February 26th Superintendent's Message

Dear Medway families:

We hope that you had a nice February break. The weather last week had us all thinking about Spring, but I am certain that winter has not given up yet.  Please find important updates and information from around the district.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

Practices Regarding Transgender Student Rights

Last week the federal legislation rescinded the previous regulations outlined in former President Obama’s Letter to Colleagues regarding Transgender Students' Rights.  While the federal regulations have change, the guidance and practices in Massachusetts remain the same. The Medway Public Schools remain committed to ensuring that all students, faculty and staff have access to facilities, programs and supports with which they feel best align with their gender identity.  

In his Friday, February 24 memo to school and district leaders, Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner, shared the following:

Dear Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, and Principals:

I would like to affirm for you that Massachusetts remains dedicated to protecting the rights of transgender students even in light of recent federal actions. No one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity, and under existing state statute and regulations, protections for students and families will remain in place in the Commonwealth.

States can issue their own guidance, which can exceed federal guidelines. The Massachusetts state statute, which predates the federal guidance, ensures protections for all students and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. An Act Relative to Gender Identity (Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011), amended several Massachusetts statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of specified categories, including gender identity, and subsequently, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidance (http://www.doe.mass.edu/sfs/lgbtq/GenderIdentity.pdf) to school districts to implement the gender identity provision.

That guidance includes the following:

·         “All students are entitled to have access to restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities that are sanitary, safe and adequate, so they can comfortably and fully engage in their school program and activities.”

·         “…it is essential that the principal and student address access to the restrooms, locker rooms and changing facility. Each situation needs to be reviewed and addressed based on the particular circumstances of the student and the school facilities.

·         “In all cases, the principal should be clear with the student (and parent) that the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.”

·         Some transgender students may be uncomfortable using sex-segregated restrooms and should be provided an alternative, such as the nurse’s restroom or a unisex bathroom.

Additional resources are available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/sfs/lgbtq/default.html.

We are proud that Massachusetts was a leader in this area and that schools have worked constructively and without great controversy to support their students. Please do not hesitate to contact our Safe Schools Program team at safeschoolsprogram@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-6319 if they can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Mitchell Chester

Budget Forum on Preliminary FY18 School Budget

On Thursday, March 2 from 6:45-7:30 PM in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School, we will host a Budget Forum on the Preliminary FY18 Budget which includes a recommended 3.11% increase over the FY17 budget.  This budget includes both improvement requests and redeployment of staff based on a deep analysis of student needs.  A copy of the full presentation shared with the School Committee can be found here: FY18 Preliminary Budget Presentation and FY18 Preliminary Budget Presentation Rationale.  The goal of the Budget Forum will be for our community to engage with our district administrative team in conversation regarding the rationale behind the FY18 budget priorities.

Student Visitors from Shanghai

Thank you to our local families who hosted our students from Number 35 High School in Shanghai over the last 2 weeks.  They brought so much to our high school environment and taught a great deal about our global community.  What a wonderful experience! http://medway.wickedlocal.com/news/20170216/chinese-students-visit-medway-high

Cultural Proficiency Partnership

We are excited to share that we recently agreed to partner with EDCO Collaborative's IDEAS Program in our efforts to enhance the cultural sensitivity and proficiency practices of school district.  Aligned with our efforts outlined in our Strategic Plan, this important work has been recently punctuated as a need with events connected with student behavior that is not reflective of a community that celebrates and appreciates diversity.  We are excited about this partnership - which will include building based self assessments, leadership training, and staff professional development - and the deep reflection and learning that will come from this work.  

As part of this effort, we would like to continue the conversation we started with our community on January 30.  On Monday, April 3, Kalise Wornum, founder of KW Diversity INC., will be returning to Medway.  This event is for parents/guardians and children and will be hosted in the auditorium at Medway High School.  We hope to see you there.  A flier of the event can be found here.  

Superintendent’s Task Force on Middle School Recess

As we continue to work to best address both the academic and social and emotional needs of our students, we are excited to engage in a formal process to further explore structures and supports for our middle school learners that aide in this effort.  Middle school recess is a topic of conversation that has gained interest in our educational and greater community.  In an effort to deeply explore this topic we will convene a Superintendent’s Task Force on Middle School Recess.  This Task Force will be chaired by Dr. Ryan Sherman, Director of Wellness, and Mr. Paul Gamache, Middle School Assistant Principal.  We will be sending additional information about the process as well as how interested members of our community may become involved in this process soon.

S.T.E.M Saturday for Girls ~ Click Here for Registration

Medway Public Schools is excited to host our second annual S.T.E.M Saturday for Girls!  The event will include opportunities for girls in grades 2 through 8 to participate in a variety of hands on activities to learn and explore different science, technology, and engineering topics.  Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from women who have fostered their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math to pursue careers in various STEM fields. The event will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017.  More specific information will be shared shortly!  

