Superintendent's Update 10/12/2018

Superintendent's Update 10/12/2018
Posted on 10/17/2018

October 12, 2018 Community Update


Dear Medway families,


As we near the end of week 6, we find ourselves reflecting on the research and knowledge base that is the foundation of the Responsive Classroom philosophy.  As many of our families are aware, Responsive Classroom is the approach that Medway has adopted in our K-4 classrooms to better foster the core social and emotional learning competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.  The First Six Weeks of School, a core text associated with Responsive Classroom, sets the stage for a successful year by focusing on positive teacher language connected with high expectations for behavior and learning, fostering excitement about engaging academics, and establishing structures and routines to foster collaboration and community.  Our visits to K-4 classrooms have been incredibly reflective of these values and we look forward to continued progress of this great work in support of student success. We hope that our families will join us on October 24 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Burke-Memorial cafeteria to learn more about this approach and how our families can also support this learning at home.  More details can be found below.


Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools


2018-2021 Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan Steering Committee and school and district administration are nearing completion of the DRAFT 2018-2021 Medway Public School’s Strategic Plan.  We will be sharing this DRAFT during upcoming visits to our schools and with the School Committee in November. This updated Plan will represent the strategic priorities of the district and set the direction for our action planning into the future.


Special Education Team Meeting Parent Survey

In an effort to ensure that our families are best supported through our special education team meeting process, all Special Education Evaluation Team Supervisors are implementing an ‘in the moment’ parent satisfaction survey following team meetings.  Parents now have the opportunity to provide feedback to improve our ability to work with parents in a collaborative and productive manner. The survey is anonymous for parents and teachers so that school based and district based strengths and challenges will be captured.  We hope that our families who engage in these meetings will appreciate this addition to the process.

October Wellness Newsletter

In this month’s edition of the Medway Wellness Newsletter  you will find information about Fortnite, childhood/teen anxiety, social emotional learning, upcoming Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. events and more.   


October T.H.R.I.V.E. Events  - Save the Date

Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. in collaboration with SEPAC and MEPTO respectively, is proud to offer two parent learning events this month: K-12 Parent Self-Care and Childhood Mental Health which will take place on October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium and K-4 Responsive Classroom will take place on October 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Burke Memorial cafeteria.  We hope to see you there!


Special Day of Programming at Medway High School

On Wednesday, Medway High School hosted a special day of programming for students.  As it was decided this summer to host the facilitation of the PSAT test during school, the leadership team took advantage of this opportunity to turn the rest of the school day into a series of student experiences focused on wellness, collaboration and community.

The Middlesex Partnership for Youth visited MHS to present to all of our high school students about the dangers of vaping.  Their presentation addressed the physical and mental health implications related to vaping, addiction and the teenage brain, and the approach of tobacco companies to target adolescents through vaping.  Middlesex Partnership for Youth will return to Medway this winter to speak with parents about vaping and this spring to deliver the same presentation to our MMS students.  


YouInc. also visited with our students engaging them in collaboration and community building experiences in large, grade level groups.  Overall, the day was a great success!


Tri-M - Music Honor Society Induction Ceremony

Last Wednesday evening, eight students were inducted into the Tri- M Honor Society.  They join the other twelve MHS musicians who have received this honor previously. Congratulations to our new inductees!


Wellness Advisory Committee Meeting

The Wellness Advisory Committee held its first meeting of the year last week.  With their time together this group of educators, parents, and community members made a plan to use the Center for Disease Control’s School Health Index to complete a self-assessment of the district’s wellness practices.  The committee was also joined by Medway High School’s Liam Dietrich who presented the DONATE campaign he created to encourage meaningful donations to local food pantries.


School and District Accountability Information Public

Last week, the DESE released to the public, the results of the 2018 MCAS tests.  These results represent the first year of a new system that was developed prior to the start of Commissioner Riley’s appointment.  The Commissioner has expressed publicly his interest in exploring this new system thoroughly. The full system is well explained through the following parent guide:  2018 MCAS Accountability Parent Letter.  Burke-Memorial, Medway Middle, and Medway High are all “partially meeting targets” (there is no longer a numbered accountability system).  We will share more information about the 2018 MCAS results and accountability information at a School Committee meeting in November.

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Jon Mattleman presents The Secret Life of Tweens and Teens

On September 26, Jon Mattleman presented the The Secret Lives of Teens and Tweens at Medway High School.  Parents left his presentation with increased confidence to better engage their teens and tweens and with several useful handouts: Top 15 Parenting Tips, 5 Mistakes Every Kid Should be Allowed To Make, Teaching Teens to Deal With Stress, Selfie-Loathing, Facebook Makes Us Unhappy, Tips to Lower Teen. Anxiety.


