at Summer Street School.” Fellow Lynnfield principal Brian Bemiss calls Jane a visionary, “one who sees the big picture of where she wants her school to go, while having the ability to focus on the day to day details that make the Summer Street School one of the most academically successful schools in the State.” The Summer Street School was recognized by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and has been named a Commendation School based on 2010 and 2011 results.  Jane is also a graduate school professor at Merrimack College, where she has most recently taught courses in early childhood education and curriculum, instruction and assessment Science, Health and Physical Education.  She lives in Danvers, with her husband Greg, and their three children, Jennifer, Gregory and Mary Margaret.   Her brothers and sisters (she was one of six) are quite proud, including her sister-in-law Dawn Szum of Stoughton, who sent me the photos and the award program which were used to write this column. Jane’s youngest brother Joe, who remains in Stoughton, told me, “We’re very proud of her.  She worked hard going to school, taught for a few years, and really wanted to become a principal.  My sister Mary got sick and spoke with Jane. Before Mary passed, Jane asked her if she had any regrets. Mary said she regretted that she didn’t open a boutique. After that conversation, Jane was motivated to try even harder to reach her goal of becoming a principal.  She didn’t want to have any regrets.”   

Jane has become a shining example to many, as a mentor for educators.  I wanted to let the people of Stoughton know what one of their own has accomplished.

Jane with (l to r) Robert, John and Joseph Szum, and sister Donna O'Hear.



Stoughton's own Rachel Steinberg will be singing art songs and arias by Debussy, Faure, Brahms, Barber, Copland and more. It will be on Thursday evening May 31, 2012 at 7 p.m. at Beaver Country Day School's Bradley Hall in Chestnut Hill. There will be a reception with light refreshments immediately following the recital.
Admission is free.

Town Salutes Gini Bulger

It wasn't just school people who turned out to salute Gini Bulger, retiring Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools. Just about everyone who is (or was) anyone in the Stoughton Public Schools was there. But, Selectman Cynthia Walsh and former Selectman Lou Gitto, former Town Clerk/Town Manager Jeanne Fleming, and Council On Aging/Youth Commission Director Karen Hall were also spotted in the hall at the Irish Cultural Center on Friday night, May 4. It was great to see retired Stoughton High principals Jim Buschell and Phil Iacobacci and retired Superintendent of Schools Anthony Sarno (who acted as M.C.) There were so many "faces in the crowd" that I couldn't get them all. But, I spotted School Committee members Joyce Husseini and Deb Sovinee; former School Committee members Peter Banis, Mary Anne Young, Eric Milgroom, Carol Piasecney, Allen Mills, Tom Recupero, and Joe Baeta (now Superintendent of Schools in Holbrook). Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi , Food Service Director Ed Gilbert, Athletic Director Ryan Donahue, Stoughton High principal Matt Colantonio, O'Donnell Middle School principal Wayne Hester, Director of Support Services Joel Harding, and Stoughton High assistant principal Mike O'Neil. Others spotted included retired SPED Director Joe Matta, former Assistant Superintendent Fred Stanton, Long-time STA President Bob Trotta; Reading Director Donna Tilley, former Assistant Superintendent Prudence Goodale, retired School Counsel at Kopelman & Paige Terri Dowdy, Gibbons School principal Lynn Jardin, South School principal Maureen Mulvey, and SPED Director Heather Tucker. The room was jam PACKED! Quite a tribute to quite a lady. We'll all miss you, Gini!

Photos by Mark Snyder




Stoughton High took 7 students, juniors and seniors, to a five day conference over the weekend.  We had our two State Officers Nick Aliquo and Valerie Szeto who competed in the hospitality and tourism team decision making competition.  We also had Cassandra Luce a 3rd place finisher at States competed in the Marketing Management Series.  The other 4 students, Kerry Backman, Ilanna Schlehuber, Adam Leonard and Brett Hoffman, attended 2 days of workshops called the Chapter Management Academy.  In this academy the students learn essential skills such as leadership, fundraising, how to run a meeting, and how to manage people.  

These students returned with an increased knowledge of the business world as well as new contacts from all around the world.

DECA Advisor and Stoughton High business/information teacher Eddie Rodrigues said, "I would like to thank all the organizations who support the program throughout the year that makes trips like these possible: Stoughton High School Administration, Parents, and Students.  Also, local entities that helped in the fundraising process such as the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, the Stoughton Boosters, and the Golden Directory.  I would also like to give a big thanks to Jeffery Pickette from the Stoughton Patch and Mark Snyder from SnydersStoughton.com."  

(Left to Right): Brett Hoffman, Adam Leonard, Kerry Backman, and Ilanna Schlehuber receiving recognition at ICDC for there participation in the Chapter Management Academy.

Cassandra Luce Qualified for the International Conference with a 3rd place finish in the Marketing Management Series.


State Officers Valerie Szeto and Nick Aliquo.  They competed in Hospitality and Tourism Team Decision Making.

(Photos and Information provided by Eddie Rodrigues)



If you happen to visit the Stoughton Public Library on any Monday night that school has been in session, you will see 50 -60 Stoughton middle and high school students busily working on homework. About fifteen of these youngsters are usually our talented and amazing tutors. For the past five years, the Monday Night Homework Center has offered free tutorial help to Stoughton residents. Originally the Homework Center was supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Library System and Eastern Bank. The last few years, the Stoughton Public Schools has sponsored the program.

This program is so successful because of its tutors. These young adults are top juniors and seniors as well as National Honor Society students from Stoughton High School. They volunteer their time to assist other youngsters in helping with homework assignments, studying for tests, completing essays, and understanding Study Island, an online MCAS prep program. Over seventy-five different tutors have given of their time to help make this program such a success. Yet, eight different tutors have participated in 10 or more sessions. These dedicated tutors are Ben Call, Diep Tran, Jessica McDade, John Stewart-Racicot, Destiny de la Rosa, Alex Peixinho, Adam Lurie, and Marie Maillet. Because of the strong commitment of all of our volunteers, the Monday Night Homework Center continues to shine.

(Posted on 5/1/12. Photo and information courtesy of Sheila Osborne.)

Pictured in photo (l to r): Diep Tran, Jessica McDade, Adam Lurie, and Ben Call.

SSEPAC Election Results


SSEPAC elections were recently held, and the following elected members took office: President: Pat MacNeil, Vice-President: Erdem Ural, Secretary: Carolyn Campbell, and Treasurer: John D’Addieco. SSEPAC is an acronym for Stoughton Special Education Parent Advisory Group. Massachusetts Law enables SSEPAC is an advisory council to the Stoughton School Committee, and gives it a crucial responsibility for the quality of the Special Education services in Stoughton. Additional information on the role and operation of PACs can be found at: www.doe.mass.edu/sped/pac/guidelines.pdf. Dr. Ural is a member of the Stoughton School Committee, and Campbell is a former member.

SSEPAC advises the School Committee on matters pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities and meets regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the Stoughton School Committee's special education programs. In return, Stoughton School Committee assists SSEPAC in maintaining its operation and activities without charge.

SSEPAC membership is free and open to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties. Everyone is cordially invited to participate in the meetings. Additional information about SSEPAC or workshops may be obtained from ssepac@yahoo.com, or 891-344-9126.


SHS Music Department Presents
2012 Spring Fling Art Show and Concert

The Stoughton High School Fine Arts Department will present their 2012 Spring Fling Art Show and Concert on Friday, May 11th. The Art Show will begin at 6:00 p.m. The concert portion will begin at 7:30p.m. in the high school auditorium. The concert will feature the SHS Choirs, under the direction of Griffin Coombs and the SHS Bands directed by Dan Davey.

Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00 with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit www.music.stoughtonschools.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.




Stoughton High School recently had six groups of Marketing II students spend five weeks developing comprehensive business plans for submission into the 2012 Future Entrepreneurs Series: Youth Business Plan Competition through the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board.  The competition solicits original business plans from youth between the ages of 16-20.  The students spent many long hours developing their business strategies, creating marketing collateral, designing logos, and putting together an impactful sales presentation for both the classroom and the boardroom.  After all that hard work, we have just received notice that 4 of those groups have received qualifying scores and will be moving on to the 2nd round of the competition!  They will be delivering an oral presentation on their business plan to business leaders and judges from the local area on May 15th.  From there, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the contest will each receive cash prizes.

The following student groups will be competing for the grand prize:

Arcane Clothing - a trendy fashion and shoe company targeting urban youth style
Mark Phan
Mike Vulakh
Muhammed Mir

The Handy Helper - an all-in-one desk mate that helps to eliminate clutter
Nick Aliquo
Brian Carter
Amanda Vito

Imagination Inc. - an event planning company located in Lexington, MA that targets higher end clients and events
Rebecca Goldberg
Morgan Ayers
Jade Paul

Super Solar - an e-commerce platform selling solar backpacks and solar energy supplies over the internet
Phil Falkof
Brian Kaplan
Christina Bacon

This is the first time Stoughton High School students have entered the competition and it has been exciting to see how well they have done. Please wish our students good luck for May 15th!

