End of a career, start of a new way to learn

Jun 5, 2019

MATTAPOSETT — The final Mattapoisett School Committee meeting of the year recognized the contributions of a retiring educator, and featured a presentation on the definition and application of project based learning.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment, Dr. Elise Frangos, will retire at the end of this school year after nine years with the school district. Her colleagues awarded her a book meant to represent her impact on the school district, as part of an ongoing tradition.  

Colleagues chose Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison based on Frangos’ commitment to women in leadership. Frangos said she has trained 15 women in various school districts who are now principals, superintendents, and curriculum leaders.

Frangos will keep the book for a week, and then it will be added to the Mattapoisett Center School library. An acknowledgement to Frangos’ contributions is posted on the inside front cover of the book, allowing her legacy to live on for future classes of students.

After receiving her award, Frangos joined fourth grade teacher of Sippican Elementary School, Lisa Dix, to discuss project based learning.

This method of learning is centered around the 4 C’s: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity to prepare students for work in the real world. Benefits of this style of learning include improved problem solving skills, and the ability for students to give and receive useful feedback for their work.

Frangos expressed her optimism about the new educational approach. “I’m very excited about the potential for project based learning to enhance our schools, engage all learners, and prepare our students for the exciting 21st century.” She said.

Fourth graders at Sippican Elementary school are engaged in a “zoo project” complete with powerpoint presentations on various types of animals.

Some teachers expressed concerns that project based learning does not fit in with their current schedules based on segregated periods for different subjects. Dix and Frangos said that adopting this new approach requires teachers to become facilitators and move away from the current schedule format.