SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 16, 2013

Heard Around Town: Peabody’s Brown School gets inside the BOKS

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — Everybody talks about kids keeping fit — but Peabody Public Schools are actually doing something about it.

At the Brown School they’ve instituted the BOKS program, or Build Our Kids’ Success, sponsored by the Reebok Foundation. They’ve also enlisted the YMCA to help encourage kids to eat better and exercise in the morning.

A bunch of the kids, led by Principal Elaine Metropolis and city Health Director Sharon Cameron, appeared at last Tuesday’s School Committee meeting to give a demonstration.

“We’re very excited to be piloting this at the Brown School,” said Metropolis.

“The basic premise,” said Cameron, “is you jump start kids’ brains before school starts by getting them active.” Brown students have been doing it twice a week and parents report, believe it or not, they now have kids eager to go to school.

“A lot of good things happen at the Brown School,” observed Mayor Ted Bettencourt.

Will Nurse Cole report to Health Care Financing?

Yes, she will. That’s only one of the House committees new state Rep. Leah Cole has been assigned to. Health Care Financing is appropriate given her history as a nurse.

“I am delighted,” she said in an email. The Republican will also serve on the Elder Affairs Committee.

Whoops — almost

When the City Council approved spending to upgrade the historic Peabody Institute Library they took for granted a $500,000 donation from the Community Preservation Committee.

Well, says CPC member Mike Schulze, that was a near thing. “I got it tabled for a while because it looked like it was going down.”

The CPC passed the donation on Tuesday, however, with only one negative vote.

Matt’s back

He made his mark on the North Shore as Swampscott superintendent. Yesterday Matt Malone came to Peabody as the secretary of education.

“The kids loved him,” Superintendent Joe Mastrocola said of the former U. S. Marine. “It’s refreshing to have someone who walks the talk.” Malone reviewed plans for the new Higgins Middle School and took a tour of the old, soon-to-be-replaced version.

Malone was intrigued by a math class equipped with iPads, said Mastrocola. “He was impressed with the technology.”

A heartfelt gesture

The School Committee approved the use of the high school track for the annual Relay for Life on June 14 starting at 3 p.m. The event raises money in the fight against cancer even as it inspires those who have survived the disease or lost loved ones to it.

“In the past,” said member Tom Rossignol, “the mayor has picked up the $50 unwaivable fee.” Voice breaking, he added, “I don’t know if you know that my dad is battling cancer. And I would like to pick that up.”