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A p r i l 2 0 1 0 | Vo l u m e 2 , n u m b e r 2

T HE O FFICIAL P UBLICATION OF THE M ARBLEHEAD C OMMUNITY C HARTER P UBLIC S CHOOL

Our Quest for Excellence
BY DR. ALBERT F ARGENZIANO .

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ext to the quest for peace, our nation’s most important goal is the development of a high-quality educational enterprise that will prepare all young people for life in a fast-changing, complex world. Indeed, few people disagree with the belief of Clifton Fadiman: “There is an intimate connection between the survival of democracy and the quality of our public education system.” With this thought in mind, the philosophy and attitude of school officials has become rather important. I was reminded of this during a recent visit to a thriving business establishment. While waiting in line, I noticed a poster on the wall. It was especially stimulating because the employees obviously subscribed to the message. I believe this philosophy is as appropriate to schools as it is to businesses, and I have chosen to substitute the word student for customer: • A student is the most important person in any school. • A student is not an interruption of our work. He or she is the purpose of it. • A student is not just a statistic. He or she is a flesh and blood human being with feelings and emotions like ourselves. • A student is one who comes to us with needs and/ or wants. It is our job to fill them. • A student is deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment that we can provide. • A student is the lifeblood of our school. Without him or her we would have to close our doors. See EXCELLENCE, page 4

Students, Sabrina, Connor and Anya, were transported to a world of poverty and grace.

Inspired by Three Cups of Tea
BY RYAN REDMOND

s the sun set, Greg spent an hour clambering up a slope of loose rock, hoping to get a view that would tell him where he was,” wrote David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson in their book, Three Cups of Tea. “But when he got to the top of the slope, all he saw were unfamiliar peaks in the fading light.” What begins as a story of climbing K2 quickly turns into a story about another mountain to climb: Mortenson’s life mission “to keep bringing education, and hope, and chances of a better life to the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

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During the month of February, the entire MCCPS community read this inspiring book together. Kay O’Dwyer suggested the community endeavor to the MCCPS Humanities department, and 6th grade Humanities teacher, Molly Dunne, suggested the book. With a young reader’s edition, Three Cups of Tea was the perfect candidate. The book transports readers to rural Pakistan, rife with poverty and the richness of culture in the people, landscape, sights, sounds, and smells. The title refers to an important lesson taught to Mortenson by a Haji Ali, chief of the village into which he stumbled on his descent from K2: after one cup of tea, you are a

stranger; after two cups of tea, you become an honored guest; and after three cups of tea, you become family. Lunchtime Discussions One thing that makes MCCPS unique is our lunchtime culture. Adults sit with students to share meals and conversation. One could say that we have all sipped those figurative three cups of tea. To enlighten and transport us even more, Chef Laura DeSantis and her talented kitchen staff created a Pakistani-inspired lunch in early February. The menu—chicken and vegetable curry with lentils, pickled See THREE CUPS OF TEA, page 4

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FUEL the Learning

3 Meet the
Teacher

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Winter Sports

“Here, the arts are really valued and treated with as much importance as any other subject.”

— Dominique Dart

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MAGNA CH RTER
Volume 2, Number 2, April 2010
Magna Charter Staff & Contributors
Dr. Albert Argenziano Kathleen Cormier Nina Cullen-Hamzeh Michael Houlihan Mary McRae Kay O'Dwyer Ryan Redmond Emil Ronchi Mike Ruth Laura Smith Nancy Marland Wolinski

FUEL for Students Forming Units to Elevate Learning

MCCPS Board of Trustees
Emil Ronchi, Chair Cathy Vaucher, Vice Chair Dr. John Sullivan, Treasurer John McEnaney, Clerk Nina Cullen-Hamzeh Cynthia Canavan Matt Cronin Dr. Alice de Koning Cami Paris Michael Zimman

MCCPS master teachers share their wisdom and inspiration.

