Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 21, 2009

New Ashaway Principal

Filed under: Ashaway Elementary,Chariho — Editor @ 10:29 pm

Has anyone had an opportunity to meet, talk or work with the new Ashaway principal, Steven Morrone? He came to the town council meeting to talk about a bus issue. He and Bob Petite were there asking for a parking ban during school bus loading and unloading times. Tom Buck has a good handle on the issue and I’m comfortable with his direction on it. But I was more concerned, or curious, about the principal.

My concerns are based on the principal’s experience, or apparent lack of. The principal is on the front lines of interaction between our kids, the teachers and parents, and what little I know of this person from searching the internet and what he wrote us in a letter does not give me a great deal of confidence. 

According to the letter he sent the council, he “taught in Westerly for the past five years in special education and in the classroom. (He) also completed (his) masters degree in administration through Providence College. As part of that program (he) completed a principal internship under Victor Ventura, principal of Springbrook School in Westerly.”

I don’t want to assume that that is the extent of his experience, maybe there is more and he just didn’t mention it. Then again, as young as he is there couldn’t be much more. According to the Westerly Sun he is 28 years old.

Personally, I’m not comfortable with someone so young being in such an important position – a position that requires him to be the facilitator of interactions between children, teachers and parents.  He is younger than 2 of the three.  And he has no experience and very little experience in education at all.  And in this high unemployment you would think we could have found someone with experience. Was this a cost savings move? Does this person posses unseen talents?

The principal also spoke about a new program encouraging “community” he has started. Instead of having the kids go from the bus to the class, he has them go to the  gym so they can build “community.”  I think of community more of helping your neighbor and stuff like that, and whenever a newly educated educator speaks about “community” I fear phrases like “social justice” are soon to follow. But I shouldn’t read too far ahead.

That being said, there are freakishly talented young people who are dedicated at an early age. Maybe he is one of them. I also see he has modeling aspirations. So, I’m not sure what to read on his dedication or capacity. His letter was what I would expect from someone 28 years old.  My first inclination is to be insulted that Ricci would put someone in our schools with so little, strike that – NO, experience in the job. And if his letter is the totality of it, he only has a handful of years in teaching.

That’s why I’m asking if anyone has had contact or interaction yet. Let us know.



  1. Are you kidding me? This kid is a joke. And I’m a little disturbed by the people he associates with, at least by looking at the people posting on his modeling webpage.

    This is a slap in the face of Hopkinton. I guess Ricci gets the last laugh.

    Comment by looking for another school — September 22, 2009 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  2. here we go hopkinton….time to run somebody into the ground, talk about them and their family and how they are going to ruin the town and the school system, etc. this town does it best. no wonder nobody, NOBODY, wants to be involved in town/school govt. You people are disturbing.

    Comment by here we go — September 22, 2009 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  3. Ricci’s revenge?

    I don’t know what the problemmo is the guy is a model principal!

    Besides, he gave his sweatshirt to a sweetheart in NYC and now she wants him to come back to the city to get it back. This may be a love story for the ages.

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 22, 2009 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  4. Maybe a young new guy will have an explanation for the 2/3 non proficient rate at Chariho(I know, he’s at Ashaway), because everybody else on the payroll ignores this fact.

    Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  5. keep it up! thats all you scum have?? i figured youd of dug DEEP into his past. afterall. thats what bloggers do! get on him like you do EVERY official not named bill felkner. unbelievable. you all need your heads examined. why dont you shutup, let him do his job, and THEN pass judgement on what hes done. UNREAL!

    Comment by here we go — September 23, 2009 @ 9:13 am | Reply

    • Sounds like another person whom despises transparency for their tax dollars……WHY?

      Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  6. NECAP data due out at 10 am this morning……….thats a fact, not blogger fluff. The results will tell.
    Seriously, hopefully we have an improvement, and not the 1-2% improvement the NEA likes to paint as “the right direction”. WE need substantial improvement for the dollars we are spending, Period.

    Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  7. I don’t think we can judge him by new NECAP numbers – too soon in his tenure. And I’ll admit I have some reverse ageism going on here. I just think a position like that needs some experience. If not as a principal, at least a long tenure with proven results as a teacher. It’s not personal.

    Comment by Editor — September 23, 2009 @ 9:57 am | Reply

    • Why not? He’s part of the educational system. Isn’t the educational system charged with educating our children? Will he support the scores and the job “his staff” is doing if the scores reflect poor performance, or will he make excuses like we hear from the supporters, or will he remain silent like we don’t hear from those responsible….the educators.
      It might be a good thing having a person who is not so entrenched and brought up by the very system we seek to change. Maybe he hasn’t been around long enough for his blood to be turned to kool-aid, and he will actually break the mold.

      Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  8. i despise attacking people for NO reason. YOU DONT KNOW THIS GUY. Hes done NOTHING to warrant attacking. WHY attack? WHY not SHUTUP and let him establish himself and THEN judge him based on his actions. This has NOTHING to do with transparency.

    Comment by here we go — September 23, 2009 @ 10:42 am | Reply

    • FACT: He is part of a failed system. So in attacking(as you put it) the system, I guess by default yes we are attacking(as you put it) him.
      How many times in the past have we stood around and let “them” establish themselves? Look where it has gotten us….a failed system. Knowing who is running the helm of one of our schools has everything to do with accountability and transparency. Those who despise these virtues scream the loudest……go ahead keep on scream’n.

      Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  9. Here is the projo’s take on the great system you profess to admire. Science: 75% of RI students scored below proficient. Where is all the loudness about correcting this….we didn’t get her in 1 testing event, this has been this way for a very long time and those who are and have been part of the system should be held accountable. There’s that word again….accountability, dang it….can’t seem to get away from it.

    Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  10. great attitude rs… that case your a failure too. what makes your system the best system?

    Comment by here we go — September 23, 2009 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

    • My attitude has nothing to do with the fact our children have been failed by the system and you have been duped.
      Instead of worrying about me, BF, or a new principle you should be concerned with the failure we have for a school system, and the waste of our tax dollars. Of course that would require an attitude of accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

      So waht is your attitude? Corruption, tax and spend, I got mine-screw your kids, I’m part of the problem, or just plain blind, dumb, and deaf?

      Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  11. I’ve noticed everytime I post data that reflects the subpar non-proficient education our children receive, either the data(none of it mine) is attacked or I’m attacked. Why can’t one of you who seem to know everything about education explain why we spend the top 10% on education and get the bottom percentage for proficiency.

    It must be hard to look in the mirror.

    Comment by RS — September 23, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  12. I don’t agree it is “attacking.” I think it is reasonable to question the appointment of someone to such an important position. The principal will, not might, have an impact on our children. If we wait a few years and find out he doesn’t know what he’s doing, what are you going to say to those parents who lost those years. Very formative years.

    Those on the School Committee are ultimately responsible, but having been there I know the majority just does what Ricci asks for. Maybe there is something in his past that made Ricci say, “wow, this guy would make a good principal.” But I haven’t seen it. And if someone with no experience is the best Ricci can do then I would expect he failed at the interview process or he is making a statement.

    Comment by Editor — September 23, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  13. Maybe Ricci has a thing for the model principal? Maybe one of the Andy’s is infatuated? Who cares about grades when we have an American Idol prinicpal!

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 24, 2009 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  14. how about we judge the principal based on the track record he develops huh? do you know him personally RS, bill felkner? My guess is no and you are passing judgement for 2 reasons. One, because he was hired so that automatically makes him a turd. Two, his age. If they hired somebody 50 years old, we’d of heard….they hired someone who has helped the system become the “failure it is today”. They hire someone young, with no prior chariho associations, and he gets attacked. Unbelievable. Its really just a matter of, chariho does this, we need to cry fowl. chariho does that, we need to cry fowl. do you people have underground tunnels to hide in every night from the government???? get a grip already. AND if this wasnt personal, whats the modeling thing got to do with anything? Why look for that kind of stuff on someone and why post it? Obviously the answer is that since theres no track record yet, were gonna just attack him and destroy him before he has a chance. sad. very sad. you should have better things to do bill since your on the council and you run your ocean policy thingy…..

