Dear Saint Patrick School Families,

I have found through my experiences as a Principal that clear and frequent two-way communication with parents, faculty, and students creates a culture of openness and trust.  That type of environment creates the most ideal situation for successful outcomes for everyone.  I believe that it is important for a Principal to communicate with the community not only regarding logistical and curriculum matters but to set the tone and excite the community about not only academic, but social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth as well.

“If we can get somebody to raise their levels of optimism or deepen their social connection or raise happiness, turns out every single business and educational outcome we know how to test for improves dramatically. You can increase your success rates for the rest of your life and your happiness levels will flat line, but if you raise your level of happiness and deepen optimism it turns out every single one of your success rates rises dramatically compared to what it would have been at negative, neutral, or stressed.”   – Shawn Achor (received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Master of Arts in Christian and Buddhist Ethics from Harvard Divinity School)

My priority since becoming the Principal this summer has been to learn as much as possible about Saint Patrick School so that when decisions need to be made, I have the information to make the best decision for our students.  Probably the most important asset to a great school is the faculty and staff.  After meeting with the faculty at the end of last school year and talking with many of our teachers, staff  members, parents and community members throughout the summer, I believe that the faculty here at Saint Patrick’s is top notch.

That being said, I had an immediate and large role to fill regarding teaching vacancies upon my arrival.  The last couple of weeks have been very intense with many interviews of a pool of very qualified applicants.  I am very pleased and excited to announce the names of the new teachers at Saint Patrick School.  Each new teacher was chosen because they not only demonstrate the ability to model and advance the mission of Saint Patrick School but will help us redefine and push the definition of excellence in a school.

New hires to date:

6th-8th English Teacher – Joyce Baio:  Joyce recently relocated to MA after teaching language arts for 17 years at Sacred Heart School in Rockaway, NJ.  Joyce has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University.

Art Teacher – Elizabeth Shields:  Elizabeth has worked in the Special Education Department in Reading, MA the last 8 years.  Elizabeth has her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth and her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Salem State University.

5th Grade Teacher – Kate Baldwin:  Kate has teaching experience at both Newburyport School and Hill View Charter School in multiple functions including Title One Teacher.  She has her B.A. in English from the University of Maine, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetry from Norwich University and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Lesley University.

6th-8th Religion Teacher – Nick Colarossi: Nick has close to 15 years of teaching experience, mainly in ELA and Theology at 3 different Catholic High School and Middle Schools within the Archdiocese of Boston.  He has his B.A. from Harvard University in Psychology and a Master of Education in School Administration.

Mrs. Karen Hoff has recently notified me that she will not be returning to Saint Patrick School next year.  The middle school science teacher position is the only remaining vacancy.  Interviews are currently taking place to fill this position.  We wish Mrs. Hoff the best of luck in her future endeavors and thank her for her years of service to Saint Patrick School.

The teacher openings in the middle school allowed me to quickly identify an area of change that will provide students with a greater opportunity for success and growth.  As you may have noticed, Literature, English and Religion have now been turned into their own true content specific courses and will be taught by three different teachers who will have the students from sixth grade through eighth grade.  This provides the teacher the opportunity to really specialize in their instruction of a particular content and provide the students with the most focused instruction.  The teacher will also now have the opportunity to know each student on a more individualized basis, where they are developmentally and how they learn most effectively from sixth grade through eighth grade. Thus, this will limit the transitions and inconsistencies that can sometimes be seen from year to year.  Mrs. Zajac-Medor will take the role as the sixth through eighth grade Literature teacher and is very excited about the opportunity to specialize on literature instruction.

I have also scheduled a new teacher orientation day on August 29th so that some of our veteran teachers can help get our new faculty members, myself included, adjusted to the procedures and standards here at Saint Patrick’s.  That afternoon, with the help of the PTO, there will be an ice-cream social on the playground for all the kids and their families.  This is an informal chance to socialize, lessen anxiety about returning to school and meet me and the teachers.  I hope to see you there!

Teachers will be sending out welcome letters via email or Teacher Ease on Monday, August 22nd.  This is when parents and students will find out what homeroom they are in.

Thank you to everyone for the warm welcome that I have received and I continue to look forward to seeing Saint Patrick School buzzing with the energy and excitement of the teachers and students on August 31st.

God bless,

Anthony Fontana

Principal Letter August 10th, 2016