News from Mohawk January 5, 2013 Happy New Year! In addition to

News from Mohawk
January 5, 2013
Happy New Year! In addition to my regular biweekly news, I am attaching our school
“report card” based on the 2012 Accountability Data from the Massachusetts Department
of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The attached pages contain information
about student enrollment and teacher qualifications, student achievement, accountability,
how our school is performing relative to other schools, and the progress our school is
making toward narrowing proficiency gaps for different groups of students. You may
access this information electronically from the DESE website by going to and selecting our school district and the Accountability tab.
Principal Lynn Dole
Upcoming Events
Archaeology Presentation on Thursday, January 10
Athletic News
Drama News: Dispatch from Middle Earth
Call for Supplies for Drama Program
Middle School News
High School Class News
Peer Leadership News
Music News
News from the Yearbook Staff
An overview of the school budget preparation process
School safety drills
Please check out the Lost and Found before we remove items
Mohawk students participate in Model Congress this weekend
“Race to Nowhere” film screening at Pioneer Valley Regional School
1. Upcoming Events
Tuesday, January 8
Joint meeting of the Mohawk Music Association and Mohawk Education
Subcommittee at 5:00 pm in the Superintendent’s Conference Room.
Wednesday, January 9
EARLY RELEASE DAY for staff professional development. Students will be released at
11:30. On early release days, high school classes run on the following schedule:
B. 4
7:44 – 8:29 (45)
B. 3
8:34 – 9:19 (45)
B. 2
9:24 – 10:09 (45)
B. 1
10:14 – 10:59 (45)
MTRSD Budget Subcommittee meets at 5:00 pm in the Principal's Conference Room
Mohawk School Committee meets at 7:00 pm in the Superintendent’s Conference Room.
Thursday, January 10
Archaeology presentation at 7:00 pm at the Charlemont Federated Church. (See #2 for
more information.)
Football fundraising meeting at 6:30 pm in room 171. (See #3 for more information.)
Monday, January 14
Mohawk School Council meets at 5:00 in the Principal’s Conference Room.
Wednesday, January 16
Senior Class fundraiser: "Dining for a Cause" at The 99 Restaurant from 5:00-9:00 pm.
Monday, January 21
HOLIDAY: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Tuesday, January 22-Thursday, January 24 EXAM DAYS
On the three exam days, buses for middle and high school students will run on the two hour
delay schedule. School will be from 9:44-2:15 for Mohawk middle and high school
students. (Elementary schools have a regular day on Tuesday and Thursday and an early
release day on Wednesday.) Please note that if there is a snow day between now and exam
week, each snow day may result in the exam day being pushed back a day. At this time the
spring semester is scheduled to begin on Friday, January 25. Students will receive
information about their final exam schedules from their classroom teachers.
Thursday, January 24
7th grade potluck dinner at 6:00 pm. Additional information will be sent to 7th grade
Wednesday, January 30
7th grade field trip to the University of Massachusetts. Additional information will be
sent to 7th grade families.
Thursday, February 7
Spring Semester Open House
Save the date! I’ll provide detailed information in the next issue of this biweekly message.
2. Archaeology Presentation on Thursday, January 10
Mohawk students to exhibit artifacts and report on the Archeological Excavation at
Hawley’s Old Town Common
On Thursday, January 10, students from Ivan Grail’s archeology course will report on their
work at the site of Hawley’s Sanford Tavern. The event will take place at 7:00pm at the
Federated Church in Charlemont. The students will speak about their experiences and
display the artifacts they discovered during their archeological dig this past fall at the
Sanford Tavern site, a part of Hawley’s Old Town Common Historic Site. The Sanford
Tavern stood next to Hawley’s town common from about 1798 until the 1840s and played a
significant role in the community’s social, civic, and economic life. Aaron Miller, the
archeologist who directed the project, and Ivan Grail will also speak about the results of the
students’ work. Those attending the event will have an opportunity to examine the artifacts
the students found and to discuss with the students the conclusions they have drawn from
their discoveries about life at the Sanford Tavern. Refreshments will be served.
