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Connections newsletter

February 3, 2017

News & Notes

Brown School Receives MA Commendation Award at State House Ceremony

Somerville’s Benjamin G. Brown School was among a select group of schools from across the Commonwealth to be recognized as a Massachusetts Commendation school in a ceremony at the Boston State House earlier this week. The Brown School became the district’s first school to be designated a MA Commendation School, a subset of Level 1 schools. Commendation Schools are recognized for their high achievement, high progress, and/or narrowing of proficiency gaps. Multiple criteria are used to determine eligibility for Commendation School designation, including being within the top 10% of schools (90th percentile) in the same school type category for both the aggregate and the high needs subgroups for ELA and Math, and showing a demonstrated improvement in the Composite Performance Index (CPI) for all subgroups in both ELA and Math over the most recent four school years. Congratulations, Brown School!

Argenziano Team Takes First Place in NE Future City Regional Competition

A team of middle grades students at the Argenziano School claimed first place at the New England Regional Future City Competition late last month. Under the guidance of 7th/8th grade science teacher and Future City Team advisor, Mr. Michael Coughlin, Argenziano competed against 14 teams from across New England in this project-based event where teams imagine, research, design, and build their “city of the future.” Members of the Argenziano team are 8th grade team co-captains Derek Sebastao, Nasreen Kaur and Hannah O’Sullivan; and seventh-graders Jamie DaSilva, Bridget Cort, Hardik Pokhrel, Jonathan Peddle, Nikhilesh Ratton, and Emily Howley.

This year’s competition challenge was “The Power of Public Space.” Teams had to build a scale model of their design, and create a virtual city using SIMCITY. They were also required to create a project plan, write an essay about their design, and present to a panel of judges. The Argenziano team’s city of Samanborg (which means Together City in Icelandic) won best overall design and also claimed awards for “Best Presentation” and “Best Virtual City.”

Next up for this visionary team? A trip to Washington, D.C. in a few weeks where they’ll face off against other regional winners in the Future City Competition Finals on February 18-21st. Teams will be vying for several awards, including a grand prize of a week at Space Camp in Alabama. Want to help the team get to D.C.? Visit to make a donation. Congratulations Team Argenziano! Good luck and thank you for representing Somerville with such great distinction!

PEP Talk – Indoor Kayaking with Waypoint Adventure

Ms. Messer’s class from the Healey School recently kicked off an indoor kayaking series run by Waypoint Adventure at the Kennedy pool. With a chance to go indoor kayaking, everyone jumped right in! The students, supported by Waypoint staff and volunteers, practiced four kayaking skills: putting on a life-jacket, getting in and out of a kayak, paddling a kayak, and what happens when your kayak tips over. Every student identified what their goal of the day was and worked hard to meet that goal. For all students involved in the program, their goal was tipping the boat over and letting the group know they were okay. Rich Cheney, Director of Aquatics, helped to coordinate and schedule the kayak series at the pool and was part of the programming throughout the week. “What a great experience for the Healey students! They are teaching the students a skill they can use for a lifetime.” The kayak series will continue through April with three additional classes from the district participating. We look forward to continued collaboration with Waypoint Adventures that will allow for future opportunities like these for Somerville students. For more information on programming offered by Waypoint, visit:

Mindfulness at the Kennedy School

Kennedy School Principal Mark Hurrie says mindfulness helps students "calm their bodies and focus on the matter at hand." Read how one Kindergarten class at the Kennedy School is improving student focus by incorporating mindfulness into their day.


What's Happening  

Somerville High School Musical, “Bring it On!” - February 9-11

This year’s Somerville High School musical, Bring it On – The Musical, featuring SHS Highlander cheerleaders, takes audiences on a high-flying journey filled with the complexities of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness. Tickets are on sale now at for this energetic musical production. Shows are February 9th and 10th at 7:00pm and February 11th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, at the Somerville High School Auditorium. For more information, visit Due to high school themes and language, parental guidance is suggested.

All-City Swim Meet Scheduled - March 4

The City-Wide Swim Meet at the Kennedy Pool will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017, 12:00-4:00pm. Students in grades 1-5 must be able to swim one length of the big pool (25 yards) unassisted, while students in grades 6-8 must be able to swim 2 lengths of the big pool unassisted (50 yards). Students can compete in the backstroke, freestyle/crawl stroke, breaststroke, or butterfly. Sign up for a chance to help your school claim the City-wide Swim Meet trophy. Each competitor will receive a t-shirt. To sign up, stop by the Kennedy Pool (5 Cherry Street), call the pool (617-629-5445), speak to your PE teacher, or sign up online at

Newly Expanded Somerville Hub: Early Childhood – Teenage Years

Visit the Somerville Hub, a place to find what children, teens and their families need to play, learn, and thrive in Somerville. For more information on how to access Somerville programs, family services, and family-friendly places in the city, visit the newly expanded website.

