Boys Basketball beats Georgetown in the playoffs

The Varsity boys’ basketball team beat rival Georgetown to move on to the next round of the playoffs. This is the second time they have beaten Georgetown this season and they went on to play St. Clement in the next round.

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School wins Green Ribbon award

The school has been designated a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School for reducing environmental impact and cost; improving Health; and offering Environmental Education. Information about the award can be found below the gallery.

 

 

SECOND ANNUAL U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION GREEN RIBBON SCHOOLS ANNOUNCED; FIRST-EVER DISTRICT AWARDEES NAMED

Award Honors Schools and Districts for Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs; Improving Health; and Offering Environmental Education

 April 22, 2013

Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to announce the second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. 

 Sixty-four schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, 14 districts were honored for the first-ever District Sustainability Award.  Duncan, Persiacepe, and Sutley made the announcement at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, in Washington, DC, one of the 2013 honored schools.

The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 32 state education agencies.   The list of selectees includes 54 public schools and 10 private schools. The public schools include seven charter, five magnet and four career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 40 elementary, 23 middle and 19 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 29 states and the District of Columbia.  Over half of the 2013 honorees serve a student body more than 40 percent of which is eligible for free and reduced price lunch.  The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here.  A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here.

“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said Secretary Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs; improve health, performance and equity; and provide an education geared toward the jobs of the future. In fact, the selected districts are saving millions of dollars as a result of their greening efforts. And the great thing is that the resources these honorees are using are available for free to all schools.”

“Preparing students for success in the 21st century economy begins in our schools. The schools and districts being honored today are modeling the best practices in reducing environmental impact and cutting costs, creating a healthier learning environment, and providing students with an education geared toward the jobs of the future,” said Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley.

“EPA is proud to join the Department of Education in recognizing our nation’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for their remarkable efforts to create healthier learning spaces and educate students on the importance of environmental protection,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are not only cutting costs thanks to energy-saving practices and use of more efficient technology, but they’re also reducing instances of pollution-related illnesses like asthma, a leading cause of student absence. The students who attend these schools are better prepared than ever to become the next generation of environmental stewards and bring about a healthier, more sustainable future.”

The Department is looking forward to a third year of award, and will be publishing updated competition criteria this summer, once again working closely with participating states, collaborating organizations and partner agencies.  State education agencies are encouraged to indicate intent to nominate schools in 2014 by August 1, 2013.

More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.  Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars in which the 2013 honorees are exemplary can be found here.

 

Alabama

• Harriette W. Gwin Elementary School

Hoover, AL

• Munford Middle School and Munford High School

Munford, AL

• Fayetteville High School

Sylacauga, AL

• Talladega County

 

Arkansas

• Fayetteville District 

 

California

• Charles Evans Hughes Middle School

Long Beach, CA

• Journey School

Aliso Viejo, CA

• Redding School of the Arts II

Redding, CA

• Prospect Sierra School

El Cerrito, CA

• Oak Park Unified School District 

 

Colorado

• Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School

Ft. Collins, CO

• Douglas County School District

 

Connecticut

• Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School

New Haven, CT

• Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker

Hartford, CT

• Common Ground High School

New Haven, CT

 

Delaware

• St. Andrew’s School

Middletown, DE

 

District of Columbia

• Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

Washington, DC

• Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School

Washington, DC

• Woodrow Wilson High School

Washington, DC

 

Florida

• Driftwood Middle School

Hollywood, FL

• St. Paul Lutheran School

Lakeland, FL

• School District of Palm Beach County

 

Georgia

• Ford Elementary School, 

Acworth, GA

• Gwinnett County Public Schools

 

Indiana

• Guion Creek Middle School

Indianapolis, IN

 

Iowa

• Starmont Community School 

Arlington IA

• Des Moines Independent Community School District

 

Kansas

• Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School

Shawnee, KS

 

Kentucky

• Cane Run Elementary School 

Louisville, KY

• Northern Elementary School

Georgetown, KY 

• Locust Trace AgriScience Farm

Lexington, KY

 

Maryland

• Cedar Grove Elementary School

Germantown, MD

• Summit Hall Elementary School

Gaithersburg, MD

• Montgomery County Public Schools 

 

Massachusetts

• Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School

Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

• Quincy High School

Quincy, MA

• Berkshire School

Sheffield, MA

• Acton Public Schools and Acton-Boxborough Regional School District 

 

Minnesota

• Jeffers Pond Elementary School

Prior Lake, MN

• Heritage E-STEM Middle School

West St. Paul, MN

• School of Environmental Studies

Apple Valley, MN

• Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools

 

Mississippi

• Watkins Elementary School

Jackson, MS

 

Nebraska

• King Science and Technology Magnet Center

Omaha, NE

 

New Hampshire

• Phillips Exeter Academy

Exeter, NH

 

New Jersey

• Bedwell Elementary School

Bernardsville, NJ

• Summerfield Elementary School

Neptune, NJ

 

