January 24th Superintendent's Message

Dear Medway families:

Last week an email was sent from both Tim McCarron and me. The email outlines our response to incidents of  intolerance and symbols of hate at our high school.  I wanted to remind you, and encourage you to attend our Community Conversation about Cultural Competency on Monday, January 30, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the Medway High School Auditorium.   Please find a publicity flyer describing the event here.

Additional news and information about the Medway Schools can be found below.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

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.

4th Grade Instrumental Program

We are excited to share with you that a new Grade 4 instrumental program has recently begun.  This program is administered through Community Education.  A parent informational meeting, student instrument selection process, and instrument trials were held in the last couple of weeks.  Erin Cronan and Emily Bilodeau, our elementary music teachers overseeing the program, have expressed great enthusiasm for the effort so far. We have over 45 Grade 4  musicians showing interest in this before and/or after school elective experience!  Special thanks to our School Committee for the financial support to start the program.  

Donation to STEM Saturday for Girls

We are excited to share that Mark Rodgers, Communications Manager for Exelon, recently visited Medway to get an early glimpse on our STEM Saturday for Girl’s Event planning. He was very impressed with the program, the organization of the team, and the leadership of the event. We are excited to share that Exelon, who previously had donated $1000 for this event, will donate an additional $2000 to support this day of learning.  We appreciate Exelon’s premier sponsorship of this exciting event.

McGovern and Memorial Entrance Project Updates

In June we were disappointed to learn that the bid we received for construction of the reconfigured front entrances at McGovern and Burke-Memorial Schools was significantly higher than anticipated. Our project management company and architect believed that this was the result of a very tight timeframe between bid opening and construction, and many potential vendors had already committed to other summer projects. Soon we will be putting these projects back out to bid.  We expect that these projects will be completed this summer.

Curriculum Review Updates

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 our self study.  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!

Mathematics

We are pleased to share that our first phase of our Mathematics Curriculum Review process began last week.  A team of over 20 educators gathered for their orientation meeting on Wednesday, January 18, to understand their role of evidence gathering to support both the understanding of where we are in our mathematics curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development practices as well as what areas we can refine right now as part of this reflective process.  This will be a long process allowing us to thoughtfully review and assess our current practices prior to inviting a visiting team in to validate our findings.  We look forward to providing you with updates along the way.

Director of Wellness Update

During the January 9 School Committee meeting, Director of Wellness, Dr. Ryan Sherman, presented an overview of the work with which he has been associated since July 2016.  Although much of the work is in planning, he has been successful in bringing grants to the district amounting to $85,000.  A copy of his presentation can be viewed here.

2016-17 District Improvement Plan ~ Mid-Year Update

As we approach our mid-year point, Dr. Pires and Ms. Abrams presented an update on District Improvement Plan updates to the School Committee at the January 19 meeting.  The 2016-17 District Improvement Plan is well aligned with the district’s strategic plan, mirroring the goals of the strategic plan and delineating the specific initiatives that the district is implementing in an effort to make progress towards achieving the goals.  A copy of this presentation can be found here.

Special Education Update

During the January 19 School Committee meeting, Director of Student Services, Ms. Kathleen Bernklow, presented an update to the School Committee connected with the work in that department.  The 2016-17 is a year of evaluation within this department and the presentation attached here highlights the various focus areas that are being studied during this academic year.  

$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.

Y-CBT Pilot

In support of Goal #2: Social / Emotional Wellness and Goal #5: Productive Community Partnerships, of the Strategic Plan, Medway Public Schools is excited to pilot Yoga Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Y-CBT).  We’re able to offer this pilot as the result of the collaborative efforts of Ryan Sherman, Dot Pearl and Jacqueline Vorpahl of Vorpahl Psychology Associates, Medfield, MA.

YCBT is a research-based program that integrates the effects of yoga and meditation with traditional cognitive behavioral therapeutic techniques.  The goal of this free course is to  help our teen students manage stress, decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase self esteem.  This 7 week long pilot program will take place once a week, after school, for 45 minutes.  The first class will be held on January 26th.  

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:

Grades 3-8*:

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

Grade 9:

Introductory Physics  ~ June 5, 6, 2017

Grade 10:

English Language Arts ~  March 21, 22, 23, 2017

Mathematics  ~ May 16, 17, 2017    

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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.   The updated flyer is below.MFE Trivia Bee

 

Upcoming District Events

January 25, 2017    Grade 5 Band Concert, Middle School,

            MSPTO meeting, High School, 7:30 - 8:30 PM

January 30, 2017    Community Forum, Cultural Competency, Medway High School, 7:00 PM

February 2, 2017    School Committee meeting, Middle School Presentation Room 7:00 -9:00 PM

February 7, 2017    SEPAC meeting, Basic Rights Workshop, Medway High School library, 7:00 -9 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

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