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October 6, 2017

News & Notes

SPS Partners with Breakthrough to Expand Out-of-School Time Learning

The Somerville Public Schools and Breakthrough Greater Boston (BTGB) have entered a partnership this year that will offer SPS middle grades and high school students the opportunity to participate in six years of intensive, out-of-school-time programming starting in the summer of 2018. BTGB focuses on a combination of academic programming, advocacy, and one-on-one mentoring from college students who are part of BTGB’s unique Students Teaching Students model. BTGB is breaking ground in Somerville this fall with a student recruitment campaign across the district in preparation for direct service delivery to students starting the summer of 2018. Read more about this partnership in a recent press release.

WSNS Kicks Off STEAM Initiative with Family STEAM Event

The West Somerville Neighborhood School kicked off a school-wide STEAM initiative last week with a community STEAM event in which more than 40 families and their students built contraptions to solve some of the problems in “The Three Little Pigs.” With planning and coordination support from SPS Innovation Specialist Jason Behrens and The Beautiful Stuff Project, teams of students, parents/guardians and staff members utilized a variety of everyday materials to design and build sturdy houses, wolf traps and alarms, pig grabbers, and other contraptions to keep the three little pigs out of harm’s way. The contraptions were displayed in the school cafeteria, after which the students could take their projects home or recycle them.

West Somerville Neighborhood School parents/guardians interested in joining the WSNS STEAM Committee to help plan upcoming STEAM nights and continue to grow the STEAM initiative at the school are invited to contact Principal Seward. Meeting dates and times will be flexible around the needs and availability of the group.

SHS Teacher Gino Colantuono Named Italian Teacher of the Year

Somerville High School World Language teacher, Gino Colantuono, will be recognized later this month at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association’s (MaFLA) annual conference, as the 2017 MA Italian Teacher of the Year. Mr. Colantuono was selected by the MaFLA Award Committee for his exceptional work to promote Italian.

Mr. Colantuono has been a member of the Somerville Public Schools World Language team for 13 years, and is also the Advisor for the SHS Italian Club. Congratulations, Mr. Colantuono!

SCALE, SHS Students Support National Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Students from the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE) met with nurses at Mount Auburn Hospital (MAH) recently to learn more about breast cancer. MAH and the students at SCALE worked together to produce the following video to help promote breast cancer awareness: Students and staff members from the Somerville High School Health Careers, Child Development, Cosmetology, Graphic Communications and Life Skills programs are also supporting breast cancer awareness efforts through a $5 donation “National Denim Day” event on October 6th, and the sale of breast cancer awareness items. Funds raised will support breast cancer research and treatment.

SHS Students Preparing for Costa Rica Trip

A group of Somerville High School students will be heading to Costa Rica in April to explore the rich culture, history, and ecology of the Central American country for eight days. The trip will offer students an opportunity to extend their learning to outside of the classroom, exploring biology, conservation, geology, Latin American culture, Spanish, and more. Costa Rica is known for its rich flora and fauna, beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity.

Students will be actively involved in fundraising efforts to help cover the cost for this enriching educational experience. Scholarship sponsorship opportunities to help defray the cost of travel for eligible students are available, and any amount is appreciated. A donation of $2,275 provides one student with a full travel scholarship; $1,137.50 provides a ½ price scholarship to eligible students. Donors who give more than $100 will be sent a postcard from the trip, and all donors will be invited to a reception next spring where students will present the highlights and best learning experiences from the trip. Checks can be made out to City of Somerville/SHS Costa Rica Trip, and sent to: Somerville High School; c/o Alicia Kersten; 81 Highland Avenue; Somerville, MA 02143. Upcoming fundraising events include several raffles, as well as a dinner this fall. Donations of raffle items are welcome; popular items are tickets and gift cards, although other item donations are welcome. Food donations for the fall dinner are also being sought.

Questions about the trip or sponsorship/donation opportunities? Contact trip chaperones, Alicia Kersten – Social Studies Department Head ( or Lisa Machnik – K-12 World Language Supervisor (


What's Happening  

Post-Secondary Fair – Wednesday, October 18 @ the SHS Field House

All Somerville High School (SHS) students and families are invited to the 2017 SHS Post-Secondary Fair. The event takes place Wednesday, October 18th, 6:30-8:00pm at the SHS Field House. Meet college admissions representatives and learn about additional post-secondary opportunities available around the country.