(Proudly submitted by Kevin Smith, Business Technology Teacher, Stoughton High School)


High School Student Arrested for Notebook Writings

Stoughton High School principal Matt Colantonio alerted parents via an email and phone call today (April 24) of an incident that took place on Friday, April 13 Colantonio wrote, "On Friday, April 13th an incident occurred at Stoughton High School. A student's notebook was turned into the main office by a teacher. This notebook contained some written threats directed towards a few specific students and some staff members. The administration followed standard safety protocol. The student was removed from the high school by the administration and Stoughton Police without incident. Those mentioned specifically in the writing were contacted immediately. Students and staff at SHS were never in any danger, and the incident is being handled by the proper authorities at this point. Stoughton Police and the high school administration worked cooperatively in addressing the situation."  Sean Ivaldi, 18, was removed from the school, and charged by Stoughton Police with Disturbing A School Assembly, 4 Counts of Threats to Commit a Crime. and 1 Count of Terroristic Threats. The notebooks writings actually occurred in August of 2011, according to authorities.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, told Snyder's Stoughton, "The word 'terroristic' in the police charges may have triggered media attention. Fox 25 sent a truck to the high school today. We told them what Matt told the parents. There no threat to anyone here right now, if there ever was one." Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine told me that threats like these must be taken seriously. "He had a notebook with detailed plans for a school shooting. We can't take a chance on the intent. We have a good relationship with the schools. When they found it, they notified Detective Roger Hardy." Devine says that he knows the publicity isn't good, but the police are there to serve and protect, adding, "We were fairly confident that the kid had no access to weapons. But, we deem these charges to be appropriate. I'd rather have these charges and an avoidance of a possible tragedy, than deal with the aftermarth of one."

(Posted at 3:22 p.m. on April 24, 2012)

(photo from Facebook)




Beautiful artwork was produced for the anti-bullying contest, according to O'Donnell Middle School principal Wayne Hester. First place went to Nia Brewster (top right), second place to Kayla Andrade (top left) and third place to Zaria Durant (bottom). Photos courtesy of Mr. Hester. Congratulations to all!


Music Program Scores Gold in NY!

On March 30 th, the SHS Music Department traveled to New York City to participate in the Festivals of Music, a national competition featuring groups from Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. The members of the SHS Concert Band, Tuesday Jazz Band, Wednesday Jazz Band, Concert Choir, and Jazz Choir competed on Friday before a panel of collegiate judges and students from various other schools. The students of Stoughton High School were recognized for a high level of performance by the festival adjudicators and administrators.

The Wednesday Jazz Band placed 1st in its division, receiving a rating of "Excellent." The Tuesday Jazz Band placed 2nd in its division, with a rating of " Superior," the highest achievement awarded by the festival! The Concert Band placed 1st in its division, receiving a rating of "Excellent." The Jazz Choir placed 1st in its division, receiving a rating of "Excellent." The Concert Choir placed 1st in its division, receiving a rating of "Excellent."

The festival also awards overall festival superlative awards. Stoughton students were also recognized in several of those categories.

The SHS Jazz Choir was awarded the Best Overall Choir Award. The SHS Concert Choir was awarded the Best Overall Mixed Choir Award. Danisha Dumornay (grade 12) was awarded the Most Outstanding Overall Vocalist Award and the Saxophone section from the Tuesday Jazz Band was awarded the Most Outstanding Jazz Ensemble Section Award.

Finally, the festival awarded the Stoughton students with it's most esteemed superlative award, the Espirit de Corps award. This award "spotlights the performance of the students throughout the festival weekend as they demonstrate their highest level of responsible behavior. Personal integrity, quality character values, desire for excellence, and a spirit of cooperation serve as the cornerstone qualities of the Espirit de Corps Award." SPS Fine Arts staff members Dan Davey and Griffin Coombs are the music teachers at Stoughton High School.

(The Festival Awards photo; left to right: Josh Potter, Jordan Benson, Adam Elmowitz & Samantha Pellegrini.)


Bullying Awareness Contest Winners

The Gibbons Elementary School had three winners in the Bullying Awareness Contest sponsored by Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center. Left to Right in photo: Gibbons principal Lynne Jardin, teacher Eileen Sprague, Second Place Winner Cintia Khouzami, Third PlaceWinner Sanah Sheth, Honorable Mention winner Sobeida Charlotin, and teacher Genevieve Criscuolo. The awards will be presented on May 1st at 10 a.m. in the Moakley Auditorium at Bridgewater State University. (Photos by Mark Snyder)  


It's back to procurement as usual, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi. She reported to the School Committee at their April 11 meeting that new Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster, Jr. "has spent a great deal of time working with me on numerous outstanding procurement issues. We've made a tremendous amount of progress. We'll have to see if the new system in place will work. Attorney Feaster has restored the Superintendent to purchase up to $100,000. If things work, we'll work toward freezing the limit to an indefinite amount." Rizzi also said, "We've always been aware of the needs of the other town departments. We're in a different place since the last time we discussed procurement at a School Committee meeting. There are many things the school and municipal sides can do together. Stoughton is one entity. That will be our focus."

Just after Dr. Rizzi's report, Supervisor of Support Services Joel Harding talked about three bids he recommended that the School Committee accept. The first involved fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide applications as part of the Integrated Pest Management Plan. There was only one bidder, Tru Green, and the School Committee voted to accept their $6600 bid. The annual roof repair for school buildings had seven bidders, with the winner being Aqua Barriers, Inc. of Norfolk, MA. Their bid of $70/hr. was less than what the schools paid last year when there were fewer bidders. The last bid accepted by the SC was for the playing surface for the tennis courts at Stoughton High. The winning bid was for $21,870 from Cape & Island Tennis & Track of Pocasset, MA. It was the only one of the bidders that met the specifications laid out by the consultant/architect for the project. Harding said that Town Meeting had approved $250,000 for the courts, but because of all the prep work done by the DPW, the final price will be around $100,000.


Dr. Erdem Ural, an explosives expert by profession, came out victorious in the April 10th elections, knocking off 21-year School Committee veteran Allan Mills for a seat on the School Committee by 120 votes. Ural had served a previous term and was defeated in last year's election. The school procurement battle with the municipal side of government, and the Committee's being cited for minor violations of the Open Meeting Law were cited by quite a few voters I spoke with. Mills thanked the voters "for a good run of 21 years." He told Snyder's Stoughton, "We accomplished a lot. This current Board is one of the best I've served on. I congratulate Mr. Ural for running a good campaign. I hope he continues to display a positive attitude toward the future of this town." Dr. Ural told me that he felt people were looking for someone to keep an eye on the School Committee. In a statement, he wrote, " I am honored and humbled by the Stoughton voters confidence in me. I look forward to continue my work with my fellow committee members towards improving the education of Stoughton children. I thank Alan Mills for his 21 years of service on the Board, and for running a clean campaign. I am grateful to all our supporters including those who encouraged me to run, those who placed signs on their lawns, and those who held signs at the town square and at the polls. I am also grateful to all other Stoughton candidates for their invaluable volunteer spirit. Because I have a vested interest to improve our schools and administration, I will continue my work towards improving Stoughton schools and will continually update my web site www.02072.org with education, school administration and school committee issues."

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi gave an emotional thank you to Mills at the April 11 School Committee meeting, which Mills didn't attend. She said, "Mr. Mills has been a strong beacon of light for many many years. He has been a positive force for the schools for decades. The School Committee this year has been just wonderful. The Committee really is a living organism. It's just been a pleasure. We'll miss the energy and enthusiasm that Allan brings to the table."



The week of April 2nd was MATH BOOT CAMP at the Dawe Elementary School.   All students in all classes worked on math all week.  Students still had Walk to Read, writing, vocabulary and all of the other subjects that are important, but they incorporated math.  Vocabulary consisted of math words.  Writing involved writing step-by-step directions, or a letter describing how to solve math problems.  The possibilities were endless and the teachers prepared a week of exciting, engaging activities.  "Special attention was given to planning lessons that focused on the objectives identified as action steps according to our MCAS Action Plan," according to Dawe principal David Barner.  Teachers conducted assessments throughout the week, playing math games, and much more. It all culminated this morning (4/5/12) at 10 a.m., when all students and staff headed outside (wearing their coats against the chill) to circle the entire school building and count off. That we, they determined the perimeter of the Dawe School using a nonstandard unit of measure (Dawe students)!  A number of parents and Ass't Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Ford were among those in attendance. The kids had a great time--and learned a lot!

