Suffield students and parents will be starting the school year by getting to know some new faces at both the high school and middle school.
Suffield High School students will be returning to a school under the leadership of newly-hired Principal Steven Moccio. Moccio comes from Windermere Elementary in Ellington, and before that he was an assistant principal at the high school level.
"He has a depth of leadership experience that we see as really valuable," said Superintendent of Schools Karen Baldwin. "He understands the developmental progression and needs of kids. He also has a strong skill set with communication and relationship building," she said.
Baldwin also said that the district is in the process of hiring two new vice principals at the high school level. "They are yet to be determined, but we anticipate them joining us for the start of the new year," she said.
At the district level, Suffield has hired Bill Hoff as budget manager. Hoff, who comes from a charter school, will be overseeing three priority financial areas: transportation, the newly-hired food service contractor, and budgets and grants.
The district also recently ended its contract with Sodexo and hired Aramark to provide meals for students. "We hope to improve the quality of food we offer, as well as the rate of participation in the program," said Baldwin.
Also new at the high school, thanks to a State Department of Education grant, is a digital learning initiative. "All of our high school kids will start the year with a Google Chromebook computer," said Baldwin.
"Starting this school year, Suffield High School will have a 1:1 digital learning environment," said Rebecca Osleger, the district's director of technology. "All students in grades nine to 12 will be assigned a district Chromebook within the first few weeks of school which will be used throughout their tenure at Suffield High School."
The district is focusing on preparing students for their academic and professional futures by giving them experience with cutting-edge technology. "This digital learning environment will prepare students for the challenges of college and careers, which requires the creation of a dynamic learning environment that supports creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking," said Osleger.
Suffield Middle School will also be welcoming a new principal, Damon Pearce, coming from his position as an associate high school principal in New Britain. "His interest is in leading a dynamic change agenda," said Baldwin, giving as an example the revised schedule which will be implemented at the middle school to allow for double blocks of time in English and language arts.
The new schedule will also allow for more time in the unified arts classes. "We just did not have consistent learning opportunities in unified arts for kids," said Baldwin, who saw a need for students to engage with even more technology during their learning hours.
Suffield students will begin the new school year on Tuesday, Sept. 2.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun