January 10th Superintendent's Message
Dear Medway families:
Happy New Year! We look forward to a great second half of the school year. January is also the official kick off of budget planning for the next school year. We will be providing you with information as this process unfolds. At this point we are conducting our meetings with our faculty and building leaders. We are prioritizing needs based on plans goals and initiatives delineated within our strategic plan and what our student data sources have highlighted. We will share the presentations and documents that result from these discussions.
Armand Pires, Ph.D.
No School Reminders
Friday, January 13, 2017 ~ Professional Development Day
Monday, January 16, 2017 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance
Speak Up Technology Survey
We are excited to take part in the 2016 Speak up Survey, a national survey sponsored by Project Tomorrow®, and intended to capture various stakeholders’ viewpoints around key educational issues specifically associated with digital learning and the use of technology to support future ready schools. The survey closes on January 27, 2017 and we hope that you will take a moment to participate. Click here to take the survey.
Social Emotional Learning in Schools
Please see information below about a Social Emotional Learning program organized by Senator Karen Spilka’s office.
Office of Senator Karen Spilka
“Senator Karen E. Spilka will host a discussion of social and emotional learning (SEL) and possible models for implementation in MetroWest schools and communities. Social and emotional learning – defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” – is increasingly recognized as the key to success, in school and beyond, for children of all backgrounds. Join Senator Spilka and CASEL senior consultant Ruth Cross to learn about the importance of SEL and ways to bring these strategies to MetroWest students.”
Senator Karen Spilka will be hosting this FREE opportunity for community members, educators, administrators etc., at the Warren Conference Center on January 17, 2017 at 6 p.m. A direct link to the registration is here.
Upcoming History/Social Sciences Visiting Curriculum Review Site Visit Parent/Guardian Volunteers Needed
Having completed the Self Study phase of the History/Social Sciences Curriculum Review Process, we are looking forward to welcoming a visiting team to Medway on February 7, 8, and 8, 2017 to validate the self study and challenge our thinking in this curricular area. We are seeking parent volunteers to serve on a focus groups for each school as part of this process. If you are interested in representing your child’s school by speaking with a representative from the visiting team about their learning in the area of history/social sciences, please complete this brief form. This focus group will take place on Wednesday, February 8 - 8:30-9:30. We will be confirm participation either way. Thank you!
As you know, last month we received results of water testing for all of our schools. The test results showed some elevated levels of lead and/or copper in a small number of fixtures. As was communicated previously, we conducted additional water testing on the impacted fixtures. At this time we have not yet received an update on our second round of testing results from the state. We will notify you as soon as we do hear.
School Resource Officer Transition
As you may know, Detective Donald Grimes, School Resource Officer, will be retiring at the end of this school year. The district has benefited greatly from Detective Grimes’ presence within our schools. In collaboration with Chief Tingley and the Medway Police Department, we are pleased to announce that Officer Bob O’Neill will be replacing in the role of School Resource Officer. Prior to this, Officer O’Neill will be spending several months in training programs and shadowing Detective Grimes. Officer O’Neill is a 20+ year veteran officer with the Medway Police Department.
Wellness Advisory Committee
The Wellness Advisory Committee has met twice so far this school year. Their work has been focused on making recommendations for updates to School Committee Policy #69: School District Wellness. A draft of this work will be completed and submitted to the School Committee for review this spring. Their next meeting is scheduled for March 13th.
2017 “Next Generation” Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test (MCAS) Information
As we shared during our Spring 2016 data presentation to the School Committee on November 10, this spring will mark the first facilitation of the Commonwealth’s next assessment model for grade 3-8 students. We have been attending webinars and working with colleagues in the field to ensure our best understanding of the assessment requirements. The assessment questions include the following (per DESE, 12/2016):
- Stronger alignment to the current Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
- New types of test questions that more deeply assess students’ level of knowledge and ability
- Clear signals to students, parents, and educators about readiness for the next grade and college/career
- Writing embedded at all grade levels; no separate writing task like the long composition
- Increased flexibility in accommodations at the discretion of building leadership
- Next-generation ELA and Mathematics tests will be a combination of
- Legacy MCAS items
- Newly developed MCAS items
- PARCC items
Below we have highlighted additional slides that we felt directly addressed important information to communicate with families regarding this assessment transition and included the link to the complete DESE informational packet regarding this transition should you want more in depth information.
The assessment window has been set by the state but each district and/or school has the ability to schedule within each window of time. Medway schools will communicate their assessment schedules prior to their scheduled tests but the statewide windows are as follows:
English Language Arts ~ April 3 - May 3, 2017
Mathematics ~ April 4 - May 26, 2017
Science, Technology, Engineering (grades 5, 8) ~ April 5 - May 26
*specific dates to be communicated by the schools
Introductory Physics ~ June 5, 6, 2017
English Language Arts ~ March 21, 22, 23, 2017
Mathematics ~ May 16, 17, 2017
$75,000 Family Continuity Grant Awarded to MPS!
We are pleased to share that, thanks to the collaborative efforts of our middle and high school staffs and the work of Dr. Ryan Sherman, the Medway Public Schools is the recipient of a $75,000 two-year grant that will provide our middle and high school with a licensed mental health clinician two days each week. Additionally, these clinicians will be available for professional development and community outreach/workshops. These resources will assist our students in accessing essential mental health resources in a much shorter timeline, days compared to months. This program will begin in February, 2017 at both buildings.
School Visits: Strategic Planning and Budget Work
This week marked a great turning point in our Strategic Planning work and we are excited to share our progress with you during our upcoming January 19 School Committee meeting when we will discuss our progress as well as some of the metrics associated with the goals. Superintendent Pires and Assistant Superintendent Abrams will be visiting the schools on the following dates to discuss this topic as well as the upcoming budget cycle.
January 10, 2017 @ McGovern Elementary
January 11, 2017 @ Burke-Memorial Elementary
January 24, 2017 @ Medway Middle School
January 31, 2017 @ Medway High School
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristin Connors (email@example.com) 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
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.
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. The flyer is included here
Upcoming District Events
January 11, 2017 4th Grade Instrumental Program Informational Night 6:00 PM, Memorial Cafeteria
MEPTO meeting, Memorial School 7:00 - 8:00 PM
January 13, 2017 Professional Day - No school for students
January 16, 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday - No School
January 19, 2017 School Committee meeting, Thayer Homestead 5:30 - 7:30 PM
January 25, 2017 MSPTO meeting, High School, 7:30 - 8:30 PM
February 2, 2017 School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:00 -9:00 PM
February 7, 2017 SEPAC meeting: Basic Rights in Special Education, High School, 7:00 -9:00 PM
February 9, 2017 Middle School Science Fair
February 16, 2017 School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:00 -9:00 PM
February 20-24, 2017 Winter Vacation - No School
March 1, 2017 MSPTO meeting, Middle School, 7:30 - 8:30 PM
March 2, 2017 School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:00 -9:00 PM
March 3-4, 2017 High School Musical