(Photos by Mark Snyder)


OMS Faculty Edges Out Students



SHS Principal Named

Ms. Julliette Miller has agreed to become Principal of Stoughton High School next school year. She is a familiar face in Stoughton. A graduate of Stoughton High School, she was a math teacher there, and rose to become Math Department Director.  According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, "Ms. Miller emerged as the strongest candidate in a very accomplished field (of nearly 40 applicants.) I am honored that she will be joining our Educational leadership team and look forward to working with her to build on the strong programs that we have to create a truly world class high school."

She was a highly successful Mathematics teacher and Math Department Director at S.H.S. before moving on to challenging administrative positions in both King Phillip Regional and Apponequet Regional High School, where she has served as Assistant Principal.  Adds Rizzi, "She brings intelligence, poise, experience, and commitment to this job along with a deeply sound decision-making process. I believe this will be the beginning of a long and happy relationship for Julie and the Stoughton Schools."

Miller replaces Matt Colantonio who will become principal of the O'Donnell Middle School next year.

I know that my son really enjoyed having Ms. Miller as a teachert, and he has decided to become a high school math teacher himself. Enough said. Snyder's Stoughton wishes Juliette good luck in her new position!

(Photo by A. Brown)

Ongoing Procurement Problems Could Have Caused Emergency

(from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi on March 23)

This morning the Stoughton Fire Department conducted a fire drill at Stoughton High School, and fire alarms in parts of the building did not sound. All students and staff were removed from the building safely, and in an orderly manner. There was no fire.

The fire alarm service company, EDI is one whose bills the Town Auditor is refusing to pay because he disagrees with the choice of state publication in which the original bid was advertised. As a result, EDI is not being paid under their existing contract. To their credit, and our great relief, the people at EDI agreed to come to fix the alarm because it was an emergency, and said they would “deal with the money issues later.”

The school department had legitimate concerns that they might not come, because their bills have been refused. Other firms in this situation have informed the School Department personnel that they will never do business with us again. This situation has left the schools with no reliable relationship with a company to fix this alarm system. The result of this could have been the closing, today, and potentially for many days, of the high school building because the alarm system is not functioning. We are very lucky that EDI chose to work with us, but this is a harrowing and irresponsible way for the Municipal government to force us to do business.

Mr. Rowe has informed us that if the bill is going to be more than $10,000 we must wait for a waiver to be approved before we do any repair. It is not his role to determine if the school can or cannot have a functioning fire alarm. It must be noted that because of what he called “Town Manager’s prerogative,” he is choosing to pay municipal bills, whether the contracts are legal or not, by his own admission. And yet through this “prerogative” reckless choices are being made that could leave the High School fire alarm system unrepaired.

The School Committee will hold the Municipal government 100% responsible for any and all consequences of failure to pay the bills to maintain the operations of the schools. Any safety issues, or interruption of any and all school services will be the full responsibility of the Town Manager and his designees who have manufactured this crisis.

The Municipal government, by Mr. Rowe’s own admission, continues to pay bills for Municipal operations on contracts that are entirely illegal, such as the one with ADP, WHICH WAS NEVER PUT OUT TO BID AT ALL. Yet they choose not to pay school department bills on contracts which were fairly advertised, bid and awarded years ago.


SHS Jazz Groups perform at Berklee

The Stoughton High School Jazz Ensembles participated in the 2012 Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival held at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston Massachusetts. The Berklee High School Jazz Festival is the largest high school festival in the United States. The festival featured over two hundred performing groups and three thousand students from as far away as California and Florida.

The first group to perform was the SHS Jazz Combo led by student director, Michael Silveira. The combo placed 4th out of ten in their division and received the Honorable Mention Award for their performance. The comboís set included jazz classics Nardis, Round'
'Midnight, and All Blues. Senior Michael Silveira won the Judges Choice Award for his performance on alto saxophone. SHS Band Director Dan Davey is the faculty advisor for the SHS Combo.

The Jazz Choir, directed by SHS Choral Director Griffin Coombs, turned in a strong performance that earned the group a very respectable 7th place finish. Sophomore Kassandra Melo won the Judges Choice Award for her solo in When I Fall in Love. The song Swing Street and Fever, which featured senior Danisha Dumornay, completed the group's set.

Last to compete from Stoughton High School, The Tuesday Jazz Band also turned in a strong performance that earned them a 7th place finish. The bandís set included Tippin' on the Q.T., Samatha, and Groove Merchant. Once again, senior Michael Silveira was awarded the Judges Choice award for his performance. The band is under the direction of Dan Davey.



Retirement Celebration for Gini Bulger


Friday, May 4, 2012

4-8 p.m.


Irish Cultural Center

Route 138

Canton , Massachusetts

$40 Per Person

For tickets, or other information, call Kathy Silva (781-297-5188) or email her (k_silva@stoughtonschools.org) and checks can be sent to Kathy through the Superintendent's office (232 Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072). Make checks payable to Kathy Silva. Please send payment by April 23, 2012.


Stoughton High Chorus Visits OMS

The Stoughton High School Chorus, under the direction of Griffin Coombs, paid a visit to Mrs. Bauman's 7th grade chorus at the O'Donnell Middle School, to share their expertise with them. The collaboration sounded wonderful!

Courtesy Kathleen Wasik and Wayne Hester)


SHS Jazz Bands Hit All The Right Notes


On March 8th, the Stoughton High School Tuesday and Wednesday Jazz Bands performed at the 2012 Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education High School Jazz Band Festival held at Stoughton High School.

The Wednesday Jazz Band, directed by SHS band director Daniel Davey, earned a Bronze Medal rating for their fine performance. Darlene Irons, piano; Peter DaSilva, alto sax; and Igor Pryadko on tenor sax were recognized for their individual performances and were presented Outstanding Musicianship Awards. The band repertoire for the festival included the jazz classic Autumn Leaves and Duke Ellington's Cotton Tail.

The Tuesday Jazz Band, also under the direction of Daniel Davey, earned a Gold Medal rating for their strong performance. Adam Elmowitz, trumpet; Alex Peixinho, alto saxophone; and Michael Silveira on alto saxophone were also recognized for their performances and were presented Outstanding Musicianship Awards. The band's repertoire for the festival included Tippin' on the Q.T., Samantha, and Groove Merchant.

By earning a Gold Medal rating, the Tuesday Jazz Band has been invited to perform at the MAJE 2012 State Jazz Band Finals at Framingham High School on Saturday, March 24th.




Winners of the Woman's Club 52nd Annual Spelling Bee at O'Donnell Middle School (left to right)
1st Place   Brendan Campbell (6C); 2nd Place   Andrew Schehuber (6A), and 3rd Place Ben Litwack (8C)



Valerie Szeto and Nick Aliquo did an amazing job running the conference as they are state officers. They did a tremendous job and spoke on stage with great poise and leadership. The Quiz Bowl team of Kayla Floro, Brett Hoffman, Adam Leonard and Brian Kaplan finished in 4th out of 29 teams. They survived 6 rounds of school vs school jeopardy style question and answer competition. Questions consist of business and marketing questions.

Stoughton Team of Juniors Pat Jackman and Mike Connelly took home a 3rd place medallion in the Travel and Tourism Team Decision making event.

Junior Kerry Backman received a second place medallion and top 10 overall finish in the Principles of Marketing event.

Senior Cassandra Luce earned a spot in the International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City in late April. She received two 3rd place medallions and a second place medallion finishing in 3rd place overall.

Stoughton brought 30 kids to compete at this conference of 1800 students and teachers. 16 students received recognition as scoring in the top percentile in their event. Stoughton will bring 7 students to the International Conference in Salt Lake City April 28 through May 3rd.


It saddens me to inform you that Jane Welch Sheehan, former Director of Guidance and Testing for the Stoughton Public Schools, passed away last evening (March 8). Jane began her career with the Stoughton Public Schools in 1972 as an English teacher at Stoughton High School. She was appointed to the position of Guidance Counselor in 1979.  In 1986, Jane became the Director of Guidance and Testing, K-12, a position she held until her retirement in June, 2007.  Sheehan graduated from Stoughton High, and was educated at Salem State and Bridgewater State. Mrs. Sheehan also did extensive graduate work at Bridgewater State College, Fitchburg State College, Salem State College and Plymouth State College. A resident of North Easton since 1982, she had also been a longtime resident of Harwichport. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, gardening, traveling and spending time on Cape Cod. Mrs. Sheehan worked at Stoughton High School for over 25 years and retired as the Director of Guidance and Testing in 2007. She was a member of several professional associations, including the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, The New England Association for College Admissions Counseling and was the Past President of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association and the South Shore Guidance Association. After her retirement, she continued her work in Guidance at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood and at BC High in Dorchester.



