Notes and Accolades – Faculty (Summer 2015)


Matt Cappucci presents award to Mr.DA

Matt Cappucci presents award to Mr. D-A

Aaron Dunigan AtLee, Mathematics – East

Congratulations Mr. D-A! During a presentation at an East Faculty meeting, Mathematics teacher Aaron Dunigan AtLee received the Coca-Cola Educator of Distinction Award from Matthew Cappucci, a 2015 Coca-Cola Scholar. Each year, all of the Coca-Cola Scholars designate an Educator of Distinction who has inspired them in their various pursuits while simultaneously being a phenomenal person and educator.

Matt and Aaron 2“The Coca−Cola Educator of Distinction Award represents the sincere dedication of the educators who win it. These teachers help shape the future of America by encouraging its future leaders,” said J. Mark Davis, president of the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation. “The Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation is committed to education, and we are proud to support the Educators of Distinction program. It is our way of saying thank you and congratulations to these teachers.”

Jo Brisbane and Anna Botsford are some of the locals you'll see on stage across Cape Cod.

Jo Brisbane and Anna Botsford are some of the locals you’ll see on stage across Cape Cod.

Anna Botsford, Theatre – West

Anna Botsford is featured in a recent article on the Cape theater scene. She describes how her involvement in community theater “keeps her on her toes” and inspires her teaching at Sturgis.

Actors prize Cape Cod’s dramatic scene

Peter Jay Brown speaks at Sturgis

Peter Jay Brown

Peter Jay Brown

This spring, Peter Jay Brown, director of the documentary “Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist,” visited Sturgis East and spoke to Environmental Science, Biology and Theory of Knowledge students about issues of global importance including his new project to shed light on salmon farming. Best known for his contributions to Animal Planet’s hit show, Whale Wars, Mr. Brown has been active in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for over 25 years.

Senior Sam Wood commented, “It was a pleasure to listen to activist Peter Brown speak about why it is so important to get involved with helping our planet and its inhabitants. His talk served as a reminder of how students may become involved in this field. Sturgis Charter Public School is grateful for Mr. Brown’s visit.”

iPad App Technology

Ibrahim with studentDr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Learning Disabilities Consultant from Landmark College, worked with Sturgis Special Education staff during two visits in December and April to introduce iPad app technology to assist students who learn differently. Sturgis recently acquired two iPad carts and 20 iPads for Special Education at East and West. The equipment and consultation visits were made possible through a 3-year Learning Disabilities grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

Susan Lacombe Voigt Helps Develop IB Guide to Inclusive Education

Susan LaCombe Voigt IB Inclusion

Susan LaCombe Voigt IB Inclusion

Congratulations to Susan Lacombe Voigt, (fourth from right) Special Education Coordinator at Sturgis East, and the group of Special Education inclusion specialists from around the globe she collaborated with to create The IB Guide to Inclusive Education: A Resource for Whole School Development. The group met 2 summers ago at the International Baccalaureate (IB) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands to develop guidelines for inclusive education in IB World Schools. The guide is now available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. We are pleased to see IB schools promoting inclusive education programs like “IB for All” at Sturgis.



Paul Marble, Principal – East

Paul Marble, Sturgis East Principal

Paul Marble, Sturgis East Principal

On March 18, Sturgis Board of Trustees President Keith Clarke announced the results of a global search for a new Executive Director for Sturgis to replace Eric Hieser when he retires at the end of June 2016. Several excerpts from Dr. Clarke’s letter to Sturgis faculty, staff, students, and parents are provided below:

“In a very difficult and lengthy decision-making process, the Sturgis Board unanimously decided to offer the Executive Director position to current Sturgis East Principal, Paul Marble, and he has accepted the position. We are confident that we now have secured an educational leader very well-suited to take the school forward in the coming years.

We want to say a special thanks to the students, faculty, parents, and Board members who participated in the thorough search process, including the screening of the 30 initial applicants, the review of the long list of qualified candidates, the Skype interviews of the short list of candidates, and the personal interviews during the visits of the finalist candidates to the school in the past two weeks.

We look forward to a bright future for our school.”

Paul Marble has fifteen years of experience in public charter, traditional public and private schools in Massachusetts. Prior to working at Sturgis Charter Public School, he taught at The Winchendon School and Peabody Veterans Memorial High School. Mr. Marble joined the Sturgis faculty in 2004 and taught English for six years. From 2008-2010, he served as Sturgis Administrative Intern and Lead Teacher of English. In 2010, he was appointed Associate Director of Sturgis and has served as Principal of Sturgis East since 2011.

