Triton’s Aladdin Celebrates & Sustains Performing Arts Program

As budget deficits plague the nation, public schools, school committees and superintendent’s offices are put in the unfortunate position of finding creative ways to finance programs and curriculums that teach our students lifelong skills, or lose them. Among these critical programs is performing arts.  Data shows performing arts provide children with outlets for self-expression, discovery and creativity; that they boost confidence, help develop cognitive abilities, and improve communication skills.

Currently, Educational Theatre Association, International Thespian Society, American Alliance of Theatre & Education, and Theater in Our Schools have partnered to raise public awareness of the impact of theater education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs for all students. They are using March and April 2019 to officially promote community and school-based events and celebrations nationwide.

In conjunction with the nationwide efforts and to ensure Triton’s theater arts longevity, the district applied for and was awarded a two year grant of $46,920.00 to develop a self-sustaining performing arts program.  Triton has partnered with Theater in Our Schools to not only raise awareness inside the school walls, but also into the community and beyond, through the Middle School’s production of Disney’s Aladdin. The Middle School program has extended an invitation to all students in grades 5-9 in the district to participate in the musical, in an effort to ensure Triton’s theater arts longevity.

Aladdin will be performed on Friday, April 5th at 7pm and Saturday, April 6th at 2pm and 7pm at the Triton High School Auditorium. Thanks to the support and creativity of an administration that believes in the arts, Triton is on its way to creating a self-sustaining, high-quality and enduring districtwide performing arts program.

Aladdin Poster

2019/2020 School Year Calendar Approved

The School Committee approved the calendar for next year, including the half days for professional development. We have been discussing alternative options for our half day professional development days through the year. These have traditionally been held on Fridays, and they are an early release for students with PD in the afternoon for educators. The idea of flipping that arrangement was raised and discussed as it has been successful in other districts. This would mean that we hold professional development in the morning, and then students arrive late to school (by lunchtime) with a routine afternoon including all after school activities.

With over 820 responses to the brief survey that was sent out to families and educators, the overwhelming response was in favor of keeping the current arrangement. While we will continue to discuss other options for future years, I recommended no change from our existing schedule for next year, and the School Committee approved the calendar under those assumptions. The calendar is posted online at You can get to this year’s calendar, next year’s calendar, or the Google calendar of current events by hovering over the “Calendar” link at the top/right of our main website.



FY20 Final Operating Budget

The School Committee approved a Final FY20 Operating Budget at their meeting on Wednesday evening March 13th. The $42.4M spending plan represents a 4.14% spending increase over the current year, and reflects the spending necessary to carry the same level of services from the current year into next. I am very pleased to report that no cuts to staffing or programs are assumed in this budget, and there is a small restoration from prior cuts by adding back late buses two days per week at the Middle and High School campus only.

The full budget can be found on our website at As we continue our drive to engage our entire community in the fight for adequate education funding from the State, I would encourage you to take a look at the budget document, particularly the “story” contained in the first 13 or so pages. We need a unified voice with our state legislators, and more information with template letters and scripts will be coming as we progress through the spring and the state budget process. Your voice matters!

The assessments resulting from this budget vary by town, with a particularly challenging increase for Salisbury based on student enrollment. If you have specific questions about these figures and their impact, I would be more than happy to speak with you in person or by phone to clarify. We will also be planning additional budget “drop in” meetings in the evening later in March and early April. The times scheduled during the day last week were helpful and clarifying for those who joined us, and a similar evening opportunity was suggested. I look forward to more discussions to ensure everyone is clear on our overall budget, and the many contributing factors to the annual increases.

Student of the Month

Student of the Month – Alice Thornton

The Triton School Committee was pleased to announce the recipient of their first “Student of the Month” award last night, to a very well-deserving senior, Alice Thornton. Alice is in the top 10% of her class academically, is a member of NHS, women’s choir, and swim team, works part-time at a senior living facility, and has been a Girl Scout since 2nd grade, a role that requires true commitment and dedication to community service. However, it was not just these achievements that made Alice stand out to the School Committee members. What truly makes Alice exceptional is her character.

Alice is described as the “definition of a quiet leader.” She is “exceedingly polite,” kind, confident, and has “an exceptional level of maturity.” She is said to challenge herself without being asked, and is consistently the first person to offer help to her peers in school.  Unfortunately, Alice’s maturity may be due in part to challenges she has faced, however those challenges have motivated her to lead a life that will leave the world better than it was before. Her hope for the future is to go to college and become a research scientist within the biomedical field with the aim of helping people live healthier and happier lives. With such a wonderful character and noble purpose, the Triton community is proud to call her one of our own. Congratulations, Alice.

Student of the Month Alice Thornton

Triton Viking

ALICE Information Session – Tuesday, April 9th at 6:30 PM

Good Afternoon,

I trust this message finds you well and enjoying a little sunshine and warmer temps after a very wintry start to March.

