April 12, 2016 Superintendent's Message

Dear Medway Families:

Happy Spring!  As we transition into our upcoming April break, we share both timely and useful information about district activities below. We look forward to connecting with you during our upcoming busy season of spring sports and clubs, celebrations and end of year events/activities.  Enjoy the upcoming week with your children.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

Reflections from Monday’s Situation at Medway High School

As we examine and reflect upon the chain of events that took place following the phone threat that we received on Monday morning at Medway High School, we remain very appreciative of the support and communication that enabled us to do what was necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff.  The event allowed us to put to the test our documented procedures and practices.  Following an event like this, we conduct formal debriefings to identify areas where we can improve in the future.

One of the specific challenges we are confronted with during these events is connected to communication.  After meeting our first priority, ensuring student safety, we work to provide accurate and timely communication to our families about the events taking place.  We are also aware that communication between children and their families is taking place more quickly than we are communicating.  We know that student contact with families provides a level of comfort during stressful times.  We are also aware that this communication may lead to the sharing of inaccurate information and, in some cases, further heighten anxiety for families.  Please know that during times of crisis, we will rely on formal communication channels - email and voice calls - to communicate important updates to our families of the situation.  Our belief in frequent and transparent communication is of the utmost importance to us.  It is our goal to always share information as we are able with both students and families.  

Maddie Lamson Field Dedication - May 14, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
The Medway School Committee voted to rename the South Field at Medway High School the Maddie Lamson Field at its meeting on February 25.  Maddie was a Medway High School senior who exemplified humor, commitment to athletic competition, and inclusion.  The field naming will be in the spirit of these special qualities that she possessed.  A dedication ceremony to mark the naming of the field in her honor is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

Safety and Security Updates
Thanks to the continued support of town leadership, we are pleased to share that a warrant article will be voted upon at the May 9th Annual Town Meeting.  The article will focus on enhanced security measures in all four schools.  If approved, the funds would be used to create:

  • enhanced camera and security systems at all 4 district schools.

  • redesigned entrances at McGovern and Burke-Memorial Elementary Schools to support double entry into the building.  A rendering of the redesigned lobbies can be found here.

We feel very fortunate to be supported in enhancing school safety by town leadership and hope that you will be able to support this effort during town meeting on May 9.

District Improvement and Innovation

Since this fall, and in parallel to the development of the strategic plan, we have been discussing ideas and initiatives that would have a discernibly positive impact on our schools and district.  A list of ideas was generated and shared with our school community.  That list has continued to be vetted by our teachers and administrators and refined to identify the highest leverage activities for improvement.  We are fortunate, as a district, to have the ability to use school choice funds to supplement our budget and potentially support some of these ideas.  At the the March 17 school committee meeting, administration brought forward a proposal that would allow school choice funds to support improvement and innovation ideas not supported within our regular operating budget.  A copy of this presentation/request can be found here.  
 

Phonics and Word Study Resource Adoption
Our K-4 students will be the beneficiaries of new resources that were researched, vetted, and explored by our K-4 educators and leaders over the last year.  Phonics instruction and word study are essential components of a balanced literacy environment and represent the final area of attention needed to support the district’s adoption and implementation of the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model.  Thanks to the school committee’s approval of the use of school choice funds for this purchase, we will be acquiring Fundations as our Grades K-2 Phonics resource and Words Their Way as our Grades 3 and 4 word study resource.

Math MCAS
All of our grade 3-8 and 10th grade students have now completed their English/language arts’ MCAS assessment cycle.  In May and early June, we will be facilitating our annual mathematics MCAS in grade 3-8 and 10, and the science MCAS in grades 5, 8 and 9.  

As excerpted from the Superintendent's Update ~January 14, 2016

In accordance with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's November 17, 2015 vote on statewide assessments,  ESE is making the following modifications to the spring 2016 MCAS tests:

  • Each MCAS test in grades 3–8 in English language arts and mathematics will be supplemented with a small number of PARCC items.

Unlike the English/language arts assessment where the one PARCC item was a stand alone written narrative, the mathematics’ PARCC items will be embedded within the  other MCAS assessment items.  There will be approximately six PARCC items out of the 36-42 total math items.  Unlike ELA, with the PARCC items embedded within the overall assessment “opt-outs” are not possible.  All students are expected to participate fully in these sessions.

More information can be found through the website of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Please expect to see specific dates and more information shared with you by our building principals in the coming weeks.  

MHS Students Respond to Vandalism
As you may know, the Medway High School sign was vandalized the weekend of March 25th.  Our maintenance crew attempted to clean the sign but, unfortunately, could not completely remove the graffiti.  The sign was covered until is was properly cleaned through sandblasting.  On Friday, April 1, students responded to the graffiti by creating an opportunity to demonstrate unity.  A painting of a tree with the statement, “no matter how far we branch out we are rooted together” was hung in the main lobby.  As students entered they could press a finger onto a paint pad and add their “leaf” to the tree,  This was an amazing response to the ugly graffiti and demonstrated the strong community value of acceptance.

 

Upcoming Events

April 12, 2016        Dr. Moldover, Developmental Neuropsychologist, presentation sponsored by Medway SEPAC,

                               Medway High School, 7:00 PM

April 13, 2016        Middle School Curriculum Night, 6:00 - 8:30 PM

April 18-22, 2016   Spring vacation - No school

April 26, 2016        New Kindergarten Parent Info Night, McGovern School, 6:00-7:00 PM

April 28, 2016        School Committee meeting, Medway Middle School, presentation room, 7:00 PM

May 4, 2016           MSPTO meeting, Middle School, 7:30 - 9:30 PM

May 5, 2016           School committee meeting, Medway Middle School, presentation room, 7:00 PM

May 6, 2016           MEPTO Basket Raffle & Ice Cream Social, Medway High School, 630 - 8:15 PM

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