•  Fall 2019

    Welcome back! We are excited to begin the 2019-2020 school year! 

    Curriculum News:

    The Manchester Essex School District is working to construct a K-8 literacy plan with help from Dr. Darci Burns from the Hill for Literacy. Over the summer, district literacy team members met and aligned goals in a multi-year action plan.  This year, our focus will be geared toward teacher professional development around best practices in the science of reading, implementing research-based instructional practices, and determining assessments and tiered instructional supports.  Please check back for updates!



    Spring 2019

    Encore Magazine: Our newest edition of Encore ME is available for parent and student viewing!


    Learn more about our amazing specialist programs: art, engineering, health, music, technology, physical education foreign language, and more!

    MERSD Summer Reading Program…Stay Tuned for Details!


    Fall News!


    Date:  October 4, 2018

    Time:  7:00PM-8:30PM

    Location:  MERSD High School Auditorium

    Audience:  ALL parents and guardians welcome!

    For parents and guardians of children of ALL ages! Learn more about social media and children’s use of technology. Since 2009 Josh Gunderson has become an educational force to be reckoned with. His award-winning programs have been presented at hundreds of schools across the United States and Canada, educating over 1 Million students, parents and educators along the way. Josh highlights the pros and cons of the social media world, helping parents and students better understand the real-world consequences. Using examples ripped from today's headlines, Josh tackles topics surrounding internet safety, bullying, sexting, digital citizenship and much more! To learn more about Josh’s work, visit: http://www.joshgunderson.com/programs.html



    MERSD and North Shore YMCA Summer Literacy Program

    This summer, MERSD partnered with the North Shore YMCA to offer a summer literacy program to rising second and third grade students.  Our program was generously funded by EBSCO Publishing. MERSD is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these two amazing organizations!

    The summer literacy program was a two week program that provided MERSD students with instruction in literacy focused on building skills in self-selected reading, small group guided reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.  

    Our program ran from Monday July 9th to Friday July 20th.  Each morning, our program began at 9:00 am and the day ended each afternoon at 4:00pm. Students spent the morning engaged in literacy learning and in the afternoon, students participated in enrichment activities that supported the morning instruction.  Additional afternoon activities included arts and crafts, music, character development, swimming and much, much more at Camp Dory.

    Please click below to see the highlights of our great partnership, the fun our students had building literacy skills and at Camp Dory.  To see more, click on the showcase link!

    MERSD and YMCA Summer Literacy Showcase!





    MERSD is proud to present many of the wonderful things that are happening throughout the year in our specialist programs: Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology, Library, STEAM, and Foreign Language. This blog, Encore ME, has been created to showcase the Arts, Culture, and Movement of MERSD. We hope you enjoy all of the amazing work your children and our teachers are doing!

    Please check out our blog: https://encoremersd.blogspot.com/





    We are excited to announce a partnership this summer with the Manchester-Essex Regional School District to offer a summer literacy program to rising second and third grade students.

    What is the Summer Literacy Program?  It is a 2 week program that provides your child the opportunity to participate in morning literacy instruction which focuses on spelling, grammar, vocabulary, self-selected reading, and small group guided reading.  Your child will then spend the afternoon engaged in enrichment activities that support the morning instruction. Afternoon activities include arts and crafts, music, character development, swimming and much, much more!

    The program is sponsored by the YMCA of the North Shore – Ipswich Family YMCA in collaboration with the Manchester Essex Regional School District.  This program will start on Monday, July 9th and end on Friday, July 20th.  The program will begin each morning at 9:00 am and end each afternoon at 4:00pm. The program is Monday through Friday for the 2 weeks.  Students are eligible to attend as early as 8:30am and stay as late as 5:00 pm. Students will need to commit to both weeks of the program.

    What do I have to do?  We believe that family involvement is the key to the positive development and academic success of any child.  So, in order for your child to participate in the program we need your participation, too. Your family involvement will include attending the initial parent/caregiver orientation meeting, reading nightly with your child and participating in all parent/caregiver workshops.  Please fill out the attached consent form and return it to the main office by June 8, 2018.

    There are no fees associated with this program – it’s Free!

     If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Rob Hunt at huntr@northshoreymca.org or 978-356-9622.

    We look forward to working with you and your child this summer!


    Rob Hunt

    Director of Operations

    Ipswich Family YMCA



    Dr Robert Brookshandbook-of-resilience-in-children-big.jpgoriginal

    **RESCHEDULED FOR Wednesday April 4th**

    MERSD Proudly Presents Guest Speaker

    Dr. Robert Brooks

    When: Wednesday, APRIL 4, 2018 7:00pm-9:00pm

    Where: MERSD High School Auditorium

    Q&A and Book Signing After Speaking Engagement

    Title:  Raising Resilient Children and Adolescents

    Description:  Join us as we welcome Dr. Robert Brooks, Ph.D. a Harvard Medical School faculty member and author of fourteen books, who will outline an approach to help children and adolescents deal more effectively with stress and pressure, in order to become more resilient.

    In his presentation Dr. Brooks will highlight factors that help children and teens deal more effectively with challenges in today’s stress-filled world.  He will describe (a) why some youngsters from birth have a more difficult time developing resilience than others, (b) the importance of identifying and reinforcing each child’s “islands of competence,” and (c) specific strategies for nurturing caring, responsibility, hope, and resilience in our children and teens.