The excavation of the Sanford Tavern site is a joint project of the Mohawk Trail Regional
High School and the Sons & Daughters of Hawley and is funded by a grant from
MassHumanities. Internet explorers can access essays on the history of Hawley’s Old Town
Common and take a virtual tour of the historic site by visiting:
3. Athletic News
Meeting on Thursday, January 10 regarding football equipment fundraising initiative
Parent Lynette Von Haugg is organizing a fundraising initiative for football equipment. She
explains that after the football banquet she started thinking about what Coach Smith had
said regarding the importance of new football helmets. “I decided to bring the subject up
during open forum of the Mohawk Athletic Association meeting last week looking for ideas.
There were other football parents there as well and it was decided that a new subcommittee could be formed for football parents. The MAA has agreed to a new line item for
Football equipment and money raised can go into this line item.
I would like to raise enough money to purchase new helmets for our young athletes by
August. I realize that this is a big undertaking so I am asking for your help.
I have three other parents that have agreed to help me with this fundraising effort but in
reality I am going to need everyone’s help to do this. Our first meeting will be held at
Mohawk on Thursday, January 10th in room 171 at 6:30 p.m. At this meeting we will discuss
how much money needs to be raised and to brainstorm fundraising ideas. I would really
like to try and do one big fundraiser and then if needed we could do another smaller one. I
would also like to do letters to alumni for donations.
Anyone interested in helping or if you have any questions please feel free to call me at 413834-3007 or just come to the meeting at Mohawk on Thursday, January 10th at 6:30.
Lynette Von Haugg”
Students can work out in the weight room
In addition to its use by student athletes at times scheduled with their coaches, the weight
room is open for student use on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (3:30-5:00) and on
Friday afternoon from 2:30-5:00. Students should see 7th grade teacher Sean Conlon or
Josh Shearer for more details.
Summer Baseball Opportunity
Students who are interested in trying out for the summer Mickey Mantle baseball team
should sign up in Coach Redeker’s office before January 18. The team is for players aged
14-16; students who are 17 on May 1 are not eligible to participate. The team will play a
fifteen game schedule from early June until late July throughout Franklin and Hampshire
Summer Softball Opportunity
Mohawk Suburban Softball is having signups starting the week of January 14th in the
Athletic Director’s office. Anyone interested please stop in and talk to Mr. Redeker.
4. Drama News
Santa’s Elves have nothing on ours!
Over the break there was a lot of activity in the theater. Repairs are underway to replace
deteriorating curtains, the mid-stage slider and create six set points to hang our aerial
fabrics from. This work will be finished by January 15.
Speaking of aerial fabrics (often called “silks”), Cariel Klein, one of our favorite silk trainers
in the world, was in the house! Cariel is studying at NYU and is headed back to circus school
in Argentina for a semester in the spring. She was back in the area for a brief visit and came
up to work with some of our dwarves in the gym at the Heath school.
Cariel trained with New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) co-founders and former
Cirque du Soliel performers Serenity and Elsie Smith in Brattleboro where she became a
certified aerial fabrics instructor and studied trapeze which is her true passion. Cariel
consults with Double Edge Theatre (DET) intern and ensemble members on their fabric
routines and is a frequent performer in DET’s outdoor summer spectacles.
Ari, as the kids know her, has been working with our performers in Heath since she was 15
and developed close relationships with all of them, including Mohawk seventh and eighth
graders Corrine Freeman, Vega Johnson-Bouchard, Chris Graves, Mahalia Dean, and others.
Cariel worked with some of our dwarves on their climbing skills and helped us begin to
sketch out some of our scene work for the Hobbit. She will be returning on January 21 for a
three-hour training at Mohawk.
Between the holidays an industrious group of a bakers dozen performed a read-through of
the script in the Mohawk library while our incredibly amazing tech crew and art
department—Paige Slavenwhite, Cailin Duncan, Alex Harrington and Sara Townsley—
worked with BSE/Heath art teacher Rachel Silverman on our dragon and puppets.
The troll and dragon puppets continue to grow more magnificent looking! Dragon and troll
Whisperer, Larry Sampson is coming back on Sunday, January 5th to supervise our painting
of the heads and to start building the bodies.
The Middle Earth Regional School District is back in session!
