March 23, 2016 Superintendent's Message

March 23, 2016

Dear Medway community,

Spring has arrived, with one more snowstorm to remind us this is New England.  Please find important information and updates below.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

Medway Public Schools FY17 Budget

During the March 3 school committee meeting, the school committee voted to approve the superintendent’s recommended FY17 budget.  A copy of the public hearing presentation can be found here. This proposal represents a 1.8% increase over FY16.  Although a modest increase, we believe that this budget will ensure our ability to continue supporting the high quality education we provide our students.

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.  

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 our safety and security work by the town leadership and hope that you will be able to support this effort during town meeting on May 9.

MCAS Information - English Language Arts

While not all of our students and grade levels participate in MCAS during the March/April facilitation, we wanted to share with you the master schedule for the district implementation of the English/language arts’ Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).  We will share the mathematics’ information closer to those testing dates.

 

Date

Test Portion

Grade (s)

March 22, 2016

ELA Composition Sessions A & B

10

March 23, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 1 & 2

10

March 24, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 3

10

March 29, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 1

3,4,5,8

March 30, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 2A

3,4,5,8

March 31, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 2B

3,4,5,8

April 5, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 1

6,7

April 6, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 2A

6,7

April 7, 2016

ELA Reading Comprehension Session 2B

6,7

As we have shared previously, our state assessment system is currently transitioning to better reflect the new English language arts and mathematics standards that Massachusetts adopted and released in 2011.  In November, the Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, supported by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, proposed the development of the next generation MCAS (also referred to as MCAS 2.0) to be first facilitated in 2017.  The hope is that the DESE will take the lessons learned from the field and take time to work with practitioners to meaningfully develop this assessment.  

As part of this transition, and as was shared in our January communication, the DESE is embedding PARCC items into the upcoming 2016 testing periods.  For the ELA assessment, a new assessment task is being facilitated with our grade 3-8 students that will allow them to demonstrate their ability to write a narrative using text based evidence.  While this is a practice for our students and will not be factored into their performance determination, we will receive information from the DESE on our student performance on this session.  Families will also receive this feedback - separate from the performance determination that will come out of the first two sessions of testing.   

The school committee will be hosting a forum on the topic of MCAS in the near future.  We will share the date of this forum when identified.    

Strategic Planning

Thanks again for the many contributions that we received connected with the Strategic Plan:  Strategies and Initiatives.  We are pleased to be sharing an update of the plan with our strategic planning steering committee during our final meeting with them on Thursday, March 23.  We are targeting presentation of this plan to school committee during an April meeting.  While the process for developing this plan has been rich, rewarding, collaborative and comprehensive, once approved, there will be work to do to identify specific action plans for each initiative.  As this plan becomes our district improvement road map in the months and years to come, we will be sharing with you regular progress updates.

 

Special Presentation with Developmental Neuropsychologist

 

Please join community members for a presentation from Dr. Joseph Moldover, sponsored by our Special Education Parent Advisory Council.  Dr. Moldover will present “Understanding & Interpreting Results When Considering a Child's IEP and Service Needs.”  This presentation will take place at Medway High School on Tuesday, April 12, at 7:00 PM.  The program flyer can be found here.     

Spring Music Concert

We hope that you will join our middle and high school musicians on Wednesday, March 23, at 7:00 PM, at Medway High School for their spring concert.

Special Olympics

Best wishes to our special olympians who will be competing in a series of football themed athletic events at Ashland High School on Friday, April 1.  This 4th annual event represents a terrific collaboration among Medfield, Millis, Medway, Ashland and Holliston.  Go student athletes!

Winter Athletics Come to an End ~ Welcome, Spring!

Medway student athletes enjoyed great success on and off the rink, court, floor, lanes and slopes.  All teams competed in post-season play with our gymnastics teams competing into New Englands with a 3rd place finish and cheerleading finishing 5th overall in the state competition.  Please be sure to follow all of the latest and greatest on TWITTER @MedwayAthletics.

Disney’s High School Musical, Jr. ~ Medway Middle School Musical

Please join the Medway Middle School musicians, crew and thespians as they take the stage for Disney’s High School Musical, Jr. on Friday, April 8, at 7:30 PM, and Saturday, April 9, at 2:00 and 7:30 PM.  Tickets for the show can be pre-purchased at the following:  High School Musical Jr. Tickets.  Hope to see you there!

Town of Medway Clean Sweep 2016

Join with your friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate Earth Day by participating in the Town of Medway’s 4th annual Clean Sweep.  Help give the town of Medway, MA a thorough spring-cleaning on April 9, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at the town common.  For more information, call 508-533-3264 or email cleansweep@townofmedway.org.

Spring Closet Clean Out

 

The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE), in conjunction with Baystate Textiles, is encouraging people to raise funds for the MFE by cleaning out their closets this spring.  Recycling bins are located in the parking lots at each of the four Medway schools.  All donated used clothing and textiles will be recycled by Baystate Textiles.  The MFE will raise an additional $200 on top of the regular rebate of $100 per ton from Baystate Textiles if the community collects 8,000 pounds of items by June 30, 2016.

Friday, March 25 - No school

Just a reminder that this Friday, March 25, is a no school day in observance of Good Friday.  We wish you a great long weekend.  

Upcoming Events

March 23, 2016    Spring Concert, Medway High School, 7:00 - 10:00 PM

March 25, 2016    No school - Good Friday    

April 1, 2016        Five-Town Special Olympics, Ashland HS, 9:00 AM

April 6, 2016        MSPTO meeting, Medway Middle School, 7:30 PM

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

April 8, 2016        Medway Middle School Musical, Disney’s High School Musical, Jr., middle school

                                      auditorium,  7:30 PM

April 9, 2016        Medway Middle School Musical, Disney’s High School Musical, Jr., middle school

                                      auditorium, 2:00 & 7:30 PM

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

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