HONK! Festival – October 6-8, 2017

The annual HONK! Festival that brings brass bands from all over the United States and the world to Somerville for a celebration of music, community and activism, takes place this weekend, October 6-8. At 1:30pm on Friday, the SHS Music Department will host an all-female brass band from Austin, Texas “Yes Ma’am Brass Band” to kick off the festivities. The music will move to outside the SHS Atrium at dismissal. Stop by to enjoy the raucous sounds of percussion and brass.  Learn more about the HONK! Festival at Somerville students will be well-represented at this weekend’s Festival. El Sistema Somerville will perform with School of Honk at Davis Square on Saturday. The SHS Drum Line, Highlander Band, and World Percussion Ensemble will participate in the HONK! Parade on Sunday. Come out and support our student musicians! Learn more about the HONK! Festival and check out the complete weekend schedule at

FREE Boys Basketball Clinics for Grades 4-8

Somerville Recreation is offering FREE Boys Basketball Clinics for grades 4-8 through the end of October. Clinics will be held at the SHS Field House and will be instructed by SHS Boys Basketball staff and Somerville Tradition Basketball staff. Questions? Contact Coach Mark Antonelli at Upcoming clinics will be offered:

  • Wednesday, October 11, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Monday, October 16, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 18, 7:00-8:30pm
  • Monday, October 23, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 25, 6:30-8:30pm

Massachusetts Autism Waiver Program Open Application Period is October 17-31, 2017

The MA Department of Health and Human Services Autism Waiver Program will be holding an Open Application period from October 17th through October 31st for families with children under the age of 9 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The program provides one-to-one interventions and related support services for up to three years. Visit to learn more and to obtain an application.

Upcoming School & District Events

Visit our website at, and click on the "calendar" link at the top of the page for a complete list of all the activities happening at schools and in our District this month.

  • Monday, October 9: NO SCHOOL (Columbus Day) – All schools and district offices closed
  • Tuesday-Friday, October 10-13: Brown School Grade 5 students on Nature’s Classroom trip
  • Wednesday, October 11, 9:00am: Tufts Traveling Treasure Chest, grades 1 & 2 at Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Thursday, October 12: WSNS Kindergarten Field Trip – Apple Picking
  • Thursday, October 12, 2:45-4:00pm: Strong Women/Strong Girls program at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Friday, October 13, 7:00pm: Somerville High School Homecoming Football Game vs. Lynn Classical at Dilboy Field (110 Alewife Brook Parkway)
  • Monday, October 16: WSNS 4th Grade Field Trip to Lowell Tsongas History Center
  • Wednesday, October 18: Spirit Day - Book Character, at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 18: Half Day Wednesday (PK dismissed at 11:30am; K-8 dismissed at noon)
  • Wednesday, October 18, 5:00-6:30pm: WSNS School Council Meeting at the West Somerville Neighborhood School Library (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 18, 6:30-7:30pm: Parent Coffee Hour at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Wednesday, October 18, 6:30-8:00pm: SHS Post-Secondary Fair at the Somerville High School Field House (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Thursday, October 19, 2:45-4:00pm: Strong Women/Strong Girls program at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Thursday, October 19, 5:30-7:00pm: WSNS Clothing Swap and Family STEAM Design Challenge at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Friday, October 20, 6:30-8:00pm: PTA Fall Harvest at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Monday, October 23, 6:30-8:30pm: Somerville SEPAC Update with the SPS Special Education Director, at the Somerville High School Library (81 Highland Ave.)

Upcoming Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops and Events

Find a complete list of SFLC events, services, and workshops at

The Somerville Family Learning Collaborative offers a rich array of workshops, programs, and events to support students and families. SFLC calendars of monthly activities and events will be available October through June. Multilingual flyers will be distributed two weeks prior to all SFLC events. Here’s a snapshot of SFLC programs “by the numbers” in 2016-17.

  • Thursday, October 12, 7:00-8:30pm: Sharing Our Stories Support Group at the Cummings School (42 Prescott St.). Support group for families with young children who have special needs. This free, open-ended group offers adults the opportunity to share joys, concerns, frustrations, questions and resources about their experiences. Facilitated by Amy Bamforth, LICSW.
  • Monday, October 23, 6:00-8:30pm: Special Education District Update at the Somerville High School Library (81 Highland Ave.). Join the Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SSEPAC) for a district update with Christine Trevisone, the Somerville Public Schools Special Education Director.
  • Thursday, October 26, 6:30-8:30pm: Serve & Inspire Volunteer Orientation at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.). Learn about district schools and how SPS volunteers serve, inspire, and support student learning in our schools. For more information, contact your school-based Volunteer Coordinator or Jen Capuano at (617) 629-5475 or

Upcoming School Committee Meetings

Find the complete School Committee schedule, agendas and meeting minutes (as approved) online at

  • Wednesday, October 11, 6:30pm: Finance & Facilities Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (8 Bonair St.)
  • Monday, October 16, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)
  • Thursday, October 19, 6:30-9:00pm: School Committee Meeting for Long Range Planning at the Central Office Conference Room (8 Bonair St.)
  • Tuesday, October 24, 6:30pm: Educational Programs & Instruction Subcommittee Meeting at the Central Office Conference Room (8 Bonair St.)

Community News & Events

Somerville Parks & Recreation. Whether you’re looking for “Adventures in Space”, canoeing, basketball, boxing, swimming, soccer, robotics, or a variety of other classes, clinics, or programs, Somerville Parks & Recreation likely has you covered! Visit to learn more about current programming offered by Somerville Parks & Recreation, and register online today.

Somerville Youth Hockey - Learn to Skate/Play Hockey. Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 season of LTS/LPH! For ages 3 and up. Programs start Saturday, October 21st and run until late February 2018 at the Veterans Memorial Rink (570 Somerville Ave.) 8:00am Learn to Skate, 9:30am Learn to Play Hockey. Register online at Contact Dave Zraket at with any questions or requests for scholarships. No child that wants to learn to skate or play hockey will be turned away. Additional information about the LTS/LTPH clinic (equipment, etc.) can be found at:

Harvard Museums. Enjoy several upcoming family-friendly events. Programs are free with museum admission.

Sunday, October 22: Monster Mashed-Up. Join the fun on Sunday, October 22nd from 2-6pm on Somerville Ave. between Union Sq. St. and Spring St. for three stages of music, flea and artisan craft market, and more! Kids’ activities include: bouncy house, face painting, interactive games with Somerville Rec Dept. and Buzzroar Interactive, roller skating, stilting and for and an extra special Halloween costume parade & contest and pumpkin carving! SomerStreets is the City of Somerville’s take on the internationally-renowned Open Streets concept, closing busy city streets to vehicles, and opening them up for cycling, walking, dancing, running, and other modes of activity. Through SomerStreets, the City and its community partners aim to promote and encourage easy access to physical activity, and reconnecting with neighborhoods and businesses and their unique cultural elements in a thriving urban environment.

Multi-Media Mayhem at Arts at the Armory. This new, low-cost program is designed for youth 6-10 years old to engage in different artistic formats including visual, audial, and movement-based. High-quality workshops will take place every Thursday, 3:30-5:00pm starting October 12 through December 21 (excluding Nov. 23). Cost is $100 for the semester. Learn more at and to download an application, or pick up an application at the Center for Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave.).

Youth Arts Arise. This FREE program provides students opportunities to explore creativity in a wide range of artistic mediums. Workshop themes encourage positive self-expression by exploring different cultures and traditions, embracing diversity while simultaneously working toward a better understanding of individual identity. Fall 2017 sessions run October 10-December 20 (excluding Nov. 21 and 22), Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30-5:00pm. Visit for more information or to download an application, or pick up an application at the Center for Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave.)

Makerspace Mondays @ SCATV. A drop-in media maker lab in which youth are trained on studio equipment through structured workshops that gradually become more youth-driven. Two separate program sessions are available: 3-5pm time block for youth in grades 3-6, and a 5-7pm time block for youth in grade 7 and up. Cost is $65 for the entire school year; students can attend as many sessions as they like. Registration is NOW OPEN. Apply here. Questions? Contact Heather McCormack at or (617) 628-8826. Learn more about SCATV Youth Programming at:

Workshop Wednesdays @ SCATV. Workshop Wednesday classes teach specific media production skills, from audio and music production, to TV production, to stop motion animation and more! For youth 8 years and older regardless of ability or experience (except for the Media for Social Change class, which is for middle and high school students only). Several classes available. Cost is $200/session; financial assistance and full scholarship are available. Learn more about available classes, and register here. Questions? Contact Heather McCormack at or (617) 628-8826. Learn more about SCATV Youth Programming at:


Archive of this year's CONNECTIONS e-Newsletter: