Superintendent's Update - Dated 11/16/2020

Superintendent's Update - Dated 11/16/2020
Posted on 11/16/2020
Superintendent's Update - Dated 11/16/2020

Dear Medway families, 

We hope that you and your family are well.  Today was an exciting day in the Medway Schools.  We were able to move forward with our planning and increase the level of in person learning for our grade 3 students.  Today was their first day of a 4 ½ days of in person, following the model already in place in grades K-2.  I am deeply appreciative of the collaborative work of Principal Kelley, faculty, and grade 3 families who worked to make this happen.

As we have communicated, a tremendous amount of time and effort have gone into developing our return to school plans.  Since the opening of school on September 16, building leaders, district administrators in partnership with the Medway Federation of Teachers, and our faculty, have continued to identify the fullest return possible for students.  To provide more information to the community on the current progress and future planning, we encourage you to review the School Reopening Update and Next Steps Presentation.   

It is important to note two realities with our plans.  First, the virus will have a role in determining the timeline of moving forward with our plans.  The “surge” in Massachusetts and our local experience of positive cases may result in us needing to stop, slow down, or change our return plans to ensure that we are moving forward in a responsible way.  Second, if we do not plan for a fuller return, it will not happen.  While the current trajectory of the virus is becoming more concerning, at some point this school year we are optimistic about being able to return to a fuller model of in person learning.  

In addition, I wanted to thank our community for your continued vigilance in adhering to health and safety guidelines, both in and out of school.  We have been fortunate that we have been able to continue to offer an in person experience for students at all schools. As we have seen in the media, and recommendations from various health experts and public officials, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is raising some concern.   I encourage you to review the guidelines that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has shared about modifications to family gatherings for Thanksgiving.  Those guidelines can be found here.

 

Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Update

We wanted to follow up on the webinar and survey we conducted about regular testing for students in October.  That webinar was followed by a survey that we asked families to complete.  The responses to that survey, completed by nearly 1600 families, included 52% of families favoring the idea of testing, with 33% of families being opposed to testing, and 15% of families unsure.  While we did not collect grade-specific information, the comments on the survey seemed to indicate that families of younger students were less in favor of a regular testing program than those with older students.  In addition, there were many questions about the type of test, accuracy of results, and testing schedule that we were unable to answer because we had not completed the procurement process.

Now that we have additional information to share, we would like to hold another webinar for Medway families to participate in on Monday, November 30, 2020.  This webinar will provide additional information about the rationale for conducting regular testing, detailed information about the type of test and accuracy of results, an explanation of pool testing and immediate reflex testing, as well as estimated costs.  Since we have identified a vendor to provide testing, should we decide to pursue this, they will also be on the webinar to share more technical information about the proposed testing.  

We encourage families to attend the webinar on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.  Pre-registration is required through the following link:  Exploring COVID-19 Testing for Students Webinar.  After registering, participants will receive an email confirmation with their login information.

Finally, please know that we have not made a decision to conduct COVID-19 testing for students.  The purpose of this webinar, which will be followed by another survey, is to gather information about community interest in a regular testing program for students.

Reminder:  The First Six Weeks of School:  Back to School Surveys:  Open Through Tuesday, November 17, 2020 

Wednesday, October 28 marked our official six week mark of the 2020-2021 school year.  As is our practice, we want to understand how this experience has been for our families, our students, and our faculty and staff.  We recognize that this year is unlike any other and we also recognize that all of us are engaging in work that is quite different.  We have aimed to keep the community apprised or our ongoing, continuous learning and we have asked for continued partnership and patience.   Thank you for providing us with the time to identify our initial areas of needed growth.  The results of these surveys will allow us to gain an even broader sense of this work.

Family Surveys:  Parents/Guardians of students in grades PK-12 are asked to complete one survey per child between now and end of day, Monday, November 16.  These surveys are a mix of free response and likert scale questions.  Families can access the link to the survey here:   

 

Flu Shots Required by December 31, 2020

The state of MA now requires that all students receive the influenza vaccination. Students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020, for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. This new flu immunization requirement to enter school in January is in addition to existing vaccine requirements for all students attending school in Massachusetts. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt.

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship

Last week Medway High School recognized students who received the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. This scholarship is given to seniors who scored Advanced or Proficient on their ELA and Math MCAS exams and are in the top 25% of their class. Students who earn this distinction will receive a scholarship that can be used for tuition at any of our state colleges or universities.  A list of the Medway High School student recipients can be found here. Congratulations to all!

Medway High School Students Sign National Letter of Intent

On November 12, two Medway High School students signed a National Letter of Intent which commits them to playing their sport in college.  This event represents an incredible accomplishment for these student athletes and we are proud of them.

