Monday, August 25, 2014

Opening Day with WRSD teachers

At the high school this morning, it was my honor to welcome our teachers to "Opening Day" as we embark upon an exciting and promising new year.  We began the morning with coffee and light refreshments providing teachers and administrators the opportunity to convene in an informal setting.  Thereafter, I recognized new staff as well as teachers who have worked in our district for 25 years or more.  It was my pleasure to call the names of almost 40 teachers who have worked in the WRSD for between 25 to 41 years.   This important recognition of teachers has not occurred for many years, and I am happy to report that it was well received.  I also reviewed information pertaining to District Determined Measures (DDM) and the role they will play in professional development this year.  Finally, I discussed the importance of formulating core values as educators as the means to provide students with the support they require.   Reaching out to students was also the theme of my discussion with principals at our retreat this August. In order to advance this important theme, several principals will be discussing core values at their opening day with their teachers.  

With over 500 teachers and administrators in attendance this morning, the auditorium was buzzing with the anticipation of the start of the new school year!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Letter to families, staff and students

The following letter will be shared with the Landmark and will also be on the WRSD website as my welcome back letter for the 2014-15 school year:

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the students, families and staff of the Wachusett Regional School District to the 2014-15 school year.   Summer in New England is often fleeting, and I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy yourselves over the past few months.  I am excited about the upcoming year and would like to share information with you about our school district.

This year, the WRSD will continue to focus on providing our students with the best education possible through the avenues of student safety and well being, professional development for teachers, continued alignment with the Common Core, and further enhancement of our technology program.  Individually, these initiatives are all important, but when combined, they provide students with a strong, comprehensive opportunity for learning.

Students need to feel safe in their school environment in order to learn, and this is a priority for the District.  All of our schools have safety protocols, including front entrances with buzzer systems, security cameras, and school crisis plans.  This fall, working in conjunction with local police and fire departments, I am establishing a District-level emergency management team for each town in the District that will be responsible for oversight of building level emergency management.  

For the 2014-15 school year,  we have established a strong professional development program that will support individual professional development programs for teachers, as well as District-level professional development.  This support will increase instructional knowledge and improve learning outcomes for students.  With the addition of a Curriculum Supervisor for the middle schools, I am confident that our support of teachers will benefit the District.

We are proud to introduce two new math programs that are aligned with the Common Core.   Both math series,  Eureka Math and Big Ideas Math, are aligned with the new state math standards and reflect a more consistent methodology for teaching math concepts.  These new programs will help our K-8 students be better prepared for high school math courses through consistent learning outcomes and goals throughout all of our schools.  

Finally, the District will begin to provide a robust wifi-infrastructure to improve our interconnectivity.  For example, our high school is working to provide wifi access to students in most of the common areas throughout the building.  This will enable students to work on assignments while they are engaged within our learning environment.  Beginning this fall, I am launching a new Wachusett mobile app that will allow students, staff and parents/guardians to access District and school information.  Mobile learning and information access are vital to the success of our students as they prepare for higher education and/or the job market.  

I would like to thank all parents/guardians, teachers and staff for their continued support and dedication to the education of the children in the Wachusett Regional School District.   Working together, we will provide our students with a quality education that will prepare them for success in the future.    I look forward to seeing you at the start of the school year.