MCAS Information

We will be hosting a Superintendent’s Chat on Monday March 20, 2017 to share with families updates regarding the shifts connected the next generation of Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests which will take place for all students in grades 3-8, 9, and 10 in the coming months.   This year’s assessment is the first in the next generation of assessments which is intended to better align to the 2011 Mathematics and English Language Arts Frameworks.  All 4th and 8th grade students will be participating in computer based assessments for both of these content areas.  As we recognize that these types of experiences often create discomfort for our students, please know that our messaging around these tests, throughout the district, is for students to show what they know and to do their best.  We believe that the results of these assessments provide us with useful information about our own practices and look to the information gleaned from these assessments as a source for future planning.  The Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education recently published a link to view Web-based practice tests for schools and parents/guardians.  

Preschool and Kindergarten Registration at McGovern

Registration packets for students who would be new to our Integrated Preschool and students who want to register for either full day or half day kindergarten are now available in the McGovern School office. Once you have picked up registration materials, you can fill out the forms at your leisure, gather necessary documentation and health records, and process these materials by attending one of our formal registration dates. Secretarial and nursing personnel and the school principal will be available for registration on Tuesday, February 28th from 3:30 - 6 p.m. and on Saturday, March 4th from 9 a.m. - 12 noon.

The incoming student does not need to be present for registration. It is simply a time to process paperwork and begin the registration process. On February 28th and March 4th, you will also be able to schedule a date for kindergarten screening which will take place later in May and early June.

We look forward to welcoming new students to our early childhood school!

2017-2018 Program of Studies’ Presentations

At our February 2 School Committee meeting, Principals McCarron and Perchase presented the 2017-18 high school program of studies  and the 2017-8 middle school program of studies.

Save the Date:  Summer Programming Night

While there is still frost on our cars, it’s about time to start thinking about summer! For some parents this brings excitement, but for others, this brings stress. Summer is a time of fun and relaxation. It is also a time when kids have a lot of down time. It can be a challenge for parents to find safe and affordable programming that is the right fit for their child.
    

The Medway Wellness Department has reached out to several summer programs and providers, and is hosting a community night! Parents will be able to gather information to help make plans for their kids, and sign up if interested. Families of kids from ages 4-15, are invited to join us for a drop in informational open house.

                Date: March 15, 2017
                Time: 6pm-8pm
                Location: Memorial School Cafeteria

Programs joining us:

  • Franklin and Hopkinton YMCA
  • The Sunshine Group
  • Medway Community Education
  • Medway Public Library
  • Tri-County Vocational  

 

                                 

 

While some of these services are free, most are not; however, everyone joining us has flexibility around funding and transportation if these are challenges for your family. Medway Schools and the chosen providers, never want finances to stand in the way of great experience for our students.   Please join us! The summer will be here before we know it. If you have any questions, concerns, or are a provider not listed that has an interest in partnering with us please call:

    Ryan Sherman, Ph,D., RCEP            John Kelley
    Director of Wellness                Adjustment Counselor
    Medway Public Schools                         Memorial School
    508-321-4714                    508-533-3265

 

Middle School Science Fair

Thank you and congratulations to 8th grade science teacher, Larry Brown, and the 22 students at Medway Middle School who participated in this year’s middle school science fair last night.  The event was the well attended and quite impressive - even after its need to be rescheduled twice due to snow days.

3rd Place

Name:  Connor McCaul, Ian Tomarakos and Joe Harrahy (8th Graders)

Project:  “A Galaxy NOT so far away” (Science & Star Wars)

Area of Science:  Technology / Earth & Space Science - Research

2nd Place

Name: Tiffany Sheedy (7th Grader)

Project:  “Miles of Smiles” (Why DO we smile?)

Area of Science:  Life & Behavioral Science - Research

1st Place

Name:  Gustavo Mercier (7th Grader)   

Project:  “Confusion about Fusion? - I can help” - (Nuclear Fusion)

Area of Science:  Physical Science - Research

This event was well captured in the MWDN: http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20170215/medway-students-show-off-scientific-findings

MFE Logo Contest 2017

The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) is a non-profit community foundation established in 2002 to fund innovative educational programs and technologies for Medway public schools that are beyond the normal school budget.  Since the inception of the foundation, MFE has provided over $255,000 in grants that directly benefit our students, teachers, administrators and parents.   Visit www.MFEducation.org or our Facebook page for more information on our work and mission.

https://www.facebook.com/MedwayFoundationforEducation

The foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of directors comprised primarily of parents of current and former Medway students.   The Board is interested in developing a fresh new logo for MFE, one that reflects its mission and the beneficiaries that it serves.   

At some point in the past, the MFE logo was created as follows:

Medway Foundation for Education

The Board would like to invite Medway students to submit a proposal for a new, fresh MFE logo.   Although the past logo included a tagline, the future logo does not require a tag line.

