Monday, July 27, 2015

Northbridge Schools -- Summer update

July 27, 2015

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  School starts up in just 36 days.

I wanted to share a few updates and reminders with you:

Safe Routes to School: 
On Tuesday, July 28th at 5:30 pm, at the NES Cafeteria
Superintendent Stickney is hosting a meeting to discuss the School District's plans through the "Safe Routes to School" program.   The district is looking for community volunteers to support this effort, particularly focused on Balmer and NES.  Please consider attending this meeting to learn more and how you may be able to help.  If you plan to attend, please email or call 508-234-8156 Ext. 213 to RSVP.

Middle School Fall Sports Registration
The NMS Booster Club has raised enough money to fund fall sports but now needs to get our student athletes registered to ensure they can fully fund them!  As you might be aware, part of the funding for sports comes from the participation fee that each athlete pays to play.  The registration deadline is 
Friday, July 31.   For more info to to register, visit their website:

Read Around the Town: The two final "Read Around the Town" events will take place August 7th and August 14th. 

New Administrator Welcome Reception

On August 18, please visit the High School lobby from 4:30-5:30pm for a -- Welcome reception to meet our newest adminstrators:  Middle School Principal Jennifer Sauter, Middle School Dean of Students Chris Barry, and Director of Pupil Personnel Services Kathy Perry

HS Wrestling Fundraiser
The Northbridge HS Wrestling team is hosting a
Golf Tournament on September 26th. 

School Committee Training  
On Tuesday, July 21st, Superintendent Stickney and all committee members participated in "Charting the Course" training provided by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.  The workshop covered many areas of responsibilities for the committee, incuding budget development, collective bargaining, open meeting law, and ethics. 

The committee will also host the MASC on Tuesday, August 4th for another training workshop as part of the MASC's District Governance Program

Next Meeting  
The next regular meeting of the Northbridge School Committee will take place on Tuesday, August 18th (7pm at the HS Media Center)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Northbridge School Committee's Summer Meeting Schedule

June 18, 2015

At our last meeting, the Northbridge School Committee agreed to a modified meeting schedule for the summer months, which takes advantage of some educational opportunities for the committee.

Below are our upcoming meetings:

Tuesday, June 23rd at 7pm -- Regular School Committee Meeting

Tuesday, July 21st at 6pm -- There will be no formal meeting in July, however, Dr. Stickney and the committee will be attending "Charting The Course,"which is a training session for School Committee members given by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.  This training will take place at 6pm in Millbury.

Tuesday, August 4th at 6pm -- The committee will host the Massachusetts Association of School Committees for a workshop from their District Governance Program.  This program is designed to  focus on continuous improvement and to help school committees and superintendents develop new strategies for teamwork and collaboration that will enhance student achievement. The program helps build a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the school committee and those of the superintendent.

Tuesday, August 18th at 7pm -- Regular School Committee Meeting

As always, if the need arises for the School Committee to meet to discuss or take action on any issues, we will schedule additional meetings to accommodate that.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Upcoming Fundraisers: HS Wrestling, HS Swim, and Middle School Sports‏

June 13, 2015

Just a quick update on a few fundraisers around town in support of Northbridge school athletics:

Today:  NHS Swim and Wrestling Bucket Drive -- if you are driving around today, passing through Ovian and Memorial Squares, there will be folks collecting donations to support both teams until 3pm.

Now through July 10th:  NHS Wrestling Bottle and Can Drive -- If you would like to donate bottles and cans you have collected, please contact Carrie Maynard at or 508-422-6610 to coordinate pick up or drop off. 

Saturday June 20th:  NHS Wrestling Car Wash -- At Advanced Auto Parts, 277 Church Street from 9am to 2pm -- $7 per car

Saturday June 20th:  NMS Athletic Boosters Golf Tournament -- At Whitinsville Golf Club...$125 to golf, $30 for just dinner event. For more info:

Sunday, June 28th:  NHS Wrestling Meat Raffle -- At Rockdale Sports Bar, 2034 Providence Road at 3pm.  For more info contact

Please consider supporting our student athletes and thank you in advance!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Message about Northbridge Middle School Sports

From the NMS Athletic Booster Club...