    Comment by here we go — September 24, 2009 @ 8:58 am | Reply

    • NEA PARROT and lap dog.

      Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  15. Can you justify the proficiency record of Chariho?

    Hasn’t this newly hired person been in the “system”? They do not hire someone off the street for these jobs. So why have the problems remained? It’s called we got our’s so go away and don’t bother us….your children don’t matter.

    Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  16. Maybe this is why the science scores are so low…..instead of teaching science our children are being…..

    Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  17. How about we assume they all suck. Young one, old ones, fat ones, hot model ones. They all get built by the same factory and they all defend the same broken system. If the principal stud wants to prove himself different then the rest of the education scum let’s hear from him. Otherwise he is just a Ricci with a prettier face.

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 24, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  18. Thats a great idea there cats meow. You suck. RS Sucks. Bill felkner sucks!….Yea, BRILLIANT.!

    Comment by here we go — September 24, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

    • Ran out of arguments to debate the fact that 75% of RI students can’t meet science proficiency, and resorted to behavior children use(name calling). I’ll spell it out for you…..75% of RI students FAIL, because the system they are trapped in is FAILED. Now that sucks. Put your blinders and dunce cap back on and go to the next union meeting and learn how to screw the taxpayers and our children in new ways.

      Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  19. what does THAT have to do with the topic? Last i checked its about the new principal. Thats assinine. So a new person gets hired and you ramble on about stuff he didnt create???? what are you smoking my friend? you have anger issues??

    Comment by here we go — September 24, 2009 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

    • ….and you have comprehension issues. Did you graduate from “the system” you defend? or fail to?

      Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  20. I may suck but I’m not taking the kids down with me. The model principal sucks because US schools suck and none of the adults do anything about it. Robots all. Until proven otherwise he’s just one more off the assembly line. Kind of like the guy here who is perfectly happy to stick up for Chariho. He sucks too.

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 24, 2009 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  21. Name calling is the tactic used when the facts can’t be defended. It’s called slandering the witness, attempted character assassination, etc. Not a big deal, it shows desperation, and the supporters of the trainwreck are very desperate to protect their way of life at the expense of our children. It’s obvious the supporters don’t want anyone to get a better education than they received, the old we’re all equal and we should all have the same, even at the expense of those whom excel.

    Comment by RS — September 24, 2009 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  22. so predictable RS. I’m assuming you are a product of yesteryear’s school system. If thats the case, anything is a step ahead. Maybe you’re antischool now because its so much furhter ahead than when you went. if you even did??

    Comment by here we go — September 25, 2009 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

    • Interesting, the people bringing light to the problems our school system faces are labeled as aniteducation, Go figure!

      Comment by RS — September 27, 2009 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

  23. Probably should check your grammar before making fun of another person’s education. I’m just saying…

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 25, 2009 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  24. Hey Bill, how many years did you work in the policy research field before founding OSPRI? What a hypocrite.

    Comment by Hypocrite — September 25, 2009 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  25. OFF TOPIC, but…..Any wonder why things are totally messed up in CHARIHO? Even the attorney can’t get it straight! Here we go from the Westerly Sun!

    The Westerly Sun 09/25/2009, Page A04

    Two committees, different entities

    IT STANDS TO REASON THAT THE CHARIHO Re­gional School Committee and the Chariho Building Committee are different enti­ties. Beyond the most obvious difference — their names — they have distinct member­ships and roles.

    So, it would seem, they are different enti­ties before the law.

