March 2018

(Image: Tapestry Workshop)this year's Tapestry Weaving in our Art Program has been generously funded with grants from the Hatfield Education Council, STArHS (Supporting the Arts in Hatfield Schools), and the American Tapestry Alliance - Thank you!


Dear Parents/Guardians,


Greetings, I hope our March newsletter finds you and your family doing well. We returned from our winter break refreshed and ready to reengage our students!


School Security and Safety

In light of the recent tragedies experienced by the Broward County Public Schools, I have engaged in discussions with faculty; met with Superintendent Robert, several school committee members, Chief Dekoschak, and other key personnel to reassess our safety and security protocols. We are taking steps to tighten our preparedness if ever faced with a threat of this nature. As a public school we attempt to be transparent in all that we do; however, I will not share all of the details of our heightened measures as I feel we would compromise our security in doing so. I will share that we are currently making repairs to several locking mechanisms and updating our video surveillance systems within the school.

As has been the case, all school visitors must enter through the front door, check in at the main office, receive a visitors pass and wait to be accompanied to their destination. Additionally, all school doors are closed and locked during the school day. I ask for you to speak with your child about the importance of not propping doors open or opening secured doors for their friends. It is imperative that students understand what they may perceive as an innocent act compromises the safety of all. Students caught disregarding this directive will be held accountable with progressive disciplinary measures. Last, students who are waiting to be picked up after school must remain in the front lobby. They are not permitted in any other area of the building unless with an educator.  

In response to the call for a national school walk-out by several activist groups, we are in support of our students’ voice and want to accommodate their engagement with social activism. Currently, we have an open dialogue with students about the most effective way to protest gun violence while remembering the 17 victims involved in this tragedy. Several activist groups have communicated that a 17 minute walkout on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 am is what is needed; however, in light of this violent event and in keeping student safety the priority, I personally do not agree with this particular activity. I do not believe announcing to the public when and where students will be is the best judgment when thinking about student safety.

To thoughtfully remember the 17 students whose lives were taken and bring attention to gun violence, we will wear stickers to display our unity and support for Majory Stoneman Douglas High School. The stickers will be representative of the high school's school colors and the number 17. It is absolutely voluntary for those who want to participate.

If students choose to participate in the March 14 walkout they will be asked to go to the back area of the building for the 17 minute duration. As a precautionary safety measure, we will have the Hatfield Police Department present during this event. Students are not permitted to leave school grounds and must return to our regular school day once the 17 minutes has concluded.

The events leading to this tragedy have been analyzed to explore where there could have been possible interventions. There has been particular attention paid to the digital presence linked to the shooter. We must all remain united around policing the signs involved with an individual displaying concerning behaviors. In today's society much of what people do, say, or are involved with is shared online or on a social media platform. I ask that you remain attentive and aware of the content your child is posting online. While people utilize social media for varying reasons, we sometimes witness a user utilizing a platform to communicate some deeper personal issues and/or emotions. If you come across content that you deem immediately concerning to the well-being or safety of the general public or our schools, please do not hesitate in contacting our local authorities. Last, I wanted to share a clinical report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics that you may find beneficial: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.


Scheduled Drill

To avoid alarm, we want to communicate that we will conduct a scheduled lockdown drill in the coming weeks. This drill will be an organic lockdown – faculty initiated lockdown rather than administratively directed. A faculty member will need to verbally communicate this lockdown in a manner loud enough for all in the immediate area to hear. My fear is a student being startled by the nature of this drill. Students will be made aware of the characteristics pertaining to this particular type of drill. We usually do not communicate these drills prior to conducting them, but given its timing and nature we wanted to make you aware.


Variety Show

We have our annual variety show scheduled for Saturday, March 10. This is a really great evening with students and faculty putting their talents on display. Doors open at 7 pm with tickets costing $5 for adults and $3 for students. All proceeds benefit our band program! A special thank you to our STArHS group for generously donating refreshments in support of this evening.


Theater Production

We will be holding an information meeting for both Smith Academy and HES parents on Saturday, 3/10/18 at the Hatfield Elementary School at 1pm.   It is important that all students involved in the show have a parent/guardian attend this meeting. You will receive important information, be able to ask questions, hear about volunteer opportunities and meet our new director, Ms. Saik. Please see full bulletin HERE.


Movie Night (Class of 2020)

The Smith Academy Community Service Group is hosting a childcare fundraiser on Friday, March 16 from 5 - 8 pm. The event is intended to provide childcare to children in grades K-6. During this supervised time children will play games and watch movies. The event takes place at Smith Academy. For further information please contact Mrs. Kwiecinski.


