Friday, October 13, 2006
New Carlisle School principals stress teamwork and communication
Patrice Hurley, Elementary School principal
to monthly "drop-ins"
Starting in Carlisle has been "wonderful," Hurley said. She is starting her monthly Saturday morning open house at the school, in which parents are invited for a drop-in chat with her. "It's non-pressure," she explained. Parents can come by and talk about whatever they wish. The next two "drop-ins" are November 4 and December 2, from 8 to 11 a.m. in Hurley's office. "I see the school as the parents' community," she said. She said she values input from parents. She says dealing with problems and finding resolutions are a group effort. She is very interested in having parents share their skills in the school.
The staff at the school is "wonderful," she said. "The teachers feel great ownership as a community of learners." When she was teaching she was a union vice president, which gives her "a teacher's perspective. I know what it is like to negotiate." She said she feels a partnership with the teachers. "It feels very, very good. My job is to support the work of the teachers."
Working with new Middle School Principal Paul Graseck has been excellent, she said. "We work like we read each other's minds." They started out sharing the large office which used to be Principal Goodwin's. However, this arrangement did not provide the privacy they each needed when meeting with parents, students, and teachers, and Graseck subsequently moved into Superintendent Doyle's former office. (Doyle has moved to the office in Spalding which had been used by former Business Manager Steven Moore, while the new Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman occupies another office in the Spalding Building.)
Hurley and Graseck have different styles which complement each other, she explained. "Paul is reflective, poetic and thoughtful," she said, while she described herself as action-oriented. She said they have the same feeling about discipline, that it must be a learning experience. "We have the same educational philosophy — our role is to support the community."
Hurley said she has "two fine young men," Max and Michael. Her husband passed away five years ago. She grew up in Cambridge and Belmont and feels a great connection to the area. She was the president of her school's Parent-Teacher Organization when her children were young."I know what it is to be an advocate" for a child, she said.
Paul Graseck, Middle School principal
Graseck received his B.A. in philosophy from Earlham College, Indiana, and his M.A. in religious studies from Providence College. He received his educational certification in secondary education, and a Ph.D. in educational studies from the University of Connecticut. He also has a post-Ph.D. certificate in administration.
Meets parents at evening coffees
He sees being an administrator as a form of teaching. "It's been great" starting at the Carlisle School, he said, noting Carlisle has "wonderful teachers." He and Elementary School principal Patrice Hurley work well together, he said. "We can disagree with each other but we have similar values. We are both committed to high quality education." He sees Carlisle parents as highly educated and has enjoyed the "principal talks" held in parents' homes. He noted that although perhaps only 15 parents may attend at a time, information about the discussion is shared among parents. "It is a great way to get to know the community." The next evening will be October 18 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. To attend, contact Dale Ryder, Carlisle School Association president, at 1-978-371-9673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graseck and his wife, Susan, who works at Brown University in the Watson Institute for International Studies, live in Hudson, but also have a passive solar home in Pomfret, Connecticut. They have two sons, ages 25 and 28. "All four of us are runners," he said, explaining he started running when he was 13.
Graseck has a theatrical side and is eager to share it in the classroom. He enjoys performing character portrayals of well-known historical figures. By bringing his "act" into the classroom, students are able to interact with men such as Mohandas Gandhi. He visited David Zuckerman's seventh-grade classes to share in the reading of the Tell-Tale Heart. He has written and received grants for his character project and encourages Carlisle teachers to become involved in this type of interactive teaching. In order to help students to succeed, he said, "We all must think outside the box."
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