The 54th Annual Stoughton High School Science Fair was completed last Wednesday March 7th.  Over 375 students took part in 14 different events ranging from traditional research projects to robotic events.  Students will advance on to the South Shore Regional Science Fair on March 10th at Bridgewater State University and to the State Science Fair held May 3-5 at MIT.  Congratulations to everyone who participated and to the award winners. Congratulations to Loreen Louiny and Reshma Patel (pictured above) who took 3rd place at the South Shore Regional Science Fair this past weekend at Bridgewater State University. Their project involved a study of global warming.  Loreen and Reshma will now advance to the State Science Fair in May at MIT!

(Photo at left: Joy Liu winner of Individual Research Project Event)
(Photo on right: Ben Call and Alex Peixinho winners of Team Research Project Event)
(Photo in center: group picture of robotic event "Round Up")

(Supplied by Janet Sullivan, Director of Science, Health & Physical Education at Stoughton High)



Celebrating 100th year of Girl Scouts are Sarah Mullen, Victoria Tucker, Claudia Tam, Katie Menice, Queanu Vaughn and Ashley Yanoff.

(Kathleen Wasik photo)


Stoughton Music Department presents 2012 Singers Night featuring Hawkapella

The Stoughton Public Schools Music Department will present their 2012 Singers Night on Friday March 23rd. The concert will feature the OMS Choir under the direction of Betty Bauman and the SHS Choirs under the direction of Griffin Coombs. Special guest artists from the University of Hartford, the Hawkapella acapella choir, will perform. The concert will be held in the high school auditorium and begin at 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00 with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit www.music.stoughtonschools.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.



The Stoughton High School Tuesday Jazz Band, under the direction of Daniel Davey, made their 2012 competitive debut at the 35th Annual Norwood Jazz Classic High School Jazz Band festival held at Norwood High School on February 16th. Bands from Wakefield, Beverly, Framingham, Boston Latin, Reading King Philip and Norwood competed in Stoughton's division.

The Band earned the top honor a Gold Medal rating along with the Best Saxophone Section award for the event. Stoughton's program included Tippiní on the Q.T. featuring Adam Elmowitz on trumpet, Tim McGrath on tenor saxophone and Derek Scarlett on Trombone. The second song, Sammy Nestico's ballad, Samantha, featured alto saxophonist Michael Silveira. The Jazz Band closed their performance with Thad Jones' Groove Merchant featuring Bobby Blindt on guitar, Alex Peixinho on alto saxophone and Michael Silveira on alto saxophone.



The Dawe Elementary School recently presented Helping Hands Awards to second graders at the school.  Whenever a student does a selfless act, teachers and staff try to recognize them and encourage this type of behavior. It's an extension of the the "Caught Being Good" program that was there years ago when my own kids attended.  This year's award winners include Shawn Gilman, Anthony Girolamo, Konrad Rogers, Daniel Pestana, Aidan Curtis, Kaitlyn Aboott, James Baker Cameron, Mikayls Snyder, Devaney Gillespie, Gabriela Zola, Brenna Coombes, and Liam Joyce. Congratulations to all, and keep up the good work!

Gabriela Zola & Mrs. McCabe                   Jeffrey DaSilva and Mrs. Celia                   Konrad Rogers and Ms. McLaughlin





SHS Music Department presents 2012 Evening of Jazz Concert

The Stoughton Schools Music Department will present their 2012 Evening of Jazz Concert on Thursday, March 15th. The concert will feature the SHS Jazz Choir and SHS Jazz Bands under the direction of Griffin Coombs and Dan Davey and the O'Donnell Middle School Jazz Bands directed by John Kearns and Stephen Dorgan.

The concert will be held in the high school auditorium and begin at 7:30 PM. Tickets will be available at the door only. Adults $5.00, seniors and children $3.00 with a family maximum of $10.00. For more information, please visit www.music.stoughtonschools.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.

OMS Tuesday Night Jazz Band



The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Alliance recently recognized eight 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 7–12 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 Awardis 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.

SHS Senior Matthew MacDonald earned the Gold Key Award for his Photography Portfolio.

Gold Key award winners for individual works; Shannon Hickey, grade 9, for photo titled "Hoping for a Thaw"; Emma Sinkus, grade 9, for her photo titled "In the Darkest Folds, You Find Light"; Julia Sjoquist, grade 10 for her drawing titled "White and White”.

Alex DeNapoli, grade 10, earned a Silver Key Award for his paintings “Self Portrait” and “Angela”.

Honorable Mentions awards for individual works; Amanda Carlow, grade 9, for her photo titled "Waiting to be Born"; Johnna Costello, grade 11, for her photo titled "Enough"; Nicholas Selby, grade 12 for his painting titled "Abstract Self Portrait”.

Gold and Silver Key award winners have their works on display at the Massachusetts State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza in Boston. The exhibition will run February 13 th through Friday, April 20 th. The hours are Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. Gold Key Award winners will have their works forwarded to New York City for national evaluation. SPS Fine Arts members David Wall and Mark Craig are the art and photography teachers at Stoughton High School.

Amanda Carlow                                                                                      Johnna Costello

Matt MacDonald




With Stoughton High School principal Matt Colantonio heading to O'Donnell Middle School next year to take the place of retiring principal Wayne Hester, the search is on for his replacement. Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Curriculum & Instruction Jonathan Ford is heading the Committee that will select final candidates for interviews for the eventual individual chosen by Supt. of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi for the position. Ford told the School Committee Tuesday night that 43 applications came in for the job. Teachers, students and parents were part of focus groups that looked at what each thought should be part of the scope of the incoming principal. "We started early and have a great pool of candidates. We've narrowed it to seven candidates who are ready to move to the interview stage. Three will be selected as finalists, and we'll conduct site visits on each of them. We're going to end up with an outstanding new principal," Ford said.




Cadet Jeffrey Johnston, son of Sherrianne and Kenneth Johnston of Stoughton, has been named to the Dean's List as a Distinguished Cadet with Academic Recognition for the Fall Semester - August through December at the U.S. Military Academy. To earn this distinction the cadet must maintain a QPA of at least 3.67. He entered West Point in June and spent the summer in “Beast Barracks” which is the intense orientation program all Plebes must complete.  Johnston graduated from Stoughton High School in 2010 and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon graduation at West Point.

The U.S. Military Academy is a four-year co-educational federal undergraduate liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. Founded in 1802 as America's first college of engineering, it consistently ranks as one of the top colleges in the nation. A pre-eminent leader development institution, its mission remains constant - to educate, train and inspire cadets for careers of professional service to the Army and the nation. For more information go to

His dad, Ken, tells Snyder's Stougton, "He rarely gets to come home including summers, but is enjoying the opportunity. I know this summer he is hoping to go to Air Borne school where he will have to make 3 day and 2 night jumps.  He will also attend training (4 weeks) at Camp Buckner in New York along with a short internship at some company.  They sure keep these kids busy." Congratulations to Jeff! We're proud of him.




Acting Police Chief Robert Devine & Oasis Board Member Dan Tarlin

Acting Police Chief Robert Devine talks to the crowd about alcohol abuse prevention, and the role and responsibility of parents in setting parameters and good examples for their children. He captivated the audience and hopefully made an impression on the kids for safe behavior during prom.

Stoughton Resident Amy McCain shows off her handmade jewelry at the Oasis Event.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey addressed the crowd at the Oasis event.

LA Express owner Lisa Areniello and staff members Kassi DeSimone, Milza Pires, and Lena Gangemi man a booth at Oasis event.

OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton) sponsored a pre-prom event at Stoughton High School on February 13 and featured talks by social worker and OASIS Board member Dan Tarlin, Acting Police Chief Robert Devine and Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey. The event was hosted by Stephanie Patton, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for Stoughton Oasis. They have tried to make the prom safer by requiring all those attending to sing a "Prom Contract" between parent and student---with an independent witness--that requires students to attend substance-free, and that parents or students will not sponsor pre or post-prom events which alcohol or drugs are available. That parents will be accessible by phone during the hours of the prom. They also agree that no student will be admitted after 8:15 p.m., nor be allowed to leave before 10:30 p.m. Consequences of violations of the SHS no tolerance policy toward drug and alcohol are clearly spelled out in the contract.

In addition, OASIS emphasized that talking to your kids may be hard, but it's something you have to do. Speakers said that child do emulate their parents, and that it is improtant to set parameters that you expect to be followed in your home. Have a discussion about the rules and consequences for drug and alcohol use. Be clear and concise. Pick a time when everyone in calm and can pay attention (for instancer, a car ride or over dinner.) A 2011 Stoughton High survey found that nearly 70% of Stoughton High students reported that their parent or guardians talk to them about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. So, keep talking to your teen--they ARE listening to you! Many ideas can be found at www.stoughtonoasis.org. Parents and students can follow OASIS on Twitter (@OASIS Coalition), or on Facebook (Oasis). Get involved. We are U-Knighted to keep Stoughton's youth safe!

