Volume 4 - Issue 1 September 4, 2018


Welcome back to school! I am excited and honored to lead this district as the new superintendent of schools. We have had a busy summer with a focus on providing professional development for our staff, opening the new Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center, welcoming our new staff and preparing for the upcoming year. We are so excited to welcome 4,805 students and 40 new staff to our schools.

For those folks who are new to our district, we offer a warm welcome to the North Andover Public Schools. We hope you find our town and schools supportive and a great place to raise a family. North Andover is a special community that offers tremendous opportunities for our students.

Our Knightly Newsletter is dedicated to sharing information with you about what is happening in our schools and district. Beginning with this issue, we will be partnering with Stevens

Memorial Library to share information about classes which may be of interest to our students.

This issue also includes an explanation of the alternative school day program called Beyond the Classroom that the School Committee approved this spring to address the issue of making up missed school days as a result of inclement weather. Also, I know you will be interested to read about the opening of our new Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center.

We hope you will find this newsletter informative. In addition, you can follow me on Twitter @NASupt if you want more frequent and timely updates. I look forward to the new school year and working collaboratively to ensure our students’ success. I am honored to be a partner in your child’s educational experience.


Beyond the Classroom

We have had some pretty crazy weather lately, and last year was particularly bad with 9 weather-related school closings. A number of school districts had to resort to holding school on Saturday or even canceling spring vacation in order to meet the number of days in school required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Alternative School Day Advisory Committee was formed in North Andover this spring to address this issue, and the committee recommended that no more than 4 snow days be added at the end of the year. The North Andover School Committee approved this recommendation this spring.

The alternative school day program in North Andover has been named Beyond the Classroom, and will be implemented during the 2018/19 school year if there are more than 4 weather-related closings. Currently, this school year's last day of school (before any snow days are added) is June 17, 2019. The Beyond the Classroom program will go into effect for any additional weather-related cancellations, which means the last day of school this year will not extend beyond Friday, June 21, 2019.

A new Beyond the Classroom section of our district's website will be available soon. It will outline the program and include student assignments, along with time requirements and due dates. Teachers will also prepare students with the assignments prior to a potential Beyond the Classroom day. There will be student choice involved in the assignments, they will not take all day, and there will always be an option that does not involve parent support or technology access.


James Mealey

For those of you who do not have day-to-day contact with the School Department, you may not know our Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, but James Mealey has been working quietly behind the scenes for ten years now. He is the unsung hero who keeps our school district running seamlessly.

Ask anyone who works with Jim, and they'll tell you he has a steel-trap mind whose knowledge of trivia is astounding! Jim is a graduate of Northeastern University and received his MBA from Boston University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate from New England College.


Lorene Marx

On July 1 of this year, Lorene Marx began her tenure as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. She is a familiar face here in North Andover, having served as Principal of the Thomson School and most recently, Humanities Coordinator. Lorene Marx has been instrumental in adopting and implementing consistent and rigorous curriculum resources across all levels. She has been a key liaison in developing a strong relationship with Stevens Memorial Library, rolling out Lucy Calkins Writing in grades K-8, and bringing award-winning authors to speak with our students.

Lorene has a master's degree from Syracuse University in the field of learning disabilities. She received a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of New York at Geneseo.

Lorene has wasted no time in diving into her new role. This summer was a whirlwind of activity as Lorene and STEM Coordinator, Kara Larcome, developed and oversaw an extensive summer professional development program which also included teacher training responsibilities for both. All this was acccomplished by Lorene in addition to tackling the myriad of responsibilities of her new position.

We are very pleased to announce that Kristen Ando has joined the curriculum team in the role of Humanities Coordinator, replacing Lorene Marx . Kristen previously served as the Co-Leader (Principal) in charge of curriculum and instruction at the Oliver Partnership School in Lawrence. Prior to assuming that position, she served as a content coach in Lawrence. Kristen began her career as an elementary school teacher and team leader and taught Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4 from 1994–2013.

In addition to working as an adjunct professor at Northeastern University, Kristen also serves as an English Learner (EL) trainer for the State and has developed EL curriculum for Merrimack College’s School of Education. Kristen graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Education, a master's degree from Salem State College in Special Education, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) from Salem State College.