To view the Cape Cod Time’s article about his appointment, see:

Newly appointed Sturgis leader looks ahead

To learn more about Mr. Marble’s background, see his Faculty Profile published in the December 2014 issue of Sturgis Soundings Magazine:  The Path of Paul Marble from Fitchburg to Sturgis

Lee Moynihan at Mile 25 of Boston Marathon

Lee Moynihan at Mile 25 of Boston Marathon

Lee Moynihan, Special Education – East

Congratulations to Lee Moynihan who completed the Boston Marathon on April 20 in 3 hr 30 min. Despite tough conditions of heavy rain and high winds, she ran Boston Strong. Her comment upon finishing the race: “This is one tired teacher!” Way to go, Mrs. Moynihan!

Science, East, Sheila Gilligan

Maddie Scozzari

Maddie ScozzariScience, East, Sheila Gilligan:

East senior IB Biology HL and SL classes have started a series of labs to develop practical contemporary lab skills and to understand the applications of biotech, in this case, the production of insulin to treat diabetes. Soon Grade 11 and 9 classes will also engage in a variety of biotech labs. We’re enjoying use of the renovated biology lab and new biotech equipment provided by our Mass Life Sciences Center grant. We’re also grateful for the generous sponsorship by the Harvard University FAS Amgen Biotech Experience program and the Marine Biological Laboratory as a reagent partner. (See picture of student Maddie Scozzari)

Science, West, Gina Kelly

Science West 1West senior IB Biology HL and SL students recently performed a series of genetic engineering labs collectively known as the “Amgen Biotech Experience” (ABE). Genetic engineering is a branch of biotechnology that uses sophisticated procedures and techniques to change an organism’s DNA. This ability has had a huge impact on the field of medicine, as genetically modified bacteria can make proteins, such as human insulin, and other life-saving products. It is rare for high school students to have the opportunity to actually practice the procedures and techniques that are the foundation of the biotech Science West 2industry, but the ABE program, our partnerships with Harvard and the Marine Biological Laboratory, and our newly equipped and renovated lab spaces provided Sturgis students with just such an opportunity culminating in the successful transformation of bacterial cells. The cells now have a new and highly visible trait: they produce a pink fluorescent protein. This unique ability to “glow”  is thanks to a fluorescence gene which was originally derived from sea anemones but successfully genetically engineered to now be expressed in our bacterial cells. The students did an absolutely amazing job!


Science East and West – Rebecca Wheeler, Tonja Weimer and Sheila Gilligan:

Biotech Futures 2

Biotech Futures

20 East and West science students attended a Biotech Futures workshop at Worcester Polytechnic University on May 12.  Grade 11 biology teachers, Rebecca Wheeler and Tonja Weimer chaperoned the trip.  Sheila Gilligan helped organize the trip.

Biotech Futures is a college and career exploration event, where students carry out hands-on laboratory experiments and talk with science professors and students.  The entire fieldtrip, including bus and cover for substitutes, was free.  The trip was made possible through the relationship that Sturgis has as a “BioTeach” school (since 2008) with MassBioEd, a consortium of higher education institutions and biotech firms in Massachusetts. Some of the labs that students engaged in: (1) understanding the biochemical reaction that causes the glow of a firefly; (2) exploring how the bee brains learn and remember flowers; (3) detecting genetic disease through extracting, photographing and examining chromosomes.(Pictured at Right:  East biology teacher Rebecca Wheeler with students at WPI lab.

Sturgis involved with program to help Terrapin turtles

A stewardship component of the 3 year BWET grant (funded by NOAA) began ahead of schedule. The Great Marsh of Barnstable is near the northern limit of Diamond-backed Terrapin turtles (which are MA State listed as Threatened). A head-start program involving multiple grade students is allowing for young of the year terrapins to be reared, overwintered, in Dr. Pete’s classroom where they grow roughly 5 times larger (from hatchling size) so that predation loss in the wild is greatly diminished when they are released in the spring. This was initiated in September 2013 with a student-attended release back into the wild of the 4 terrapin turtles in June 2014. Three more head-start Terrapins took residence in Dr. Pete’s classroom this past November (2014). Sturgis expects this head-start of terrapin turtles to be an ongoing relationship with the State and Town of Barnstable wildlife staff wherein Sturgis students adopt and provide for the needs and understanding of a State threatened species.