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, February 6, 2:45-4:15pm: Argenziano Parent-Teacher Conferences (290 Washington St.)
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2:45-4:15pm: Healey Parent-Teacher Conferences (5 Meacham St.)
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2:45pm: Brown School Improvement Council Meeting in the Brown School Conference Room (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Wednesday, February 8: Half-Day Wednesday (pre-K dismissed at 11:30am; K-8 dismissed at noon)
  • Wednesday, February 8, 8:30am: Muffins with Maguire at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2:45-4:15pm: Somerville High School Parent-Teacher Conferences (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Wednesday, February 8, 5:00-6:30pm: WSNS School Council Meeting at the West Somerville Neighborhood School Library (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Thursday, February 9, 2:45-4:15pm: Kennedy Parent-Teacher Conferences (5 Cherry St.)
  • Thursday, February 9, 2:45-4:15pm: Winter Hill Parent-Teacher Conferences (115 Sycamore St.)
  • Thursday, February 9, 6:00-8:00pm: WSNS PTA Books for Bingo Event at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Thursday, February 9, 7:00pm: “Bring it On” Musical at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Thursday, February 9, 7:00-8:30pm: Sharing Our Stories Support Group at the Cummings School (42 Prescott St.)
  • Friday, February 10, 7:00pm: “Bring it On” Musical at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Saturday, February 11, 2:00pm: “Bring it On” Musical at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Saturday, February 11, 7:00pm: “Bring it On” Musical at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2:45-4:15pm: Capuano Parent-Teacher Conferences (150 Glen St.)
  • Wednesday, February 15, 7:00-7:30pm: Capuano Parent-Teacher Conferences (150 Glen St.)
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2:45-4:15pm: East Somerville Parent-Teacher Conferences (50 Cross St.)
  • Monday-Friday, February 20-24: February Vacation (includes President’s Day) – NO SCHOOL

Upcoming Somerville Family Learning Collaborative Workshops and Events

Find a complete list of SFLC events and workshops at

Visit the SFLC website for information on the many services and programs that the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative offers:   

  • Ongoing: English Class Registration. Parents/guardians can practice and strengthen their English language skills while learning about and becoming more involved with their child’s education. SFLC works in partnership with The Welcome Project to offer classes in the morning and evening. Register by calling (617) 625-6600, x6702.
  • February 2 & 3, 8:15-10:00am AND 12:15-2:00pm: Somerville High School Open House and Tours. Get an inside look at this great educational community. During your visit, you’ll meet members of the high school staff, learn about the curriculum, and tour the building.
  • February 9, 5:00-7:00pm: SFLC Community Resource and Legal Services Clinic. Do you have questions about community resources? Need legal consultation around immigration issues? Looking for childcare? Meet representatives from the SFLC, City of Somerville Health and Human Services, and SomerViva for information and resources, or make an appointment for a free legal consultation with representatives from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC). For a legal consultation appointment, please call Maura Mendoza at (617) 615-6600 x 6958 or email The SFLC Community Clothing Closet, a resource for free clothing for families in need, will be open. Event will be held at the Cummings School Building, 42 Prescott St.
  • February 9, 7:00-7:30pm: Sharing Our Stories Support. Join SFLC staff and fellow Somerville parents for a support group for families with young children who have special needs. Raising a child who does not always fit in can be challenging. This free, open-ended group offers adults the opportunity to share joys, concerns, frustrations, questions and resources about their experiences. Group will meet at the Cummings School building (42 Prescott Street).
  • February 15, 11:00am-1:00pm: SFLC Immigration Legal Services Clinic. Need legal consultation around immigration issues? Meet representatives from the SFLC and community partners for information and resources. For a legal consultation appointment, please call Maura Mendoza at (617) 615-6600 x6958 or email Event will be held at the Cummings School Building, 42 Prescott St.
  • February 17, 7:00-8:30pm: Parent Leadership – Positive Partnerships in Schools. Research shows that a strong relationship and two-way communication between families and teachers has a positive impact on student learning. Participants will discuss partnering with their children’s schools to support student success. This is the first in a series of workshops for parents and guardians enrolled in SFLC English Classes.

Upcoming School Committee Meetings

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


  • Monday, February 6, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Aldermanic Chambers, Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)
  • Tuesday, February 7, 7:00pm: School Committee Meeting for Finance and Facilities, at the Central Office Conference Room (8 Bonair St.)
  • Monday, February 27, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting at the Aldermanic Chambers, Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Community News & Events

15th Anniversary of the Brian Higgins Foundation Trivia Night. The Brian Higgins Foundation invites you to join the fun at one of Somerville’s biggest community nights of the year – the Brian Higgins Foundation Trivia Night! The event takes place March 23, 6:30pm at Tufts University’s Cousens Gym. The celebration includes a silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, and numerous raffles. A light dinner and cash bar will be available. The trivia portion of the evening consists of a friendly competition between teams in various categories. $25 donation per person, up to 10 people per team, due by March 1, 2017. Proceeds from the event benefit the Brian Higgins Foundation work in support of youth with special needs. Visit for more information about the foundation’s work.

Youth Arts Arise at Arts at the Armory. The winter 2017 session for Youth Arts Arise begins January 10th and runs through March 22nd. Youth Arts Arise is a FREE arts education program for youth ages 11-16; students ages 16-19 have an opportunity to get involved as peer leaders and earn a stipend by assisting arts instructors. Learn more about this and other arts education programs by visiting:

SCATV In-House School Year Programming. Registration for SCATV in-house programming during the school year. Learn about MakerSpace Mondays, a new DIY drop-in program for YOUTH ONLY from 3-5pm on Monday ( and other great programs offered throughout the year (

Looking Ahead

A look at some of the events/activities in the Somerville Public Schools that are taking place in the coming weeks.

  • Monday, February 27: Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC) Meeting
  • Wednesday, March 1: Summer Camp and Activities Fair
  • Thursday, March 2: Serve & Inspire Volunteer Orientation
  • Saturday, March 4: City-wide Swim Meet
  • Wednesday, March 8: Half-Day Wednesday (PK-8)
  • Wednesday, March 8: WSNS K, 1, 2 Music Concert
  • Wednesday, March 8: WSNS School Council Meeting
  • Thursday, March 9: WSNS Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Thursday, March 9: Sharing Our Stories Support Group

Archive of this year's CONNECTIONS e-Newsletter: