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Minuteman juniors, most from Arlington, honored with book awards

Minteman High School logo

Twenty-five juniors from Minuteman High School in Lexington were recently honored with book awards from various colleges and universities for demonstrating outstanding scholarship, leadership, community service and achievement in specific academic areas.

The honorees and their awards are as follows (those involving Arlington residents are listed first):
The Air Force awards the Math and Science Award to a student who excels in math and science: Michael Whitmore (Arlington)
The Regis College Book Award goes to a student who demonstrates excellent written and oral communication skills, displays outstanding academic promise and exhibits exceptional leadership quality. Dominic DeCampo (Arlington)
In recognition of the value that the St. Lawrence community places on service to others, the St. Lawrence Book Award honors high school juniors who have distinguished themselves in their communities by their significant commitment to community service. If the recipient attends St. Lawrence University, he will receive a merit scholarship of $1,000: Jeffrey Lovoi (Arlington)
University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders Award is given in recognition of strong leadership experience at school and in the community, high grades and challenging courses, and extensive involvement in extracurricular activities: Thainara Gomes (Arlington)
The Society of Women Engineers offers Certificates of Merit to young women who have completed, with distinction, three years of science and three years of math and are active citizens of the school and/or community: Allanah Gatto (Arlington), Diana Perez Sandoval (Everett) and Laurie Pierre (Waltham)
For more than 20 years, the Wheelock College Alumni Book Award has honored outstanding high school juniors who demonstrate a strong commitment to working with and improving the lives of others. Wheelock alumni, students, faculty and administrators share this commitment to being activists and community leaders, themes that are celebrated in this year's award book. We congratulate this year’s recipient for being chosen to receive this award and commend her for her work with our country’s most precious resource, our children: Allison Jorgensen (Arlington)
Two students more students are recognized by RIT for their academic achievements, involvement as a member of our school and community and their creative and innovative talents. If the students decide to attend RIT, they are eligible to receive a scholarship of $7,000 a year for four years: Shaina Guidebeck (Arlington) and Jacob Blum (Wilmington)
The Cornell University Book Award is given to an outstanding student who is an active member of the school or community: Liam Chapman (Arlington)
The Brown University Book Award is awarded to an outstanding high school or preparatory school junior who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression: Davis Kahmann (Arlington)
The Sage Colleges recognize two students who embody the Sage College motto: "To Be, To Know, To Do." The recipients will receive a scholarship of at least $5,000 per year to attend the Sage Colleges: Mitchell Cupp (Concord) and Rustam Ragin (Needham)
Clarkson University recognizes a student who has outstanding leadership qualities and wants to major in engineering, business, science or liberal arts. The Clarkson School Scholars Award gives the recipient a $60,000 scholarship if he decides to attend Clarkson: Evan Kennedy-Spaien (Revere)
Winners of the University of Rochester awards will be eligible to be considered for a merit scholarship of at least $10,000 a year:
University of Rochester Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award is awarded to a student with high achievement and rigor in science classes as well as high PSAT Math and/or SAT Math scores: Dante Fiore (Medford)
University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology recognizes a strong interest in innovation and/or information technology and a high level of achievement in this area.  The student also has exposure to new technologies outside of school, such as pursuing serious work opportunities in local laboratories or industry: Robert Gavin Scott (Watertown)
University of Rochester Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award is given to a student who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficulty social issues, has shown leadership and dedication to community action and has strong grades and rigorous courses taken in the humanities and social sciences: Kevin Lieber (Lexington)
The Elmira College Key has been awarded since 1935 in recognition of the outstanding achievements of high school juniors who rank among the top ten percent of their class and who have demonstrated admirable leadership qualities and held important positions in their schools and their communities. Recipients of this award who decide to attend Elmira will receive a scholarship of $20,000 a year for four years: Tyler Newcomb (Woburn)
The Swathmore College Book Award is given to a student who performs well academically, has a deep sense of ethical and social concern, has outstanding involvement within the community and demonstrates inclusive leadership: Benjamin James (Lancaster)
St. Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience recognizes outstanding students who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism and leadership in his or her community service endeavors: Kathryn Barnes (Stow) and Jacob Blum (Wilmington)
The Lawrence Tech Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is given to a student who has completed at least one year of chemistry or physics and two years of math and is an active and responsible citizen of the school and community. If the recipient chooses to attend Lawrence Tech he will receive a scholarship of $2000 a year for four years: Eric Giniger (Carlisle)
The Rensselaer Medal recognizes superlative academic achievement of young men and women. It is awarded to a junior who has distinguished himself in math and science. If this student attends Rensselaer he will receive a merit scholarship of $25,000 a year for four years: Sean Datar (Acton)
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) recognizes students with a medal as well as a scholarship, should they decide to attend RIT. Two students are recognized for their academic achievements, involvement as a member of our school and community and their computing abilities. If the students decide to attend RIT, they are eligible to receive a scholarship of $7,000 a year for four years:  Christopher Earl (Needham) and Alexander Lamarche (Watertown)

This announcement was published Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Arlington freshman among 4 standouts during Minuteman's 3rd term


Minuteman High School in Lexington has named four outstanding students as Students of the Term for the third term of the school year 2015-2016: freshman Fae Eisenheim of Arlington, sophomore Mia Ramos of Watertown, junior Alexander Gonzalez of Watertown and senior Andrew Battcock of Billerica.

This honor is awarded to one student from each grade level based upon nominations from teachers. The criteria include academic achievement and good citizenship, according to Assistant Principal Brian Tildsley.