BY NINA CULLEN-HAMZEH

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MCCPS School Staff
Dr. Albert Argenziano
Interim Managing Director

Nina Cullen-Hamzeh
Academic Director

Eileen Perry
Assistant to the Directors

Molly Wright
Student Services Coordinator

Jed O'Connor
Director of Special Education

Jeffrey Barry
Business Manager

Our Mission
MCCPS fosters a community that empowers children to become capable, self-determining, fully engaged individuals who are critical and creative thinkers committed to achieving their highest intellectual, artistic, social, emotional, and physical potential. We are dedicated to involving, learning from, participating in, and serving our school community and the community at large. Magna Charter is the official newsletter of MCCPS. MCCPS 17 Lime Street, Marblehead, MA 01945 Phone: 781-631-0777 Fax: 781-631-0500 www.marbleheadcharter.org

n March 19, MCCPS master teachers hosted a workshop designed to empower educators to improve student achievement by beginning with the end in mind. The event was funded through a competitive federal grant awarded to MCCPS by the Charter School Office at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The 20 participants were public school teachers from all over Massachusetts who came to learn about backwards planning, standards-driven instruction, content integration, and performance assessments— just some of the things that we do really well at MCCPS. Participants learned how to create a unit that will engage their students and teach the required content. They learned about the process of developing rubrics that can be used to enhance instruction and assess what matters most. "Any time a teacher can see creative work that others are doing, it sparks ideas for new ways to benefit students,” one participant said. “Also, looking at the state standards with other content-area teachers was enlightening in terms of making new and different connections."

The event was beneficial for MCCPS teachers, too. "It was rewarding developing this program with our faculty and sharing our expertise with a wider educational audience,” said Matt Cronin, FUEL Project Coordinator. "Working and planning with our staff is invigorating and such a gift,” added Pam Miller, FUEL Project Director. “Having the opportunity to present the work we do everyday is the icing on the cake." The next phase of FUEL will send the workshop presenters to the participants’ schools to ensure that they are supported as they attempt to implement what they have learned. This consultancy will deepen the participants’ understanding of the workshop’s goals. Additionally, a state-wide database of standards-driven units that employ performance assessments is being created to enable the participants and other interested educators to share successful units and highlight exemplary work. FUEL was created and presented by Pam Miller, Matt Cronin, Molly Wright, Ryan Redmond, Ivy Connelly, Rebecca Perry, Kay O’Dwyer, Katie Sullivan, and Nina Cullen-Hamzeh. For more information about this project, visit http://fuelforstudents.com.

M CC P S E d u c at i o n F o u n dat i o n
It is not too late to contribute to the MCCPS Educational Fund Annual Appeal. To date, we have brought in $5,140.00. Our goal is $15,000 in honor of our 15th Anniversary. Gifts of all sizes are welcome and appreciated! To give, simply go the MCCPS Educational Foundation web page on the school website (www.marbleheadcharter.org) and use the PayPal button, or you may simply drop off a contribution at the school with Eileen Perry. The Educational Foundation continues to look for ways to raise money to support capital projects and innovative programs at MCCPS. Your support is needed!

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Meet the Teacher:Dominique Dart
BY LAURA SMITH
nyone who wanders through MCCPS would agree that the student artwork on the walls is inspired—and much of that inspiration comes from Dominique Dart. Of course, the polite and refined Madame Dart gives credit to the students and the school itself. “Everyone is so supportive,” she says. “Here, the arts are really valued and treated with as much importance as any other subject.” The integrated curriculum “really pushes me to find projects that are going to capture the kids’ interest,” Madame Dart adds, “not only for the state standards, but what we are teaching.” This spring, the students will develop artwork that integrates with math through geometric templates and architecture. In her second year of teaching art at the school, Madame Dart also recently discovered a wealth of support from parents when she and Pam Haley launched an online initiative to raise funds for art materials. In short order, they raised $900 for pricey drying racks as well as unbreakable mirrors for self-portraits and everyday supplies such as markers and paints. A native of Paris, Ms. Dart always drew, taking

