September 13th Community Update

Dear Medway families,

As we enter the middle of our first full week it’s hard to believe that we are still at the start of the year.  Classrooms have been busy establishing routines and setting expectations for hard work and excellence throughout the district.  This has been a pleasure to see in action.  

We hope that you will join us for a couple of upcoming events in the district.  Our first Superintendent’s Chat will focus on the budget development process and will take place at  6:00 PM on Thursday, September 28.   The first T.H.R.I.V.E. event will take place on October 11 at 7:00 PM.  The focus of the October 11 program is:  Mental Wellness- Minding Your Mind.    These events and many more details of our district work are highlighted below.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

CLEARGOV

We are pleased to share that we have recently partnered with an organization aimed at supporting transparent information to the community.  ClearGov is a product already in use by the Town, and is now available for school district information. ClearGov provides easy to use interactive information about district finances, student academic performance on state assessments, and faculty and staff.  This tool allows users to compare items year over year, as well as review comparisons with neighboring communities.  

ClearGov may be accessed through our website or via this link.

Community Safety Event

As we have shared, last Wednesday’s safety concern connected with an event near the McGovern Elementary School necessitated a response for that school to put in place safety and security protocols.  Additionally, school buses were held at both the Burke-Memorial and High Schools out of extreme caution.  We are most thankful to the Medway Police Department for their support of our community during this event.  Thanks as well to our many faculty and staff members who remained with students beyond their work day to ensure appropriate coverage was in place due to our delayed bus schedule.  Thanks also to our families and greater community for their support and understanding during this necessary response.

T.H.R.I.V.E.

Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. (Tools for Health, Resiliency, Inclusiveness, Vitality and Empowerment), a committee dedicated to providing wellness related, family enrichment opportunities to the Medway community, has created a calendar of events for the 2017/2018 school year.  These learning experiences are connected with mental health, substance use prevention, celebrating differences, and digital citizenship.   In an effort to plan ahead, below please find the dates for which our T.H.R.I.V.E. events will take place.  We hope to see you at several of these events!

2017-2018 T.H.R.I.V.E. Events which will all be held from ~7:00-9:00 PM, locations TBD:

  • October 11, 2017- Mental Wellness- Minding Your Mind - Medway High School Auditorium - Please find a flyer describing this event following:  Minding Your Mind presentation flyer
  • January 17, 2018- Celebrating Differences
  • March 21, 2018- Substance Use Prevention
  • May 9, 2018- Digital Citizenship

Universal Screener Pilot ~ Reading and Mathematics, Grades 1-8

At the July 17 Medway School Committee meeting, we presented key information associated with our new academic diagnostic pilot which will take place this year.  As you may know, we have used GRADE as a screener in literacy for some time.  GRADE has provided us useful information in terms of learners who are not meeting national benchmarks, but the time to facilitate and score this assessment has been challenging.  In addition, there is a missing diagnostic element as well as optional tier 2 resources that are not available through GRADE.

A collaborative team representing administration, grade level and content area educators, and our instructional coaches met and identified Curriculum Associate’s iReady as a tool that could potentially meet our needs.  The presentation that we shared with School Committee can be found here: Elevating Assessment presentation. Beginning this school year, we will be using iReady in grades 1-8 to screen and diagnose learning needs in reading and mathematics.  

Over the next week, all of our educators will engage in training around the assessment tool and students will engage in this online, adaptive assessment at the end of September.  Building principals will be sharing additional information with families following this assessment.

Class of 2018 Graduation Date

At its September 7 meeting, the school committee approved the superintendent’s recommendation to designate Sunday, June 3, 2018 as the date for Class of 2018 Commencement. Please save the date!

McGovern Entry Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Medway School Committee was thrilled to thank our town partners on the Board of Selectman, Capital Improvement Project Committee, and Finance Committee for their support of our safety and equitable access priorities with the construction of a new entrance at McGovern Elementary School.  A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on Thursday, September 7.  A recent article featuring our new entrances at both McGovern and Burke-Memorial can be found here.

Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey Results ~ 2016

During our September 7 school committee meeting Dr. Ryan Sherman, Director of Wellness, shared the results of the 2016 MWAHS.  The results revealed three areas of opportunity (stress/anxiety, overweight/obesity and cyberbullying/sexting) for our students.  The presentation also includes the school district’s plan to address these needs.   The full presentation can be found here:   2016 MWAHS Results and Analysis

1:1 Digital Learning at Medway High School

We are pleased to share that the expansion of the Medway Public Schools digital learning work through our 1:1 Chromebook initiative has experienced early success.   Nearly all 9th and 10th grade students have opted to accept a school purchased device and many families have chosen to insure their device through our insurance partnership with Worth Ave. Group.  Additional information on this work can be found here.

Through a blended approach, the goal of this initiative is for students to communicate with teachers and peers, collaborate, and demonstrate their learning in a manner that may not have been available to them previously. This blended learning approach is intended to support the needs of all students’ learning styles.

Our work this year will be also be to support our educators in their growing comfort with this meaningful and purposeful integration.  The next step in this initiative will be to fully outfit all students at Medway High School with take home devices starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Management of this initiative and all of our digital learning environments throughout our PK-12 system, occurs through a great deal of professional and student collaboration.  Medway High School is proud of its student technology team, S.H.O.P. (Students Helping Other People). Students in this group, in partnership with our Information Services Department and technology integration specialist, manage much of the inventory control of the chromebooks. From diagnosing and tracking lost and damaged devices, to getting them repaired or sent out for repair, to then distributing and managing loaner devices, SHOP will be a critical component to the success of the high school 1:1 program. In addition to chromebook management, these students will also be involved with assisting both teachers and students with other technology based needs during the school day.