New York

• Crompond School

Yorktown Heights, NY

• PS 057 Hubert H. Humphrey

Staten Island, NY

• Rye Country Day School

Rye, NY

 

Ohio

• Kenston High School

Chagrin Falls, OH

 

Pennsylvania

• Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School

Philadelphia, PA

• Broughal Community Middle School

Bethlehem, PA

• Nazareth Area Middle School

Nazareth, PA

• Westtown School

West Chester, PA

• Lower Merion School District

 

Rhode Island

• The Compass School

Kingston, RI

• Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence, RI

 

Tennessee

• Ivy Academy

Soddy-Daisy, TN

• Lipscomb Academy Elementary School

Nashville, TN

 

Vermont

• Reading Elementary School

Reading, VT

• St. Albans City School

St. Albans, VT

• Shelburne Community School

Shelburne, VT

 

Virginia

• Stony Point Elementary School

Keswick, VA

• Magna Vista High School

Ridgeway, VA

 

Washington

• Glacier Park Elementary School     

Maple Valley, WA

• Sacajawea Elementary School

Vancouver, WA

• Tahoma Senior High School

Covington, WA

• The Evergreen School

Shoreline, WA

• Kent School District

 

West Virginia

• Hometown Elementary School

Red House, WV

• Petersburg Elementary School

Petersburg, WV

• Marshall County Schools

 

Wisconsin

• Summit Environmental School

La Crosse, WI

• Westlawn Elementary School

Cedarburg, WI

• Jefferson Elementary-Fox River Academy

Appleton, WI

• Racine Montessori School

Racine, WI

• School District of Fort Atkinson

 

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Teachers introduce elective classes to Underclassmen

On Tuesday March 26th , students gathered in the dining hall to listen to teachers talk about classes available to take next year. Students have been choosing elective courses on ASPEN. There were two assembles; one for eighth graders and freshman; and one for sophomores and juniors.

 

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District officials enact storm procedures

By Fiona Davis

  Though North Shore communities are unaccustomed to the direct effects of hurricanes, emergency response teams, schools, and town agencies are always prepared, according to facilities manager Joe Lucido.

  In the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy Oct. 29, town officials began taking steps toward storm preparedness, according to Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin.

  “When we hear it’s coming in, we connect with the towns and go to an emergency planning meeting,” Beaudoin said.

  According to her, the key to handling a storm or other weather disaster is communication.

  “It’s really just about constant communication with everybody who has eyes and ears on the ground,” Beaudoin said.

  According to Lucido, new technology helps to make communication more efficient.

  “We get alerts on our smart phones, which in years past we didn’t have that,” he said.

  Part of the communication and preparation process during storms is deciding whether or not to cancel school based on police safety recommendations, according to Beaudoin.

  “The police always want to know what our thinking is around closing schools. Sometimes they want cars and people off the roads; they don’t want people travelling, and we just have an agreement that if they put in any kinds of states of emergency or if they want us to keep people and kids off the roads, we will comply with that,” she said.

  According to Beaudoin, the goal is always to have school, but safety must take precedence if conditions are not safe.

  “I always worry about kids driving and walking with debris flying around and people trying to navigate,” Beaudoin said.

  Including the school system in discussions about storm readiness is especially important, according to Beaudoin, because the school is an emergency shelter for families affected by a storm.

  According to food service director Sheila Parisien, being ready for an emergency is essential because the town depends on the school in a crisis.

  “I always order enough so that there is always enough food for an extra couple hundred people…all staff who live near the school are on call to come in and work because we become a shelter and we feed not only families that are evacuated but also the policemen, the firemen, and DPW workers who will be working around the clock,” she said.

  According to Lucido, the school building must also be equipped to handle the storm.

  “I make sure our generators are fueled up, that they are running properly, that we take all or trash barrels in or anything that could be flying around, and we secure all our equipment,” he said.

  According to Parisien, the school has a responsibility to be prepared for the general community.

  “The whole town is dependent on us potentially. You take care of your people. The people in this town are our immediate responsibilities,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Library passes create a nuisance

By Morgan Kennedy

In an attempt to control and keep track of students, a new library pass system was enacted over the past few weeks; however, this new method simply burdens study hall monitors and students alike. 

Five students from each study hall are allowed to go to the library. The new system requires each of these five students to have their own pass, signed by the study hall monitor. In some cases, three study hall classes are assigned to one teacher in a given block, forcing the monitor to write out 15 individual library passes.

Because of the unnecessary time taken to write out a pass for every student, the line to a study hall monitor’s desk is often out the door of the classroom. Students are stuck waiting in line for 10 minutes for a pass, while monitors waste just as much time writing them out.

Once students arrive at the library, they place their passes in a designated basket. This method might control the amount of students who get to the library, but it does nothing to stop them from leaving and wandering the halls. Just because a student places a slip of paper in the basket does not necessarily mean he or she is accounted for.

Requiring each student to have his or her own pass is contradictory to our “green” school values because at least 15 slips of paper are wasted every study hall.

