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Inside BPS: Emily Flores - History in The Making

By Sean Mason

Communications Intern

Stonehill Class of 2017

Emily Flores is not only a historian of the classroom, but also of life. The new Head of the Social Sciences at Brockton High School has traveled to seven countries, all of which have some historical meaning in her eyes.

"Growing up, my dad would always give us a background of everywhere we went on vacation," said Flores.

Emily Flores, BHS Social Science Dept. Head

The former history teacher is in her first year as Head of the Social Sciences and it is a big change. Not only does she still maintain her duty as a classroom teacher, but now, she also has departmental responsibility. Her teaching load has been reduced, but that isn't necessarily a benefit, according to Flores.

"I miss having more exposure to students," she said. "I went from teaching three large classes to now one small AP US history class. I love working directly with the other teachers, but nothing quite fills the void of dealing with that many students on a one-to-one basis."

In her new position, Flores fills a large role in determining the curriculum for the entire history department at Brockton High School. She also is in charge of managing all of the faculty's wants and needs. It's safe to say that her plate is quite full.

"Balancing everything, from teaching a small AP class to dealing with the latest problem with our curriculum, has been the most challenging aspect of this new job," Flores said. "Sometimes, I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day, but that's when you have to say to yourself 'you have to keep rolling.' "

Although teaching a class and managing a department is a challenge, there are some benefits to doing both, Flores said. As a teacher, she knows exactly how students react to teaching styles and specific aspects of the curriculum, which helps her when determining what exactly to place into the curriculum.

"The further away you get from the classroom, the less perspective you have on how the curriculum actually affects the students and staff," Flores said. "Teaching a class means that I am directly affected by my actions as an administrator."

Flores' favorite historical era to teach is from the beginning of World War I until the end of World War II.

"I love to teach patterns of behavior and both World War I and World War II are perfect examples of how patterns of behavior are repeated throughout history," she said.

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Inside BPS – Carolyn Copp: An ongoing love story with Brockton High School

By Sean Mason

` Communications Intern

Stonehill Class of 2017

They say marrying your high school sweetheart only exists in Hollywood love stories, but that's not the case for Carolyn Copp, the new Dean of the Red House at Brockton High School. Copp, a 1990 graduate of Brockton High, has been with her high school sweetheart for well over 20 years, so it's only fitting that someone who has as many ties as she does to Brockton High would define herself as a "Brockton lifer."

After spending the previous three years of her career as the Coordinator of Library Media Technology Services, Copp has returned to her previous position as Dean of the Red House at Brockton High School, which she served in from 2011 until 2013. It's a return to the old days, Copp said.

"I missed having direct interaction with the kids," said Copp. "I love being building based. I love the kids. When you work in a curriculum position like my previous one, you're not as closely connected to the kids. As the dean, I feel like these kids are my kids, and that I can focus on the entire student."

carolyn Copp, Dean BHS Red House

Since returning to her position as Dean, Copp has had a number of memorable experiences, thanks largely in part to her direct communication with individual students.

"The thing I enjoy most about my job is seeing the students in action, and seeing their commitment to academics. Brockton High is a school that focuses on academics and I take pride in the fact that these kids understand that," said Copp.

Copp has been a member of the Brockton School district faculty since 1995, when she started as a Theater Arts teacher. Since then, she has held a number of different positions, ranging from Coordinator of the Arts' department to her current position as Dean.

"I've seen a number of positive changes since I started in Brockton. The academics have become more rigorous. When I started there wasn't any form of standardize testing. I think the school really holds these kids more accountable from an academic side," said Copp.

Copp takes pride in the fact that as Dean she "wears many different hats." Her job requires her to be multifaceted, whether that entails enforcing discipline or helping a teacher with technology. Being the Dean is truly an invigorating experience.

When it comes to faculty involvement, Copp is totally immersed in her students' interests, attending almost every event, from the weekly football games to the plays put on by the drama department. She is always in the audience.

"Being involved as a student, whether that be through athletics, drama, or anything is crucial to one's development. I think me being present for these events shows that I truly care about not only the students, but also for the entire school," said Copp.

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Inside BPS – Kevin DaPonte: The Language of Learning

By Sean Mason

Communications Intern

Stonehill Class of 2017

On the first day of school, most students' biggest worries were wondering what time lunch was scheduled and when recess started, but for Kevin DaPonte, the current Assistant Dean of the Yellow House at Brockton High -- and soon to be Director of Business, Technology and Career Education -- it was learning the English language that worried him. DaPonte grew up speaking Portuguese. He picked up English as he progressed through his schooling.

