Superintendent's Update 9/28/2018

Superintendent's Update 9/28/2018
Posted on 10/01/2018
Superintendent's update

September 28, 2018 

Dear Medway families,

The calendars have turned to fall, along with the weather.  I wanted to share an exciting experience I had recently. Last year we engaged in a new practice.  I, along with Assistant Superintendent, Gabby Abrams and Director of Student Services, Kat Bernklow, began shadowing students for a half day.  We will continue this practice this year and expect to shadow eight students, two at each school, by the end of the year. The purpose of the shadowing experience is to ensure that we have a good understanding of the district from our students’ perspectives.   Since we make decisions that impact the lives of our students, it is an important perspective to keep close. I am appreciative of the student who allowed me to shadow, and the teacher who welcomed me into her classroom. I look forward to continuing this practice with our team and ensuring that decision making occurs with our students at the center of our thoughts.

Below, please find several important updates from the district.

Sincerely,

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent

 

Strategic Plan Mid-Cycle Review Update

Our Steering Committee continues to make great progress, meeting again this week to review our goals and core values as well as the strategies that the group individually proposed based on the themes from our forums and survey.

2018 MCAS Accountability Results

Thursday, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released to the public the 2018 MCAS Accountability results.  This year represents the first year under this new system. In the past, the feedback received from these results have helped to inform our practices and improvement efforts in service to our students.  We expect, when this new system is vetted and verified, that it system will afford similar opportunities. Importantly, these results are most valuable when explored through a curricular lens - what students should know and be able to do.  Efforts to enhance our students’ instructional experiences through more hands-on, inquiry and experience based learning continue to be a high priority for our school community. A brief explanation on the new accountability system can be found here:   2018 Accountability Parent Guide.  

In the next month or so, families will receive results for individual students.  Families are encouraged to connect with your child’s current classroom teachers regarding questions about these results.  

Website Update

Medway Public Schools is proud to announce the roll out of a new website. The goal of this new design is to make finding information easier and streamline communication to the community. To help in the goal to streamline access to building specific content we have provided direct links to the school websites, as listed below.

Please note that our new site addresses are:

District - http://medwayschools.org

High School - http://mhs.medwayschools.org

Middle School - http://ms.medwayschools.org

Burke-Memorial Elementary - http://mem.medwayschools.org

McGovern Elementary - http://mcg.medwayschools.org

In addition to the website, we are also launching a new mass communication tool called SM Communicate. This tool allows MPS to send phone messages, email, text, and post to social media. Parent/Guardian email(s) have been added via the information listed in our student information system. Within the upcoming month we also hope to deploy a smartphone application that students and parents can use to stay connected. Stay tuned for more information on how to get our app!

Medway Wellness and T.H.R.I.V.E. Websites Launched

In an effort to keep Medway parents informed and to ensure that they have accurate and supportive wellness-related information when they need it, the MPS wellness and T.H.R.I.V.E. websites were recently launched.  The wellness website can be accessed from the district main page by clicking on the “departments” drop-down tab and the T.H.R.I.V.E. website can be found from the main page by clicking on the “community” drop-down tab.   

T.H.R.I.V.E. Event: Secret Lives of Teens and Tweens

This week, Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. hosted its first event of the school year in the Medway High School Auditorium.  Jon Mattleman presented The Secret Lives of Teens and Tweens; the full program description can be found here.  We were pleased to see over 60 of our parents and guardians in the audience and look forward to collating their feedback to ensure meaningful programming moving forward.  

Parent Portal Changes

We would like to take a moment to address a recent change and growing concern regarding our student information system and grading portal.

The Medway Public School System utilizes a software package to manage student information  as well as to provide student and parent access to grading information. The provider of this product continually performs minor upgrades to the software in an effort to improve the service and quality of information that this platform can provide. As this is a hosted software platform, these "updates" are mandatory.

In late August, the provider implemented a major mandatory upgrade to the system which not only changed the product and how we share information via the parent portal, but the update also included a name change to "Visions." Since this upgrade, we have experienced a number of outages in service as the vendor continues to manage this major change in the product. We apologize for any difficulty you may have experienced in accessing your child's information.  Please know that we have passed on your issues and concerns about this new product to the vendor as we receive them.