Throughout the district, our technology integration specialists provide both on demand professional learning support to our classroom and content area teachers, as well as proactive learning sessions based on the latest and greatest knowledge in the field.  The district supports a great number of devices throughout all of our grade levels and has supported this investment through our technology integration specialists.

Water Testing Update

As you may recall, the Medway Public Schools, in conjunction with the Medway Department of Public Services,  conducted water testing on every fixture at all schools in our district last fall.  The results of that testing identified some areas containing unacceptable levels of lead and/or copper.  We immediately prevented further use of those fixtures while a second, confirming test was conducted.  With confirmation from the second test, the district moved forward and has replaced all impacted fixtures.  A third test of all impacted fixtures was conducted last June and results received this summer have revealed that none of the previously impacted locations included unacceptable levels of lead and/or copper. These fixtures are now again in use.

We appreciate the continued partnership of Medway’s Department of Public Services in ensuring that our drinking water is safe in our schools.

Superintendent’s Chat ~ Budget Development

As part of our communication strategy, we will again host Superintendent’s Chats for the upcoming year.  We have found that these chats are most productive when they are topical.  The first chat has been scheduled for Thursday, September 28, from 6:00-7:00 PM.  The chat will immediately precede the scheduled school committee meeting.  The topic for this chat is budget development. The goal is to share information and answer questions about how the district develops the budget each year.

Community Education Program Coordinator

Thanks to the support of school committee, we are pleased to share that we are in the process of expanding our leadership within our Community Education Department.  In an effort to provide additional, targeted programming to support the varied needs of our learners, a new Program Coordinator position has been approved and funded.  We expect that our new Coordinator will be on board in mid to late October and will spend the early transition weeks examining our student information and engaged in conversations to develop additional programs to enhance our already robust Community Education experiences.    

Fox 25 Recess Coverage

About a week ago, there was a story on Fox 25 Boston that was airing about recess in Massachusetts.  Medway’s very own Dr. Sherman was interviewed for the story.  In case you missed it, the link to the story is below:

Fox25 News Story on recess

Thank you

Now that school is officially underway, we wanted to publicly thank those employees who worked over the summer to ensure that our schools were ready for students to return.  This was a challenging summer with two front entrance projects at our elementary schools, a new fire alarm system at McGovern, new cafeteria equipment and furniture for the middle school, and hundreds of devices to support our new 1:1 program at Medway High School.   Members of the custodial and maintenance departments, information services, finance and operations, and building and district secretaries worked tirelessly to advance these projects for the good of the system. We are most appreciative of their efforts.

A message from the Medway Foundation for Education

The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) volunteer board members wish everyone a happy start to the new school year.   Coming up soon, the MFE Annual Drive will begin and the signs will go up around town.   This year, the Drive will run from September 24th through October 15th; so keep an eye on your inbox or visit our Facebook page or website to track the progress.

This year we will be giving out PRIZES to a randomly selected donor each week of the drive.   As a non-profit organization established to support innovation and excellence in our Medway Schools, we rely on donations and fundraising events in order to provide some wonderful grants that are visible in every school in Medway.  This past year we funded over $15,000 in new grants bringing our total cumulative grant giving amount over $270,000.  Check out our website to see examples of our grants in action.  Once the 2017 Annual Drive kicks off, you can visit our website at www.MFEducation.org and click on Donate Now through the Network for Good.   You can also mail your donation check made out to MFE to the Superintendent’s Office at 45 Holliston Street, Medway MA 02053.    In addition, there will be drop off boxes located at both Middlesex Savings Bank and Charles River Bank right here in Medway.   Each week, one of our volunteers will monitor all donors and enter them in the weekly prize drawing (i.e. Bruins, Pats tickets, etc).  

Website:  www.MFEducation.org

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/MedwayFoundationforEducation

Twitter: @MFE_Medway

Instagram: @MFE_Medway

MFE Logo Contest Update

Last spring, MFE ran a logo contest and received several proposals with some very cool new logo ideas from our student population.  We are very fortunate to have so many creative and artistically talented students.   Shay O’Neill was the winner of the contest and his artistic work will be reflected in the new logo that will be unveiled during the Annual Drive.

MFE Upcoming Events

The Board is also organizing some fun new events for later this year and into 2018.   Our Trivia Bee and Dodging4School events have been well attended and they have allowed us to raise enough money to keep our annual grants moving forward.  The white textile bins located in the school parking lots have received lots of clothing donations and all of that helps us raise money too.  On November 16, we will be hosting our annual Wine & Whiskey Tasting event at Pour Richard’s in Franklin. (You will have to leave the kids at home for that one!)

Lastly, our Board volunteers have been very busy this summer planning a new event for next May, so stay tuned, especially if you are a horse lover!   GO MUSTANGS!

If you are interested in joining the MFE Board or helping out at one of our events, please email

Sue Olson (sue@fiveolsons.com) or Brian Gray (bgray_123@yahoo.com).

Upcoming Events

September 14, 2017    Burke Memorial Open House         Grade 2: 6:00-7:00 P.M.

September 19, 2017    Medway Middle School Open House       5:30- 8:30 P.M.

September 21, 2017    No School - Rosh Hashanah

September 27, 2017    McGovern Open House          
PreK and K 5:30 P.M. - 6:30 P.M.
Grade 1:   6:50 - 7:50 P.M.

September 28, 2017    Superintendent’s Chat ~ Budget Process, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 P.M

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 PM

October 5, 2017        School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 PM

October 9, 2017        No School- Columbus Day

October 10, 2017    No School- Professional Development Day

October 11, 2017        T.H.R.I.V.E. Emotional Wellness:  Minding your Mind, Medway High School Auditorium 7PM

October 19, 2017    School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 PM

November 8, 2017    Medway High School National Honor Society Induction 7:00 PM

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