If memory serves me, it was right after the red, white and blue items from the Fourth of July were removed from store shelves, that we began to see a hint of school supplies. Now, the countdown has gone from weeks to days, and the "back to school" push is in full swing.
Students, parents, teachers, and administrators are scrambling to have everything ready.
Recently, we had the opportunity to check in with Dedham Middle School Principal Debra Gately, to see how things were going. With mounds of paperwork still on their desks, the girls in the front office - Kathy Timmons and Roberta Beck - have been hard at work all Summer.
Much like her peers around town, Ms. Gately had her nose buried in her computer, putting the finishing touches on the approaching school year. Looking up with a smile, Principal Gately announced that she did have some "exciting news" to share.
A few weeks ago, Vice Principal Margo Fraczek gave birth to her son, Marshall. Always a "hands on" administrator, Dr. Fraczek remained in school all of last year.
Scheduled to return to her position in January, Dr. Fraczek will continue to be involved in the Middle School and with her leadership team, while nurturing Marshall and older sister Cecelia at home. As Principal Gately put it, "this created a unique situation... we needed an interim Asst. Principal."
As luck would have it, D.M.S. secured the services of Ms. Kate Conway. Ms. Conway has been an educator for the past 38 years, 20 of them as a Principal in Cambridge and Wilmington.
We sat for a while with Ms. Conway, and you could tell by the excitement in her eyes, that she was ready for the school year to begin. She told us that her goal for the next few months, will be to "continue the great work that she has seen and heard about from Principal Gately and Superintendent June Doe."
Ms. Conway's years of experience brings an added strength to the administration of D.M.S. For the first few weeks of the school year, Ms. Conway stressed just how important it is to make the students - especially those incoming in grade 6 - "comfortable and confident enough, so that they can excel..."
A firm believer in her "open door policy", Asst. Principal Conway knows that if you can "engage a student in the curriculum early on, and couple that with support from home and in school, you will succeed."
She added with a big smile that "the Dedham Middle School looks like a well-oiled machine", and she was quite impressed so far.On our way out, Principal Gately added that the parents and students are "very fortunate to have Kate Conway" and that "we have been delivered an angel, she fits right in..."