Norton Teachers Association Spring Newsletter - April 2018

President's Message

There is certainly something in the air right now. In recent weeks, we’ve seen students around the country stand up and say ENOUGH to a culture that threatens their safety. Teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky have organized statewide walkouts, demanding fair wages and better funding for their schools. In Massachusetts, recent polling suggests that the Fair Share Amendment (which would create a progressive tax structure and yield significant new investments in public schools and transportation) enjoys strong public support and will likely be approved by voters in November.

While each of these movements provides us with inspiration and hope, they also remind us of injustices that are around us all the time. We shouldn’t need teenaged survivors of a tragedy to get society to care about gun laws. Teachers shouldn’t need to shut down an entire state’s public schools to get fair pay, and we shouldn’t need a constitutional amendment to guarantee ambitious state investments in education. The reality is, however, that we do. The hard work that we do in our classrooms each day must be accompanied by our continued activism or else we will be the victims of narrow political whims and shortsighted austerity as we have been in the past.

2018 is already shaping up to be a year of standing up and speaking out. As teachers, we must maintain our commitment to giving our students the very best by advocating for what we know is right, reminding our political leaders that we are paying attention, and ensuring that our schools and classrooms are governed by our values and not by what is easy or popular. Many of you have done some great work this year already – working toward developing a districtwide SEL program, attending rallies, and supporting student protests. This election year, let’s all think about how we can do more to support our colleagues, our students, and our community.

In solidarity,


Norton relay for life

The Relay is being held in Norton, June 8-9 at the HS. It is connected with the Relay For Life of the Greater Attleboro Area. We invite people to form teams or just come out and enjoy the festivities. We are looking for volunteers, teams, donors, entertainment, whatever! Contact Mary Bennett or Tanya Benoit for more information. You can also check the Relay For Life webpage for additional information.

Contract News: The paraprofessional unit is still in contract negotiations. We want to thank all the teachers for their support during this process.

Audited by DESE

by Paula Beisheim

Recently, I received notification from the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) that I was being audited for the renewal of my license. This notification was sent 8 months after my renewal. What I learned from this process: DESE can audit at any time within 5 years of the renewal process, even if you are retired! Keep a file or a binder of all of the professional development that you have acquired. You do not need to send every piece of paper that you have accumulated. They only want to see 150 PDPs. If you received the SEI endorsement by taking the RETELL course, you can carry over some of the PDPs for the next licensure renewal process.

I reached out to the MTA to see if they had some helpful hints for this process in case anyone else receives an audit. Please see below.

Happy Retirement!

Joan Blais is retiring May 18th after 20 years of dedicated service as a paraprofessional. She started at LG Norse in the Food Service department for a short time; then transferred to Heri A. Yelle as a paraprofessional working with Structured Resource (then STEP) program! She will be missed by her Yelle Family and we all wish her luck on her future endeavors.

Andrea Bonda is also retiring, on May 4th, after 21 years in inclusion at the High School!

For those paraprofessionals that are retiring, we are in great appreciation for your years of dedication to education, and especially for all the lives that you have impacted over the years. We are wishing you a new journey of success and happiness in the new page of you life. May you be showered with abundant opportunities to do what your heart desires.

Growth Mindset Learning @ NMS

Students in Mrs. Sullivan, Mrs. Whelan, Mrs. Darling and Mrs. Smith’s classrooms worked with Mrs. Zajac on developing our growth mindset and flexible thinking skills as tools we can count on to keep our learning journeys exciting and filled with empowered decision making!

Students created a written or artistic piece (true stories or fictional) about being BRAVE-- in the past, in the present or in the future.They drew, wrote or composed lyrics about themselves, a favorite friend, family member, place, pet, or experience that inspired a particular story of braveness!

Upon completion of their creation, students were given the option of submitting their work to HUTCH MAGAZINE for (a literary and creativity magazine, published twice a year by Peter Reynolds & his non-profit foundation, The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity) for consideration for publishing.

We received word that HUTCH MAGAZINE was fully impressed with all of the students creative work and that one of our students' submissions had been accepted and chosen for publication! The original lyrical talents of our very own, Dillon Schillberg, is featured in publication #19 of the HUTCH MAGAZINE. Dillon along with his family & Mrs. Zajac attended a publication party at The Blue Bunny Bookstore on March 1st where all of the student contributors celebrated their accomplishments, received a copy of the magazine, a certificate of accomplishment and a group photo with Peter Reynolds, himself.

Congratulations to Dillon and hats off to all students for showcasing their creative talents in this learning journey of growth mindset, flexibility, perspectives and decision making! #NMSLancersLead

MTA ESP Conference 2018

Last weekend, April 6 & 7, Norton sent some representatives to the ESP Conference at the Seacrest in Falmouth. Workshops included: "Is it sensory or behavior?", "Teaching social emotional self-regulation", "Effective strategies to change behavior", "Google Docs", "Best Contract Language", and "Understanding & intervening effectively with all students".

Attendees: Heidi Loring, Mary Ledbetter, Sandra Bongarzone , Diann Crugnale, Michele Fruci , & Christine Alvares


Last week, an outstanding crew of educators from Norton Middle School attended, presented at, and accepted recognition from the New England League of Middle Schools's Annual Conference!


Created with images by balisto - "nature flower plant"

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