News from the HWRSD nurses

“Dear Parents, Students and Staff,Congratulations to our Hamilton Wenham Regional High School Class of 2020.  This week’s newsletter focuses on preventing mosquitos borne illness, the importance of getting vaccines for preventable disease, and how to care for face coverings.  You may click here to see previous newsletters.   Wishing you a pleasant weekend. Stay Safe, Be Positive, Be Healthy. 

Nurse Leader, High School:  Lea Tabenkin –, 978-468-0409

High School:  Gwen McDonald –,  978-468-0420

Miles River Middle School:  Maribeth Ting –, 978-468-0390

Buker School:  Lisa Druskat –, 978-468-5337
Cutler School: Lynne Nardella –, 978-626-8545

Winthrop School:  Jessica Baker –, 978-468-5346″

NEASC Global Virtual Forum – The college admission process

This morning I was able to participate in the NEAS&C Global Virtual Forum about colleges and the admission process. As we know, current seniors and juniors are anxious about changes forced by COVID-19 that will impact the college process.

The following were guest panelists:

Erik S. DeAngelis, Senior Associate Director, Office of College Admission, Brown University

Leykia Nulan, Dean of Admission, Mount Holyoke College

Michael C. Iorio, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment & Director of Admission, Saint Anselm College

Erin W. Earle, Ed.D. Director, Campus Visit Experience, The University of Rhode Island


The initial question from many of the 1,000 participants in the webinar was about P/F or Credit/No Credit grading. Erin Earle said, “students will not be at a disadvantage.” Each of the panelists reflected the sentiment; there is an understanding that the college process will need to be different. Laykia Nulan also said, “we will be more than happy to honor P/F transcripts.”

According to the Forbes article Redesigning College Admission: COVID-19, Access, And Equity, colleges are now forced to reinvent themselves. All four panelists supported what is outlined in the article by highlighting various ways they are adjusting. Erin Earle supported this clearly when she said, “We understand this is a moment in time. It doesn’t negate all of the work of your student.”  Erik DeAngelis followed with, “All of our old rules and policies have to be thrown out the window.”

Financial Aid

How will colleges respond to families whose financial situation may have changed? In some cases, parents were employed in 2019 and now face unemployment. The advice of all panelists was to be sure to communicate with the college.  Also, many colleges have a merit appeals process that can help a parent to communicate any changes to their financial well being. They also stated that there may be federal government support in the future.

The Common App

Several of the panelists alluded to a change on the Common App that will be added so that schools and students can tell the story of how their school responded to the crisis.  This could include how grading was changed, lack of SAT/ACT opportunities to test, AP tests that were shortened, etc. They also suggested that schools dedicate a section on their profile that outlines how the school responded to the crisis.

How can I get to know a college?

All of the panelists also understood that students are still trying to learn about colleges without physically visiting the campus.  All of their sites (and sites of any other colleges) have virtual tours, virtual open houses, and online alumni panels. Each website has a COVID-19 response that outlines the many ways students can learn about the institutions.

Laykia Nulan wrapped it up best when she said, “This is not unfamiliar territory for colleges.  Human-kind matters most. We want to keep your students safe while also making the process beneficial to the students.”

Below are a number of articles that were shared during the webinar:

How COVID-19 Will Affect The 2020 College Admission Cycle 

Redesigning College Admission: COVID-19, Access, and Equity 

Two New Tools Are Tracking the Status of College Admission

How To Ask For More College Financial Aid Due To The Coronavirus   

Coronavirus could change where students go to college, if they go at all

Colleges consider the unthinkable: dropping SAT and ACT requirements for next year’s applicants

HWRHS Remote Learning – What does it look like?

It certainly doesn’t look like school as we know it. After all, our families and teachers are all trying to balance the reality of working from home, managing their online meetings, devices, their kids online school, and the unfortunate realities of the probability of someone getting sick. Pretty stressful.

In the last couple of weeks, I realized that one thing continues to shine through…relationships. The relationships created in school are hard to duplicate online, but are necessary to make the most of being in a remote learning environment. The power of the relationships our teachers have with their students has been the foundation of what has happened to date. It is clear though that our teachers miss their students and our students miss their teachers.

