Fall 2018 Newsletter - Office Hours and Updates

In addition to announcing Fall School Committee Office Hours, I am excited to share Somerville Public School initiatives including a city-wide community visioning process for learning called Somerville Learning 2030 (please take a moment to participate), efforts to reconsider Homework Policy, a pilot of enhancements to SPS recycling programs and the establishment of the Indigenous Peoples' Day holiday. If you cannot attend Fall Office Hours, please email me at lpitone@k12.somerville.ma.us and let me know what you're thinking.

Laura Pitone, Ward 5 School Committee Representative


Office Hours SignOffice Hours - Fall 2018
Join me and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang at our Spring 2018 Office hours.

  • Sunday, Oct 28, 12:30 - 2 pm, Armory Cafe, 91 Highland Ave.
  • Tuesday, Oct 30th, 8:30 - 10 am, Armory Cafe, 91 Highland Ave.
  • Wednesday, Oct 31st, 7:45 - 8:45 am Kennedy School Drop Off
  • Thursday, Nov 1st, 7:45 - 8:45 am Brown School Drop Off 

All School Committee Members are hosting office hours from October 27 - November 3, see this link for the full schedule. Planned in all Wards, attend the one that best fits your schedule.  If you cannot attend office hours, School Committee members always welcome emails and phone calls, or you can share your thoughts in public at the beginning of each Regular School Committee Meeting during Public Comment.  

Homework Policy - Encouraged by strong parental interest, the Educational Programs Sub-committee is working with administration to draft an updated homework policy. Community and staff feedback has been solicited (surveys this past spring) and research done on homework effectiveness and value. The current policy provides time guidelines by grade starting with Kindergarten, but I expect that the proposed new policy (which has yet to be completed, reviewed and deliberated on by the School Committee) will be less prescriptive with a reduced emphasis on homework for early elementary students. 

Recycling and compost pilot 2018

Recycling at SPS - A pilot recycling and composting programming has been launched in the cafeterias of four schools; Argenziano, Brown, Healey and Kennedy. A collaboration between SPS, the Department of Public Works and the City Office of Sustainability and Environment, this grant funded initiative also included hiring sustainability champions in all schools to support and encourage recycling efforts as well as a new School Committee Recycling Policy. This pilot will be evaluated in early 2019 and recommendations made for next steps.

Somerville Learning 2030 - The City and SPS are asking all community members to share their thoughts on what the experience they would like to see for kids growing up in Somerville. Participate in a visioning working session or complete the survey. The goal is to establish shared priorities and values that will inform investment in city services, educational programming (in schools and beyond) as well as strategic partners. Learn more about Somerville Learning 2030 here

Indigenous Peoples' Day - After a compelling presentations by students of the East Somerville Community School, the city renamed the first Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day (formerly Columbus Day) and the School Committee passed a resolution to change the holiday in the schools as well. Research, thoughtful arguments and articulate oral presentations by these students was exciting and inspiring.

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Laura Pitone for Ward 5 School Committee
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