Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 7: Michael Neagle, Pyne Arts Magnet School

Episode 7: Michael Neagle, Pyne Arts Magnet School

One of the objectives of our podcast is to highlight the accomplishments of faculty and staff in  the Lowell Public Schools. We don’t always hear about the great things going on in our  schools so one of our goals is to rectify that. 

This week, we are speaking with Pyne Arts 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher, Mike Neagle about his efforts to infuse civics education and service into the social studies curriculum.  Since 2012, Mike has brought his passion and commitment for social studies and civics to Lowell’s Pyne Arts Magnet School. This past Spring, Mike’s efforts were recognized by the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies when he received the 2018 Don Salvucci Award for Excellence in Promoting Civic Education. An exemplary educator, Mike’s work in education has been recognized often by both state and local education.

In addition to excellence in teaching, Mike is the advisor for the Pyne Arts Service Corp. As you will hear, this group of middle-schoolers is committed to giving back to the Lowell community through many service projects which include volunteer service to Catie's Closet, Lowell Conservation Trust, and LGH's TeamWalk for Cancer. 

Since 2014, Mike has facilitated Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial program at the Moakley Courthouse and over the last two years, he has piloted and advised Lowell schools in implementing Generation Citizen action civics program. One of our "off air" conversations was about another program Mike has been deeply involved with: Project 351, a state-wide youth leadership initiative started by Gov. Patrick in 2011. Each city and town across the state (351) nominates an 8th grader to serve as an ambassador for a year to participate in leadership development training and lead local service opportunities. Students cannot apply, they must be nominated by their districts. Lowell nominates 3 ambassadors each year because of our size, and all of our middle schools have been represented over the past 5 years.
Mike takes the lead on this for the District and principals and teachers in other schools have participated in ambassador nominations. Learn more by going to Project 351 on the web.

CLARIFICATION: Mike would like to add that the Generation Citizen (GC) action civics program was implemented by Mike at the middle school level. The GC project began in Lowell High School in 2015 under Social Studies Chair Rob Delossa and former Head of School, Brian Martin.  Mike also wishes to recognize the role of UMass Lowell Associate Professor Dr. Pat Fontaine of the Graduate School of Education.. Through Pat’s mentorship and support, the Pyne Art School obtained a grant and funding for first round of Generation Citizen.

Listeners who would like to know more about the civics education programs or how to start a service corps in your school, please contact Mike by email at

Again, we thank you, our listeners for tuning in to this episode. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you have suggestions for future podcasts, send us an email at Starting with this episode, you may have noticed, we have a new website and our own URL ( We are also available as a subscription on iTunes! 

For More Information

  • The Pyne Arts Magnet School website is found here. You can also Follow them on Facebook.

  • Massachusetts Council for Social Studies

  • Many teachers will know that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) adopted new Social Studies and History frameworks this past June.

  • Project 351 recognizes a student ambassador to participate in leadership development training.

  • Lowell is already partnering with Generation Citizen (GC) at the Pyne, Robinson, and LHS, and Lowell Public Schools have quite a few in-district teachers with experience in "action civics", one component of the new standards. The GC curriculum consists of about 20 lessons spread out over 10 weeks where students learn about civics by engaging in it, not just reading about it. More information and PD will be shared with 8th grade social studies teachers this fall but here's the link for more information:

Episode 8: So What Did Happen With The Foundation Budget Update?

Episode 8: So What Did Happen With The Foundation Budget Update?

Episode 6: Meet AFT-MA Field Rep and Negotiator Caryn LaFlamme

Episode 6: Meet AFT-MA Field Rep and Negotiator Caryn LaFlamme