Superintendent’s Update – May 26, 2023
Dear Danvers School Community:
We are heading into the Memorial Day weekend after a week that started with a swatting incident at St. John’s Prep. While this threat to St. John’s Prep was a hoax, we understand the anxiety a situation like this can cause for our families, students, staff, and community. Please know that our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. The district and community responded well to this situation but, as with all such events, we can learn from them.
On Tuesday, district administrators and Central Office staff met to debrief and refine our emergency response processes and protocols using feedback from our team and the community. We responded quickly and communicated well with the Smith School community, the school with the closest proximity to St. John’s Prep, and the one that needed to shelter-in-place until the State Police cleared the area. We commend Smith School’s principal, Violetta Powers, and her staff for providing a calm and safe environment for their students.
One area in which we can improve is our capacity to communicate more effectively with all of our school communities in real time. We recognize that information flow is key and is critical in preventing rumors and fear. Moving forward and recognizing, sadly, that this may occur again, we will strengthen our communication protocols to facilitate even faster communication between the district office, school principals, and our school communities.
Please feel free to reach out if you want to share or discuss any of the just-described issues.
After we return from the long weekend we will have 3 ½ weeks left of school and so much to do to close out the school year. We have concerts, award ceremonies, field days, moving-on ceremonies for our fifth and eighth graders, and Danvers High’s graduation on June 10th at 10:00 am. The last day of school for the 2022-2023 school year will be Wednesday, June 21st, with an early dismissal at 11:35 am for HRMS and DHS, and 12:05 pm for the elementary schools.
Below are a series of updates and thank yous which I hope will be of interest and will inform you of the many positive activities that have occurred and will be occurring in our schools and community.
A Special Thank You to Our School PACs!!!
The week of May 8th to 12th was Teacher Appreciation Week and our teachers certainly felt appreciated!! I would like to thank all of our school PACs for their generosity and kindness. There was an outpouring of food and lunches as well as gift cards, raffles, and even a facelift to a staff room! We truly appreciated all the support for our teachers from the Danvers Community!
DHS Assistant Principal – It is with mixed emotions that we congratulate Ms. Julie Sgroi, Danvers High School Assistant Principal, on being appointed the principal of Manchester-Essex Regional High School. We will certainly miss Ms. Sgroi’s energy and enthusiasm at Danvers High School, but are excited to watch her lead the students, faculty and staff at MERHS!
The Next DHS Assistant Principal – Next school year, Mr. Patrick Hamilton will move up to Danvers High School to fill the Assistant Principal opening left by Ms. Sgroi. Mr. Hamilton has been a long- time teacher and administrator at HRMS and is looking forward to taking the new position at DHS. Mr. Hamilton’s strength is the relationships he cultivated with the DHS students when they were in middle school. He will transition up to DHS with his 8th grade students in September!
Thorpe Principal – We are pleased to announce Dr. Brian Reilly as the new principal of Thorpe Elementary School. Dr. Reilly comes to Danvers from the Tyngsborough Public Schools, where he has served as the Special Education Administrator since 2016. Prior to Tyngsboro, Dr. Reilly served as a Special Education teacher and Team Leader at Doherty Middle School in Andover for 5 years. He started his educational career as a Special Education Teacher in North Andover. The Danvers Public Schools is excited to welcome Dr. Reilly. He will begin his new position on July 1.
HRMS Assistant Principal – We’ve begun the process of interviewing for the Assistant Principal position at HRMS. We are in the midst of this process and look forward to announcing the new person next month.
K-12 Teaching Positions – This week we’ve begun to interview for some of the teaching positions needed for the next school year! Check out the open teaching positions that we’ve posted on SchoolSpring!
🎉 🎉 Celebrating Our Students 🎉 🎉
Great Oak School
Great Oak Elementary School was this year’s host of the Danvers Arbor Day Celebration! Danvers Forestry Division planted two silver point oak trees. Several Great Oak students helped to plant the trees at the ceremony.
The Chimes Ensemble at Highlands School had a special performance on Tuesday night in Boston! Music Teacher Griff Gall and his Chimes Ensemble performed at Old South Church as part of the Boston Handbell Festival! We are so proud of this group!
