Though school has been in session for a week and a half, the transition to the new year has been nearly flawless, according to interim superintendent Dr. Christopher Martes.
When Norton Patch spoke with Martes last week, he couldn’t believe that it was only the fourth day of school.
“It seems like we’ve been in school longer than that because everything is up and running,” Marts said. “The schedules are going well. Transportation, we usually have a few things to iron out with the routes, things that are being taken care of right now. So, I think it’s been a very positive start and I’m happy to be back doing the work.”
Getting more acquainted with Norton and its schools is important to Martes, who lives in Easton.
“This [Norton school] system is better than it gives itself credit for,” Martes said. “It’s important to remember that it’s gone through quite a few years of budget distress. So people naturally feel a sense of loss and I think that every person that has a connection to the school system would feel that. Given that, what I’ve been able to see, are people working very, very hard to educate students and others working very very hard to create those environments where students can be educated at a higher level. I think that’s a strength that I think sometimes people overlook.”
On Sept. 4, Martes met with Norton Public School faculty at the middle school. “I received a very warm welcome from the entire staff,” he said. Martes has also made it a point to visit all the schools, some classrooms, meet students and even a few parents.
Over at the high school, Martes says that the construction and renovations are running smoothly. Some classrooms were moved so that students would not be disrupted by the work.
“Megan Lafayette and Geoffrey Zini, the principal and vice principal, have been making sure that it’s fairly seamless,” Martes said.
Another of Martes’ goals will be to help the staff with the new state regulated teacher evaluation system. Teachers will be evaluated based on curriculum, planning and assessment; teaching all students; family and community engagement; and professional development.
“Teachers have a greater say in it, which is different from most all the older systems of teacher evaluation,” Martes said. So making sure that is rolled out in a very positive and very comprehensive way is something that’s important, because I think it has an opportunity to really change the conversation about what good teaching is and what student learning means.”
When he is not busy with superintendent duties, Martes enjoys running, biking, following politics, watching sports and reading. The last book he enjoyed reading was “Defending Jacob,” by William Landay. He also enjoys spending time with his family.
“I thank the school committee for giving me this opportunity,” Martes said. “The people here have been great.
“I think the conditions are very good for this to be attractive to a number of candidates for the permanent superintendent [position].”
Martes will meet with the School Committee 6:30 p.m. at Henri A. Yelle Elementary School tonight for the first meeting of the school year. They will discuss the search for a long term superintendent, the MCAS, opening of school at Yelle and more.
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