This is a hard message to have to deliver but fall sports at NMS are in serious jeopardy of not happening at all. 

As I’m sure you’ve heard funding for Northbridge Middle School sports was eliminated from the school budget beginning with the 2014/2015 school year.  The NMS Booster Club was formed in the fall of 2014 to formally assist with fundraising efforts for middle school sports.  Through the generosity of community members and local businesses, as well as user fees, we were able to raise over $30,000 and fully fund all middle school sports for 2014-2015.  This is an awesome feat and certainly speaks to the caring community in which we live!  However, our work is not done.  Our efforts are now focused on funding sports for the 2015-2016 school year.

The fall sports season consists of 3 different sports with 4 different teams (football, soccer and field hockey.)  In 2014, 96 student athletes participated in fall sports alone.  In order to fund fall sports, we need to raise approximately $8,000 before August 1.  That’s not an easy task.

We’re holding our last “major” fundraiser of this school year on Saturday, June 20.  It is our 2nd annual golf outing and will be played at Whitinsville Golf Club.  We are in serious danger of cancelling the golf outing due to lack of participation.  We’ve had great response from local businesses in sponsoring the outing but not enough golfers at this point to allow us to hold it.

We need golfers.  We currently only have 5 foursomes committed to playing.  Do you play or know someone who plays?  Please consider signing up and sharing this message with your friends.  I have attached the registration form, which contains all of the details for the day.  Teams can register and pay online (credit card or debit card) at  If you would prefer to not pay online, paper registration is an alternative.  Just complete the attached form and send us an email to let us know you’re playing (

We are offering a discounted rate of $100 for any student who wants to play (they just need to have at least 1 adult in the foursome with them.)

Please consider joining us on June 20.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Transportation and Safety Info Shared with the Town Safety Committee

May 30, 2015

At the Northbridge Safety Committee Meeting on May 20th, the School Department shared several questions, ideas and suggestions on ways to alleviate traffic and safety concerns for next year.  This information was included in our packet from last week's School Committee meeting, but I wanted to be sure parents were aware of these discussions, and knew that are things in process to make improvements.

In addition to these concerns, the committee scheduled two "site visits" to view the morning traffic patterns.  The first was held this week at Balmer and was attended by Superintendent Stickney, Police Chief Warchol, Fire Chief Nestor and DPW Director Shuris.  The next will be held at the Middle School on June 9th.

After the Balmer visit, Mr. Shuris also had an engineer view the entry way for recommendations to modify the roadway in and out of the school.  

Info shared with Safety Committee:

High School
  • Reinforce student safety
  • Reinforce speed limit on Linwood
  • Concern with back-ups from WCS; Parent volunteers directing traffic on Linwood (legal?)
Middle School
  • Has instituted a Before School program for students
  • Has addressed drop off process to have cars move up to first drive way to drop off; cars must go to far drive to exit
  • Concern with back-ups from WCS; Again parent volunteer directing traffic on Linwood
  • Get staff parking tags – Staff will park down at the far end of the lot
  • Re-paint lines in lot for more space for drop off
  • Paint curb in front of school for no parking – drop off zone only
  • Wish list – motion-sensored cross walk sign
  • Wish list – additional 20 mi./hr. caution lights
  • Get staff parking tags
  • Widen lot opening for the potential of three lanes
  • Potential of one way traffic on part of Crescent for drop off and pick up only (right turn only out of driveway on to Crescent)
  • Potential of paving another entrance in between fields
  • Crossing guard – traffic director on Crescent/misplaced crosswalk
  • Potential of opening school early for student drop off from 8:00-8:15 and bus drop off at 8:15-8:25
  • Parent education regarding appropriate parking and drop off procedures; not walking in between buses with children; using sidewalks
  • Potential of one way traffic – buses go up hill and cars go down
  • More “No Parking” signs
Other concerns
  • Start time/End time – too close at Balmer and NES for safe parent drop off and pick up: Stagger preschool start time to alleviate traffic congestion?
  • Explore Safe Routes to School Program; Community safety campaign? Paint bike lanes? Bike helmet campaign

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

School Commmittee Recap - May 26, 2015

May 27, 2015

Recap from the May 26th School Committee meeting:

Welcome to Kate Tracy, our newest committee member elected to a two-year term last week.

