Wareham principals look forward to normalcy in new school year

Aug 23, 2022

New course offerings, new pickleball courts and a brand-spankin’-new elementary school: There’s a lot Wareham school principals are looking forward to when class starts on Monday, Aug. 29.

“It’s an exciting time,” high school principal Scott Palladino said on Monday. He added that the school is excited to get back to some sense of normalcy after the past couple years, and “I think it’s going to be phenomenal.”

Wareham Public Schools have undergone a number of significant changes in the last couple of years. Staffers have worked through the pandemic, remote learning, the move from Decas Elementary School to the new elementary school on Minot Avenue, a superintendent’s retirement and subsequent superintendent search.

Now, the three school principals all expressed their readiness to start the school year off right.

“This is as normal as a return as we’ve had, so that’s very exciting to us,” middle school principal Tracie Cote said on Monday.

Cote said some pandemic protocols will remain in place, like keeping hand sanitizer at the ready and maintaining hand-washing standards.

Principals are keeping an eye on some areas for improvement in the future, they shared. Cote said maintaining school attendance among students is on her radar, as the past years have presented challenges like quarantine requirements and other issues keeping kids out of the classroom.

For the elementary school, principal Bethany Chandler said she’s looking forward to improving attendance too, along with students’ social and emotional well-being. She’s also excited to work on helping kids advance their literacy as the youngest students learn to read for the first time.

“Literacy is definitely something that’s going to be on the forefront for us,” Chandler said.

The new elementary school building, she added, comes with an array of new features and spaces for students – including newly painted pickleball courts.

At the high school, there’s a host of new course offerings for students, some of which teach subjects suggested by students, Palladino said.

One new course offering that’s proven popular with students is a digital photography class, the high school principal said, along with a marine biology course that’s back from a hiatus.

The high school will also offer an African American literature course and a history course on examining racism and genocide, he said, as the school works to pique students’ interests in a variety of subjects.

“I think we’re speaking the students’ language,” Palladino said.