Superintendent's Update 11/20/19

Superintendent's Update 11/20/19
Posted on 11/20/2019

November 20, 2019 Community Update


Dear Medway families, 

It has been a tremendous month of student celebrations!  There are too many to highlight, but I would like to share a few.  I was pleased to recognize senior Ram Tysoe as the recipient of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ Award for Academic Excellence during a recent school committee meeting.  This week we celebrated 52 students who were the newest inductees to the Medway High School chapter of the National Honor Society. Finally, congratulations and good luck to our Boys Soccer and Cheerleading Teams who will be competing in the Division 3 State Finals, and State Competition, respectively, this Saturday in Worcester.  


Accomplishments such as these, and many more that are listed in our district updates below, fill us with pride and gratitude as they represent the high level of commitment and perseverance that have become pillars of this special community.


Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving break next week and hope that you are able to take the extra time to enjoy enhanced connection with important individuals in your lives.


Sincerely,

  

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent


Early Release:  Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Just a reminder that there will be an early release on Wednesday, November 27, 2019.  Dismissal time are as follows:

McGovern:  12:00 p.m.

Burke-Memorial:  11:30 am

Medway Middle:  11:02 am

Medway High:  11:34 am


No School:  Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, 2018

Just a reminder that there will be no school Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 in observance of Thanksgiving.


Superintendent’s Chat:  Join Us In Person or Virtually on Zoom

Dr. Armand Pires, Superintendent, and Ms. Gabrielle Abrams, Assistant Superintendent, will be hosting a Superintendent’s Chat on Monday, December 9 at 6:00 p.m.  Please join us either in person in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School (door #7) or virtually. We will be sending information out closer to this date for virtual participation.


The topics of the Chat will focus on FY21 budget preparations and the 2018-2019 Annual Report for the 2019-2024 Excellence for All: A Medway Mindset, our five year strategic plan.


2019-2024 Excellence for All:  A Medway Mindset2018-2019 Annual Report

Upon publication of our five year strategic plan, 2019-2024 Excellence for All:  A Medway Mindset, we committed to sharing annual updates with our school and greater community regarding the qualitative accomplishments and quantitative measures that were identified to monitor progress.  We are pleased to share that our first Annual Report for the 2018-2019 school year will be mailed to homes soon. While not inclusive of all of the district’s areas of strength, opportunity, and accomplishment, we believe that this document provides our internal teams, our families, and our partners throughout Medway with a sense of the strategic focus that the district values.  The Annual Report will be published each Fall.  


District Homework Study

PHASE 1:  Data Collection:  Parent Survey Below

Last week, Gabby Abrams, Assistant Superintendent, and  Dr. Ryan Sherman, Director of Wellness, met with ~200 middle and high school students who were randomly selected to take part in the first phase of our district wide homework study.  This phase will be our data collection phase. We have randomly selected about 15% of students at each grade level, 5-12, to complete a nightly homework log that asks them to reflect on the night’s assignments, their purpose, and if any assignments sparked a level of stress.   The data collected from these logs as well as data collected from student, parent, and educator surveys will be analyzed by the Homework Advisory Subcommittee starting in January.  


We are requesting parent/guardian participation in the Parent/Guardian Homework Survey which can be found here.  All parents/guardians of grade K-12 students are invited to participate.  If families have students in multiple grades, we are requesting that one survey be completed for each student.  


The outcome of this work will be a recommendation of proposed language, practice, policy or other in support of improved clarity and practices.  If you would like to join the Homework Advisory Subcommittee please see below for more information.  


PHASE II: Homework Advisory Subcommittee: Parent Participants Needed 

As a result of the recommendations made by the Superintendent’s Task Force on Student Stress, we are studying our district’s homework practices. In order to ensure that we thoroughly investigate homework from all perspectives, we are forming a Homework Advisory Subcommittee made up of students, parents, and educators.  In an effort to make sure each grade span of learners is represented, we are looking for two parent volunteers from each of the following grades spans K-2 and 3-5.  To learn more about the homework study and subcommittee work please click here and to express interest to serve on the subcommittee please click here.  Volunteers will be chosen in the order in which they complete the form.  The meetings of the Homework Advisory Subcommittee will be held in the Presentation Room at Medway Middle School during the following dates/times:


Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.


