Superintendent's Message 11/20/15

November 20, 2015

 

Dear Medway families,

 

We share with you some important highlights from our work in the school district.  We also want to share our gratitude for the ongoing support that the community continues to demonstrate.  Over the next two months we will be focusing our work on the continued development of the Strategic Plan and initiation of the budget development process.  We are hopeful that the community will continue to engage and provide feedback on these important activities.  

 

Riverside Trauma Workshop for Parents:  Talking with Adolescents About Loss

Medway High School and the greater Medway community was saddened by the recent loss of senior Maddie Lamson.  Medway has experienced a great deal of loss in the recent past.  Supporting children and adolescents during these times can be difficult.  Everyone experiences loss and moves through the stages of grief in different ways.  Parents often struggle with knowing how to best support their children.  As days and weeks go by, parents are in the best position to monitor children’s behavior and feelings that may surface in response to loss.

 

Riverside Trauma Center has provided a great deal of support to Medway High School as we deal with this recent loss as well as support following losses in the past.  We will host a parent session facilitated by Larry Berkowitz, EdD, Co-founder and Director of Riverside Trauma Center, one Monday, November 30 at 6:30 pm at Medway High School Auditorium to support parents as they consider how best to have conversations with their children about death and loss.   

 

MCAS Results Presented and the MCAS/PARCC Decision

During the November 12 School Committee meeting, our 2015 MCAS results were presented to the public.  You can see a copy of the presentation here.  We were pleased with the overall positive results as well as the opportunities that these results illustrated for continued improvement.  While only one data source of many, we hope that all educators will continue to use this information to enhance the instructional experiences for our students.

 

Also, on Tuesday morning, the Board of Education voted on the Commonwealth’s direction for our next generation of student assessment.  Last week, Commissioner Chester announced that his recommendation moving forward is to work to develop a new MCAS assessment that embodies the rigor and expectation of the 2011 Math and ELA frameworks.  He also recommended that districts who facilitated MCAS last year will have the option of participating in either MCAS or PARCC this Spring.  The Board of Education adopted the Commissioner’s recommendation at their meeting this morning.  We hope to learn more about the potential impact of this decision in Medway over the next weeks and will communicate with you when we have more information.  A copy of the Press Release regarding this decision can be found here.

 

Strategic Planning Process

We are continuing to work on the development of a district strategic plan.  After reviewing the data collected from both the forums, and the survey, we have started to develop the goals for this process and are looking forward to sharing some content with you in the coming months.  Please be on the lookout for a request for your review so that we can keep you engaged in this important process.  


 

Girls Soccer

We had the opportunity to attend our division’s semi-final match against North Reading on Wednesday evening in Lynn.  Our girls’ efforts, teamwork, and athleticism were nothing short of exceptional in this well-matched event.  The Medway Mustangs came out victorious with a 1-0 win.  The girls play next in the state final on Saturday, November 21,  against Millbury in Milford at 10:00 am.  We hope to see a strong showing of support.   

 

Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey Results Shared

As you may know, students in grades 7-12 were asked to participate in the Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey in fall of 2014.  The survey is administered every two years and has been conducted in Medway since 2008.  The survey results provide us with useful data to identify those areas of improvement and those areas of opportunity.  As presented at the November 19 school committee meeting, both the middle school and high school will continue to work to understand the results and begin to implement action steps to support improvements.  The presentation may be found here.   

 

Health and Physical Education Curriculum Review Results Shared

The district completed a health and physical education review process last winter.  The review process includes two phases.  The first phase relied on an internal committee to conduct a self-study and review our programs to determine how well we are meeting the needs of students.  In the second phase, a team of professionals from other school districts conducted a site visit and completed a comprehensive review of our program.  The process is very helpful in assisting our district in identifying next steps for improvement.  The presentation may be found here.

 

Special Education Presentation

On Thursday, November 12, Student Services Director, Kat Bernklow, shared an update on student enrollment and special education with the Medway School Committee.  A copy of her presentation can be found here:  Special Education presentation.

 

Technology Curriculum Review Underway

The review of our technology curriculum has begun!  We have met with a representative committee to begin the the task of documenting and analyzing the alignment and efficacy of our K-8 instructed technology curriculum.  We plan to finalize this first phase, the Self Study, by early February and hope to bring in a visiting team to Medway by March to help guide this review and our next steps.  Stay tuned!

 

SAFE Coalition Drug Awareness Forum:  Signs, Symptoms and Solutions

Medway has taken meaningful steps to support and inform our families and community about substance abuse issues impacting our youth.  Chris Herren’s presentation last Spring, cooperatively sponsored by our MSPTO and MFE, informed students and families alike on the negative impact of substance abuse and the importance of working toward positive change.

 

Medway recently partnered with Franklin and Milford as part of the SAFE Coalition.  From the SAFE Coalition  Facebook page:

S.A.F.E. (Support for Addicts and Families through Empowerment) is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder. We do so by empowering those affected, including their families, with the tools necessary to succeed on their journey of recovery. We understand that while I can't, “we can.”  

 

SAFE is hosting an open forum that we encourage you to attend.  This will be taking place at Franklin High School beginning at 7:00 pm on Tuesday December 2, 2015.  More information on SAFE can be found on their website:  http://safecoalitionma.com/.

 

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Interim Superintendent

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