The Third Age of Middle Earth started off with a bang when the entire company of thirtyfive was reunited after the New Year. Polly Anderson (retired BSE/Heath art teacher) has
begun work on the murals. The progress she’s making is remarkable thanks to our…wait
for it…incredibly, amazing tech crew and art department! Elven warriors, Lili Paulson,
Violet Rawlings, Cassie Kudley, dragon slayer Hannah Monohon and Smaug herself, Erin
Townsely, have been helping Polly too. Yesterday, choreographer Cynthia McLaughlin was
in the house to work with Gollum (Ashley Robertson), our Elven Queens (Lexxey BoronSmith Kala K-D, and Sam Harris) and the rest of the cast on their characters walk and
movements. Later this month Double Edge core ensemble member Hannah Jarrell will be
returning to continue this kind of work with us and vocalist, song writer and recording
artist Pan Morigan is coming back to collaborate with Mohawk music wizard Scott Halligan
on the musical aspects of the show.
It’s not too late to join in the fun! We still need extras to help us with some of our large
group scenes. Interested students don’t have to leap without looking. You can come train
with us for an afternoon to see what’s involved and then decide. We still have volunteers
from Heath Elementary and the Academy at Charlemont joining us, friends we’ve worked
with at the Summer Drama Workshop, but there’s always room for more! If interested
contact Jonathan (
We’ve also posted the production schedule from January 2 right up until the performances
on the Drama Class Pages. You can download a copy of the schedule as well. Here is a direct
link to that post:
Hobbit cast members and their families should consult this site frequently for any changes
and more up to date information, news and events.
Finally, you don’t have to wait until March to see some amazing youth theater! The Heath
School Drama Club’s production of Down the Rabbit Hole, student director Maeve
Gallaghar’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, opens next weekend January
11th and 12th. The curtain goes up at 6:30pm both evenings. Shows are free and open to the
All the best,
On behalf of the growing Mohawk Drama Team
Scott Halligan (music director), Julia White (actor training), Leanne Blaszak (actor
training), Bill Drake (set construction), Gina Glover (choral training), Rachel Silverman (set
design), Sara Townsley (set design), Polly Anderson (set design), Sean Conlon (lighting
design), Carin Burnes (costume design), Pan Morigan (voice coach), Kate Hennessy
(drumming), Barbara Harris and Rebecca Boyd-Owens (makeup), Lorena Loubsky
(photography), Mike Freeman (set design), Jim Markham (prop design), Kelly Flaherty
(henna), Maryellen Abbatiello (hair stylist), and Cynthia McLaughlin (choreographer).
5. Call for Supplies for Drama Program
The Drama Program is looking for the following items to help complete their dragon and
troll puppets for their upcoming production of the Hobbit. If you have any of these you can
drop them off at the main office. Any questions just email Drama Coordinator Jonathan
Diamond (
4 metal framed backpacks (old/new doesn't matter as much as the frame being good)
Red fabrics of all types (for Smaug)
Gold fabrics of all types (for Smaug)
Furs and Pelts
Leather Straps or Belts
Sports Pads (hockey pads, football pads,
6 pairs sports gloves (lacrosse,field hockey,hockey)
tent frames
Thank you!
6. Middle School News
From the 7th grade:
Due to the snow day in late December, the Hurting and Flirting curriculum for students in
the 7th grade was postponed until January 7-9. Each year Middle School Guidance
Counselor Leann Loomis and 7th grade science teacher Jeff Johansmeyer provide
instruction about the definition of sexual harassment and skills to recognize and respond to
it through the three-day curriculum.
PBL classes participate in Solar Project
The 7th grade PBL (Project Based Learning) class is currently participating in a STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) solar project in collaboration with
UMass Amherst. Students are investigating solar technology with hands-on modules and
working towards building solar ovens. This project is part of an initiative to introduce
students to solar technology and careers in renewable resource technology.
The STEM Solar Lab is a collaborative effort involving the University of Massachusetts and
schools throughout the region, led by Dave Marley, owner of Diversified Construction in
Amherst, MA, Morton Sternheim, Director of the STEM Education Institute at the University
of Massachusetts, and Michael Lehan, a Financial Services Developer. The goal of this
Department of Education funded project is to install solar panels on school grounds to
increase the awareness of solar energy as a renewable and environmentally friendly option
and to increase students' interest in STEM careers.
Last year Mohawk installed a solar laboratory/panel through this project. A team of science
educational professionals are working to create learning opportunities and inquiry-based
curriculum modules for the partner schools and support the participating teachers. A
number of Mohawk teachers, including middle school PBL teachers Samantha Lydiard and
Julie Dubreuil, high school science teachers Wayne Kermenski and Phil Lussier, and
woodshop teacher Jim Markham have been involved in this STEM Solar Lab project.
