Monday Memo #23 2/29/16 Reposted

Monday Memo–Edition #23

February 29, 2016

Follow Me on Twitter:

Follow my Blog:

Monday Updates:

  1. The Winchester Public Schools and Medford Public Schools Offices of Special Education are hosting our 2nd Annual Transition Fair on Thursday, March 10th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the WHS Learning Commons.  This FREE event features over 20 exhibitors representing some of the services available young adults with disabilities after they complete high school.  We will also be offering three break-out sessions focused on the topics of self-determination, guardianship and the DDS Employment First Initiative.  

Confirmed exhibitors include:

– Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)

– The Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

– The Department of Mental Health (DMH)

– The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)

– Autism Housing Pathways

– NorthEast ARC

-Easter Seals


For more information about this event, please visit our website at : or reach out to Jenn Callison, Transition Specialist at

  1.  Our Program/Course of Studies for our 2016-17 courses has been approved by the Winchester School Committee.  It can be found on our website at:

Older Updates:

  1. We have recently posted our position for a new Special Education Supervisor for the WHS community.  We would love to have a team of parents, staff and a student helping to interview our candidates.   Please let me know of your intent by tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1st.
  2. We are currently short on student parking.  As a result, the Winchester Department of Public Works has generously opened up parking at Borggaard Beach (by the tennis courts).  It is a 5 minute walk from Stop and Shop.  We do ask student drivers to exercise extreme caution accessing the lot from Palmer Street.  They will access the lot in the driveway closest to the tennis courts and will exit using the other driveway.  Please note that the lot on Skillings will be not accessible by late April since there will be construction on the abutting field beginning around that time.
  3. Graduation plans are set.  Our plan is to have our WHS Class of 2016 Graduation on Manchester Field (behind McCall) outside on Sunday, June 5th at 4:00 pm-NOTE the later time in the day to helpful avoid the heat of the day.  (Rain Date will be Monday, June 6th at 6:00 pm).  We will be sending out more information regarding senior week activities. Keep checking your Edline account for updates.
  4. Just a reminder that we are now collecting new or gently used prom dresses to help WHS students and Belle of the Ball. Boxes are in our lobby and at 28 Richardson St.  You can also donate gift cards to Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack or DSW.  Please send the cards to me at WHS. These dresses will help any of our students who may need assistance as well as others from area communities.  Thank you for your support!
  5. If you haven’t already reserved the weekend, please plan to come to one of our performances of Damn Yankees on this coming weekend-March 3-5.  Check out the information about tickets and showtimes on:  This will be our first performance in our new space. I’ve seen snippets of the show and it is NOT TO BE MISSED!


  1. We will also be hosting a Community Open House on March 21st from 5:45 until a wonderful Music Concert at 7:00 pm in the new auditorium.   All are welcomed!

Memo Shout Outs:

  1. The following students scored in the top 5% of the 100,000+ students worldwide who took the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10 and 12 contests in February:
  • John Na
  • Edward Tu
  • Evan Wang
  • Jerry Wang
  • Hubert Yuan
  • Rosanna Zhang

We are proud of our students’ wonderful results.

This week’s schedule will be:


Day 3


Day 4


Day 5


Day 6


Day 7

This week-Meet the Guidance Department:

Suzanne Ontso, Director of Guidance

I was born and raised in Central Massachusetts graduating from Algonquin Regional High School and then Ithaca College in New York with a BS in Management. While at Ithaca I was introduced to lacrosse, the sport that would eventually bring me to WHS.  Prior to getting my masters in School Counseling, I worked in independent film production and then product development for Brine, Inc. As the Brand Manager for Brine’s women’s lacrosse and field hockey lines, I developed products and managed partnerships with sponsored NCAA teams traveling to schools all over the country. The one constant in my career has always been WHS, I have been the girls lacrosse coach for 23 years (and also coached field hockey for 4 years) and was honored to be inducted into the Winchester Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jack Burke, Guidance Counselor

Prior to coming to WHS, I worked in college admissions and financial aid at Boston University and Harvard University. I earned my bachelor’s degree in English at Northeastern University where I commuted to on the Red Line. I earned my Master’s Degree in Education further up the Red Line at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and came to Winchester right after graduation. I did my counselor training internship at Arlington High School and loved having the opportunity to help students navigate their plans for life after high school. I have always been inspired by the amazing energy WHS students bring to school each and every day and feel fortunate to have been a part of this great learning community for almost 20 years!


Cindy Gallagher, Registrar

It is nice to be back at Winchester High School and I have enjoyed reuniting and now working with some of my former teachers after graduating from here when the old building was relatively new. After attending UMass Amherst and earning two BA degrees in my four years there, I served as the Human Resources Director for the Town of Belmont for nearly fifteen years, until life got too crazy and I decided to stay home and spend more time with my family. My husband and I are the parents of three active and athletic children. My oldest son, Richard played ice hockey while he attended college, and after graduating now works as a firefighter and personal fitness trainer. My daughter, Meredith is currently in college, also playing ice hockey there, and my son John is a freshman in high school.  Yes, he too plays ice hockey. We are all having great fun with our rambunctious, but very sweet and loving new puppy Brady, who joined our family in mid-December.


Amber Haines, Adjustment Counselor

I was born in upstate NY in the countryside, where my grandparents had farms and we chased the ducks during Easter egg hunts.  I however, would not get my dress dirty!  I attended Hartwick College and graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies.  I was an active member of the swim team and my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.  Expanding my experiences I decided to move beyond New York. I moved to Boston to attend Boston College and received my Masters in Social Work degree.  I fell in love with the city, compelled my friends to follow me and haven’t left since.  I have found my passion in working with teens, kids and families and have done so in a variety of diverse settings including schools, and community agencies.  I have been working at WHS a short 2 years though have quickly become fond of this community and the “Guidance Department family.”  I am also lucky enough to be the Class of 2019 Advisor, run the GEM (Girls Empowered by More) group, and the Inner Peace group after school.  In between my role here and my career as an outpatient therapist I like to spend my time catching up with my friends and family and unwind with a little retail therapy.


Judy Johnson, Guidance Counselor

I was born and raised in Salem, MA and graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School where I was on the Track Team. I graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Rehabilitation. I graduated from Salem State College with a Masters of Education in School and Community Counseling. My career as a Guidance Counselor spans both the private and public sector. I have also taught Psychology and Sociology courses in private schools. I arrived to the Winchester Public Schools in the fall of 1999 as the Grade 8 Guidance Counselor and began my tenure at Winchester High School in the fall of 2000. I am also the Faculty Advisor for the high school’s gay-straight alliance, Spectrum. My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last July. Our oldest daughter is 24 and is a licensed elementary school teacher. Our youngest daughter is 21 and a senior in college where she studies Human Biology and has had a successful lacrosse career in a Division 1 program. Our 15 year old lab mix, Bailey, passed away last March and we recently adopted a 5 year old Shih Tzu named Hektor.


Cheryl Raneri, Guidance Counselor

In 1987, I was completing a master’s program in counseling psychology and interning in the guidance office at a nearby high school. With three months left in the school year, a special education position became available and the guidance director convinced me to take it. It was a short term opening and she thought it would be a great experience for me. She was right and a few weeks after receiving my degree I enrolled in a program to become a certified special education teacher. After teaching at other schools for seven years I arrived in Winchester to take a position in the high school Learning Center. Over the next couple of years, many opportunities came my way and I had the pleasure of being the counselor for the Excel Program, coordinator of the School to Career Program and teaching an elective called Skills for Community Action. Finally in the spring of 1998, I found my way to the guidance office and I have had the pleasure of working with incredible students and their families ever since.


Jaime Roberts, Guidance Counselor

I am from Columbia, Maryland (halfway between Baltimore and Washington, DC). Growing up I always would visit Massachusetts because most of my mom’s side of her family lived here. After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in Psychology and Criminology (Go Terps!), I worked briefly at Howard County Community College in Maryland working in Admissions and Counseling as a transfer advisor. I enjoyed working with students and helping them with the college process and doing academic advising and counseling. That led me to apply to work in college admissions and brought me to Massachusetts. I worked in admissions at Harvard Business School for five years and during that time got a master’s in counseling degree from Boston University. I started at WHS in 2003 and in addition to being a guidance counselor, I have been a class advisor for 4 different classes.  I have also coached Girls Varsity Soccer at Wilmington High for a few years and Freshman Girls Basketball here at WHS. The best part of working at WHS has been the relationships I have made with all the wonderful faculty, staff and community. I feel so lucky!  My husband Jeff and I have 2 kids, Sloane who will be 5 in July and starting Kindergarten and Eli who will be 3 in April. We also have a 12 year old Yellow Lab named Jack.


Nancy Smith, Guidance Counselor

I was born and raised in Malden  Massachusetts, (youngest of 10), and went through 12 years of the local parochial school, the cornerstone being graduating HS for Girls Catholic in Malden, precursor to what is now Malden Catholic.  I graduated with a BS from UMASS Boston, (first in my family to go to college and graduate), with a Major in PoliSci, minoring in Criminal Justice.  I went to Suffolk Law for a time, and worked full time as a Juvenile Probation Officer at the West Roxbury District Court for 14 years.  After taking time off to start a family, I ultimately graduated with a MEd. in School Counseling from Salem State College.  My first Guidance position was at Haverhill HS from 2004.  I came to WHS in 2008 starting in a PT position in Guidance.  The common denominator in my career path has always been working with this HS age group.  I appreciate the opportunity to work with this age group and find the interaction and relationship building a challenge and a privilege.


Elizabeth Wilson, Administrative Assistant

I grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts.  After Wayland High School, I went to Hillsdale College in Michigan where I graduated with a B.A. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and next attended the Katharine Gibbs Business School in Boston.  I worked in Human Resources for many years until I was married.  I was at home in Lexington with my son, Bart Jr., and daughter, Sarah, while they were growing up and returned to the work force as an Administrative Assistant for the Athletic Director at Lexington High School until he retired.  I started my Winchester High School Guidance Admin. Assist. position in 2011.  Singing, reading, gardening, anything Nantucket, and traveling are my most favorite things.  I still live in Lexington with my husband, Bart.  My daughter is 26 and lives in Nashville and my son is 24 and working in the Boston area.

Date Event Location
February 29 7:00 pm Girls Hockey vs. Canton Woburn
March 3-5 Damn Yankees Production WHS Auditorium
March 5 SAT testing WHS
March 5-6 NHS Sponsored 24 Hour Famine WHS
March 7 7:00 pm Transition Meeting for Incoming Freshmen Parents (visit to McCall will be in the morning) WHS Auditorium
March 8 7:30 pm PFA Meeting WHS Dining Commons
March 11 3:00 pm Staff vs. Student Bball game McCall
March 13 Mr. WHS WHS Auditorium
March 18 7:00 pm A Cappella Festival WHS Auditorium
March 18 7:00 pm Sophomore Dance Winchester Town Hall
March 21 5:45 pm WHS Open House followed by Concert at 7:00 WHS campus/Auditorium for concert
March 22-23 ELA MCAS for gr. 10 WHS



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s