Superintendent's Update - 6/17/2020

Superintendent's Update - 6/17/2020
Posted on 06/17/2020
Superintendent's Update - 6/17/2020

June 17, 2020 Community Update

Dear Medway families, 

As you may know, last week, the Medway School Committee met and acted on my recommendation to make reductions to the FY21 budget.  In total, reductions of just over $870,000 were made.  As has been previously communicated, we find ourselves in a very difficult fiscal situation.  With no direction from the state regarding budget impacts, or on school reopening.  We have relied on the collective experience of the appointed and elected officials in our community to come to the determination that being proactive will be more supportive, and protective, to the educational programming of our students.  Please find the video of the June 10 meeting here.

In addition, as of the writing of this update, we continue to await actionable guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Governor, on requirements for school reopening this fall. We anticipate receiving guidance later this week.  In preparation for this guidance, we have established district-level, and building-based reopening teams.  These teams will use the guidance as a blueprint to ensure that we are ready to reopen this fall, following the requirements established to ensure the safety and continued learning of students, faculty, and staff.  We anticipate that it will take a few weeks to develop reopening plans.  As we better understand the reopening requirements, we will provide an opportunity for families to learn more about the requirements and how we are managing the reopening process.  Please anticipate that these opportunities will take place in mid-July.  As has been the case, they will be offered virtually.

We hope that you and your students enjoy a wonderful end to the 2019-2020 school year!  Thank you for your continued support and partnership as we navigate these very challenging times.

 

Be well,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D. 
Superintendent

Talking About Race and Racism - A Community Conversation with IDEAS

Thank you to those who were able to join us for our Community Conversation About Race for families, faculty, and staff last week.  More than 150 participants joined us and we greatly appreciated this show of support and engagement in learning.  The link to the webinar is here.  Unfortunately, the recording started during the video (which can't be distributed through Go to Webinar), immediately after introductions.  The 2 videos shown were:

Javon Johnson:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Wf8y_5Yn4 

Anderson  Cooper:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFbvBJULVnc

We look forward to connecting with our middle and high school students during a voluntary “town hall” style conversation (please see below) with one of the facilitators from IDEAS (Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students), as communicated by building principals.

Student Town Hall Forum on Race and Racism

The following message was sent to middle and high school families about an event at 4:00 p.m. today:

As a follow up to the district-wide: A Community Conversation About Race, Medway High School and Medway Middle School will host a voluntary student town hall forum to discuss race in our schools.  The event will be this Wednesday, June 17 at 4:00PM and will be recorded for those unable to join us.

We are pleased to welcome our long standing partners in this essential work, IDEAS’ allies (Initiatives for Developing Equity and Achievement for Students), to guide our students in learning and dialogue. We are pleased to host members of our grades 5-12 UNITY, TADA, World of Difference, Peer Counselors, Student Council, and 40% Club who will participate in this program.

Please click here to register for the event. Log-in credentials will be sent to all registered participants just prior to the event. Pre-registration is required.   

Please use this form to submit any questions or comments prior to Wednesday's event. Your submissions will help guide the discussion and talking points for the Student Town Hall Forum.  

We hope you will be able to join us for this important conversation for students by students.


District Improvement Plan

The District Improvement Plan is an annual plan that benchmarks the strategic work identified for the following school year. It aligns with the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan: Excellence for All: A Medway Mindset in that the goals and metrics are mirrored in the District Improvement Plan. There is recognition that strategic plans contain elements that require long term commitments of time to remediate. Annual District Improvement Plans should provide both benchmarks towards meeting the longer term goals of strategic plans as well as specific action steps that will be taken during a given year.  The District Improvement Plan end of year report for 2019-2020 and District Improvement Plan for the 2020-2021 school year was presented at the June 4 School Committee meeting.  The presentation can be found here

Student Services Updates
Extended Year Services

At this time, the Medway Public Schools Extended Year Services Program will be provided remotely for many of our students.  Students who meet the criteria of significant vulnerability (young students and students in intensive, sub separate programs) will be taught in a mixed model or in-person model starting on July 22,, 2020. 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.  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.

Evaluation Team Supervisor (ETS) Reorganization

The Student Services Department is experiencing a transition in staffing as a result of our look at our current demographics and school census, and that better aligns staffing to support building faculty, students, and parents in the future.  Erin Fraclose will be returning to the classroom as a special educator at Medway High School.  Erin has done a phenomenal job supporting students and colleagues as an Evaluation Team Supervisor (ETS), and helped us out tremendously by stepping up mid-year to provide that service.  

In terms of future planning, a closer look at initial evaluations (which are the most time consuming of evaluations in terms of time working with parents and teachers, levels of assessment and support, and coordinating many different schedules and domains) has shown that more initial evaluations occur at McGovern, than at any two of the other schools, combined.  With this in mind, we are splitting an ETS between McGovern and the Out of District (OOD) caseload.  Vicky Fanelli, current ETS at Medway Middle School will transition to this role at McGovern Elementary School.   Christine Noonan will support the grade 7-12 caseload for the district.  She will share her time between the middle school and the high school.  A benefit of this model is that it will allow a smoother transition for parents and students from 8th to 9th grade.  Carol Cohen, our current long term substitute at Medway High School, has accepted the position of grade 2-6 ETS, and will share their time between Burke-Memorial and Medway Middle School, and again we hope this eases the often difficult transition from elementary to middle school for our students and families. 