McGovern Walk to School

The bi-annual McGovern Walk to School Day took place last Thursday morning.  Brad Shoenfelt, elementary physical education teacher, organized a team of McGovern staff who helped each student safely walk  the ½ mile to school. In addition to being a lot of fun, this event is a great reminder to our students that there are many ways to build physical activity into their daily lives.  Many thanks to the family members who joined this walk and to the Medway Police Department for their support as well. The second walk to school day will take place in early May.


Playground Presentation to CIPC

Last week,  the Playground Committee presented the playground replacement plans to the Capital Improvement Committee.  The presentation can be found here.  CIPC was very receptive to the concept and asked great questions.  We were especially appreciative of the parents who attended the meeting as a sign of support for this project.


Medway Community Art Project

The Medway Cultural Council is organizing Project M -- M is For Medway -- a community art project and fundraiser designed to showcase local businesses and organizations and promote cultural engagement.  The Cultural Council is distributing paper mache letter M’s to decorate. Organizations, businesses or individuals can use paint, duct tape, glitter, magazine clippings, photos, crayons, glitter, stickers or whatever inspires them to decorate their M.  The decorated M’s will be displayed at various venues around town, including the 109 shopping plaza, Town Hall, and the Library. Each school has been given a M to decorate. When the artwork is complete, a Medway Cultural Council member will collect the finished products, document them for posterity, and display them at community locations around town through November.  

Medway Policy Update

Medway Public Schools has updated the Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy #89.  The changes reflect current protected status categories, as well as incorporating specific language to ensure that all entities with which Medway does business also adhere to standards of regulatory compliance under the policy.  The new policy may be found with the other school district policies here.


Community Bulletin Board

For more community events, please be sure to visit Medway’s Community Bulletin.  It can be found at www.medwayschools.org under the Community tab..  Here you will find information about all the happenings around Medway.  You can find the page here.  Once on this page, the opportunity to sign up for a weekly email with these updates is at the top of the page.  Click Join Email List and it will ask for your name and email as well as which schools you would like to sign up for.

Medway Foundation for Education Update

Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) is one of several important supporting organizations to the Medway School District.  The MFE volunteer Board organizes several fun events during the year that raise funds for grant requests submitted by teachers, students or parents interested in enhancing the learning process across all Medway schools.  
MFE has provided over $300,000 in cumulative grant funding for innovative programs and technologies that have contributed to the competitiveness of our school district for over 16 years.  The Annual Drive will run October 15 through November 12, 2018. This event kicks off MFE’s season of giving and any size donation helps towards the goal. Prizes are available to donors each week of the drive.   Drop off boxes will be located at Middlesex Savings Bank and Charles River Bank. Online donations accepted through Network for Good (link provided on www.MFEducation.org/home)

For a list of all scheduled events for this school year, click here.


Parent Portal Changes

We would like to take a moment to address a recent change and growing concern regarding our student information system and grading portal.


The Medway Public School System utilizes a software package to manage student information  as well as to provide student and parent access to grading information. The provider of this product continually performs minor upgrades to the software in an effort to improve the service and quality of information that this platform can provide. As this is a hosted software platform, these "updates" are mandatory.


In late August, the provider implemented a major mandatory upgrade to the system which not only changed the product and how we share information via the parent portal, but the update also included a name change to "Visions." Since this upgrade, we have experienced a number of outages in service as the vendor continues to manage this major change in the product. We apologize for any difficulty you may have experienced in accessing your child's information.  Please know that we have passed on your issues and concerns about this new product to the vendor as we receive them.


If you or your child continue to have difficulties accessing the parent portal, please email us at parent@medwayschools.org.  We will do our best to immediately address your questions and concerns. Please be sure to include your name, your student’s name and grade, and a brief explanation of any problems you are experiencing.


Upcoming Events

October 17, 2018

SEPAC/T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:  Carrie Stack: Parent Self-Care and Childhood Mental Health, Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:00 p.m.

October 18, 2018

Burke Memorial Plaque Ceremony, Cafeteria, Burke Memorial, 5:30 p.m.

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 p.m.

October 24, 2018

MEPTO/T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:  Responsive Classroom: Techniques Parents Can Use at Home K-4,  Cafeteria, Burke Memorial, 6:30 p.m.

November 1, 2018

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 p.m.

November 2, 2018

Medway High School’s Fall Play, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” , Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

November 3, 2018

Medway High School’s Fall Play, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” , Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

November 14, 2018

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Challenge Success: Raising a Well Balanced Student, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

November 15, 2018

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 p.m.

November 19, 2018

Fall Town Meeting, Medway High School Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

November 21, 2018

Half Day- All Schools

November 22, 2018

Turkey Trot, Medway High School, 7:30 a.m.

November 22-23, 2018

No School, Thanksgiving Holiday


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