Schools welcome principals, add classes for new year

Aug 20, 2019

Both the Old Rochester Regional School District schools and Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical School will start their new school year on Aug. 27. Here are some of the things that will be new in each school.

Rochester Memorial School

The Rochester elementary school will mostly focus on continuing to meet district goals.

The school does have 5 new staff members this year.  “We are very excited about their skillsets and what they’re going to bring to the kids,” said Derek Medeiros, the school’s principal. 

Other than that, he characterizes the school as “continuing to roll in the same direction.”

Teachers and administrators will continue to work on responsive classroom, and incorporate routines such as morning meeting into their lessons.

The school will also continue self-assessment in global, project-based learning that extends beyond the language departments and gets kids thinking about life outside Rochester.

“We need to be trained as administrators to create a plan that’s ongoing,” for global learning, Medeiros explained.

He will also start looking at and planning for year 3 of the school’s strategic plan.

Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School

The technical school will also begin on Aug. 27. This year, it had its biggest pool of applicants with 307 students applying for 150 spots.

New student orientation will be on Aug. 21 and 22, with a parent session on the 22.

The school has a few improvement projects in the works. The lobby looks like new, but is technically not complete. Superintendent Aaron Polansky wants students in the graphic design program to be able to finish the project.

He also installed poles for new lights on the football field, but wants students in the electrical program to finish the job.

The school has also added a few teachers, including a half time English and history teacher, a special education teacher and business technology teacher.

“It’s the only vocational program with one teacher, so we wanted to support that,” said Polansky.=

The school will increase its AP offerings this year to three classes, and will also use Edgenuity, an online program, to offer honors courses.

Also new this year is Cougar Time an intervention or enrichment program which gives students a free block during the school year. If students do well they can use the time for hobbies and exploring interests. If not, it becomes remedial academic time.

“It motivates kids to do well in class,” said Michael Parker, the school’s principal.

Old Colony will also be changing to three lunch blocks, to give students more time to eat.

Sippican School

Marion’s elementary school has had a lot of staffing changes, and so new Principal Marla Sirois is hoping to “keep as much as possible the same.”

In addition to the principal changeover, the school’s assistant principal Sarah Goerges also left to head up Project Grow, there is one teacher moved into a fourth grade role and both secretaries retired.

Sirois said that the transition has “been awesome, interesting, and a lot of changes. Including a lot of things that were expected and some that were unexpected.” She added that the “teachers here have also been amazing.”

For the summer, Center School’s secretary, Lori Sevigny has been helping out, which “just shows the collaboration in the district,” Sirois said.

The school also has a new Facebook page, titled Sippican School, Marion MA

Back to school night on Aug. 26 will include a presentation by Sirois in addition to classroom visits.

Sirois will also have a meet and greet Aug. 21from 10 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.   

Old Rochester High School

It’s more or less business as usual for Old Rochester Regional High School, which will largely continue trying to develop student skills as outlined in the district strategic plan.

The school does have a new Assistant Principal, Vanessa Harvey. Harvey has lived in Marion for three years, and formerly served as assistant principal at Freetown-Lakeville Middle School.

Her mother and husband are or were also in education, and she has a three and a half year old son and one and a half year old daughter.

Harvey said that it’s pretty common knowledge that new administrators shouldn’t try to change their districts too much at first. However, she is bringing one cause she is passionate about: preventing Juuling and vaping.

She will have a presenter on the issue at Open House on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. Parents will follow their student’s schedule, but if their children have free blocks they can use that time to visit the presenter in the lobby.

“It’s really about educating kids, and educating parents and the community,” Harvey said. “A lot of research is not done yet.”

She will figure out how to bring the presentation to children as the school year progresses.

Old Rochester Regional Junior High School

The Junior High School hired four new staff members: Assistant Principal Kelly Chouinard, a social studies teacher, a special education teacher and a math intervention teacher.

The Principal, Silas Coellner, is also new to his role, though he served as Assistant Principal for nine years.

“There’s a lot of young new teachers,” Coellner said. Their mentoring will start Thursday.

The junior high school will also continue work on the strategic plan, and will also clarify its homeroom, advisory and intervention procedures to more efficiently make use of time.

Homeroom is a large group, meant to be approached as a team. Advisories are smaller groups, while intervention serves as extra help for skills that students need to learn.

Center School and Old Hammondtown

Principal Rosemary Bowman said that the Mattapoisett elementary schools will not experience any great changes.

The schools will bring in a new school psychologist, Joy Titcomb and an instrumental music teacher for Old Hammondtown School, Christian Drew.

Other than that, Bowman looks forward to welcoming new students and continuing work on the district strategic plan.

“I look forward to the beginning of the new year. Especially to welcoming Kindergarteners, and any new students,” Bowman said. She said her goal is for them to “learn how to view themselves as a student in this community.

Bowman also pointed out that the district has a new bussing company, Amaral Bus Company. District administrators will meet with the drivers on Aug. 21.

Old Rochester Regional School District has released lunch menus for each school at: and bus routes for its schools at