Faculty and Trustees (Volume 3: Fall 2013)

Chris Abel:  Animal Welfare Club – East

Sturgis has started a new “Animal Welfare Club.”  The mission will be primarily to work with local shelters and institutions looking to improve the lives of dogs/cats/domestic animals.  However, the longer-term goals will be to get students to look at issues facing “wildlife” and/or “wildlife relate issues” on both a local and global level.

Kristen Anthony:  Human Rights Council – West

The Sturgis West Human Rights Council is planning its second waffle sale in order to raise money for a non-profit, online, micro-finance organization called Kiva.  Through this organization, the students in the HRC are able to provide micro loans in increments of $25 to men and women in developing countries around the world.  In June last year, they lent $100 to an individual in Yaoundé, Cameroun.  The loan is currently in repayment.

Brij Anand:  Athletics – West

Fall seasons were very successful.  With student-athletes practicing four or five times a week, individuals are experiencing growth and success in their chosen sport. With the incoming freshman class, participation is up and we are able to field a few more JV teams.

Participation data:

JV and Varsity Girls Soccer 30

JV and Varsity Girls Volleyball 29

Varsity Field Hockey 19

JV and Varsity Boys Soccer 36

Varsity golf 9

JV and Varsity Boys / Varsity Girls X-Country 31

Other noticeable advancements include a home field hockey venue for the first year, a girls’ soccer / field hockey practice venue that is walking distance from West.

Jim Barrasso:  History – East

Remains of the Sparrow HawkOn Monday, Sept. 16th, all Sturgis East freshmen history students visited the Cape Cod Maritime museum for a history lesson on the shipwreck of the Sparrowhawk. The Sparrowhawk, which sank in the 1600s off Cape Cod, is the oldest known recovered Shipwreck in North America.

Teachers Bailey Cavanaugh and Matthew Fetzer designed a two-day history lesson that incorporated analysis of primary-source documents and the actual shipwreck, which is on display at the museum. Sturgis freshmen have been visiting the museum on an annual basis for the past 10 years in keeping with the maritime heritage of Sturgis.

Laura Carah:  Library – West

The West Library has been outfitted with bright new chairs and  resources: new databases, new ebooks, and more than 300 new books, already processed and in the catalog, thanks to our new service, Follett-Titlewave. Gale databases are easier to access than ever here and will be joined by our new  L’Annee Philologique database, a great resources for Greek, Roman, and Latin queries.

We have two new computers up and running in our Extended Essay Corner, especially helpful as the Seniors outline and begin to draft their daunting 4,000 word EE essays. In the second Faculty EE Training Lunch last Wednesday, IB Coordinator, Julie Carman, and Librarian, Laurie Carah, welcomed teaching Supervisors to learn the latest on Managebac and to collaborate with experienced EE Supervisors on how to move students from the essay phase of the process to the drafting phase. Hopefully, each Supervisor left with new ways to enrich the EE experience with their advisees, new materials: EE outline and essay samples,  and hopefully a full stomach from the Pizza gratefully donated by the administration.

Randy Carspecken, Math – East

sextantMr. C recently won a $500 grant from the Educational Foundation for Dennis and Yarmouth to purchase marine sextants for Trigonometry classes. He writes, “A major topic in all our mathematics classes is trigonometry and since 2005 here at Sturgis I have come up with a variety of activities to give students hands-on experiences making indirect measurements as applications of the three trigonometric ratios as well as the sine and cosine laws and the non-right triangle area formula. The accurate measurement of horizontal angles, however, has always been a great shortcoming and a year ago I ordered and assembled my own transit (a cardboard version I was willing to purchase and construct myself) to determine if the historically famous sextant (which has a key role in maritime history and also happens to be the logo of our school) would be something I could integrate into my activities for measuring both horizontal and vertical angles. After finding how accurate this instrument is (up to 1/10th of a degree for the inexpensive cardboard model I purchased) I researched and found more accurate durable plastic versions that could further extend the possibilities for rich hands-on activities. My colleagues here at Sturgis who run some of the activities I have designed (see attached “Trig On The Green”) would also love to have their students use this equipment.

College Mini Fairs

Sturgis hosted more than 45 college representatives during three days of college mini fairs this week. We thank the Guidance Team at both campuses for organizing a fun and informative week for our students!

The following article was originally published in Sturgis Storm Watch on 11/18/2013 and is reprinted here with the author’s permission.


Regis College and The University of Scranton were among the colleges present at the College Fair {photo by Meghan Borowksi}
This fall, dozens of colleges from all over New England sent representatives or admissions workers to attend Sturgis East’s annual Fall College Fair. The student turnout was very impressive this year during the three-day event, as hundreds of students seemed eager to find out what each college offers. Representatives came from Harvard University, Framingham State, Boston University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, just to name a few, and they were were willing and friendly to advocate for their university by answering plenty of questions from our students.Harvard representative William Powers, the best-selling author of Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, specifically enjoyed his time speaking with students at the event. Powers shared his thoughts and impressions on the fair in an interview with Stormwatch reporter Chris Neuman:How did you feel about the atmosphere at our school?
The Sturgis staff, faculty and students were all very warm. The event had a friendly, easygoing feel that I liked.What were some common questions asked by our students?
The most common questions were about specific fields of study. Can I major in meteorology? Can I double-major in music and biology? That sort of thing. The second most common kind of question was about what it takes to get into Harvard – grades, scores, extra-curriculars, etc. Many students asked me if the IB grading system is understood and if IB grades are appropriately weighted versus other grading systems. I assured them that, because Harvard has so many applicants from outside the U.S., our admissions office has extensive experience with IB applicants. And many IB students are accepted each year.

Junior Andreza Andrade talks with a college admissions representative at the college fair
Was there any popularity in fields that students were asking about?
Most of the field-of-study questions were about science. There were not so many questions about the humanities, though I recall one student asking if Harvard has a good classics department for the study of Latin and other ancient languages (and it has an excellent one).Did you like coming to Sturgis’ College Fair for the first time? Do you plan on returning for Sturgis College Fairs to come?
Yes, this was not only my first visit to the Sturgis fair, but it was my first time representing Harvard at any college fair. I would be delighted to return in the future, if the local alumni interview committee asks me to do so.  I live in Orleans and mostly interview applicants from the Outer Cape, but as a committee we cover the entire Cape and Islands.
Thank you to ALL of the college representatives who attended this year’s Fall College Fair. We hope to see you all next time!

Ewerton DeCastro, Trustee was recently appointed to the 81st Recruitment Training Troop of the MA State Police. He begins the six month training program on December 2.

Elise Edmonson:  Prom Committee – West

The prom committee at West is off to great start this year with fundraising and planning.  The first mac and cheese sale of the year was a hit with zero leftovers and big profits.  Sturgis West will hold its prom on Saturday, May 3rd from 7:00PM- 10:00PM at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis!

Eric Hieser, Executive Director 

IB-Heads-Dark1-150x150Mr. Hieser attended an IB Heads World Conference October 3-6 in  Buenos Aires, Argentina.  IB in a Virtual World brought together heads of IB World Schools from across the globe to discuss how technology is changing the way we think about teaching and learning. This focused and intense agenda was created to engage educational leaders worldwide about current and innovative uses of technology. The sessions were intended to energize the audience and engender discussions about new ways of learning and leadership challenges faced in integrating technology into teaching and learning.

Eric Hillebrand:  History – West

East and West History Departments combined to take a group of 30 students to this year’s James Otis lecture series at Faneuil Hall.  The topic this time is the progress of women in Massachusetts since the early 1800’s.

Alfonso Garcia Willimans from Colegio Willimas de Cuernavaca in Mexico, Jayne Plester-Dent Curriculum Manager for Inclusive Education International Baccalaureate Organization, ,IB Global Centre, The Hague, Kristel Solomon-Saleem from the Hong Kong Academy,   Sara Mayo from The International School of The Hague in the Netherlands, Susan LaCombe-Voigt from Sturgis Charter Public School in the USA,  Anindita Mukherjee from Oberoi International School in Mumbai, Kala Parasuram Assessment Access and Inclusion Manager at the International Baccalaureate, Cardiff, and Alan Andrew from the Community School in the UK