    Dr. Robert Brooks is one of today’s leading speakers and authors on the themes of resilience, motivation, school climate, a positive work environment, and family relationships.  During the past 35 years, Dr. Brooks has presented nationally and internationally to thousands of parents, educators, mental health professionals, and business people. His talks are filled with practical, realistic suggestions and he is renowned for the warmth and humor he uses to bring his insights and anecdotes to life.

    Summer Music-by-the-Sea


    Summer Music Institute Mission Statement:

    By beginning a week-long summer music camp for MERSD elementary and middle schoolers’, we hope not only to jump start the school year by getting students back into their practice on their instruments, but also provide valuable learning experiences that students would not get in a larger school year setting. We will provide opportunities for small group and solo performances, promote independence and leadership in young musicians, and allow young students to interact with and be inspired by their older peers. This more intimate setting will also allow for finely tuned individualized instruction for each student. Finally, we hope that this program can provide students with a fun enrichment of their musical experiences at MERSD, and motivate them to become leaders and role-models for their fellow musicians throughout the school year.

    Music students are encouraged to register online at the following link :



    Read More This Year with the 2018 Reading Challenge

    From Goodreads!

    Yes, it's time for the 2018 Reading Challenge! Make a promise to read more books this year. Goodreads makes it easy to set your own reading goal, track your progress, and celebrate your success with our annual Reading Challenge

    Last year, more than three million readers joined the Challenge and collectively finished more than 43 million books. In a recent survey of Goodreads members, 82 percent said they wanted to spend more time reading. So…what are you waiting for?

  • December News

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 12/21/2017

    Teacher Professional Development

    MERSD is a happening place to be! We are working on two important initiatives this year:  implementing K-12 RULER and curriculum alignment.  During scheduled professional development time and at various faculty meetings, teachers have been training on RULER and learning about how social-emotional wellness relates to everyday work in schools, and with children and families. To learn more about the work that we are doing, see The Aspen Institute’s new case study on educator social and emotional development, featuring RULER among other strategies for educator social and emotional learning: Supporting the Whole Teacher

    Curriculum Alignment at MHS

    MEHS Departments have been working this year to update curriculum and align the newly designed courses and curriculum with MA standards for English, science, and math.  All curriculum updates are being written into our new APSEN curriculum mapping module. 

    Professional Development Committee

    The district has created and adopted a new database for coordinating and tracking teacher professional development.  The My Learning Plan system was developed to support teacher learning, track professional development opportunities for each teacher, and function as a central location for the world of district, school, and individualized professional development. To learn more about this new database, please visit: https://www.frontlineeducation.com/Home

    Coming Attractions

    Girls Who Code! We are excited to share that MERSD middle school will offer this club starting afterschool in February.  Be on the lookout for school sign ups and announcements. For more information, please visit: https://girlswhocode.com/

    Summer Music-by-the-Sea

    Dates:  July 30-Aug 3

    Thank you to our wonderful music staff for coordinating amazing musical performances for our students and families!  This summer, we will be hosting our first Summer-by-the-Sea music and chorus camp.  Thank you to all our dedicated and passionate music instructors for creating this amazing program. To learn more and sign your child up, please visit: https://goo.gl/forms/fNu04QlCDaf6Yjyf2

    MHS Learning Commons

    The Learning Commons transformation has opened so many new doors at the MHS!  We are so thrilled with all of the exciting changes that have come about with the LC transformation!  Keep going! Follow the Learning Commons updates at: @MERMHS_LC

    Comments (-1)
  • November News

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 11/27/2017 7:00:00 AM

    District Updates

    Yale's research and the Center for Emotional Intelligence has recently been highlighted in Time's Special Edition: The Science of Emotions.  Learn more about the work we are doing with teachers this year! Check it out at: Time: The Science of Emotions


    Mentoring and Induction: MERSD's new mentoring program has taken off thanks to our new mentoring coordinator-Ms. Kerri Shaub!  Teachers across the district have attended newly created teacher trainings and have been visiting classrooms to learn more about engaging instructional practices!  We look forward to our next instructional rounds meeting on December 14th!


    Professional Development Committee: The PDC is diligently working on developing next year’s PD plan.  We are creating an online tool and software program which will allow for easy record keeping of our PD plan and educator PDPs.  For questions related to recertification, please visit: http://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/academic-prek12/guidelines-recert-ma-educators.pdf#search=%22pdp%22.  We hope that our new professional development site will be operational by the end of December!


    Curriculum Leadership Team: One of the most critical areas the CLT team will review this year will be the research identifying the foundational expectations for writing instruction.  The K-5 CLT has been reviewing the most current research on writing to determine the best practices in writing instruction. This research will help us to determine the best instructional strategies to employ when teaching elementary writing.


    Comments (-1)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Englander 10/19 7:00PM MHS Auditorium

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 10/10/2017 2:15:00 PM

    Parent Speaker Series:

    Dr. Elizabeth Englander 7:00PM MERSD High School Auditorium 

    About Dr. Englander...

