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“In matters related to style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock” Thomas Jefferson

Talking with your teen/tween can be like walking through a minefield. At any moment you could be sharing a thought and ask what you thought was a simple, sincere question only to find it triggering an unexpected response. We all know that communication will keep us connected to our children, but it often seems to backfire because of the type of questions we ask. Research proves our instincts: The number one antidote to risky-kid behavior is a strong relationship with a parent or another adult. Believe it or not our kids even like us and want us in their lives!  The trick is how to stay involved in a way that encourages open honest two-way communications. Children do want to come to us and we can be a sounding board to help them wade through tough issues. Watch out! We sometimes meet resistance by the way we pose our questions.

We are very fortunate to provide the opportunity for all to discuss these issues with Dr. William Brown, MD a pediatric neurologist, on April 14th at the Kevin M. Hurley Middle School at 7:00 PM. He is an authority on the teen/tween brain and will be able to further our understandings of how best to pose questions to support the positive decision-making process of young adults. Neuro-imaging confirms that their pre-frontal cortex is still developing – the exact place where decision-making and impulse regulations are forming. Teens and tweens may not always know the reasons behind their actions. That’s one reason they may have that blank look when you ask, “Why did you do that?” Please plan to join us as together we learn how best to communicate with our teenagers. Feel free to have your teenager accompany you.

Did you know that brains continue to grow, adapt, and change throughout life? Sometimes that growth is steady and predictable and relatively comfortable to experience, sometimes it's not. In this new millennium, beliefs and values and their influence on decision-making have commanded significant media and public attention. In particular, it has been argued that our kids today are bombarded with media images of less than exemplary role models such as actors/actresses, professional athletes, and politicians.  What life choices will our students make when confronted with real-life dilemmas and how do we get them ready to make them?

On April 28, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the Seekonk High School Auditorium we have arranged for an open and honest town-wide round-table discussion on how each of us can further positive decision-making for our Seekonk youth. We will have a diverse panel available to answer questions and lead discussions. Please join us – we want everyone to attend - those with elementary age students, those whose students in middle school, and parents of our high schoolers. It is equally important that all interested community members also attend. This initiative requires the involvement of the entire community. Please join us and have your voice heard.

For many weeks I have received a steady stream of notes from interested Seekonk citizens concerning topics such as underage drinking, the risky decision-making of our students, and inappropriate postings on social media cites. This is your opportunity to be a part of the discussion on how the Seekonk community responds and moves forward. Many town leaders will be present at this meeting and if we, as a community, voice the need for continued dialogue and action regarding positive decision-making for our teens, change will happen. Seekonk’s community response to our youth is presently developing and we are hopeful you will be a part of the solution. We welcome you to partner with us in this community initiative and remain hopeful that you will work alongside of us in the best interest of our children.

Golden Pass: Calling all Senior Citizens!

The Seekonk Public Schools invites you to join us in the schools to see our students in action by using a complimentary “Golden Pass” which provides free or reduced admission to many arts and athletic events in the district. Any local senior citizen age 65 or over is eligible for a “Golden Pass” which remains valid indefinitely. The “Golden Pass” is available to you at the Seekonk Library and Council of Aging.

 

Posted by deborah.blakeney  On Mar 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM
  
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it provides a time for me to reflect on the things for which I am personally thankful. We might all agree that we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day, more than they might have ever dreamed. As I count my blessings, I am mindful of the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today.  As a community we join hands in being thankful for America’s bounty and heritage.

This is the time of year in which our thoughts turn more than ever to the people who mean so much to us. When this continent was first colonized, there were many things the people had for which they were thankful. First and foremost was arriving safely in the New Land. Certainly, health, freedom from tyranny, and religious freedom followed closely. Times have changed, but those basic tenets still apply.

I am thankful for the love and support of my family and friends, and for the opportunity to serve as superintendent of the Seekonk Public Schools. Each day I get the chance to work side by side with many different groups of people that make up the Seekonk Public Schools and contribute to our greatness.

I am thankful for my administrative leaders who steady the course when educational trends change and the future is uncertain. I am inspired every day by the members of my administrative team and appreciate their strengths and their positive perspectives. Their strengths lie in their understanding that students need to be placed in the forefront of their thinking and then setting their determination to do the best for each of them and doing it well.

I am thankful to work with teachers and support staff that work hard, care about students, and help our students succeed. Each day they demonstrate that caring by going out of their way to help our students learn while investing their time and energy ensuring student safety and success.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be around the students of the Seekonk Schools on a daily basis. They constantly remind me why they are the best through their willingness to help out at school and in the community, the respect they show both at school and on extracurricular/field trips, and their talent, ability, and behavior.

I am thankful for the Seekonk parents and community and the support you give to our students and schools. Whether it is cheering on our athletic teams at sporting events, providing input through school or district committees, or volunteering in the various buildings, it is the support and dedication of the parents and community members that truly make our schools great.

