Monday, February 13, 2017

FY18 Budget Narrative



The Wachusett Regional School District maintains one of the strongest educational programs in Central Massachusetts, utilizing resources to support our students and staff.  The District budget was passed earlier in FY17 than in  FY16, and we are very grateful for the support shown to us by the Member Towns.

With our current FY17 budget in place, the WRSD defined areas of need by developing the WRSD Strategic Plan.   Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS), a Strategic Plan Steering Committee was established. The Steering Committee consisted of twenty-three members representing a variety of stakeholders from the Wachusett community.  In order to gain feedback from the community, a survey was conducted which produced over 2,000 responses. Focus group meetings were held in all 13 schools and in each Member Town. Drawing on the information gathered, the Steering Committee established five learning domains from which strategic objectives, priority initiatives, and action plans have been crafted.

The WRSD Strategic Plan provides the Wachusett community with a sense of purpose as we define priorities and set budgets. Each school has developed a School Improvement Plan that ties directly back to the Strategic Plan and will help define budget priorities at both the building and District levels. Goals that have been set by administrators and teachers will have common themes connected to the five learning domains, thus helping bring our five town district toward common educational outcomes.

I often reference the fact that the WRSD has one of the lowest per pupil expenditures in Massachusetts.  The most recent figures from the state have our district per pupil expenditure as the lowest in the state among all regional school districts and the 7th lowest of 320 school districts.  As I mentioned last year, all of the school districts that surround Wachusett have greater per pupil expenditures.  Our per pupil amount could be increased if the state agrees to follow through with the recommendations of the Chapter 70 Foundation Budget Review Commission which found the funding for areas such as health insurance and special education were well under what is necessary to adequately support school districts.  I applaud the efforts our our state representatives on Beacon Hill to support education and encourage them to continue their fight for education and regional school districts.  

The current budget request for FY18 reflects a connection to the WRSD Strategic Plan as we focus on areas such as early literacy, science, professional development, and student health and wellness.  Budget increases are primarily due to contractual obligations, increases in health insurance, and a cost increase to our utilities.  In order to provide our students with a comprehensive educational program, I feel that the current request supports our district plan as well as the needs of our educational system.  

FY18 Budget Narrative

Monday, January 23, 2017


On Tuesday, January 10th, I had the honor and privilege of attending the Worcester County Superintendents’ Association Annual Scholars Luncheon, held at Clark University in Worcester.  WRHS Principal Beando and I accompanied high school seniors Hallie Brown of Paxton and William Van Renterghem of Rutland as they were recognized and congratulated for their hard work and accomplishments, along with 66 other student scholars from around Central Massachusetts.  This is the fourth Scholars Luncheon I have attended and each year I walk away so impressed and amazed by the young adults who have earned this recognition.  I wish Hallie and William a great final semester as Wachusett students.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016



I feel very fortunate that ​on a daily basis ​I have the opportunity to see how much learning occurs in ​the​ schools throughout our district.  Our teachers, support staff​,​ and administrators all work with a common goal ​--- ​ providing students with a strong foundation ​upon​ which they can build the rest of their lives.  

​Earlier this month, three schools in ​the ​Wachusett ​District ​were recognized by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette as being the Best in Central Massachusetts​.  ​Holden's ​Dawson Elementary​ School​ took the top prize for elementary schools, Mountview Middle School in Holden​ was selected as top ​m​iddle ​s​chool, and WRHS was​ named​ the top high school​ in Central Massachusetts​.   Principals ​Kelly ​Williamson, ​Erik ​Githmark and ​Bill ​Beando should all be very proud of the hard work and dedication put forth by their educational communities.  ​Every day the thirteen schools ​in our district ​make a difference in the lives of children and young adults​.  Having three of our schools be recognized as the best of the best is a well deserved honor​, ​and staff and students should be proud of their accomplishments.

