Superintendent's Update - February 26, 2021

Superintendent's Update - Dated 2/26/2021
Posted on 03/01/2021
Superintendent's Update - Dated 2/26/2021

Dear Medway families, 

I hope that this email finds you well.  There continues to be a lot going on in our schools. As we do annually, the district is currently working on our FY22 Budget Proposal to share with the School Committee and the greater community.  Developing a budget eight months before the start of the new school year is always a challenge.  This year it is complicated by the unknown, but anticipated additional student needs that we expect will result as we continue to manage the impact of the pandemic.  Please find below a summary of the upcoming opportunities to learn more about the FY22 Budget Proposal and ways in which you can share your feedback with me and members of the Medway School Committee.

In addition, I recently communicated to grade 6-12 families about an important upcoming webinar.  The webinar, scheduled for March 9, will share an update on our planning for a return to full, in-person learning for those students currently in the hybrid model.  Please find more information about the webinar, and the registration link, here and below.

I want to again thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate this challenging year.  We continue to be thankful that grades PK-5 are fully in person, and look forward to our students in grades 6-12 joining them.    

Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

IMPORTANT CALENDAR UPDATES

Change of March 10 Early Release Day to March 24

During the February 25 School Committee meeting, the early release day scheduled for March 10 was changed to March 24.  There will be no early release day on Wednesday, March 10.  The early release times for all schools for Wednesday, March 24 will be as follows: 

McGovern Elementary School (including McGovern Virtual School students):  12:00 p.m.

Burke-Memorial Elementary School (including Burke-Memorial Virtual School students):  11:30 a.m.

Medway Middle School (including Medway Middle Virtual School students):  11:02 a.m.

Medway High School (including Medway High Virtual School students): 11:34 a.m. 

Class of 2021 Graduation Date

At the February 25 School Committee meeting, the Committee approved the request of Dr. Murray and the Superintendent to change the Class of 2021 graduation date.  The NEW Class of 2021 Graduation date is now Sunday, June 6, 2021.

2021-2022 School Calendar

The 2021-2022 School calendar was approved at the February 25 School Committee meeting and can be found here.

PLEASE JOIN US:  March 4, 2021 Public Forum on the FY22 Budget and FY22 Budget Events

On Thursday, March 4 at 5:00 p.m., the School Committee and Dr. Pires will host a webinar for interested community members regarding the FY22 budget.  This session is interactive and participant questions will be answered.  Participants can engage using the chat feature on the webinar.  The webinar requires advance registration.  To register please click here

Charting the Course - District Improvement Update and Budget Overview Presented to the School Committee

On Thursday, February 25, Dr. Pires and Ms. Abrams presented Charting the Course: District Improvement Plan Update and FY22 Budget Overview to the School Committee.  This presentation highlighted the priority areas to be addressed in the Superintendent’s FY22 Budget.  The presentation can be found here.

FY22 Budget Presentation

On Thursday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m. Dr. Pires and Mr. Aicardi, Director of Finance and Operations, will present the FY22 Superintendent’s Budget to the School Committee.

Public Hearing on FY22 Budget

On Thursday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m. community members are invited to share thoughts regarding the proposed FY22 budget with the School Committee.  This is the final opportunity for community feedback prior to the School Committee vote on the FY22 budget planned as part of the regular School Committee meeting agenda later this evening.  Feedback shared at the hearing will be acknowledged and noted and there will not be a dialogue during the Budget Hearing.

FY22 Budget Vote

On March 18, at 6:00 p.m., the School Committee will vote to forward the proposed FY22 budget to the town as part of the FY22 Town of Medway budget.  

Town Meeting

Community members are encouraged to attend Medway’s Town Meeting on Monday, May, 10, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., Medway High School, 88 Summer Street, when residents will be asked to vote on the Town’s FY22 budget which will be inclusive of the FY22 Medway Public School’s budget.

PLEASE JOIN US:  Planning for A Full Return:  March 9 Webinar for Middle and High School Families 

This session is interactive and participant questions will be answered.  Participants can engage using the chat feature on the webinar.  The webinar requires advance registration.  To register please click here.