Contest Guidelines:  

  1. The logo should look professional.  It will be used on our website, social media venues, stationery, etc.   
  2. The logo should reflect Medway Schools and the inclusive, supportive educational culture we have instilled here.
  3. The artistic talents of the student are encouraged, whether that is with a writing instrument, painting instrument, etc. or through the use of digital technology.    Any written or painted artwork would need to eventually be digitized to form an official logo file (i.e. JPEG).   
  4. Integrity – the logo submitted cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.
  5. There are no color limitations, but the logo must be recognized when printed in color or black and white.

Eligibility:   Students in any class at the elementary, middle or high school are eligible.   

Submission:   Please submit your proposals by email to Kylie O’Neill (kylie6574@gmail.com) or Clarissa Marroquin (elizabethmqn@yahoo.com).  Proposals should include the logo and a brief description of why the logo best reflects MFE.   Any questions can be directed to Kylie or Clarissa.

Deadline:   April 15, 2017

Winner:   The winning proposal will be selected by the acting MFE Board, Superintendent Dr. Armand Pires, and Assistant Superintendent Gabrielle Abrams in May 2017.   Date TBD. The proposal with the majority vote wins.  

Contestants agree that MFE may publish their logo and name(s) and may use both for advertising campaigns and/or marketing/communication materials in the future. Contestants assign all ownership rights, including all intellectual property rights to the logo, to MFE.  Additionally, MFE may alter, modify or revise the logo as it sees necessary.  MFE reserves the right to not select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received.  

Prize:    The MFE Board is offering a $200 Visa gift card to the winner along with a certificate of appreciation for their work.  The winner will also be recognized on the MFE website and other social media platforms.  

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2017 Special Olympics and Polar Plunge

It’s that time of year again and our Spring 2017 Special Olympics celebration is scheduled for Friday, April 7, 2017.  The location will be at Medfield High School and the sport will be basketball.  Additionally, the 5 Towns Special Olympics (5TSO) are taking part in the March 4, 2107 Polar Plunge at Nantasket Beach (think ice bucket challenge in mid-winter with thousands of gallons of frigid water!).  The event is being coordinated by the Best Buddies group at the High School.  Please consider contacting Ellen Hester (ehester@medwayschools.org) or Kristin Connors (kconnors@medwayschools.org) to donate to this remarkable event.  The money raised is used to defray costs of the 5TSO yearly games event.  #freezinforareason  #brrrr!

Updates from Medway Foundation for Education

Trivia Bee

We have the Trivia Bee contest coming up on March 1st at the Memorial School Cafeteria.   Aimee Selby, Sue O'Connor and Brian Gray are in the midst of planning and organizing sponsors and teams now.  You should see flyers and social media updates coming soon. A registration link will be created on the website (www.MFEducation.org) for this in the coming week or so.  

Dodgeball

The Dodging4School event is already accepting team registrations on the website and is heavily advertised on our Facebook page as well.   This event will take place on Saturday March 18th at the Middle School Gym.    Kristin Connors, Sue Olson and several others are working on this project now.   You will see signs across Route 109 this month and a bunch of social media announcements as well.   

Thank you to the 21 parents who took part in the 2016 National Speak Up Technology Survey.  Though not a representative sample of our greater community, we wanted to acknowledge your participation and thank you for providing your feedback.   Not surprisingly, the themes that emerged from your participation, mirrored much of what was heard during the strategic planning forums.  As our children continue to learn and grow in an ever changing world, our need to respond by preparing them with the skills to succeed in the areas of effective communication, critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, problem solving, independence, and comfort with evolving technologies is essential.

MPS Arts in Action Newsletter

We are excited to share our first Arts Newsletter which features our elementary programs.  This was published through the leadership of Todd Swavey, our new fine and performing arts coordinator, in collaboration with our arts’ educators.  Todd hopes to publish two more editions this year to highlight the great work at our middle and high schools.

MPS Arts in Action

Upcoming District Events

February 28, 2017    Preschool/Kindergarten registration, McGovern School, 3:30 - 6:00 PM

March 1, 2017         MSPTO meeting, Middle School 7:30 - 8:30 PM

March 2, 2017        Budget Forum, Middle School Presentation Room, 6:45-7:30

School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:30 -9:00 PM

March 3-4, 2017     High School Musical

March 4, 2017         Preschool/Kindergarten registration, McGovern School, 9:00 AM. - 12:00 PM

March 7, 2017          MEPTO meeting, Burke-Memorial School 7:00-8:00 PM

March 14, 2017        SEPAC meeting, Medway High School Library, 7:00-9:00 PM

March 15, 2017        Summer Programming Night, Burke-Memorial School, 6:00-8:00 PM

March 16, 2017        School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:00-9:00 PM

March 17, 2017        Early release, Gr. PK-12

March 20, 2017        Superintendent’s Chat, MCAS, Middle School Presentation Room 6:30 PM

March 23, 2017        High School Spring Concert

March 25, 2017        STEM Saturday for Girls, Burke-Memorial School

March 29, 2017        MSPTO meeting, Middle School 7:30-8:30

March 31, 2017        MEPTO Basket Raffle

April 3, 2017         Community Conversation on Race Part 2, Medway High School, 7:00 PM

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