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correspondence courses as a teenager because, oddly enough, art was not emphasized in her school. She has lived in some of the most scenic places in the world, including New Caledonia, New Zealand and Switzerland. When she moved to the United States, she taught French at MCCPS for three years. But art was her true calling. When raising her sons, Nick and Gregory, now 19 and 15, Madame Dart painted vibrant oils of flowers and landscapes, and showed her work at the Marblehead Art Association, Acorn Gallery and St. Andrew’s Cloister Gallery. She taught adult classes at Acorn, earned a B.A. in Art Education from Salem State College, and is working toward her master’s degree. She lives in Swampscott with her husband, Andrew, and Greg while Nick attends the University of Massachusetts. Believing that art promotes multi-cultural understanding, Madame Dart shows PowerPoints about the culture, people, and landscape when students do a project relating to a specific culture (such as Australia and New Zealand for this term's 6th grade aboriginal paintings). Everyone can be successful, she adds: "The kids start working and surprise themselves. That's what makes it so exciting."

Dominique Dart

P TO N e w s
With the recent arrival of spring, it is with renewed purpose that we encourage you to participate in the activities of your PTO. The MCCPS PTO's primary mission is to provide opportunity for social interaction at every level. We promise to allot a very limited amount of time dealing with business and plenty of time for discussion and connection. Come and share; we are all here in partnership. For more information, please visit the PTO web pages on the MCCPS website. As the weather is warming it is time to open the outdoor classroom. Last year, it was thoroughly enjoyed by students and teachers alike. We have received ideas about how best to delegate the care and expansion of this invaluable space. If you or your children have any input or if you would like to be part of a team working to maintain and beautify this space, please contact Norma Ross at rossclan5@verizon.net or Sue Ballou at sue365_6@msn.com. Happy Spring!

N av i g at o r S p o r t s

Basketball and Skiing Highlights
Winter sports at MCCPS are growing and getting better! The boys’and girls’basketball teams concluded their year with the annual Charter Cup Tournament in Plaistow, New Hampshire.The Lady Navigators made it to the quarterfinals, but were knocked out by Smith Leadership Academy.The girls placed 5th of 12 teams, representing a huge improvement from last season. Our girls’ team Captain, Alex Bozarjian, was honored with a spot on the All Tournament Team for her efforts. Our boys faced tough competition and were defeated in the third round by Roxbury Prep, placing 9th of 12 teams. The Junior Varsity boys’ team put up a good fight the entire season as they faced relentless competition from Tower, Hillel, and Manchester-Essex. The basketball teams were supported by a highly enthusiastic group of cheerleaders.We are a community school! This was the inaugural year of the Navigator Ski Team! All racers finished in the middle of the pack, as seven skiers participated in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom (GS) races.We’re looking forward to growing this program next year.

Lady Navigators take it to the hoop.

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Green Team Tackles Compost
BY MARY MCRAE

THREE CUPS OF TEA
Continued from page 1
carrots, and rice—was such a success that Chef Laura decided to add it to March’s menu as well. “We let the students try samples of the curry and some chai tea at snack the day before to expose them to the flavors, and it was a hit,” Chef Laura said. Three Cups of Tea is a story that calls one to action. On February 12, longtime MCCPS teacher Katie Sullivan organized a Penny Carnival for 4th graders. Twenty volunteers helped, many of them 8th grade students, and the younger participants played games with the pennies and other coins that they had brought. The event raised a generous $140.67 for Pennies for Peace, an educational and fundraising program of the Central Asia Institute, the organization Mortenson founded to further his mission of promoting education and peace. It’s a fitting step after having read a book so moving and thought-provoking. And it’s a step that I hope is only the first of many to come.