​On behalf of District administration, I wish to thank all Wachusett employees for their efforts, commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm shown each and every day as we work with the students in our schools. ​



http://telegram.secondstreetapp.com/l/Telegram--Gazette-Best-of-Central-Mass/Ballot/LOCALSCHOOLSCOMMUNITY

Monday, November 7, 2016

Winter weather


It is that time of year again to start thinking about the inevitable delay or cancellation of school in the coming weeks or months due to inclement weather.  Even though we had very little snow last winter, we still had 4 snow days after the first of February due to dangerous driving conditions.   With this in mind, I want to remind everyone that school delays and cancellations are issues that we in New England must live with every year.  The decision to cancel or delay school is one that I take seriously as dangerous driving conditions are a constant issue for schools who transport students, especially in a school district spread over as many miles as Wachusett.  A decision to cancel school usually takes place by 5:15 am in order to give the bus company time to reach out to their drivers and a SchoolMessenger call will be made soon thereafter.  A two-hour delay occurs during the same time frame.  We average several delays and/or cancellations every year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Over the past two years, I have had wonderful conversations and a great deal of positive feedback with staff and families about the Wachusett App. As a means to further enhance communication within the WRSD, the Wachusett App compiles many of the important items related to the WRSD into one, convenient location. The app is available to download for free through the Apple App store or GooglePlay.  The app has several components that will be helpful for students and families, including links to:

  • the school calendar,
  • athletic schedules for the high school,
  • a staff directory by school with direct links to email,
  • the mobile PowerSchool site,
  • the superintendent’s blog,
  • school lunch menus,
  • school listings with phone numbers,
  • a map that will provide directions to any school in the district,
  • the WRSD bus provider, AA Transportation and,
  • the WRSD website

We will continue to make adjustments to the app to better meet the needs of our students, staff and families.

Thank you,

Darryll McCall, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WRSD Strategic Plan 2016-2021



I am truly honored to have the opportunity to present the WRSD 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS), a Strategic Planning Steering Committee was created during the last school year. The Steering Committee consisted of twenty-three representatives representing a variety of stakeholders. In order to gain feedback from the community, a survey was conducted which produced over 2,000 responses. Focus group meetings were also held in all 13 schools and in each individual town.

Drawing on the information gathered, the Steering Committee established five learning domains from which strategic objectives, priority initiatives, and action plans have been crafted. I am thankful for all of those who participated in this endeavor as it is truly representative of a broad spectrum of the constituents who make-up our district.

The WRSD Strategic Plan will provide our community with a sense of purpose as we define priorities and set budgets. Each school will now create a School Improvement Plan that ties directly back to the Strategic Plan and will help define budget priorities at both the building and district levels. Goals that are set by administrators and teachers will have common themes connected to the five learning domains, thus helping bring our five town district toward common educational outcomes.

The creation of the Strategic Plan took many hours, and involved numerous people, but the final product was well worth the time and effort, and will be the focal point for Wachusett moving forward over the next five years. This is an exciting time for the district and for our entire community.

Sincerely,

Darryll McCall, Ed.D.
Superintendent


Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016

Dear Wachusett Families:

It has been a very busy summer in the Wachusett Regional School District as we prepare for the start of school on August  30th.  Since the weather has been a little warmer and drier than a typical New England summer, it has afforded us more opportunities to be outside and enjoy all of our natural surroundings here in Central Massachusetts.  Prior to commencing the school year, I would like take this time to share some information with you about our district.

This past year, our district embarked upon the very important work of creating a Strategic Plan.  Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS), a Strategic Planning Steering Committee was created.   The Steering Committee consisted of twenty-three representatives including school staff, parents, students, and community members. The Steering Committee was initially charged with the development of a redefined vision, mission, and core values which would serve as the infrastructure for the strategic plan for the District.  In order to gain feedback, a community survey was conducted and over 2,000 responses were shared with the District.  Focus groups were also conducted in all 13 schools and in each individual town. Five learning domains have been defined from which strategic objectives, strategic initiatives, and action plans will all be crafted.  The Steering Committee has wrapped up its’ work and the Strategic Plan will be shared with the public in the very near future.

With the recent passing of the FY17 WRSD budget, our district is positioned to provide a strong education to the children who attend our schools.  With the creation of both a Technology Plan and a Professional Development Plan last spring, our district is better prepared to support our students and staff in our ever changing world.  These two documents, as well as the Strategic Plan, will also play a vital role in the annual budget preparation process and will help define the steps necessary in meeting the needs of the children who attend our schools.  

Finally, I would like to welcome Julie Carter, the new principal of Mayo Elementary School in Holden.  Julie is a strong educator whose broad experience base will add value to both the educational experiences at Mayo and across the District.  

Thank you for your support of our schools and I look forward to another productive year at Wachusett.