August 28, 2019
By Natasha Don
The halls and grounds of the Florence Sawyer Schools have been polished and improved in anticipation of Thursday’s opening day. “Our custodial team and District facilities departments have worked very hard this summer to prepare for our students’ return,” said Principal Joel Bates.
He said that outdoor play areas have been cleaned up and fresh mulch has been laid. Hallways and classrooms have likewise been scrubbed and sanitized, and fresh paint has been applied throughout the campus.
New technology has been acquired to foster communication and recognition throughout the school. “We are excited about the addition of three new monitors on campus in the library, Emerson Wing and second floor of the Sawyer Wing, which will broadcast announcements, upcoming events and student work,” Bates said.
Several new staff members have joined the Florence Sawyer team this year. The administrative staff has welcomed Mark Levine as Assistant Principal. Hannah Olshan has been hired to be the new eighth grade science teacher, and Mark Schulze will take over grade 6 social studies.
In light of Yvonne Forte’s retirement, Haley Robichaud will be filling her position as special education teacher for kindergarten and grade 1. Bates also reported that the school is happy to welcome back Corey Brownell who will be teaching special education in the eighth grade following two years in the same role at Luther Burbank Middle School.
Enrollment this year comes in at 712 students as compared to last year’s registered 787. A smaller incoming kindergarten class with only three sections and a larger class of eighth graders moving on to Nashoba accounts for this dip, according to Bates. *Editor’s note: Specific enrollment numbers are as of the interview date and are subject to change as the school year officially gets underway.
“A significant portion of our work with the teachers this year will be to continue supporting their learning in our multi-year approach to literacy in the Readers and Writers Workshop,” Bates said. Florence Sawyer has also committed to the district’s larger goal of improving understanding around social and emotional learning.
Bates also explained that time and resources will be pledged to initiatives building on last year’s work around safety and the integration of technology in the curriculum and instruction.