    Developing Training, Research and Fieldwork at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center

    In 2004, I was awarded the first Presidential Fellowship at Bridgewater State University to found a Center to work on understanding and reducing bullying and cyberbullying.  This was the beginning of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, or "MARC," an academic Center in public higher education, committed to a public health model for bullying and cyberbullying prevention for the state of Massachusetts.  We offer programs and services for other states as well.  Today, we have approximately forty faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and support staff working at MARC.  And we still deliver high-quality bullying and cyberbullying prevention services to K-12 schools and other stakeholders - usually, at no cost to those within Massachusetts.

    The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center conducts research and provides many types of programs and services to schools.  I am, at heart, a researcher, and I believe in basing the training materials I author on the research I conduct.  You can read some of my research papers and other publications.

    In addition to papers that are published primarily in academic journals, I've also authored a great many other materials that you may find useful. There are materials written for parents, teachers, and/or administrators about understanding and responding to bullying and cyberbullying. There are bullying and cyberbullying Curricula (for grades K-5, 6-12 and 9-12).  (All are research-based and free.)  

    I've trained tens of thousands of teachers, counselors, and administrators, thousands of students, and have been teaching graduate and undergraduate students for about 20 years. I present at local and national conferences every year across the United States.  I am the author of two books: Understanding Violence (three editions), published by Erlbaum, and Bullying and Cyberbullying, recently released by Harvard Education Press.  Browse all my publications.

    MARC offers parent presentations on several topics, usually requested by schools, PTOs and PTAs, public libraries, and community groups. At MARC, we emphasize practical and accessible Information in all our parent education sources.  Presentations tend to focus on helping children avoid and cope with bullying and cyberbullying and/or children's use of social media and digital technology. 

    ​Find Parent Guides, Resrouces, and Downloads at: https://www.englanderelizabeth.com/downloads


    Comments (-1)
  • September-October 2017

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 10/3/2017 11:00:00 AM

    September-October 2017

    The 2017-2018 school year is in full swing!

    Academic Awards:

    Over the course of this fall, we received great news of our PISA (Program for International Assessment) results and the district’s ranking in Boston Magazine. MERSD ranked in the top percentiles on the PISA assessment and 9th among all Boston area schools and first among North Shore Districts! Congrats to all!

    During the 2015-2016 school year, MERHS high school students participated in the PISA assessment and this summer we received the resultsThe Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years. First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving. By design, PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES. Data collection for the most recent assessment was completed in Fall 2015. (https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/).

    Overall, in ELA and Science, MERSD students outscored all other participants, and in mathematics we have matched the performance of China and Japan.    

    MERSD is committed to educating the whole child-academically, socially, and emotionally.  We are proud of all of our students and teachers at every grade level across the district.  

    MERSD and Yale's Center for Emotional Intelligence

    This year, as a district, MERSD partnered with Dr. Marc Brackett and Yale University to learn more about emotional intelligence and to develop new strategies for classrooms and schools as well as to define the types of supports students need to continue to develop academically and socially. Dr. Brackett shared his research with staff in February 2017 at MERSD and over the summer, 22 teachers and administrators trained at Yale with other educators across the country on Yale’s social and emotional strategy-based developmental program, RULER.  This year, schools and teachers will delve more into the research to learn more about these strategies as well as to define school- and classroom-based elements to build into school culture.

    Parent Speaker Series:

    Dr. Elizabeth Englander, October 19, 2017 @ 7:00pm – MERMHS Auditorium

    If you have questions about children, cell phones, and the Internet-this one is a must!

    Dr. Englander is a professor of Psychology and Founder and Director of The MA Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) at Bridgewater State University, a Center which delivers anti-violence and anti-bullying programs, resources, and research for the state of MA. She was named Most Valuable Educator of 2013 by the Boston Red Sox because of her work in technological aggression and how it interacts with peer abusiveness in general.

    As a school district, the Manchester-Essex Regional School District is proud to work with The MA Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) through student, faculty, and parent trainings on social awareness and anti-bullying. In addition, MERSD participates in Second Steps, YALE's RULER Social Emotional Training, and MARC's student workshops focusing on anti-bullying curriculum development programs.

    Professional Development:

    On October 6, 2017, teachers and staff will participate in the district professional development day, Reaching All Learners.  We have a wonderful keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Brooks, a full range of options for professional development for staff, and school-based sessions for afternoon trainings.  We look forward to our teacher- and school-based presentations!


    Comments (-1)
  • August 2017

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 8/7/2017

    What is Social-Emotional Learning?

    National Research Council (NRC) -
    Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century

    The Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills identified three broad domains of competence—cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal, as a way to organize the various terms for 21st century skills and provide a starting point for further research as to their meaning and value. The cognitive domain involves reasoning and memory; the intrapersonal domain involves the capacity to manage one’s behavior and emotions to achieve one’s goals (including learning goals); and the interpersonal domain involves expressing ideas, and interpreting and responding to messages from others.

    Partnership for 21st Century Skills / National Education Association (NEA)

    The six elements of 21st century learning are:

    • Emphasize core subjects
    • Emphasize learning skills
    • Use 21st century tools to develop learning skills
    • Teach and learn in a 21st century context
    • Teach and learn new 21st century content
    • Use 21st century assessments that measure core subjects and 21st century skills


    M.G.L., Ch. 60, Section 1P (a)

    Safe and Supportive Schools are schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy & inclusive whole-school learning environment that:

    • enable students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being; and
    • integrate services and aligns initiatives that promote students' behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children's mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.