If you drove by 566 Main Street this summer, you may have noticed that on many days every parking spot was taken at the Central Office. North Andover administrators, teachers, teaching assistants, and even some students spent some time this summer taking advantage of some wonderful learning opportunities. The workshop topics included social/emotional learning, technology, Lucy Calkins readers and writers workshop, Eureka math lesson prep, and science. Some 60 NAMS history enthusiasts and high school students completing community service participated in History Camp with Pat McGravey, NAMS 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. The students made the rounds of numerous historical sites not only in North Andover but Lexington and Concord, the Adams Estate in Quincy, historic Salem and the Peabody Essex Museum and the Tsongas Industrial Center.

Elementary Teachers attend Lucy Calkins Training this past July

Pat McGravey hosts History Camp for a group of enthusiastic MS students

The Leadership Team wraps up final preparations for the 2018/19 school year


While there were bumps along the way, through the efforts of many, we successfully opened the new Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center. We would like to thank all involved in making this a possibility. There are too many to name, but this project was only possible through the hard work and collaboration of town and school employees and officials, and community members. Once ready, the building was made available to our teachers and teacher aides, who as only they can do, transformed it from a building into a school!

There are still punch list items to finish as there always are on a large project, but we will do our best to make sure this work does not get in the way of the learning that is now taking place. As we make our way through these first few days, we appreciate your patience and partnership. We anticipate that logistics and routines will need to be evaluated and possibly adjusted, based on what we observe in the coming days. We understand that this may create inconvenience or frustration, and we thank you for your patience as we work together to make this a great school entry for your child.

We are excited by the opportunities an early childhood center provides to improve teaching and learning for our youngest students and to ensure they are getting off on the best foot possible in their role as lifelong learners.

We will continue to provide updates regarding any work that still needs to be done as well as any changes we feel could improve the operations of the school, including pick up and drop off. We welcome any suggestions or input you may have, and we hope you and your students have a wonderful school year!

What's Happening at Stevens Memorial Library?

FREE - All Are Welcome

Wednesday, September 26 at 2:40 pm

Bytes of Code Class - Open to ages 11-18

Learn about Scratch Animation in this hour-long coding session!

    • Registration is not required
    • 20 Chromebooks available (or bring your own laptop)

FREE - All Are Welcome

Wednesday, October 3 at 2:40 pm

Bytes of Code Class - Open to ages 11-18

Learn about Cryptography in this hour-long coding session!

    • Registration is not required
    • 20 Chromebooks available (or bring your own laptop)
Visit the Library's wesite and calendar for more events: www.StevensMemLib.orgStevens Memorial Library, 345 Main Street, North Andover

School Committee cORNER

Welcome back! I hope you all had a relaxing, enjoyable summer. The school committee is very excited about the upcoming year, and we hope that you find the new changes beneficial as we continue to improve everyone’s experience in North Andover Public Schools.

By now, you are all aware of the new plan regarding inclement weather days, in which any school cancellations after four days will count as regular learning days. The committee voted in August to call these days “Beyond the Classroom” days. We are very excited about this new initiative as it has two significant effects: First, it gives teachers and students great flexibility and creativity with non-traditional assignments; and second, it means we will have an actual, official, unmovable end to our school year on June 21!

Our gorgeous new Anne Bradstreet Early Childhood Center is the result of much work and countless volunteer hours by a very dedicated School Building Committee, who, with their collective wisdom and experience, have created a space that is safe, functional, and conducive to our youngest learners. This new building is enabling Dr. Gilligan and the school committee to make significant strides in accomplishing our goal of reducing class sizes. For the first time since 2011, the average class size is fewer than 24 students in all elementary schools but one.

Each year, the school committee and superintendent set individual and shared goals reflecting what we would like to accomplish during the school year. While last year’s priority was hiring a new superintendent, this year, the school committee is able to focus on connecting with the community through increased outreach. In so doing, we will be holding more meetings in the schools and community, such as the Senior Center. We will also hold meetings in the morning, on occasion, to allow opportunities for those with evening commitments to attend.

Finally, should you have any concerns or questions about anything throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact me or any other school committee member. It is our pleasure to serve you.


Holly Vietzke-Lynch, School Committee Chair

September School Committee Meeting Dates

September 6 and September 27, 2018

566 Main Street Conference Room

7:00 p.m.

Tweet of the Month

The children of the @NA_ABECC are THE luckiest students! Check out this dedicated staff who are working tirelessly to get their classrooms ready for the children next week. As we said, "Let the Adventure Begin!"