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ecycling is “something close to my heart” said MCCPS parent Julie Pottier-Brown, so she created an enrichment program to restart the school composting and recycling efforts. Every Friday, PottierBrown leads the 10 students of “The Green Team” in their program to reduce, reuse, and recycle the waste produced by the school. Pottier-Brown got a compost bin donated by the farm cooperative she manages. Since the students were already in the habit of Lydia, Corinne, and Emma head to the compost bin. bringing their trays up after lunch and sorting dishes and trash, adding many pounds of compost have been collected a tray to each table for recyclables and getting and how much money has been earned in the clean-up crews to sort out compostable returned containers. They also provide informamaterial was an easy next step. tion on what can and can’t be recycled. Pottier“The school seems to have embraced the proBrown turns the compost regularly to help the gram,” said Pottier-Brown, noting that cleanup decomposition. crews are sorting, weighing, and recording the In addition to the educational and environamount of compost material. mental benefits, the program should produce The Green Team enrichment tackles four big enough compost for the school gardens next jobs. They add compost to the bin, sort paper year. What’s next? “I don’t have a grand scheme recycling for the collection bin in the parking lot, in mind,” says Pottier-Brown. “but I’d love to get separate returnable containers from recyclable more parents involved, both this year and next ones, and create informational posters on the year.” program for the school. The posters show how

EXCELLENCE
Continued from page 1
The focus of our future will be in service and excellence to our students. These words inspire and allow me to support the challenge and commitment we educators have to the quality education at the Marblehead Community Charter Public School.

E x h i b i t i o n O v e r v i e w — C o m m u n i c at i o n
Grade

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Grade

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Grade

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Fifth graders electrified the room with models of the nervous system. In math, students explored patterns and codes and created Spiro laterals. The troops performed a colonial militia musket drill and their own versions of Yankee Doodle.They presented poetry anthologies showing off skills with onomatopoeia and more! Students cross-stitched AND quilted, and created calendars highlighting the regions of France or Spain.

Sixth graders presented essays and media presentations of European or Asian countries, and a map puzzle of their chosen country, demonstrating their understanding of geometry. They created colorful “bark” paintings inspired by the Australian Aborigine and New Zealand Maori people. Their French and Spanish calendars taught us about celebrations in various regions of these countries.

Fourth graders became specialists on our states by creating brochures detailing LOTS of information about their state and presenting on an “Incredible Person” hailing from the state. As mathematicians, students designed presentations on a chosen number. As scientists, they presented lab reports. As linguists, they created animals native to their state and featured their numbers in a verse poem.

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Board News:No Time for Napping
BY EMIL RONCHI, CHAIR OF MCCPS BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Counselor’s Corner
B Y M IKE H OULIHAN

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wo initiatives of the MCCPS Board of Trustees are nearing their apex, and it is no exaggeration to say each is likely to change the nature of our school. • The first is to recruit and hire a full-time Managing Director, a role that has been filled on a part-time basis for the last two years. • The second is to expand the MCCPS program to include third grade, fully occupying our current facility. If Rip van Winkle were a member of our community and had nodded off in 2006 to wake up today, how would we explain why these things are happening? On the full-time Managing Director: “You, see, Mr. van Winkle, when you nodded off under the shade tree in the school’s parking lot circle, your pleasant demeanor was lost to the community. We changed this and that rule, this and that process, and recognized that a two-headed administrative structure appears far superior to a single-head model. Not cheaper year-by-year, but far more effective, far more capable, far more robust, and far more cost-effective over time.

While a part-time interim solution gets us part way there, we’re not satisfied with a partial solution no matter how good it’s worked so far. You see, it’s like a boat in the water—one can achieve static stability in short order by not rocking the boat, but that’s not a long-term viable condition; we must move forward under sail with dynamic stability.” Moving on to the question of the third-grade expansion: “Rip, we are concerning ourselves foremost with the educational need for such an expansion, both for existing and prospective students. For example, existing students would have an improved facility to support the academic program, and new students would get an additional year of what we believe is a superior program. It’s also true that we must make sure the expansion is financially viable. The catch-22 is that the better we manage the financial aspect, the greater our political risk in appearing to be expanding primarily for the lure of additional funding. As I’m sure you know, Mr. van Winkle, that’s pure rubbish, but appearances do matter. Not everyone appreciates the benefit of a public educational alternative to the district schools.” I wonder what Rip van Winkle would make of all that.

