Superintendent's Update - September 27, 2021

Superintendent's Update - September 27, 2021
Posted on 09/29/2021
Superintendent's Update - September 27, 2021

Dear Medway families, 

It has been wonderful to return to more traditional school events over the last few weeks with Fall sports back in action, open houses and curriculum nights occurring in person with safety measures in place, and full, in person learning occurring within our classrooms.

We are also excited to return to our more typical communication pattern which includes the sharing of updates and progress on district improvement efforts highlighted for our greater community.  These communications to our community are shared via email in the week that typically follows a scheduled School Committee meeting.  While families should still expect to learn about school based initiatives, events, and updates from building principals, this bi-weekly Community Update from the Superintendent is intended for the sharing of broader work that impacts multiple or all schools throughout the district.  

Please find several updates and informational items below.

Be well,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Follow the Medway Public Schools on Social Media

Medway Public Schools: Twitter: @MedwaySchools Instagram: @Medwayschools

Medway High School: Twitter: @MedwayHighInfo 

Medway Middle School: Twitter:  @MedwayMiddle 

Burke-Memorial Elementary School:  Twitter: @BurkeMemorial

McGovern Elementary School: Twitter @McGovernElem 

Medway Master Plan

The Town of Medway has been engaged in a Master Plan development process and has shared Phase One of the Medway Master Plan here.

COVID-19 Mask Requirement 

As you know, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) instituted a mask mandate in late August that was put in place through at least October 1.  DESE announced on Monday, that the mask mandate would be extended to at least November 1, 2021 for all students, staff, and visitors to any school.  Details can be found here.  

In addition, DESE has provided the option for local districts to request an exemption from the mask mandate, for vaccinated individuals only, under certain conditions.  To be eligible to make this request, a school, at a minimum, must have a vaccination rate of at least 80%.  In addition to this minimum standard, local districts may add additional data points to support decision making.  We are exploring the possibility of requesting an exemption. Due to the configuration of our schools and the ages that are allowed to have the vaccine, if we move forward the only school that would be impacted would be Medway High School.  We will continue to provide updated communication as it becomes available.       

Student COVID-19 Testing

The Medway Public Schools will begin conducting weekly COVID-19 testing this week.  If you have not already registered your child and you would like your student to participate in testing, please complete this consent form and select Medway as your district as well as the appropriate school for your student.  As previously communicated, consent forms completed this week will allow your student(s) to begin participating in routine COVID-19 safety checks the week of October 4.  We encourage all students to participate in weekly COVID-19 safety checks, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information about the COVID-19 testing plans for this school year, please review the recording of the webinar from September 23 or the slides that we shared.  

Drug-Free Communities Grant

We are excited to share that the Medway Public Schools, in collaboration with the Town of Medway, has been awarded a drug-free communities grant by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  This grant will provide $625,000 over a five-year period to build a community-based youth substance use prevention coalition.  The SUP’ Medway Coalition, a team of school and town personnel, students, parents, and community professionals, worked to create and submit the grant application.  We would like to thank the SUP’ Medway Steering Committee members:  Armand Pires, Susan Dietrich, Eric Lindstrom, and Ryan Sherman and SUP’ Medway coalition members:  Luke Arnpriester, Katherine Bird, Julie Dennehy, Heather McCarron, Julie Harrington, Paul McLaughlin, Brian Crockett, Beth Hallal, Jennifer Knight-Levin, and Funwayo Mafuleka for their efforts in submitting our successful grant application.

We will share updates as we begin implementation of this exciting and important program. 

Public Release of Spring, 2021 MCAS

As families may be aware, each state in the nation is required to assess students throughout their education in the areas of Mathematics, English/Language Arts, and Science/Technology/Engineering.  

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test (MCAS) is facilitated in the areas of English/Language Arts and Mathematics in Grades 3-8 and 10 and in Science, Technology, and Engineering in Grades 5, 8, and 9/10.  Due to the school closures in Spring 2020, Massachusetts applied for and was granted a federal waiver to cancel MCAS testing.  Last spring, we resumed our regular assessment schedule with several accommodations.  A supportive FAQ document from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is linked. 

On Tuesday, DESE published the press release announcing the public release of Spring 2021 MCAS.  We have been taking the state guidance to view this data through a diagnostic lens, comparing it to other data sets that we have available, and ensuring that we plan based on what we learn about students' knowledge and skills.  The interrupted schooling of the last year has had impacts across the board for students and we are mindful of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Families will receive a parent report including their child(ren)’s individual MCAS results (if within the testing grades) by mid-October.  Families should feel comfortable reaching out to classroom teachers with questions about the reports and as a way to make sense of the information.  We know that, across the state, our students have been greatly impacted by the disrupted schooling and unfinished learning and are looking forward to adding this data to the information that we already have to plan for the future.

We will share the highlights of our data reviews with the School Committee during a meeting in November where we will also report our on and share plans for other summative and district assessments.

The full release from Commissioner Riley can be found here.

Summer of Discovery Parent Feedback

The district was able to successfully elicit enough feedback from our K-5 Summer of Discovery Families to generate a report of the feedback.  The K-5 Summer of Discovery Parent Feedback is attached. We did not receive enough responses from our Grade 6-12 families to report out.  Thank you to the many families who partnered with us on this new summer adventure.  

Summer, 2021 Facilities Updates

During the September 23 School Committee meeting, Jim Kane, Director of Facilities, shared an update on the extensive improvement efforts that took place throughout the district over the summer.  The update that was shared can be found here.

MEPTO Newsletter

The MEPTO September newsletter can be found here.

Community Education Department

Fall After School Programs for McGovern, Burke-Memorial and Medway Middle School students begin the week of October 18.  Online registration opens Tuesday, October 5, at 5:00pm.  Families may visit our school website to register: https://commed.medwayschools.org/.  Flyers will be sent home in each student’s backpack as well.  

Technology Update

The Parent Portal is a vital resource to help families stay up to date on students’ assignments, grades, and contact information.  If a parent or guardian does not have an account, please email parent@medwayschools.org and we will forward a personal activation code to create one.  Please also complete the Online Registration [OLR] option, better known as the “beginning of year packet”, within the parent portal system.  This process allows parents to see the information we have on file and make updates if needed.  If you haven't already, please complete this process by selecting MORE (on the left menu) then Online Registration from the menu options.

Upcoming Events

September 28, 2021

Medway High School Senior Post-Secondary Night, Virtual, 6:30 p.m.

September 30, 2021

McGovern Elementary School Back to School Night, 5:30 p.m.

October 11, 2021

No School: Columbus Day

October 12, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

October 14, 2021

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

October 20, 2021

MEPTO Meeting, Burke-Memorial Elementary School Library, 7:00 p.m.

October 21, 2021

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

October 24, 2021

MEPTO Pumpkin Fair, Medway Middle School, 12:00 p.m.

October 27, 2021

MSPTO Meeting, Medway Middle School Library, 7:00 p.m.

November 4, 2021

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

November 9, 2021

MFPA Meeting, Virtual, 7:00 p.m.

November 11, 2021

No School: Veterans Day

November 17, 2021

Tri-M Music Honors Society Induction Ceremony, Medway High School, 7:00 p.m.

November 18, 2021

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

November 19, 2021

Tri-M Coffee House, Medway High School, 6:30 p.m.

November 22, 2021

National Honors Society Induction, Medway High School, 6:30 p.m.

November 24, 2021

Early Release: Grades PK-12

November 25-26, 2021

No School: Thanksgiving Recess


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