Watertown High School Robotics Team Receives a $5,000 Grant

The Watertown High School Robotics Team sent out the following information:
Students at Watertown High School have found external support as they utilize robots to improve skills in science and engineering. The Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer, recently awarded a one-time $5,000 grant to Watertown High Robotics Team 2423 to support their FIRST Robotics activities and encourage local students who participate in the program. Watertown High Robotics Team 2423 will use support from the Monsanto Fund grant to participate in FIRST Robotics and its educational programs and competitions. FIRST enables teams of students to compete with others in building, designing and programming their own robots to perform preassigned tasks– giving young students a chance to get involved with real-world engineering. “Allowing today’s students to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills through hands-on experiences is crucial to preparing our next generation to drive innovation and overcome challenges,” said Michelle Insco, Monsanto Fund program officer.

Two Watertown High School Students Named National Merit Commended Students

Two Watertown High School seniors received recognition from National Merit Program for being among the top scorers on the PSAT. Nathan Follett and Robert Leonard were named Commended Students in the 2019 National Merit Program, based on their scores on the 2017 PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test), Superintendent Dede Galdston announced at this week’s School Committee meeting. Approximately 1.6 million students took the PSAT in 2017, and the top 50,000 were identified by the National Merit Program. “They are approximately in the top 3 percent of students in the nation,” Galdston said. School Committee Chairman John Portz added, “Congratulations to both of you.

Town Council Approves Funding for Study & Schematic Design for New High School

A significant hurdle was cleared on the path to building a new, or renovating the current, Watertown High School when the Town Council approved $1.6 million in funding for the project’s feasibility study and schematic design. 

Last week, the Town Council unanimously approved the funding for what is the end of the first of eight modules required by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), said Superintendent Dede Galdston. The high school project was accepted into the MSBA’s process in December 2017. Since that time school officials have been taking the necessary steps, including creating a school building committee (the same one as for the 3 elementary school projects), documenting maintenance practices, and setting an enrollment. Galdston said, when completed, the high school will be able to accommodate 720 students. Currently the high school has about 660 students.

Minuteman High School Receives National Blue Ribbon School Award

Representatives from Minuteman High School in Lexington accepted the school’s 2018 National Blue Ribbon School award at a ceremony held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8. An audience of 1,300 people looked on in the hotel’s ballroom as dozens of outstanding schools nationwide were presented with the National Blue Ribbon School award by the Director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Aba S. Kumi. “At no other time in Minuteman’s history that I can think of has our school had such a great stretch of news going on,” said Principal Jack Dillon, who has worked at Minuteman for the past 13 years. “This is a really proud moment to represent Minuteman.”

He attended the Washington event along with Lead Mathematics Teacher John Fusco and Lead English Teacher Greg Donovan.

Perkins School for the Blind Hosting Two Holiday Concerts, RSVP Now

Celebrate the Season with a pair of concerts at Perkins School for the Blind in early December. 

Perkins sent out the following information:

You are invited to Perkins School for the Blind for a festive Holiday Concert. Join us:
Sunday, December 2, at 3:00 PM and/or
Tuesday, December 4, at 7:30 PM. Or watch a livestream of the concert to be broadcast at 7:30pm on December 4. View the Events page for details

The Perkins Student Chorus, Chamber Singers, Music Makers, Handbell Ensemble, Instrumental Ensemble and Vocal Soloists celebrate the season with a selection of beautifully arranged choral and instrumental works originating from around the world! The concerts are free and wheelchair accessible in Dwight Hall.

Hosmer School Community Worried About Loss of Field Space, Length of Construction Project

Major renovations are planned for all three of Watertown’s elementary schools, but Hosmer School will go through the most significant changes, and endure the longest construction period. Wednesday night, the School Building Committee visited Hosmer to share the latest plans and hear from parents and neighbors. Concerns included loss of green space and play area, as well as the impact of construction on the students. The school is first up on the schedule of renovations, and current plans call for demolishing the current classroom wing and building a new building on the Mt. Auburn Street side of the current cafeteria/gymnasium building.

Construction Costs for Watertown’s School Building Projects Up Several Million Dollars

The latest cost estimates for the renovation/rebuilding of Watertown’s three elementary schools are up several million since the last estimate presented to the School Building Committee. On Wednesday night, the project manager and architect presented their latest, best estimate of how much it will cost to renovate and rebuild Hosmer, Lowell and Cunniff elementary schools. The cost of the construction would be $122 million ($56.5 million for Hosmer, $31.67 million for Cunniff and $33.8 million for Lowell) and the additional costs would bring the total up to an estimated $153 million, said Project Manager Shane Nolan of Daedalus Projects. This is an increase of about $5.8 million from the estimate presented in August. About $1 million of the cost increase in the construction budget comes from a change to the project scope to include replacement of all existing windows and doors at Lowell and Cunniff, said architect Scott Dunlap of Ai3 Architects.

Perkins School Earns Special Status with United Nations Economic and Social Council

The following information was provided by Perkins School for the Blind:
Perkins School for the Blind, the first school for the blind in the U.S. and the international leader in blindness education, has earned United Nations Economic and Social Council Special Consultative Status (ECOSOC).  
This enables Perkins executives to attend meetings at the UN, submit written statements and oral presentations, consult with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, and use UN facilities for conferences or meetings in New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The United Nations Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.