By Adam Swift
The current school year at Winthrop Middle School has seen some exciting changes, as well as return to some normalcy following the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At last week’s School Committee meeting, Middle School Principal Brian Curley updated the committee on recent happenings in the building.
“Last spring and this school year towards the entrance to the school, things look a little different,” said Curley. “In spring, there was a tree that was planted in memory of Amy Gallagher that is being kept up by the Gallagher family and some of the custodians.”
Gallagher, who died in 2020, was a 1983 Winthrop High School graduate who worked as an ESP at Winthrop Middle School.
There was also a bench installed near the entrance of the school in memory of Peter Grimes, a long-time teacher and coach at the middle school who was inducted into the Winthrop High School Hall of Fame in 2022.
Enrollment at the middle school is fairly consistent with last year’s numbers, Curley said.
“As of last week, we had 425 students, and last year, we had 429,” said Curley.
For the most part, enrollment at the grade levels has stayed pretty even, with a fairly large outgoing eighth grade class last year being replaced by a large sixth grade group.
Academically, students saw their report cards for trimester 1 sent out on Dec. 19, with trimester 2 progress reports scheduled to go out at the end of January.
Most positions have been filled at the middle school, Curley said, although he added the school is hoping to soon fill one vacant ESP position.
Curley also touched on the middle school orientation process for fifth graders entering sixth grade. In addition to the tours of the school in the spring, Curley said the school added scheduled tours for parents and students in August.
The middle school is also looking to add additional clubs this winter in addition to its drama, STEM, and student council clubs. Some of those offerings include chess, ping pong, a fitness club, and a literary magazine.
“There are more things for our students, which are desperately needed at the middle school level,” said Curley.
Curley said both the student council and the PTO have been active this year with fundraising and other activities. He said the student council has raised money for breast cancer awareness by selling bracelets, and also raised funds with a community bake sale.
There has also been a focus this year on school-wide programming touching on issues such as growth and mindset, and respect. Curley said school adjustment and guidance counselors, along with school staff as a whole, have been working to identify and support a wider range of students who need emotional support.
With Covid restrictions on the wane, Curley said there has been a return to many traditional school events this year, including the eighth grade class trip to Washington, D.C.
In addition, he said the PTO is already working on year-end events such as the year end carnival and moving on dance.