So what else are our teachers up to? We should be extremely proud that they were able to move many of the facets of traditional school to a non-traditional online world. While remote learning will never have the same impacts as face-to-face learning, our teachers have been amazing at bringing as much as they can to the remote environment.

So what is happening?

  • Our counselors are connecting with students and families individually and in groups.
  • Yesterday some hosted junior zoom calls to talk about the college process.
  • Foreign Language teachers are using the online tool Gimkit to help students with vocabulary. Currently 3 or 4 other schools are involved with them too!
  • One teacher has a funny hat day scheduled during her zoom meeting with her students try lighten the mood. After all, we can still have fun!
  • All teachers have managed to learn or teach themselves how to use Zoom or Google Meet for online video connections with students.
  • Teachers have used Zoom and Screencastify to record 10-15 minute reviews and prompts for students.
  • School counselors, our RISE program team and our school resource officer meet weekly online and then fan out to connect with students who we need a connection or boost.
  • One teacher uses a song of the day to make relevant connections for the prompt or assignment
  • A teacher and his son are using the HS 3-D printer to print masks for local hospitals
  • Our staff created 17 live zoom trainings to support professional development of our teachers

Each day I learn about something new and amazing that is happening within our remote learning environment. The key to success has been hard work, persistence and most importantly, the relationships we built when we are together.

I am sure our teachers and students will continue to do amazing things together. Times like this consistently open the doors for more innovation and creativity. Will our schools ever be the same?


HWRHS Common Scholarship Application Link has been sent to HWRHS seniors and their first contact by email.

Our internal HWRHS Common Scholarship application is now electronic.  For those of you who have filled out the paper form, you can use that information to easily complete the new Google Form; it has basically the same layout.  If you were also applying for one of our internal music scholarships (Bettencourt/Bowler/Stahlberg), please know that we have added them to the Common Scholarship to simplify the process.

The biggest difference will be that you will not be able to attach a resume.  This is for the ease of the committees who will have to read the submissions electronically instead of on paper.  There are places for you to enter the information.  If you have a resume or your essays saved on a computer, you should be able to easily copy and paste the information into the form.

The new deadline to complete and submit this application is April 15, 2020.

  • Please note that the application will accept submissions from HWRSD user accounts only.

FOR OTHER SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS, as always, double check their deadlines and submission instructions.  Let Ms. Adamo know if you need transcripts and teacher letters sent.  She will do that electronically in most cases.  PLEASE do not wait until the deadline to complete and submit ANY application.  You never know what difficulties you might encounter (device/printer issues, internet slowdowns, etc.)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Adamo or your counselor.

Take care and stay safe.  These are strange times for sure.

New Superintendent for HWRSD selected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     MARCH 26, 2020

The Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Mary Beth Banios as our next Superintendent of Schools and will begin negotiations of a contract beginning on July 1, 2020.  

Ms. Banios is currently serving as the Superintendent of Windsor Central Supervisory Union in Woodstock, Vermont.  She also has extensive experience in Massachusetts, serving as the Assistant Superintendent in Shrewsbury and in Maynard.  She has been a principal, assistant principal and classroom teacher in Massachusetts as well.

The School Committee recognizes the valuable work done by the Superintendent Screening Committee and thanks the members; Mary Adamik, Julian Brown-Myers, Gary Cheeseman, Kristen Crockett, Catherine Frost, Tyson Goodridge, Catherine Harrison, Margaret McElhinney, Bill Olson, Deirdre Pierotti, Kristen Borges, and Ben Schersten.  Additionally, the process was greatly enhanced by all the community members, parents, and school staff who participated in the focus groups and virtual community visits. This superintendent search featured strong candidate participation by Philip Conrad, Julie Kukenberger, and Daniel Richards. The School Committee congratulates Dr. Kukenberger on her appointment as the Melrose Superintendent and Mr. Conrad on his appointment as the Bedford Superintendent. 

The School Committee looks forward to welcoming Ms. Banios to the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District and to her leadership in the years ahead.