"At first it was hard. I struggled, but I eventually caught up," said DaPonte.

Kevin DaPonte, Director Business, BHS

The word ambitious would be an injustice to DaPonte. He describes himself as someone always looking to move forward, someone always ready to take on the next challenge.

"I think being an ESL student really contributed to my mentality as a hard worker. Hard work gets you far in life, and once you learn it, then you'll never lose it," said DaPonte.

Prior to obtaining his new position, DaPonte worked as a high school History teacher. He began teaching at Brockton High at the end of the 2004 school year and he held that position until he was promoted in 2011 to Assistant Dean of the Yellow House. And now, five short years later, DaPonte is ready to take on a new challenge.

"I've never been afraid of change or failure," said DaPonte.

His new position carries an abundance of responsibilities, ranging from developing a curriculum that enables students the ability to learn a particular set of skills, to ensuring that software is being used in the correct manner.

"My goal for this position is to develop Brockton High's vocational programs into something much more than they already are. I want the skills we teach to constantly be evolving," said DaPonte.

DaPonte wants to place his mark on the position. He wants all students who enter the vocational program to have options upon graduating, options that include either continuing that skill in college or finding a job in the work force.

"The program is very region based. We teach students what they need to know based on what the region they are living in requires," said DaPonte.

As excited as he is for his new position, DaPonte did say he will miss some aspects of his old job.

"Knowing the families and the students on a personal basis is something that I will miss, but with that said I'm very excited for what awaits me in my new position," said DaPonte.

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Inside BPS: Margo Masson – Educating Beyond Borders

By Sean Mason

Communications Intern

Stonehill Class of 2017

Teaching in another country is scary for some, but for others like Margo Masson, the new principal at the Brookfield School it can be an adventure. Masson taught first and second grade in both Spain and Mexico for a total of three and a half years. She taught in Rhoda, Spain, for a year at a U.S Naval base and in Guadalajara, Mexico, for two and half years.

Margo Masson, Principal Brookfield School

"I was young and wanted to do something fun and adventurous," said Masson.

Masson's previous six years as the head of Math and Science at the Brookfield have helped her prepare for the daily tasks as principal of an elementary school. Being already familiar with the school and staff has only benefited her. Masson loves the fact that she already has previously established relationships with the many staff and faculty members.

"Knowing the staff and being familiar with the school has made the transition so easy," said Masson

Masson holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology and Elementary Education from UMass Dartmouth, a Master of Education degree from Framingham State College, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership and Management from Fitchburg State College.

She always knew she wanted to be a principal, so when the position opened at her school, she knew she couldn't let the opportunity pass.

"I love it. I have no regrets," said Masson.

Being principal encompasses so much; managing the staff, students, and overall health of the school are all aspects that she equally enjoys.

Masson hopes to sustain the success of the previous principal, Val Brower, who moved on to the Baker School.

"I want to continue to strengthen the Pro Learning Communities and bring them to the next level," said Masson.

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Inside BPS: Valerie Brower – New Baker Principal Follows Her Own Tune

By Sean Mason

Communications Intern

Stonehill Class of 2017

Some make the effort to go to one or two concerts a year, but for other dedicated country music fans one or two is simply not enough. Valeria Brower, the new principal at the Mary Baker School goes to about 15 country concerts a year. She said it has become sort of habit of hers.

"I love Jason Aldean. He's my favorite artist," said Brower.

Despite her hardcore fandom to country music, Brower has still managed to maintain a career as one of Brockton Public Schools' premier principals. This is her sixth year as a principal; she spent the previous five at the Brookfield School.

valerie brower, New Principal, Baker School

"The thing I miss most about the Brookfield is the students, staff and families. Being there for five years, I got to really know the ins and outs of the school and the students' families," said Brower.

Although she misses her old position, Brower has no regrets in taking on this new challenge. She sees her position as principal of the Baker as a long-term fit and she hopes to be there for the long run.

"On the first day of school, I told the staff "I don't feel like the new guy." I've felt welcome here since day one and I attribute that to my awesome staff," said Brower.

The make-up and structure of the building has a new school vibe to it. Each room features equipment that the older buildings are not capable of utilizing.

"I just love the overall building. It's so advanced on a technological basis," said Brower.

The Baker is one of the many Brockton schools to be trauma sensitive, incorporate play works, and be classified as a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports school. Brower hopes to continue the success at which the previous principal had in incorporating these programs.

"We have a lot of strong programs in place here. I want to continue to strengthen and develop these already established programs here," said Brower.

One aspect Brower loves about working at the Baker is the idea that the school looks at each child as a whole, incorporating both their academic life and their social- emotional life.

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