All four attended a luncheon in their honor at the Fife & Drum Restaurant at Minuteman recently and were given certificates in recognition of their achievement.

Eisenheim "is an overall great student, teammate and friend," said Nichole Devereaux, her math instructor and basketball coach.

Citing Fae’s industriousness, upbeat attitude, dedication and leadership skills, Devereaux lauds her as "a role model for all students." Another of Fae’s teachers, Ashley Pisapia, noted her devotion to her family and ability to balance time for school work with involvement in sports, including soccer, basketball and tennis.

She is concentrating in horticulture/landscape technology at Minuteman and plans to attend a four-year college.

Ramos was commended by her English teacher, Kevin Sheerin, for having exceptional grades in his class for two consecutive years.

"She is a tremendous student," he said, noting that although she is one of the few girls in Minuteman’s Carpentry program, she holds her own and "does exceptionally well."

Sheerin also praised Mia’s optimistic attitude and outgoing demeanor. Her favorite academic subject is mathematics, she enjoys camping and running, and she hopes to attend the Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Mia’s goal is to be a carpenter and own her own business.

Gonzalez is, in the words of his science teacher, Nina Griffin, a "mature, polite and intelligent young man" who is a role model for his fellow students. He gladly reaches out to classmates who need some assistance with their schoolwork and always takes pride in doing so.

Alexander shows leadership qualities, coming to the forefront in group situations "and making sure that everyone has a chance to be involved," Griffin observed.

He is an exemplary student. His favorite academic subject is mathematics, he participates in soccer and basketball at Minuteman, and in his spare time, he likes watching boxing, playing basketball pick-up games, and playing with his 2-year-old nephew.

He is in Minuteman’s culinary-arts program and wants to start a restaurant with his brother.

Battcock has "constantly been a courteous, dependable, meticulous and diligent student," said his telecommunications instructor, Richard Caruso. "I am proud of him for the level of work he has accomplished at Minuteman."

A conscientious student who works hard and does well, Andrew likes pitching in to help with Freshman Exploratory and Shadowing Day. He plans to attend either Bunker Hill Community College or Middlesex Community College and enroll in the Eversource/National Grid Electric Power & Utility Program.

His hobbies include playing video games and watching TV.

This announcement was published Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

Minuteman students honored at statewide event

Minteman High School logo

Students from Minuteman High School and 51 other schools were recognized at the Outstanding Vocational Technical Student Annual Awards Banquet in Worcester this month. Andrew Blair, a senior majoring in HVAC/R at Minuteman, was among those honored.

The annual event was held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester and was attended by more than 500 people, including students, school administrators, and parents. The event highlights the accomplishments of one student from each of the 52 Massachusetts high schools that offer state-approved vocational-technical education programs.

The event included brief speeches from Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Commissioner of Education Dr. Chester Mitchell and Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty.

Blair, the son of Joseph and Sally Blair of Lincoln, was selected to represent Minuteman High School.

Blair is in the top 10 percent of the senior class at Minuteman and is a recipient of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Award. He has earned an OSHA 10 safety certificate and an EPA 608 Refrigerant certificate.

He is employed in a paid co-op job at Kensington Mechanical in Salem, N.H.

After graduation, Blair plans to continue working and pursuing his education in the field of business.

He worked with Minuteman’s admissions office to encourage middle-school students in the Minuteman district to consider applying to Minuteman.

He has two siblings who also study at Minuteman: Joann, a junior majoring in cosmetology, and Emma, a freshman majoring in culinary arts.

The annual event is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and the Massachusetts Vocational Association.

This announcement was published Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

Two dozen employers attend annual career fair at Minuteman

Minteman High School logo

Drawing from a pool of trained workers, nearly two dozen employers visited Minuteman High School for the school’s annual career fair. The event, held off the school’s main lobby on Tuesday, April 12, attracted a diverse group of employers ranging from landscaping and catering firms to health-care and cosmetology firms.

All were looking for the same thing: qualified candidates for jobs.

Denise Gianoulis from Hairsay II in Arlington was looking for applicants for two part-time cosmetology jobs in her hair salon.

Jeff Antonellis of Capron Lighting & Sound Co. in Needham was looking for workers for his company which provides temporary power for concerts, marathons and other live events.

Both said it was their first time attending a high school career fair.

"We’re looking for people with a good work ethic – someone who shows up on time, someone good with customers, someone who’s pleasant," Gianoulis saud in a news release. She said cosmetology students at Minuteman have a head start on others because they are prepared for their state Cosmetology license exam before they graduate. She herself attended Arlington High School and a private hairdressing school in Cambridge.

Antonellis of Capron Lighting said he was hoping to find someone "motivated" and willing to do "a lot of weekend work."

Ryan Frost, also from Capron, said, "It’s all in the attitude."

Following the event, both said they met some students that showed real potential and might be hired.

Businesses and agencies participating in the fair included Barrett Tree Service East Inc., Billerica Water Department, Capron, Control Air Systems, Garrick-Santo Landscape Co., Gibbons Electricm Hairsay II, Hanscom Air Force Base – 66 Force Support Squadron, Hobbs Brook Management, Lexington Alarm Systems, LogixHealth, McDonald’s, MIT Technology Childcare Center at Lincoln Labs, National Lumber, Right at Home, Supercuts, True Value by Ideal/Ideal Concrete Block, Valley Crest and Walker.

Several branches of the military were represented, including the U.S. Army, the Army National Guard, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.

