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Head of School
Family Newsletter 

Your Source for PHA
School Updates
September 25, 2020
Dear PHAmily,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!  This year, we celebrate our 25th Anniversary in a new normalcy of our reimagined school. As we embark on our 25th year, we are celebrating a rich history of innovation, nimbleness, creativity, excellence, and above all an unwavering commitment to uphold our mission to "prepare each student for success in college, inspire a lifelong love of learning, and foster responsible citizenship." Since our founding in 1996, our mission has remained our unchanged guide for 25 years. 

In our new fluid landscape of teaching and learning in both remote and hybrid learning models, we will continue to use our mission as our guide and keep our students at the center of our work.  To that end, I trust that our students have picked up their Chromebooks and learning supplies from their respective campuses, and are beginning to settle into remote learning at home.  By now, you and your child(ren) have also engaged in a listening conference so that their teacher(s) can better plan and prepare for their learning and build positive relationships with them.  This week, teachers will continue to prioritize building community and you can expect your child(ren) to engage in more rigorous and deep remote learning.  

We are also making preparations to transition to our hybrid model as outline on our website that includes but is not limited to: 1) partnering with the local Department(s) of Health in Cambridge and Somerville to explore testing, 2) fine-tuning and determining reopening metrics;  and  3) carefully observing and learning from school and youth programs that have successfully opened with thoughtful mitigation strategies. For an example, check out this article/clip about the YMCA. Stay tuned for more information about the reopening plan updates in our hybrid model. 

For now, we are energized and hopefully optimistic about what promises to be an exciting, challenging; yet, rewarding year as we continue to rise to the next level on our journey from good to great in our new normalcy and our new landscape in both remote and hybrid learning. We thank you for your tremendous unwavering support with flexibility, agility, and grace!
Angela F. Allen
Head of School / CEO
Start of the School Year Highlights
To welcome our High School and Collegiate Institute students back, their teachers produced this heartfelt video. 
Technology Distribution
PHA has long been on a mission to close the digital divide to ensure our students have access to the devices necessary to facilitate their learning. During the week prior to the start of school, PHA volunteers distributed over 650 Chromebooks with the goal that every student in grades K-8 can start the school year with a brand new computer at home. Furthermore, PHA has established a 2:1 program with the purchase of an additional device for every student in grades K-6 so that when hybrid learning begins, those students do not need to carry their computer to and from school.
Thank You to All Our Volunteers
Fun PHAct: Not only did we have dedicated PHA parents, faculty, and staff as well as volunteers from Boston Cares do an amazing job distributing Chromebook computers, but both Ms. Massachusetts, Sectra Okundaye, AND Ms. Cambridge, Elizabeth Pierre (a PHA alum) joined us to help out. 
Technology Platforms
In addition to distributing technology devices, PHA has invested in various sophisticated yet age-appropriate technology platforms that facilitate remote learning as well as ongoing student and family communication. PHA Director of Technology for Academic Programs, Megan Bounit (see below), has created a brief video and slideshow explanation for four of these new platforms here:  Just as students and families are learning how to use these platforms, our teachers have participated in professional learning to ensure that they know how to effectively use these platform to deliver high quality remote instruction. 

Fun PHAct: During the first week of classes for grades K-3, there were: 
  • 2,966 posts in SeeSaw 
  • 1,743 'likes' of student work in SeeSaw
School Supply Distribution
To ensure students have access to multiple ways of learning and don't spend more time on screen than can be expected for any given age group, PHA distributed school supplies to all students, including fully loaded backpacks in grades K-3. If you have not yet picked up your child's supplies, please contact the main office at your campus. 
The Y@PHA Has Openings
Please note that the Y@PHA is running a full day program (7:55AM - 4:10PM) while school is fully remote. Teachers help students with their remote learning and engage them in fun hands-on STEAM activities. The Y@PHA ran an in-person summer program and is highly experienced in managing social distancing, hygiene, and mask wearing. Contact for more information. 
Opportunities and Reminders
Enrichment Opportunities
Grades 9-12
PHA Expanded Learning Manager, Rachel Freedline, has built an inventory of engaging virtual enrichment opportunities that are available through Google Classroom. Please remind your child to check them out or ask him/her to invite you to Google Classroom so you can explore the opportunities together. 

Grades K-8
Virtual STEAM Saturday is back! Registration will open on October 5 for Grades K-8 classes which will include Yoga, Piano, Electronic Music Production, and more.
Get Your Flu Shot

The City of Somerville is offering free flu shots to all PHA students and their families on the following dates: 
  • October 8, 2020 from 10:00am - 1:00pm at the East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross St. Somerville
  • October 21, 2020 from 12:00 - 3:00pm at the Argenziano School, 290 Washington Sr Somerville
Click here for additional dates
Register to Vote

If you have not yet registered to vote or are not sure if you are registered to vote, go to On, you can also request a mail-in ballot and receive other important information regarding the upcoming election. The deadline to register to vote is October 24 and the election takes place on November 3, 2020. 
If you have not yet completed the Census, do so here.
It is vital that every person is counted as the 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. Once on the Census website, click the link on the upper right of the screen to select your preferred language. 
Family Engagement
Virtual FAB Meetings
Please know that virtual Family Advisory Board meetings continue to take place weekly on Wednesday at 5:30pm. Please reach out to In Paik, Family Engagement Coordinator, to receive the Zoom link. 
Important New Positions
Megan Bounit, Director of Technology for Academic Programs
Please join us in warmly welcoming Megan Bounit, our new Director of Technology for Academic Programs. In this role, Megan will support the development and execution of a PK-12 technology scope and sequence for the PHA school community. Prior to joining the PHA team, Megan spent seventeen years working in technology in schools, including the Park School in Brookline, MA and Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA. 
Megan has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Bryn Mawr College and a master's degree in Technology in Education from Lesley University. She is currently pursuing a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Megan has presented at numerous conferences, including AISNE and MassCUE, and has been published in SmartBrief, eSchoolNews, and Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. She is a lifelong learner who is committed to supporting equity and inclusion in school communities and is passionate about technology, education, and leadership. We are thrilled to have Ms. Bounit on our leadership team. 
Liz Murray, Director of Blended Learning & Innovation
Please join us in warmly welcoming Liz Murray to her new position as our Director of Blended Learning and Innovation. In this role, Liz will be supporting the design and implementation of an exemplary and impactful blended learning model, including project-based learning, at PHA. She is thrilled to rejoin the PHA community and to be contributing to the incredibly important work of supporting students, families, and staff during these challenging and unprecedented times.
Liz brings an incredible depth of experience to her work at PHA, most recently serving as PHA's Middle School Change Coach this winter and spring, and previously holding the role of Chief Academic Officer (CAO) for Phoenix Charter Academy - a charter network serving opportunity youth in Chelsea, Lawrence and Springfield. As CAO at Phoenix, Liz led the work of shifting to restorative practices, implemented competency-based and student-centered learning models, and built flexible pathways to high school graduation. Years ago, Liz worked at PHA as a Middle School Humanities teacher from 2002-2006, as PHA's founding Middle School Principal for Grades 5-8 at Franklin St. from 2006-2010, and as the K-12 Director of Leadership and Professional Development from 2010-2014. We are excited to have Ms. Murray on our team this year!
First Day of PHA@Home School Photos
Send Us Your Photos
We love to share photos of our students with the PHAmily. Please continue to send us pictures of your children learning at home, exercising, doing arts and craft projects, and spending time outdoors.

Please email photos of your children to
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