September 29, 2009

Dear Friends of Gateway:

Here is this week’s installment of Gateway’s weekly e-newsletter.  As always, your feedback and suggestions are welcome.  Back issues of Breaking News and past Superintendent’s Corners are posted on the News Archive (under “general information” on the district website).  As always, your feedback and any suggestions for improvements are welcome.   

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  “There are simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family from any kind of flu.” – Massachusetts Department of Public Health Website

COMING EVENTS: A schedule of activities for the week ending October 9, 2009 is now posted.  (Items for this calendar should be submitted at least two weeks ahead of time!)

UPCOMING MEETINGS: If you missed the last meeting of the Gateway Regional School Committee, you missed the announcement that Pupil Services Director Margery Gerard will retire at the end of this school year; announcements by Stephanie Fisk that projections for cuts in Medicaid reimbursement and “circuit breaker” funds were confirmed. Discussions involved posting for a new Pupil Services Director, MCAS performance updates, and continued discussion on the Elementary School consolidation process. The Gateway Regional School Committee will meet on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Town Hall. The Friends of Gateway have changed their standard meeting time to the SECOND Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m. in the Superintendent’s Office. The Friends of Gateway will next meet on October 13, to continue plans for district-wide fundraising and filing for a 501(c)3. New members are sought and are welcome to join this group, whose goals include improving communications, parent involvement, and volunteerism in support of student achievement. The public is invited and encouraged to attend all meetings.


ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB SEEKS NEW MEMBERS: Despite continuous pleas, few new members have stepped forward to support the junior/senior high school athletic program at Gateway.

Photo, (r): Booster Club members serve up "gator tators" at home soccer games to raise funds to support Gateway athletics. (file photo)

MIDDLE/JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS OPEN HOUSE: School Open Houses for students in grades 5 – 12 will be held on Thursday, October 8. Read the complete article for details on the three schools.

COMMENT PERIOD CLOSING FOR CHESTER, LITTLEVILLE AND BLANDFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Area residents are reminded that the deadline for submitting written comments regarding the future of Gateway elementary schools is approraching for Chester, Littleville and Blandford Elementary Schools.

CRANK UP THE HEAT FOR BLANDFORD ES RAFFLE: The Blandford Elementary School PTO is turning up the heat with a fundraiser that could fill your oil tank! Take one chance, or a few, and you could win 150 gallons of home heating oil to be delivered by Wheeler Oil of Chester. A donation of $5.00 is appreciated for each ticket. The drawing is on November 2, 2009 and just 200 tickets have been printed. The oil can be delivered anywhere in the Gateway towns. If you don’t heat with oil, or live outside the district, you can still win as the cash market value of the oil on the day of the drawing will be given as a prize to those who do not use oil or live outside the district. Contact any member of the Blandford PTO or call the school at 685-1350 to find out more. Money raised by the raffle will help the PTO contribute to field trips and educational enrichment programs for the students in Blandford.

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: Dedicated to helping Gateway parents raise strong, safe, healthy and high-achieving kids!

SWINE FLU, SIMPLIFIED: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has developed a simple, new message to reduce the spread of swine flu. It’s that simple!


  • LIBRARY VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT: R. H. Conwell Elementary School is seeking volunteers to help in the school library. Please let school secretary Sharon Barnard know if you are able to help.
  • PARENT NOTES INTO SCHOOL: When sending in a note for your child regarding absence, dismissal, or any other matter, please include a date, your child’s first and last name and their teacher’s name (through grade 6) on that note.
  • SEASONAL FLU SHOTS AVAILABLE FOR GATEWAY STAFF: The Gateway School-Based Health Center is offering seasonal flu vaccine for Gateway staff. The fee will be $20, first come first served. Limited quantities are available and staff must make an appointment at the SBHC.
  • PSAT’S FOR SOPHOMORES AND JUNIORS: Sophomores and juniors who are thinking about attending college are advised to sign up now for the PSAT. The PSAT is the best practice for the SAT since the format and directions are the same for both tests. On average, students who take the PSAT score higher on the SAT than those who don’t. You also get free online access to My College Quickstart, a great college and career planning tool that lets you review your PSAT, provides you with a customized SAT study plan, and gives a personalized list of colleges, majors and careers. Juniors who take the PSAT may also qualify for scholarships and other programs. The PSAT will be given at Gateway Regional High School on Wednesday, October 14th. Students must sign up in the Guidance Office by Friday, October 2nd for this test. Cost is $14 (cash or check payable to the school), which must be paid at sign-up. You will then receive more information on the test as well as a practice test. Please contact the Guidance Office (413.685.1107) if you have questions about the PSAT.
  • NEW HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE POLICY: High school families are probably aware that an attendance policy has been in effect for many years; however, students and parents/guardians should take note of the new guidelines in place this year.
  • GATEWAY ELEMENTARY OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE: A wonderful opportunity to meet teachers and staff face-to-face, look at student work, and see our beautiful schools!
  • NEW HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE POLICY: High school families are probably aware that an attendance policy has been in effect for many years; however, students and parents/guardians should take note of the new guidelines in place this year.
  • APPLICATION FOR FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH: The application form is posted to our website. If you need assistance, please contact John Bergeron or Diane Meehan at 667-2204, who would be happy to help.
  • FEES FOR 2009-10: As was reported earlier this year, student fees will be increasing for the coming school year.

  • DISTRICT CALENDAR FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR: The district calendar for the coming school year is posted on-line, and contains Open House Dates, parent conferences, holidays, vacations, graduation and student early-release days.
  • HOW TO FIND THE FALL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULE: The high school sports schedule for fall sports is posted online at . Fall season tryout schedules are already posted on-line. Home games will continue to be posted in the “Week at a Glance” column of Breaking News.

  • WEBSITE ON THE FUTURE OF GATEWAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Parents of students in Gateway elementary schools have a new resource for information as the district grapples with tough economic decisions and the possible closure of some schools. Click here for the website.

The Superintendent’s Corner for this week is attached.  This week, Dr. Hopson reports on last week’s meeting with town officials. Read the entire column for details!

Have a wonderful week!

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“Breaking News From Gateway”

Is published weekly by the Gateway Regional School District

12 Littleville Rd.

Huntington, MA  01050

For questions or feedback, please contact Wendy Long @ (413) 685-1003 or email

© 2009, Gateway Regional School District