Seal of Biliteracy Testing for Medway High Students

Medway Public Schools in partnership with DESE, is excited to share that 15 students participated in the Seal of Biliteracy assessments last week.  This is the first year of this opportunity that was granted to us based on our application to the state earlier this school year.  Students who have met proficiency requirements in their English/Language Arts and Mathematics MCAS and who also reach a qualifying proficiency score on their world language assessment will receive the Seal upon graduation from Medway High School.  As shared in an earlier communication:

The Seal of Biliteracy is a distinction that recognizes students who pursue and demonstrate literacy in two or more languages. This partnership serves to honor the district’s ongoing commitment to  “promote linguistic, cultural, and intercultural proficiency that empowers all students to become global citizens” (Medway Public Schools World Languages Department vision statement).

The Seal of Biliteracy aims to encourage the study and mastery of languages, honor the linguistic proficiency of our students, certify attainment of biliteracy skills, and provide evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. Students meeting the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requirements for the Seal of Biliteracy will receive this designation in the form of an insignia affixed to their transcript or diploma.

One student in grade 10,  three students in grade 11, and ten students in grade 12 were assessed in the following languages: French, Latin, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.

Representative Roy Meeting with Grade 8 Students

A Local Government Unit at Medway Middle School culminated with a virtual visit from Jeffrey Roy, the State Representative for the 10th Norfolk District of Massachusetts, encompassing all of Franklin and precincts 2, 3, and 4 in Medway. On June 2, 8th Grade Civics teachers, Chris O’Leary and Mike Fanelli, hosted a Google Meet session with Representative Roy, who spoke to the group of over 110 students about the leadership structure of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and about his own experiences and role as a legislator. He explained priorities for the district during the current pandemic, a bill that he is sponsoring to provide safe and inclusive elections, and about the first ever virtual session at the Statehouse set to take place on June 3. He sent the class a video tour of the Statehouse, since they will be unable to visit this year.  We are incredibly appreciative of Representative Roy’s generosity of time and also thankful to our 8th grade teachers and Grade 5-12 History/Social Sciences Curriculum and Instruction Leader for organizing this experience.

 

SEPAC meeting

On May 27, the SEPAC met to discuss nominations for the SEPAC Educator Appreciation Award.  This was the last meeting of the SEPAC board, and there are no new officers for the 2020-2021 school year.  Kat Bernklow, Director of Student Services, will reach out to area SEPACs to ask them to include Medway members in their meetings until new leadership is found.

Technology Update

Due to the lower volume, all support and device loaner requests will now be scheduled with the Technology Department located at the Middle School, door 8. If you need support in any way, please email support@medwayschools.org and we will be happy to help.

The DESE has not given us clear guidance on the return to school in September, causing our technology plans to be in flux. Currently, we do not plan to recover any loaned device from grade k-7 students by the end of June and we are assessing plans and timelines for the 8th grade 1:1 deployment, typically scheduled in mid August. In the event we return to school in September, students may be required to return the loaned devices at that time. We will continue to monitor the DESE expectations and plan within their guidelines.

For students who have received a loaned device and participate in the 1:1 Initiative, we would like to remind that these devices are school property and should be handled within the guidelines set forth by the 1:1 Chromebook initiative. More information and expectations can be found here. We request that families take care of these devices in the best possible manner to avoid any repair costs.

Community Education Department

We are happy to report that Medway Community Education’s summer programs are scheduled to begin June 29.  The summer programs, released in early March, are accepting registrations for youth, teen and adult programs.  Our revised Summer Brochure, which now includes additional new programs and online options, are now available to view electronically.  Please visit our website www.medwayce.org to access the FamilyID link. All programs will follow safety and health guidelines set forth by the  Medway Public School District and the Medway Board of Health.  Contact communityed@medwayschools.org with questions.

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.

Senior End of Year Activities and Graduation 2020

On June 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. the Senior Class of 2020 had their drive through Cap and Gown Pick Up at the High School, with friends, family and faculty cheering them on. Later in the day they had their Class Day, via live stream which can be found here

Graduation Ceremony for the seniors will be August 2, 2020 with a rain date of August 3, 2020. Additional information about graduation can be found on the slide show attached here.

Medway Underclass Awards 

The 2020 Underclass Awards were held June 16, 2020 at 6:30. A video of the awards ceremony can be found here.

Letter of Cancellation Middle School and High School Performing and Theater Arts

The letter indicating the process to get refunds on tickets purchased for the cancelled spring show Anything Goes and Willy Wonka Jr. can be found here.

Pandemic Electronics Benefits Transfer (P-EBT)

Families whose students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch started to receive P-EBT cards in the mail on Friday, May 29, and many are having trouble activating their card.  To activate the card you will need the letter DTA sent you in the mail. If you lost the letter or never received one, you can call (877) 382-2363 and press 6.  Once you have your letter please click here to access instructions on how to activate and use your card. 

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 Athletics Newsletter

The final edition of the Medway Public Schools’ Athletics Newsletter, Mustang Nation, can be found here

 

Medway Public Schools In the News

Kicking in the Clutch

 

Upcoming Events

June 16, 2020

Medway Town Elections, Medway Middle School, 45 Holliston Street, 12:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m.
Underclassman Awards, Details TBA

June 17, 2020

Student Town Hall Forum on Race and Racism, Register for event here, 4:00 p.m.

June 18, 2020

8th Grade Celebratory Parade, Medway Middle School, 45 Holliston Street, 4:00 p.m., Rain Date June 19, 2020, RSVP here.

School Committee Meeting, Live Stream here or Facebook, 5:00 p.m.

June 19, 2020

Last day of school

Rolling Rally, McGovern School, meeting at VFW, 123 Holliston Street, 8:40 a.m., RSVP here.

Rolling Rally, Burke Memorial, meeting at Medway Middle School, 45 Holliston Street, 10:10 a.m., RSVP here.

June 22, 2020

Term 4 report cards will be released

August 2, 2020

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


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