Alfonso Garcia Willimans from Colegio Willimas de Cuernavaca in Mexico, Jayne Plester-Dent Curriculum Manager for Inclusive Education International Baccalaureate Organization, ,IB Global Centre, The Hague, Kristel Solomon-Saleem from the Hong Kong Academy, Sara Mayo from The International School of The Hague in the Netherlands, Susan LaCombe-Voigt from Sturgis Charter Public School in the USA, Anindita Mukherjee from Oberoi International School in Mumbai, Kala Parasuram Assessment Access and Inclusion Manager at the International Baccalaureate, Cardiff, and Alan Andrew from the Community School in the UK

Susan Lacombe Voigt, Special Education Coordinator at Sturgis East, was one of six SPED inclusion specialists invited to meet in June at the International Baccalaureate (IB) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. The goal of the meeting was to develop Guidelines for Inclusive Education in IB World Schools. Like AP programs, the IB curriculum has traditionally been offered only to high achievers selected to participate. Sturgis is one of the first schools to introduce an inclusive “IB for All” philosophy that promotes the belief that students selected through a public lottery can succeed in a challenging curriculum regardless of past academic records or individual challenges. We are pleased to see IB schools beginning to reflect on inclusive education.

Kathleen Lynch, Technology Coordinator

During the last year, Sturgis built a second campus and made significant upgrades in technology on both campuses. With funds received in the last annual appeal:

  •  new wireless access points were installed in every classroom
  • server software was updated in preparation for joining our two campus networks
wiring 004

CapeNet installs a FiberOptic cable at East

Fiber optic "bouquet"

Fiber optic “bouquet”

On November 18,  CapeNet installed a FiberOptic cable to East and West campuses with funds from a 32 million dollar Broadband Technology Opportunity Program through the non-profit OpenCape Corporation.

This cable provides Sturgis with the option to connect to the OpenCape fiber optic network through CapeNet.  The fiber optic connections advantages will provide dedicated and synchronous bandwidth.

Lynn Kelley:  TOK – West

As you might have “heard,” Ms. Kelley’s Theory of Knowledge 1 classes at West are starting to get a “sense” of what it is like to be a ToK student by delving into sense perception and the notion that reality is more subjective than we think.  If you want a little “taste” of the action, here is a Tedtalk that they “saw” recently: Optical Illusions Show How We See – Beau Lotto

Danielle Massey:  The Service Activity Club – East

The Service Activity Club at East started this past week. Once a month, on the second Friday, a group of students and 2 staff members will be serving lunch at the Salvation Army shelter. Mrs. Todoroff and Mrs. Massey took 5 students this past week. A great experience was had by all and the clients were very appreciative that Sturgis students were there. 

John Newcombe:  Advisory – West

In advisory we spent some time “getting to know each other” a little better or as we call it  “Norming”.  Tonja Weimer suggested an activity where we have our students stand on a sheet and without getting off, flip the sheet over.  The things you can get a group of kids to do for donuts.

Patrick O’Kane:  Athletics – East

With over 190 participants, our fall sports season was very successful.  East Athletics welcomed new coaches Lindsey Weaver (volleyball), Michael Thompson (golf), and Ann-Marie Forrest (girls soccer) who join our veteran core of varsity coaches.  We hosted our first ever field hockey game vs. Nantucket at Simpkins Field in Yarmouth (we always played away due to lack of a facility).  While the final score was not in our favor, our girls were happy to have a field they can call their own.

Rachel Ollagnon:  Theater – East

9th Grade theatre students have created and performed a “Silent Movie” in the style of the old black and white melodrama films from before the 1920s. Students are working in assigned groups and are enthusiastically collaborating and creating together.

Arthur Pontes at Harvard Club-1

Louis DiBerardinis of the Harvard Club (left) presents
the Excellence in Teaching award to Arthur Pontes

Arthur Pontes, Sturgis West was recently awarded the Harvard Club 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award from Harvard Club of Boston.  Mr. Pontes was one of only four high school teachers in New England to be selected as a recipient of the award this year. The teachers and 200 student winners of the Harvard Club’s Prize Book Award attended a celebratory breakfast on October 2, 2013 held in their honor at the Harvard Club of Boston.

