Sunday, March 28, 2010

National Honor Society Induction 2010

As I sat on the stage of the MHS Auditorium last Thursday night I couldn't help but smile. My heart was filled with pride as 108 of our best and brightest students were being honored with induction into the Mansfield High School chapter of the National Honor Society. To be a member, these juniors and seniors must provide evidence that they have met the NHS' rigorous standards of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. All of these students have a cumulative average of 88 or higher and have provided leadership in the school through student government, athletics, or co-curricular programs. However, what was particularly interesting was hearing the diverse array of community service involvement that was detailed as each inductee entered the stage with their faculty sponsor. I heard accomplishments like being a Relay for Life captain, volunteering in the pediatric wing of Norwood Hospital, and even missionary work in Mexico. These untold stories impressed me and really spoke volumes about the character of these fine young men and women. Congratulations to them on this great honor!

The 2010 NHS Inductees are:

Kelsey Alexander, Jacqueline Allen, Kayla Allen, Chelsea Almeida, Alexander Armstrong, Shayna Baker, Tahreem Bhatti, David Brown, Emily Broyles, Erin Bruno, Brogan Buckley, Paul Buonpane, Casey Burns, Jenna Bush, Nikolas Busharis, Kathryn Campbell, Samantha Carter, Megan Cavanaugh, Matthew Cioe, Ashley Cipolletti, Joseph Cole, Lindsay Coleman, Matthew Colletti, Shayne Collins, Amanda Connolly, Amanda Conte, Jessica Cooney, Colleen Copley, Emily Crump, Kierstin Darragh, Sarah Davidson, Bridget Davis, Justin Deckert, Christina DeGirolamo, Devon DelVecchio, Kaitlin Dempsey, Alex DeSimone, Marissa DeSimone, Briana Doody, Christopher Drinan, Ellen Farrell, Nicole Fontes, Jesse Fredrickson, Melissa Godfrey, Brittany Greene, Matthew Grina, Brittany Hallgren, Catherine Hamel, Paige Harrington, Faye Harwell, Maura Harwood, Samuel Hayes, Jeffrey Hill, Thomas Hurley, Kristina Ivas, Robert Joyce, Noah Kane, Meghan Keohane, Melissa Kirejczyk, Brian Kronenwetter, Andrea Lahlum, Taylor Lombardi, Nicole Lynch, Kaitlyn MacLeod, Emalee Mahoney, Michael Mallon, Joshua Marohn, Gregory Maslin, Rachel McCaw, Kristen McDonagh, Kyle McGuire, Jacqueline McPherson, Hannah Melton, Monique Mendonca, Kyle Michel, Shannon Moore, Kevin Murphy, Katherine Nash, Kylie Nelson, Adam Osowski, Kevin Otto, Edwin Paz, Lisa Pechilis, Eric Pederson, Ryan Pepi, Tyler Powell, Alexandra Raczka, Daniel Raney, Luke Reynolds, Cori Roach, Joshua Sacco, Elissa Sachs, Kaitlyn Sestak, Sarah Shear Stephanie Silva, Julianna Slarve, Amy Sterling, Lindsay Sullivan, Marc Thomas, Julianne Tocchio, Anthony Todesco, Ashley Upham, Kirby Viera, Brandon Weiner, Lindsey White, Kathryn Wirth, Walter Xu, and Amanda Zieselman

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank You, Mr. Rosa

If you walk through the MHS Guidance Office you will see many plaques, honors, and awards hung on the walls.  These recognize some of the great achievements of former MHS students, classes, and staff.  There is one in particular outside of Dan Fitzgerald's office that honors Mr. Edward Rosa, who served as principal of Mansfield High School from 1980 to 2000.  The plaque was given to him upon his retirement in 2000, as it notes the vision he established for the school during 20 years as its leader.  On the award are a compilation of statements that were Mr. Rosa's core values as an educator.  On it reads the following:

"Lines we cannot cross:
  • Believing that some students cannot learn

  • Believing that there are some students we can't or shouldn't teach

  • Believing that some classes or some subjects can exist without others

  • Believing that our only responsibility is to our class/subject and our department rather than all subjects and the entire school