Employers wishing to review the qualifications of Minuteman students looking for work can visit the school’s online Job Board >>

Minuteman students visited the career fair during their lunch period.

This year’s fair was organized by Joseph Pitta, Minuteman’s coordinator of workforce and economic development, and Allison Salisbury, his assistant.

This announcement was published Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Minuteman School Committee votes to borrow $144.9M to build new high school

Minuteman High School drawing, main front entrance Conceptual drawing provided by Minuteman shows the front entrance.

Just days after receiving state approval of a new regional agreement governing the Minuteman School District, the Minuteman School Committee has voted to borrow money to build a new high school.

The new school, to be built on land in Lincoln near the existing school, will replace the current facility constructed in the early 1970s.

The School Committee approved bonding in the amount of $144,922,478 on a vote of 13-0-1, with the member from Sudbury abstaining. Members from Arlington and Wayland did not attend the meeting.

"This is a big, exciting step for the project and it’s been a very long time coming," said Ford Spalding, chairman of the Minuteman School Building Committee.

Dr. Mitchell D. Chester, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, approved the new regional agreement March 11. The district School Committee followed with its bonding vote Tuesday, March 15.

Many town officials had said that approving a new regional agreement was critical to the ultimate success of the Minuteman building project.

A large portion of the project will be paid by the state.

In January, the state School Building Authority (MSBA) voted unanimously to authorize its executive director to enter into a project funding agreement for a maximum total facilities grant of $44,139,213. Under the grant, the MSBA will pay up to 44.75 percent of eligible project costs, up from the 40 percent figure the MSBA had originally committed.

Dr. Edward Bouquillon, Minuteman superintendent, wrote in an email March 18 that the 44.75-percent reimbursement is for eligible costs, as defined in 963 CMR 2.16 Audit Procedures, MSBA School Building Grant Program. See those definitions here >> 

This will result in a net reimbursement rate of about 30 percent. 

The Minuteman School Committee vote gives member towns 60 days to hold a Town Meeting to reject the borrowing. If no town votes to reject during that period, the borrowing is approved.

The new Minuteman Regional Agreement creates a four-year rolling average for the assessment of operating costs, gives larger towns more of a say in some school committee decisions, eliminates the five-student minimum charged to member towns for capital costs, and requires out-of-district communities to help pay for their share of capital costs of a new building.

Under the new agreement six towns, most of which send few students to Minuteman, were able to withdraw from the district. Town Meetings in Boxborough, Carlisle, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland and Weston voted to exercise that option. However, voters in Dover rejected the idea by a better than 2-to-1 margin.

The Minuteman building project has been in the planning stages for nearly eight years. Minuteman submitted its original Statement of Interest to the MSBA in the fall of 2008.

Since fiscal 2011, the district has invested nearly $7 million in maintenance and to the building’s outdated mechanical systems. A subcommittee established by the School Building Committee estimated that required repairs to the existing facility would cost more than $100 million.

The New England Association of Schools & Colleges has placed Minuteman’s accreditation on “warning” status, solely because of the condition of the facility.

Minuteman is an award-winning regional high school that integrates robust academic and career & technical learning to deliver a revolutionary competitive advantage. The school serves a diverse student body with multiple learning styles, expanding opportunities for college and career success.

This announcement was published Friday, March 18, 2016.

Minuteman lands $500K grant to help launch new career, tech effort

Quote bar, red"Securing this highly-competitive state grant helps reduce costs to local taxpayers."
Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon

With the help of a $500,000 state grant, Minuteman High School will launch a new Advanced Manufacturing & Metal Fabrication program to train high school students and adults for high-wage, high-demand jobs in the field of advanced manufacturing in the MetroWest region.

The competitive grant was announced by Governor Charles D. Baker during ceremonies at the State House on Feb. 24. The governor announced grants totaling $9.3 million from the new Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant Program. He was joined at the event by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II, Education Secretary James Peyser and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.

Some 68 schools and training programs applied for grants. Only 35 were successful.

"This is terrific news for our school and for our region," said Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, superintendent at Minuteman High School, in a news release "We are grateful to Governor Baker and his Workforce Skills Cabinet for making this investment in high-quality vocational-technical education."

Minuteman received $500,000, the largest grant possible under the program. Only one other school received the maximum award.

With the grant, Minuteman will purchase 10 industry-standard machines and 15 ancillary training simulators. The equipment will include five Mini Mills, four CNC Tool Room Lathes, and one CNC Lathe with Y Axis.
The equipment will help Minuteman serve vocational high school students, academic high school students, unemployed and underemployed adults, and incumbent workers seeking to earn industry credentials.

"Securing this highly-competitive state grant helps reduce costs to local taxpayers," Bouquillon said. "Minuteman will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities like this one to get grants."

Instruction will be delivered at Minuteman High School by Chapter 74 state-licensed teachers and will follow state curriculum frameworks and guidelines from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. The new program will be guided by a program advisory committee of business, education and community leaders that will review curriculum, equipment, instruction, and industry trends.

Bouquillon noted that nine companies or agencies wrote letters supporting Minuteman’s grant application. These include the Boston Tooling & Machining Association; Vaccon Vacuum Products; Mach Machine; Lexington Public Schools; Wentworth Institute of Technology College of Professional and Continuing Education; Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce; North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board; Metro North Regional Employment Board; and the Minuteman Futures Foundation.

Several business people and educators have already agreed to serve on the Program Advisory Committee for the new program.

