Coronavirus Update 3/2/2020

We all have been watching the developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The school district is actively monitoring and consulting with the Center for Disease Control, the Governor’s Office, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the State Department of Education, and town officials.

The message from these agencies at this time is that we must continue to be diligent in maintaining preventative measures.

The school system is actively following preventative guidelines, including:
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of schools (during the evenings and on the weekends)
  • Classroom disinfectant wipes are available and used to clean surfaces
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are in each classroom for frequent use by students and staff
  • Encouraging staff and students who have a fever or flu-like symptoms to remain at home
  • Reinforcing with students (especially younger ones) how to be proactive in preventing the spread of germs (frequent hand washing, coughing into a tissue, etc.)
  • The district leadership team is reviewing and refining action plans for continuity of educational programming and business operations.

We will continue to work with the various agencies, healthcare providers, and community members to ensure we remain diligent and prepared.

Below are links to various resources to help keep you better informed.  

EEE and Outside Activities

September 26, 2019

Dear Somers Parents and Staff,

I am sure you are aware that Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) infected mosquitos have haven been found in the state. We are monitoring this situation with the First Selectman, our health officials, and other professionals in the area and are taking the following precautionary measures.
  • All outside school activities, including athletic practices and games, will end by 6:00 pm.
  • All outside Parks and Recreation activities will end by 6:00 pm.
  • Activities and athletics games may be rescheduled or have earlier start times.

The North Central District Health Department recommends the following:   “prevent mosquitoes from biting you by wearing long-sleeves and pants if you are outdoors at dusk or dawn, using insect repellent according to manufacturer’s instructions, repairing any holes in window and door screens and removing stagnant water around your home.” 

While no mosquitos have tested positive for EEE in Somers, the School District Leadership Team and local government officials will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary adjustments as warranted.

Back to School, 2019-20

We are very excited to welcome back staff and students for the start of  the 2019-20 school year.  There are several initiatives we are especially enthusiastic about. This will be the first year of the implementation of our Strategic Plan. During the next five years, we will focus on three goals (1.  High academic achievement for all; 2.  Meaningful and personalized professional development to support our academic initiatives; and 3. Develop goal setting and accountability systems that support best instructional practices and high student achievement.) Additionally, we will focus on the crucial skill sets students will need to succeed in an ever-changing global society (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.) For more information on our strategic plan, please visit

Somers Elementary School is implementing a new language arts program (Fountas and Pinnell). This researched-based program will allow our teachers to apply systemic instruction that targets critical areas of language arts development. The staff participated in professional development before the start of the school year, so they are prepared to engage students in high-level instruction on day one.

Mabelle B. Avery Middle School welcomes a new administrative team. Margot Martello (Principal) and Michael McDonnel (Assistant Principal) have assumed the leadership reigns. They bring diverse and extensive experiences that have already had a significant positive impact on the school culture. We look forward to all the new and exciting student learning initiatives that will occur through their leadership.

Construction on the new Somers High School Athletic Facility has finally begun. This is one component of the $6 million Board of Education Long-Range Facility Plan that will be implemented during the next three years. The new athletic facility will provide our student-athletes with a great venue to practice and host competitions. It will include a new turf field, lights, a sound system, and bleachers capable of seating five-hundred fans. The projected completion is the spring of 2020.

Summer Update

New MBA Assistant Principal
On June 24, the Board of Education appointed Michael McDonnell as the new Assistant Principal of Mabelle B. Avery Middle School.  Mr. McDonnell has been a teacher at Somers Elementary School for the past 16 years.  He was the standout candidate from the 95 applicants for the position.  We are very excited he will be joining our administrative team that will help move our school district forward.

First Day of School
I know it is still early in the summer, but we wanted to let parents know the first day of school will be on Thursday, August 29.  This is a change from previous years as the first day was on a Wednesday.  The change will allow us to provide teachers with meaningful professional development at a critical time in support of our Strategic Plan.

New MBA Principal

Last evening, the BOE unanimously appointed Mrs. Margot Martello as the new MBA Principal (effective July 1).  Mrs. Martello is coming to us from Tolland, where she served as the assistant principal at the high school for the past nine years.  While at Tolland High School, she was instrumental in the day to day operations of the school, developed mastery-based learning principles, led the NEASC accreditation team, and created an environment of collaboration and collegiality with all constituents.  

Her colleagues in Tolland describe Mrs. Martello as an effective leader with high integrity, a caring personality, and a strong work ethic.  She has made a significant impact on creating a positive culture at Tolland High School.

During the interview process, it became clear that her experience, student-centered philosophy, and ability to create a positive teaching and learning climate made her the ideal candidate for MBA.

I am very excited to welcome Mrs. Martello as a member of our Somers Public Schools community.
Q.  Some parents are getting concerned about what Hillsdale College coming to town means for our schools.  Are they planning on getting involved in our curriculum?  As you know, lots of people move to Somers for the great school system and do not wish it changed. 

A.  The Somers Public Schools has developed curricula based on state and national standards as well as research-based best practices.  We will continue to develop and modify our instructional programming to best support student success.  To that end, there are no plans for Hillsdale to become involved in our educational programming. 

Special Recognition

It is with great pleasure that I announce Somers Elementary School Principal, Dina Senecal, has been named the Connecticut Association of Schools' Outstanding First-Year Principal.   To say that Dina has transformed Somers Elementary School in her short tenure as principal would be an understatement.  We are very fortunate to have a dynamic leader who fosters relationships, understands human dynamics, sets high learning expectations, provides all the necessary support to ensure success, and is an effective advocate for students, parents, and staff.  

Regionalization Update

There was incredible statewide opposition to the regionalization proposals.  In early March, there was a lengthy public hearing.  Hundreds spoke, and more than one-thousand written testimonies were submitted (I was not able to attend but provided written testimony).  Additionally, state legislators were overwhelmed with communications from their constituents.  I have been in contact with Representative Vail and Senator Kissel, and both are in opposition to the regionalization proposals.

It seems the legislature and the governor heard their constituents and revised their proposals.  The regionalization bills introduced by various Senators are now either dead (because they missed the March 15 draft deadline) or have been modified to mirror the Governor's revised proposal.

The Governor’s revised proposal abandons regionalization in favor of studying shared resources and collaboration opportunities.  It proposes establishing a commission to make recommendations.
I believe this is very positive for Somers (and all small school districts).  It is an approach that is responsible and respectful to students, parents, and the school systems.  

I am pleased with the revisions but still have some concerns.  There is a provision that calls for “incentives” to enter into collaborative relationships.  I will closely monitor how they define incentives.  Shared resources and collaborations can be beneficial, but we will continue to make decisions that are in the best interests of our children in Somers.

I want to thank everybody who reached out to the legislators and me.  Your voices were heard.