The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 17, 2005


Students and parents say goodbye to teachers and staff at Carlisle School

Bill Tate
Fifth-grade teacher
A thumbnail sketch of his career: "In 1969 I was one of 17 new teachers at the Carlisle School." That year there were only 32 teachers, Bill explained, so it was a very new teaching staff. He grew up in Marlborough where he still lives, graduated from Salem State College, and has stayed at the Carlisle School teaching fifth grade his entire teaching career. "That was the year the Robbins Building first opened." His classroom was in the Highland Building, which was "strictly fifth grade, but sometimes there was a second grade or an art room in the building. I love fifth grade." The fifth-graders thought the Highland Building was their building and loved being there, he said. The library was in the Wilkins Building, and the Corey Building had not been built. "In the mid-'70s there was the 'open-classroom' system. Parents had a choice of an open or structured class." That experiment lasted five years, he said. The bus driveway was located on what is the plaza today. The buses would come straight up the hill to a little rotary in front of the Wilkins Building and drop off the students. There also used to be a greenhouse, he said, which was used extensively by the science teachers. "It was crushed in the blizzard of 1978."

His perspective on the Carlisle School: "I could never speak more highly of the staff. Student support and teamwork are Carlisle School's biggest strengths, he added. "The kids here are unique and have great opportunities." In comparing notes with colleagues from other schools, he has been impressed by how enthusiastic students are in Carlisle. "Kids really want to learn." The parents are very invested in their kids, he pointed out. "The kids really haven't changed much [through the years]. They have different clothes, but the same issues as when I was a kid."

What he sees as the big changes in the classroom: "The biggest change is technology." The use of computers has made a huge difference to the students and the teachers, he explained. In the 1970s his class had an "autobiography" project, which they worked on throughout the year. "We used sheets of paper with carbons between the papers." When they made mistakes, he said, it was hard "to see the agony and frustration they went through."

What he sees as the big changes out of the classroom: "The population was about 2,000 when I started." Now, he said, Carlisle has over 5,000. The town has done a good job of keeping business development out. "I prefer a field to a city."

What's next? "I'm going to relax for a few months. I'm not really a traveler." He plans to work around the yard, do some woodworking projects, and tackle more reading. "One goal I have is to get to Ireland. I love history." One of his sons is an archaeologist. "I would love to be a worker on a dig. I'd also love to go canoeing, learn to step dance, and learn to cook more."

Carlisle parent Cynthia Schweppe recalls when Bill Tate was coaching a baseball team at the school over 28 years ago. "My son really couldn't play ball," she explained. "I'm not athletic and my husband wasn't athletic." Her three sons weren't either, but her middle son, Carl, "loved baseball. He still does at 41," she said. "Bill let Carl (her son) suit up," she said, and Carl loved being part of the team, coming to every game. "He almost played outfield." she said. "Mr. Tate is a shy kind of person," she explained, so people may not hear about the kind things he has done.

Peg Lynch
Assistant to the Superintendent
A thumbnail sketch of her career: "I started working when I was 14 after my dad died." After attending Boston College, Peg taught French in Westford. She moved to Europe where she tutored and after moving back to the U.S. she worked as a Recreational Specialist for the Air Force in New Mexico. In 1970 she and her husband moved to Westford, and she taught math, social studies, and literature at the Groton Country Day School. "I took courses all the time — in accounting, bookkeeping, writing, professional seminars — because I enjoy learning," Peg explained. She started at the Carlisle School in 1995. "I clicked with Davida," she said, "I could tell this place is a people place."

Her perspective on the Carlisle School: "The teachers and staff have always been great." She said the quality has been consistently excellent. The office staff has been wonderful to work with, and she loved being able to see students come in the office. "It's a friendly place for students."

What she sees as the big changes in the office: "The responsibilities in the office have increased tremendously." The state requirements — reporting, paperwork, data collection — make huge demands on the school. Through the years she picked up many duties that an assistant superintendent would be carrying, she said.

What she sees as the big changes out of the office: "Everyone picked up more responsibilities." Again, she noted the increased state requirements, the paperwork, and the standards for which all school personnel have to be responsible.

What's next? "I've had offers to consult, and I'm certified as a grant writer." Peg has a daughter and two grandchildren in Florida, whom she would like to visit, as well as visit her other daughter and five grandchildren in Hanover, New Hampshire. "[That daughter] is due with her sixth in November. Maybe we will move up there."

Ann James
Special educator
A thumbnail sketch of her career: "I received a degree in teaching from USC." Ann worked at Lockheed while getting her degree and then started teaching in the early 1970s at a daycare/elementary school. After moving back to the Northeast, Ann received her master's in Special Education from Fitchburg State College. She lived in Acton, Concord, and settled in Carlisle in 1981. She taught at the Carlisle School for seventeen years.

Her perspective on the Carlisle School: "The staff is very dedicated." The staff has a high expectation of the students, and is supportive of the students and of their colleagues.

What she sees as the big changes in the classroom: "There's more teamwork, with teachers helping teachers." The teams work together to develop curriculum, to design successful teaching methods for a variety of learning styles, and to brainstorm on the needs of kids. "Inclusion, when it developed here, was a slow progress." It was good to go slowly, she explained, but "[inclusion] was definitely the way to go." The staff is younger now, "but that is happening everywhere."

What she sees as the big changes out of the classroom: "The volunteer board is filled with names." There had always been volunteers at the school, but not as many. "It's wonderful to see all those badges."

What's next? "I'm going to build furniture." She constructs Shaker-style furniture, and has just finished a tall cabinet for her brother. "I want to try inlaying work next." She would also like to travel, and visit family.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito