November 18th Superintendent's Message

Dear Medway families:

Please find the Community Update below.  It has been an exciting few weeks in our district.  We have been provided many opportunities for the community to come together for a celebration of our student athletes, thespians, veterans and their orators, and of course, academic achievements.  

As we approach Thanksgiving, and we take additional time for family and friends, football (see you at the Thanksgiving Day game!) and food, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be part of this wonderful, tight-knit community.  I continue to be thankful for the privilege of serving the students and community of Medway.  

 

With my sincerest gratitude,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

December Community Forum Dates Set

We are excited to invite our community to rejoin our Strategic Planning conversations specifically structured around the action steps to reach our desired goals. As you know, the Medway School Committee approved the Strategic Plan last spring.  The plan can be found here.  We are hosting three (3) opportunities to engage in these conversations on the following dates/times:

  • Friday, December 2, 2016, 8:30-10:00 AM
  • Monday, December 5, 2016, 7-8:30 PM
  • Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 3:30-5:00 PM

All forums will be held in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School.  Community members should enter through Door # 7 to participate.  Please click on the forum sign-up participate.  Thank you!

Medway Foundation for Education Drive a Success!

Thank you, Medway, for supporting the Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) Annual Drive.  Last month, on Halloween, there were some very generous donors who pushed the MFE over their goal.  The total raised was $5,600.   This was the MFE’s first year running the drive as a non-telethon, meaning it was all done through social media instead of by making phone calls.   The MFE Board, along with our teachers, students, and school administrators sincerely appreciate everyone's support this year!! The MFE is excited to use this money to provide new and innovative grants in the coming months.

Spring 2016 Assessment Report to School Committee

Last week, during the November 10 School Committee meeting, Gabrielle Abrams, Assistant Superintendent, and Tim McCarron, Principal of Medway High School, presented an overview of the Spring 2016 assessment data from MCAS, PSAT, SAT, ACT, and AP.  A copy of the presentation can be found here.  This topic was also featured in a recent Metrowest Daily News article which can be found here. Questions regarding this presentation and/or specific information pertaining to these assessments should be addressed to the building principals.

Elementary Health Planning

The Elementary Wellness Education Committee met for a final time on Tuesday to collate the committee’s recommendation for an elementary health education framework for the 2017-18 school year.  This process was initiated following our Health and Physical Education Curriculum Review, and adoption of the Strategic Plan.  This recommendation will be presented in the coming weeks in time for budget preparations and for the purpose of detail work on curriculum development/adoption.  Exceptional thanks are extended to teachers Brad Shoenfelt, Pat O’Neil, Josh Steffen, Janet Trottier, John Kelley, Stacey Ward, as well as administrators Ryan Sherman, and Amanda Luizzi for your leadership and commitment to this important process.

Veterans Project

Last Thursday, November 10, 2016, Medway High School students shared their oral history projects, comprised of interesting personal stories that had been shared with them by local veterans throughout our community.  This was a special event and a true reflection of the power of intergenerational learning for both students and elders in our community.  It was a wonderful way to honor these individuals for their lives dedicated to service.  

Fall Post-season Sports

Congratulations to our Fall athletes and coaches who experienced great success this season on the courts and in the fields.  Medway continues to compete well against other schools in the Tri-Valley League and even with teams outside our league.  Special congratulations to both of our Varsity Soccer teams who were victorious in their Division 3 South Championship matches this past Saturday (November 12) and who competed in the State Semi-Finals on Wednesday, November 16. Our boys team lost a well-fought game and had a great season.   Our girls team will go on to face Millbury in the Division 3 State Finals at Milford High School this Saturday at 10:00 AM.  We hope to see many Mustang supporters there!

Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey

As you know, our community has joined others across the Metrowest to participate in the Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey at both the middle and high school levels.  This survey is a tool that allows students to self report on their feelings and behaviors related to a number of health and wellness topics.  This is a survey that is facilitated every two years and the data is shared, analyzed, and vetted for programmatic decisions.  The 2016 survey will be facilitated at the middle and high school this week.

Please find a link to the 2014 presentation of the results to the public.  Should you have any questions about the survey, please contact either Cari Perchase, Principal of Medway Middle School, or Tim McCarron, Principal of Medway High School.

Reminder:  Procedure for Reporting Student Absences

We recognize that supporting a sick child in the morning can be stressful. In addition to this challenge, the school system expects parents call in to advise when a child will be out for any reason. In an effort to streamline attendance reporting for parents we have added new phone numbers that dial directly into a student absence reporting voicemail box. We hope that this will help to speed up the call-in process for our families. The number(s) to call are listed below by building. When calling, please leave your name, your child’s name, grade, and a number where you can be reached.

High School:  508-321-4729    

Middle School:  508-321-4730

Burke-Memorial: 508-321-4732

McGovern:  508-321-4731    

Charter School Resolution

As you know, Article 2, the vote to increase the cap on Charter Schools in the Commonwealth, failed in last Tuesday’s election.  We have been asked by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester to share with our community a message connected with this.  It can be found on the DESE website.

Inclement Weather Procedures

Although it seems early, we wanted to be sure that we shared information about inclement weather with you as soon as possible.  

