, Newburyport, MA


September 10, 2013

A very smooth opening to school year

To the editor:

I am a teacher at both the Nock and Molin schools, and have to say this was the best start of a school year ever, despite the fact that both schools are under construction. There was a spirit of camaraderie among teacher who were all in the same boat— facing unpacking entire rooms in time to meet a year’s worth of new students. Obstacles were there, and together problems were solved. A floor that wasn’t done in time was quickly made safe with rolls of carpet. The IT crew worked endlessly to get computers up and running. The custodial staff, who worked round the clock over the summer, was visible and on hand to help with moving equipment or locating needed items.

When the students walked in, they were calm. Calmer than I’ve seen in my seven years with the Newburyport school system.

I think it comes down to the fact that the staff was calm. Why? Because our new leader, Dr. Susan Viccaro, set the tone before school began. To start, we were given our first day back — precious and needed time — to devote entirely to setting up our classrooms. On Tuesday, she spoke succinctly and meaningfully to the entire staff. She briefly introduced herself, then enumerated her six priorities for the year. She was prepared, thoughtful and specific. Later, as teachers returned to their rooms, she was visible in the buildings, walking from room to room to see what teachers needed to start the year off right. When we encountered a challenge with the buses the first day, she addressed it immediately, sending a timely and thoughtful communication out to all families.

A lot of people had to work very hard to pull off the opening of school this year, and they did so with flying colors. That says a lot about the staff of all the schools, and the leadership we now have.

Boyd Hancock, teacher

Nock and Molin schools, Newburyport

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