Superintendent's Update 12/5/2019

Superintendent's Update 12/5/19
Posted on 12/09/2019

December 5, 2019 Community Update


Dear Medway families, 

The early December snow has certainly kept us on our toes.   Please join me in extending our gratitude to the crew at the Department of Public Works and Medway Schools Facilities Department.  This long duration storm was a challenge. We appreciate their efforts. As a reminder, included below are the Inclement Weather Procedures.  Please know that we work diligently to make the best call during inclement weather. Weather in New England can be unpredictable and it is often prudent to wait until the early morning to make a final decision.  I appreciate your continued patience during our times of unpredictable, inclement weather.      


We are excited to share that our Annual Report for our 2019-2024 Excellence for All:  A Medway Mindset will be coming to your mailbox soon.  This annual report will serve to provide the greater Medway community with an update on our strategic progress over the next few years.  We hope that you will join us in conversation and collaboration on Monday, December 9 for our Superintendent’s Chat which will focus on this document as well as our FY21 budget planning.  The details for this event as well as several other updates can be found below.


Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent


Elementary Early Release:  Tuesday, December 10, 2019 

Just a reminder that there will be an early release for the elementary schools on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. These are for parent/teacher conferences. Dismissal time are as follows:

McGovern(K-1):  12:00 p.m.

McGovern (Preschool): AM: 11:10 a.m., no PM preschool

Burke-Memorial:  11:30 a.m.


Superintendent’s Chat:  Join Us In Person or Virtually on Zoom

Dr. Armand Pires, Superintendent, and Ms. Gabrielle Abrams, Assistant Superintendent, will be hosting a Superintendent’s Chat on Monday, December 9 at 6:00 p.m.  Please join us either in person in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School (door #7) or virtually,instructions below.


The topics of the Chat will focus on FY21 budget preparations and the 2018-2019 Annual Report for the 2019-2024 Excellence for All: A Medway Mindset, our five year strategic plan.


Please click the link below to download the ZOOM meeting and to join using your PC, MAC,iPad, iPhone or Android device.

Click here to join the meeting.


Or join by phone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 929 205 6099  or +1 669 900 6833 

Webinar ID: 227 742 626

  

The topics of the Chat will focus on FY21 budget preparations and the 2018-2019 Annual Report for the 2019-2024 Excellence for All: A Medway Mindset, our five year strategic plan. 


Inclement Weather Procedures

It is the goal of the district to hold school whenever possible.  Parents and students should plan accordingly and leave plenty of time on winter mornings to arrive at school safely.   Please know that the final decision about a child attending school during a weather event always rests with individual families.  There may be occasions when deteriorating weather will mean that schools close due to unsafe conditions.


The superintendent will review anticipated road and sidewalk conditions, access to schools, projected weather forecasts, and consult with the police and public works departments in order to make a determination between approximately 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. if conditions will be safe for students to come to school.


The following plans will be in effect for inclement weather:


No School Announcement

If the superintendent has determined the conditions are unsafe, school will be canceled.  The district will utilize the emergency notification system that will contact your home/cell phone and  email using the information you have provided to your child’s school. The “no-school” announcement will also be carried on local television channels 4, 5, and 7. 


All classes, school activities, before and after school programs, the Medway Extended Day program (MEDI), daycare program, adult education evening classes, and any school facilities use activities will be canceled.  Transportation of students to out-of-district schools will also be canceled.


One- or Two-Hour Delayed Opening Announcement

If the superintendent has been notified that the public works department needs additional time to plow or sand the streets to ensure safety, then a determination for a one- or two-hour delay may be made.  As with no-school announcements, the delayed opening announcement will be made using the emergency notification system to home/cell phone and email and carried on local television channels.


Please keep in mind:

  • Bus routes will begin by a one-or two-hour delay, including all special education transportation for out-of-district schools.
  • Do not send your child to school earlier than the delayed opening, as the school grounds may not be plowed and there will be no staff available to supervise early arrivals.
  • PreK ½ day sessions will take place if a one hour delay is called, and will be cancelled for a two hour delay.
  • School lunch will be served at its regularly scheduled time.
  • Schools will be dismissed at their regular times.

Emergency Early Release Announcement

If a severe weather condition or other emergency develops during the school day, the district may release students before the end of the school day.  Parents will be notified by home/cell phone and email and the announcement will be carried on local television channels, and displayed on the district website.  As appropriate, the district will work with public safety officials to shelter students in the district if unable to send home.

 

Inclement Weather Bus Stops for Walkers

We understand that inclement weather days can prove challenging to getting your child to school.  If your child(ren) is/are typically a walker and you are unable to find another means of transportation during inclement weather, or when sidewalks have not yet been plowed, please complete this brief form .  We will use this information to set up “inclement weather bus stops.”   We have provided this service as a way to support safe transportation to school.  Please note that these stops will only be activated during storms or following a storm when sidewalks have not yet been cleared, and as communicated. We will communicate additional information when bus stops have been established.  