COVID-19 Testing for Students:  It’s Not Too Late to Enroll Your MMS or MHS Students 

If you would like your child to participate in pool testing, we ask that you complete and return the attached Student COVID-19 Testing Consent Form as soon as possible.  The form should be completed, signed (we can not accept an electronic signature), scanned, and returned to us via email to: testingconsent@medwayschools.org. If you have already submitted a consent form, you do not need to submit another form. The previously completed consent form is valid for the rest of the school year. 

If you would like a paper copy of the consent form, you can pick one up at your child’s school.  

Questions or concerns about the consent form or the testing program can be directed to Kylie O’Neill at koneill@medwayschools.org

Also, please find the following informational resources that may be useful:

Explanatory Video on How to Scan and Email a Document

Recording of Medway Public School Webinar- January 27, 2021

Slideshow about Regular Student Testing Program from Webinar 

FAQs for Student Testing

COVID-19 Data Table

As we have shared, ongoing, transparent communication about COVID-19 cases within our school community is important.  Please find below the updated Data Table that delineates new cases from our last reporting period (February 19) through today.  We would also like to share that from February 1 to February 17 there were no new cases of COVID-19 reported.  In addition, we have continued to see improved metrics on the positivity rate in the community.

We also wanted to note a change to the data being presented. With the inclusion of student testing and the continuation of staff testing, we will move to a weekly reporting of COVID-19 data, which will be each Friday.  In addition to the table that we have shared, you will also find  information including the positivity rate from our staff and student testing.  As we have shared, data from the members of our school community is most supportive of gaining an understanding of the impact of the virus in our schools. 

 

COVID-19 Information

School

Total Number of Cases - students and staff

September 16 to present

COVID positive individuals who were in school during the infectious period September 16 to present

Number of Cases - students and staff (February 19-February 25)

Related Close Contacts* (February 19- February 25)

Evidence of In-School Transmission (February 19- February 25)

COVID positive individuals were in school during the infectious period

(February 19- February 25)

McGovern

9

4

1

1

No

1

Burke-Memorial

13

4

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Medway Middle

30

12

3

6

No

1

Medway High

48

23

2

4

No

1

Virtual School

1

N/A

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Medway Daycare

3

3

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Staff and Student Testing Data

# test taken to date

# of cases week of February 22

# of positive cases week of February 22

# of positive cases to date**

Positivity Rate within Staff/Student Testing

Staff Testing Results

(December 9 to present)

 

2527

0

0

2

 

<.01%

Student Testing Results

middle and high school

(February 9 to present)

 

1190

0

0***

0

0

*Please note that related close contacts are members of our school community, but does not indicate that the close contact was created during school.

** 55% of middle and high school students currently participate in testing and 75% of Staff are participating weekly.

*** Please note we are awaiting results from Thursday, February 25

 

2021-2022 School Year Kindergarten Registration

The district will open registration for incoming kindergarten students for the 2021-2022 school year on March 1, 2021. More information can be found here.

Transportation Guidance Updated

We are writing to share an updated version of the Transportation Guidance, which became effective as of February 11.  The revisions to guidance have been made in close consultation with medical advisors, based on additional data on air exchange rates on buses as well as the continued proven effectiveness of masking.  In addition, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has reviewed and endorsed the revised transportation guidance.

The updated guidance is posted here: Coronavirus/COVID-19: Guidance/On the Desktop Messages (mass.edu)

Medway High School Program of Studies Proposed Changes

During the February 25 School Committee meeting. Dr. John Murray, Medway High School principal, presented the 2021-2022 proposed Medway High School Program of Studies changes to the School Committee.  The Committee will review these proposals and vote at the March 4 meeting.  Dr. Murray’s presentation can be found here. 

Medway’s COVID Response Work Featured at the State Level

Medway’s work to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic was recently featured in a COVID-19 Testing Guidance document compiled by the Community and School Committee Members of the Safer Teachers, Safer Students Collaborative.  The efforts of this team of school district and school committee leaders were captured in this guidance document which was published and shared with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and Massachusetts Association of School Committees.  The guidance document is linked here. 

COVID-19 Reporting Hotline 

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please call 508-321-4779 or email covid@medwayschools.orgUsing the hotline helps to ensure an efficient response and protects student privacy.  If you are not reporting a positive COVID-19 test result but have questions about COVID-19 and your child, please contact your school nurse.  

