May 4th Superintendent's Message

May 4, 2016

Dear Medway community,

As we enter the last two months of the school year, we expect there to be many opportunities to celebrate the successes and achievements of our students.  We look forward to these formal and informal opportunities to celebrate milestones of our students.  

On a related note, I wanted to take a moment to publicly recognize and thank our educators during this National Teacher Appreciation Week.  The job of our educators continues to become more complex with the ever-changing needs of students, increased requirements from the state and federal government, and often heightened public scrutiny.  Our educators put their hearts into their work with students and we owe them a debt of gratitude and appreciation for this tireless commitment.  During this week, and any other time that you want to share an expression of thanks for the hard work that our educators do for our students, we encourage you to do so.  It means a great deal.

Please take some time to read in detail the numerous updates and points of information from the district.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

School Committee Forum on Assessment ~ May 5, 2016, 6:30-7:00 pm

As you may know, the state’s board of education voted in the fall to allow school districts the option of administering MCAS or PARCC for the 2016 spring standardized testing for grade 3-8. Medway Public Schools, at the recommendation of the superintendent, chose to administer MCAS.  In March, the district implemented the English/language arts (ELA) assessments; however, prior to the implementation of the ELA MCAS, we learned that a PARCC component had been incorporated into the ELA MCAS.  This revised MCAS format has sparked conversation within the community and some parents have reached out to the committee to voice concerns.  The district will soon be implementing the mathematics and science, technology, engineering assessments in grades 3-10.  The Medway School Committee is interested in hearing more about your concerns and questions regarding standardized testing.  To accomplish this, we have scheduled a School Committee Forum on Thursday, May 5, from 6:30-7:00 p.m., in the School Committee/Presentation Room at Medway Middle School.  We hope that you can join us.

 

Strategic Plan

During the May 5 school committee meeting, we will be sharing the final draft of the 2016-2019 Medway Public School’s Strategic Plan for their approval.  This document is a result of nearly a year of inquiry, conversation, and collaboration with so many individuals and groups throughout the community.  Once finalized, we will share information about opportunities for our community to gather to discuss the document in detail.  

 

Education Express

We are pleased to share the recently published Education Express which highlights learning, events and celebrations from December through March.  This most recent edition can be accessed through our website at the following:  Education Express.

 

Technology Planning and Updates

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our Technology Advisory Committee, building and district administrators, educators across the district, technology integration specialists and the Technology Curriculum Review Steering Committee, we will be presenting an update on our digital/blended learning work to the the community during the May 19 school committee meeting.  This presentation will contain highlights of our exciting growth in this area, as well various themes and plans for improvement in the year(s) to come.  

 

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 warrant articles will be acted on at the May 9th Annual Town Meeting.  These articles will provide 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 was then 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.  Over the past few months, we have been discussing this list of items with school committee.  At the the March 17 school committee meeting, administration formally presented a proposal that would allow the use of 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.  

In early April, the school committee approved the use of school choice funds for the purchase of new phonics/word study materials for our K-4 learners.  

During the April 28 school committee meeting, the school committee approved the allocation of funding from school choice funds to support the innovations and improvements listed below.  

Level

Description

Explanation

District

Director of Wellness

A primary focus area of the district, as identified through the District Improvement Plan, has been supporting the social and emotional development of students. In addition, a curriculum and program review of the health/physical education program was recently completed and substantiated this needed focus. The data available from the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, along with the experiences of our faculty and leaders, require continued focus and improved coordination of activities related to the support and development of the social/emotional and wellness needs of our students.

 

This position would focus on effective implementation of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model that was co-created by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  and the Association of School Curriculum Developers (ASCD) as an expansion of the comprehensive school health model.  Additional information about the model can be found via the link below

WSCC Model Information

District

Expansion of language-based learning disability programming

Expansion of the language-based learning disability (currently being piloted at the Middle School) programming into the 4th and 9th grades.  Expansion includes professional development and consultation by Landmark School for regular and special educators.

District

Inclusive  Post-Secondary and Work-based  Learning Experiences for Students aged 18-22

Program for moderately disabled students in need of one or two years post-secondary education.  Would provide morning program at community college and afternoon in a supportive environment focusing on vocational learning.

High

Increase access to Virtual High School

MHS students have the ability to enroll in a Virtual High School (VHS) class.  Participation in VHS broadens opportunities for our students.    The current capacity limit is 50 seats.  We would like to increase capacity to 100 seats so that more students could participate.

Elementary

Implementation of an elementary music lesson program outside of the school day

Currently, instrumental programming begins in 5th grade.  This would provide us with an opportunity to begin instrumental lessons earlier, in 4th grade.

Elementary

Purchase of Phonics / Word Study program materials

As part of our efforts to ensure a robust Reader’s Workshop framework within our elementary schools, leaders and educators across K-4 have participated in a year long examination of resources and practices around phonics/word study.  This study is expected to result in the recommendation to purchase appropriate research based materials.  This amount encompasses material and professional development costs associated with this anticipated adoption.

Middle

Purchase of books for classroom libraries

The grade 5 educators are in the process of developing a plan to adopt the workshop instructional framework.  They will begin to look at this framework first through Reading.  Fundamental to a successful Reading Workshop implementation is the availability of varied texts at varied reading levels - with a look to greatly enhance our library of informational texts.   

Middle

Expand PLTW as a required experience, add additional Gateway unit

PLTW Gateway programming was implemented at the middle school as an elective choice.  Recommend that the course, Design and Modeling, become a requirement for all 7th grade students.  

 

Math and Science, Technology and Engineering  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, technology and engineering MCAS in grades 5, 8 and 9.  

 

The schedule is as follows:

Grade

Date

Assessment

3rd Grade

May 17, 2016

May 18, 2016

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

4th Grade

May 17, 2016

May 18, 2016

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

5th Grade

May 10, 2016

May 11, 2016

May 17, 2016

May 18, 2016

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 1

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 2

6th Grade

May 11 - Math

May 12 - Math

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

7th Grade

May 11 - Math

May 12 - Math

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

8th Grade

May 10 - Math

May 11 - Math

May 17 - STE

May 18 - STE

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 1

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 2

9th Grade

June 1, 2016

June 2, 2016

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 1

Science, Technology, Engineering, Session 2

10th Grade

May 17, 2016

May 18, 2016

Math, Session 1

Math, Session 2

 

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.  

 

Student Cumulative Record Information

Parents, guardians and students of Medway Public Schools should know that cumulative record files for students in grades 4, 8 and 12 will be reviewed by school personnel prior to the end of the school year.  Outdated or unnecessary records will be destroyed.  Parents/guardians and students wishing to examine records before their destruction should contact the building principal by May 6, 2016, to arrange an appointment.  It is the intent of Medway Public Schools to comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding the maintenance of student records.

 

May 20, 2016 Early Release Day

A reminder to families that Friday, May 20, will be an early release day for all schools.  Our elementary staff will be engaged in learning connected with our recently acquired phonics/word study materials; middle school staff will participate in building-based safety exercises, and our high school staff will continue with their self-study process being facilitated by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation process.  Families are reminded to make the necessary preparations for this day.

 

Medway Pride Day! - May 21, 2016, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

We hope to see many students and families at the annual Medway Pride Day scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 21, behind Medway Middle School, from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm.  There will be activities and events for all ages.  Please join this special community day.

 

A Spring Closet Clean Out Contest

The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE), in conjunction with Baystate Textiles, is encouraging people to raise funds for the MFE by cleaning out theirs clothes this spring.  Recycling bins are located in the parking lot of each of the four Medway schools.  All 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 30th, 2016.

 

Upcoming Events

May 2 - May 13, 2016    AP Exams, Medway High School

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

May 5, 2016        School Committee Forum on MCAS, Medway Middle School, presentation room, 6:30 PM

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

May 6, 2016        MEPTO Basket Raffle & Ice Cream Social, Medway High School, 6:30 - 8:15 PM

May 7, 2016        SAT testing, Medway High School

May 9, 2016        Medway Annual Town Meeting,

May 11, 2016      Pops Concert, Medway High School, 7:00 PM

                             Memorial School Council, 3:00 - 4:00 PM

May 13, 2016       Superlative Night, Medway High School Gym, 7:00 PM

May 14, 2016       Maddie Lamson Field Dedication Ceremony, Medway High School, 3:00 - 4:00 P

                             Alumni Banquet, Doubletree, Milford, 6:00 PM

May 16, 2016       Best Selling Author Liesl Shurtliff visits Burke/Memorial school

May 17, 2016        SEPAC meeting, Medway High School guidance area, 7:00 - 8:00 PM

May 18, 2016        MEPTO meeting, McGovern School, 7;00 PM

                              Principals’ Tea, McGovern, 6:30 - 7:30 PM

May 19, 2016        School committee meeting, Medway Middle School, presentation room, 7:00 PM

                              Walk to School Day, McGovern School

May 20, 2016        Early Release Day (K-12)

                              Junior/Senior Prom, Omni Hotel, Providence, RI

May 25, 2016        Middle School Spring Band Concert, 5:30 - 8:30 PM

May 26, 2016        Middle School Choral Concert, 6:00 - 9:00 PM

May 27, 2016        Salute to Our Vets Program, McGovern School, 2:00 - 3:00 PM

May 30, 2016        Memorial Day - No School

May 31, 2016        Senior Class trip to High Meadows, Granby, CT

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