Monday, September 28, 2015

Rally for Northampton Public Schools

The School Local Northampton campaign is holding a kick off celebration on Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 5:15 – 7pm. The event begins with a gathering on the steps of City Hall and then moves to the parking lot behind City Hall for more festivities. There will be live music by local musicians, including the Nerissa Nields and speakers (including the superintendent) addressing parents and community members. There will be games and activities for children behind City Hall. The School Local Northampton campaign is currently being organized by parent representatives from each school, district staff/administration, Superintendent Provost, the Public School Action Network (PSAC), and Northampton community members. Our aim is to increase the community's awareness of the positive activities happening inside the Northampton Public Schools.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PTO Updates

PTO Updates

September 30th is the final day to fill out the on line form for our printed directory.  Here is the link: Family information form for paper directory.  There are no paper forms, but computers will be available in the library at open house.


The next PTO meeting will be held on Monday, Oct 5 at 6 pm (note new time) in the library.  Board elections will be held, and we will have discussions on expenditures and community events.  You are welcome to come, bring a friend!


There are a set of serving spoons that were put in the PTO mailbox last year, but so far no one has claimed them.  Please contact us if you think you know where they belong!


School Council

We will not have elections at open house because there are six available parent slots for six parents who stepped forward.  Our new Parent Representatives on the school council are: Richard Conner, Heather Morini, Michaela O'Brien, Melissa (Childs) Phelan, Mark Watts , and Doug Wheat. Their bios are posted at Stephanie Grimaldi and Kelly O'Connor are also parent/guardian representatives. They are current members and their terms will continue. Parents and Guardians are welcome at the School Council meetings, generally at 5 pm in the JFK Library on the third Thursday of the month.  Minutes are posted on the NPS JFK website.  The School Council assists in developing our school improvement plan, helps identify the educational needs of JFK students, and reviews the annual budget. The School Council is an elected body required of Massachusetts Public schools. Thank you to all our candidates for their strong interest in JFK!


Community Updates

We need a Scavenger hunt team to represent JFK!  Funding is available. Test your local Northampton knowledge and earn bragging while helping students! This is a great "Scavenger Hunt" event that raises scholarship money for our local Northampton students that would like to attend post-secondary institutions! Link for form


A City-wide At-Large School and City Council seats Candidates' Forum will be held on Oct 21 at JFK at 7 pm.  The League of Women Voters is taking the lead, and Leeds Civic Assn. will co-sponsor, along with the Gazette, WHMP, and Ward 3. Participate in democracy!


NEF Small grants deadline is October 16th.  More information here


Beginner pottery for teens and adults – classes Wednesdays 5:30-8 start October 5th.



Northampton Arts council has grants available for local artists – deadline is Oct 15th  applications here



Upcoming Events

Thursday Sept 24 6:30 pm JFK Open house (follow your child's schedule)

Monday October 5 6 pm PTO meeting JFK Library

Saturday, Oct 24 9-12 Electronics recycling – start sorting!


Need to find out about school lunches? Want to do some easy, at home fundraising?  Need more information about JFK? Links, calendar and more at




10th Annual Local Lore and Legends Scavenger Hunt

Northampton Dollars for Scholars
10th Annual Local Lore and Legends Scavenger Hunt
(show what you know, learn what you don't)
Saturday, October 3, 2015, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Less than 2 mile walking course
Start and Finish at Union Station, Strong Ave. Northampton
Join us for a fun scavenger hunt to solve clues about the background story related to interesting downtown Northampton locations. The theme is scholarly and trivial knowledge about your home town. The entire proceeds fund college scholarships for Northampton residents.
Register your team of four to find locations in downtown Northampton by solving trivia questions with a local connection. Prizes for team category winners include gift certificates from local businesses and each participating team member receives a cloth shopping bag. Suggested Registration fee - $200 per team
Several local businesses have already covered the cost of team registrations, but are looking for participants to fill the team slots. Put together a team and represent your school or organization at no personal cost. We also welcome teams to fully or partially fund their registration by collecting donations from your community.
Our goals for this event are to increase knowledge about Northampton, awareness of Dollars for Scholars mission, and raise money for Northampton student scholarships. For this tenth anniversary we would like to get at least one team from each of the Northampton schools.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

School council candidates

There are 6 available slots so all 6 candidates will be on the School Council, and no elections will be held. The School Council assists in developing our school improvement plan, helps identify the educational needs of JFK students, and reviews the annual budget. The School Council is an elected body required of Massachusetts Public schools.

