Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 05-22-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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18 IN OUR SCHOOLS MAY 22-28, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION PAWTUCKET – There's no doubt she has huge shoes to fill, says new interim Superintendent of Schools Cheryl McWilliams, but a career full of experience in diverse aspects of education will certainly help. McWilliams, a lifelong Pawtucket resident and assistant superintendent of the Pawtucket School Department for the past two years, was appointed interim head of schools last week by the School Committee after the announced retirement of Supt. Patti DiCenso, who will leave at the end of June. Though this is technically consid- ered a temporary role, McWilliams, 59, said she "absolutely" will put in her name to be permanent superin- tendent of schools for the city she loves. Now is not the time to halt the great progress that's been made dur- ing DiCenso's tenure, she said, and she intends to "keep things going" in the right direction. School board members do not appear in a rush to run a full search for a new superintendent, emphasiz- ing continuity at a time when the district continues to make gains edu- cationally and with its buildings. "Dr. McWilliams is a skilled admin- istrator and a strong leader. As inter- im superintendent, she will have the full support of the Pawtucket School Committee as together we continue moving this district forward," said Chairman Jay Charbonneau in a statement. The committee "will look at con- ducting a full search at a later date," he added. McWilliams is also emphasizing consistency and stability. It will be up to a school board to decide if she continues long term, she said, and she has full confidence in the com- mittee to make the decision that's best for the district. Among her best attributes, said McWilliams, is the fact that she's so in touch with the inner workings of the community and its schools, hav- ing previously worked as a teacher and principal since 1995, coming to the district after working in private schools and raising her family starting in 1981. After receiv- ing a bach- elor's degree in music, she was an elementary music teacher in 1995 and 1996, then went on to teach music at the high school level. She's also taught literacy and math in the summer, and has a master's degree in elementary education. In 2006, after earning a doctor- ate in building administration from Northeastern University, she was named principal at Potter-Burns Elementary School, where she served until becoming assistant superinten- dent. McWilliams said she firmly believes in building-based leadership, saying it's important to know the inner workings of teaching and indi- vidual school leadership as a central administrator. A principal gains expe- rience in direct oversight of a build- ing as well as budgeting, she said. Having someone with that experi- ence in a top role means they're more in touch with the community as a whole, understanding how to engage with parents and students. Parent engagement and involve- ment is critically important, she said, as students should always be "at the center of everything you do." As assistant superintendent, McWilliams has been responsible for overseeing grades K-8, meaning Shea High and Tolman High are the only schools she hasn't had a direct lead- ership position in. But, she noted, she did teach music at Tolman. Pawtucket right now is on a course of driving instruction forward, particularly in math and STEAM initiatives, said McWilliams. It's so important to make sure parents are right there with a full understanding of what's happening every step of the way, she said. The city is undergoing a deep cul- tural shift, she said, and it's important for educators to understand where today's students are coming from, particularly on use of technology and social media. Many students today are struggling with social, emotional and mental issues, she said, and it's up to school staff to support them. "I really want to catapult that social/emotional aspect forward," she said, suggesting that she wants to build on the supports that have already been added in the class- rooms. Today's students need "trauma- informed" educators, she said, people who are trained to understand that many students are coming into school having experienced some form of trauma. She intends to continue building relationships with such organiza- tions as the Institute for the Practice and Study of Nonviolence, Bradley Hospital and others to address the needs of students. A Tolman High School graduate, McWilliams sent all of her chil- dren to Pawtucket's public schools. Pawtucket is "very dear to me," she said. McWilliams ready to lead city schools By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com MCWILLIAMS Students from area schools perform with the R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra PROVIDENCE – Some 12,000 3rd, 4th and 5th-graders representing 102 schools perform with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at The Vets, 1 Ave of the Arts, on Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 24, between 9:30 a.m. and noon. The Link Up concerts mark the culmination of a school-year music education program throughout Southern New England. Joe Wilson, Jr. of Trinity Rep is the celebrity host. Each participating student received a quality soprano recorder and work- book as part of a 12-unit curriculum on basic music literacy through per- formance. In addition, the program provides professional development for all participating teachers. For more information, visit www. ri-philharmonic.org . Woodlawn Catholic School announces year-end events PAWTUCKET – Alumni of Woodlawn Catholic Regional School are invited to attend the school's year-end events. An outdoor concert and arts night will be held on Tuesday, June 4, at 6 p.m., at the school, 61 Hope St. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at St. Mary Church, 103 Pine St., Pawtucket, and the arts night will move to Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m., at the school. Meet the 8th-grade class as they graduate Tuesday, June 11, at 7 p.m., at Holy Family Parish, St. Joseph Church, 195 Walcott St., Pawtucket. For more information, email wcrsa- lumni@gmail.com . Do you know someone celebrating a June Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for JUNE will be printed on May 30, 2019. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, May 24, 2019. Send in the name of someone with his or her June birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2) Are you a Church, Scout group, spos team or School hosting a Pancake Breakfast, Cra Fair, Pasta Dinner or any other type of fund-raiser this season? You can buy an ad of this size for only $40! The ad will be in more than 8,000 papers. Deadline: Fridays at 3 p.m. Call 401-334-9555. Dial 0 for details. Prepayment is required. Adve•ise your Volunteer Organization's Fund-raiser on Calendar Pages Please Join St. Barbara Philoptochos For a Fun-filled family evening! FRIDAY, JUNE 7 at the Assumption Greek Church Community Center 97 Walcott St., Pawtucket, RI 02860 Doors open at 5 P. M. Bingo starts at 6 P. M. Bring your friends and relatives Please call to reserve your space: Pat Panichas 401-723-0515 Vikki Kizirian 401-369-0349 (OR TEXT) Please leave a message if no answer with name, contact information and number attending Seating is limited FREE ADMISSION $1.00 for bingo cards per game with 3 chances to win GREAT PRIZES RAFFLES Gyros, hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie pizza, beverages and more available for purchase Klibanoff Eye Associates Welcomes Dr. Mona Aoude Klibanoff Now accepting New Patients 55 Broad Street, Pawtucket, RI 401-723-3400 www.klibanoffeye.com Dr. Klibanoff specializes in primary eye care including comprehensive eye exams, treatment of ocular diseases, glasses and contact lens service, and the pre and post operative management of cataract and LASIK surgery patients. Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.; Closed Sunday & Monday

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