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Connections newsletter

January 13, 2017

News & Notes

Celebrating “One Somerville” at annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Event

Somerville’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration takes place Monday, January 16th, from 11:00am to 1:00pm at the East Somerville Community School Auditorium. All are welcome to join the celebration, which will feature a keynote address by Tufts University’s Provost and Senior Vice President, David R. Harris, presentations by winning student essayists from across the District, a presentation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words and photos, and refreshments. Performances will include the Somerville High School Chorus, the Somerville High School World Percussion Ensemble, and She Boom. Join family and friends in celebrating “One Somerville” at this inspirational annual event.

Middle Grades Afterschool Program Takes a Trip to Boston’s Frog Pond

A crisp and sunny day presented the perfect backdrop for a trip to Boston’s Frog Pond recently. Members of the middle grades afterschool program took a lesson in safe travel using Boston’s public transportation system, then navigated to the Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States, for an afternoon of ice skating, Boston history, and socializing. Middle grades afterschool programs at the East Somerville Community School and West Somerville Neighborhood School, as well as the newly launched middle grades program at the Argenziano School, are open to students in Grades 6-8 attending any of the schools throughout the District. Learn more about the Somerville Public Schools middle grades afterschool program in this brochure, or contact Middle Grades District Coordinator and Lead Teacher, Colleen Lyons at or (617) 625-6600, x6449 for more information.

SHS Basketball Alumni Deliver Heartfelt Message to Team during Surprise Visit

On Wednesday January 11th, the Somerville Boys Basketball program got a surprise visit after practice from former SHS Head Coach Rich Melillo (SHS '72) and former players: Vladimir Benoit (SHS '02), Jocelyn Velney (SHS '02), and Ronelson Lovaincy (SHS '04). The alumni delivered a heartfelt and powerful message about community, life lessons, and achievement.

Vladimir Benoit, a Fitchburg State Graduate and Retirement Consultant at Empower Retirement Services, spoke in depth about growing up with family that suffered from mental illness and relying on positive mentors in the community. Jocelyn Velney, Somerville Firefighter, told his story of being the last basketball player picked freshmen year to team MVP and Greater Boston League All-Star as a senior, and how hard work transformed him on and off the court. Ronelson Lovaincy, a Western New England College graduate and Product Manager at New Balance,  talked to the team about his struggles academically freshmen year and how he was able to achieve his goals on and off the court by dedicating himself to his studies. Coach Rich Melillo, Director of Student Services for the Somerville Public Schools, made a passionate plea regarding the importance of making good decisions and of being a positive member of the school community.


What's Happening  

Somerville Public Schools Open Houses – January 18-20

Get a closer look at Somerville’s early childhood center and elementary/middle grades schools. Prospective SPS parents, guardians and families are invited to visit our schools (Capuano, Argenziano, Brown, East Somerville, Healey, Kennedy, West Somerville, Winter Hill) during their Open Houses, January 18-20 between 8:30am and 1:30pm to get a first-hand look at each school. Enjoy a tour, visit classrooms, and meet staff, students, parents, and school leadership during your visit. No appointment necessary. All are welcome. Visit for more information.

Beginners Instrumental Concert – January 19

Join young musicians across the district at the 2017 All-City Beginners Concert on Thursday, January 19th. The music starts at 7:00pm at the Somerville High School Auditorium. 

SHS Course Planning Night for Parents/Guardians of Current 8th Graders – February 1

Save the date! Current Somerville Public Schools 8th grade students and their parents/guardians are invited to hear about the high school course selection process and meet their student’s future high school counselor. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for a fun and informative session on Wednesday, February 1st from 6:00-7:00pm at the Somerville High School Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.).

Save the Date! 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. Register now and start preparing for a friendly district-wide competition. Students will compete in one of two categories: Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8. 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 now for a chance to help your school claim the City-wide Swim Meet trophy. Each competitor will receive a t-shirt. You can sign up in multiple ways: stop by the Kennedy Pool (5 Cherry Street), call the pool (617-629-5445), speak to your PE teacher, or sign up online at  

