J.G. Whittier Middle School

  • Principal’s Weekly Update (10/13-10/16)

    Message from the Principal:

    Hello J.G. Whittier Families,

    We have completed our 1st week of Full Hybrid Learning, and the Remote Learning Academy has been moving right along with 3.5 weeks completed. This was a successful week at JGW with great in-person attendance. I know that students, staff, and families are still getting into consistent routines with remote learning and following a structured daily schedule. We are committed to the success of all of our students at JGW, and we have appreciated the continued support of our families and community. When we are working together toward the same goal of your student’s success, we are all at our best! With that being said, I would like to share some general guidelines and expectations for students to follow while they are at home on remote learning days (whether in the RLA or on their off cohort days):

    **The number one rule is for all students to treat their remote learning days as they would a regular in-person school day, and behavior should reflect that.

    -Students should sign into homeroom and all classes on time. There are consequences for being late to school and class, so it should be no different during remote learning.

    -Students should be dressed appropriately. We appreciate students being fully dressed and not wearing pajamas, hats, hoods, etc.

    -Students should have an appropriate remote work space. It is encouraged that students are sitting at a table or desk (if possible). Please do not be laying down in bed or on the couch, or under blankets during class time. We want to promote proper work habits, and this would not be allowed at school or a place of business, so we appreciate it not occurring during class time.

    -Students are expected to remain signed into their classroom for the duration of their lesson. Leaving a google meet during a lesson is the same as walking out of class without permission. Please do not do this.

    -The use of the “chat” on google meets is for students to participate in the class, ask and answer questions, etc. This is not a tool to socialize with classmates. We expect that students be respectful and only utilize the chat for appropriate classroom purposes.

    -While cameras are encouraged to remain on during class, it is not a requirement. If a camera is not on during class, it is expected that students respond verbally or through the chat when called upon by their teacher. If students do not have a camera on and are unresponsive, they will be considered absent from that class.

    -We ask that parents not participate in your student’s classes. We would not allow you into a classroom at J.G. Whittier without prior approval and arrangements, so we ask that you not participate with your student remotely. If you have a concern about something your student reports to you or you overhear during a remote class, we ask that you contact the teacher via email to address the situation.

    In-Person Learning:

    When students are in person at J.G. Whittier I would like to remind everyone to follow all expectations and safety procedures to include but not limited to:

    -Coming to school each day with your school issued chromebook fully charged.

    -Making sure that you are appropriately wearing your face mask over your mouth AND nose.

    -Continue to maintain appropriate physical distancing of at least 6 feet from all other individuals.

    -Utilize proper hand hygiene, washing your hands upon entering class and before leaving class.

    -Sit at only your assigned desk in both the classroom and during lunch.

    -Hats and hoods are not permitted in school this year.

    Following these as well as other expectations has allowed us as a school to safely and successfully operate since September 15th. We appreciate all of your continued support to ensure that your students are following these expectations so that we as a staff can focus on providing them with their education.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY (A Notice from our Superintendent)

    I hope this finds you well. Below you will find the link to a video featuring HPS School Physician, Dr. John Maddox and myself discussing the rising rate for COVID in our city and the impact of that on our schools. 

     Please note that yesterday, an erroneous report was released from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) stating that eight HPS students in attendance at our schools last week tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately this incorrect data was picked up and reported by the news media in Boston. 

     We have reached out to DESE and the department is in agreement that the reported data is incorrect. 

     The data reported for Haverhill (only Haverhill not other communities) was for a two week period not a one week period and contrary to what it’s being reported only three of the eight students reported were actually in school during a period of time when they could have been considered positive. In each of these three cases, all protocols and procedures were followed and those who were considered close contacts have been notified. All three of these students showed no signs of COVID and tested as precautionary measures.  The other five students noted in the report were not in school during a contagious time period. 

     We take our responsibility to keep our students and staff safe very seriously. Through our strict adherence to social distancing, mask policies and other health measures we have had no spread of COVID within our schools. 

     I am sharing the facts of the situation, as we are all anxious in this difficult time and I do not want misinformation to lead people to further concern or mistrust. It is my hope that being transparent will help to quell fears and rumors. Please feel free to reach out to the school nurse or a member of the administrative team with any questions. 

     Wishing you a safe and healthy weekend.

    Margaret Marotta EdD
    Superintendent of Schools 
    Haverhill Public Schools


    As most of you are already aware, Haverhill Public Schools is utilizing a new assessment and program called I-Ready this school year. It is important to us that all families are a part of this process and have all of the necessary information. Please see the link and information below to be connected to additional information on this new program.

    I-Ready Information

    How to Access iReady Scores:

    • Have your child log into the HPS Launchpad
    • Click on CLASS LINK
    • Click on iREADY
    • Choose READING or MATH
    • You will now be on the “MY PATH” screen
    • Click on the MY PROGRESS icon
    • Click on the COMPLETED WORK tab
    • DIAGNOSTIC shows your child’s score

    If you would like a detailed report of your child’s score, please reach out to their ELA or MATH teacher directly.


    Green sheets were sent out this week (cohort A went out Tuesday, and cohort B went out Thursday). Could you please have your students return these forms along with the health form, as soon as possible. Thank you!


    We will be having school picture day per usual this school year. Please see below for the details:

    Cohort BThursday, November 5th

    Cohort ATuesday, November 10th

    REMOTE LEARNING ACADEMY (RLA): Remote students will have the opportunity to have pictures taken from 3:00 – 4:00 each of those days.

    Hockmeyer will be sending links and forms once the dates are closer.

    PTO: We will be having a PTO meeting this coming Wednesday, October 14th from 6pm-7:30pm via Zoom. We hope that many of you will join us. Please stay tuned for a link to the meeting.

    Below is our PTO newsletter as well as some other information on Boxtops and our online Scholastic Bookfair:



    CLASSROOM UPDATES: Please see below for updates from your student’s classrooms (both hybrid & remote learning academy) and other JGW staff


    GRADE 5:

    Mrs. Sanguedolce – In math, we will continue to study place value and practice our math facts. In social studies, we will begin to explore our new text book starting with chapter 2. Important Reminder:  Please come to school with your computer fully charged. 

    Mrs. LaCoste: This week in fifth grade ELA we have begun the novel How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor.  Students should leave their copy of the book at home, to use while working on remote days.  We’re also working to complete beginning of year reading assessments whose results will help us to better meet students’ specific needs and measure progress in reading.  In Social Studies, we’re ready to dive into our new text and begin our first unit on the Early Colonization of the 13 Colonies.

    Ms. Delong: Grade 5 Science (Hybrid): We just finished our first lab of the year on Energy Transfer.  Next week, students will be learning the important technique that is C-E-R writing, and will be preparing for their first science test of the year (most likely end of next week/beginning of the following week). Any tests will be given in person (we will figure out a plan for remote kids).

    Grade 5 SS (Yellow): We are working in Chapter 2 of our textbook U.S. History, Making a New Nation. Students should be familiar with accessing the book online as we will be reading together in class both in person and at home.  Chapter 2 covers the Age of Exploration and the creation of colonial settlements in North America. 

    As a reminder, all work is due on Fridays. Everything is posted in the Google Classroom. Please email me at mdelong@haverhill-ps.org with any questions or concerns.

    Ms. Lees: I hope you all have a great long weekend Grade 5.  Our first week with full Cohorts was so nice.  Orange Group is doing a great job of finishing up getting used to routines, beginning all their subjects, and finishing up some placement tests.  Ms. Lees and Ms. Kelley think everyone is trying so hard and doing wonderfully.  We are really looking forward to next week and working closely with all we can to make sure there is success all around us along with Mrs. LaCoste, Mrs. Sanguedolce, and Ms. DeLong!  

    GRADE 6:

    Mrs. Hamel: Grade 6 Science:

    As we advance in our learning about the Moon, we are watching for the changes it makes during the Lunar Month. We continue to examine the Moon phases and its relationship to other celestial objects in our galaxy.  When we wrap up our lesson on the Moon, Earth and Sun we will be moving into Mixtures and Density. I am so proud of how hard our Sixth Grade Science Students are working!

    Grade 6 Social Studies:
    We are wrapping up our first lesson in Historians and moving into “How Geographers View the World” by using the Five Themes of Geography. We will focus our attention to how Geography influences how people live. 

     We had a very competitive game of Kahoot to study our terms and a lot of laughs while playing! We hope to continue to grow and learn together in fun and engaging ways during these difficult days.

    Mr. Taylor: ELA- Reviewing grammar concepts: Parts of speech, Clauses, Conjunctions, root words, and subject-predicate for future assignments. 

    Social Studies:
    We are wrapping up our first lesson in Historians and moving into “How Geographers View the World” by using the Five Themes of Geography. We will focus our attention to how Geography influences how people live. 

    Ms. Sargent: Ms. Sargent sent a separate email home yesterday with specific updates, information, and expectations.  Please email her if you didn’t receive it. jsargent@haverhill-ps.org

    Mrs. Guisti: It has been wonderful seeing full cohorts in school this past week! Small groups have begun in person this week with Mrs. Guisti.  When students are not in person, Mrs. Guisti and Ms. Cronin have been meeting with their specific students at 12:05 each day on the google classroom titled “Guisti/Cronin online support class.” It is important to come to this online support class on days you are home so that we can support you. Thank you!

    GRADE 7:

    Ms. DiGloria: For the week of Oct. 13 – Oct 16, students in Green and Blue ELA will be beginning to work with drama. We will learn about mood and tone and start to read The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street. On remote days, students NEED to log on to the Google Meets as we will be doing this “together” as a whole class. In Social Studies, we will be wrapping up South Asian geography on Tues/Weds with practice and an open-note quiz, and then move into studying Ancient India. Again, students should be logging into the Google Meet for some live lessons this week. Please reach out via email if you have questions. Students on their remote days should follow the same time schedule as they do in school.

    Mrs. MacKinnon: Hello 7th grade families, This week in math we will be working on topic 1-2 and introducing topic 1-3.  The kids will also be finishing the I-Ready diagnostic in school.  Please make sure they are logging onto every meet even when they are home.  

    For Science we are finishing up plant and animal reproduction.  The kids will be having a test this week on either Wednesday or Thursday.  After that we will be starting on ecosystems.  

    Thank you again for all your help during these crazy and unusual times.

    Mrs. Berthiaume: ELA and Social Studies Classes

    In ELA, we are reading “Rikki-tikki-tavi” by Rudyard Kipling.  Students should finish the i-Ready diagnostic (Reading).  In Social Studies, we are looking at the geography of South Asia.  We became archeologists with some trash bag archeology this week! (Not real trash!)

    Mrs. Trombly: Mrs. trombly’s math class is finishing up their I ready test and their review of topic one which was learned over the summer. We will be testing on topic one next week. Science classes are going to be having a quiz next Wednesday or Thursday on plants and animal reproduction.

    Mr. Yanoff: Red and Yellow 7th grade math are beginning to realize “we are in school!”.  Their work is starting to progress, and the grades are creeping up!  Good sign that life will continue in the world of math. 

    Ms. Bilmazes– grade 7 Academic Support. It was great to see so many students in person for two days this week! I have posted my google classroom link for additional help on Wednesdays. Please log on at 11:30. This is in addition to times I have given individual students for pullout services.  Students will continue to receive support in the classroom from myself and/or Ms. Credit. Have a wonderful weekend!

    GRADE 8:

    Mr. Blaustein: Green and Blue ELA

    Completing iReady testing is taking longer than expected. Instead of beginning the computer-generated lessons, we have begun reading Flowers for Algernon. Once testing is completed, we will continue to read Flowers for Algernon while integrating some of the computer driven lessons.

    Green and Blue Civics

    We will continue our synchronous lessons in Chapter 1 Americans, Citizenship and Government this week. We will also be utilizing games in iCivics for concept reinforcement.

    Ms. Sullivan: Grade 8 Math & Science

    It is imperative that all students sign into their Google Meets every day.  New lessons are taught daily with accompanying assignments. 

    Math: This week’s lesson is on Identifying Irrational Numbers, Identifying Square Roots as Irrational Numbers, and Classifying Numbers as Rational or Irrational. 

    Science: Students will be starting the Lunar Cycle and learning the Phases of the Moon.  

    Mr. Lewis: In English, we have begun the academic year with our short story unit and, specifically, Flowers For Algernon. FFA is a short story about a man who undergoes an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. Its themes include human intelligence, empathy, and the progress of science. Students have read about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and what empathy means, not only in the story, but our lives as well.

    In Civics, we are studying, briefly, major political philosophers and their thoughts on what government should look like and how citizens should act. This week we have read about Thomas Hobbes and John Locke — how they are similar, how they differ — and how their ideas still influence us even today.

    Ms. Deblasis: Grade 8 Math & Science

    It is imperative that all students sign into their Google Meets every day.  New lessons are taught daily with accompanying assignments. 

    Math: This week’s lesson is on Identifying Irrational Numbers, Identifying Square Roots as Irrational Numbers, and Classifying Numbers as Rational or Irrational. 

    Science: Students will be starting the Lunar Cycle and learning the Phases of the Moon.  

    NJHS meeting to be posted next week.  Please keep an eye out for it. 

    Ms. Senior: All hybrid students attended in person for the first time this academic year.  Friends waved to each other and new students were welcomed.  ELA and Math progress along both at home and in class as students adjust to the new normal.  


    Health (Mrs. Reynolds): We have begun unit lessons for each grade this week in class and remotely. 

    The units will run for about 3 to 4 classes before a new unit is introduced.  This month’s units are:  Grade 5- Self Esteem   Grade 6 – Healthy Habits   Grade 7 – Goal Setting and Grade 8 – Decision Making.  Full Unit outlines can be found on my website at  jgwhealth.weebly.com.

    Physical Education (Mr. Demarais): We will be continuing with our golf unit in class.  As the weather gets cooler please be sure that all students dress for it if they have physical education.  If it is raining my plan is to set up some small games under the tents out in the courtyard. I am encouraging students to bring an umbrella on rainy days.   

    Technology (Mr. Kowalewski): Students are still working on typing.com and finishing up different assignments at their own pace.  We are now starting the typing segment of technology class, working at their own pace.  Please make sure Chrome Books are being charged overnight. If any students are having issues with their Chrome books, please feel free to reach out to me.  Timothy.kowalewski@haverhill-ps.org

    Music (Mr. Gariepy): JGW Chorus Club now meets in Wednesday’s at 3pm!! There is a Google Classroom that Mr. Gariepy can give you access to. Please email him at robert.gariepy@haverhill-ps.org to sign your child up!!

    Art (Ms. Boulger): All art classes are meeting synchronously (both online and in person) therefore if your child is at home please encourage and remind them to attend Google Meets class during their scheduled art classes and to have materials ready.  


    GRADE 5:

    Ms. MacDonald: Please make sure you are logging into your Google Meet when class begins. All schedules can be found in the “resources” folder in your science or social studies Google classrooms. If you have any questions, please email me at jamie.macdonald@haverhill-ps.org 

    **For our 5th grade RLA students, JGW has teamed up with Upper Tilton to provide our 5th graders with their curriculum this year. Mr. Betty will reach out to see if the ELA and Math teacher at Upper Tilton will contribute to this weekly update each week. Stay tuned…

    GRADE 6:

    Mrs. Simes: JGW Math students continue to do a great job attending meets and participating in class.  In math, there are still a few students who need to complete their i-Ready Diagnostic, which will enable the creation of an individualized pathway that students will work on during Success Block on Monday’s and Thursday’s.  We continue to work on enVision Topic 1 this coming week, as we divide fractions and mixed numbers, as well as solve multi-step problems. In Science, JGW students have been learning about the patterns caused by the Earth, Sun, and Moon System.  We are currently learning about lunar and solar eclipses, using demonstrations, videos, and manipulatives. Students should be looking in their math and science Google Classrooms within their interactive whiteboard that gives them information of the day’s expectations, along with their schedule. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at michele.simes@haverhill-ps.org.  Have a great weekend.

    Ms. Riley: Students have been doing a great job attending and participating in Google Meets.  In ELA, I will be launching Writer’s Workshop this coming week.  Some students still need to complete their i-Ready Diagnostic for ELA and should try to finish that as soon as possible.  In Science, Hunking students have been learning about the patterns caused by the Earth, Sun, and Moon System.  We are currently learning about lunar and solar eclipses, using demonstrations, videos, and manipulatives.  If you have any concerns or questions, please contact me at jamie.riley@haverhill-ps.org.  Have a nice weekend.

    Ms. Consolazio: In social studies class, students are learning about measuring time and digging up the past.  We will review the first lesson chapter one on Friday and begin lesson two Monday.  Students can find their textbook in Classlink and click on McGraw-Hill.  In science class, we are learning about lunar phases, seasons, eclipses and tides.   Students just finished watching a moon demonstration on moon phases and had to identify each phase.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at marisa.consolazio@haverhill-ps.org.   

    GRADE 7:

    Ms Marciano: Week of October 13 – October 16th

    *Reminder: No School, Monday October 12th*

    ELA: We will continue to work within the Fiction Genre, reading several short stories. We will be working on inferencing and identifying theme, author’s purpose, point of view, and central idea.

    Science: As we wrap up Unit 1: Plant and Animal reproduction, students will working on their writing skills in Science by completing their first CER (Claim-Evidence-Reasoning) assignment. Students will also be taking place in a review game and then completing an assessment at the end of the unit.

    Mr. LeGrand: Math:  This week we will continue working on adding and subtracting integers.  Students will learn to add and subtract positive and negative integers; and learn to model integer addition in real-life applications.  They will also learn that subtracting a number is the same as adding that number’s additive inverse. 

    Social Studies:  We are continuing our study of South Asia.  We are currently studying the rich history and the people of South Asia.   Students will be able to explore religion, arts, and daily life in the region.  Please encourage your student to attend every class and turn in their work on time.  It’s vital that they keep up with their work.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if your student needs extra help (wlegrand@haverhill-ps.org). 

    GRADE 8:

    Mr. Harris: 8th Grade Math RLA – We are continuing to look at Real Numbers.  We will learn how to compare and order Real Numbers, and we will also get into how to find square and cube roots.

    8th Grade Science RLA – We are continuing to learn all about the Earth and the Solar System, and our place in it.  We will also begin to see the Motion of the Planets next week, and how the entire system interacts.

    As always, on time attendance is a major factor in success in school.  Please make every effort to check in with your student and ensure they are attending all of their classes and completing all assignments.

    Mr. Marinella: Hello everyone!! What a great start to the year!! I think we are getting more comfortable with remote learning and are making great progress!! A few quick reminders: make sure you are signing in to google meets on time (starting with HR and ending with success block), attendance matters. Remember the rules during google meets and be respectful of others. The expectations are much higher now, work is being accepted and graded, so make sure you get everything in on time and complete!!

