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It was a well-attended meeting on Sept. 5 as the Region 4 Board of Education met for the first time since the 2019-’20 school year began.
School policies were reviewed, various committees checked in, and personnel was discussed, with a focus on introductions of new teachers at John Winthrop Middle School (JWMS) and Valley Regional High School (VRHS).
Those teachers include Kristin Madden, a reading and English teacher shared between JWMS and VRHS; Jennifer Blalock, a technology education teacher who is also shared between VRHS and JWMS, Rebecca Parkos, a new world language teacher at JWMS; Temple Frey, a social worker at VRHS; and Leslie-Ann Fazzuoli, a special education teacher at VRHS.
New Superintendent of Schools Brian White reported that it was a very successful start to the school year.
“It was a pleasure to be out in all the buildings on the first day of school seeing how all the planning from over the summer came together. I think things are starting off positively and we are looking forward to a great year,” said White.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Kristina Martineau told the board that the convocation went well and that the three days of professional development for teachers prior to school opening was well received by the teachers. She also touched upon the K-12 priority standards, which will be an ongoing subject of discussion as the school year progresses.
At VRHS, Principal Mike Barile said there are 584 students this year, down 10 from last year’s numbers. He also explained that the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program was off to a great start.
“The model we have in place is phenomenal,” said Barile.
He said the students who are part of the IB program will be traveling to New York City this fall to attend and international college fair. He added that the first week of school open house went extremely well and that the culture at VRHS was one of hard-working students who are a great community of learners.
New JWMS Principal Matthew Espinosa called JWMS extremely welcoming.
“I can’t even explain how impressed I am with the students and the atmosphere of kindness,” said Espinosa. “As happens very often on the first couple days of school, there are inevitably kids that end up sitting alone at lunch, for whatever reason, but what was amazing, was that when students saw this, we had about seven or eight of them come to us and ask if they could leave a table with all their friends and go sit with the students who were by themselves. That’s amazing and very impressive!”
He added, “I did thank all the elementary school principals for sending us such great kids.”
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