Patton said a special thank you to: Stoughton High School for advertising and hosting this event & for Prom Ticket raffle items. Fairy Tales Formals for the dresses and tuxes in the fashion show and their generous raffle item. LA Express & Giovann Salon for the hair styling in the fashion show and generous raffle items. Stoughton Flowers for the corsages and boutonnieres in the fashion show. Mary Kay consultant and Make up artist Cindy Guarino for fashion show make up and generous raffle item. Amy McCain for jewelry in fashion show and generous raffle items. Classic Limo for generous raffle item. Party All Night Long for a ticket to their event. Roche Brothers for a generous raffle item. Posh for the generous raffle item. Jessica’s at the Senior Center for the raffle item. Student participants in the fashion show. OASIS coalition members for their hard work in planning this event and for a pair of prom tickets for the raffle. Terry Schneider, a member of the Oasis Board, provided sound for the event.


(story and photos by mark snyder)




at Jones Eartly Childhood Education Center
February 13, 2012

Sensory Motor room inside Jones School. Activities are scheduled according to the "letter of the week", peer students and those with education plans enjoy the classroom and work with Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapists.

Michael & Connie Syrek and their three children take in the Elementary Showcase, visiting Jones teacher Shannon Peachey.

Miss Jennifer Lombardi and Jones School Principal Heather Tucker with family members from the Lehane and Lozano families at the Elemetary Education Showcase on February 13th.


Gibbons School Principal Lynne Jardin, Dawe School Principal David Barner, Hansen School Principal Faye Polillio, Jones Early Childhood Center ("The First Steps to Discovery") Principal Heather Tucker, South School Principal Maureen Mulvey, and West School Principal Brendan Dearborn were on hand to answer questions from parents of potential students in their school's coverage area. Tucker, who also serves as Administrator of Special Education, was on hand to answer questions about the myriad of programs for those with individual education plans.

There were also details available regarding the Preschool at Stoughton Extended Day. This program, which began in 1989, now includes ages 15 months to pre-kindergarten. They offer full and half day programs at the Edwin A. Jones Early Childhood Center, and are licensed through the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Full day programs, for those working towards being toilet trained and socially ready for independence, are offered from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Half day programs are 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information on programs or costs, call Linda Clark at 781-344-0886 or by email at info@stoughtonextendedday.org.

(story and photos by Mark Snyder)






Stoughton High School freshman Matthew Williams and O’Donnell Middle School 8th grade student Mallory Breen have been accepted to perform with the Southeastern Junior District Honors Festival this coming March. Matthew will be performing on trombone with the Southeast Junior District Honors Concert Band. Mallory will be singing soprano with the Southeast Junior District Honors Choir.

Matthew and Mallory went through a rigorous audition process in January. There are approximately fifty schools in Southeastern Massachusetts that send students to audition for the District Honors Festival. SPS Fine Arts staff members Betty Bauman, OMS Choir Director; and Daniel Davey, SHS Band Director, are Matthew and Mallory’s music teachers. The 2012 Southeastern Junior District Honors Festival will be held March 9 th and 10 th at Attleboro High School.




Stoughton High English teacher Susan Rockwood received a "Caught Being Good" Award from the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce at their February 6 Luncheon at Texas Roadhouse in Brockton. Presenting





O'Donnell Middle School Assistant Principal David Guglia was prepared for the first ever School Showcase with guarded optimism. He told Snyder's Stoughton he had 75 chairs in the Media Room, and figured---if things went well--125 people might show up. Well, Guglia, who was pinch-hitting for an under-the-weather Principal Wayne Hester, was extremely pleased when the room was fully jammed with at least 250 parents and students. "It's a wonderful turnout. We'll let everyone know about our middle school, from the small class size to the sports clubs and extra-curricular activities, to the excellent teaching and support staff," Guglia, a Stoughton High (and Gibbons School) graduate told me. Tech teacher Kate Wisek set the stage with a wonderful film presentation of some of the highlights from the past year, including a visit by Governor Patrick. Assistant Principal Barbara Starkie greeted almost everyone who came in the door, with a smile and help answering any questions they had. A Humanities presentation was made by English teacher Hallie Burak, World Language teacher Catherine Proctor, and Social Studies teacher Rachel Killion. A STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) presentation was made by Science teacher Alicia Tilley and Math teacher Patty Lovering. Guidance and School Culture were handled by Corie Brookshire and Sheila Coughlin. Those interested in Fine Arts saw the band and chorus, and got their questions answered by John Kearns and Andrew Davey on the band, Betty Bauman on chorus, and John Dorion on Art. The Nuts & Bolts were handled by Guglia, Starkie and PTSO President Lori Bates. Students participating included Olivia Barros, Breyanna Fraser, Olivia Jarisitis, Devin Gomes, Haley McManus, Monica Pabla, Hannah Peterson, Sam Tullis, and Bridgette Whalen.

The crowd was cleverly divided in fifths, and everyone rotated to see all the presentations. A good (inspiring) time was had by all. A public school education can be a good thing.

(Story and Photos by Mark Snyder)



Stoughton High DECA Advisor Eddie Rodrigues announced who will be moving on to States:

Val Szeto, Heather Baeta, Liz Roch, Jackie Kuhn, Marc Romano, Jo So, Nick Aliquo, Jess Freitas, Mike Connelly, Pat Jackman, Lilly Lamplough, Mike Cardoso, Mike Johnson, Cassie Luce, Brianna Berry, Ross Andler, Kandiajh Dansby, Ashley Gelin, Ilana Schlehuber, Matt Boykin, Nolan Fraine, Kelly Maloney, Nicole Kaltsunas, Christina Bacon, Megan Selby, Dan Dugan, Julia Sjoquist, Kerry Backman

Also our Quiz Bowl Team will be Kayla Floro, Brett Hoffman, Adam Leonard and Brian Kaplan

Congrats to Everyone who participated.




Mr. Mike Ryan, Communications Coordinator at the Jury Commissioner's office in Boston, visited the OMS eighth grade students on Tuesday, January 31st to discuss the role of the judicial branch and jury system. Mr. Ryan was a phenomenal speaker who the kids thoroughly enjoyed and truly gained an abundance of knowledge regarding the Massachusetts courts and jury system.

(Photos and story by Wayne Hester)



The first Stoughton High School showcase, aimed at eighth graders, was a HUGE success on January 30. Large crowds gathered in the high school auditorium and cafeteria to hear speakers, and meet students from the many organizations and sports teams at the high school. Stoughton High Principal Matt Colantonio, who a few years ago was assistant principal at the O'Donnell Middle School, knew many of the attending students. He was quite pleased with the turnout, telling Snyder's Stoughton, "Maybe it was using the word 'showcase'. We'll get to talk about all the interesting courses, and show the students that this can be a fun place. They'll have a chance to meet with leaders of the sports teams, clubs,and organizations in the best high school in the United State--Stoughton High." Assistant principal Mike O'Neil said he was happy to see such parent support. "It's great to see such a large crowd. The people of this town have been great to the schools, and town meeting has supported us, budget-wise." O'Neil told the crowd about the many clubs and organizations at SHS, which include Student Council, DECA, Junior State of America Club, Fruition Organization, Art Club, Buddies Club, Construction Challenge, Music Programs and Concert Band, Drum Club, Marching and Jazz Bands, Color Guard, XClusive Knights, National Honor Society, Peer Leadership, Peer Mediation, S.A.D.D., French Club, Science Olympiad Team, Spectrum Gay Straight Alliance, Latin Club, and C.A.S.H. program, Assistant principal Hope Fernandes spoke briefly about some of the academic challenges at the school, and the success of the school, where 94% of the students who attend Stoughton High pursue a higher education after graduation. Athletic Director Ryan Donahue touched on many of the athletic successes at the school, including the 10-1 Black Knights basketball team, the cheerleading squad which is going to Nationals in Florida, and the 25 Winter Track athletes who have already qualified for States. He also spoke of the successful girl's volleyball, softball and basketball teams, and introduced the coaches who were present. Donahue also featured the brand new track, refinished gymnasium floors, new tennis courts, and the brand new state-off-the-art collegiate weight room and wellness room. He spoke of Stoughton's great achievement in sportsmanship, including being honored as one of the top nine programs in the State in that category. He told the crowd, "Safety goes hand in hand with sportsmanship as our top priority. Kids will be safe here with our innovative certified testing programs for concussions, and our relationship with Partners Health Care, which makes it easy for students to get excellent medical treatment."

(Story and Photos by Mark Snyder)





Wayne Hester, who has served over a decade as the Administrative Principal at the O'Donnell Middle School, will be retiring at the end of this year. Hester has been a favorite of students and their parents, as a warm-hearted, down-to-earth, approachable and effective educator. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said it is very difficult to recruit quality middle school principals. She was very happy that Matt Colantonio, who spent six years as assistant principal at the middle school, and was named Stoughton High Principal last school year, would like to come back to O'Donnell Middle School as principal next year. "We are very lucky to get someone with Matt's credentials and talents for the middle school job. We will launch a nationwide search to find the best candidate to be the next principal of Stoughton High School."