 

Additional Reminders for Parents

Be sure your child’s school has your updated contact information.

  • Have a family emergency plan in place so your child knows what to do if sent home for any of the reasons noted above.
  • If your child is regularly driven to school and you or he/she feels it is unsafe to drive during the inclement weather, please determine an alternative means of transportation to school.

Infinite Campus

Thanks for your continued efforts to support our transition to Infinite Campus.  We will be mailing essential documents to homes of families who have not yet updated information in this systems.  Families are asked to verify the information on these documents and return them to the appropriate schools for entry into our system.  As always, families are encouraged to contact the district if you have questions about the use of Infinite Campus and/or is you need support to access the system at parent@medwayschools.org or call us at 508-533-3222.


Parent/Guardian Survey:  Grade 6-12 English Language Arts Curriculum Review 

The Medway Public Schools is conducting a review of our Grade 6-12 English Language Arts (ELA) program.   An important component of this review is to gather information from our families about their children’s learning experiences in English/Language Arts learning within the Medway Schools.  The Curriculum Review Self Study Committee will use the results of this survey, along with other data sources, to assist in the review process. A link to that survey can be found here and the survey will be open until Friday, December 20.  Thank you for your participation in this process.


District Homework Study

PHASE 1:  Data Collection:  Parent Survey Below

We are requesting parent/guardian participation in the Parent/Guardian Homework Survey which can be found here.  All parents/guardians of grade K-12 students are invited to participate.  If families have students in multiple grades, we are requesting that one survey be completed for each student.  


PHASE II: Homework Advisory Subcommittee: Parent Participants Needed 

As a result of the recommendations made by the Superintendent’s Task Force on Student Stress, we are studying our district’s homework practices. In order to ensure that we thoroughly investigate homework from all perspectives, we are forming a Homework Advisory Subcommittee made up of students, parents, and educators.  In an effort to make sure each grade span of learners is represented, we are looking for two parent volunteers from each of the following grades spans K-2 and 3-5.  To learn more about the homework study and subcommittee work please click here and to express interest to serve on the subcommittee please click here.  Volunteers will be chosen in the order in which they complete the form.  The meetings of the Homework Advisory Subcommittee will be held in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School during the following dates/times:


Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.


No School:  Monday, December 23, 2019- Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Just a reminder that there will be no school Monday, December 23, 2019-Wednesday, January 1, 2020 for winter break.  School will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020.


Medway Public Schools to Offer Seal of Biliteracy

We are excited to share that Medway Public Schools will be partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to offer the State Seal of Biliteracy as a means to recognize high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and a different world language. Specifically, proficiency means that students can function in both languages in authentic, real-life situations. The Seal of Biliteracy is a special state insignia that will be affixed to the graduate’s diploma. As this is a new, statewide program, the intent of the Seal of Biliteracy is the following:

  • To formally certify attainment of biliteracy skills;
  • To recognize the value of language diversity;
  • To provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for the attainment of high skills in languages; 
  • To prepare students with skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society;
  • To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills; and
  • To strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.

Additional information about the Seal of Biliteracy can be found here.


Massachusetts Student Opportunity Act

As you may have heard in the news, last week, Governor Baker recently signed into law, the Student Opportunity Act (Chapter 123 of the Acts of 2019). This Bill aims to provide much needed financial relief to many school districts across the Commonwealth and we are incredibly appreciative of the advocacy from our state and local leaders for their hard work.  More information about the exact impact this Bill will have on district planning will be available in the coming months. A featured article about this legislation can be found here.


Veteran’s Day Project

The Fourth Annual Veteran’s Day Project took place at the Medway Council on Aging just prior to the Thanksgiving break.  Six local veterans were honored and celebrated by high school students who interviewed them and shared their stories at this special event.   Thank you to Courtney Riley, Senior Center Director, and Marcia Lombardo, Outreach Coordinator at the Senior Center, for seeking this partnership with the Medway Schools.  Special thanks to Aubrie Rojee, high school history/social sciences teacher, for supporting our high school students through this special experience. Congratulations to high school students:  Molly Britton, Elizabeth Downing, Sophia Boucher, Seeendhi Ravipati, Rena Weafer, Lillian Woodward, Alaina Zombrowski, and Maisie Donohue for their hard work and poise in sharing the stories of our veterans.


Recipients of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship

The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship is earned by students who scored Advanced on one of three MCAS assessment tests in ELA, Math or STE, and who scored Proficient or higher on the remaining two.  Recipients also have combined scores from the three tests that place them in the top 25 percent of students in the graduating class in their district. A list of the Medway High School student recipients can be found here. Congratulations to all!


Wellness Update Presentation to the School Committee

At the November 21 school committee meeting, Dr. Ryan Sherman, Director of Wellness, provided an update on the work associated with the district’s wellness efforts.  That presentation can be found here.


December Wellness Newsletter

In this month’s edition of the Medway Wellness Newsletter, you will find information about the McGovern Breakfast Program, helping your child find a “good fit” college, the upcoming T.H.R.I.V.E. event on vaping, and more. 


