Achieving Excellence Together

Dear BPS Community:
As October winds down, we wanted to update you on current news, important issues and exciting developments around the district. These include:

  • October is MASS STEM Month: BPS students participated in SE Mass Aviation Career Fair, and Mass Zero Waste Challenge
  • Vaping is Hazardous to Your Child's Health: How BPS is addressing the issue
  • BPS Achieving Excellence Spotlight: BHS' Shawn Calle wins scholarship at WPI Invitational Math Meet
  • Educator Development: Five educators head to San Diego to participate in Massachusetts Learning Excursions with Next Generation Learning Challenges, and
  • Reminder to Sign Up for Focus Groups at BIS and BUE & District Advisory Cabinet: Parent focus groups will be held at BIS and BUE on November 12 and 14, and the first District Advisory Cabinet meeting will be held on November 19.

Please read on for more details.
October is MASS STEM Month

Massachusetts just completed a week of activities focused on STEM-- S cience, T echnology, E ngineering and M ath from October 21-25.
On Cape Cod, Cape Cod STEM Network coordinated a variety of Cape-wide STEM week events , including the Southeastern Massachusetts Aviation Career Fair and the Zero Waste Challenge.

BPS Students Attended Aviation Career Fair

Over the past few years, Barnstable Municipal Airport has made it their goal to get more students interested in aviation by hosting various events. This year, Barnstable Municipal Airport (Hyannis Airport), in conjunction with Massachusetts Air And Space Museum, Inc. (MASM), airport tenants and other aviation professionals hosted a Workforce Development Expo: “Southeastern Massachusetts Aviation Career Fair” on October 15, 2019, held at the terminal building. 

Exhibitors demonstrated how STEM can help develop workforce leaders of the future, with forty-five Computer Science and Engineering students attending the Aviation Career Fair. BPS students explored career opportunities/pathways, spoke with adults in various industries, participated in flight simulations and toured facilities and equipment. Many connections were made and more opportunities will be available to BPS students in the near future.  

BHS Students Participated in Zero Waste Challenge

Hosted by Project Lead the Way, TD Garden, and MA Department of Environmental Protection, MA STEM Hub, Engineering Design students at Barnstable High School participated in the "zero waste" real-world design challenge that included K-12 students throughout Massachusetts.

Vaping is Hazardous to Your Child's Health
This information is an excerpt from an article printed in The Barnstable Patriot.

As students settle into the school year, many of them will be hearing a cautionary public health message – vaping is harmful to your health.

Health experts warn that vaping is anything but harmless. The flavor pods contain carcinogenic chemicals that can damage lung tissue, along with adult doses of highly addictive nicotine. One $4 pod for JUUL (the most popular brand of vaping dispenser used by students) provides about 200 puffs and as much nicotine as a full package of 20 cigarettes, according to company literature. Meanwhile, studies have shown that because teenagers’ brains are still developing, young adults are more susceptible to nicotine addiction than adults who smoke or vape.

How Vaping Works

Vaping systems use battery power to heat a liquid that releases puffs of flavored aerosol, along with varying amounts of nicotine. Students know that the sleek devices can be quickly used, and then tucked away into a sweatshirt sleeve or a pants pocket. And because there is no lingering smoke, the practice is hard to detect. But educators at Barnstable High School know the telltale signs, including the aroma of bubble-gum, cotton candy or sweet, fruity flavors wafting from the restrooms. Students will tell you that “everybody’s doing it” but often those who don’t vape sometimes feel intimidated about using the school rest rooms.

BPS' Nursing and Wellness Coordinator Pam Ciborowski mentioned that vape users are showing up at the health office to ask for cough drops for their sore throats. She noted that students are advised about the dangers of vaping, but some have already been hooked. This year, she said, the schools will look to implement a nicotine cessation program.

It's a Community Health Problem

Administrators say the youth vaping problem has come on so quickly, that many parents and members of the community are still unaware of the potential dangers to their children. Students will tell you “it’s harmless,” but many of the young users who participated in national surveys didn’t know the vapor contained nicotine. And while most vaping is happening among high school students, there have been some instances at the Intermediate School, as well. Ciborowski noted that parents have even purchased vaping materials for their children, not knowing that the devices deliver harmful doses of nicotine.