Colantonio, a former wrestling coach atb the high school, said he might even start a wrestling team at the middle school as a "feeder" system for the Black Knights. Despite a slightly lower rate of pay, Colantonio said he was happy to go back to the 6th-8th grades. "I think I can make a bigger impact as an administrator at that level. You can profoundly change a kid by reaching them at that age." Colantonio recognizes how effective Hester, who was a mentor to him, has been. "I've got very big shoes to fill," he told Snyder's Stoughton. Matt started teaching in 2001 at Stoughton High before moving to the middle school in 2007 as assistant principal. He then came to Stoughton High as principal in 2010.

Colantonio said that either of his assistants at the high school (Mike O'Neil and Hope Fernandes) or the two at O'Donnell Middle School (David Guglia and Barbara Starkie) have the ability to run the high school, but "They don't have the requisite three years of experience that might be needed. But, they certainly the talent to do the job."

Colantonio told the school committee Tuesday night about next year's Program of Study for Stoughton High School. Among the highlights were some interesting new course offerings, including "Rap Rock and Roll", "A Capella Choir", and "Disease Diagnostics" (based on Fox-TV's "House", which is Executive Produced by Greg Yaitanes, son of Stoughton realtor Fred Yaitanes). One of this year's new courses, "The Immigrant Experience" had an overwhelming response this year, with over 70 enrolled in the class, and many turned away. Colantonio also said the successful dual enrollment program with Quincy College (which gives high school students college credits), has been "bumped up" and the GPA weight-changed to an advanced level.

Rizzi said that the high school dropout rate, in the latest year tracked by the State (2010-2011) was "1.3%, but we're working for a zero percent rate. We're teaching students to believe in themselves."

Colantonio said that next year, the high school would feature a C.A.S.H. (Careers at Stoughton High) program, which would form a pathway from the freshman year, and "every participating student would have significant internship or work experience." Meanwhile, for others who want to concentrate on college ambitions, Rizzi said that courses would become tougher. She told the School Committee, "Courses will become more rigorous to match college requirements. Every year the bar gets higher." School Committee member Deborah Sovinee liked the expanded course list in the Program of Study. "I like the multi-disciplinary aspects. I think other high schools would be jealous of some of those course offerings."

There was commentary about the Selectmen's budget which passed last week and cut the school department's proposed budget by over 1.4 million dollars. Rizzi said, "The proposed cuts would have a very significant impact on the schools." She looked forward to going over her budget with the Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Education, chaired by Barbara Anzivino (whose husband John is on the Board of Selectmen). The Finance Committee has been traditionally more generous to the schools. Added Sovinee, "I'm sad and shocked by what happened last week at the Selectmen's meeting. But, town meeting has been very good to the schools over the years. Still, we spend $2000 less per pupil than the State average." The budget is still a moving target. The Finance Committee will put it under a microscope and make their recommendation. Then, in May, the Town Meeting members will make the final decision, weighing both the Selectmen's proposed budget, and the Finance Committee's.


Stoughton Public Schools


First Annual Showcase Night
for parents and students!

Learn about twenty-first century academic and extra-curricular programming. See the facility and have your questions answered.


Our dynamic offerings are detailed in our Annual Report – see our website:



Considering alternatives? See what your public schools have to offer!

If you have any questions about your night’s schedule, please contact SHS at 781-

344-7001, OMS at 781-344-7002 or Jones at 781-344-7003.

Thursday, February 2 OMS Showcase in the Library/Media Center

7:00 – 8:00 P.M. for incoming Grade 6


Monday, February 13 Preschool & Elementary Showcase

5:00 – 6:30 P.m. in the Jones School Parent Center




TWO NOMINATED FOR JFK Make a Difference Awards

Congratulations to Mikalya Berteletti 8A and Rebecca McSweeney 7C.  They are O'Donnell Middle School's two nominees for JFK Make a Difference Awards.

Information about this honor can be found through this link:





O'Donnell Middle School Winter Concerts!

The O’Donnell School Music Department will present their 2012 Winter Concerts starting soon! On Wednesday, January 11, the O’Donnell Middle School 8th Grade Winter Concert will be held at Stoughton High Schoo's Auditorium. The concert will feature the 8th Grade Chorus, directed by Betty Bauman; The 8th Grade Concert Band directed by John Kearns, and the OMS Wednesday Jazz Band directed by John Kearns. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The O’Donnell Middle School 7th Grade Winter Concert will be held at Stoughton High School on Wednesday, January 18. The concert will feature the 7th Grade Chorus, directed by Betty Bauman; The 7th Grade Concert Band directed by John Kearns, and the OMS Tuesday Jazz Band directed by John Kearns. The concert will also be held in the high school auditorium and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, the O’Donnell Middle School 6th Grade Winter Concert will be held at Stoughton High School on Wednesday, January 25. The concert will feature the 6th Grade choruses, directed by Betty Bauman; The 6th Grade Concert Bands directed by Stephen Dorgan, Jaclyn Sly, and Andrew Davey, and the OMS 6th Grade Jazz Band directed by Stephen Dorgan. This concert, like the others, will be held in the high school auditorium and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for all three concerts will be available at the door only. Ticket prices are $2 for adults, $1 for seniors and children, with a family maximum of $5.

For more information, please visit www.music.stoughtonschools.org or call 781-344-7002 x 6171.




Governor Patrick started the 351 project to recognize one middle school student from each community that understands the importance of community service.  Nicole Bodette, Jack Conlin and Darya Musatova were nominated by their eighth grade teachers and were required to write an essay about the role they play in the community of Stoughton.   It was a difficult choice but Nicole Bodette was selected to represent Stoughton at this event to be held in Boston over Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.  From left to right in photo are Wayne Hester, O'Donnell Middle School Principal; David Guglia, Assistant Principal; Jack Conlin, Nicole Bodette, Darya Musatova and Barbara Starkie, Assistant Principal.


Former Stoughton High Athletic Director Peter B. Looney Dies

Former Stoughton High Athletic Director Peter B. Looney died Friday, December 23, after a four-month battle with brain cancer. He had long coaching careers at Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville and the University of Connecticut. He was an esteemed softball coach, named National High School Softball Coach of the Year in 1981, according to South Coast Today. He was known for his work with softball pitchers.

Looney left Apponequet in 1987 and became AD at SHS, where he served until the early 2000s.

“I worked closely with Peter for the time he was AD. We developed a close friendship and am saddened by his loss,” Stoughton High varsity field hockey and ice hockey coach Dan Mark said.

“He brought class to SHS, helping all coaches in any way he could. Classy is the best word I can use to describe him. I will miss him.”

Former Stoughton High physical education teacher Pete Everett remembers Looney as a "jovial guy."

"I had a very good working relationship with him and a lot of respect for him and what he did in his career," Everett said.

The Stoughton School Committee voted to name the athletic complex between the high school and the West School after him several years ago. The Peter B. Looney Athletic Complex is located at 232 Pearl Street on the Stoughton High School campus. The athletic complex is also accessible via the access road that connects the high school and the O'Donnell Middle School. This athletic complex, along with the West School Athletic Complex, is the primary home for many of the fall and spring Stoughton High athletic teams. The complex includes a paved track, an open field within the track, tennis courts and an outdoor basketball court. But the centerpiece of the complex is the Anthony L. Sarno, Jr. Football Field, home of the Stoughton High Black Knights football team. 

Photos courtesy of Apponequet Regional High School and Jeff Pickette of Stoughton Patch. Pickette contributed to the article, as well.



(Posted on December 26, 2011 @ 3 p.m.)


Dreaming Of A New Stoughton High School

After taking the tour of the brand spanking-new Norwood High School a few weeks ago, I’ve been daydreaming of the day when a brand new Stoughton High School opens its doors.  The first step in the process - the submittal of a Statement of Interest - to the Massachusetts School Building Authority has been done.  This doesn’t commit the town to anything, but does allow the town to be considered for state dollars and expertise in either renovating the current dilapidated building, or erecting a new one.  Norwood High, like Whitman-Hanson High School, is a “model” school, which would be similar to what would be built in Stoughton, in the eventuality that the town’s residents support it.

I asked a few people in town to tell me about their new high school fantasies, and how we might afford to build it.  There is no doubt that we need a new facility.  Parts of Stoughton High (we’re talking “a building”) are just short of being condemned. In fact, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) warned the Stoughton Public Schools that in the future accreditation could be threatened by the condition of the facility.  So, here are a few opinions from those in the know around the Town: Everyone responded to my query by deadline, and I thank them.   