According to Michelle Roche, director of career and technical education at Minuteman, the school will be ordering and installing equipment and designing the new program over the next several months. The school is hoping to have initial course offerings in the fall.

Minuteman officials are planning a new 628-student high school consisting of two Career Academies supporting a total of 16 high-quality career and technical education programs. Advanced Manufacturing will be part of the new school’s Engineering, Construction and Trades Academy.

This announcement was published Thursday, March 3, 2016.

Minuteman STEM students hear hopes for Mars journey

Yari Rodriguez speaks to Minutemen STEM students.Yari Rodriguez speaks to Minutemen STEM students about Mars hopes.

When Yari Rodriguez was a girl, her role models were famous women she read about -- Sally Ride, Christa McAuliffe and Amelia Earhart, all of whom shared a passion for boldly taking to the sky.

Today, Rodriguez, 28, notes wistfully, "I wish someone would have told me that I was going to make it [as they did]; that believing in myself was enough."

That is the message she emphasized when she spoke at the recent Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Camp at Minuteman High School in Lexington. The four-day event allowed local middle-school girls to be mentored by some of Minuteman’s female students in STEM programs, do experiments and projects together -- and, they hope, develop the confidence to know that they can compete in heavily male-dominated STEM disciplines.

The Girls in STEM initiative at Minuteman has received state and national awards for excellence in student-to-student mentoring and has drawn so many applicants that the February session was the third one held since the STEM camp was launched a year ago. Instrumental in its success have been Michelle Roche, Minuteman’s director of career and technical education, as well as and teacher/facilitators Sarah Ard (horticulture) and Becky Quay (engineering).

In her remarks to the girls, Rodriguez gave an overview of her professional life, "highlighting the events that made me the person I am today, creating my interest in STEM and my career as an engineer."

 Inspired by McAuliffe

With hero astronaut Christa McAuliffe in mind, Rodriguez said she planned years ago to become a teacher. Her strong affinity for physics and engineering won out, however, she recalled, "so I decided to create my own path."

Her journey included graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering science in 2010 from Smith College. Rodriguez then landed a position at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, which specializes in developing new technology to enhance national security. She began as a data analyst in the Air Traffic Control Systems department before working on a nanosatellite and now does software development for a laser communications system.

Determined and enterprising, Rodriguez isn’t limiting herself to earth-bound goals. "Mars is the next logical destination for exploration," she said, "and I believe I have that pioneering spirit to go beyond my boundaries and donate my life to science by demonstrating that humans can live on Mars. I understand the level of risk for such a mission, but I believe it is possible."

Quote bar, red"The girls were inspired by the way Yari overcame many barriers and setbacks to achieve her goals."
Julia Ruderman of Arlington

She may get the chance to test that theory. Rodriguez is contending for a position as an astronaut with a nonprofit global organization called Mars One, which intends to establish the first human colonies on Mars starting in 2026.

"One-way journey"

According to Rodriguez, anyone older than 18 could apply; 24 candidates who meet certain criteria will be chosen this fall to begin intensive training for this space mission -- "a one-way journey," in her words -- that will require a degree of personal sacrifice, daring and bravery possessed by few. Knowing the immense hazards of such a voyage to an overwhelmingly inhospitable environment for people does not faze her. She is emphatic and unswerving in her commitment to someday explore the heavens, despite the perils. In fact, when Rodriguez talks about her dream, she sounds poetic, almost lyrical.

"My goal as a little girl was to one day stand on another planet and see the crescent of Earth during the night sky. It was November 2010 when I first read the headline, 'NASA plans to send volunteers on ONE WAY mission to Mars to colonize planet.' The idea of going to Mars immediately became a goal [for me]."

When Rodriguez heard about the Mars One astronaut candidate search, she did not hesitate to toss her hat in the ring. "I know that, one way or another, life has been preparing me for this trip all along," she declared.

"I mentioned to the girls at Minuteman that once I learned what was required of me to become an astronaut, I based all my decisions around reaching this goal. I have the skills to succeed and I am committed to learning.”

President of Girls in STEM

Minuteman senior Julia Ruderman of Arlington, who is studying engineering and is president of the Girls in STEM Club, said, "I think the most important thing the students got out of Yari’s presentation is that you should always pursue your dreams, regardless of what others say or think. The girls were inspired by the way Yari overcame many barriers and setbacks to achieve her goals."

A key reason for implementing Minuteman’s Girls in STEM Camp was to give middle school students accomplished females, such as Rodriguez, to relate to, emulate and be guided by. "Role models inspire them to believe in themselves," she explained. "I told them to believe in themselves, decide what they want -- and go after it."

Minuteman collaborates with parents, communities and business leaders to serve a diverse student body with multiple learning styles. Through a rigorous integrated curriculum, students gain both academic and career and technical skills for a revolutionary competitive advantage. Lifelong learning that fosters personal and professional development is valued at Minuteman. All students are challenged to aspire to their full potential, accelerate their learning, and achieve success in the 21st-century global community.

This feature story, provided by Minuteman, was published Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.

HANDS-ON: Minuteman students build/renovate homes in Wayland, Lexington, Lincoln

 Hands-on experience is key to an education at Minuteman High School in Lexington. Students are expected to put their newly gained technical skills to use beyond the classroom in situations that mirror what they would encounter on the job.

For example, carpentry students at Minuteman build homes in the school’s district communities, do projects such as creating Little Free Library book boxes for the Town of Needham and are a widely valued resource for the professional-caliber work they produce.