Cybersecurity Awareness Grant

We are pleased to report that we have received a Cybersecurity Awareness Grant.  Thanks to the efforts of Rich Boucher, Director of Information Services, this grant, distributed by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security Office of Municipal and School Technologies, will allow MPS to improve cyber threat awareness.  More details on this grant to follow.


1:1 Chromebook Initiative Hardware Advisory

The Medway Public Schools would like to advise of two hardware related issues connected with our 1:1 Chromebook Initiative, where all students in grades 8 through 12 have received a chromebook to help with their curricular studies. 


The first item to address is the new 8th grade Acer Spin 311 units.  In these units, we are experiencing a larger than expected rate of keyboard failure. After researching the issue, we’ve found the tab that holds the keyboard in place on the bottom right corner has been breaking just from typical use. Any 8th grade student experiencing an issue should notify support via the MS Library for immediate warranty replacement.


The second hardware advisory is related to the expected use and maintenance of the chromebook devices. We want to remind students and families that the devices provided are school owned property and subject to the Acceptable Use and Chromebook Use Policies, which has been signed by all students and parents. Information on these policies can be found here. We would like to highlight that these devices are expected to be returned to the school upon graduation and or exit from the district in the best possible condition. Medway Schools will then redeploy these devices to other grade levels, where needed, to extend the investment and useful life of the device. Personalizing, damaging, or vandalizing these devices in any form will result in enforcement of the policies outlined as part of this program - up to full replacement of a device.  Thank you for your support.


Inclement Weather Procedures

As we all know, the possibility of snow can now happen at anytime. We wanted to be sure that we shared information about inclement weather with you as soon as possible.  


It is the goal of the district to hold school whenever possible.  Parents and students should plan accordingly and leave plenty of time on winter mornings to arrive at school safely.   Please know that the final decision about a child attending school during a weather event always rests with individual families.  There may be occasions when deteriorating weather will mean that schools should close due to unsafe conditions.


The superintendent will review anticipated road and sidewalk conditions, access to schools, projected weather forecasts, and consult with the police and public works departments in order to make a determination between approximately 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. if conditions will be safe for students to come to school.


The following plans will be in effect for inclement weather:


No School Announcement

If the superintendent has determined the conditions are unsafe, school will be canceled.  The district will utilize the emergency notification system that will contact your home/cell phone and  email using the information you have provided to your child’s school. The “no-school” announcement will also be carried on local television channels 4, 5, and 7. 


All classes, school activities, before and after school programs, the Medway Extended Day program (MEDI), daycare program, adult education evening classes, and any school facilities use activities will be canceled.  Transportation of students to out-of-district schools will also be canceled.


One- or Two-Hour Delayed Opening Announcement

If the superintendent has been notified that the public works department needs additional time to plow or sand the streets to ensure safety, then a determination for a one- or two-hour delay may be made.  As with no-school announcements, the delayed opening announcement will be made using the emergency notification system to home/cell phone and email and carried on local television channels.


Please keep in mind:

  • Bus routes will begin by a one-or two-hour delay, including all special education transportation for out-of-district schools.

  • Do not send your child to school earlier than the delayed opening, as the school grounds may not be plowed and there will be no staff available to supervise early arrivals.

  • PreK ½ day sessions will take place if a one hour delay is called, and will be cancelled for a two hour delay.

  • School lunch will be served at its regularly scheduled time.

  • Schools will be dismissed at their regular times.


Emergency Early Release Announcement

If a severe weather condition or other emergency develops during the school day, the district may release students before the end of the school day.  Parents will be notified by home/cell phone and email and the announcement will be carried on local television channels, and displayed on the district website.  As appropriate, the district will work with public safety officials to shelter students in the district if unable to send home.

 

Inclement Weather Bus Stops for Walkers

We understand that inclement weather days can prove challenging to getting your child to school.  If your child(ren) is/are typically a walker and you are unable to find another means of transportation during inclement weather, or when sidewalks have not yet been plowed, please complete this brief form .  We will use this information to set up “inclement weather bus stops.”   We have provided this service as a way to support safe transportation to school.  Please note that these stops will only be activated during storms or following a storm when sidewalks have not yet been cleared, and as communicated. We will communicate additional information when bus stops have been established.  

 

Additional Reminders for Parents

Be sure your child’s school has your updated contact information.