I am thankful for the hard work of our school committee as they work to create the educational vision for our students and schools. Too often we forget the personal sacrifices school committee members routinely make. As elected officials, school committee members are the voice of the Seekonk community, serving first and foremost in the best interest of our school children. In the tradition of representative democracy, school committee members are the community’s key connection to influencing how our public schools are governed. Often times, school committee members face criticism even though the details that went into a given decision are not known. As a result, the efforts of school committee members often go unrecognized and unrewarded.

As we continue to work together and encourage one another along the pathway of lifelong learning, I want to extend a very sincere wish for each of you for a Happy Thanksgiving. As we celebrate this special season with our families and friends, I want you to know I am thankful for the opportunity to work with and serve each one of you as we contribute to the future success of our children.

Did you know …

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving is an important American tradition, but it's not just a tradition celebrated in the United States. In fact, seven nations of the world have officially declared Thanksgiving Days: Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Argentina and the United States. Thanksgiving celebrations have also been celebrated for hundreds of years, including some ancient cultures.

Golden Pass: Calling all Senior Citizens!

Get Your Golden Pass at the Seekonk Library or the Senior Center

The Seekonk Public Schools invites you to join us in the schools to see our students in action by using a complimentary “Golden Pass” which provides free or reduced admission to many arts and athletic events in the district. Any local senior citizen age 65 or over is eligible for a “Golden Pass” which remains valid indefinitely. The “Golden Pass” is available to you at the Seekonk Library and Council of Aging

Posted by deborah.blakeney  On Nov 10, 2010 at 4:30 PM
  

Balmy skies and big smiles met Seekonk Public School students as they started the first day of the 2010-11 school year.  The first day of school in Seekonk was exciting to experience; smiling kids, smiling teachers, and all with lots of energy. There is something indisputably fresh about the beginning of any academic year. There is the feeling that anything is possible. We opened the school year with 2148 students which is eleven students less than last year at this time. The biggest changes came in the High School and Middle School populations. While the High School had an increase of 36 students, the Middle School experienced a drop of 36 students. Both elementary schools lost a few students each. The entire staff is looking forward to rising to the challenges of the year even though we know that a lot of hard work lies ahead of all of us.

In some ways the Seekonk Schools is like a vast living tapestry. It is far more, though, than just a busy and colorful picture of life going on. It is a tapestry in the sense that everything is interwoven and connected. The scaffolding in the Seekonk community is strong and supports everyone. The weavers of our tapestry never sleep. Even after our students have left the buildings and the corridors have quieted down, there is always a buzz of activity going on somewhere. The truth is that in a school district like this, no one ever really stops working. This constant of work happens so that as the academic year begins, we can welcome everyone back.

As the year unfolds the Seekonk community will focus some attention on the anti-bullying bills passed by both the state House and Senate in March. The bills seek to “curtail bullying in schools and in cyberspace.” In 1983, Norway launched a national campaign against bullying in schools. The grandfather of bullying research, Dan Olweus, is Norwegian, and the campaign had his expertise behind it. The first prevention project involved 2,500 students from 42 schools, whom researchers followed for two and a half years. In the end, student and teacher reports of bullying fell by half. It's a success story that Massachusetts is now hoping to replicate. Like Norway once did, the state of Massachusetts is turning itself into a testing ground for an ambitious program designed to change how kids treat each other. The timing is excellent. Schools across the country are trying to adapt their anti-bullying efforts to address the rise of online cruelty.

In the Seekonk School Community, we believe bullying to be a serious issue and worthy of reasonable attention, awareness, and action. Schools, parents and most of all, our students, need to be aware of appropriate behaviors and develop a further understanding of how inappropriate behaviors should be addressed. In our schools, bullying has always been addressed. In an effort to strengthen this component, we are forming a Seekonk Anti-Bullying Task Force that will develop a program plan for addressing all types of bullying. The program plan will be submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by December 31, 2010.  Our initiative begins with two parent workshops on bullying scheduled for October 13th in the Hurley Middle School at 6:30PM and Thursday, October 21st at 7:00 in the Seekonk High School. We encourage you to attend one of these very important and informative workshops. Please call the Seekonk School Department at 508-399-5106 should you be interested in being part of our newly formed anti-bullying task force, all are welcomed.

Did you know…

On October 4, 1950, the first Peanuts comic strip was published. Creator Charles Schulz always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. As a child, he and his father shared a Sunday morning ritual reading the funnies. Over the years, Peanuts appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide and over 20,000 products had been developed. Special films were also created such as “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which airs every October in preparation for Halloween.