    2017 Meta-Analysis 

    A Major New Research Study

    Promoting Positive Youth Development Through
    School-based Social and Emotional Learning Interventions:
    A Meta-Analysis of Follow-up Effects

    Summary “Promoting Positive Youth Development Through School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Interventions: A Meta-Analysis of Follow-Up Effects” Published in Child Development, Volume 88, Issue 4, July/August 2017, Pages 1156–1171 Rebecca D. Taylor (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning), Eva Oberle (University of British Columbia), Joseph A. Durlak (Loyola University), Roger Weissberg (CASEL, University of Illinois at Chicago) Online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12864/full


    Social and emotional learning (SEL) teaches children to recognize and understand their emotions, feel empathy, make decisions, and build and maintain relationships. A widely cited 2011 meta-analysis previously showed that SEL programs immediately improve mental health, social skills, and academic achievement. The current study shows that school-based SEL interventions continue to benefit students for months and even years to come.


    For example, in follow-up assessments an average of 3.5 years after the last intervention, the academic performance of students exposed to SEL programs was an average 13 percentile points higher than their non-SEL peers, based on the eight studies that measured academics. Although based on only eight studies, these long-term academic outcomes are notable. At other follow-up periods, SEL continued to boost student well-being in the form of greater social and emotional competencies, prosocial behavior, and prosocial attitudes. Furthermore, SEL students showed lasting decreases in negative outcomes such as conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use compared to control groups.

    These results come from a meta-analytic review of 82 different interventions involving more than 97,000 students from kindergarten to high school, where the effects were assessed at least six months and up to 18 years after the programs ended. Thirty-eight of the studies were from outside the U.S., indicating that SEL programs are being conducted in several countries around the world. Also of note, higher social and emotional competencies among SEL students at the end of the initial intervention was the best predictor of long-term benefits, demonstrating how important it is to develop these competencies in students. 

    These outcomes can often be translated into substantial monetary benefits for participants and for society. For example, graduating from high school has a lifetime income benefit of $367,687 for each graduating student, and preventing a single case of conduct disorder saves society nearly $4 million. The overall findings from this review suggest the value that can accrue to both participating students and society in general by incorporating well-conducted SEL interventions in schools and classrooms.


    What is Social-Emotional Learning?  


    SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

    Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. CASEL has identified the following five competency clusters that are interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies.

    Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

    Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

    Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

    Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

    Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices.


    Comments (-1)
  • May-June 2017

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 6/14/2017

    What a fast, amazing, and wonderful year this has been! Thank you to all who have helped me transition in and learn more about the MERSD system! We have many plans for this summer and even more next year. The following information will help define our goals and plans as we ease into 2017-2018:

    Summer PD with Del and Jenna!

    Sign up here!

    Wed 6/21 AM 9:00 - 11:30

    Web Presence. All staff should have a web presence - there are a variety of platforms. First Class and Teacher web are ending service. We will focus on moving you over to Blackboard or Google Sites.

    Wed 6/21 PM 12:30 – 3:00

    Work time for you new  web presence! This is dedicated time to apply what you learned and create your new site.

    Thurs 6/22 AM  9:00 - 11:30

    Moving from H-drive to Google Drive: This session will give you strategies on moving files from the H: Drive to Google Drive. Do you organize and then pack, or pack and then organize when you move? Either way, you will have time to make the move.

    Thurs 6/22 PM  12:30-3:00

    Time to make the move to Google Drive. This is a working session to get your files, organize them, and move them

    District Professional Development Calendar for 2017-2018

    The new professional development program and packet will be online after June 20th!  Here you will find a calendar and the district professional development program encompassing all the dates and times of the 2017-2018 district professional development, extended Wednesdays, mentor meetings, collaboration hours, and much more! 


    Parent Information Series for 2017-2018

    Mark Your Calendars! Dr. Elizabeth Englander and her staff will come to MERSD on October 19th to work with our middle and high school students and will offer an evening parent presentation on bullying, cyberbulling, and education regarding teen use of social media, education, and prevention.  This presentation will be very informative and supportive for parents of digital users of all ages!  To learn more information about Dr. Englander’s research, publications, and parent information visit her website or read below! http://www.englanderelizabeth.com/about-me

    Dr. Elizabeth Kandel Englander


    My name is Dr. Elizabeth Kandel Englander, and I am a professor of Psychology and the founder and Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, a Center which delivers programs, resources, and research for the state of Massachusetts and nationwide. I am a nationally recognized researcher and expert in the area of bullying and cyberbullying, childhood causes of aggression and abuse, and children’s use of technology. I was named Most Valuable Educator of 2013 by the Boston Red Sox because of my work in technological aggression and how it interacts with peer abusiveness in general.

    I went to college at the University of California, Berkeley, where I graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and High Honors in Psychology.  After finishing my bachelor's degree, I earned my PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southern California as an All‑University Predoctoral Merit Fellow, where I conducted research on the causes of aggression.  I trained as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with a National Institute of Mental Health Merit Research Service Award at the University of New Hampshire at the Family Research Laboratory, and then began my career as a professor in public higher education in Massachusetts. 