Have a family emergency plan in place so your child knows what to do if sent home for any of the reasons noted above.

If your child is regularly driven to school and you or he/she feels it is unsafe to drive during the inclement weather, please determine an alternative means of transportation to school.


Cultural Proficiency Self Evaluation Survey

Medway Public Schools is committed to equitable education and teaching students in a culturally responsive manner in a safe and supportive environment.  Directly tied to our Strategic Plan, annually we conduct a Cultural Proficiency Survey. This is an important part of our on-going effort to think critically and reflectively to improve our practice.  

 

We are asking for help from the community as we examine our practices and deepen the conversation of what culturally responsive and equitable instruction, and safe and supportive environments means and looks like in the Medway Public Schools.  Please find a survey to follow that will assist us in this reflection.

 

The survey window will be open until the close of business on November 30, 2019.  We encourage you to help us in this important act of reflection.

 

The survey can be found here. 

 

Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy

We are excited to share that Medway Public Schools and Medway High School will be partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to offer the State Seal of Biliteracy as a means to recognize high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and a different world language. Specifically, proficiency means that students can function in both languages in authentic, real-life situations. The Seal of Biliteracy is a special state insignia that will be affixed to the graduate’s diploma. As this is a new, statewide program, the intent of the Seal of Biliteracy is the following:

  • To formally certify attainment of biliteracy skills;

  • To recognize the value of language diversity;

  • To provide universities with a method to recognize and give credit to applicants for the attainment of high skills in languages; 

  • To prepare students with skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society;

  • To provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills; and

  • To strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.


Additional information about the Seal of Biliteracy will be shared with our high school families soon and students will be asked to identify if they would like to work to attain this distinction.  

 

Infinite Campus Update

Continued thank you to our families for supporting our migration to Infinite Campus.  We have reached a 70% engagement rate and are reaching out through additional means to ensure that all information is up to date in our system.  Families who have not yet registered in Infinite Campus and/or completed the online health form can expect additional communications via phone and mail in the coming weeks. 

 

Volunteers Needed: Medway High STEM Fair

Medway High School’s annual STEM Fair, presented by the Women in STEM (WiSTEM) Club, will be on the morning of February 14th, 2020.  WiSTEM is looking for professionals and passionate hobbyists in STEM fields or in non-STEM fields who are empowered by their use/knowledge of STEM to present to our students.  All high school students choose three 35-minute workshops/presentations. Students love sessions that are interactive--demos, hands-on, etc. If you or someone you know is interested in presenting a workshop, please have them email one of the co-advisors: Shanley Heller  sheller@medwayschools.org or Kristy Macedo kmacedo@medwayschools.org.  Interested presenters can also fill out this form.  This year we will also be opening a “table room”.  If you prefer to run a table with posters and information about your work, please contact us!  


Parent/Community WELLNESS Volunteers Needed!

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 in 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 are interested in offering a wellness session, please fill out this form.  Depending on the  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. 

 

2019 Assessment Presentation to School Committee 

At last week’s School Committee meeting, Assistant Superintendent Gabby Abrams highlighted assessment information from the 2018-2019 school year inclusive of MCAS, iReady, Advanced Placement, and SAT.  This presentation was a high level overview of these data sources. A copy of the School Committee presentation can be found here: 2018-2019 Medway Public Schools Assessment Presentation 


Fitness Center Ribbon Cutting

Last week, the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new high school fitness center took place.  Dr. Armand Pires, Superintendent, Susan Dietrich, School Committee Chair, and Selectman John Foresto shared words of welcome and appreciation and then members from each of the contributing groups cut the ribbon to officially open the center.  Gordie Gronkowski from Gronk Fitness was in attendance and he was able to provide a tour of the new equipment for the students and community members in attendance. 


Burke-Memorial Rain Garden

Thanks to a grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Town of Medway started to install a rain garden at Burke-Memorial Elementary School on Monday. The rain garden will be located near the play structure. Rain gardens help lower the impact of impervious surfaces and polluted runoff. A rain garden will, among other things: filter pollutants from runoff, recharge groundwater, reduce mosquito breeding, reduce the potential of flooding our fields.


Medway High School Students Sign National Letter of Intent

On November 13, three 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.

