Lincoln gears up for new school year

Lincoln gears up for new school year

Back to school time is right around the corner at Lincoln Central Elementary School. Kindergarten teacher Katie Haskell organizes and sorts books as she gets her library ready on Monday, Aug. 19. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

LINCOLN – The biggest goal for Lincoln schools as classes start back up on Sept. 3 is to make sure the continued construction at Lincoln High School causes minimal disruptions to students and staff, say school leaders. Safety and learning will not be affected, Robert Mezzanotte, the new LHS principal, told The Valley Breeze.

“What students may find is a little inconvenience from time to time,” he said. “The look of the school won’t be the prettiest that you’ll ever see. It will function in a way that we expect a school to function: giving students a clean, safe, dry place to learn.”

As it stands now, the $60 million renovation project may be significantly over its budget.

Parking at the high school will be the same as in previous years, Mezzanotte said, adding that he’s working with the crews to make sure there will be no disruptions there.

“Last year, when the project began, school administration, teachers and students all worked together to manage the changes during the construction,” Supt. Larry Filippelli told The Breeze. “This year we are asking everyone to do the same as the project continues toward completion.”

As for work at other facilities, the superintendent said Central Elementary School received a new roof this summer, and he expects that exterior upgrades at all of the district’s schools are evident as they head into a new school year. “

In addition to Mezzanotte, who is beginning his first year as principal at LHS, Kevin McNamara was promoted from LHS principal to assistant superintendent, Leanne Saravo was hired as principal of Central Elementary School, and John Connell was hired as assistant principal of Northern Elementary School.

Filippelli said the district will appoint a new high school assistant principal today, Aug. 22.

“I am very excited about our new team members, and I know they are the perfect fit for each of their administrative assignments in Lincoln,” Filippelli said.

Teachers will report to school next Thursday, Aug. 29, for an opening day kickoff, he said.

As far as instructional practices go, Filippelli said the district’s main goal is to focus on and increase student achievement “through investing strategically in curriculum and instruction, special education programming, and allowing the professionals within our district to help guide, inform, and implement our curricular goals.”

He said that tapping the talent of the district’s teachers and administrators often provides the best professional development and achieves the same goals without having to hire costly outside consultants.

He has no doubt that RICAS scores will increase across the district this year, he said.

Mezzanotte said he has high expectations for himself and the students, and his priority is that every student graduates college- and career-ready.

“I expect students to come ready to learn, try their best, and be prepared,” he said. “Obviously everything is new for me. As far as the students, they can expect that Lincoln will still be the great school that it’s always been.”

One of many workers getting Lincoln High School ready for the new school year.
Central Elementary School Principal Leanne Saravo stands on decals placed by teachers and parents designed to help students learn math as they walk the corridors.
Marianne Byington, a special education inclusion teacher at Central, is busy organizing a stack of books for the upcoming school year Monday.