It is the goal of the superintendent to hold school whenever possible.  Parents and students should plan accordingly and leave plenty of time on winter mornings to arrive at school safely.  There may be occasions when deteriorating weather will mean that schools should close due to unsafe conditions.

The superintendent will review anticipated road and sidewalk conditions, access to schools, projected weather forecasts, and consult with the police and public works departments in order to make a determination between approximately 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. if conditions will be safe for students to come to school.

The following plans will be in effect for inclement weather:

No School Announcement

If the superintendent has determined the conditions are unsafe, school will be canceled.  The district will utilize the emergency notification system that will contact your home/cell phone and send an email using the information you have provided to your child’s school.  The “no-school” announcement will also be carried on local television channels 4, 5, and 7 and will be prominently displayed on the district’s website: www.medwayschools.org.

All classes, school activities, before and after school programs, the Medway Extended Day program (MEDI), daycare program, adult education evening classes, and any school facilities use activities will be canceled.  Transportation of students to out-of-district schools will also be canceled.

One- or Two-Hour Delayed Opening Announcement

If the superintendent has been notified that the public works departments need additional time to plow or sand the streets to ensure safety, then a determination for a one- or two-hour delay will be made.  As with no-school announcements, the delayed opening announcement will be made using the emergency notification system to home/cell phone and email, carried on local television channels, and displayed on the district website.

Please keep in mind:

  • Bus routes will begin by a  one- or two-hour delay, including all special education transportation for out-of-districts schools.
  • Do not send your child to school earlier than the delayed opening, as the school grounds may not be plowed and there will be no staff available to supervise early arrivals.
  • AM PreK and Kindergarten sessions will be canceled.
  • School lunch will be served at its regularly scheduled time.
  • Schools will be dismissed at their regular times.

Emergency Early Release Announcement

If a severe weather condition or other emergency develops during the school day, the district may release students before the end of the school day.  Parents will be notified by home/cell phone and email and the announcement will be carried on local television channels, and displayed on the district website.  As appropriate, the district will work with public safety officials to shelter students the district is unable to send home.

Emergency Bus Stops for Walkers

During winter inclement weather conditions, additional bus stops may be provided for students who normally walk to school, and have no other means of transportation.  We initiated this procedure last year as a way to support safe transportation to school.  Please note that these stops will only be activated during storms or following a storm when sidewalks have not yet been cleared.  

If your child(ren) is/are typically a walker and there are no other transportation options for him/her on days of inclement weather, please complete this brief form so that we can set up an appropriate bus stop for these students.  We will communicate additional information when bus stops have been established.  Thank you!

Additional Reminders for Parents

  1. Be sure your child’s school has your updated contact information.
  2. Have a family emergency plan in place so your child knows what to do if sent home for any of the reasons noted above.
  3. If your child regularly drives to school and you or he/she feels it is unsafe to drive during the inclement weather, then have your child ride the school bus to and from school that day.

 

Water Testing Results

Below, please find a message regarding recent water testing results within our district.

Dear Medway families:

We have been providing information to you about the results of recent water testing conducted within our district.  As I have shared, this extensive water testing program was the result of proactivity by both the Medway Department of Public Services and the Medway Schools. In total, we identified 20 fixtures out of 889 at McGovern Elementary, Burke-Memorial Elementary, Medway Middle School, and Medway High School that tested at heightened levels for lead and/or copper.    

We believe that the fixtures themselves are the source of these heightened levels as the impact has been random within our buildings.  After meeting with the Medway Department of Public Services, and with consultation from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, we will take the following next steps in our schools:

 

  • All impacted fixtures have been shut off and will not be used.
  • Re-testing of all impacted fixtures will take place and the samples will be sent to the lab to verify results.
  • Once results are received, replacement of impacted fixtures will take place, as necessary.  After replacement of fixtures is completed, another round of water sampling will be conducted to verify that levels are within acceptable ranges before those fixtures are re-opened for use.
  • All fixtures that did not show heightened levels of lead and/or copper during the initial water test, will be returned into service.
  • Sinks throughout the district will bear a sign indicating “Hand Washing Only - Non-Potable Water.”

We have appreciated the guidance and collaboration of the Medway Department of Public Services as we work to mitigate this situation.  We expect that additional water testing and the facilitation of the necessary repairs will take a few weeks.  We will communicate an update when this work has been completed.

Upcoming District Events            

November 17, 2016    School Committee Budget Subcommittee, Middle School, 5:00-6:00 PM

November 23, 2016    Early Release (all grades)

November 24, 2016    6th Annual Medway Turkey Trot, Medway High School, 7:30 AM

November 24-25, 2016    Thanksgiving Recess - No School

November 30, 2016    School Committee Policy Subcommittee, Middle School, 5:30-6:30 PM

December 1, 2016    School Committee meeting, Presentation Room, Middle School, 7:00-9:00 PM

December 2, 2016    Community Forum on the Strategic Plan, Middle School Presentation Room, 8:30-10:00 AM

December 5, 2016    Community Forum on the Strategic Plan, Middle School Presentation Room, 7:00-8:30 PM

December 7, 2016    Community Forum on the Strategic Plan, Middle School, Presentation Room, 3:30-5:00 PM

December 8, 2016    School Committee Budget Workshop, Middle School, 5:30-6:30 PM

December 13, 2016    SEPAC meeting, Library, High School, 7:00-9:00 PM

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