Holly Boykin, chairman of the Finance Committee, who took the tour of Norwood High School, said, “A new high school will allow students and the community to use new innovation to develop ideas, values and strategies to improve their quality of life.  In today's world, our students will have to compete with not only those from the surrounding towns, but the whole world and we need to provide them the most cost-effective technology and curriculum to advance their future.  While visiting Norwood high school, I could not help but become excited by the energy in the classrooms and hallways. We learned that not only was it a great investment because the state reimbursed about two-thirds of the cost, but that the energy savings also covered the debt interest payment-- so it was a win-win for all those involved.  Also, the new school is used by the entire community for hosting events, forums, TV shows, and yes, I believe maybe even Town Meeting!”

School Committee member Deb Sovinee wrote, “My hope is that we could have a new high school that would be the ‘flagship’ of the district. It would be a place that is used by the entire community throughout the day and evening. Number one, of course, would be providing the 21st century education that is envisioned by our administration. I loved what I saw in Norwood where the high tech infrastructure of the building - photovoltaic panels, green energy systems and techniques--were embedded as part of the science/technology curriculum.   What are the community's needs that could be provided for by a new high school? The library, auditorium, gymnasium could be easily accessed by our citizens and local organizations. Right now, the Police and Fire Departments can use the new gym equipment.  We need to keep doing that kind of synergistic collaboration that benefits everyone in positive ways. Access to these areas can be designed by using separate entrances so to not interfere with the work and access of students.  The sports facilities can't be understated. How great would it be to have state-of- the-art facilities both inside and outside that encourage community participation and revenue? Located as the high school is just on the outskirts of downtown it could be one of the pieces to jump start development downtown.”   Sovinee was the organizer for the trip to Norwood High School, which also included David Young of SMAC (who filmed it), parent Christine Iacobucci, Stoughton Public School grant writer Steven Wilkinson, School Committee members Allan Mills and George Dolinsky, Finance Committee Vice Chair Rich Hill, and member Jim Gearin; Selectmen John Anzivino and Cynthia Walsh; Len Anastasi and Doug Zorn of the Feasibility Committee, and Snyder's Stoughton.

Chairman of the Board of Selectman John Stagnone told Snyder’s Stoughton that the key to being able to afford a new high school is planning: “That’s why a Joint Capitol Planning Committee needs to be set up. If a debt exclusion doesn’t pass, it would have to be handled in the General Fund. So, we need long-term planning for our debt.  I’d like to get as close as we can to pay as you go status on purchases.” 

Stagnone, who also toured Norwood High, said, “The quality of educating our students needs to be in the 21st century. For instance, we have things missing from our science labs. That new building had an impact on those kids in Norwood. I could see their enthusiasm in the halls, and their eagerness to get to class.”  

Stagnone expressed concern about overlapping projects, citing the library:  “If you’re absorbing millions for a library, it’s tough to absorb funds for a new high school, especially if a debt exclusion fails to pass. There could be duplication in the offerings of the high school and public libraries, for instance. What are our priorities, and how do we pay for them all?”  

But, Stagnone supports moving forward, adding, “Statistics say people look at how good schools are in a community, and it impacts property values.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi was enthusiastic when discussing the possibility of a new Stoughton High.  She wrote: “A new high school in our community would jump start the building and rehab of businesses near the school, perhaps providing a catalyst to which growth in the Square could commence. It could provide new community facilities like a TV station and new fitness center. It would provide a venue for tournament competition with enough seating for the whole community to enjoy, and a contemporary auditorium for plays, concerts and cultural events for the students and greater community.  The new high school would provide a venue for conferences that could provide income to the town, bring visitors in to spend money, and put Stoughton ‘on the map’ as a host for major events such as a superintendent's conference, or regional department of education conferences. It would provide 21st century learning spaces and technology to make our students--Stoughton residents--better prepared for the highest paying jobs, and would make a clear, powerful, and irrefutable statement to the children of the community, ‘You are valued.’   A new high school would make it clear to everyone inside and out of Stoughton that this was a community taking charge of its own future and ensuring that this is a highly desirable place to live for the next several generations, strengthening property values.  Every town eventually has to replace its infrastructure.  Some towns have replaced their schools several times over since Stoughton built a school.  There are different funding mechanisms that can be considered. A debt exclusion is one that many communities have adopted.”

Take a good look at the photo of Whitman-Hanson High School.  One day in the near future a building just like it could reside on Pearl Street.  It’s worth dreaming about. Even more importantly, it’s worth planning for!

(From the Stoughton Journal of December 23, 2011)



OMS Peer leaders and Mrs. Coughlan at the StandUp 2011 Conference against bullying at Northeastern University.


The O'Donnell Middle School recently had students from Mr. Lau's Mandarin class go to the Cheng -Du Restaurant.  Students only spoke in Mandarin while they were there.  A great learning experience.

(Courtesy photo from Wayne Hester)




Some parents of Gibbons School first graders in one classroom got a bit of a surprise earlier this week. A mom of a girl in one of the classes sent the kids home with "goody bags" in honor of her daughter's birthday. The bag contained a Children's My First Bible, A Jesus fish eraser, and a pencil that had erasers on both ends and was inscribed with the words, "Life without Jesus is like this pencil. No point to it." One parent, who wrote Snyder's Stoughton, noted, "I am a Catholic, but I found it offensive. I can only imagine how any non-Christian parents would feel." School Principal Lynne Jardin sent home a letter to parents today (December 8) apologizing for the incident. She wrote, "It has come to our attention that a birthday 'goodie bag,' that was brought in by a student on Tuesday, had items that were of a religious nature. Please be advised that school policy prohibits the distribution of religious materials through the schools. We apologize for any misunderstanding and will take the appropriate measure to insure that this does not happen again." Parents I spoke with appreciated Jardin's letter, and each mentioned how much their children loved this particular teacher. Jardin, who said she had received no complaints about the incident, invited parents who have comments or questions to contact her at 781-344-7008 or via email at l_jardin@stoughtonschools.org.

(Posted on November 8, 2011 @ 9:45 p.m.)



Seems like the mom who distributed the material is not from this country, and wasn't familiar with local protocol. Because of this, more caution will be taken in the future on what is handed out to children. That's a good thing. But, this was not much of a story after all.

(posted on November 9 @ 6 p.m.)


Statements of Interest Still Not Signed


Members of the Stoughton School Committee expressed their dismay that the Statements of Interests for the South School and Stoughton High School---which passed unanimously on the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen--have still not been signed by the Town Manager or the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.  School Committee member Deborah Sovinee said she has spoken with Katherine Craven, Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and that Craven told her that it's best to get the SOI's in early, well before the January 12, 2012 deadline.  "She said the early bird gets the worm.  She also said the SOI is diagnostic, and is not meant to be a treatise. She's urged us to keep it simple," Sovinee said. Sovinee added that she and Joel Harding, Superintendent of Support Services, met with Mr. Crimmins Monday to answer any of his concerns. "We tried to set his mind at ease. We're looking for support from the town. Instead, they put up roadblocks," Sovinee said Tuesday night.   Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. had a whole different take on the SOI's.  "First of all, if we were grading them, they'd get an 'F'.  They lack needed information.  There's not information on costs of repair on either building. There's not even an indication of which one is a priority.  As to the potential loss of millions, we have no idea how much these buildings will cost.  There's no idea how much the Massachusetts School Building Authority will cover.  And, Town Counsel has indicated that as long as paperwork is received by the January 12 deadline, that the date it's received has no bearing on the grants awarded," he told me Monday night.


School Committee Vice Chairman Tom Colburn was emotionally upset by the whole situation. He said, "I find it deeply distressing when all nine members present from both boards (school committee and board of selectmen) on November 1st discussed it and endorsed it. This is simply a letter of intent that gives our town access to State level people and funds. This doesn't bind our community in any way. Our school leadership has moved forward in a very difficult economical time. To have Mr. Stagnone and Mr. Crimmins create gridlock on something unanimously agreed upon, I find shameful.  And, to have the chair of the Board of Selectmen fail to recognize our Chair at a meeting, and coincidentally have it the first meeting where citizen comments weren't recognized, gets me upset."


School Committee member Allan Mills said the town and schools have to get on the same page. It's our future."  He also warned of the possibility of losing accreditation for the high school.  In the report of the secondary school committee that awards accreditation to high schools (NEASC), they warned that the facilities in the A Building had "extensive deterioration and damage" and also cited the science labs, among many other problems at the school.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said, "The loss of accreditation is a devastating embarrassment to a community. There's nothing worse."  She said it can have a direct affect on what colleges accept our students. 


Selectman Chairman John Stagnone has already said, "Everything will be fine. We'll get there." He noted that even though he hasn't signed the ROI's yet, he and the rest of the Board fully supports them. "Frank has some questions he wants answered. When he gets those answers, he'll let me know. We'll sign together. We have absolutely no plans to rescind the SOI's. In fact, I've already committed to joining the tour Deb Sovinee arranged on December 9th of Norwood's new high school."