If you or your child continue to have difficulties accessing the parent portal, please email us at parent@medwayschools.org.  We will do our best to immediately address your questions and concerns. Please be sure to include your name, your student’s name and grade, and a brief explanation of any problems you are experiencing.

Mathematics Curriculum Review

As you are aware, the school district completed its Mathematics Curriculum Review process last June when a visiting team of peers from Needham, Franklin, Dover-Sherborn and Hopkinton came to Medway to validate the Self Study.  The principals are in the process of reviewing the Visiting Team Report with educators and we are working collaboratively to identify plans and actions.

Based on the Self Study findings, initial response plans are already in place to support transitional work in our grade 6-8 mathematics program that will result in the adoption of a new core resource and the exploration and potential adoption of a refined middle school course sequence based on the updated 2017 Mathematics Frameworks.  An overview of the findings is planned to be shared with the School Committee as part of a Curriculum Highlights Presentation in late November.

Athletic Advisory Committee Formed

Recently the first meeting of the re-formed Athletic Advisory Committee was held.  At this initial meeting, members of Sport Booster Boards were invited to attend to discuss the purpose and goals of the Athletic Advisory Committee.   There was a great deal of discussion about the drafted Fundraising and Donations/Gifts Policies. We believe that the formation of this group will ensure transparent and productive communication between our parents and schools around the athletic program.  

Flu Clinic

Flu season is quickly approaching; make sure that you’re protected.  Medway Public Schools would like to invite you to receive a free flu shot on Tuesday, October 23rd, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. at Medway Senior Center and Monday, November 5 from 3:00 -5:00 p.m. at Medway High School.   Please follow this link for more information: Flu Shot Clinic

School Committee Presentations

At the September 20, 2018 school committee meeting the FY20-FY24 Capital Improvement plan was presented.  Mr. Jim Kane, Director of Facilities, outlined the capital projects that are scheduled over the next few years. Some of the projects included equipment replacement, playground renovations and roof replacements. The update can be viewed here.

Also presented at the September 20, 2018 school committee meeting was the Bridge to Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT) Program update.  Dr. Murray, high school principal, and Mrs. Pearl, high school Dean of Student Services, presented the update. The program was launched with a 3 year grant that was awarded in 2016.  More than 30 students have been served by this program with a 97% success rate. The full presentation can be viewed here.

 

In the News:

Medway has been honored to have been featured in a couple of recent publications.

We were pleased to receive attention in the press a few weeks ago as our addition of middle school recess was highlighted.  While the first article: Metrowest Daily News: Recess Added at Medway Middle School contained some inaccuracies and did not fully represent the scope of the work that took place to bring this effort to our middle school students, a feature in Today.com Parents was picked up and highlighted our efforts more effectively.  

In girl’s soccer, the Mustangs have made three straight trips to a state final, and have been denied in all three — one-goal losses to Millbury in the Division 3 finals in 2015 and 2016, and a penalty-kick defeat against Danvers in the Division 2 East final last November.  This year, the Mustangs, ranked fifth in this week’s Globe Top 20, are focusing on winning the state title.

Boston Globe: Is this the year that the Medway Mustangs get over the hump with a girls' soccer state title?

 

Upcoming Events

October 1, 2018

School Committee Office Hour, Medway High School, 88 Summer Street, 7:00 p.m.

October 4, 2018

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

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

October 8, 2018

No School: Columbus Day

October 9, 2018

No School: Professional Development Day

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

October 17, 2018

SEPAC/T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:Carrie Stack: Parent Self-Care and Childhood Mental Health, Auditorium, Medway High School, 7:00 p.m.

October 18, 2018

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

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

October 24, 2018

MEPTO/T.H.R.I.V.E. Event:Responsive Classroom: Techniques Parents Can Use at Home K-4, Cafeteria, Burke Memorial, 6:30 p.m.

November 1, 2018

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

 

 



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