Vocational education at Minuteman is a crucial pipeline for workforce development in this state. In fact, Governor Charlie Baker strongly affirmed his support for vocational education in his 2016 State of the Commonwealth message, lauding it as "a pathway to a bright future" and allocating $83.5 million to it in his proposed FY17 budget.

Homes in three of the school’s district towns -- Wayland, Lexington and Lincoln -- being built or renovated by Minuteman's carpentry students, in conjunction with students in plumbing, electrical and HVAC. These projects are in various stages of completion.

"Each is somewhat unique and gives the students a variety of learning experiences including new construction, old construction, cold environment, warm environment and working with outside general contractors and volunteers," said Kyle Romano, Minuteman's plumbing/HVAC instructor and off-site project coordinator.

Affordable housing

The Wayland and Lexington homes will be earmarked as affordable housing for eligible families, so the Minuteman students are learning about what it means to serve the community.

The project in Wayland at 91-93 and 95-97 Stonebridge Road, which is being done for Habitat for Humanity -- MetroWest/Greater Worcester, consists of two new duplexes on the same lot. The first was completed last December, and the second is underway with an anticipated completion date of next fall.

Each duplex measures about 1,100 square feet; one has three bedrooms, the other has two. "The framing is constructed by the Habitat volunteers," explained Romano, "and the Minuteman students are responsible for all the mechanicals including the plumbing, electrical and heating systems." A total of 41 Minuteman students are involved in this project.

"Working with Minuteman has been a great partnership for Habitat for Humanity," said its construction manager, Jon Bram. "The work they do is neat and professional. The generous donation of labor by the school allows us to realize our mission of making home ownership a possibility for hard-working, low-income families."

World War I-era home

The Lexington house the Minuteman students are working on is being done for the Lexington Housing Assistance Board, said board member Lester Savage, who noted that the Rotary Club of Lexington is another partner. At 11 Fairview Ave., this 1,200-square-foot Colonial was built during the World War I era and has not been renovated in years, Savage explained.

The students are doing what he called "a gut renovation" -- installing new heating and electrical systems, a new kitchen and bathroom, plus high-efficiency windows, as well as trimming out the woodwork. Twenty Minuteman carpentry students will replace windows and the outside deck; 20 plumbing students, 15 electricians and six HVAC students will perform all the mechanical work.

"The house is solid," Savage said, "but needs a lot."

Alongside this structure a three-unit building is being constructed. The general contractor of this project, Transformations Inc., of Ayer, which is supervising the renovation, specializes in "zero energy" residences which, according to the company’s website, "are designed to produce as much energy as they consume over a year’s time." Students will make on-site visits, providing educational opportunities, which is yet another benefit for the students, who will see the latest state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technology close-up and in action.

"It’s great to have young people involved," Savage said. "The students are helping people who need it, and it allows us to keep our costs down."

Project in Lincoln

The third construction project, at 16 Mill St., Lincoln, is a 2,000-square-foot, single-family house with three bedrooms that is owned by the Minuteman district and was built in 1988 by Minuteman students. The house is unoccupied, explained Romano, and is undergoing a major renovation scheduled for possible completion in June.

Twenty carpentry students are replacing the windows, doors, vinyl siding, kitchen cabinets, hardwood floors, roofing and the outside deck. Twenty plumbing students, 15 electricians, and six HVAC students are replacing and upgrading all the mechanical systems.

"Minuteman has worked with Habitat for Humanity in the past, and only recently we have reached out to them for a continued relationship," Romano said. "Minuteman has been a partner with LexHAB for many years constructing a variety of homes throughout our district. The Mill Street home is owned by the district and we occasionally perform as-needed maintenance."

He underscored the value of what the students derive from doing these types of projects, such as developing an appreciation of fine workmanship. "They learn the importance of taking pride in what they do and that mistakes should be kept to a minimum. The students also learn the projects have a timeline and the importance of working in a safe manor to meet the timeline."

Savage observed that the partnership between LexHAB and Minuteman represents an investment in the students’ future as professionals in the industry.

"We know they are the next generation of quality workers," he said. "Minuteman does a great job of training them."

This feature story provided by Minuteman was published Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.

State agency moves Minuteman plan forward, too

Minteman High School logo

Meeting at its offices in downtown Boston on Jan. 27, the Massachusetts School Building Authority board voted unanimously to authorize its executive director to enter into a project-funding agreement with Minuteman for the new $144.9 million educational facility.

MSBA is expected to pay 44.75 percent of eligible project costs -- up to a maximum of $44,139,213.

Immediately before the vote, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg commended the school for the quality of its academic and technical programs and encouraged parents to give the school a closer look Treasurer Goldberg serves as chair of the MSBA board of directors.

The treasurer made a public appeal to parents in the district to consider sending their children to Minuteman. "It would behoove a lot of families," she said, "to really look at the Minuteman programs."

Minuteman’s technical programs "give kids the skills they need for the good jobs in the Commonwealth," she said.

Goldberg also told Superintendent Edward Bouquillon, "You have tremendous academic programs." She said she had visited Minuteman’s Girls in STEM Summer Camp, a program she described as "very exciting."

Minuteman must now secure local approval of the project, a process that is not expected to start until after all 16 member towns hold Special Town Meetings to ratify a new Minuteman regional agreement. Arlington approved the accord Jan. 25.>

The final Special Town Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 24. Sometime after that, the Minuteman School Committee will vote to bond for the project.