As is customary after each election, the committee reorganized and filled various appointments:
  • Chairperson - Mike LeBrasseur
  • Vice-Chairperson - Joe Strazzulla
  • Secretary - Kate Tracy
  • Budget and Negotiations Subcommittee:  Mike LeBrasseur (chair) and Joe Strazzulla
  • Policy Subcommittee:  Michael Clements (chair) and Randi Zanca
  • PR and Communications Subcommittee:  Randi Zanca (chair) and Kate Tracy
  • Cable Corporation Board of Directors Representative: Randi Zanca
  • Building, Planning, and Construction Committee Representative: Joe Strazzulla
  • Green Committee Representative: Randi Zanca
  • Curriculum Committee:  Joe Strazzulla
  • Safety Committee Representative: Paul Halacy
  • Solar Committee Representative: Melissa Walker
  • Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative Board Member:  Dr. Catherine Stickney
  • Warrant Approvers:  Randi Zanca, Joe Strazzulla and Michael Clements
  • Weekly Payroll Approver:  Randi Zanca
  • Student Advisory Member and Student Reporter:  Connor Nowlan

High School teach Mr. James Gorman and his NASA ICED (Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design) course were recognized for their work as part of this NASA-sponsored program to increase innovation within NASA, and encouraging STEM education in the United States. Northbridge was among three classes in the country invited to present at the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia.

The committee unanimously supported the Adminstration's recommendation to move to a Humanities program at the Middle School which combines Social Studies and Language Arts.  The plans will continue for the first year pilot for the 2015-16 school year.

The committee was introduced to Mrs. Patricia Paine, who has recently been hired as the district's Transportation coordinator.

Additionally, just a reminder that Friday, June 5th is the deadline to sign up for busing for the 2015-16 school year.  If you are eligible for busing, whether free or for a fee, or are interesting in applying for any open seats, please complete your application by the deadline.  More info can be found here:  NPS Transportation

The committee was also introducted to Mrs. Kathleen Perry, Superintendent’s recommendation as the
Director of Pupil Personnel Services.  Mrs. Perry is currently the Assistant Director of Pupil Personnel Services in North Kingstown, RI.  The committee will vote to confirm Dr. Stickney's appointment at our next meeting on June 9th.

Instructional Coach Lauren Dolan, Principal Ross, and Assistant Principal Tringali shared some examples of the ELA curriculum in place (and in development) at Balmer School.  Among the topics covered were the Model Curriculum Units and the use of Word Study to provide more targeted instruction on spelling.  I'll share the link to the presentation when it is posted. 


Superintendent Stickney shared her proposal to restructure the Middle School Administration to include an Assistant Vice Principal, who would focus primarily on Teaching and Learning, and a Dean of Students who would work with students and families, providing a guidance role, work with School Adjustment Counselors and other staff to support students' social and emotional needs.  The Committee will formally vote on this new Dean of Students position at our next meeting.

The Committee meets next on June 9th.  Senator Ryan Fattman is scheduled to attend that meeting. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thank You Northbridge!

May 20, 2015

Thank you for your vote!

I have been honored to serve as a member of the Northbridge School Committee for the past eight years.  I sincerely appreciate your support and your confidence.

There are incredible things happening in our schools each and every day. This is due to the hard work of our teachers, our administrators, and all our staff, as well as our students.

But as our school district motto states, ("Always More to Learn. Always Striving to Improve."), we still have much work to do to build on the progress we have made.

I am committed to working tirelessly on your behalf, and on behalf of our students to ensure we are providing them with a quality education every year.  I will continue to focus on the main points from my first campaign 8 years ago:

1.  Maintain open communications to parents and taxpayers
2.  Improve collaboration with all town officials
3.  Ensure fiscal responsibility

Thanks again for you support, and as always, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with any questions and concerns that you may have.

Thank you!

Below are the various ways by which you can contact me and stay in touch with what is happening with your schools:

LIKE my page on Facebook
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Also, if you are not already a recipient of my "Mike for Schools" emails, please send an email to with ADD in the subject line.