Two upcoming dates of interest for families of 7th grade students
7th grade potluck dinner at 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 24
7th grade field trip to the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday, January 30
Families will be receiving additional information from the 7th grade team about these
upcoming events.
From the 8th grade:
The 8th grade is planning a trip to the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester for early
February. This excursion will connect to the current social studies unit on medieval times.
It will cost approximately $20, and students will be back in time to take the buses home (or
go to practices). More information to follow!
On February 8th, the entire 8th grade will be going to the Franklin County Technical School
for a tour. We've been speaking to students who might be interested in going to Tech about
the importance of attendance, a clean disciplinary record, and, of course, grades.
For our advisory on healthy relationships in December, we divided the team into two
groups. The girls met with Ms. Loomis and the female teachers. The boys met with Mr.
Browning and Mr. Jetzon. In both groups, students and adults worked to develop a
definition of "healthy relationships." The students had many insightful comments and ideas
to share. One thought from students that came up in both groups was the importance of
family in healthy relationships.
7. High School Class News
Senior Class
The Senior Class will be "Dining for a Cause" as a fundraiser with The 99 Restaurant on
Wednesday, January 16 from 5:00-9:00 pm. Flyers will go home with the seniors and
available in the front office for the event.
There will be a class meeting for seniors on Tuesday, January 8 from 10:20-10:40 to share
information about yearbook deadlines and other senior topics.
Junior Class
The junior class will be collecting used electronics, household appliances, and scrap metal
this spring as a fundraiser for our class. On Saturday, March 9 we will collect these items
from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We would really appreciate if you would save any of the items
mentioned for us in the spring. There will be a small fee as follows:
Scrap metal (less than 8ft long) - bicycles, grills, lawnmowers etc. Price Range: $5-$20
Appliances - air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers etc. Price range: $10-$25
Electronics - TV's, CPU's, satellite dishes, etc. Price Range: $5-$25
There will also be a link on the Mohawk Trail Regional High School website in the near
future with more specifics surrounding the event.
We thank you for supporting our junior class!
Sophomore Class
Jostens will be visiting our school on February 7 and 14 during both high school lunches so
that students can order class rings. Information about ring sales will be distributed at the
Class Meeting on Thursday, January 31.
8. Peer Leadership News
Mohawk's Peer Leaders are scheduled to visit three of our elementary schools this
January. We will be focusing on Anti-bullying presentations for our younger students to
start a "KINDNESS COUNTS" campaign which is designed to stop bullying and improve
school culture from the inside out. On January 10th we will be at Sanderson Elementary
School. On January 18th we will start at BSE and then head to Colrain Central School for
our Annual Peace Maker's Day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his
accomplishments. It is our intention to visit every elementary school in our district with
our powerful anti-bullying message and our Peer Leader role models!
9. Music News
The Music Department is going to New York City to see the show Annie on Broadway this
spring. Any students interested in going on this trip can pick up information in the Music
Room from Mr. Halligan or Ms. Glover. The cost is $90. A deposit of $45 is due on January
10. News from the Yearbook Staff
Thanks to all those who supported the yearbook by either buying ads, buying the books, or
both. With your support we increased our "all color" book from 144 pages to 164 pages, all
while reducing the price from $65 last year to $50 this year. Deadlines have passed and the
book sales have ended. We look forward to our book due late May or early June. We are
proud of our product and hope you will be also.
Next year's books will go on sale starting September 2013.
Your yearbook staff
11. An overview of the school budget preparation process
The process of preparing the annual school budget that is presented to voters at annual
town meetings in May and June begins in the fall. Principals begin this process by
developing proposed building-based budgets in October. Between late fall and early
spring the Budget Subcommittee of the School Committee holds numerous public meetings
as they review and develop the proposed school district budget. At this time of year these
Budget Subcommittee meetings are held on a weekly basis, with one held on Wednesday,
January 2 at 5:00 pm and the next on Wednesday, January 9 at 5:00 pm. Over the course of
this long process, additional information such as projected enrollment and indicators of
anticipated state funding levels begin to emerge and these factors often result in a need to
revisit original budget proposals. The School Committee also consults with members of
town Finance Committees to gauge how the projected school budget translates into tax
numbers at the local level.