    Now, it is true that the two committees serve the same public and share many goals, such as turning the tri-town district’s $20.5­million capital projects into reality. But when you move in the realm of public office — or multi-million dollar projects — there’s no such thing as making too certain your legal ground is secure.

    In legal matters, both panels turn to Ed­wards, Angell, Palmer and Dodge, a Provi­dence law firm. On a simple level, that makes perfect sense. If the firm is good enough to represent school officials, why not represent school building officials?

    That argument faltered when the school committee was told by Attorney Jon M. An­derson that he couldn’t offer a legal opinion on an issue because it regarded another client — the building panel.

    The very idea angered Andrew J. Polouski, a member of the school committee, who said that the primary function of the firm is to serve the elected board, and that the build­ing committee should have hired another firm.

    Admittedly, it seems on the face of things that such a relationship might be the most efficient course of action, but in this scenario we’re also talking about a $20 million project and that has to take precedence over poten­tial savings of a fraction of that cost.

    We find it odd that the law firm didn’t at least raise the issue of a possible conflict by serving both boards, however remote it might have appeared at the start. Neverthe­less, the local boards have a responsibility for considering potential or perceived con­flicts of interest in this kind of scenario as well.

    It’s been tough enough for the school dis­trict to pass a bond in the first place; we hate to see preventable technical dilemmas get in the way of implementing the bond.

    While the two panels are certainly on the same side, as School Committee member Ter­ri Serra noted, perhaps this bump in the road can serve as a caution sign to be on the look out for any other potential issues as this exciting project takes shape.

    Powered by TECNAVIA Copyright (c)2009 The Westerly Sun 09/25/2009



    Comment by Dorothy — September 27, 2009 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  26. And, of course the FIRST thing a new principal would do would be a TRAFFIC COP! Since when is walking a distance to the school door in the rain a problem with education? Good Grief, what the hell is going on here?

    Another story from the Westerly Sun…bet you will shake your head in disgust! Maybe if we had the principal and teachers do 100 laps in the cold rain they might make more sense and GET IT RIGHT! (the kids education, that is)

    Parking ban in front of school nixed


    Sun Staff Writer

    HOPKINTON — A proposal from school officials to impose a parking ban in front of Ashaway Elementary School has hit a red light.

    Chariho Regional School Com¬mitteeman Robert Petit and Ash¬away Elementary Principal Steven Morrone asked the Town Council to impose a half-hour parking ban on Hillside Avenue twice daily, so school buses could pick up and drop off children in the schoolyard — instead of the street.

    Currently, the buses park on Hillside Avenue in front of the school, because there isn’t enough room to maneuver out of the schoolyard when cars are on the road, they said.

    Councilors rejected the pro¬posal, saying they didn’t want to restrict taxpayers’ parking rights. Instead, they told the school of¬ficials to widen a fence at the driveway so there would be enough room for the buses to move through the schoolyard.

    This years-long issue resur¬faced Monday night, when Petit told the council of phone calls he has received from parents with safety concerns about the buses parking on the street.

    Chariho Superintendent Bar¬ry J. Ricci said on Tuesday that the current bus location is “not unsafe, but it could be safer in the schoolyard.” He said the school district would pursue the council’s suggestion to widen the gate.

    On Monday, Morrone told the council that moving the buses closer to the school could save 10 minutes a day. He said he wants to conserve classroom time be¬cause “every minute counts.”

    “I think by giving the bus ac- cess to the school, we’re setting [the students] on the right path to be ready for learning that day,” he added.

    In a letter to the council, Morrone asked councilors to “imagine” that they were el¬ementary school students and had to take a New England Common Assess¬ment Program (NECAP) test on a “rainy, cold day in October.”

    “As recommended by your teacher, you have a great night’s sleep and a good breakfast, ready to take the state test,” Mor¬rone wrote. “As you get off the bus, you get very wet walking the long distance to the school. You feel uncom¬fortable, and your whole mood is thrown off now and you have to take this big test. I would not do my best, and I’m sure others would not either.”