Congratulations to these Riverside Rockets for showing their Riverside PRIDE. Students also celebrated the end of their DARE learning with certificates and T-shirts from Officer Skane!
After April vacation, Smith School held its 2023 Science Fair. It was a huge success with 145 scientists showing 99 projects! We are so proud of the scientists who researched and tested, and families who supported their students in their project endeavors.
Last Friday was the Thorpe School Walk-a-Thon! This year’s Walk-a-Thon raised funds to buy furniture for the smaller courtyard in order to create opportunities for outdoor learning and other related activities.
Thorpe School also unveiled the new mural that their students worked on throughout the school year with Artist Yetti Frenkel.
Holten-Richmond Middle School
We were so amazed at the great projects our 7th graders completed for their Greek Projects at the end of April! Here are two of the amazing projects along with a picture from the HRMS Poetry Night.
Danvers High School
DECA brings home glass! For the first time in five years, Danvers DECA students brought home the coveted DECA glass! Both Norah Hass and the team of Hanson, Newton and Newman placed third at the international competition!! This is an incredible accomplishment and the result of a huge amount of dedication and hard work. We are so proud of all of the DHS students who participated. The International Finalists were:
- Business Solution Project: Team of Kylee McGraw, Mikayla Shaffaval, and Lilly Walfield.
- Financial Literacy Project: Team of Katie Walfield, Sadie Papamechail, and Emma Wilichoski.
- Financial Operations Research Marketing Event: Norah Hass.
- Community Awareness Project: Team of Katie Newman, Ava Newton, and Tristan Hanson.
- The team of Walfield, Papamechail, and Wilichoski was named top ten in the world and placed 5th overall!
Click here to read more about the DECA Competition in the Salem News.
We are so proud of the four DHS Seniors who plan to become teachers. Here they are at the Future Teachers Signing Event on May 8th.
Mock Trial Club
Last week, the Mock Trial Club attended the ADL Education and Law Breakfast thanks to the law
firm of Mazow | McCullough, PC. Look who was the honored speaker … our incoming Superintendent, Dan Bauer!
DanversCARES – Light The Night Purple Event
On Wednesday night, DanversCARES held their Light the Night Purple event! Light the Night Purple is a community-friendly walk to raise awareness of substance-use prevention and treatment; to promote health, healing, and recovery; and to erase the stigma associated with this disease.
Thank you to DHS Cheerleaders for leading the walk!
May School Committee Meeting Recap
On May 8th, the School Committee selected Dr. Robin Doherty as their new chairperson and Alice Campbell as the Secretary for the 2023-2024 school year. The meeting agenda was:
- Principal Adam Federico shared the post-graduation plans for the Class of 2023.
- Smith School students and staff presented the Sense of Belonging work they’ve implemented this school year.
- Ms. Wermers built off of the Smith School presentation by sharing the district’s work on developing a Sense of Belonging for students, staff, and families.
- Ms. Wermers also announced that the last day of school for the 2022-2023 school year will be Wednesday, June 21st, with an early dismissal at 11:35 am for HRMS and DHS, and 12:05 for the elementary schools.
You can watch the School Committee meeting at this link.
The June School Committee meeting is in the DHS Auditorium on Monday, June 12th, at 7:00 PM
Summer Camps for Students – Danvers Recreation
Danvers Rec has announced their summer programs! Please click on this link to read about their programs for this summer!
Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line
Massachusetts’ new Behavioral Health Help Line (BHHL) went live on January 3, 2023, offering direct connection to mental health and substance-use care for anyone in the Commonwealth – no insurance needed. Available 24/7, in more than 200 languages, the BHHL is a phone, text, and online chat line whose clinically trained staff will work with you to determine the care that best fits your needs and directly connect you to treatment, including outpatient, urgent care, and immediate crisis care. Click here to learn more about the Help Line.
If you’re interested in getting mental health or substance-use help, but not sure where to start:
Call or text the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line at 833-773-2445 or chat online at masshelpline.com.