Teacher Appreciation Week was celebrated this week in Mashpee. I thank each member of our Mashpee Public Schools team for all that they do each day for our students, for our families, for each other, and for our community. They are an extraordinary group of dedicated and hard-working individuals who consistently go above and beyond—always putting our students and their needs first. The best part of the Mashpee Public Schools is not our academic programming, not our facilities, not our extra-curricular activities, and not our athletic accomplishments. The best part of the Mashpee Public Schools is its people!

If you are not interacting on a regular basis with the amazing children of Mashpee you are missing out on opportunities to enrich your life. Our students are the best and always remind me about what is truly important in life. They are kind, respectful, intelligent, and hard-working. They are creative problem-solvers and critical thinkers. On a daily basis we strive to ensure that academic engaged time is maximized for each student and that each student is able to demonstrate growth. Visiting classrooms allows me the opportunity to observe our talented and dedicated teachers and to interact with our wonderful scholars and share in their learning. The success and well-being of every student in our district are always at the forefront of our daily work and every decision we make.

Attendance is imperative! As of today, we have completed 154 days or 85.6 percent of school year 2018-19. If a student has been absent more than 15 days so far this year, he/she is considered to be chronically absent and academically at risk. Attending school regularly is essential to students gaining the academic and social skills they need to succeed. Chronic absence is a powerful predictor of achievement because it measures the amount of instructional time a student has missed over the course of the school year. Starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, chronic absence—missing 10 percent of the academic year—can leave 3rd graders unable to read proficiently, 6th graders struggling with coursework, and high school students off-track for graduation. The good news is that chronic absence can be significantly reduced when schools, families, and community partners work together to monitor attendance data, nurture a habit of regular attendance, and address hurdles that keep children from getting to school every day such as lack of access to health care, unhealthy environmental conditions, unreliable transportation, and housing instability. We will continue to work closely with each family to improve attendance with the shared goal of every student being present as many days as possible for the remaining 26 days of school year 18-19. For more information about the impact of student absenteeism on learning, please visit www.attendanceworks.org.

Mike Tougias, author of “The Finest Hours,” will be visiting Mashpee Middle/High School on Monday, May 20, at 8:45 AM. He will speak to our students about the true story behind the US Coast Guard’s most daring sea rescue. In English class, all seniors have been reading related novels (“Finest Hours,” “The Perfect Storm” and “In the Heart of the Sea”) and conducted related research projects. The public is invited to attend the program in the MMHS auditorium.

Kenneth C. Coombs School

The Coombs School held its annual STEM Night on April 25. This annual hands-on exploration family event, organized by KCC STEM teacher Katie Martin and a team of dedicated Coombs educators, was supported by our scientific and environmental community partners, as well as by the CTE Department at Mashpee Middle-High School. We are so grateful for our “connected community” and their ongoing support. Learning stations at this event were hosted by the following partners: Atlantic White Shark Conservatory, the Cape Wildlife Center, USDA scientists with the real insects they study, Long Pasture and Massachusetts Audubon Society, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Friends of the Mashpee Wildlife Refuge, the Monarch Project, the Compost-with-me Program, Massachusetts Department of Fish & Wildlife, the United States Coast Guard with Mr. Joe, Engineering Design Challenges and Maker’s Space, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Natural Dyes with Latoya Green, Hunting and Fishing with “Captain” CJ Lambert, Clamming Cape Cod with Stacey Maher, MMHS students with robots, snap circuits, and mini-golf, and the baby diamondback terrapin turtles that we are raising. A regular highlight of this event is the arcade game hall set up in the gymnasium. This is where families get to play the cardboard arcade games created by our 2nd graders using design-thinking. Their creations were amazing and entertaining—providing hours of old-fashioned creative fun.

We are very grateful to the Lions Club for their assistance with our recent preschool vision and hearing screenings. The use of their eye screening program with the SPOT camera was very time-efficient and effective. Our students enjoyed working with these wonderful volunteers: Jane Otis, Sandra Fife, Jerry DePalma, Cindy Medeiros, and Linda Hermansen.