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, January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – All Schools and District Offices Closed
  • Wednesday, January 18, 8:30am-1:30pm: School Open Houses at Capuano, Brown, and all SPS PK/K-8 Schools
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2:45-4:30pm: Parts & Crafts Advanced Scratch Class (grades 3-5) at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Wednesday, January 18, 5:00-7:15pm: Healey School Information Night (5 Meacham St.)
  • Thursday, January 19, 8:30am-1:30pm: School Open Houses at Capuano, Brown, and all SPS PK/K-8 Schools
  • Thursday, January 19, 2:30-10:00pm: Argenziano PTA Gracie’s Ice Cream Fundraiser (22 Union Square)
  • Thursday, January 19, 6:30pm: District-wide Beginners Concert at the SHS Auditorium (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Friday, January 20, 8:30am-1:30pm: School Open Houses at Capuano, Brown, and all SPS PK/K-8 Schools
  • Friday, January 20, 6:00-8:00pm: Brown School PTA Tropical Family Dance at the Argenziano (290 Washington St.)
  • Monday, January 23, 2:45-4:30pm: Makers Club for K & 1 at the Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)
  • Monday, January 23, 3:00pm: Kennedy School Improvement Council Meeting (5 Cherry St.)

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.
  • January Drop-in Playgroups. 10:00-11:30am: Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 3rd through January 26th at the Cummings School Building (42 Prescott St.). Drop-in literacy playgroups for parents and children birth – 5 years old. For more information, call (617) 625-6600, x6990, 9:00am-12:00pm or visit
  • Wednesday-Friday, January 18-20, 8:30am-1:30pm: School Open Houses. Tour a school, meet the principal, talk to an SFLC Family and Community Liaison and to parents at the Capuano, Brown, and all PK/K-8 schools in the district. Kindergarten registration begins Monday, January 16. Check for additional dates and timelines. Preschool registration begins Friday, March 10, 2017. Check for more information.
  • Wednesday, January 25, 8:30-9:30am: Healthy Kids, Healthy Families. Learn about healthy eating habits. Join experts from the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program and hear about what your child is learning in school regarding healthy eating, making healthy choices, and how you can support your child at home. Session takes place at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore Street).
  • Monday, January 30, 6:30-8:30pm: IEPs and Strategies to Prevent Bullying. Join the Somerville Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SSEPAC) for a workshop addressing the changes in special education practice that are a result of the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law. The workshop will also focus on school-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments for students with disabilities, and statutory provisions that require IEP teams to address bullying of special needs students.

Upcoming School Committee Meetings

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

  • Monday, January 23, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting and Winter Hill School Improvement Plan Presentation, at the Aldermanic Chambers, Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)
  • Monday, January 30, 7:00pm: Regular School Committee Meeting and West Somerville and Capuano School Improvement Plan Presentations, at the Aldermanic Chambers, Somerville City Hall (93 Highland Ave.)

Community News & Events

Argenziano Night at Gracie’s Ice Cream. Stop by Gracie’s Ice Cream in Union Square on Thursday, January 19th, between 2:30 and 10:00pm to enjoy some delicious ice cream and support Somerville’s Argenziano School. Make an evening of it with some musical entertainment before or after your ice cream treat; the district-wide Beginners Instrumental Concert begins at 6:30pm and will be held at the Somerville High School Auditorium. 

Student Health Survey Results – Community Game Show. Somerville Cares About Prevention invites you to be part of a fun and interactive experience as you learn about the results of the 2016 Student Health Survey taken by Somerville High students. The presentation takes place on Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 5:30-7:30pm at Somerville High’s Highlander Café. You’ll learn about the results first-hand, and have a chance to offer ideas on how to enhance youth programming related to prevention throughout the City of Somerville. Refreshments will be offered beforehand and door prizes will be given away at the conclusion of the event. Contact Cory Mashburn ( with any questions or concerns.

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:

The Fairy Circus Puppet Show. The Eliot-Pearson Children’s School presents The Fairy Circus puppet show, performed by the award-winning Tanglewood Marionettes. Show is Sunday, January 29, 2:00pm at the Tufts University Aidekman Arts Center (40 Talbot Ave. in Medford). Tickets are $9 in advance, $10 at the door, and can be purchased in advance at

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, January 23: Makers Club for K & 1 at the Brown School
  • Tuesday, January 24: Scratch Class for Beginners at the Brown School
  • Wednesday, January 25: Advanced Scratch Class at the Brown School
  • Wednesday, January 25: Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Workshop at the Winter Hill Community Innovation School
  • Wednesday, January 25: Argenziano Prospective Parents Meet & Greet
  • Thursday, January 26: Makers Club for 2 & 3 at the Brown School
  • Monday, January 30: Roots and Shoots Program at the Brown School
  • Monday, January 30: Makers Club for K & 1 at the Brown School

Archive of this year's CONNECTIONS e-Newsletter: