By Melissa Fili
MethuenLife Writer

By the time you read this, most Methuen Public School students will have already experienced their first day of class for the 2023-2024 school year.
First-graders through high school seniors returned Aug. 30. Preschoolers and kindergartners have their first day Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Here are some new-year highlights.

Free breakfast
& lunch for all kids

Methuen Public Schools will be participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. As part of this program, all schools will offer healthy meals every school day at NO COST to the students due to the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision for school year 2023-2024. Students will be able to get breakfast and lunch at school without having to pay a fee or submit a household application.

Open House
dates announced
  All grammar schools will follow the same schedule:
Kindergarten – Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 4-5pm.
Grades 1 & 3 – Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 5-6pm.
Grade 2 & 4 – Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 6-7pm.
K-4 Specialists – Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 5:30-6:30pm.
Grades 6 & 8 – Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 5-6pm.
Grade 5 & 7 – Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 6-7pm.
5-8 Specialists – Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 5:30-6:30pm.
  Preschool – Thursday, Aug. 31 from 1-2pm and 5-6pm.
  Methuen High – Back to School Night – Thursday, Sept. 28 from 6-8pm.

‘Every day
matters’

In an Aug. 16 letter to MPS families, Superintendent Brandi Kwong addressed, among other topics, the importance of school attendance.
“While we know some absences are unavoidable, and students do get sick, we also know that when students are absent more than two days a month, for any reason, they can fall behind academically and have a difficult time developing a sense of belonging. Poor attendance will impact your child’s future achievement,” she wrote.
Each Methuen public school is striving to increase its attendance rate because, she stated, “EVERY DAY MATTERS.”

Parking lot
improvements

Both the Timony and Tenney schools now sport re-designed parking lots.
The Timony main-entrance renovation created 65 additional parking spaces and got rid of multiple entry points.
“There’s now one way in,” Kwong told MethuenLife. “There will be 2 lanes, then (drivers) will stop. A school resource officers or staff member will see that every other vehicle will merge. Now there will be a longer drop-off area from the main entrance and along the building.”
The Tenney Upper School parking lot renovation “added about 30 spaces and now has an extended loop for drop-off. The goal is to get more cars off Pleasant Street,” Kwong explained.
With fewer students taking the bus in recent years due to more families doing school drop-offs and pick-ups, traffic is often backed up onto Pleasant in both the morning and afternoon. This new design intends to relieve that problem.
As of MethuenLife press time, both CGS and Tenney are wrapping up roof-replacement projects.

Many administrative
changes in district
  Retirements, resignations, new positions … Methuen Public Schools had many vacancies over the summer for various reasons.
Here’s the list of new administrators across MPS, with their experience in parenthesis.

Methuen High

Special Education Program Coordinator – Marla De La Cruz (Groton-Dunstable Public School administrator).
Interim Associate Principal for sophomores – Jacqueline Rubino (MHS English teacher with 14 years’ experience in MPS).
English Department Chair – Christine Dumont (MHS English teacher with 7 years’ experience in MPS).
English Learner Education Department Chair – Christine Staugler (Tenney Grammar School as teacher with 20 years’ experience in MPS).

CGS

English Learner Education Supervisor – Kristen MacDougall (CGS teacher with 20 years’ experience in MPS).

Marsh

English Learner Education Supervisor – Jessica Hubert (MPS district as interim ELE administrator with 1 year experience and 5 years as ELE teacher in MPS).

Tenney
English Learner Education Supervisor – Vanessa Nunez (Lawrence Public Schools with 13 years’ experience).

Timony
English Learner Education Supervisor – Shirley Fung (Timony Grammar School as EL teacher with 1 year in MPS; many years of teaching and management experience with ELs in MA schools.
Special Education Administrator – open due to internal move.

Central Administration/Management
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
– Lisa Golobski Twomey (MPS 20-plus years of teaching and administrative experience).
Director of Special Education – Athanasia “Soula” Bousios (Wilmington Public Schools but was in MPS prior).
Special Education Administrator, Out of District – Danielle Abdallah (Timony Grammar School with 10-plus years in MPS).
Director of Technology – Nancy Lopez (Philips Andover with 30-plus years in the technology department).
Director of Transportation and Safety – Jeffrey Ouellette (School Resource Officer in Salem, N.H., for 8-plus years and previous Methuen resident and student)
Family Resource Room Coordinator – Perla Ramirez (10-plus years’ experience with local community family agencies).

Admin Offices
move to Branch St.
  As noted in our previous issue, this summer MPS’ Administrative Offices moved from Lawrence Street to the former CREST building at 9 Branch St. Duties performed here include all school registrations, preschool screenings and classroom space, as well as IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings.
This site will also house all of Methuen’s preschoolers. A total of 15 classrooms will be home-sweet-home for the littlest learners. Previously, rooms for this learning level were spread among the grammar schools.
Additionally, this building will house the Transitions program for students age 18-22. Important to note that this is a work/life skills program and these students do a lot of job-site work at other locations.

Methuen Public
Schools is hiring

Looking for a job where you are on the same schedule as your school-age child? Methuen Public Schools may be the place for you! Wanted are program assistants, crossing guards, food service staff, cafeteria monitors as well as teachers and other staff. For a full slate of job opportunities in the district, visit Methuen.k12.ma.us.