Charles Schulz announced his retirement and passed away the day before his final Sunday cartoon appeared in newspapers around the world on February 13, 2000. "Drawing cartoons is a great way to share your ideas. A cartoonist is no different from any other type of artist—he or she wants to express himself/herself. There is a joy in playing the piano or painting a wonderful watercolor. There is also a joy in communicating a thought, whether serious or funny, to another person." (1996)

Golden Pass: Calling all Senior Citizens!

Get Your Golden Pass at the Seekonk Library
or the Senior Center

The Seekonk Public Schools invites you to join us in the schools to see our students in action by using a complimentary “Golden Pass” which provides free or reduced admission to many arts and athletic events in the district. Any local senior citizen age 65 or over is eligible for a “Golden Pass” which remains valid indefinitely. The “Golden Pass” is available to you at the Seekonk Library and Council of Aging.

Posted by deborah.blakeney  On Oct 05, 2010 at 8:41 AM
  
BACK TO SCHOOL IN SEEKONK

Summertime winding down and summer vacations coming to an end signal that back-to-school time has come. It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate catching up with old friends, making new ones, and settling into a new daily routine.

As the school year begins the Seekonk Public Schools welcome:

Christopher Jones as the new high school Assistant Principal. Mr. Jones is currently working to complete his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He was Assistant Principal at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School for the past three years and has taught History, Law, and English. He has an open door policy and will welcome input from all people. He enjoys working with students and believes in rolling up his sleeves and getting involved.

Raffi Tashdjian our Network Administrator, comes to us from Brown University where he worked as a help desk and field support technician. He has over 12 years of experience as a senior support specialist and system application technician. He has experience with both Mac and Windows workstations. He has worked with Unix, Novell and Microsoft networks. He has an associate’s degree in Information Systems and has multiple technical certifications.

With great pleasure I announce that the following have signed on as teachers in the Seekonk Public Schools:

Lauren Miano has been hired as a Resource Teacher at the George R. Martin Elementary School.  She will be working with students in the fourth and fifth grades for the upcoming school year.  She has been teaching for the last two years at an elementary school in Connecticut while at the same time working on her Masters Degree.  She has since moved to Rhode Island and will continue working towards completing her Masters Degree. 

Alexis Bouchard will teach all grades at Hurley Middle School in the Physical Education department. Alexis has completed 4 years of teaching with the Fall River school district. She has just completed her Masters Degree in adminstration and is eager to work in a smaller community into which she can professionally settle.

Ann Marie Dostou will serve as a Math Specialist for all Middle School students. Ann Marie comes to Seekonk from Westport where she worked for 33 years; five as an administrator and 28 years as a math teacher. She also served in Wesport as curriculum coordinator for math. Her knowledge and experience in math amd middle schools makes her the perfect candidate to start our new Math Lab program geared to improve MCAS scores.

Deborah Handfield
will join the sixth grade team in her teaching of Math and Science. Deborah has taught garde 6 math for us filling in for a teacher on maternity leave. She quickly stood out as a stellar teacher and has worked well with the grade 6 team teachers .

Emily Jutras will be joining the high school in the Learning Center. Not only did Emily graduate from SHS, but she also did her student teaching at the high school in fall 2008. She has been working in a residential setting, NAFI Alternatives, in Providence, RI. She has had a variety of other experiences working with children including the Champions after school program and as an instructional aide at North School.

Tara Marceau has a Masters Degree from Simmons College in Special Education and experience teaching in a setting similar to our Learning Center at Old Rochester Regional High School. She is also a past graduate of SHS and a town resident.

Michael Jacobson
will be joining us as an English Second Language instructor. He comes to us from Salem State College where he worked as a writing center tutor. He has additionally spent a few years abroad teaching college students English.

A Few Reminders:

Free and Reduced Lunch Applications: I am hopeful that all parents will take a few minutes to fill out the free and reduced lunch form that will arrive at your home on September 7, 2010, with your child, even if you do not think your family will qualify for a price reduction. Much of our school’s state funding for school resources is based on information drawn from these applications. This includes money for books, classroom furniture, school supplies, and other educational resources. These applications are strictly confidential.

All families filling out the school meals application will be entered in a drawing and will be eligible to win a great prize! One prize will be given out at each school.

If you have more than one child in the school district, you do not need to fill out a separate application for each child. You can include all of your children on one application.

Golden Pass: Calling all Senior Citizens!
Get Your Golden Pass at the Seekonk Library or the Senior Center.

The Seekonk Public Schools invites you to join us in the schools to see our students in action by using a complimentary “Golden Pass” which provides free or reduced admission to many arts and athletic events in the district. Any local senior citizen age 65 or over is eligible for a “Golden Pass” which remains valid indefinitely. The “Golden Pass” is available to you at the Seekonk Library and Council of Aging.
Posted by deborah.blakeney  On Aug 31, 2010 at 1:01 PM 5 Comments