Friday, October 26, 2012

Unity at the Hennigan!

Great things are happening at the Hennigan under the leadership of Maria Cordon. The school has adapted a whole school approach, which means support services are provided to students for their emotional, academic, and social needs.

 The Hennigan responds to the cultural needs of its Somalian students, who make up 200 of the 600 students at the school. In order to meet their cultural needs, the school teams up with ACEDONE ( African Community Economic Development of New England), an organization that provides extra services and programs to families. "Parents are responding very well to this partnership," says Ms. Cordon.

A grant from Target, which has been in place for two years, allows the school to host a monthly food bank. Parents can receive up to thirty-five pounds of food. Over 200 parents utilize this service, which is coordinated by Janet Iraola, The Family Outreach Coordinator. "The School's pantry has been a tremendous resource for our families at the Hennigan. With the cost of food rising everyday the food pantry makes healthy food available to our families on a monthly basis," says Ms. Iraola.

The school is always looking for ways to work more closely with families and the community. For example, Monthly Family Fridays invites families to come to the school and have coffee with the principal and discuss the expectations for the school and the principal addresses any concerns and questions parents may have. Parents also visit classrooms and learn teaching strategies to use with their child at home. Ms. Iraola says,"The focus of Family Fridays is to build relationships between home and school."

 These small steps taken by the Hennigan earns them the title “ A Unity School.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Chittick success

The James J. Chittick Elementary School has a dedicated principal, faculty, and an engaged community committed to the success of the school.

Over the last few years, the school has acquired an autism program and increased the number of early childhood classrooms. The dedicated teachers have also worked diligently to obtain national accreditation from The National Association for the Education of Young Children and recently obtained a grant from The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation to establish a new school library.  Furthermore, the teachers organize the “Annual Chittick Gala” to raise funds for programs for the children.  “We want everyone to know how invested our teachers are in the entire Chittick community,” says principal Michelle Burnett-Herndon.

Another exciting program taking place at the school is the The Chittick Players. This is an after-school theater program that produces and performs an annual school play for the school community. The program was organized and operated by two outstanding teachers, Ms. Eddington and Ms. Czaja. The Chittick Players have starred in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Annie. Students in grades K-5 have participated in the productions.

This fall a full time physical education teacher and a full-time visual arts teacher were added to the staff. The school also hopes to implement PLAYWORKS, a program that encourages positive behavior, teamwork, mutual respect, and fun during recess and playtime; and plans to adopt The Ten Boys Club to support male students.

“Families who choose to send their children to our school send all of their children to our school and are very happy with the positive environment,” says Ms. Burnett- Herndon.  “We are working to collaboratively ensure that every child achieves at high academic levels.”