Michaela O’Brien
As the parent of one current JFK student and one JFK grad, I am interested in being an involved part of how this school best serves the needs of all students; how it sets educational goals and works to meet them; how well it allocates resources set forth within the budget parameters; and to be involved with the process, successful implementation and assessment of the School Improvement Plan. 
 Over my first 11 years as a Northampton Public School parent, I have been very active in the Bridge Street School community, where I helped found and run BASE, the Bridge After School Enrichment program; co-managed the renovation of the Bridge playground -- a $250,000, 16-month project which involved CPA grant writing, business and community fundraising, and vast project management skills; managed several of the PTO fundraising programs like Stop & Shop’s A+ Bonus Bucks; volunteered time for fundraising, school events, and more.  As a publicist, I helped promote the successful “The Day The Music Thrived” concert which showcased the talents of the JFK Jazz Band, and other school arts and music groups, in June 2013.  I look forward to investing my time now in JFK by serving on the School Council, to help ensure that our students, staff and family community have a meaningful academic, broad artistic and enriching social experience. 

Melissa (Childs) Phelan
I am a native of Northampton.  My family has been in the area for generations.  My grandfather was heavily involved in the Williamsburg School Committee and I hope to carry on his legacy of service in education.  I attended both Hampshire Regional High School and Northampton High.  
We recently retuned to the Valley from Western North Carolina so that we could be closer to family and our daughter could attend school in Northampton.  My daughter, Meriel has just begun her journey at JFK Middle School and has had a wonderful experience with the transition from the Bridge Street School.
I would be honored to be considered part of the School Council.  As a student, I was a member of the student council, a principal search committee for Hampshire Regional High School and participated in student government in college.
Prior to relocating back to Western Massachusetts, I was a fifth grade teacher and literacy coach for the Buncombe County School District and am a NC Licensed Educator and have been entrenched in the Common Core Curriculum since it's adoption/transition in NC five years ago.  Additionally, my resume includes a tenure in financial services as a corporate trainer, group facilitator, retail manager, and senior leadership member.
I think you will find that my skills and experiences a benefit to the council and hope that you will consider my application.

Heather Morini
I wish to express my strong interest in serving JFK Middle School on its School Council.  For years I have been active in Northampton school activities as I have a daughter in high school, a son in middle school and another son at Leeds Elementary.  I am a positive and enthusiastic supporter of our schools and willing to advocate for top notch education for the children of Northampton.  In fact, I am a life-long resident of the city, I am a proud graduate of JFK Middle School and Northampton High School myself.  As a member of the council I would see my role as one serving all the students in the school to provide the curriculum and instruction, the technology and equipment, and the activities needed for a well-rounded education.  I believe in a safe and welcoming environment for all.
Working with the principal, teachers and my fellow parents on the School Council is inspiring to me.  I do understand that the council must review with the principal annually the school budget and the School Improvement Plan.  By being involved and informed I am confident that I will make thoughtful and constructive contributions to these important meetings.
I look forward the hearing from you as I am a ready and willing candidate as a parent representative on the JFK School Council.

Mark Watts
I am the father of two daughters: a current 7th grader and another who will be entering JFK next year.  Both girls attended Bridge Street School. I served on the BSS school council for 3 years and am a current board member of the Northampton Education Foundation (NEF).  I find the school council a great way for parents to have a voice and to work with teachers and administration in helping guide the direction of the school.  As a parent representative, I promise to be available to any parent who has concerns or who needs more information on any issue the council can address.
I am a survey researcher.  Over the last 15 years, I have conducted many surveys and focus groups across the country of the public and of teachers on variety policy issues related to public education.   I was also very actively involved in the past two override campaigns to make certain our public schools receive the funding they need.  I was deeply involved in Bridge Street School and want find a way to better serve the new school in my children’s life: JFK.   

Richard H. Conner
I would like to serve on the JFK Middle School Council and respectfully ask for your support.
I am the parent of two JFK students, one in sixth grade and the other an eighth grader.  Both of my children attended Bridge Street School, and my spouse, Beth Goldstein, and I are both actively involved with the public schools in Northampton.  I feel that a vibrant public school system must be continually focused on improvement, and this is most effectively accomplished through collaborative efforts between teachers, school officials, families, and other stakeholders.  The School Council is one forum where this can happen, and I would like to have an opportunity to contribute to their efforts.
Thank you for your support!

Doug Wheat
I would like to be part of the JFK School Council.  My wife and I have a 6th grader, Zachary, at JFK and a 4th grader, Davis, at Leeds Elementary.  As a Leeds parent I was a member of the School Council and wrote a grant to bring an artist in residence to the school.  I am an active youth soccer coach and volunteer for several organizations, including the United Way where I am the board chair.  As a member of the JFK School Council I hope to help the school identify educational goals that support and challenge all students.  

Thank you to all our candidates for their strong interest in JFK! 

School Council minutes are posted on the NPS JFK website.