Upcoming T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Vaping and Hidden in Plain Sight

T.H.R.I.V.E., in collaboration with the SAFE Coalition, will be hosting an informational event on the dangers of vaping in combination with   as interactive display, Hidden in Plain Sight.   Parents are invited to join us for a guided tour of Hidden in Plain Site from 5:30-7:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m., parents are invited to join Dr. Lester Hartman, a nationally recognized pediatric expert in vaping, for a discussion about how to keep  children safe from the dangers of vaping. Both events will take place in the Medway Middle School Presentation Room (door 7). For more information about Hidden in Plain Sight and Dr. Hartman please click here.     


Medway Health Services Update

Medway Health Services are committed to keeping students well and preventing the spread of contagious illnesses. Please keep these guidelines in mind when deciding if your child is well enough to attend school.

WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL: 

  •  If a child is unable to participate fully in school activities because of illness.
  •  When a child has a contagious condition or a rash with an unknown cause. 
  •  Fever of 100.4° F or more within the last 24 hours, when not taking medication to reduce fever.  
  •  Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours.
  •  A child has a diagnosis of strep throat and has not been taking antibiotics for 24 hours.
  •  If a child requires medication for fever or ongoing pain relief.

For more information on the flu, please find a link to the Department of Public Health’s bulletin here.


Early Childhood Survey from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Massachusetts Partnership for Infants & Toddlers invites families with children up to 5 years old to share their ideas and advice through a survey that will help inform a plan for early childhood programs and services. The survey is available in English and Spanish and will be open through Tuesday, December 31. The English survey can be found here and the Spanish survey can be found here.


Volunteers Needed: Medway High STEM Fair

Medway High School’s annual STEM Fair, presented by the Women in STEM (WiSTEM) Club, will be on the morning of February 14, 2020.  WiSTEM is looking for professionals and passionate hobbyists in STEM fields or in non-STEM fields who are empowered by their use/knowledge of STEM to present to our students.  All high school students will choose three 35-minute workshops/presentations to attend. Students love sessions that are interactive--demos, hands-on, etc. If you or someone you know is interested in presenting a workshop, please have them email one of the co-advisors: Shanley Heller  sheller@medwayschools.org or Kristy Macedo kmacedo@medwayschools.org.  Interested presenters can also fill out this form.  This year we will also be opening a “table room.”  If you prefer to run a table with posters and information about your work, please contact us!  


Parent/Community WELLNESS Volunteers Needed!

Medway Public Schools will host its second Professional Day of the school year on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.  After much success last year, the focus of the last portion of the afternoon will be on faculty and staff wellness.  We are looking for community volunteers who work in or have a passion for an area of wellness and who would be willing to volunteer 2 hours of their time to facilitate a session from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at Medway High School on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.  If you are interested in offering a wellness session, please fill out this form.  Depending on the  level of interest, we may not be able to offer all sessions.  We will confirm participation with all interested community volunteers by the end of December. 


Fall Sports Post Season Update

  • Boys Soccer was defeated by Belchertown in overtime in the State Finals on Saturday, November 23.  Congratulations on a fantastic season!
  • Our Cheerleaders competed on Sunday, November 24 in the MSSAA State Cheer Finals at Worcester State University.  They placed 11th out of 14 groups. Congratulations!
  • The Medway Varsity Girls Soccer team received the MIAA Team Sportsmanship Award at halftime of the boy’s championship game. Congratulations to Coach Jason Rojee and all of our girls on this well deserved recognition.

Medway Public Schools In the News

New Vending Machine Offering Healthy Food and Beverage Options Now Available at Medway High School

Medway High School Inducts 52 Students Into National Honor Society

Medway High School Students Recognized at Scholars Breakfast 




Upcoming Events

December 9, 2019

Superintendent’s Chat, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School or virtually via Zoom (details above), 6:00 p.m.

December 10, 2019

Elementary Early Release

McGovern(K-1):  12:00 p.m.

McGovern (Preschool): AM: 11:10 a.m., no PM preschool

Burke-Memorial:  11:30 a.m.

MFPA Meeting, Alumni Conference Room, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

December 11, 2019

MHS Winter Concert and Art Walk, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 12, 2019

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

December 18, 2019

MMS Band Concert, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 19, 2019

MMS Winter Chorus Concert, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 23, 2019-

January 1, 2020

No School: Winter Break

January 2, 2020

All students return to school

January 7, 2020

MFPA Meeting, Alumni Conference Room, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

January 8, 2020

MHS Winter Chamber Concert, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

January 9, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 6:30 p.m. 

January 13, 2020

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:  Hidden in Plain Sight and The Dangers of Vaping, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 5:30 p.m.

January 20, 2020

No School:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 21, 2020

No School:  Professional Development Day

January 23, 2020

School Committee Dinner with Leadership, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 5:30 p.m.

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

January 29, 2020

Fifth Grade Band Concert, Anderson Gym, Medway Middle School, 4:00 p.m.

February 6, 2020

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


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