Best Walpole High News Stories of 2010


Kathryn Russo

By Brigette Lawton and Kathryn Russo

Class of 2011

New Schedules Include Professional Learning Community Time for Teachers

Walpole High School recently included a new learning block in the schedule- one just for teachers known as Professional Learning Communities (PLC). The PLCs, a major schedule change, have been held every other Wednesday from 7:20-7:55 in the morning.  While the teachers meet, students may have a delayed start (where students can sleep in and report to school at 7:55) or some students may have guidance seminars or special presentations. These PLCs allow for teachers of similar subjects to collaborate with one another and discuss effective learning techniques. During the PLCs so far teachers have had time to establish curriculum-based standards that directly impact student learning within all classrooms.

Rebel Flag Provokes Controversy

Hanging by the football field on private property, the Rebel flag – commonly known as a symbol of the confederacy – has also been a symbol of great debate on a local and state level. Reaction to the flag has been varied throughout the year. Some students see the flag as an emblem of pride; others, including many from out of town, see the flag as offensive, especially with its connection to the Rebel mascot. The flag issue received state wide attention in April when The Boston Globe published a front page article about the controversy. Hence, while many still urge the Walpole school department to disassociate the Rebel sports teams from the flag, the school system – which has already banned the flag from sporting events – cannot do anything about this flag, due to its placement on a neighbor’s property.

New Principal and Assistant Principal Take Over

Among the many changes taking place at Walpole High School one of the major shifts in the school system included new principal – Stephen Imbusch – and new assistant principal – William Hahn. Previously an assistant principal at Walpole High, Mr. Imbusch took over the principal position after Mr. Alan Bernstein left in the middle of the school year to work at the College Board. So far, Mr. Imbusch has made himself known to the student body and often walks around the hallways and the cafeteria to make sure he acquaints himself with the students at Walpole High. He has also implemented new schedule changes such as Advisory and Professional Learning Communities. Hahn, a former assistant principal at Catholic Memorial, is another new addition to the school. Immediately, Hahn organized the Gay Straight Alliance to encourage more tolerance throughout the school. He also promoted National Breast Cancer Month and got a significant amount of students to participate in a Breast Cancer walk in Boston to support the cause. As Mr. Imbusch and Mr. Hahn settle into their new jobs as principal and assistant principal, the students and faculty – who have had three principals in the last year and a half – will also have to once again adjust to a new administration.

Walpole High School Ranked 49th

Boston Magazine ranked Walpole High School the 49th best school in Massachusetts.  In comparison to the 2009 ranking, Walpole moved up three spots, just making the top 50 cut-off.  Despite this improvement, Walpole needs to further work on improving their ranking in the future.  Enrollment number, student-to-teacher ratio, per-pupil spending, and SAT scores were all factors that were taken into account while ranking the schools.  While Walpole’s high enrollment rate helps the ranking, the high student-to-teacher ratio and the low per-pupil spending and SAT scores in comparison to top schools like Weston significantly hindered the ranking.  On the other hand, the Foreign Language department received special recognition because of George Watson’s (named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year 2008-2009) continuous hard-work.  After this acknowledgment by Boston Magazine, the school community strives to improve their rankings in future years.

WTA Cuts Budget to Keep Teachers

This past year, the Walpole Teachers Association went through some tough decisions and changes.  With difficulties in the economy, the town faced a $2.1 million shortfall in the school budget.  During this time, the WTA president Mr. Jeffrey Szymanski and other union members helped reduced the deficit by making significant concessions in tuition reimbursements, healthcare plans, and pay increases.   After a long struggle between what to keep and what to cut, Mr. Szymanski persuaded 78% of WTA members to approve the concessions.  Through his hard work and cooperation with union members, the WTA saved 20 teaching positions and the school has clearly benefited from the teachers’ sacrifices.