The new school, to be located on District-owned land in Lincoln, will include two Career Academies with 16 career and technical programs and a robust offering of academic programs, including Advanced Placement and Honors courses, foreign languages, music, art and sports.

This news release was published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.

Minuteman super elected to national tech-assessment board

Minteman High School logo

Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, superintendent at Minuteman High School, has been elected to the board of trustees of a national organization that is the leading provider of competency-based career and technical assessments in the country. He will serve on the 11-member board of NOCTI, formerly known as the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, based in Michigan.Minuteman super elected to national tech-assessment board.

NOCTI creates assessments and testing for students studying in career and technical education programs in high schools and technical colleges throughout the nation.

Bouquillon is the only person from New England to serve on the volunteer board. The other 10 members come from Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio and Georgia.

"I’m pleased and honored to join the NOCTI team," Bouquillon said in a news release. "Throughout my career, I’ve been a strong advocate for competency-based testing and assessment."

On its website, NOCTI describes itself as "the largest provider of industry-based credentials and partner industry certifications for career and technical education programs across the nation."

The NOCTI board sets policy and oversees the organization’s budget. It normally meets twice a year. NOCTI will cover the costs of Bouquillon’s travel to board meetings.

Bouquillon has served as a vocational school administrator in Massachusetts and Vermont. He recently served as president of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, the largest professional association for vocational administrators in Massachusetts. He serves on the governing body of the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education, a new statewide organization dedicated to increasing access to high-quality vocational-technical education in Massachusetts.

He has more than 25 years of experience in education. He holds a doctorate in workforce education and development from Penn State University, a master's in agriculture industry from Penn State and a bachelor of science in occupational and vocational Education from the University of Connecticut.

This announcement was published Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.

Selectmen back revised accord for a Minuteman district facing change

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend Monday, Jan. 11, that the Special Town Meeting in two weeks approve the substantially revised agreement with the Minuteman School District.

Board of Selectmen logo, Jan. 23, 2013

Minteman High School logoSelectman Dan Dunn, who moved for support and has been a key player in crafting the new accord, said the agreement would improve the town's leverage.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said that "without the agreement, we would be in a worse position," because Minuteman could take the issues to the voters by having it put on town ballots. Town Counsel Doug Heim nodded as the manager spoke.

In its support, Arlington, which sends the most students to Minuteman among the 16 districts, is going against the grain in some respects. Following Town Meeting votes by mid-February, the Minuteman district may have fewer member towns. Dunn told his colleagues "four of five." A document on the board's agenda lists seven -- Boxborough, Carlisle, Dover, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland and Weston.

Focus on Article 8

Without Chairman Kevin Greeley, who was away on business, board members held brief hearings for the first two Minuteman articles. Each vote was 4-0.

The board recommended no action on Article 6, a bond authorization for Minuteman school construction, as well as 7, an amendment allowing Wayland to withdraw from the district.

"We want Article 8," Dunn said, "This is the big one."

This measure, significantly revised from an agreement that Town Meeting endorsed in 2014, calls for a process allowing towns to withdraw and changes in changes to capital appropriation. Read the full text of Heim's memo about this and other Minuteman articles below.

Acting Chair Diane Mahon expressed concern about how Arlington would be assessed for capital costs. She also asked about the funding process that the new agreement may commit to.

"We are committing to no expenditures," Dunn said.

But what members do at Town Meeting this winter is expected to reshape the district, and the final number involved will have an impact on what each pays.

Speculation about who might leave

Dunn made clear he did not know for certain which would leave, but those expected to leave send few students to Minuteman. From Arlington, in the 2014-15 school year, 158 attended Minuteman. Each town pays according to the number of students in attendance.

The board supported Article 8 in 4-0 vote.

Asked Jan. 12 to clarify which towns could leave, Dunn wrote of the seven listed above: "Speculation follows: I'd bet money that Wayland will go. Carlisle, Boxborough and Sudbury will probably go.

"Dover and Lincoln are tough calls. Weston I actually think will stay, but I'm far from certain."

Counsel's memo on Article 8

Part of Jan. 7, 2016, memo to selectmen from Town Counsel Douglas W. Heim on Article 8, Special Town Meeting

I write to provide the Board a summary of the above-referenced warrant articles to assist in the Board's consideration of these articles at its upcoming hearing on January 11, 2016.

In the interests of clarity, articles are presented in the order in which they appeal' on the Special Town Meeting Warrant, and articles examined by the Finance Committee have been included without substantive analysis by this Office. Further, for the Board's convenience, attached to the end of this memo are copies of reference materials.


To see if the Town will vote, consistent with Section VII of the existing Minuteman "Agreement With Respect to the Establishment of a Technical and Vocational Regional School District," to accept and approve amendments to said Agreement approved by the majority of the Regional School Committee, and which have been submitted to the Board of Selectmen of each member town prior to its respective vote on this article, including amendments which would allow for the withdrawal of present members of the District, or take any action related thereto. .

(Inserted at the request of the Town Manager)

This article correctly anticipated the December 21, 2015 vote the Minuteman Regional Vocational School District Committee to revise the Regional Agreement governing the rights and responsibilities of member communities.' Such vote by the Minuteman School Committee requires each member community to hold a Special Town Meeting on or before March 1, 2016 to adopt or reject the proposed amendments to the Regional Agreement.