Our job as an educational institution is to prepare our students to be successful beyond our walls, and that is our greatest priority here in the Triton Schools. However, in order to ensure that level of success, students and educators need to have confidence in the safety and security of our schools and buildings, so this must take equal precedence. Our safety committees meet monthly across the district as they always have, but in the light of tragic events in recent months and years, we have continued to update our policies and procedures to be prepared for an active shooter situation. To that end, and as you know, the district is in the process of implementing the A.L.I.C.E. protocol.

A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym for AlertLockdownInformCounter and Evacuate, and is endorsed by federal and state security agencies and all three of our local Police Departments. Though we hope we never have to face an active shooter incident in any of our schools, we must prepare and train for such an event to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

A.L.I.C.E. uses information in a way that allows staff and students to make informed decisions in a crisis situation and to protect as many people as possible by moving away from the danger zone. A.L.I.C.E. is not a protocol that is useful only for schools, as it provides training that can be used beyond school walls in the community and ensures the highest rate of survival during a crisis. All staff have been trained since the start of this school year, and we have conducted internal drills and exercises to prepare for introduction of the concepts to students later this spring.

The next step in the implementation process is an Information Session for all Parents, Guardians, and the Community. This presentation and discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 6:30 PM in the High School Auditorium. Our ALICE Trainers, Administrators from all our schools, and the chiefs and officers from the Newbury, Rowley, and Salisbury Police Departments will be presenting on this evening. The time will be structured with a brief overview of the protocols and our response, with extensive time set aside for questions and answers from those in attendance. I encourage you to attend this session.

There will be no drills or discussions with students before this event on April 9th. We will outline our next steps further at this event, but before any drills are conducted with students, we will work to help them understand the safety procedures at a developmentally and age appropriate level.

We look forward to sharing this information with you, and your participation in this session. Please contact me via the email or phone below with any questions.


Gender Equity Presentation – An Evening With Jeff Perotti

On Tuesday April 2nd the Triton Regional School District will be hosting a presentation on gender education facilitated by Jeff Perotti, renowned expert in the field of Gender Education – Creating a Safe School Climate and founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students.

All are welcome to attend this informative presentation and discussion with Jeff. This event is open to all parents, students (appropriate for all ages) and community members in the Triton District and beyond.

Light refreshments will be served starting at 6:00 PM, with the presentation beginning at 6:30 PM. We hope you are able to attend.

For more event details please see the attached information. If you have questions, please contact Maureen Heffernan, TRSD School Committee Vice Chairperson at [email protected].

Breakfast is Brain Food Image

School Breakfast Program

Breakfast provides students with the nourishment their bodies and minds need to start their day focused and ready to learn.  When students start the day with a healthy meal, they are more likely to retain what they learn in class, behave better, and experience better health outcomes. All Triton Schools offer breakfast daily in a variety of ways and locations to ensure students receive a nutritious meal at the start of their school day.  Paid breakfast is only $1.75, Reduced-price is $0.30 and no charge for free eligibility. *All SES students receive breakfast free of charge regardless of lunch eligibility.

Breakfast – it does the brain and body good!

SES Breakfast Staff Photo SES Breakfast Staff Photo PGS Breakfast Staff Photo PGS Breakfast Staff Photo NESBreakfast Staff Photo HS Breakfast Staff PhotoHS Breakfasths second breakfast

Budget Update & Drop-In Meetings

Good Morning,

It is hard to believe that we are already past winter break and March is upon us. Fasten your seat belts, because it will be June before you know it!

With a process that began right after the holiday break back in January, we continue the work of developing the Fiscal 2020 (19/20 school year) budget. The approach taken this year has been quite modest, with our focus centered on maintaining a level services budget. This means any new expenditures reflect costs that are necessary to maintain the same level of programming and services as we have in the current year. As discussed at great length over the past months and years, there are many programs and services we would like to add or restore back into our budget. However, the state budget continues to provide very few new dollars to our district, and therefore any and all increases come on the backs of our member towns and tax payers. You can view any of these previous meetings and budget discussions on the SC YouTube Channel at

The School Committee passed a Tentative Budget on February 13th that requires an increase in spending of roughly $1.7 million dollars, representing level services and increases only as required. You can view the current and past budget documents on our website at, or link directly to the FY20 Tentative Budget document in PDF by clicking HERE.

As is the case with any human services organization, more than 75% of our budget spending is attributed to personnel costs. The fast paced world we live in requires new and innovative ways of addressing student needs and preparing them to be successful beyond graduation. This includes programming for students who perform above our expectation and need additional challenge to reach their potential, as well as those needing more support and intervention to find success. Aside from in district spending, more and more students are being placed in outside placements through Special Education, and those costs continue to increase at rates that can’t be supported without state assistance. As I mentioned previously, there is certainly more that we would like to be doing, but the Tentative Budget as presented and approved maintains the current programming we have in place, and I am hopeful to maintain this for our students.