    In 1993 I started teaching as an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University.  I am a full Professor there today, in the Department of Psychology.

    Developing Training, Research and Fieldwork at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center

    In 2004, I was awarded the first Presidential Fellowship at Bridgewater State University to found a Center to work on understanding and reducing bullying and cyberbullying.  This was the beginning of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, or "MARC," an academic Center in public higher education, committed to a public health model for bullying and cyberbullying prevention for the state of Massachusetts.  We offer programs and services for other states as well.  Today, we have approximately forty faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and support staff working at MARC.  And we still deliver high-quality bullying and cyberbullying prevention services to K-12 schools and other stakeholders - usually, at no cost to those within Massachusetts.

    The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center conducts research and provides many types of programs and services to schools.  I am, at heart, a researcher, and I believe in basing the training materials I author on the research I conduct.  You can read some of my research papers and other publications.

    In addition to papers that are published primarily in academic journals, I've also authored a great many other materials that you may find useful. There are materials written for parents, teachers, and/or administrators about understanding and responding to bullying and cyberbullying. There are bullying and cyberbullying Curricula (for grades K-5, 6-12 and 9-12).  (All are research-based and free.) 

    I've trained tens of thousands of teachers, counselors, and administrators, thousands of students, and have been teaching graduate and undergraduate students for about 20 years. I present at local and national conferences every year across the United States.  I am the author of two books: Understanding Violence (three editions), published by Erlbaum, and Bullying and Cyberbullying, recently released by Harvard Education Press.  Browse all my publications.


    I was a Nominee for the 2015 National Crime Victims’ Service Award and am the Chair of the Cyberbullying Workgroup for the Institute of Child Development and Digital Media, collaborating with the National Academy of Sciences' Sackler Colloquium. Each year I trains and supervise graduate and undergraduate students and collaborate with multiple agencies around the State of Massachusetts and across the nation. MARC provides programs to hundreds of schools each year, and I personally train teachers, help educate parents, and speak publicly at dozens of schools, universities, and conferences nationwide and internationally.

    I write for both academic audiences and for the public. I was the Special Editor for the Cyberbullying issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry-CONNECT and the Journal of Social Sciences, and I've authored more than a hundred articles in academic journals and books. I am the author of Understanding Violence, a standard academic text in the field of child development and violent criminal behavior, and of Bullying and Cyberbullying: A Guide for Educators, published by Harvard Education Press. I have also written a variety of research-based curricula and educational handouts for communities and professionals. Reflecting my interest in educating laypeople, I have answered questions in a column for the New York Times (online edition), and I write the column Bullying Bulletin Board, which is syndicated by Gatehouse Media in hundreds of newspapers nationwide.

    Social-Emotional Education at MERSD & YALE: Center for Emotional Intelligence

    Teaching the Whole Child….What does it Mean?

    In January 2014, The Center of Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institute for Research, published a research-to-practice brief entitled, “Teaching the Whole Child:  Instructional Practices That Support Social-Emotional Learning in Three Teacher Evaluation Frameworks” and defines social-emotional learning as “the process of developing students’ social-emotional competencies-that is knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that individuals need to make successful choices (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning [CASEL, 2003).  SEL promotes activities that develop children’s ability to recognize and manage emotions, build relationships, solve interpersonal problems, and make effective and ethical decisions (Payton et.al., 2000). In addition, SEL touches upon developing safe and supportive learning environments and developing professional teaching strategies for this work to support these instructional goals.

    Why Is This Important?

    Across all ages, schools, and socio-demographics, research shows that “students who participated in social-emotional programs (compared with students not in social-emotional programs) demonstrated the following (Yoder et. al, 2014, p.5):

    • Increased academic achievement
    • Increased social-emotional skills
    • Improved attitudes toward self and others
    • Improved social behaviors
    • Decreased conduct problems and emotional distress

    Providing another definition of this work as it relates to students and preparation for peer interactions and school work challenges, Osher states, “students do not enter school knowing how to interact with teachers and peers around content, how to understand the ways that emotions influence their classroom interactions (e.g., feeling challenged by boredom or failure), or how to regulate stressful academic situations (Osher et al., 2008).

    At MERSD, we are committed to Teaching the Whole Child and as a community we endeavor to do so in ways that best fit our educational and social-emotional goals for children.

    In order to meet this goal, this summer, twenty two teachers, principals, and directors will train at Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to study an approach called RULER, created by Dr. Marc Brackett and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.  These trained teachers will help develop and implement the RULER program in grades K-12 throughout the 2017-2018 school year.  To learn more about the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, click here.

    Alignment to Massachusetts Standards 2017-2018 in English and Mathematics

    The 2017-2018 school year will also bring alignment to the new ELA and mathematics standards recently adopted by the state. Our professional development time will be spent learning about the new standards and the research that supports the best instructional practices to support reading, writing, and mathematics at all grade levels.  Our work will focus on three things: understanding the best research-based instructional practices, understanding the expectations of the MA frameworks, and creating rigorous curriculum to engage all learners. 