March Madness (Student Council and Community Service Group)

Mrs. Kwiecinski and Mrs. Gingras are working with the Community Service Club and Student Council to coordinate our Pennies for Patients drive this month. Weekly events and rewards will be communicated to students directly. We are excited to support this charity and to have our students become involved with it's cause.

Smith Sessions: Community Information Sessions (Thursday, 3/29)

We are in the process of organizing an evening filled with several informative workshops. We have received confirmation from several community groups and various stakeholders who have offered their time and resources. Our intention is to offer several informative sessions to our school-community. The content and focus of these sessions will provide insight into specific challenges and/or information relevant to your child. We will offer workshops on the following topics: Vaping & Marijuana, The College Board Portal, Cyber Sensibility, and Anxiety. Our content experts will spend the first hour providing a brief 15 minute overview of their work/experiences and explain their specific workshop. The second hour will be spent in the workshop you are interested in attending. We understand that it will be impossible to experience all of the workshops offered during the second hour of the session; however, we encourage you to collect contact information from speakers/organizations to learn more about their content and/or future opportunities. A detailed brouchure will be sent out next week that provides all the information concerning this event. 

School Council Breakfast (Friday, 3/30)

At the end of the month the Smith Academy School Council will host a community breakfast for those interested. We will serve up several breakfast offerings along with coffee and juice. We encourage you to stop-in and have breakfast with your child/ren. We start serving at 6:30 am and usually wrap-up at roughly 8:30 am. The cost per breakfast is $5. As we move closer to the date we will send out a survey to gauge interest for ordering and accommodation purposes. If you are interested in donating any items to support this cause please contact Mrs. Gingras


School Department Updates:


  • Athletics
  • !!!*UPDATE (1:57 pm): ALL GAMES FOR TONIGHT HAVE BEEN CANCELED by MIAA due to weather*!!! 
    • Congratulations to the girls basketball team on their win over North Brookfield 47-33. The Quarterfinal round of the Division 4 West Tournament has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 3 at 1 pm at Putnam Vocational School in Springfield, MA.
    • Smith Academy Booster Club Winter Sports Banquet (6:30 pm in SA Gym)
  • Guidance
  • Nurse
    • Updates
    • Please ensure proper lines of communication are utilized when your child is sick at school and may need to go home. We ask that your child visit with our school nurse to be assessed. The nurse will then be in contact if your child is too sick to remain in school. We are all-too-often apprised of this information when a parent arrives at the school to pick-up their child. 
  • Food Services
    • Updates
    • Local Purchases:
      • 2 cases of Macs from Atkins Farmers Market - South Amherst Apple Orchards - 100 lbs
      • 2 cases of baking potatoes - Szawlowski Potato Farms, Inc - 100 lbs
      • Total weight of local produce to date (2/20/2018) - 929 lbs

Important Dates

  • 3/1 Thursday
    • HEAD-Up Meeting (6-8 pm at Town Hall)
  • 3/5 Monday
    • National Honor Society application deadline 2 pm (for all invited applicants) *deadline extended
  • 3/7 Wednesday
    • Professional Development Day for Educators (No School)
    • M.A. School Council Field Trip 3/7-3/9 (Mrs. Gingras)
  • 3/8 Thursday
    • Field Trip: Chess Tournament (2:15 Hampshire Regional High School)
  • 3/9 Friday
    • Flannel Friday (March Madness)
    • Smith Vocational High School Representative Interviews (for those who have applied)
    • Variety Show Mandatory Rehearsal (2 pm in SA Gym)
  • 3/10 Saturday
    • Variety Show (7 pm at SA Gym)
      • $5 per student, $3 per student
    • Theater Meeting (1 pm at HES)
  • 3/13 Tuesday
    • Junior Parent College/Career Workshop (6 pm in SA Library)
  • 3/14 Wednesday
    • Smith Academy Booster Club Winter Sports Banquet (6:30 pm in SA Gym)
    • HPS School Committee Meeting (6:30 pm in library)
  • 3/19 Monday
    • First day of Spring athletic practices 
  • 3/23 Friday
    • National Honor Society induction ceremony (8 am in SA Gym)
  • 3/27 Tuesday
    • MCAS: Gr. 10 ELA Long Composition
  • 3/28 Wednesday
    • MCAS: Gr. 10 ELA Reading Comprehension Sessions 1 & 2
  • 3/29 Tuesday
    • MCAS: Gr. 10 ELA Reading Comprehension Session 3
    • Smith Sessions: Community Information Sessions (6-8 pm at SA)
  • 3/30 Friday (Half-day of school)
    • Student Council Community Breakfast (Breakfast available at 6:30 in cafeteria) $5
    • Professional Development Day for Educators (Students dismissed at 11:15 am)
    • Hawaiian Luau (March Madness)


Andrew Berrios, Ed.D.