As has been previously reported to the Board by its representatives to Minuteman, including the Regional Agreement Amendment Subcommittee (RAAS), the December 21, 2015 amendments are substantial and the product of lengthy discussions between and among the Regional School District and its members. Many amendments are similar or the same to the 2014 proposed revised agreement, and some are new to the amendments voted upon by the Minuteman School Committee on December 21, 2015. The most significant amendments include:

The instant article while placed upon the warrant prior to the Minuteman School Committee December 21, 2015 vote, provides sufficient notice to the Town of all the actions contemplated by the proposed amended Regional Agreement and further satisfies Minuteman's request. The article as articulated here is broader in scope, but otherwise virtually identical to Minuteman's suggested language.

• Weighted voting for the majority of Minuteman School Committee actions;

• A revised process by which member communities can exit the Regional Agreement without incurring additional debt obligations, including specific provision to allow (but not mandate) the withdrawal of members Boxborough, Carlisle, Dover, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston;

• Revised capital assessment formulas; and

• Provisions for non-member communities to pay capital fees equivalent to the average per pupil capital assessments of members.

As Members of the Board will recall from previous discussions, in order to be adopted, the Amended Regional Agreement must first be approved by Town Meeting votes in each of the sixteen (16) member communities, and then further approved by the Commissioner of Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Warrant for Jan. 25, 2016 Special Town Meeting

Dec. 28, 2015: New Minuteman accord aims to pave way for rebuilt school in Lincoln

Dec. 9, 20156: Minuteman proposal that lets towns opt out gains selectmen support
July 5, 2015: Selectmen oppose ballot question to jump-start Minuteman renovation
Opinion, May 20, 2015: Minuteman plans advance, but what are there chances?
Feb. 16, 2015: Selectmen discuss Minuteman building plan; one expresses doubt on enrollment forecast
Minuteman assessments explained >> 
Feb. 10, 2015: First look at cost of a new Minuteman High: $79m to $106m

This summary was published Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016.


Minuteman students offered paths to earn college credit

Minteman High School logo

Qualified high school students have avenues available to them to earn college credit before they even cross the threshold of an institution of higher learning.

Doing so has several important advantages, said Carol Cohen, coordinator of college and career Readiness at Minuteman High School in Lexington.

She explained that it’s much less expensive to obtain college credit in high school; it shows that high school students are capable of handling demanding college-level work; and it’s an impressive accomplishment to have on resumes and college applications.

"It really is great to have an early start on accumulating college credits," said Kevin Ham, of Lexington, who took classes at Middlesex Community College while he was a student at Minuteman, graduating in 2015. "Not only did I earn college credit at a reduced rate, it really helped on my resume, for college scholarships and internships."

The three typical ways of getting college credit in high school, Cohen said in a news release, are Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and through articulation agreements.

Advanced Placement, offered by many high schools, involves having students take courses in high school whose curriculum is established by the College Board, the national organization which specializes in college preparation and also administers the SAT. Students enrolled in these courses take a test in May based on what they have studied during the year. Those tests are scored from 1 to 5; anyone who gets a 4 or 5 receives college credit in that subject.

To qualify for Dual Enrollment, students must first take a test from the College Board called the Accuplacer, which measures proficiency in reading, math, computer skills and writing. They may then take college classes while they are still in high school, thus earning credit towards their high school diploma and toward a college degree as well. In addition, they pay for college courses at a significantly reduced rate, said Ms. Cohen, another notable practical benefit.

The third option is to take advantage of articulation agreements which are established between secondary schools and colleges and allow high school students who successfully complete certain vocational programs to be granted admission, college credit or advanced standing at participating colleges.

At Minuteman, students are encouraged to explore all possible options to achieve their educational goals during and following high school. Minuteman delivers a combination of robust academics and powerful career and technical skills that gives students a competitive edge in the new economy. It is one of 26 regional vocational-technical school districts in Massachusetts.

For Ham, who concentrated in electrical wiring at Minuteman and intends to become a licensed electrician befor assuming a management position in a construction trade, taking courses at Middlesex Community College under Dual Enrollment was the right choice. Not only was Ham able to complete two math requirements through Dual Enrollment and complete an English requirement over the summer, but the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston gave him credit for all the courses he took at Middlesex.

Today, Ham is a union electrical apprentice with Local 103 full-time days, and is on track to have his bachelor’s degree in project management issued at the same time he gets his electrical license. Reflecting on his decision to opt for Dual Enrollment, Ham said, "It was definitely hard work but manageable. I would recommend the program to anyone who thinks they may attend college after high school. It really is great to have an early start on accumulating college credits. It also helped me when I applied for scholarships. I really stood out on top."

Minuteman’s Cohen summed up the feasibility of obtaining college credits in high school this way: "It’s meeting students where they’re at and giving them what they need."

Ham framed the pluses in terms of how they enhance his professional future. "Careers are all about options," he declared. "I want as many as I can have."

This news release was published Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. 

New Minuteman accord aims to pave way for rebuilt school in Lincoln

Member towns face votes at winter meetings; borrowing postponed

Minteman High School logo

In decisions designed to pave the way for construction of a new school, the Minuteman School Committee has approved consensus amendments to the Minuteman Regional Agreement and authorized the negotiation of an accord with the Town of Lincoln, to be the host community for the new school.

At a special meeting Dec. 21, the Minuteman School Committee also voted to postpone a decision to borrow $144.9 million to build a new school. That delay had been sought by area selectmen to give towns an opportunity to vote first on the new regional agreement.

The School Committee is now expected to take a bonding vote no later than Feb. 23.