    ELA– We are still in our first novel, Johnny Tremaine, about a boy living in Boston before the American Revolution! Ask your students what we have learned about Johnny so far, and how they’d like living during that time. We are also constantly working on reading skills, writing, and grammar. I encourage all students to have a book or topic of what they like to read for down time, reading makes the brain stronger so more reading=more brain power!! 

    History- Civics is moving on!! We learned all the important stuff that Athens had to offer and now we move the clock up to Rome, the next building block of American government. Ask your students about how/why Greece lost his status and Rome gained power. Tell students what you know about American government and see what connections can be made between us and the classical governments of Greece and Rome!!


    I will be given out each week. A superstar is a student who is always trying, never getting discouraged, working hard, taking risks, helping others, setting great examples, or exhibiting another amazing characteristic!

    This week’s superstars are Elaine Perez, Parker Bowman-Nadeua, Joshua Bertocchi, and Rushi Patel!! Every student demonstrates superstar qualities, but these were the brightest shiners this week!

    Ms. Blanchette: This week the remote learning 5th – 8th graders have been working on grade level curriculum. The Whittier staff including, Mrs. Kaiser, Mrs. Greenwood, Mrs. Cronin and myself, Ms. Blanchette, have been working to support students in their ELA and math classes. Students and families should reach out if they need assistance with any assignments or remote learning content. Please check my google classroom for office hours as well as small group google meets. I look forward to another great week in the Remote Learning Academy! jacqueline.blanchette@haverhill-ps.org


    GUIDANCE (Mrs. Vlahos): Beginning next week,  I will be visiting all 5th grade classes both in person and virtually to formally introduce myself and facilitate a lesson on the transition to middle school.  Later this month and into November, I will begin to meet with both 8th grade and 7th grade classes regarding goal setting, high school options and the transition to high school.

    I am available to connect with and support all students and families.  I am excited to check in with students through Google Meet, email and by phone.  If desired, please email me to connect and request a check in and I will coordinate a meeting with you.  I look forward to working with you in support of having a healthy, safe, and successful school year!

    STUDENT ADJUSTMENT COUNSELOR (Mrs. Midolo): Please be sure to have your kids check Mrs Midolo’s google Classroom Page and Look for assignments and updates on Social Groups, which will held on Wednesdays. Please make sure that your student attends in order to receive the proper credit. Have a great weekend.

    STUDENT SUPPORT CENTER (Mrs. Greenwood): I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the SSC Students who did a great job following the safety guidelines this week at school!

    As a reminder, make sure you log in to the SSC classroom page for updates and don’t forget to participate in our weekly social group. Have a great long weekend!

    STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR (Mr. Newell): I am available to talk about anything that our school community has. Please email me with any questions, concerns, ideas or feedback.

    MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPPORT PROGRAM (Mrs. Leydon & Mr. Diffin): Great to see you all in person or through meets! Please remember to check your MSSP google classrooms and participate in socials groups at your scheduled times that are listed. Please reach out to us through e-mail or google classroom with any questions!

    NURSING NEWS (Ms. Cartwright): Reminder from the school nurse: Please be aware of current vaccination guidelines in accordance with 105 CMR 220.00: Immunization of students before admission to school. 

    All students are required to have 1 dose of the influenza vaccine for the current flu season (July 2020-June 2021). It must be received annually by December 31st. 

    Students in grade 7 are required to have 1 dose of the Meningococcal vaccine and 1 dose of the Tdap vaccine 

    by December 31st.

    If you are missing these requirements, you should be receiving communication from the nurse in the upcoming month.

     You may send updated paperwork into school with your student, via email, or via fax with attn Nurse Kelsey. If you have any concerns, please contact Nurse Kelsey @ kelsey.cartwright@haverhill-ps.org or at 978-374-5782. Fax number is 978-372-5999.

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES: Please click the link below to be connected with some community resources which could be helpful to our families.

(978) 374-3400
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