I am often asked why our slow and steady decreasing student enrollment doesn’t allow costs to decrease as well. I created a brief video that hopefully helps explain the reasoning behind the disconnect between student enrollment and overall costs. It is posted it on my YouTube Channel at

The figures as approved present a particularly challenging assessment increase for Salisbury as the student enrollment shifts continue to place more of the burden on them. As we continue to work through this process with the School Committee and our member town officials, we have several upcoming opportunities for you to provide feedback on the district budget.

  • Public Hearing:  We have the formal Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget this Wednesday, February 27th at 7:00 PM in the High School Library. This is a regular, televised School Committee meeting. As is always the case at a public hearing, the Committee will listen but will not respond to information presented until the following week when they deliberate on March 6th at 7:00 PM.
  • Budget “Drop In” Meetings:  New this year, we have setup a time in each town to be available to answer questions about the district budget. There is no formal presentation planned, but this is an opportunity for anyone from the community to drop in and ask any questions about this year’s budget, or our spending or programs in general. Our Business Administrator, Michelle Cresta, and I will be present, along with some Committee members. We have set a time to meet in each town, but anyone is welcome at any of the meetings, and I am hopeful the selection of days and times offer flexibility to allow those interested to stop in to ask questions. The locations and times are as follows, and Facebook users can click the link to the right of each listing to go to the Facebook Event for that meeting:

Monday, March 4th:  Rowley Town Library — 10:00 AM — Facebook Event

Tuesday, March 5th:  Newbury Town Library — 11:00 AM — Facebook Event

Wednesday, March 6th:  Salisbury Town Library — 1:00 PM — Facebook Event

As I have mentioned previously, we continue our advocacy efforts at the state level, so watch for updates on how you can help as the state process ‘ramps up’ in the coming weeks. Our united voice as an entire Triton Community is important as we look to ensure our legislators and state officials understand the impacts of their failed state funding formula.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Triton Viking

High School Principal Appointed – Introducing Mr. Patrick Kelley

With great anticipation and excitement for the leadership and innovation he will bring to the high school and our district at large, I am proud to announce I have appointed Mr. Patrick Kelley to be the next principal of Triton High School. Mr. Kelley will not begin his role officially until July 1, 2019, but there will be many opportunities between now and then for the students, staff, and community at large to meet Mr. Kelley. He will be present at the School Committee Budget Hearing on February 27th, and look for more information throughout the spring for more opportunities.

Mr. Kelley comes to Triton from his current role as Assistant Principal of Holliston High School, where he has served a similarly-sized high school for the past five years. During that time Patrick demonstrated his leadership in improving the educational experience for all students, and he became a valued and cherished member of their community. Prior to 2014 when he began his tenure in Holliston, Mr. Kelley was a History teacher at both Marblehead and Sharon High Schools. Patrick and his wife are both educators, and they have two young sons. We are very eager to have Patrick join the Viking Nation, and he looks forward to moving to the local area with his family.

My appointment of Mr. Kelley was made following an intensive three round process. The first round included representative panels of parents, faculty/staff, and administrators where each candidate spent a half day on site, interviewing separately with each panel. From those interviews, four semifinalists were moved forward to a second round of interviews with a combined panel of faculty, parents, and administrators. While I had anticipated naming 2 or 3 finalists for a third round, Mr. Kelley emerged as the unanimous favorite of all panel members after the first two rounds. Patrick returned this past Wednesday, February 13th for the full afternoon as the lone finalist to continue the interview process, including a chance to meet with student council representatives and me. The time here on Wednesday very clearly confirmed what I had already believed to be the case, that Patrick Kelley is the right person to lead Triton High School.

As previously mentioned, there will be opportunities to meet Mr. Kelley as we progress through the late winter and spring. If you have any questions about Patrick’s appointment or the process, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Whittier Tech Logo

Whittier Tech School Committee Open Seats

Rowley and Salisbury Community Members,

The Triton Regional School Committee is responsible for appointing our towns’ representatives to the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical School Committee. We were recently notified that the Salisbury and Rowley seats will be up for appointment in March 2019. Each seat would be for a 3 year term, and candidates must be a registered voter in the specified town. More information about the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical School Committee, including the upcoming meeting schedule, can be found at If you are interested in applying for one of these seats, please submit a short letter of interest by mail to Triton Regional School Committee, 112 Elm Street, Byfield, MA 01922 or by email to [email protected] by January 31, 2019. The Triton Regional School Committee will discuss and vote on the appointments at its meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 7:00 PM. Thank you,

Nerissa Wallen

Chair, Triton Regional School Committee