Over the last five years, 2nd graders have partnered with visiting artists as part of our “Artists in Residence” program to paint banners depicting favorite children’s books that hang on the balcony of the school’s library. More than 600 students have participated in this program over the years creating 29 banners depicting stories read throughout the year! This year, the 2nd graders worked with artist Jackie DelFonso to paint a mural on the back wall of the library. While working with the artist, the students learned different painting and layering techniques while reinforcing color mixing and painting skills they learned in the art classroom. The theme of Mother Goose was selected by librarian Megan Smith. Mother Goose is the author of hundreds of children’s stories that have been passed down through oral traditions and published over centuries. The mural depicts Mother Goose reading nursery rhymes to the many characters she’s created. There are 14 nursery rhyme characters represented in the mural. These stories are a part of Mrs. Smith’s library curriculum. She looks forward to using the mural as a “teaching tool” with her classes. We thank Coombs art teacher Kim Palmer and MMHS senior Tianna Peters-Williams for sharing their artist skills on this project. We also thank our fabulous PTO for funding this project! Students should be very proud of their accomplishment with this wonderful painting. Stop by if you would like to see the mural up close.

Quashnet Elementary School

The 2019 Quashnet School Spelling Bee is in the books! After 19 rounds (2.5 hours), the winner emerged. Congratulations to 6th grader Ayesha Shafi for being this year’s winner. Fourth grader James Benners earned second place, and 6th grader Leny Jean Laguna won third place. Kudos to all of this year’s participants. It was obvious how students had studied and prepared for this event. Thank you to Mr. O’Connor, who did an amazing job as emcee. Thank you to Mrs. Emery for her organization of this event, to the Quashnet staff volunteers who facilitated the preliminary rounds, and to our families for your support of our spellers. What was quite noticeable during the event was the support that our spellers had for each other. It’s great to be in Mashpee because of them.

Congratulations to three of Quashnet School’s amazing poets for being recognized by the Veterans for Peace, Voices of Peace poetry contest. Madalyn Damron earned First Honors, Fernanda Lima earned Second Honors, and Oliver Josselyn earned Honorable Mention. Thank you to 4th grade teacher Lucinda McKay for providing this opportunity to her students each year.

Last month, Quashnet School students participated in the first annual “Night to Shine” event celebrating words and music. This event was organized by our music teachers, Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Boyd, along with our Title One teacher Ms. Bretti Keohane. The focus was to highlight students’ talent and interest in music and poetry. The cafeteria was transformed into a cozy coffeehouse setting that allowed each performer to shine. We look forward to seeing this event grow next year.

We are thankful to the Mashpee Department of Public Works for rebuilding the Quashnet School garden, which was a casualty of the recent renovation project. The new garden is spectacular! Grade 5 students are anxious to plant their seedlings.

The annual staff vs. 6th grade floor hockey game took place in April. This is a favorite school-wide event that builds school pride and community. A special thank you to Deputy Bob Roth from the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office for officiating the game. The staff came out on top in this year’s game.

The Quashnet School’s annual Career Day is scheduled for Friday, May 24. This is an opportunity to share your chosen profession and the educational path you took to get there with Quashnet students. You can share with one class, two, or stay for the day. Help us “plant the seed” of career possibilities for Quashnet students. Contact Quashnet School executive administrative assistant Cheryl MacIntire at cmacintire@mpspk12.org or at 508-539-1550, extension 4188, if you would like to be a part of this wonderful event. Participation must be confirmed by Monday, May 13.

Mashpee Middle-High School

The Mashpee Middle-High School’s Energy Carnival has been selected as a recipient of the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (Matthew Beaton) Award of Excellence. The energy carnival is a cross-school teaching/learning activity during which MMHS students teach Quashnet School students about many aspects of energy through hands-on explorations set up in a station-rotation fomat. An award ceremony took place this past Monday at the Massachusetts State House in the Great Hall of Flags.

Congratulations to the following MMHS students who were recently inducted into Mashpee’s chapter of the National Technical Honor Society: Jack Howard, Samantha Rozum, William Baker, Nathan Ware, Jack Vinitsky, Kyle Puchol, Ryan Lima, Benjamin Kennedy, Teresa Hachey, Adriana DeSimone, Zachary Rogers, Mary Hachey, Clara Signs, Conor Baron, Trey Peters, Maddelyn Souza, Aidan McDougall, Nick Perrone, Elizabeth Kidwell, Caylin Oakley-Robbins, Isabella Eagan, Caroline Raber, Gabe Palhais, Olivia Oliveira, Alyson Lihzis, Ava Christo, Hannah Binette, Samantha Kersey, Colin Spencer, Anna O’Neill, Kathleen Clark, Samantha Morry, Taylor Rose, and Kristina Dillis.