    2017-2018 Mentoring and Induction Program

    MERSD has redesigned the mentoring and induction program for next year and we are proud to announce the mentoring program schedule for the 2017-2018 school year.  We look forward to updating you on all of our progress throughout the school year! Staff will participate in the following activities: 

    2017-2018 Mentoring and Induction Schedule

    All Meetings will take place in the Manchester Essex High School Library

    Meetings run from 3:00PM -4:00PM

    Please prepare to attend all sessions

    July 13, 2017: New Mentor Training:  Do you want to become a mentor? This training is for any district professional-status teacher interested in becoming a new teacher mentor.

    August 23, 2015: New Staff Breakfast-Manchester-Essex High School and Mentoring Program Introduction

    September 14, 2017:  3:00-4:00 PM

    Meet Your Mentor and Program Introduction through Google Classroom

    • September 14 – June 14: Daily contact between mentor and protégé
    • August – June: Ongoing informal and formal meetings between mentor and protégé

    Oct. 12, 2017—Unpacking the Teachers Rubric

    • Meeting of all district mentors and protégés

    November 16, 2017— Professional Culture

    • Meeting of all district mentors and protégés

    January 11, 2018—Student Engagement

    • Meeting of all district mentors and protégés

    March 15, 2018—Formative Assessment

    • Meeting of all district mentors and protégés

    May 17, 2018— Family and Community Engagement

    • Meeting of all district mentors and protégés

    2017-2018 Manchester-Essex Instructional Rounds Schedule

    Sessions will alternate as AM and PM sessions to facilitate all schools and grade levels:

    • Oct 19, 2017
    • Dec 14, 2017
    • January 25, 2018
    • April 12, 2018

    2017-2018 Mentoring Professional Learning Committee Book Club

    Book Club Title: 

    The First 100 Days of School by Harry Wong

    Online: November 2017 to February 2018

    • Alternating monthly meetings and online postings in Google Classroom

    Other Activities:

    • Completion of contact log by mentor for each beginning teacher (Required)
    • Completion of surveys and feedback to Mentoring Committee
    • Completion of state paperwork at conclusion of mentoring and induction program


    We are shaping up for a very busy 2017-2018 school year! 

    Much more to come!

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  • April News-Mathematics

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 4/13/2017

    At the end of March, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) adopted updates to the 2010 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks.  This post will focus on the expectations and guiding principles for mathematics programs in our schools. Over the course of the next year, as we review, assess, and update the district's mathematics curriculum, we will be guided by the following principles and expectations of the standards from the 2017 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks. A strong, integrated, well-planned, and rigorous mathematics program, as referenced in the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks (2017, p.5), promotes the following:

    A Balance of Conceptual Understanding, Procedural Fluency, and Application

    The standards strategically develop students’ mathematical understanding and skills. When students are first introduced to a mathematical concept they explore and investigate the concept by using concrete objects, visual models, drawings or representations to build their understanding. In the early grades they develop number sense and work with numbers in many ways. They learn a variety of strategies to solve problems and use what they have learned about patterns in numbers and the properties of numbers to develop a strong understanding of number sense, decomposing and composing numbers, and the relationship between addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division. In calculations, they are expected to be able to use the most efficient and accurate way to solve a problem based on their understanding and knowledge of place value and properties of numbers.  Students reach fluency by building understanding of mathematical concepts (this lays a strong foundation that prepares students for more advanced math work) and by building automaticity in the recall of basic computation facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).  

    As students apply their mathematical knowledge and skills to solve real world problems, they also gain an understanding of why mathematics is important throughout our lives. 


    To achieve mathematical understanding, students should be actively engaged in meaningful mathematics. The content and practice standards focus on developing students’                      

    • conceptual understanding (make sense of the math, reason about and understand math concepts and ideas);
    • procedural skills (know mathematical facts, to compute and do the math); and
    • capacity to solve a wide range of problems in various contexts by reasoning, thinking, and applying the mathematics they have learned.  Sealey, Cathy. Balance is Basic, A 21st Century View of a Balanced Mathematical Program

    Guiding Principles for Mathematics Programs in Massachusetts

    According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), these principles should guide the design and evaluation of mathematics programs.  Programs guided by these principles will prepare students for colleges, careers, and their lives as productive citizens (Massachusetts Mathematics Frameworks, 2017, p.11):

    Guiding Principle 1

    Educators must have a deep understanding of the mathematics they teach, not only to help students learn how to efficiently do mathematical calculations, but also to help them understand the fundamental principles of mathematics that are the basis for those operations.  Teachers should work with their students to master these underlying concepts and the relationships between them in order to lay a foundation for higher-level mathematics, strengthen their capacity for thinking logically and rigorously, and develop an appreciation for the beauty of math.

    Guiding Principle 2

    To help all students develop a full understanding of mathematical concepts and procedural mastery, educators should provide them with opportunities to apply their learning and solve problems using multiple methods, in collaboration with their peers and independently, and complemented by clear explanations of the underlying mathematics.

    Guiding Principle 3

    Students should have frequent opportunities to discuss and write about various approaches to solving problems, in order to help them develop and demonstrate their mathematical knowledge, while drawing connections between alternative strategies and evaluating their comparative strengths and weaknesses.