  • Catherine Higgins:  Assumption College for softball

  • Matt Kaplan:  Merrimack College for soccer

  • Matt Peterson:  Assumption College for baseball


Medway High School Students Selected to Participate in Central District Chorus

Congratulations to Matt Bullard, Sophia Flotta, Daphne Freeman, Grace Gerard, Sam Jacobs, Charlotte Kealey, Sarah McCarthy, Kenny Santos, and Ram Tysoe who will be representing Medway in the Central District Chorus this year. In January, these talented individuals will be performing with the top high school vocalists in Central Massachusetts.


National Honor Society Induction Congratulations

On Tuesday, November 19,  52 students were inducted into the National Honor Society at Medway High School.  We wish to extend our congratulations to these students and their families for this noteworthy honor.  A list of those students can be found here.


MASS Superintendent’s Award of Academic Excellence

On Thursday, November 14, the School Committee recognized high school senior, Ram Tysoe with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendent’s Award of Academic Excellence.  Ram was selected by his teachers for his qualities of leadership, contribution, and commitment. Ram is a leader of the pack and has achieved an outstanding level of accomplishment.  Ram pushes himself academically and sets high standards, enrolling in mainly Honors and AP level courses. Ram has excelled musically with piano playing, songwriting and performing on stage, including a solo performance of a song he wrote himself, singing and playing piano. Ram hopes to one day write music for video games, movies, commercials or other forms of media. Congratulations Ram!



Fall Sports Post-Season Update

Congratulations to our Boys Soccer team who will compete in the Division 3 STATE FINALS this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Foley Stadium in Worcester!

  • Girls Soccer lost to Holliston on Sunday in the South State Finals.  Congratulations to them for a fantastic season!

  • Our Cheerleaders won the Wachusett Invitational and went on to place 5th at the Cheer South Regionals this past weekend.  Best wishes to our Cheer team as they compete this Sunday, November 24 at 10:30 a.m. at the MSSAA State Cheer Finals at Worcester State University.

  • Football came back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat Norwell 28-21 last Friday night and will play next on Thanksgiving morning in Millis at 10:00 a.m.

The latest edition of Medway Athletic’s newsletter can be found here.


Turkey Trot

The 9th annual Medway Turkey Trot is scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving morning, November 28. The 5k route will begin at Medway High School at 7:30 a.m.  All proceeds from this annual tradition support Medway Public Schools’ Athletics. To learn more about this Medway tradition and to register, click here.  


Medway Public Schools In the News

Road to the Rivalry: Medway's Tony Mazzola right at home

Medway High School Drama Club Puts on "Scared Silly" for Fall Play

Medway Public Schools to Unveil Brand-New Fitness Center at High School

Medway Public Schools Town of Medway receive state grant to improve cyber-security awareness

Medway elementary students practice bus safety

Medway High School Athletic Director honored with Alfred Reinertson award

Medway High School senior recognized by Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

Medway Students Participate in Massachusetts STEM Week Challenge to Eliminate Plastic Ocean Waste

New Fitness Center Unveiled at Medway High

Medway teachers attend literacy based workshops at Columbia University

Hello Newman: unlikely goal from Troy Newman lifts Medway boys soccer into Div 3 State Championship game


Upcoming Events

November 21, 2019

Veteran’s Day Project, Council On Aging, 4:00 p.m.

Medway Tri-Board Meeting (School Committee, Board of Selectmen, and Finance Committee) Presentation Room, Medway Middle School 6:00 p.m.

MFE Wine and Whiskey Tasting, Pour Richards, 6:30 p.m.

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 a.m.

Medway Middle: 11:02 a.m.

Medway High: 11:34 a.m.

November 28, 2019

Turkey Trot, Medway High School, 7:30 a.m. - Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28-29, 2019

No School: Thanksgiving Break

December 4, 2019

MSPTO Annual Pop Up Shop, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 5, 2019

Elementary Early Release

McGovern: 12:00 p.m.

Burke-Memorial: 11:30 a.m.

December 10, 2019

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

December 11, 2019

MHS Winter Concert and Art Walk, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 12, 2019

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

December 18, 2019

MMS Band Concert, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 19, 2019

MMS Winter Chorus Concert, Auditorium, Medway High School, 6:00 p.m.

December 23, 2019-

January 1, 2020

No School- Winter Break

January 2, 2020

All students return to school


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