New Curriculum Coordinators come to WA


Curriculum Coordinators (from left to right) McHugh, Charbonnier, and Kravitz

Kai-Jia Yue, Social Media Manager

Last year, 2015- 2016, three curriculum coordinators left Westford Academy from the math, science, and foreign language departments. This year, Kristina McHugh, Jenny Kravitz, and Sharon Charbonnier have joined the staff at WA in their places.

McHugh took on the position from Cathy Coughlin in the Math department, when Coughlin retired last year. McHugh was an eight grade math teacher from Blanchard Middle School, and liked the idea of the challenge that her new position would entail.

“I’m definitely a natural organizer and a natural leader, and those were always the types of things I found myself doing in Blanchard. It’s just that I didn’t have the time to do it all, so now I have the chance to help teachers when they have a quick question,” McHugh said.

McHugh teaches Algebra 1 Part B and notices the large amount of independence that are given to the students. Being able to give the students more independence, McHugh finds that she is able to be more lenient with her lesson plans and students.

“I’ve always run my class pretty smoothly where there is freedom and choice in my classes always, so it just seems to fit here really well which is nice,” McHugh said.

Since it’s only the beginning of the year, McHugh has not yet been able to miss the interactions between her and the students. She does enjoy seeing her old students that she used to teach in middle school.

“I’m lucky that I know a lot of the kids, even the kids that weren’t in Blanchard. A lot of the Blanchard kids I’m familiar with from seeing around the building and DC and all those different things. I’m really lucky that anytime I leave the office, I’m interacting with somebody,” says McHugh.

So far, she has enjoyed the challenges and tasks that have been given to her. McHugh predicts that as the year goes on, she will be able to better adapt to her role as both a Curriculum Coordinator and a teacher.

“I’m just so excited to continue to develop my position. Every day it has been something a little bit different which is really nice, said McHugh.

Kravitz replaced MaryKim Bourdeau in the science department, when she left last year due to a family situation. Kravitz taught AP Biology and Forensic Biotechnology last year, and had an interest in the science curriculum and instruction

Kravitz states, “I’ve worked on many grants over the years, affecting science curriculum and instructional materials K-12[…] I became interested in applying [for the curriculum coordinator position], since it would allow me to focus more on curriculum without having to give up teaching entirely.”

Being able to dabble more in the administrative side of things, but still allowed her to teach, Kravitz liked the balance her new position would give her. She also likes the way she can examine and cultivate ways to teach students to enjoy science and learning to enable growth.

“Specifically examining how we, as educators, cultivate our future scientists […]  Additionally, I am looking forward to supporting all of my talented science colleagues in a new way, advocating for access to the resources and training that enable continued growth,” Kravitz says.

This year Kravitz will only be teaching AP biology and will not be teaching forensics. She misses teaching a larger group of students, but enjoys how she’s able to go into a vast variety of science classes, in the middle school and high school, and interact with a wider range of students.

Since taking up her new position, Kravitz has noticed the difference in scale of what she has to be aware of.

“Before, I was mostly concerned with what was happening in my own classroom, department, and building.  Now, I have a different perspective.  I am able to work on what we’re doing as a district, both within science and across all disciplines and buildings,” Kravitz said.

In the foreign language department, Charbonnier replaced Amy Moran, when Moran decide to take up an administrative position in Lexington. Charbonnier has been world language coordinator in the Chelmsford Public Schools for 9 years, and a middle school  French teacher in Billerica.

Even though Moran left with no clue who was going to take over her position, Charbonnier finds that her transition was relatively smooth although it was a little last minute. Charbonnier is also teaching a French 3 CP class.

“The transition was smooth […]this is exactly what I did in Chelmsford. Any time you transition to a new school whether as a teacher or administrator you have to learn how things are done in that new place, so all the teachers have been absolutely gracious and lovely and the students have been really helpful,” says Charbonnier.

Being a curriculum coordinator, Charbonnier likes how she gets to teach  in the classroom, help with the teachers, and help cultivate new ways to make learning languages fun and easy.

“I think that one of my favorite things is that I get to teach in the classroom which I  love the variety of students and teaching them you about other cultures and languages but I love working with teachers too and helping them discover discover new ways to make languages come alive for the other students,” Charbonnier said.

She feels that WA is very enthusiastic towards learning and is willing to try new things.

“Every school is different they all have their own unique way of doing things but what I love about the WA is they are just so full of enthusiasm they are willing to try new things and even when they are nervous they will just jump right in,” Charbonnier said.

Charbonnier expressess her view on languages and their necessity in this day and age.

“We live in such a global society that it is important that students have access and exposure to languages and then get more and more comfortable,” said Charbonnier.