    Guiding Principle 4

    Students should be asked to solve a diverse set of real world and other mathematical problems, including equations that develop and challenge their computational skills and word problems that require students to design their own equations and mathematical models. Students learn that with persistence they can solve challenging problems and be successful.

    Guiding Principle 5

    A central part of an effective mathematics curriculum should be the development of a specialized mathematical vocabulary including notations and symbols, and an ability to read mathematical texts and information from a variety of sources with understanding.

    Guiding Principle 6

    Assessment of student learning should be a daily part of a mathematics curriculum to ensure that students are progressing in their knowledge and skill, and to provide teachers with the information they need to adjust their instruction and differentiate their support of individual students.

    Guiding Principle 7

    Students at all levels should have an opportunity to use appropriate technological tools to communicate ideas, provide a dynamic approach to mathematics concepts, and to search for information. Technological tools can also be used to improve efficiency of calculation and enable more sophisticated analysis, without sacrificing operational fluency and automaticity.

    Guiding Principle 8

    Social and emotional learning can increase academic achievement, improve attitudes and behaviors, and reduce emotional distress. Students should practice self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills, by, for example, collaborating and learning from others and showing respect for others’ ideas, applying the mathematics they know to make responsible decisions to solve problems, engaging and persisting in solving challenging problems, and learning that with effort, they can continue to improve and be successful.

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  • April News-English Language Arts

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 4/6/2017

    April News

    At the end of March, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) adopted updates to the 2010 Massachusetts English language arts and mathematics Curriculum Frameworks.  This post will focus on the expectations and guiding principles for ELA and literacy programs in our schools. According to the DESE, the following guiding principles for English language arts and literacy programs, "should guide the design and evaluation of English language arts and literacy programs in schools  and the broader community.  Programs guided by these principles will prepare students for colleges, careers, and their lives as productive citizens" (Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy, 2017, p.7).  Over the course of the next year, as we review, assess, and update the district's K-12 English Language Arts curriculum, we will be guided by the following principles and expectations of the standards.  A strong, integrated, well-planned, and rigorous English language arts program promotes the following:

    Guiding Principle 1

    Students should receive explicit skill instruction, including in phonics and decoding. Explicit skill instruction is especially important in narrowing opportunity gaps.

    Guiding Principle 2

    To become successful readers, students need to develop a rich academic vocabulary and broad background knowledge.

    Guiding Principle 3

    Educators should help students develop a love of reading, by:

    • Selecting high-quality works of literature and non-fiction;
    • Reading aloud in class; and
    • Providing students with ample opportunity and encouragement for sustained independent reading, both for school and on their own.

    Guiding Principle 4

    Students should be exposed to complex and challenging texts at their grade level and above, with extra supports and scaffolding as needed, reflecting high expectations for all students.

    Guiding Principle 5

    Students should read a diversity of authentic texts balanced across genres, cultures, and time periods. Authentic texts are intact and unadapted texts in their original complexity; they are texts composed for purposes other than being studied in school.

    Guiding Principle 6

    Students should have frequent opportunities for discussing and writing about their readings, in order to develop critical thinking skills and to demonstrate understanding.

    Guiding Principle 7

    Reading well-crafted texts is an essential foundation for developing effective writing skills.

    Guiding Principle 8

    Developing the ability to write well demands regular practice across multiple forms and genres of writing and opportunities to write for a variety of audiences, including expository, analytical, persuasive, narrative, and creative writing, as well as explicit instruction in vocabulary and Standard English conventions.

    Guiding Principle 9

    Educators and families should view each other as resources with both invested in supporting students’ skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

    Guiding Principle 10

    Social and emotional learning can increase academic achievement, improve attitudes and behaviors, and reduce emotional distress. Students should practice recognizing aspects of themselves in texts (self-awareness), struggling productively with challenging texts (self-management), tailoring language to audience and purpose (social awareness), grappling vicariously with choices faced by others (responsible decision-making), and collaborating respectfully with diverse peers (relationship skills).

    Guiding Principle 11

    Educators should select works of fiction and nonfiction that instill in students a deep appreciation for art, beauty, and truth, while broadening their understanding of the human condition from differing points of view. Reading, discussing, and writing about high-quality prose and poetry should also help students develop empathy for one another and a sense of their shared values and literary heritage, while learning about who they are as individuals and developing the capacity for independent, rigorous thinking.

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  • March News

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 3/16/2017

    Manchester-Essex Regional School District

    top skills

    At MERSD, our focus is coordinated and supportive of developing the most important skills students will need for future college and career readiness.  The World Economic Forum cited the above top 10 skills needed for a competitive future career.  All grade levels and content areas support the development of these 21st century skills. The district has begun to focus professional development in creativity and emotional intelligence at every level.  Our teachers participated in a keynote speaker presentation with Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This summer, our goal is train teachers and administrators at Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to learn more about the implementation of RULER.  For more information on these social and emotional strategies, click here!

    Next year is shaping up to be a very exciting year for professional and student learning!


