From the Principal
When we return from April vacation, the calendar is quickly filled with school-based events that celebrate the accomplishments of the current academic year. This is also the time of year when we look ahead and plan for the 2017-18 year.
One change is driven by enrollment: how many students are currently at Hastings and how many we expect to welcome in the new school year. Earlier in April, the elementary principals met with district leaders to discuss the number of sections at each grade level and in each building for next year. Unlike past years where Hastings enrollment has remained relatively stable, this year the number of students increased from 430 to 476. As a result of the students already in the building, we decided to increase the number of general education classrooms by two for next year. With 23 classrooms at Hastings we will have 4 kindergarten, 4 first, 3 second, 3 third, 4 fourth and 4 fifth grade rooms. We will also have a mixed grade classroom for grades 2/3 taught by second grade teacher Jennifer Greenstein.
There will be moves throughout the school to accommodate the added classrooms. Keeping music in a dedicated space, along with literacy specialists, special educators, the social worker, and ELL, will require flexibility and creativity: qualities Hastings teachers exemplify.
There will also be changes in personnel. The third grade will decrease from four to three classes, while the fifth grade increases from three to four. Nithya Subramanian will therefore join the fifth grade team next year. We will lose Hastings fourth grade teacher Brianna Ambrus, who is leaving education to pursue a pre-med graduate program. Other changes include moves to different roles at our school.
Anne Garcia-Meitin will become a full time ELL teacher and Amy Muzyka will move from the classroom to a literacy specialist role. Social worker Krystal Velasquez, currently half time at Hastings and half at Estabrook is taking the full time position at Estabrook and we will welcome a new member of our mental health team in the fall.
Change is a double-edged sword: it brings with it excitement for new experiences and concern for what is unknown. The Hastings Staff Team has changed and grown in the nine years I have been privileged to lead the school. We are already meeting candidates for the positions we have open in the building, and look forward to welcoming our new colleagues.
In case you are wondering about the increased enrollment at Hastings, based on increases in the number of students across the Town, the School Committee adopted a policy last year that Dr. Czajkowski can assign students to a choice of schools if enrollment in a given grade at one school is full, while there is room at another school. This policy was employed this Spring when a new family registered with children in grades over the maximum at Hastings, but with space at Bowman.
Louise P. Lipsitz