The new system is also a nuisance for seniors who come to school late when their study hall falls during first block. Each senior checks in and gets a pass at the main office when they arrive at school, but if they wish to spend the rest of their study hall in the library, they must find their monitor and get another pass first. There is no difference between placing an office pass and a study hall pass in the basket, so both should be accepted in the library.

Under the old system, study hall monitors recorded who left the classroom and where they went, so aside from a massive increase in wasted time, not much has changed.

Allowing five students per pass would clear up classrooms quicker while still ensuring that everyone in the library is accounted for. Laminating and reusing library passes every block would improve the system as well, decreasing paper waste.

Krause said the new system is going well but recognizes that it creates more work for the study hall monitors.

“Ms. Hunt and I will meet and discuss how things are going at the end of the year,” she said. “We’re here to please, but we still need accountability.”

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Biased signs should not be allowed in schools

By Fiona Davis

While public schools are obligated to teach students to make responsible, healthy, and educated choices in their personal lives, allowing for signs and biased statements to influence students’ personal beliefs as they walk through the halls is unacceptable. Therefore, signs reading, “Companies treat the world differently” that discourage shopping at Wal-Mart were recently removed from the dining hall and main hallway.

The posters were prominently displayed and easily visible to students in both locations.  Though the posters were put up by a student, the school should not have allowed biased signs that did not show both sides of the Wal-Mart controversy to be in a school environment. Just as biased text books cannot be presented to students, schools should not endorse biased posters.

The majority of the statements on the signs were harmless, simply encouraging students to be aware of how the process of supply and demand operates and the idea of voting for certain products by spending money on them. However, the latter part of the sign presented only one-sided information about large corporations and Wal-Mart’s business practices.

The signs claimed that Wal-Mart “ridiculously underpays workers” and “supports child labor,” yet did not include that Wal-Mart pays American employees the same amount on average as other similar retail companies and that Wal-Mart randomly conducts over 200 ethics inspections each week in factories to ensure compliance with the law, according to PBS.org.

Seeing opinionated information does not allow students to make informed decisions based on equally represented sides of corporate ethics issues. Furthermore, the signs limited students’ exposure to unbiased material, thus taking away their ability to form an independent opinion on the subject matter. The presentation of opinionated messages, even with the intent of helping students make thorough, thoughtful decisions, has no place in a school environment in the manner of posters in the hallways that only address one side of certain arguments.

Students deserve an educational environment that encourages freedom to form opinions without the influence of biased material.

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Superintendent proposes 2.9 percent budget increase for fiscal year 2013

By Fiona Davis

Independent Staff

Representatives from the School Committee, Board of Selectmen, town residents, and school district management met Jan. 24 to discuss the fiscal year 2013 district budget, originally proposed as a 4.9 percent increase over the 2012 budget but dropped to 2.9 percent after the meeting.

According to Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin, the new budget emphasizes the need for fiscal responsibility and strategic planning for future capital improvements.

Beaudoin said she advocates for a more feasible 2.9 percent budget increase for 2013 because the plan would allow the district to cover the most pressing budget items while maintaining reserve funds for future spending needs.

Parent Eli Boling said he is gravely concerned, along with several other parents present at the meeting, that the budget will not allow for the hiring of more teachers to address large class sizes.

“We were able to hire some additional staff last year, which made things a little bit better. We would look for the same thing this year if the money is there,” high school Principal James Lee said.

Director of Finance and Operations Avi Urbas said the School Committee hesitates to add new staff to the high school if the towns will be unable to sustain new staff members in the long term.

“We thought this year we would try to put two teachers back into the [district] budget. They were in the tentative budget, but it looks very unlikely that we are going to be able to keep them into the final budget this year to address rising enrollment,” Urbas said.

According to Lee, enrollment in the high school has risen from 470 students to 490 students in a one year period.

Besides not being able to add staff, Beaudoin said many other items on the list of district priorities will have to be left out of the final 2013 budget, such as new supplies, technology, and school improvements.

“Every year we have a to-do list…the more we put off things, the list just grows longer and longer every year, so at some point there is going to have to be a correction year where we can clean off the list and get a clean slate,” Beaudoin said.

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Custodian updates sports banners in gym

Custodian Steve Hunt applies decals to update the sports banners in the gym on January 26, 2012. New decals generally get put up annually; however, if the team wins during that season, the decals will get put up them.

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Buckeye International and custodians refurbish MERHS gym floor (video included)

Over Thanksgiving break the gym floor was recoated. The Buckeye Cleaning Center in Boston sent supplies and a representative to help with the school’s custodians with the process. The timelapse video below was taken from the security camera footage.

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MERHS “Green Team” Garden Provides for School Lunch

Spanish Teacher Eric Magers is the advisor of the Green Team. He does many extracurricular activities with students after school, including harvesting the schools garden every Monday right after school. The Green Team garden provides fresh greens for school’s lunch salad bar in both the fall and spring.

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