  • Believing that others owe us support, automatically

  • Believing that the end justifies the means "
I have passed this plaque probably hundreds of times in the past two years, but to be honest, I have never really read it.  The other day I was having a conversation with Mr. Fitzgerald about next year's Program of Studies and scheduling students, and the plaque caught the corner of my eye.  After I finished my chat, I walked over to it and read it carefully.  As my head was swimming with thoughts of the present budget crisis and how it may affect programs at MHS next year, reading these words offered a welcome respite.

Upon reflection, I believe that Mr. Rosa's core values get to the heart of one overarching theme:  having an all-kids agenda.  We as educators are here to give our very best to all kids, and invariably, we must always think of the greater good of all students in our school community.  The good of the whole school is what must always take precedent over any one individual department or program.  All of our programs- be they academic, co-curricular, extracurricular, or athletic- are linked and work with each other to educate the whole child.   I too embrace these values as they have always guided my practice.

As I thought about these values I juxtaposed them with my fears regarding the present school budget gap for FY 2011.  To be sure, this is the worst budget crisis in recent memory, if not for all time.  Some impossible decisions are going to have to be made as difficult cuts in programs may be sustained.  It is a natural tendency to look at a situation from only one's self-interest, and we tend to mobilize when there is a threat to that self-interest.  However, now more than ever, all school stakeholders must apply Mr. Rosa's global thinking when contemplating what is for the greater good of MHS.  What do our kids really need to get the best possible education?  What will serve all students well?  How can we work together to make the best decisions to benefit all students?  That will be the challenge in the coming months, but rooting all decisions in core values such as Mr. Rosa's is the best place to start.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Where are the Hot Jobs?

The following video clip was featured on Providence's Channel 10 news last week. The report highlights what the "hot jobs" are presently in Rhode Island and southern New England, despite the dismal economy. Check it out:

The immediate point that jumps out at me is the fact that all three featured fields- bioscience, information technology, and healthcare- are all in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (now commonly referred to as "STEM") realm. This correlates to a U.S. Department of Labor study from 2007 that projected there would be an increase of 2.5 million job openings in STEM-related occupations from 2004 to 2014. It is also no coincidence that a major component of the federal $4.3 billion Race to the Top grant (of which Massachusetts is one of 16 semifinalists) is the provision of competitive grants for school districts that improve STEM curriculum and offer new initiatives. This news on the few glimmers of hope in the current job market speaks to what our kids need: a rigorous curriculum that promotes problem solving and critical thinking, scientific literacy, and technological proficiency. Only with these 21st century skills will our students be competitive in a future economy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Garden Party for MHS!!

Last Friday was one for the ages! Both the boys' and girls' basketball teams made it to the MIAA Division I South finals, and thus had the chance to win the championship on the parquet floor of the TD Garden in Boston. What a remarkable experience!

The girls' squad defeated the Durfee Hilltoppers 60-50 for the afternoon tilt. The Lady Hornets were led by sophomore Michaela Bowes (who you can see at the left, being interviewed by Channel 5's Mike Dowling) who scored 17 points in the victory. A great game, as the girls were in control of the game from virtually the onset. With this win, the Division I South champs will now take on the Division I North champs, Andover High School for the Eastern Massachusetts Division I championship. This game will also be at TD Garden on Tuesday night at 7:45 pm.

The boys' team (the #3 seed) faced off against a very tough Madison Park (the #1 seed). The Hornets hung tough through the first quarter, but in the second quarter Madison Park pulled away with a great deal of speed and tight defense. The Hornets ended up losing 72-60, ending a historical season that saw them winning the Hockomock League championship for the first time in 50 years while posting an outstanding 21-3 record. Phenomenal!

Over 3000 tickets were sold to Mansfield High School students, parents, and community members. Both teams are such a strong source of joy and pride in our community, and should be congratulated for terrific and historical seasons. In my view, they were both winners on Friday... Go Hornets!