Additionally, this fall (2014) also saw record numbers of critically endangered sea turtles (Kemp Ridley tur-tles) stranding along the North Shore of Cape Cod. While Dr. Pete personally witnessed an afternoon’s col-lection of turtles prior to their transport to a rejuvenation center (one turtle showed proof of mistaken food consumption of a balloon), it was much more difficult to arrange a near spontaneous field trip to bring a number of students to Sandy Neck Beach (a site of weather-specific strandings). Next year attempts will be made to have students involved in the Sandy Neck Beach stranding rescues. 

Sports, East, Patrick O’Kane

The winter sports season has concluded with several major achievements to be noted. Jacob Tobey and Meaghan Fitzgerald became the first boy’s and girl’s basketball players to score 1000 points during their careers.  Jacob finished his season with 33 points against CCA and Meaghan closed her career with 19 points vs. Nantucket.  Watch for an upcoming article in the Sandwich Enterprise regarding these achievements.

The girls team accomplished another first, by winning 8 games this season–the most ever by girls varsity basketball.  Congratulations to the girls varsity–and all of our winter sports participants (all 90 of them!) on a great season!  Spring sports are set to begin on March 16th.

Girls Basketball Coach Bob Leavenworth has arranged for our girls team to play a shortened exhibition game at the Boston Garden on March 16th, prior to the Celtics-76ers game.  Coach Bob, 16 of our girls team, and about 25 supporters will make the trip up for the evening.  Thanks, Bob!

TrackThe spring sports season has come to a close at East.  Some of the highlights from the season include:

152 Sturgis East participants

First Varsity season (and victories!) for boys lacrosse and track and field

State tournament qualification from boys’ tennis, baseball and several track & field athletes

Making it through the snows of March!

Best of luck to our graduating seniors and we are already making plans for more success in the Fall!


Sturgis Charter, Boston Latin top best high schools list 

Sturgis is featured in a front page story on the May 13 Boston Globe website: “A Cape Cod charter school is the best place to get a public high school education in Massachusetts, according to the latest rankings from US News and World Report…”

US News and World Report

US News RankingUS News and World Report recently announced the Best High Schools Ranking for 2015. Sturgis received a gold medal and is ranked #1 high school in MA, #6 charter school in US, and #32 high school in US.

The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 21,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

Congratulations to Sturgis faculty and students for achieving this recognition of excellence!

The Washington Post

Washington PostThe Washington Post recently announced the 2015 High School Challenge Index based on its review of 2014 data from high schools across the U.S. Once again, Sturgis was ranked the #1 public school in MA and #2 in MA among all high schools behind Middlesex Academy, an independent school. The MA ranking listed four charter schools among the top 10 schools in the state: Advanced Academy of Math and Science, Boston Collegiate Charter, MATCH Charter and Josiah Quincy Upper School, a pilot school in Boston. Sturgis was also ranked #10 among all high schools in the Northeast and #111 in the U.S. Congratulations to Sturgis faculty and 2014 alumni for achieving this annual recognition of excellence!

Links to the Challenge Index data and an excellent article very much in alignment with the Sturgis mission can be accessed here:…/schools/2015/list/national/

Many U.S. Schools Still Resist Challenging All Their Students

Wellness, West, Jenna  Arledge

The Wellness Committee has been hard at work for the past year.  The Wellness Committee is a committee comprised of East and West faculty and parents (and now we have a few students interested as well) that meet at least four times per year to discuss the overall health and wellness of our community and how to maintain and improve it.  We hope that you were able to read the committee’s board report that was sent out at the end of last year summarizing what we accomplished last year and our goals for this year.  The Wellness Committee is proud to say that we just implemented our first activity through advisory before vacation, a mindful eating activity.  Advisers that wished to participate guided their advisees through an activity in which they were asked to choose either a raisin or an m&m, whichever appealed most to them.  The adviser then led their students through a series of sensory activities with that piece of food (i.e. what does it feel like in your hand.  Put it under your nose, what does it smell like.  etc with about a minute of pause in between each sensory direction for thought).  The students then ate the piece of food and shared their experience using “I noticed..” statements.  The committee’s goal was to get students to think about what they are putting in their bodies and hopefully make better choices if needed.  Also, the meditative part of the experience can be recreated at times of stress to relieve anxiety and help aid decision making.  The committee will meet again next week to reflect on this activity.

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