Superintendent Update 9/27/19

Superintendent's Update 9/27/19
Posted on 09/27/2019

September 27, 2019 Community Update


Dear Medway families, 


As you know, we have transitioned our student information system to Infinite Campus.  The process to transition to this new system has been enormous and has impacted all users, including parents.  While this transition has been challenging, we know that the user experience and improved efficiencies will make this worthwhile.  During the past few weeks you have received many emails encouraging you to create your parent account and verify important information.  Please know that it is important that every family (1) creates an account and (2) verifies the information in Infinite Campus. We recognize that the multiple communications regarding our need for engagement from families have created some confusion.  We have included additional details about this process including a step-by-step guide and short video below. If, after reviewing these resources, you are having difficulty setting up an account, you are asked to contact us via email at parent@medwayschools.org.  


As always, please find important updates about our schools and district below.


Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent


Infinite Campus

Please find step by step guidelines to register within Infinite Campus and also review your family information.  Thank you for taking the time to ensure accuracy of this information.  

Infinite Campus written with visuals step-by-step parent set-up 

Infinite Campus Video step-by-step parent set-up 


Class of 2020 Graduation Date

At its August 22 meeting, the school committee approved the superintendent’s recommendation to designate Sunday, June 7, 2020 as the date for Class of 2020 Commencement.  Please save the date!

 

Burke-Memorial and McGovern Elementary School Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies

Last week we had the opportunity to celebrate our new elementary school playgrounds with ribbon cutting ceremonies.  The events featured an opportunity to extend gratitude to our greater community: the Board of Selectmen, our Town Manager, Mike Boynton, the Capital Improvement Planning Committee, Community Preservation Committee, members of the playground planning committee, and community donors such as MEDI and MEPTO.  We are incredibly thankful to the community for their support of this project. The total financial contributions for this project were approximately $585,000 and the playgrounds are beautiful and already well loved by our students. Thank you to all who attended these events!

 

2019 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Results and Accountability Information

As you are aware, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, like education agencies in other states, has implemented a system for assessing the level to which our students in Grades 3-8 and 9-12 are achieving in relation to sets of academic standards in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science/Technology and Engineering.  In addition, our state’s assessment system provides districts with feedback on their efforts to continuously improve, regardless of their level of achievement.  The latter is known as the Accountability Rating.  Earlier this week, 2019 MCAS results and Accountability Results were released.  They can be accessed on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School and District profile Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School and District profile page.

 

It is important to note that the 2017-2018 school year reflected the first year of the state’s Next Generation MCAS for grades 3-8 and the 2018-2019 school year reflected the first year of the Next Generation MCAS for our grade 9-12 students.  Next Generation MCAS are computer based and were designed to better assess our students’ readiness for college and career.  Since more than a third of the state's public school graduates who attend Massachusetts's public colleges or universities are placed in remedial courses, the enhanced curricular expectations followed by the development of a more rigorous assessment was intended to better support student success post-high school.  

 

What we have learned about the Next Generation assessment is that it relies more heavily on a student’s ability to think critically than what was previously required on traditional MCAS.  As critical thinking is a high value of the district, we appreciate this more authentic opportunity for students. As these assessments are more rigorous than prior assessments, the percentage of students Exceeding and Meeting Expectations (formerly Advanced and Proficient) was (last year) and continues to be (this year) consistently lower at all grade levels and in all content areas..  

 

The information that is gained from this assessment data is part of a large collection of data elements that informs the work of schools and districts.  Standardized testing results help us to explore different factors within our programs and, most notably, we look at these results as a measure of alignment to the curricular expectations within our different content area frameworks as well as an assessment of the district’s social and emotional and academic supports.  We believe that supporting all students to reach high standards is essential in our work and MCAS provides us with feedback around this progress. Here are a few high level results from the 2019 MCAS:

 

  • Medway Public Schools continue to outperform the state average in all achievement categories and has received a district accountability rating of Substantial Progress Towards (Improvement) Targets.  

  • Medway High School has reached the Substantial Progress Towards (Improvement) Targets accountability rating and, per the 2019 MCAS, is performing in the top 18% of all 9-12 schools across the state.    

  • Medway Middle School and Burke-Memorial Elementary School received the accountability rating of Moderate Progress Toward (Improvement) Targets and are performing in the top 30% and 34%, respectively, of all grade 3-8 schools across the state.   

 

An explanation of the state’s accountability system can be found here. 

 

School and district leaders will be sharing specific information with the community over the next couple of months connected with the results of the 2019 MCAS Data and Accountability Status and families of students in our current grades 4-11 will be receiving student specific results by the end of October.  

 

Medway High School Fitness Center Update

As you may know, through a partnership with the Town of Medway and many organizations including: Medway Community Education, Medway Secondary PTO, Medway Lions Club and our athletic booster organizations and youth sports organizations, we were able to move forward with the purchase of new fitness equipment for Medway High School.  We are very thankful for the broad support that this project has received and look forward to the installation of the new equipment.  

 

We are pleased to report that we are expecting delivery and installation of the new equipment in early October.  Once installed, our MHS students will have access to the very best fitness equipment available, housed within a newly renovated space that is nearly double the size of our previous fitness center.  We are currently planning an open house and ribbon cutting of this new space to take place in November. Again, we are grateful for the significant level of support that this project has received to make it possible.    

 

District Anti-Vaping Action Plan 

Teen vaping has quickly become a top public health concern nationwide.  Unfortunately, Medway students have not been immune to this epidemic with the use of e-cigarettes growing by 32% by Medway High School students and 92% by Medway Middle School students since 2014, as measured by the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey.  We are certainly grateful that in response to this crisis Governor Baker has banned the sale of vaping products for the next 4 months. In addition to the Governor's ban, our District has put together an action plan that outlines the steps we have taken so far and our future plans to promote vaping prevention and cessation.  The action plan can be viewed in its entirety here.  

 

October Parent Wellness Newsletter 

In this month’s edition of the Medway Wellness Newsletter, you will find information about elementary nutrition, the district’s plan to address student vaping, and an alert about the YoLo app.  


Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. 2019/2020 Schedule of Events

Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. (Tools: Health, Resiliency, Inclusiveness, Vitality, and Empowerment) is a parent and school co-sponsored organization that is dedicated to providing Medway parents with wellness-related enrichment opportunities.  This year T.H.R.I.V.E. is excited to sponsor two marque events during which, parents will have the opportunity to learn about screen time and its effect on adolescents’ mental health and how they can protect their child from the dangers of vaping.  For event details please click here.     


Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. and SEPAC to co-host Screenagers: The Next Chapter

T.H.R.I.V.E., in collaboration with SEPAC, will host a viewing of the film Screenager: The Next Chapter.  The film explores the connection between the concurrent rise in adolescent screen use and mental health concerns.  Medway Middle and High School students will have the opportunity to view the film during the school day of October 16 and parents will have the opportunity to watch the film later that evening.  For more information about the film and to watch the trailer please click here.  We are hopeful that you will be able to join us. 


Medway’s Wellness Advisory Committee 

Across the country, school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to have a Wellness Advisory Committee.  In Medway, this committee made up of school staff, school committee members, community organizations, and parents who work together to ensure that we are meeting the wellness needs of our students.  The Wellness Committee meets four times a year and meetings are held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. If you would like to know more about this committee or are interested in joining, please reach out to Ryan Sherman, Director of Wellness at rsherman@medwayschools.org


Medway Homework Study 

Last school year, the Superintendent's Task Force on Student Stress came together to examine sources of student stress and how our district could mitigate this stress by improving school practices.  One of the findings that the Task Force suggested that the district takes a closer look at was our homework practices. In response to this finding, we have put together a plan to examine homework K-12.  We will be seeking parent involvement in this study through committee participation, focus groups, and surveys. To read the details of this plan please click here.       


Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Professional Development Day

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 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 have an area of expertise and are interested in offering a wellness session, please fill out this form.  If we have a high 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. 



Upcoming Events

September 26, 2019

McGovern Back to School Night, McGovern Elementary

PreK and K: 5:30-6:30 p.m.

1st Grade:   6:50-7:50 p.m.

September 30, 2019

No School:  Rosh Hashanah

October 3, 2019

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

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

October 9, 2019

No School:  Yom Kippur

October 14, 2019

No School:  Columbus Day

October 16, 2019

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Screenagers Next Chapter: Empowering Youth with Stress Resilience, Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:00 p.m.

October 17, 2019

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

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

November 1, 2019

MHS Fall Play, Scared Silly, Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

November 2, 2019

MHS Fall Play, Scared Silly, Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:30 p.m.

November 11, 2019

No School: Veteran’s Day

November 12, 2019

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

November 14, 2019

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

November 18, 2019

Fall Town Meeting, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

November 21, 2019

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

November 27, 2019

Early Release- All Schools

McGovern - 12:00 p.m.

Burke -Memorial - 11:30 am

Medway Middle - 11:02 am

Medway High - 11:34 am

November 28, 2019

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

November 28-29, 2019

No School: Thanksgiving Break


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