What BPS Is Doing to Address the Issue

The district's initial effort has been to confiscate vaping materials when students are caught with them and to impose disciplinary measures, including suspensions and Saturday school. That’s still going to continue. However, educators have also been trying to make students and their parents more aware of the dangers involved with inhaling nicotine. E-cigarette use has been a topic at athletic night meetings, where attendance can exceed 400 students, teachers, parents, and coaches. Police have talked about vaping, along with substance abuse problems, at the Barnstable Youth Commission’s HYCC gatherings. Students have also produced a video on vaping that is shown in home rooms, said Ciborowski.

District administrators say that they're grappling with the best way to approach the issue. Most recently, the district's stance has been a disciplinary one, because vaping is a tobacco product, and it's illegal to have on school grounds. However, because the problem is so pervasive, there also needs to be a broad solution that combines more education and prevention.

The Solution: A Community Effort

As BPS addresses vaping district-wide, it has to be a community effort that involves parents, schools, and community organizations to have a wrap-around model for district students, administrators emphasize. The solution isn't only school-based, but needs to be community-based as well. Students are only attending classes for about six hours each day, and that means they can still vape at any time and in almost any place beyond school hours.

For more vaping resources and information visit the district's website , or contact Pam Ciborowski, Nursing and Wellness Coordinator at: .

BPS Achieving Excellence Spotlight

BHS' Shawn Calle Wins Scholarship at Invitational Math Meet

Congratulations to Barnstable High students - members of Mu Alpha Theta - at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Invitational Math Meet, and Shawn Calle, whose scores earned him a scholarship for having the highest ranking on the team.

Those who participated in the math meet are from left to right: Chime Pelzom, teacher Carol Chamberlain, Tyler Bricklin, Shawn Calle, Daniel Silva, and teacher Marlo George.

The contest held on October 15 consisted of two rounds of competition, including an individual competitive round, followed by a team effort. Both rounds included interesting and challenging questions based on the secondary mathematics curriculum up to, but not including, calculus. A short program introduced the students to WPI, and explored pursuing degrees and careers in the mathematical sciences. 

For more information, contact: Tina Crook, Math and Science Curriculum Coordinator, Gr. 6-12:

Educators Participate in Massachusetts Learning Excursions in San Diego

BPS is sending a team of five educators to San Diego in December to participate in Massachusetts Learning Excursions with Next Generation Learning Challenges. The program is made possible through generous funding from the Barr Foundation.

The goal of the Learning Excursions is to provide Massachusetts educators with the opportunity to observe and experience creative and dynamic school programs and to learn from districts and schools that have experimented, embraced, and benefitted from piloting and implementing new approaches to teaching and learning. 

During their time in San Diego, the team will visit three schools to observe and learn about school programming that focuses on three key areas - personalized learning, career pathways, and platforms for a rigorous academic curriculum that include project-based learning, performance based assessment, digital portfolios and internship opportunities. The group will observe and engage with students, teachers, and leaders at each school so they can learn from work that has already been completed.

Next Generation Innovative Learning

This unique opportunity will provide Barnstable’s visiting team with a deeper understanding of how to shift from the traditional educational mindset into the next generation of innovative learning that produces strong student results. By engaging in the learning excursion, participants examine practice, connect with innovators, and explore bold models designed to strengthen student learning outcomes against a broader, deeper definition of student success.

This learning excursion experience supports the district’s commitment to close the opportunity gap for all students through innovative and responsive school design.

For more information contact Assistant Superintendent, Kristen Harmon : .
Reminder : Sign Up Now!

Parent Focus Groups at BIS & BUE

Join BPS as we conduct parent focus groups in early November at BIS and BUE. The goal of the focus groups is to give BIS and BUE parents the opportunity to provide feedback to the district about how BPS can create a more positive learning environment for your child at these schools. The focus groups will be held at BIS and BUE in the evening, and include light refreshments.

The BIS focus group will be held on Tuesday, November 12, and at BUE on Thursday, November 14 from 6:30p.m.-8:00p.m.

District Advisory Cabinet

Join BPS as we launch a new District Advisory Cabinet (DAC) to seek input about areas of improvement and enhancement for schools. The topic area for 2019-20 Cabinet meetings will be to review current district-sponsored extra-curricular activities (K-12), and determine/recommend areas for improvement/enhancement.

The District Advisory Cabinet will hold its first meeting on November 19 from 4:00p.m-5:30p.m., with quarterly meetings to follow.

Our Door is Always Open

Our door is always open for a conversation at every level of administration at the district. Please contact us:  508-862-4953 , or  send a message  through our FB messenger.
Superintendent of Schools