Still, Sovinee said that parents of students in Stoughton's schools should speak up.  "It's a long process to get new schools. The process has come to a halt for inconceivable reasons. People should be outraged! It's unconscionable. Parents should contact Selectmen and tell them to move this along."  

(Posted on November 22, 2011 at 11:30 p.m.)





Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

Academic Award of Excellence

2011 Stoughton High Winners

Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste and Muhammad F. Mir



Stoughton High Gets Honors from the College Board (yes, the SAT people!)

The Stoughton School District is one of fewer than 400 public school districts in the nation being honored by the College Board with a place on the 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll.

Schools placed on the AP Honor Roll simultaneously increased access to Advanced Placement coursework while also maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams (the exams are scored 1-5, with 5 being the top score). 

Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s Advanced Placement program, because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically-prepared students who are likely to benefit most from AP coursework. 

Since 2009, Stoughton High School increased the number of students participating in AP classes from 99 to 134, while also improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher from 54% in 2009 to 63% in 2011. 

The majority of U.S. colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for a score of 3 or above on AP exams.

“This is a serious accomplishment, a very good sign for the school,” Stoughton High principal Matt Colantonio said.

Recently, Stoughton High has added an AP Computer Science and AP Physics course, while expanding the number of sections of AP courses offered in other subjects.

The 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll is made up of only those public school districts that are simultaneously expanding opportunity and improving performance. The list includes 367 school districts across 43 states and Canada. Pennsylvania led all states with 34 public school districts named to the 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll, followed by Massachusetts and New York, both with 30.

“Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton.

“The AP Honor Roll districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP Exam scores.”

Many U.S. school districts have focused on expanding access to AP courses as part of a strategy to improve college readiness. These efforts have resulted in more students earning scores of 3 or better.  They have also resulted in more students earning scores of 1 or 2. Accordingly, there has been a slight decline since 2001 in the overall percentage of AP students scoring a 3 or better, a decline that can be expected in any program attracting a much broader cross-section of students.

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.

“[Stoughton High] has achieved something very remarkable. It managed to open the doors of its AP classrooms to many more students, while also increasing the percentage of students earning high enough AP Exam grades to stand out in the competitive college admission process and qualify for college credit and placement,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of Advanced Placement and college readiness.

Inclusion on the 2nd Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the following criteria:

School districts in which low-income and/or underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) comprise 30 percent or more of the AP student population have been highlighted on the Achievement List to recognize significant improvements in equity and quality among the nation’s historically underserved student populations.



The Stoughton Teachers Association sent a "new release" to local media outlets that read:

"The Stoughton School Committee violated the state’s Open Meeting Law last year when members voted on a contract extension for Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi during an executive session, according to the Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley. The AG’s decision against the Stoughton School Committee is the result of complaints filed by a Stoughton citizen and Stoughton Teachers Association after the school committee voted in executive session to give Dr. Rizzi a contract extension until 2016. The vote took place on September 28, 2010.

“This decision is a step in the right direction,” Stoughton Teachers Association President Susan Cogliano said. “We were shocked and troubled last year when the school committee abruptly voted to grant a five-year extension to Dr. Rizzi, who had completed just one year of her three-year contract and was midway through the evaluation process. We found it especially troubling that the school committee took this unprecedented step despite the many documented concerns about her administration.” According to Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Nable of the AG’s Office of Open Government, the school committee failed to sufficiently specify agenda items in its meeting notice, failed to follow proper procedures for entering executive session during the meeting, and improperly voted on the contract extension for Dr. Rizzi during executive session. According to the Open Meeting Law, contract negotiations may be conducted in executive session, but the committee must vote in open session.

Prior to the school committee vote, the Stoughton teachers had raised serious questions about the superintendent’s leadership. After the school committee granted Dr. Rizzi a five-year contract extension, the Stoughton teachers took a vote of no confidence in her. The vote passed by an overwhelming margin of 121 to 6. In taking a no confidence vote in Dr. Rizzi, the Stoughton teachers cited the following reasons: · Decisions that are not in the best educational interest of the students· Decisions that place the health and safety of students at risk· Leadership through fear, intimidation and retaliation” “We are in a difficult situation,” Cogliano said. “It’s troubling that issues that gave rise to the vote of no confidence continue. The school committee has been made aware of our serious concerns with Dr. Rizzi’s leadership style. It appears that the school committee is unable or unwilling to address the concerns issues raised in our well documented meetings. The teachers of Stoughton have been more than willing to work with the school committee and administration but there must be willingness on their side.” “We hope that the school committee will reconsider its decision and not grant the extension to the superintendent,” she added.

While the Attorney General’s office determined that the school committee violated the state’s Open Meeting Law in three separate incidents, it fell short of requiring the Stoughton School Committee to nullify its Sept. 28, 2010 vote to approve Dr. Rizzi’s contract. The Attorney General did, however, “strongly recommend” that the committee reconsider the vote during an open session. The ruling also stated that a subsequent discussion on the contract extension that took place on Oct. 12, two weeks after the school committee voted in executive session, was not sufficient to cure the violation. “Allowing public comment on an action already taken without publicly reconsidering the vote cannot cure a violation of the Open Meeting Law,” Nable wrote in the Oct. 31 ruling."

After reading the tersely worded, adversarially-written release, I asked Dr. Rizzi why the Stoughton Teachers Association would even send this news release to the press. Rizzi said she had no idea, adding, "The Attorney General's ruling said the school committee did nothing wrong intentionally. People were wrestling with new elements of the Open Meeting law at the time. They acknowledged that when they responded to Maria Capobianco (a retired Stoughton teacher and member of their negotiating team, who filed the complaint). They said the reason for the executive session should have been made more specific, but that nothing was considered intentional to deceive. The AG also determined they had no intention of overturning anything the school committee did. And, the school committee had a well-attended open meeting where they discussed the contract and chose not to revisit it. As far as I'm concerned, it's a closed issue."

School Committee Chairman Joyce Husseini told Snyder's Stoughton, "If they in fact feel that we violated the law and should re-consider it, then we'll put it on an upcoming agenda for reconsideration. It was brought up at an open meeting for reconsideration, but it didn't get enough support to come to a vote. The three of us who voted for it are still on the board. I don't see the decision we made changing. The language in the news release is similar to what was released during negotiations. We have a good working relationship with the teachers. It was a difficult negotiation that resulted in a very fair contract. I don't see a rift. I'm not sure what this posturing is about."

Cogliano told Snyder's Stoughton, "I want them to comply with the open meeting law. I want them to reconsider the vote on Dr. Rizzi's contract.. The school committee did make a mistake and they should make it right. We took a vote of no confidence. It was not about the contract, it was about our concerns. We met with two members of the school committee and Dr.r Rizzi, and went over the specific some concerns we had. I don’t believe the entire school committee was aware of the concerns when they took the vote. They have to make the vote with all the information in front of them. Then, they have a right to vote however they wish.

Cogliano said she has nothing personal against the Superintendent, and hopes that the news release won't cause a problem. She told me, "It’s not personal. I hope it doesn’t affect our relationship. Dr. Rizzi and I have worked a lot more this year on Race to the Top and with other things. I just want them to comply with the law.”

The School Committee has scheduled further training on the details of the Open Meeting law with the school's attorney to avoid the minefields in the future, according to Rizzi, who said, "The teacher's contracts were settled, no one got laid off, and the union has expressed an interest in working collaboratively with the administration. I'm not sure why this came up at this time."

One school committee member, who wished to remain anonymous, told me, "I don't think we'll be taking a re-vote on it. I think Dr. Rizzi has a valid contract. I'm more concerned that the Town Manager won't sign the S.O.I. (Statement of Interest on the High School and South School) That could cost the town millions of dollars down the road. The Selectmen voted to support it. Yet, he still hasn't signed it. There's also a grievance going on about health insurance, and the Selectmen haven't done anything with the GIC that the teachers are all signed off on."

(Posted on 11/14/11 @ 4 p.m. Updated at 5:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m., and on 11/15/11 @ 7 a.m.)

Attorney General's Findings



S.T.A. President Sue Cogliano signs contract
with former School Committee Chair Tom Colburn

(photo by Jeff Pickette of Stoughton Patch)


At the November 22, 2011 Stoughton School Committee meeting, the School Committee---this time in a legal open session---re-affirmed the four year contract extention for Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, by a 3-0 vote, with two abstentions. Tom Colburn made the motion, and it was seconded by Deborah Sovinee. Chair Joyce Husseini joined them in the vote. Allan Mills abstained due to conflict. George Dolinsky obstained because he had not taken part in the original vote. In the proposed 2013 budget, Superintendent Rizzi is set to be paid $168, 500. In the current budget, she earned $28,500 less. Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Jonathan Ford was promoted to Deputy Superintendent by a 5-0 vote of the School Committee at the November 22 meeting. No salary information was immediately available.

(Posted on November 22, 2011 @ 11:15 p.m.)


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