Bully, Bully... Everywhere?
The old school yard is much bigger than it used to be. Parents who recall being physically or verbally bullied should note recent statistics and trends. One in seven American students stay home from school each day, feeling intimidated or unsafe due to harassment. Young people are unfortunately still bullied faceto-face in school by one or more peers. Stories or rumors used to spread only as fast as students saw one another. No longer does bullying stop at day's end: name calling, intimidation, threats, and harassment now follow students home via mobile phone text messages, email, and video or text postings. For all the positive changes of the Internet age, these technologies also allow for rumors, vicious statements, and harassment to reach hundreds or more in seconds. Of Facebook's 300+ million worldwide users, 20 million in the U.S. are under 21 years old. Almost 75 percent of students regularly use a home computer and a similar percentage use mobile phones, from which over four billion text messages are sent daily in the U.S. Combining these statistics with the negative effects of "Johnny did such-and-such" or "Suzy is such-and-such" multiplies tremendously when forwarded to classmates or posted on Facebook for the world to see.The power and repetition of such harassment in school and online leaves virtually no respite for young people. Legislation passed by the Massachusetts Senate aims to decrease bullying and cyberbullying in school. It would require schools to develop anti-bullying prevention and intervention plans, and principals who feel criminal charges could be pursued would be required to report bullies to police. Teaching students to be respectful, responsible school citizens and informed users of today's technologies can lessen negative impacts. Resources abound to help parents and students surf safely and responsibly. For helpful information visit: iSafe.org; stopBullyingNow.hrsa.gov; tcs.cybertipline.org; stopcyberbullying.org. Be well! — Mr. Houli

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Seventh graders read myths from Ancient Greece and Egypt, identifying common elements. Students created modern myths— together with accompanying illustrations—and presented them in the ancient oral tradition of storytelling. Students chose an ancient structure and compared it to modern architecture. They shared stories of French and Spanish Egyptologists. Last (but not least), they became entrepreneurs in the woodshop with the company SEVEN WOOD CREW!

Eighth grade students presented research papers on the American Industrial Revolution, writings on musical change, and information from interviews with older family members regarding technology. As artists, they sketched famous architectural structures, incorporating geometry, from France, Spain, and the U.S.They made tourism commercials to highlight the countries. An array of physical science demonstrations unfolded the wonders of floating, flaming, expanding, exploding, and extinguishing!

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MAGNA CH RTER
SOON-TO-BE HAPPEN I NGS
Community Member Meeting April 29 at 7:00 PM Spring Fashion Show and Tea May 8, 2:00 – 4:00 PM Corinthian Yacht Club Band Competition at Six Flags May 14 15th Anniversary Gala May 22, 7:00 PM Lyceum Restaurant

MAGNA CH RTER April 2010

What’s New(s) at MCCPS
“I hope you’re planning to join us at the Lyceum Restaurant in Salem on May 22nd at 7:00, so that we can revel in our successes together. ”
— Nina Cullen-Hamzeh

Dear MCCPS Families and Friends,
There’s a lot going on at Charter, and it’s all good! Thanks to you, we have much to celebrate! • Our charter was renewed through 2015! • Exhibition II was extraordinary! The incoming families were astounded by the depth of knowledge that was demonstrated by the students. • A gift from the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust made the adoption of KnowAtom possible for the 4th & 5th graders. They are loving every minute of the program, and they’re learning even more science, math, and technology. • An anonymous donation enabled us to complete a whole-school read of Three Cups of Tea, rebuild the computer lab, and begin production of another musical. • The MCCPS Outdoor Experience, funded by the

van Otterloo Family Foundation, is set to start up again this spring. • Our educational program has been disseminated to schools across the state via a federally funded competitive grant, and a team of MCCPS educators is working with the Center for Collaborative Education to reform the state’s system of assessment. • Enrollment is at capacity, and a long waiting list exists at each grade level. I hope that you’re planning to join us at the Lyceum Restaurant in Salem on May 22nd at 7:00, so that we can revel in our successes together. Current and former parents, students, and faculty/staff will be in attendance. You’re sure to see familiar faces and recount many happy memories. Please visit the school’s website to purchase tickets. I look forward to celebrating with you! Nina Cullen-Hamzeh Academic Director