Special education department welcomes new staff member

By Fiona Davis

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  New special education teacher Joe Kwiatek joined the staff this year as part of the new co-teaching model and student services department, becoming the third Kwiatek brother on the high school staff.

  Kwiatek attended Beverly High School and graduated in 2006. He then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree at UMass Lowell, where he graduated in 2010.

  Kwiatek is not new to the school district.

  “I’ve actually worked here for seven years during the summer with the facilities department, and last year I worked in Brookline at an adolescent psychiatric ward,” he said.

  Kwiatek’s brothers Stephen and John work as the district’s network administrator and network technician.

  Kwiatek will take on several new roles at the school, according to Louise Vose, special education chairperson.

  “There are actually three components to his job: he is a special education liaison, he is a special education co-teacher, and he is a special education resource room support staff member,” Vose said.

  Kwiatek is currently co-teaching a geometry class with Rick Brown two blocks a day.

  “We haven’t really progressed to the point where we want to be at the end of the year, but we are getting there, so I’m optimistic,” Kwiatek said of his co-teaching experience.

  According to director of student services Allison Collins, Kwiatek is a helpful new colleague for both teachers and students.

  “I think that he is a great, young, new teacher, who has a lot of positive energy and is very eager to learn. I see him as somebody who connects well with students and teachers, and I think he is a very positive addition to the staff,” Collins said.

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Returning health teacher brings innovative ideas to high school

Fiona Davis Photo

By Isadora Decker-Lucke

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

  Janda Ricci-Munn returned to the high school as a physical education and health teacher this year, replacing Marty Stefan. Ricci-Munn left three years ago to become a professional tri-athlete.

  “I missed the interactions I had with students and teachers, so when there was an opening, I decided I’d at least apply for it,” Ricci-Munn said of reclaiming his previous job.

  A 1994 graduate of Gloucester High School, Ricci-Munn received his undergraduate degree at UMass Amherst, majoring in cultural anthropology. “I did a lot of studies with health and wellness as well,” he said. While there, he also ran cross-country and track and raced for the cycling team.

  Ricci-Munn has previously worked as a trainer and physical education teacher and ran his own coaching business that he just recently ended.

  “I’m absolutely learning from him,” physical education teacher M’lena Gandolfi said. “He’s up-to-date on the latest ways to train, and we’re using those in our phys-ed program.”

  According to freshman Christiane Noriega, Ricci-Munn is “very nice” and also “very different” from past PE teachers. “He asks our class for our opinions on what games to play and how long we’ll play them for,” she said.

  “There’s a lot more communication between Mr. Ricci-Munn and myself,” Gandolfi said. “It’s really great to have a colleague you can bounce ideas off of throughout the day, and that energy is contagious to each other and our students as well.”

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History teacher excited to return after four years, joins debate staff

By Rachel Daley

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

  After working at the school from 2003-2007, history teacher Jessica Tran is back. Tran teaches four sections of freshmen World History II and one debate and speech class.

  Tran attended Tufts University where she received her master’s degree in psychology. According to Tran, her interest for history sparked in her senior year in college after she studied a year abroad in Scotland her junior year.

  “I went to Scotland because I took all the psych courses I needed to,” Tran said. “When I got back to Tufts senior year, I became interested in teaching history.”

  Tran said the school has changed but at the same time not at all. “There are new faces, and the building has changed, but everyone is still positive about learning,” she said.

  Before returning to Manchester, Tran worked in Avon, Connecticut, which she says was “similar to Manchester because they are both suburbs.” 

  Tran is also teaching a sophomore debate and speech class. “I am new to this subject, but it’s been great to have Ms. Coleman, Mr. Walliman, and Mr. Jewett to work with,” she said.

  Freshmen Samantha Woodman is a student in Tran’s World History II class.

  “She’s productive as a teacher and keeps the class motivated with interactive activities,” Woodman said. “She assigns homework which we then have class discussions about the next day; whereas, in other classes we don’t discuss the homework thoroughly.”

  “I think she’s very enthusiastic, and she makes the classroom an exciting place,” Logue said.

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Experienced teacher joins foreign language department

By Kelly Moore

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

  Erin Fortunato has joined the foreign language department with a background of teaching and world travel behind her.

  While attending Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minn., Fortunato also spent a semester abroad in Madagascar.  She then returned to Africa to serve in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast for two                                                                                                                                 years and later also visited Kenya.

  Fortunato majored in French and international studies, and she said she started teaching as a part-time substitute but had never intended to become a teacher.  

  Having taught at two other schools, one in Belmont for four years and Catholic Memorial High School for five years, Fortunato comes with experience. She said she prefers the size of this school, as it allows everyone to know each other. She is enjoying teaching 6th-grade French & Spanish, Spanish II and Spanish III, she said.

  According to foreign language department chair Michelle Magaña, Fortunato’s transition here has been fantastic.  Fortunato stood out from the multiple applicants last May because she encourages communication skills rather than just grammar.

  Magaña is excited to have her as an addition to the foreign language department because “she is positive and fun” and “her teaching style is very similar to our teaching style.”

  Students agree with Magaña’s view: “She’s a good teacher,” said sophomore Zackary Appeltofft, “and the school year is going smoothly.”

  According to Magaña, it’s not too rare to find double applicants who can teach both French and Spanish these days, but Fortunato’s capability will become very helpful in the future.

  Fortunato said she is currently working on her graduate degree at Gordon College for her master’s in education with a focus in secondary French and Spanish. She is also working at the North

Shore Music Theatre and is enjoying the start of a busy school year.

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Debate program changes format

By Landon Komishane

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  After having three coaches in the past six years, the speech and debate team has entered a new era.

