By Janet Stoica
She’s been Webster’s public schools superintendent for 19 months now and Ruthann Goguen is on a fast track to bring new leadership and safety programs to the three schools in the system: Park Avenue Elementary, Webster Middle School, and Bartlett High School.
She has enlisted MAPFRE Insurance, the area’s largest employer, and Boston Children’s Hospital to implement several of the programs.
“We’re proud to support Webster Public Schools through our partner organizations, such as Boston Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention program Safe Play Starts Here, as well as our employee volunteers,” said MAPFRE USA President and CEO Alfredo Castelo. “As a company and individually, we value the communities in which we operate and are committed to programs and initiatives that improve the quality of life.”
Superintendent Goguen elaborated on the assistance provided by MAPFRE and how the company felt about promoting safety to the local school students.
“Barbara DiGirolamo, the Injury and Safety Coordinator from Boston Children’s Hospital, came in and did one-on-one lessons for each classroom at Park Avenue Elementary School. The programs centered on the importance of seat belt usage, bike safety, and bicycle helmet use,” she said.
A video of the presentation was made that MAPFRE will now use internationally in its Fundacion MAPFRE program.
“At our Middle School, assemblies were held about brain injury and safety and Ms. DiGirolamo also participated in parent conferences. The importance of these programs is so essential to our students,” said Ms. Goguen.
MAPFRE also wants to develop a mentoring leadership program at Bartlett High School. Several of the company’s managers were brought in to speak to the students, who also participated in a goals assessment. Students were given tours of MAPFRE’s local facility located on Route 16 in Webster. MAPFRE’s President Castelo then spoke to the students about their structured mentoring program titled “Tomorrow’s Leaders’ Program.”
Superintendent Goguen is now looking forward to holding district safety meetings monthly with representatives from the local police, fire, and EMS departments. On Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. a free outdoor event, Safety Day, will be held on the Webster Middle School grounds where students can meet and interact with emergency responders.
“There are many other events that will be happening for the benefit of our Webster students,” said Ms. Goguen. “We have partnered with Johns Hopkins University to conduct a safety survey. I feel it is our job to keep our students safe and to provide a safe learning environment. It’s very important for us to empower our students to know right from wrong and we are extremely fortunate to have developed a very strong relationship with MAPFRE.”
During the past holiday season, Lifesong Church generously donated new and gently used coats, clothes, and shoes to those students in need while MAPFRE provided over $3,000 of holiday gifts to the neediest of Webster’s student body.
Additional student supports include a successful Weekend Backpack Program for those who have weekend nutritional needs. This program would not be possible without the valuable support of A.J. Alkire of the Webster Food Share Closet. MAPFRE and W.B. Mason Office Supplies Company kindly donated backpacks for this weekend program.
“The generosity of our local community is greatly inspirational,” said Ms. Goguen. If other organizations would like to learn how to benefit our local schools, please contact the Webster School Superintendent’s office at: (508) 943-0104.