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC. The winning works are displayed for one year at the US Capitol. MMHS senior independent study student Jessica Dillis has been awarded 2nd Place in the Mixed Media category in the Congressional Art Competition for the 9th Congressional district for her watercolor portrait. Congratulations to Jessica. It’s great to be in Mashpee because of Jessica!

On April 26, a dozen innovative and visionary educators from across the county shared their ideas on how we can prepare today’s students for success in tomorrow’s world. This “TedxMashpeeED” TED Talk event was organized by seniors Aidan Goddu, Caroline Henley, Carter Teed, and Mohammad Haider Zaheer as their senior project. Social studies teacher Celeste Reynolds served as their advisor and was instrumental in coordinating this event. You can watch each presenter’s talk by visiting youtu.be/Gf1HttDQLOw.

Last Friday’s MMHS Junior-Senior Prom was a wonderful event. The rain held off until everyone was inside the Popponesset Inn. All of our students looked amazing in their fancy clothes. Recognized as the King and Queen were Joveski Lewis and Kristin Kondracki. Dylan Barger and Emily Kelleher were recognized as the Prince and Princess. Thank you to senior class advisor Ms. Vaughn and her hard-working committee for planning such an outstanding event. Thank you to the many MMHS staff members who served as chaperones.

Mashpee held a Family Wellness Night last week. In addition to the “Hidden in Plain Sight” exhibit, there were also interactive presentations on vaping, substance use, childhood assault/abuse, and good decision-making. Resources available during the event included Gosnold, Children’s Cove, the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office, Cape Cod Family Resource Center, and our MPS nurses. Thank you to Teen Task Force members Ryan Hendricks, Taylor Lacava, and Paige Lundberg for their excellent presentation.

The 2019 Cape Cod Mini-Maker Faire held at MMHS on April 27 provided a wonderful opportunity for visitors to watch Cape Cod school teams engage in VEX robotics competitions and to learn directly from the many “makers” in attendance. Quashnet School 4th grader Carmen Bartlett, a/k/a Cape Cod Slime Girl, was a very busy maker at this event.

MMHS 8th graders Annika Lakatos and Stella Stecei would like your help with a service project that they are spearheading. When foster families are called upon to foster a newborn, they are often called with only a short notice, and they don’t have the supplies they need to care for a baby. Annika and Stella’s project will provide emergency boxes containing new infant clothing, diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, and formula to help the foster parent get off to a great start. The emergency boxes will be provided to the Department of Children and Family Services in Hyannis to be given to families when needed. Some boxes will also be delivered to Cape Cod Hospital. Drop-off locations are Mashpee Public Library, Mashpee Town Hall, the Parish of Christ the King, Mashpee Chiropractic, and Mashpee Middle-High School. Donations are being accepted until May 24. Cash donations are also welcome. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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There are many reasons to be proud of the Mashpee Public Schools. Our students continue to excel in every arena—in the classroom, on the athletic field, at conferences, at robotics competitions, in the arts, through extracurricular activities, and in their service to others. We are well resourced with highly-skilled and caring staff members, with instructional materials and technology, and with well-maintained facilities. Adding to this wealth is our positive partnership with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, our supportive Mashpee community, our families, and, of course, our wonderful students.

We are grateful for the opportunity we have been given to serve the families of Mashpee. A multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework is how we ensure that every student has access to instruction, curriculum, and an environment that ensures achievement of his/her academic and social/emotional projected growth. Thank you for trusting us with your children.

Please stop in and visit us at #wearemashpee, our outreach site at 12 Central Square at Mashpee Commons. Thank you to Mashpee Commons for this partnership. Christina Ball is our outreach coordinator.

It’s great to be in Mashpee—for you, for me, for us. We are a connected community.

2019–2020 School Days For Students

Mashpee Middle-High School (Grades 7–12): 8:20 AM to 2:50 PM

Quashnet School (Grades 3–6): 9:05 AM to 3:35 PM

Coombs School (Grades K, 1, 2): 9:05 AM to 3:35 PM

Coombs School PreK (4-year-olds): 9:15 AM to 2:50 PM

Coombs School Preschool (3-year-olds)—Morning Program: 9:15 AM to 11:45 AM

Coombs School Preschool (3-year-olds)—Afternoon Program: 12:20 PM to 2:50 PM

Mashpee Public Schools website with calendar: www.mpspk12.org

MMHS athletic schedules: miaa.net/schools/public/MashMa

MMHS online newspaper, The Falconer: www.thefalconer.net

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