  • Luke Fagerson, Soccer at the University of New Hampshire
  • Lauren Beach, Basketball at Fairfield University

‘S.U.P. Medway / T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Preventing Teen Substance Use 

‘S.U.P. Medway is a newly formed youth substance use prevention coalition who has teamed up with Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. to host a community event: Planning for Prevention.  During this 30-minute webinar community members will learn from Aubrey Ciol, Prevention Specialist, about how to engage with youth in discussions around mental health and substance use.  Attendees will also learn about how community coalitions have been shown to significantly decrease youth substance use and about how they can join the ‘S.U.P. Coalition.  The event will take place on Wednesday, November, 18th from 7:00-7:30 pm.  To register please click here.  

Reminder: Yearly Student Information Update - Online Registration

We request that all families complete the beginning of year packet [Online Registration] in the parent portal to ensure we have the most up to date information for you and your child. To access OLR in the portal, login and choose MORE > Online Registration.  Please follow the prompts to complete this information. If you are new to Medway or in need an access code to create an account, please email support@medwayschools.org.

COVID-19 Compensatory Services for students with IEPs

Student Services is in the process of scheduling phone conversations/meetings with parents of struggling students in Cohort C, phase 1 (only) to discuss compensatory services which may have been accrued during the time period of March 13 through June 1, 2020.  Compensatory Services are designed to compensate for a denial of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), where the intent is to place the student in the position that the student would be in had the district provided the appropriate services (during the shutdown) in the first place.  

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has requested that districts restrict their initial reach out to Cohort C (ph. 1) students and time frames to that which occurred as a result of Governor Baker’s March 2020 order.  A letter will be sent to students in Cohort C, ph. 1, so that we may set up conversations and/or meetings by December 30, 2020, with parents of the students who most struggled with the spring learning modalities. We will bring data that we have collected from last year and this year to these meetings so that our conversation about substantial regression, recoupment, and progress towards IEP goals is data-based.  All other students with IEPs will be forwarded a similar letter after December 30, 2020.   

Free School Lunch and Breakfast For ALL STUDENTS for the Entire 2020/20201 School Year

The USDA recently announced that school breakfast and lunch would remain free for ALL students for the entirety of the 2020/2021 school year.  We realize that parents and guardians are being asked to do many different things in support of their children this school year.  We are pleased to be able to take one thing off of your plate by providing your student with breakfast and lunch.  

Outstanding Alumni Award

On November 10, 2020 the MPS Alumni Association honored and recognized this year’s Outstanding Alumni recipient, Michael Bhatia ‘95. Michael was nominated by members of the Medway High School Alumni Association and our student reps in February before the close of school due to the pandemic. 

Michael was a 1995 graduate of Medway High School who went on to study International Relations at Brown University. He dedicated his life to humanitarian work and conflict resolution in war-torn countries. Michael was killed in Afghanistan in 2008 while embedded with the US Army Human Terrain Team #1 while attempting to initiate negotiations between local tribes. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions for his work in Afghanistan including the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

A plaque in honor of Michael will be on display in the Hall of Excellence joining past recipients, Colonel Michael Matondi, all WWII Veterans from Medway High School, and Harry Buzz Johnson. The ceremony was filmed by Medway Cable and shared with the community.

Medway Public Schools In the News

Snow Didn’t Stop Medway High from Hosting a Girls Soccer Game.

Medway Schools receive donation of COVID-19 testing for District Staff

Medway High School Robotics Program receive donation 

 

Upcoming Events

November 9-22, 2020

Online Scholastic Book Fair

November 13, 2020

John and Abigail Adams Awards to Cohort B, Medway High School, 1:15 p.m.

November 16, 2020

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

November 17, 2020

Virtual Parent Teacher Conference, Medway High School 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

November 18, 2020

‘SUP Medway/THRIVE Parent Event, 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Register here

November 19, 2020

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

November 25, 2020

Early Release All Schools

November 26-27, 2020

No School: Thanksgiving Recess

December 1, 2020

Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences, Middle School, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

December 2, 2020

Elementary Early Release - Grades K-4 Only

Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences, Elementary Schools

December 3, 2020

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

December 8, 2020

Tri M Induction Cohort A, Medway High School, 1:15 p.m.

December 9, 2020

Elementary Early Release - Grades K-4 Only

Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences, Elementary Schools

Tri Board Meeting, School Committee, Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee, 6:00 p.m.

December 11, 2020

Tri M Induction Cohort B, Medway High School, 1:15 p.m.

December 24 - January 4, 2020

No School: Winter Break


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