HAWTHORNE BROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL

STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE

As principal of the Hawthorne Brook Middle School, I am honored to present my third annual report.

One of the strengths of Hawthorne Brook is the quality of the relationships between our teachers and our students. The bond between a teacher and a learner is a singular relationship. It is one born in trust and maintained by mutual respect. As educators, we want our school to be a warm and welcoming place, and the instruction in our classrooms to be a positive and successful experience for all our children.

In the 1999 - 2000 school year, our focus as a school community continues to be on the unique learning needs of our distinct population of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The team concept initiated three years ago provides a collegial atmosphere in which teachers can collaborate on curricular issues. At all times, our teachers help our students see the relevance of what they are learning by making connections to the world beyond the middle school, and whenever possible, by employing hands-on learning activities in the classroom. In addition, the team concept provides a unique framework to support the developmental needs of our students. The goal for all our teachers is to know each child on the team as an individual so that learning styles and learning needs can be specifically addressed. Our academic demands continue to be rigorous but are tailored to the educational needs of each individual child.

Hawthorne Brook has a student population of six hundred and thirty two students from the communities of Ashby and Townsend. Our one hundred sixty two sixth graders are from Townsend. Our seventh and eighth grade classes are comprised of three hundred fifty nine children from Townsend and one hundred from Ashby. There are nine school choice students in attendance, two in grade six, five in grade seven, and two in grade eight. The school currently employs forty-seven full time teachers and three part time faculty. Support staff includes two full time guidance counselors, a school librarian, a school nurse, and seven teaching assistants.

In addition to the core curriculum of Mathematics, English/Language Arts, Science, and History, each of our seventh and eighth grade students receives daily instruction in either French or Spanish. In grade six, each child has a daily scheduled Reading class. This is a departure from the exploratory World Language program given to grade six students in previous years. The change was impelled by student need and has been of great benefit to our students. A great deal of the credit for the success of this program must go to the support given to it by our grade six teachers and their willingness to take on additional work for the betterment of students.

1999 - 2000 also marked the introduction of part-time programming for our talented and gifted students. Every student was eligible to participate and all of our children were reviewed for possible involvement.

We have maintained the process of educational change initiated by the Education Reform Act of 1993 in each of our classrooms. Teachers are active in their pursuit of professional excellence through course work offered by the district, professional workshops, or university training. Our curricula mirror the State Curriculum Frameworks. The recent results of the state assessment tests show growth but there is still room for improvement. Our staff is in the process of evaluating the results. Technology in the classroom has grown again this year. Each and every student receives many opportunities in the computer laboratory. Additionally, our teachers’ knowledge of classroom software continues to expand through the efforts of Mrs. Barbara Arning who is always willing to lend assistance, expertise, and time.

Parental support is very strong at Hawthorne Brook. Our student body is motivated and eager to learn. Our staff is dedicated and hard working. Both our children and our teachers have achieved a great deal of success in the past year. The student honor roll is comprised of almost thirty five percent of our student body. In addition, several of our students qualified for academic honors through the Johns Hopkins Program. Our band and choral students participated in Central Districts, and several of our band students achieved first chair status. Three of our teachers are nearing the completion of Masters Programs and five others have been accepted into programs. This past November, Mrs. Marilyn Richardson achieved National Board Certification status, which is the highest professional status a classroom teacher can achieve. This honor was the result of one year’s concentrated work, which culminated in a number of assessments including an extensive portfolio of work and a comprehensive examination. Three of our mathematics teachers have been involved in extensive training in order to pilot the Singapore Mathematics Program in our school. Mrs. Sue Little has taken the lead in the coordination of this effort, and has spent many hours beyond the school day in training. As always, the focus of our teachers is on the achievement of their students. All of them put in long days and a great deal of effort to ensure student success.

Hawthorne Brook supports the development of the well-rounded child. We offer our students many opportunities to participate outside the classroom. We have a very strong instrumental music program and a developing choral program. Athletic opportunities in the form of field hockey, cross-country, basketball, track and field, and intermurals are open to all students in good academic or behavioral standing. Our after-school enrichment program continues to expand and students can become involved in such after school activities as Student Council, the Drama Club (as an actor or as a stagehand), the Ski Program, and eighth grade activities (yearbook, collage, or banner). In addition, the school promotes community involvement through small group, team, or whole school service initiatives. Hawthorne Brook is also available for community use after school hours. Preference is given to activities that involve our youth.

Hawthorne Brook espouses learning beyond the walls of the classroom and we promote a variety of field trips and other learning activities in the community. Our eighth grade participated in Re-enactment activities sponsored by the Townsend Historical Society on Townsend Common. Every member of the sixth grade had a chance to be involved in a weeklong trip to The Environmental School in Maine. Seventh graders journeyed to Lowell to take advantage of The River as a Classroom program sponsored by the University of Lowell. One hundred and ten of our eighth graders culminated their study of American history with a four day trip to Washington D. C. In addition to these trips, several in-school assemblies were arranged through the efforts of Mrs. Mary Foster. The lessons that our students learn from these opportunities will be remembered for a lifetime. We are very grateful to all whose work made them available to our students.

On behalf of the students, staff, and parents of the Hawthorne Brook Middle School, I would like to thank the residents of Ashby and Townsend, Mr. James McCormick, Superintendent of Schools, and the North Middlesex Regional School Committee for the support that they very generously give to our school. I am privileged to work in a community that is committed to the education and the nurture of its young people. I hope to be worthy of the trust given to me by adhering to high standards of academic achievement through instructional excellence and by maintaining a learning environment that supports success for all.

 

Very Respectfully Submitted,

Timothy J. McGillicuddy