    Buck, who read the letter aloud at the meeting, said, “The first time when I read that, I said to myself, ‘What about the 10 walkers that have to walk to the school within a half-mile?”

    “My son walks to that school,” said Buck, a Church Street resident. “My daughter is supposed to walk to that school. And you’re worried about kids walking 100 feet? I just think that’s a little extrav¬agant.”

    Buck said he visited the site that afternoon and watched groups of students board the buses. He noted there were four adults out¬side monitoring the stu¬dents, and that the buses, with their flashers on, made the road impassable.

    “In essence, you justifi¬ably by law shut that road down,” he noted.

    “We’re here to compro¬mise,” Petit said. “We feel getting the buses on prop¬erty is the safest thing for kids of district.”

    Councilor Sylvia K. Thompson responded that the council will do “what¬ever it needs to do” to pro¬tect the safety of the stu¬dents, “regardless of what residents like or say.”

    “But there are other ways to resolve this, and they haven’t been proven to me that they can’t work,” she said.

    Comment by Dorothy — September 27, 2009 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

    • Do these busses even have seatbelts for the children?

      Comment by RS — September 27, 2009 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  27. No seatbelts. Bucks comment is right on target. Kids walk to school so are we supposed to pick them up now too? Growing up in the city I walked to school almost a mile. Big deal. The whole issue demonstrates why the schools have lost their way. I live near there. The road shuts down. No kid is going to get hit by a car because no cars pass by. The issue is about kids walking 100 feet and school employees having to stand outside longer than they’d like. Stupid school employees creating stupid children. Wonderful.

    Funny how Anderson saw imaginary conflicts for Felkner but when his company stands to make a buck conflicts of interest are no longer important.

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 28, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  28. Sooooo we want more rules passed, but we neglect to worry about restraints in a 40,000# vehicle moving at 40MPH. Priorities? Focus people, focus.

    I would post the physics of what happens inside the vehicle at various deceleration rates, but hey science dosn’t seem to be a strong interest of the Chariho supporters, plus the formulas involved might be too complex to be believable by the uneducated.

    Comment by RS — September 28, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  29. Well, if parents want seat belts on the buses, and they are proved to be an effective safety measure, go for it! BUT, does the school get sued wihen little Johnny takes his belt off while the bus is in motion? Who checks the seat belts for some of the misbehaving, poorly disciplined kids? Another monitor/ Teacher? Bus driver? If the kid won’t wear a seatbelt, does not wear one in the family car, you can BET that any sudden stop where the brat gets hurt will be the fault of the SCHOOL! So, get seat belts if you want, but PLEASE also be a responsible parent and demand the kid uses the seatbelt of the KID, not the school!

    Comment by Dorothy — September 28, 2009 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

    • No the school doesn’t get sued because the legistlation requiring the use of seat belts will stipulate so. The failure of a child to follow the safety rules will not allow one to sue for their own personal negligence….similar to airline safety belt requirements.
      Misbehaving, poorly disciplined kids(a whole other huge topic) get to stay home for their behaviour. So no problem there.
      Monitor/teahcer/bus driver? Why not teach some personal responsibility? Why no the monitor? Are they overloaded as it is?
      Isn’t that one of the reason we educate our children, so they can adapt and interact in the world. Ima

      Comment by RS — September 28, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  30. The analogy was meant to show the absurdity of wanting one rule over another…

    The same could be said for kids in the street/road, when it comes to responsibility.

    Comment by RS — September 28, 2009 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  31. I won’t be happy until the kids are rolled in bubblewrap. The plan is working. People are stupid. Chariho anyone? Take a sad story and turn it into gubmint policy robbing us all of our money so we can spend trillions to stop another sad story. Thing is the politicians never run out of sad stories. Every time they want a bit more power they have oodles of sad stories ready to go. Take our money and take our freedom. No more sad stories at least not until tomorrow. Don’t tread on me.

    Comment by Cat's Meow — September 28, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

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