    This month in art class, 3rd graders heard from Cape Ann Museum Education Director, Liza Browning. She introduced the students to the famous Cape Ann Folly Cove Designers and their founder Virginia Lee Burton. Virginia was also famous for writing and illustrating wonderful children’s books as Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Little House, Katy and The Big Snow, and so many more. In the spring, the 3rd grade classroom teachers will take the students on a field trip to the museum to see the authentic artwork of these wonderful, local artists. 
    Visit the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester if you can. It is free to teachers and their families, and has many fun family programs for all ages. www.capeannmuseum.org

    Teachers were trained this month in reading comprehension strategies from Stephanie Harvey's Comprehension Toolkit.  These foundational strategies focus on the following areas for developing strong reading habits:

    • Monitor Comprehension- helps readers keep track of their thinking and monitor their understanding as they read.
    • Activate & Connect-supports students in learning the impact background knowledge on their learning and supports them to connect the new to the known.
    • Ask Questions-highlights how readers can use questions to clarify unfamiliar ideas and discover new information.
    • Infer & Visualize-teaches students how to use context clues and text evidence to draw conclusions about and crack open the new concepts and big ideas in a text.
    • Determine Importancehelps students identify, organize, and share the important ideas and information in a text.
    • Summarize & Synthesizeencourages students to go beyond the simple restating of facts, to pull together their thinking, and use all the strategies to understand big ideas.

     We look forward to the development of these strategies in all grade levels!

    From the Middle School...

    Shakespeare and Company: March 15, 16, 17

    Many thanks to our generous community sponsors for joining The Parents of Manchester Essex Middle School (PMEMS) in funding our upcoming Shakespeare and Company visit.

    We can't wait for the whole-school play, Midsummer Night's Dream, and the grade-level workshops. Twelfth Night for Grade 6, Midsummer Night's Dream for Grade 7, and Macbeth for Grade 8.  A special thanks to Vidula Plante for her hard work and dedication to this project!

    Keys to Literacy Middle School Training

    We are working to embed Keys to Content Literacy focusing on writing at the middle school level. The Common Core literacy standards call for teachers of all subjects to embed writing instruction in content classroom teaching, especially writing from subject-area reading sources. Middle school teachers and administrators are learning strategic supports for teaching the following:

    • Using daily “quick writes” to support content learning and build writing fluency
    • Teaching students to incorporate basic text structures into formal writing assignments, such as introductions, conclusions, transitions, and body organization
    • Teaching “writing from sources” skills, including: gathering relevant information from content sources into two-column notes, using a topic web to organize before writing, writing a draft from notes, and source citation skills

    MERMS is a very exciting place with many new ideas and concepts being discussed and implemented to support the middle school model!

     From the High School...

    The Independent won first place in Excellence in Editorial Writing at the 47th Annual Suffolk University Greater Boston High School Newspaper Competition tonight. They were chosen out of 30 schools.

    High school departments have been working all year on developing new coursework and curriculum maps.  This is not easy work and their dedication to this important work for the district is to be commended!

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  • January and February 2017 News

    Posted by Julie DeRoche on 1/16/2017 9:00:00 AM


    Teaching Emotional Intelligence...Why?

    A few years ago I learned of the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its impact on student learning and self-efficacy and I wanted to share this important research and message with our staff.  Our world is changing and our students will face a future in which most careers don't even exist yet.  Which means, our students will need to be not only academically strong, but also more flexible, creative, divergent, and convergent in their thinking.  To me, understanding emotional intelligence means understanding the 'other side of the coin,' when it comes to students and their learning. This approach deals with understanding emotional drivers and how students internalize feelings and behaviors, often times impacting their image, self-worth, and overall educational capacity for academic success.  It makes sense then that we should invest in learning more about educating our staff and students about emotional intelligence and how this 'other side of the coin' factors into our students' everyday lives-both in and out of school! 

    Day One! On February 17, 2017, Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence was the Keynote speaker at Manchester-Essex's professional development day  His grant-funded research focuses on the role of emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, relationship quality, wellbeing, performance, and organizational climate. Marc is the lead developer of RULER, an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning that has been adopted by over 1000 public, charter, and private schools across the United States and in other countries, including Australia, England, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. RULER infuses emotional intelligence into the fabric of a school through training for school leaders, educators and staff, students, and families, and has been shown to enhance wellbeing, academic performance, and school climate.

    Marc has published over 100 scholarly articles and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins award for his research on emotional intelligence in schools. His research is featured regularly in popular media, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Public Radio. Marc regularly consults with school systems and companies around the world, including Schwab and Goldman Sachs, and for the last four years he has worked with Facebook to develop tools that help adults and children develop emotional intelligence and resolve online conflict. Marc's research has also been accepted by Georgetown, Dartmouth, and Yale University.  These colleges have begun working with Marc to create college-level student coursework to support students' overall social emotional learning.  (http://ei.yale.edu/person/marc-brackett-ph-d/).

    Learn more about Marc Brackett and his research at Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence: 





    Emotional Intelligence at Manchester-Essex Regional School District:






    Reaching All Learners Professional Development Day was a great success! On February 17, 2017, our dedicated and knowledgeable staff offered many presentations to staff on topics such as: student-centered learning, formative assessment, behavior management, student engagement, literacy, supporting LGBTQ students, adolescent learning, digital portfolios, Google classroom, flexible seating, growth mindset, and technology. 

    Thank you to all of our wonderful teacher-presenters!  



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