  The debate team has unveiled a new structure this year. The structure, according to debate advisor and social studies department chair Daniel Jewett, will have four teachers each teaching debate to one grade.

  He will be the Debate Advisor, social studies teacher Jen Coleman will be the Travel Coordinator, social studies teacher James Wallimann will run finance for the team, and former coach Tim Averill will run the Averill Invitational, the team’s home tournament.

   Social studies teacher Jessica Tran, social studies teacher Lauren Dubois, and middle school special education teacher Kim Henry will help out chaperoning.

  Jewett said that the idea of this model came up in 2005 after the departure of Averill, and then the idea came up again last spring.

  “After it was clear that [Bill] Cooper was not coming back, [Jim] Lee and I had a conversation about what debate could look like,” Jewett said. “We spent a lot of time talking about it, and then we talked with the social studies department about it. We ended up agreeing to this new model.”

  There was a lot of preparation in order to teach debate, according to Coleman.

  “We met a lot during the school year as we were getting ready to create this model,” she said. “Over the summer, each of the teachers got 20 hours of professional development where we met for the organization of this team.”

  Senior Graham Shaw was elected as team president in early September. “My main job is to act as a good role model, supervise the functioning of our program, and to serve as a resource for underclassmen,” he said.

  The team recently finished the Researchathon, their fundraiser. They write letters to relatives of team members, former team members, and supporters of the team. Their goal was to raise $40,000 to go to all tournaments.

  “We want to create a model that has high expectations for students and to ensure that they enjoy learning,” Jewett said.

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Summer reading selections transition online

By Kendall McCormick

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

  Summer reading underwent a change this past year when, for the first time, it transitioned onto the web.

In years past, students chose their books through a display in the school library. This year, however, every selection was posted online.  

  Students and teachers were able to access six tabs on the website including Statement of Purpose, Frequently Asked Questions, Selections, Sponsors, Student Groups, and AP courses. When browsing the selections, students could click on a book cover, which linked them directly to a summary and review of the book.

  “It’s easier because you’re right there and you can basically search what the book’s about,” sophomore Molly McCoy said. According to McCoy, it was easier for students to both decide on which book to read and later to see who their teachers were.

  Daniel Jewett, history department chair, created the website. “I tried to create something that I was hoping would be helpful to people,” he said. Jewett said he got the idea from a website that he had created for himself for the classes he taught.

  According to math teacher Rick Brown, these were changes that benefitted students, thus making it a stronger program.  

  “Students were able to view their selections at their own leisure and take more time to determine which books they wanted to read,” he said.

  History teacher Jennifer Coleman said the summer reading format this year was not only easier for students but for teachers as well. “It was easy for me as a teacher because I could easily see who my students were if I forgot,” she said.

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Co-teaching helps students comprehend information

 

 

By Ellen Burgess

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

Co-teaching is a new model of collaborative teaching in the classroom that the school has recently adopted. In most college prep level classrooms, a special education teacher works with the academic teacher to help students with an IEP (individualized education program) to better understand the material.

  The new head of the special education program for the district, Allison Collins, is helping to further incorporate this new program into the schools.

  One of the teachers incorporating co-teaching into the classroom is sophomore biology teacher Dr. Maria Burgess. She is working with special education teacher Jared Harvey.

  “It’s definitely very different. We’re still in the beginning phases, so it’s a little awkward right now, but I think when we’re more used to the program, it will definitely help a lot of students,” Burgess said.

  According to Burgess, the main goal of the program is to help students in the classroom by presenting the information in a number of different ways. The new method is not restricted to students with IEP’s but helps all students who may have different learning styles.

  “In a classroom, there is a content specialist, the core teacher, and a skills specialist, the co-teacher. They use multi-modal instruction, which uses visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile instruction in the classroom,” Harvey said. 

  Sophia Guerriero, one of Burgess’s sophomore students, said the new method of teaching is working.

  “I think the way the two teachers teach together is really working. It helps explain the material in a different way so that people with different learning styles can understand it,” Guerriero said.

  High school math teacher Sarah DeLuca is co-teaching with Robert Garrett in her freshman and sophomore classes.

  “During one lesson, Mr. Garrett and I broke it up into two parts, so he was teaching the formula, while I was teaching why it works,” DeLuca said.

  According to DeLuca, student feedback was positive, saying they liked the contrast of the two teachers and activities.

  “The ultimate goal is for co-teaching to be used in all classrooms. The program is relatively new, but we caught it early, so our school is incorporating cutting-edge technology before most others,” Harvey said.

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Boys varsity golf plays a tough match against Masco and ends with a loss

On Wednesday October 12th the Manchester Essex boy’s varsity golf team played a match against Masconomet Regional High School. Manchester Essex unfortunately lost with a final score of 142-166.  According to the Manchester Essex coach Jane McConnell, Masco is the league powerhouse and a loss was not unexpected. The strongest performances came from freshman Ben Bichet, junior Josh Christopher, and sophomore Miles Wood.

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High school gym class plays capture the flag for “Friday Fun Day”

 On Friday September 30th, M’Lena Gandolfi’s high school gym class went out on Hyland turf to play a game of capture the flag.  Every Friday, the students get to have a “Friday fun day”, or a day to choose the game they want to play in class.  This Friday, the majority of the class voted to play capture the flag.

 

 

 

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Ceramics class finishes hand-building project

Every week after the Ceramics-II class finishes a project, all of the students critique one another’s work. The class just finished a “unit piece”, meaning a sculpture made up of many individual units.  Ceramics I teacher Tamera Burns adds her critiques and suggestions as well.

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