Superintendent's Update - 5/27/2020

Superintendent Armand Pires, Ph.D. - Update 5/27/2020
Posted on 05/27/2020
Superintendent's Update - 5/27/2020

Dear Medway families,

 

I hope that this email finds your families healthy.  Last week we recognized that the Class of 2020 had their last day of classes.  On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Medway Schools, we send our congratulations to our students.  We are looking forward to an in-person graduation in August, as permitted.

 

Please see below for important updates.

 

Sincerely,

 Armand Pires, Ph.D. Superintendent

 

FY21 Budget Update - Potential Reductions

Last week at the school committee meeting, I shared an update of the fiscal outlook for the Medway Public Schools.  You can watch this update here (at the 1hr. 17 min. mark).  To summarize,  the Covid-19 crisis, in addition to the devastating health impacts,  has also had a significant impact on the state’s fiscal forecasts.  While specific information has not yet been released from the state, we have been working closely with Mike Boyton, Town Manager, and the Medway Board of Selectmen to plan for an anticipated reduction of local aid between 10% and 20% ($1.25-$2.5 million).  At this point, the Town has identified reductions to the 2020-2021 budget of $1.25 million dollars.  However, if the reduction in local aid is more than 10%, the Medway Public Schools will see a reduction in the FY21 budget.  If the reduction is greater than 10%, the Medway Public Schools may have a $700,000 reduction for FY21.  In addition, Circuit Breaker reimbursements that the District receives from the state may also be reduced.  We have estimated that the reduction in reimbursement could be an additional $450,000.  This scenario would result in a $1.125 million budget reduction within the district budget. 

 

While we do not have any guidance from the state, it is prudent to begin planning for a budget reduction.  Doing so now will support proactive decision making, versus notification of a budget reduction after the school year has begun.  As we consider budget reductions, we will do so with a focus on preserving the student experience.  

 

We are hopeful that within the coming weeks we will receive clearer guidance from the state about the FY21 Budget and the impact of the budget deficit on local aid resources.  We will share more information about budget impacts of this reduction as soon as we are able.        

 

Remote Learning:  Family/Student Survey

Our first family survey, which was completed after the first two weeks of remote learning, provided us with a high level glimpse into a few areas to explore further within the Medway Public Schools Remote Learning Plan.  The overall satisfaction rate from those families who completed the survey was incredibly high which speaks to the hard work of everyone, in every role across the district.  Some of the areas identified for further exploration were connected with our communication strategies; some were connected with decision making; and some were connected with instructional needs of students. As our circumstances for the Fall will continue to be unknown for quite some time, we want to ensure that we have specific and actionable feedback should remote learning need to continue in some form.  Families of all children PK-12 and students in grades 6-12 are asked to complete this survey which can be found here:  Student/Family Remote Learning Survey #2.

 

Senior End of Year Activities and Graduation 2020

Sending the Class of 2020 off into their chosen futures in a way that honors their contributions and commitment to their learning within the Medway Public Schools over the last 12 years is incredibly important to us.  As guidance from the state was shared on May 18, school districts across the Commonwealth are in a better position to share insights and plans for Class of 2020 celebrations based on this guidance (recognizing that this guidance and the state’s reopening plans will need to be nimble based on the incidences of COVID-19 that may occur).  Last week, the Senior Class Officers and Dr. Murray, principal of Medway High School,  proudly shared this video which announced their plans to celebrate graduation and other senior events. A slide show attached here provides additional details.

 

Special Education Extended Year Services

We continue to await the decisions providing guidance for Extended Year Services (EYS) from the state.  In his May 18, 2020 news conference, Governor Baker shared that plans are being made for the summer learning programs and will be shared in the weeks to come.  We have reached out to affected families and shared our initial planning.

