WESTFIELD – The School Committee meeting on Monday showcased Munger Hill chorus and band students and the Harold Grinspoon Excellence in Teaching Award recipients, followed by a presentation about the MassHire and Westfield High School Reed Career Center partnership.
Munger Hill Principal Salvatore Frieri introduced the music performances, stressing the new opportunities for the students and the value the programs bring to Westfield Public schools. Mayor Brian P. Sullivan then invited the parents in the room to find a good position in the room to take pictures, as he always does, before the performances began.
Frieri introduced music teacher Tyler Cook, who led third and fourth grade chorus students in the song, “Music changes the world.”
Next, first-year band students in grade 4, led by teacher Jessica Pietrosanti, played “Eye of the Tiger,” beginning with the melody, then the harmony, then the whole song.
Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski introduced the Harold Grinspoon Excellence in Teaching Award recipients to the School Committee, who are nominated by their principals and fellow staff members. “Unfortunately, we can only do seven a year. We could do seven more,” he said.
Czaporowski then introduced each teacher, and asked them to stand. They were Regina Rosario, Franklin Avenue Elementary School, Joanne Fouche, Highland Elementary, Alexandra Brennan,Westfield Intermediate School; and Kate Palmer, Crystal Hollister, and Katerina Sherrick of Westfield Middle School. Czaporowski said Galen Wilson of Westfield Technical Academy could not attend the meeting, as he was in Wichita, Kansas to receive the Aviation Maintenance Educator of the Year award.
Czaporowski said all winners will be recognized at a banquet on May 1 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. He said Westfield is the only district to have already sold out all of its tickets for the event. The teachers then gathered with School Committee members for a group photo.
Daisha Serrano of MassHire Holyoke talked about the success of internships, externships and job shadowing through the WHS Career Center. The center helps students with resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, and post interview evaluations. The Career Center is also helping students find work study opportunities, she said. Serrano said she has ten students out on internships with thirty more pending. She also has 120 students on work study, and another 120 assisting teachers in classrooms at the high school.
Serrano then introduced three students who have participated in internships to talk about their experiences.
Senior Nadia Nieves said she came to WHS last year as a new student, and said her old school did not have a career center. She said she learned how to write a resume, and was placed in an internship at the Springfield District Court. Although at first she didn’t like the filing and hole punching that they had her do there, she was able to be in the court after a few weeks taking notes. Nadia said she wants to be a lawyer, and having courtroom experience was important. She also said she has taken advantage of the work study, another program her old school did not have, to get a part-time job at Subway.
WHS Senior Audrey Clemens spoke about her internship in a third grade classroom at Franklin Avenue Elementary School. She said between the internship at the school and previous experience helping in the pre-school program at WHS, she now has a goal of becoming a teacher. “Without this I wouldn’t have figured out that I want to pursue teaching. I’m very grateful and thankful this program is in place,” she said.
Junior Laura Cyr said she is in an internship in the first grade at Franklin Avenue. She said at first she wasn’t sure about being there with all the kids. “Once you work with them, understand and connect with them,” she said she changed her mind. She said she loves watching them grow and learn the skills, especially ST Math on the computer. She also said she enjoys walking in there and getting hugs. “I want to be a first grade teacher. This is preparing me for what I want to do,” she said.