Technology Update

The technology department would like to remind students and families that any support needs should be directed to support@medwayschools.org. We have created a workspace at Medway High School, Room 031-2, for high school student drop-in support and we service all other grade levels from the Middle School IT Office. We encourage all families to utilize the Parent Portal for information about student grades and attendance. 

The Medway Foundation for Education Seeks New Members

The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) is a non-profit educational community foundation established in 2002 to support the Medway School District by providing grant money for innovative educational programs and technologies that are not part of the normal school budget.   Our Board of parent/teacher volunteers organize fundraising events over the course of the year and then use the money to fund grants submitted by teachers and occasionally students and parents.   Since inception, we have provided over $350,000 in grant funding across the schools in Medway and we are building a long-term endowment fund with assistance from the Foundation for Metrowest.  Most of the grants we fund come from ideas generated by our teachers and administrator teams.   We love when new innovative ideas come to us through our proposal process so that we can invest in our school community and make a positive impact.   

The MFE Board is seeking new volunteers to help us with fundraising and evaluating grant proposals.    If you have any questions about our work or if you would like to discuss joining our Board, please contact VP Christine Miller at cmdmiller8@gmail.com or President Brian Gray at bgray_123@yahoo.com.    Please follow us on social media or send us an email if you would like to be on our direct distribution list.    

While the COVID-19 epidemic has not allowed us to host some of our normal fundraising events like Trivia Bee and Dodging4School, we are hoping to pick them up again soon when it is safe.   You can support MFE by using the Baystate Textile Bins for clothing/footwear/linen donations.  A white MFE bin is located at each school and at the Town Recycling Center.   You can also donate directly to MFE through PayPal Giving Fund, Network for Good, or by selecting MFE as your Amazon Smile Charity (go to smile.amazon.com and select Medway Foundation for Education).   During the holidays, you can support a teacher or administrator who has made an impact on your student by participating in our Holiday Card Donation Fundraiser.    

All of this information along with videos and pictures of our “grants in action” can be found on our website www.MFEducation.org or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MedwayFoundationforEducation.  We are fortunate to work with several high school student interns who assist us with our social media presence.   You can follow us on both Twitter @MFE_Medway and Instagram @MFE_Medway as well.    

What Music Means to Me: The MFPA wants to hear from our students!

The first National Music in Our Schools month took place in New York back in March 1973, and it has been growing in popularity ever since.

The MFPA is excited to be a part of the National Music In Our Schools Month this March by highlighting the music departments in all of our schools with a video commercial, What Music Means to Me.  This commercial will recognize the importance of music education and encourage community members to become involved with the MFPA.

The MFPA invites all students who have a special connection with music to submit a short video describing What music means to me or submit a photo holding a sign with their own words. For those who prefer to be off camera, we welcome you to submit 1-3 sentences. The deadline for all videos/photos will be March 1.  All submissions can be emailed to medwayfriendsofperformingarts@gmail.com. The commercial will be released during the MFPA fundraiser later in the month.

Medway Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (MEPTO) Updates

This year’s 10th Annual MEPTO Shamrock Shuffle event will be virtual; you choose your time and location.  Participants can sign up to run/walk their race between March 1 and March 31.  Click the link that follows for more information about this event and additional MEPTO News.

Medway Public Schools In the News

Press Release: Medway Public Schools Begins Pooled COVID-19 Testing at Middle and High Schools

Press Release: Two Medway High School Chorus Students Accepted Into All-State Festival

Upcoming Events

March 4, 2021

Public Forum on FY22 Budget, Webinar, Registration required, 5:00 p.m.

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

March 9, 2021

Full Return to School for Middle and High School families, Webinar, Registration required, 6:00 p.m.

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

MFE Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

March 18, 2021

Public Hearing on FY22, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, Budget, 5:30 p.m.

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

March 24, 2021

Early Release: All Schools: Professional Development

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

April 1, 2021

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

April 2, 2021

No School: Good Friday

April 13, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

April 15, 2021

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

April 19-23, 2021

No School: April Vacation

April 28, 2021

MSPTO Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.


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