 

At this time, EYS WILL BE PROVIDED REMOTELY UNTIL THERE IS ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE FROM DESE.  All related services (OT, Speech, Wilson, PT) will be provided during EYS program hours. EYS Program hours will be Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., from July 7 through August 13. In the event that we are allowed to bring students on-campus, we will transition to in-person instruction, which will be held in the 5th grade wing of Medway Middle School.  We do not anticipate this taking place prior to July 7.  We are hoping for a July 21, 2020 in-person start date, resulting in students receiving 2 weeks of remote summer learning, prior to 4 weeks of in-person learning, for a total of 6 weeks.  This is 1 week longer than our typical program.  We hope that this will help re-acclimate students to the learning environment and provide some much needed in person instructional time prior to the school year.

 

FY21 Staffing Levels

As noted in the attached video message, this global pandemic has placed additional burdens on federal and state funding and, within the Commonwealth, towns are waiting for a clearer understanding of this impact at their level.  

 

Kindergarten Orientation Event

On Wednesday, May 20, Amy McDonald, principal of the McGovern Elementary School, shared this video with incoming Kindergarten students and their families as a way to welcome them to the McGovern School.  Families were also provided with a link to a form where they could seek clarity on any questions that they had.  While there are still decisions to be made regarding other transition to Kindergarten events, we were appreciative of the opportunity to introduce our Kindergarten program to our future students.  

 

Thinking of Our Students! 

All of our students are in our thoughts each and every day.  We have greatly enjoyed the daily and weekly messages shared by our K-8 principals, faculty, and staff to ensure that our students know that they remain with us even in their absence during school closures and remote learning.  If you are not yet connected to Twitter and have not seen these special messages, we encourage you to join Twitter and follow:

@medwayschools

@medwayhighinfo

@medwaymiddle

@burkememorial

@mcgovernelem

 

Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. and SEPAC Event: Pandemic Parenting 

T.H.R.I.V.E. and SEPAC, in collaboration with Medfield Public Schools, co-hosted Pandemic Parenting, presented by Rachel Simmons.  This virtual offering was held on Tuesday, May 19, at 8:00 p.m.  For more information about the webinar please click here. The event was attended by 140 participants and those in attendance were able to benefit from Rachel’s practical and at times humorous advice on how to best support your children during this stressful time.  She provided several concrete tips that parents could immediately put to use in their own homes.  To view a recording of Rachel’s presentation please click here

 

ABC’s of Quarantine- Parenting K-5 Children

Minding Your Mind, a Medway community partner, is offering a free webinar for parents, ABC’s (Attention, Balance, and Connection) of Quarantine- Parenting K-5 Children.  For more information about the webinar and to register please click here.  

 

May Parent Wellness Newsletter: COVID-19 Edition

These last several months have certainly been a challenging time for families and have drastically changed most household dynamics.  With that in mind, we have put together a second edition of a COVID-19 Wellness Newsletter, which can be accessed here.    

 

McGovern Elementary and Burke-Memorial Elementary School Improvement Plans

During the May 21 School Committee meeting, Principals Amanda Luizzi and Amy McDonald shared both an update on progress made with the 2019-2020 School Improvement Plans and their proposed 2020-2021 School Improvement Plans for the McGovern Elementary and Burke-Memorial Elementary Schools. That presentation can be found here.

 

COVID-19/Stress Student Learning Module

In collaboration with Boston University, our district has developed a COVID-19/stress online student learning module.  Students in grades 5-12 will participate in the module, which is being implemented through their wellness classes starting this week.  Within the module, students will learn about stress and anxiety, self-care strategies, and accessing support.  Although this module was designed for students in grades 5-12, we are making it available here so that all Medway parents have access to the module and are able to share the information with their children of all ages.  Once implemented in Medway, the module will be made available to schools across Massachusetts and beyond.   

 

Medway Public Schools In the News

Stress Relief for Medway Teens 

 

Upcoming Events

June 4, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Medway Middle School, 5:00 p.m. 

June 8, 2020

Annual Town Meeting, Medway High School, 88 Summer Street, Auditorium, 6:00 p.m. 

June 16, 2020

Medway Town Elections, Medway Middle School, 45 Holliston Street 

June 18, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 5:00 p.m. 

June 19, 2020

Last day of school

June 22, 2020

Term 4 report cards will be released

August 2, 2020

Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2020, Medway High School, TBA, Rain Date August 3, 2020

 

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