Teachers selected for this award are recognized for their ability to inspire curiosity and excellence among their students and to perform their role daily in a manner that is clearly above and beyond the call of duty.

Sturgis students, teachers and parents alike are fortunate that Mr. Pontes has been part of our community since 2004. He served as our first IB Coordinator and has taught History and English at Sturgis. Before coming to Sturgis, Mr. Pontes taught for eight years at Somerville High School and for 25 years overseas in Belgium, Ecuador, Italy and The Netherlands where he served in various roles as teacher, principal and/or administrator.

To learn more about his teaching career, see: The Path of Arthur Pontes from Somerville to Sturgis with Side Trips. https://sturgissoundings.wordpress.com/faculty-profile/arthur-pontes/

Elie Rabinowitz: Spanish – West

Students in Mr. R’s IB Spanish classes are starting the year studying the Maya people of Northern Central America.  The students are excited as it seems they have yet to learn about indigenous early America in their academic career.  They will be learning about the Maya architecture, lifestyle, calendar system, and also comparing ancient and modern Maya peoples.

Elie Rabinowitz: Outing Club – West

32 students from West turned out at Sandy Neck Beach for an Outing Club potluck dinner and bonfire.  Students from all grades got to know each other and hang out at the beach playing ball, talking, roasting marshmallows and in general sharing a passion for the outdoors. It was a great way to start the year.

Peter Sampou:  Science – East

Sturgis East Science Faculty

Sturgis East Science Faculty

All 8 Sturgis East Science faculty attended a day long estuarine education/science training session on Sat. 21 Sept at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR) as part of Gallo and Sampou’s NOAA BWET grant. We took the 10th grade to WBNERR for a full day field experience in estuarine science (emphasizing physics and chemistry) on Oct 15. Sturgis East’s BWET finale for our senior class incorporates multidisciplinary (across all our sciences), student-led, research at the Sandwich Town Beach/Boardwalk. It is our G-4 project.

Lindsay Scott:  Community Garden Club – West

The Community Garden Club started off the year cleaning up the garden and planting kale for the fall. We’re planning on visiting some farms this fall for inspiration!

Claire Shea:  Spanish – East

In SL2, seniors are talking about technology! They are comparing their use of Twitter, Facebook, tablets and smartphones to Spanish-speaking countries, discussing addiction to technology (and perhaps diagnosing themselves), and will soon be talking about videogames, Steve Jobs, and online education.

Ubiquitous Technology

On August 20, Sturgis hosted forty teachers from twenty Cape and Islands schools for a professional development workshop. The Ubiquitous Technology workshop focused on incorporating mainstream app technology to support students who learn differently. Ubiquitous Technology was presented by Landmark College, hosted by Sturgis Charter Public School and made possible through the generous support of The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.


Jennifer Walts: C.A.S. – West

The Clubs and Activities Fair was held on Friday, September 6th to get all of our students excited about involvement in extra-curricular opportunities at Sturgis West.  Student leaders displayed poster-boards in the lobby, atrium, and outdoor area to encourage peers to join their first club meetings.

Ms. Kirk and Ms. Walts have visited TOK classes to get our juniors started with their involvement in the CAS program. Students are booking their CAS interviews with their respective advisors and posting their first CAS activities using ManageBac.  Our juniors are eager to get started, and some have already posted about their involvement in Habitat for Humanity, Fall season athletics, and even a creative writing project.

Our CAS seniors have also received visits from their CAS advisors to review their progress in the program so far. Students are doing their best to balance their involvement in areas of creativity, action, and service. A current senior, Owen Bernstein, just initiated a Crossfit Training “Get Fit” Club as a new activity on campus.  Students and teachers are really enjoying this new club, and Owen has reflected deeply about how he is impacting others through his service:

“This Cross Training program will introduce players/students/athletes and or faculty to a new, simple, yet effective strength and conditioning regime. The program will imply new movements and technique into very effective workouts that will improve strength, mobility, cardio, and muscle endurance…I want to make the club members more aware of nutrition… My goal in some way is to create a revolution- a new and unique program that makes people work as hard as they can , push themselves and those around them and work together to feel better.”- Owen Bernstein ’14 



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