Given the realities of fiscal constraints, the school principals were asked to reduce their
original budget proposals. In my recent revisions to the proposed budget I have sought to
maintain current levels of instruction in the middle school and in high school core
academic areas such as English, mathematics, science, and social studies. I have proposed
budget reductions in a number of other areas, including reductions in some high school
electives such as reducing the number of sections of art offered and eliminating the Peer
Leadership course, moving the program to an after school format. We are closing the
middle school component of our Mohawk Supported Classrooms (MSC) next year, but the
high school MSC program will continue. We are gradually phasing out our French language
program; students who have begun to study French will be able to continue with the
language to fulfill their graduation requirements in the coming school year. This is part of a
planned transition from offering two European languages (Spanish and French) toward a
future where we intend to provide students with opportunities to study two of the most
widely used languages in the world: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
Developing the school budget involves making difficult decisions. The challenge we face is
to balance providing students with varied and rigorous learning opportunities that prepare
them for their future beyond high school while also taking into consideration the financial
sustainability of our school district and the capacity of our local tax base. This is the
challenge that elected members of the School Committee Budget Subcommittee grapple
with in public meetings on nearly a weekly basis during this “budget season.” Information
about these public meetings is posted on the district website at
12. School safety drills
We have been reviewing and practicing our school lockdown procedures. On December 20,
Principal Lynn Dole and Assistant Principal Joey Kotright-Clark provided students in the
middle school and high school with an overview of our lockdown procedures. On
Thursday, January 2, the school conducted an announced practice drill of the protocol. In
the coming weeks we will conduct additional drills, much as we do with evacuation
procedures for fire drills, so that students and staff are increasingly familiar with these
13. Please check out the Lost and Found before we remove items
Lost something? We urge students to check the Lost and Found located in the hallway
near the cafeteria for any missing items. Periodically we remove the many accumulated
items from our Lost and Found and donate them to a charitable organization. On January
10 items that are currently in our Lost and Found will be sent to the Salvation Army.
14. Mohawk students participate in Model Congress this week
Eight students from Mohawk will be participating for the first time in the 72nd Model
Congress, which will be held at American International College in Springfield on Friday,
January 11 and Saturday, January 12. These Mohawk sophomores and juniors, comprising
two delegations, have been busy drafting legislation that will be debated in committee
hearings on Friday. If approved in committee, their bills will be presented on Saturday to a
mock House of Representatives and Senate for final passage. The Mohawk students will
have the opportunity to participate in the legislative debates and will vote on the bills
submitted by other schools.
Seventeen schools from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York will be competing
against each other at this year's Model Congress for awards for Best Bill, Best Delegation,
and Outstanding Delegates. Staff and faculty from American International College will be
observing the legislative proceedings and will determine the award winners. The awards
will be announced at a banquet on Saturday and include scholarships to AIC for the
Outstanding Delegates. Social Studies teacher Charlotte McLaughlin is coordinating this
initiative. We wish our Model Congress delegates Robbie Buonoconti, Tess Burdick, Anna
Flaxman, Kai Herzig, Lydia Morris, Jenna Sencabaugh, Amanda Taylor, and Matt Walsh well.
15. “Race to Nowhere” film screening at Pioneer Valley Regional School
Screening of the documentary film “Race to Nowhere” will take place on Thursday, January
10th, 2013 at 6:30pm in the auditorium of the Pioneer Valley Regional School. The film is
approximately eighty-five minutes long and there will be concessions for sale. Ticket
prices are $5.00 for area student & faculty tickets and $10.00 for the general public. Tickets
will be available at the door but the organizers recommend purchasing tickets in advance
as they expect this event may sell out. To purchase tickets online, go to This event is being organized by a
group at Pioneer Valley Regional School who had created a student-led petition to examine
the role of homework. The student organizers explain, “We have put this fundraiser
together to spark a dialogue between students, parents and school administration in the
hopes that area schools will at least take a look at the way homework and schoolwork in
general is administered. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at”
Our Foundational Commitments
1. Mohawk values and supports inspired teaching and learning, as well as imagination,
initiative, and independent thinking.
2. Mohawk cultivates rigorous academics and embraces diverse approaches to
learning, within and beyond the classroom.
3. Mohawk encourages self-expression and respects and responds to students' voices.
4. Mohawk fosters a sense of responsibility for one’s self, others, and the environment.
5. Mohawk commits to effective partnerships through communication and
collaboration among staff, students, families, and community.
6. Mohawk reflects the vibrancy of the community and natural environment that
surrounds it.