Minuteman is expecting its 16 member towns to hold Special Town Meetings before March 1 to ratify the changes in the regional agreement. Arlington will take up the issues at its Jan. 25 Special Town Meeting, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine has told YourArlington.

Dunn among those named who pushed agreement

Those changes were agreed to by selectmen from the member towns during meetings in Weston hosted by selectman Douglas Gillespie.

Among other things, the new regional agreement streamlines the process for withdrawal by member towns, eliminates the five-student minimum charged to member towns for capital costs and requires out-of-district communities to help pay for their share of capital costs of a new building.

Superintendent Bouquillon thanked town officials from the 16 member communities for coming to an agreement.

"We gave the area selectmen a big job and an almost impossible deadline by which to get it done, but they’ve come through," Dr. Edward Bouquillon, superintendent-director of Minuteman High School, said in a Dec. 28 news release. "They put aside their differences and rallied around this project."

Following a Dec. 2 meeting in Weston, a smaller group of selectmen worked to iron out details of the proposed changes to the regional agreement. That group included Dan Dunn of Arlington, Dan Matthews of Needham and Vince Amoroso of Boxborough.

The Minuteman School Committee will now work with Lincoln officials to negotiate terms of a separate, intermunicipal agreement. The proposed agreement is expected to provide Lincoln with a phased-in annual payment in exchange for a host of services to be provided to Minuteman, including security, emergency response and related support.

Minuteman submitted a schematic design to the Massachusetts School Building Authority on Dec. 1.

State expected to pay 44.75%

The state authority is expected to pay 44.75 percent of eligible project costs, up from the 40 percent originally anticipated. Because not all project costs qualify for reimbursement, the net reimbursement rate for the project is expected to be approximately 33 percent.

The state agency has given Minuteman until next June 30 to secure local approvals.

The new school building will be built on land already owned by the district, in Lincoln, near the existing building. Plans calls for two career academies with 16 career- and technical-education programs, plus a robust offering of academic curriculum.

Under the new agreement, communities pay a "host community consideration" of $138,000 a year, indexed to inflation, to Lincoln. 

Asked by board Chairman Kevin Greeley at the Dec. 7 se;lectmen's meeting how many students Lincoln sends to Minuteman, Dunn said, "two or three." From Arlington, in the 2014-15 school year, 158 attended Minuteman. Each town pays according to the number of students in attendance.

The Minuteman district includes 16 member communities: Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland and Weston.

Dec. 9, 20156: Minuteman proposal that lets towns opt out gains selectmen support

July 5, 2015: Selectmen oppose ballot question to jump-start Minuteman renovation
Opinion, May 20, 2015: Minuteman plans advance, but what are there chances?
Feb. 16, 2015: Selectmen discuss Minuteman building plan; one expresses doubt on enrollment forecast
Feb. 12, 2015: Open house for students parents March 5
Minuteman assessments explained >> 
Feb. 10, 2015: First look at cost of a new Minuteman High: $79m to $106m

This report was published Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. 

Arlington student in Minuteman Girls in STEM earns state award

Julia RudermanRuderman

Minuteman High School’s Girls in STEM Club has earned another award, this one from the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA).

Accepting the award on behalf of the Girls in STEM Club at Minuteman on Wednesday, Nov. 18, were students Julia Ruderman of Arlington, majoring in engineering, and Alicia Benway of Waltham, majoring in horticulture and landscape technology.

Minuteman’s Girls in STEM Club was invited to make a presentation to about 200 vocational administrators from across the state at MAVA’s general membership meeting in Marlborough. Fourteen young women from Minuteman attended.

The young women received the "Student Champions Award for Excellence" for developing a sustainable program that provides opportunities for young women in high school to be mentored by adult professionals working in STEM fields. In turn, Minuteman students serve as mentors for middle school and elementary school students, arranging tours of the high school, visiting middle and elementary schools, and leading hands-on STEM experiments, projects and activities.
The "Student Champions Award for Excellence" award was presented by MAVA President John Lavoie, the superintendent-director at Greater Lawrence Technical School. 

Minuteman's Girls in STEM Club operates under the leadership of engineering teacher Becky Quay and horticulture and landscaping technology teacher Sarah Ard.

The mission of the Girls in STEM Mentoring initiative is to encourage and engage girls and young women to pursue and advance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

This announcement was published Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Arlington student at Minuteman named commended merit scholar

Julia RudermanRuderman

Julia Ruderman, a senior at Minuteman High School in Lexington, has been named a commended student in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. She is among 34,000 students nationwide to earn this recognition based on their performance on the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test administered last October.

According to information from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., commended students are honored for "the exceptional academic promise" shown by their scores on the qualifying test. Ruderman will receive a letter of commendation for her achievement.

She is the daughter of Susan and A. Michael Ruderman, a Precinct 9 Town Meeting member.

Another senior from Minuteman, Rachel Toups of Boxborough, also was named a commended student.

Ruderman, of Arlington, is studying engineering technology. Her activities include cross country (she is girls' team captain), senior class vice president, SkillsUSA participant and Minuteman chapter secretary, Girls in STEM Club president, National Honor Society, volunteering at Ironstone Farm in Andover, and Model UN. She plans to study civil engineering or architecture in college (or combine the two disciplines).

Earlier this year, she Ruderman was the recipient of a $5,000 first prize in the second annual Frederick Douglass Prize U.S. History Essay Contest sponsored by the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based public policy research organization. She wrote about the Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington. 

This extended announcement was published Friday, Oct. 1, 2015.

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