Welcome Back!

August 31, 2015

 

Welcome back!  

 

We were pleased to welcome all faculty and staff back on Friday, August 28, and more excited to welcome our 2,400+ students today!  I had the pleasure to visit each school and see our students.  The energy and excitement of the first day of school was very high.  As mentioned previously in an email, an important goal of mine is to provide regular communication to our school community.  With that goal in mind, we will provide regular updates via email.  Please find important and useful information below.

 

Strategic Planning

What do you value?  The Medway Schools have begun the development of a Strategic Plan.  When completed, this document will provide us with a plan that will guide the improvement of our schools and district.  A high level of community involvement in the development process is critical to the creation of a document that captures our beliefs about sets a direction of our district.  Community members are encouraged and invited to participate in this process in two ways.  First, we invite community members to participate in one of two scheduled community forums.  Since space is limited we ask that you reserve a space by clicking this link.  More information regarding this process can be found by clicking on this link.  Second, community members will be asked to participate in the completion of a survey.  The survey is currently under development with an expectation that it will be available by mid-September.

 

Transportation

Thanks again to all families for proactively assisting us with any transportation questions or concerns.  As we can’t state enough, the safety of your children is of the highest priority to us and our collaborative efforts are necessary to ensure that all children are safe.  As today was the first full day of school, we do want to ensure that we are addressing your questions in a timely manner.  Should you have issues to address, please direct them to the Assistant Superintendent’s office at gabrams@medwayschools.org.  

 

Cultural Proficiency Survey

Medway Public Schools had a very successful Coordinated Program Review during the 2014-2015 school year.  A Coordinated Program Review, conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, assesses the effectiveness of various programs and supports within school systems such as special education, english language acquisition, civil rights, etc.  Recommendations are then offered and districts are supported in their improvement efforts.

 

As a result of the state audit of processes and Medway's commitment to teaching all children in a culturally responsive manner, we would like to ask for your help as we reflect on specific practices.  Please follow this link  to a survey designed to help us examine our practices and deepen the conversation of what culturally responsive instruction means and looks like in Medway Public Schools.

 

The survey window will be open until close of business on September 19, 2015.  We encourage you to help us in this important act of reflection.

 

Technology

Medway Public Schools is committed to providing the latest technology resources to staff, students, and the community.  We are continuing to make upgrades to our systems in preparation for a successful 2015-16 school year.  Please see below for some important technology updates.

 

Online Forms - In an effort to reduce the number of paper forms sent home at the beginning of the school year, the Medway Public Schools is excited to pilot a new, electronic form option this year for grades 5-12.  Families will be able to update contact and health information through the Parent Portal, ensuring we have the most accurate, up to date information in our records.  Please be sure to hit the “submit” button as you complete the form packets.

 

Equipment Additions and Upgrades - The technology department has worked hard this summer to upgrade over 150 desktops throughout the district schools, as well as increase access to technology through the addition of 300 Chromebooks and 100 iPad devices.  We hope these additional resources add to the classroom experience for all of our students.

 

Implementation of Google GMail - In addition to the items listed above, the technology department has been hard at work converting our email system from FirstClass to Google’s GMail.  This conversion will help staff and students work seamlessly within the Google Apps domain and take advantage of many applications available through this resource.  Please note that all staff email addresses and Medway communications will change from “user@medway.k12.ma.us” to “user@medwayschools.org.”  Please make any necessary changes in your personal contacts and email filtering (SPAM) settings.  

 

Student Account Changes - To better manage student access to Google Apps resources, we are making a change to student account IDs from “user@medwayschools.org” to “user@student.medwayschools.org.”  This change will help us provide the best possible security as we utilize online resources for all students.

 

Special Notes - As we implement the changes listed above, we hope that we add valuable resources for all of our staff, students, and community.  At times, there may been some unanticipated difficulty; we will attempt to address any concerns as quickly as possible.  We thank you for your continued patience in these instances.

 

Superintendent’s Chat

As has been the tradition, I will hold regular Superintendent’s Chats.  These “chats” provide the opportunity for interested parents and community members to gather and discuss our district and the the initiatives underway.  The first chat has been scheduled for Thursday, September 10th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m,. in the Medway High School Library.  The focus of discussion will be the district initiative of creating a Strategic Plan.  We hope to see you there.

 

Teaching and Learning Spotlight

Today we celebrate the beginning of what we expect will be an exceptional year for all of our learners - students and professionals alike.  When we met with our staff for our first day together last Friday, we honored those amongst us who have dedicated more than 20 years to the Medway Public Schools.  We hope that you will join me in honoring them as well:  Karen Aveson, Sharon Guilfoil, Lynne Arsenault, Margie Monahan, Donna Colace, Riate larrabee, Jeanette Melcher, Gail Richardson, Patrick Sullivan, Karen Przybyl, Eileen Berset, Claudia Hurley, Carol Hopson, Nancy Monts, Carol Villa, Nancy Thompson, and Sean Dixon.  A link to our full, staff opening day presentation, can be found at the following link.

 

Twitter

Over the past few years, our administrators and teachers have increasingly used Twitter as a communication tool.  Twitter provides us with a great opportunity to share information with our community.  Please see below for official Twitter handles of our schools and the district.  We invite you to follow-us!

 

Medway Public Schools    @MedwaySchools

Medway High School        @MedwayHighInfo

Medway Middle School    @MedwayMiddle

Burke/Memorial School    @BurkeMemorial

McGovern School        @McGovernElem

Medway Athletics        @MedwayAthletics

Medway Community Ed    @Medwayce

 

We are looking forward to a smooth and exciting year with you and your children.

 

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Interim Superintendent

 

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