From The Beaches To the Books: It's Back To School Time Again

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Monomoy Regional School District , Education , Monomoy Regional High School , Cape Cod Tech , Monomoy Regional Middle School , Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School , Chatham Elementary School , Harwich Elementary School , Chatham , Harwich

A student at Harwich Elementary School works with a teacher on opening day 2015. School starts for Monomoy, Cape Tech, and the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School on Sept. 6. Chronicle File Photo

Though the sun, sand, and sea might beg to differ, it will soon be back to school time in Chatham and Harwich, with Monomoy, Cape Tech, and the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School all set to open their doors on Sept. 6.


Monomoy Regional School District

Monomoy students will don their math hats this year with Math in Focus, which follows the Singapore Math framework, a method that aims for concept mastery rather than memorizing facts. Higher math achievement in schools using Math in Focus inspired the adoption of the program, said Superintendent Scott Carpenter.

“Math, from the way testing results have been, tends to be the subject that students lag in,” said Carpenter. “If we want to have the biggest bang, the biggest improvement, that's the area that I think we can see the school district leap forward on.”

The district added two physics teachers to its lineup, with Peter Saltsman and James Otto ready to take grade nine students on a journey.

“If done right, physics is really the most approachable science,” Carpenter said. “The two of them have some wonderful ideas on how to make physics accessible to ninth graders.”

Oceanography has been added in eighth grade.

“Two teachers worked together all summer long creating an oceanography curriculum that ties everything together in this nice package with a strong theme,” Carpenter said. “It'll be neat to see how the program evolves. I think a lot of that is going to depend on things that inspire the teachers themselves, and they'll bring that inspiration into the classroom.”


Cape Cod Tech

At Cape Cod Tech in Harwich, educators are thrilled about a jump in enrollment. On day one, 635 students are expected to pass through the main doors of the school.

Preceding that, John Saphier, founder and president of Research for Better Teaching, Inc., will speak to educators about high-expectation teaching, which Superintendent Robert Sanborn said will be a focus this year. High-expectation teaching follows the belief that students are capable of mastering the material.

Sept. 15 is ninth grade parent night, which Sanborn called “a primer for new parents to our school” that will prove helpful in understanding their child's educational opportunities at Cape Tech.

Regarding technology, Sanborn said the school is striving to meet its goal of having a ChromeBook for each student to use during the school day. Educators are also excited for the school's athletic seasons, as well as student success in both Skills USA and Future Farmers of America.

Meanwhile, everyone will be preparing for Tech Night on Oct. 27.

“It's for all seventh and eighth grade students in our district to see what we're all about,” said Sanborn. “The entire hallway is filled with displays from each of our programs, and there are tours that night, and a dinner. We'll be sending out invitations for that soon.”


Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School

The school year at the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School starts off with fun infused with learning.

Day one at CCLCS means a field trip for eighth graders to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, where they'll see the Rockwell Kent mural, and expand their horizons throughout the museum.

“You get students thinking abstractly, and sort of understanding that they've got to get out there into the bigger world,” said Paul Niles, the school's executive director. “It's really cool. It's a nice way to start the year.”

From Sept. 19 to 23, sixth graders travel to Western Massachusetts for Nature's Classroom, while seventh graders enjoy a ropes course and an archaeological dig, and eighth graders head into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

To further the classroom learning experiences, CCLCS now has new ChromeBooks, part of the school's largest investment in technology to date. Niles said the laptops will stay at school, and that use of technology will continue to be carefully balanced with teacher-guided learning.

“I think it's important for us to remember that kids still learn best from warm human beings,” Niles said. “You have to be careful of how far you go down the technology rabbit hole.”

Students will also help complete the Gaga game pit, along with CCLCS graduate Owen Kennedy, who will earn his Eagle Scout through the project. A design architect worked with students on the project, which, when finished will provide a fun outlet for students and adults alike.

“Sometimes when you involve students in the process, it goes a little slower,” said Niles. “But in the end you're far more satisfied.”