Sunday, September 21, 2014

Groundbreaking Ceremony at Mountview!

This past Saturday morning, I was honored to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mountview Middle School in Holden.  In attendance were Senator Harriet Chandler, Representative Kim Ferguson, representatives from the MSBA, Holden Town Manager Jacquelyn Kelly, School Committee members and members of the Mountview Building Committee.  Master of Ceremonies, David White, did a wonderful job organizing the event.  I want to thank Principal Erik Githmark, Chair Paul Challenger and the other members of the Mountview Building Committee for their hard work over the past several years.

This project represents the last in a long line of school renovations and construction projects that the District has been part of in the last two decades.  When completed, Mountview will be a state-of-the-art learning facility that is designed to last for generations.  Student learning spaces will be bright and airy, with technology access throughout the building.  In less than two years, Holden middle school students will be attending a true 21st Century school.  It is my pleasure to be a member of the Mountview Building Committee.  I look forward to watching the building take shape over the next several weeks and months.  

School and home safety through Meghan's Hope

Last week, Kimberly Amato, a Sterling parent and founder of Meghan's Hope, spoke to building principals concerning home and school safety for children.  For almost 10 years, since the loss of her daughter Meghan to a fallen dresser in her bedroom when she was 3 years old, Kim has worked tirelessly to raise the awareness of the dangers associated with tip-overs at home and at school.  Large television stands and bookcases are areas that schools must pay attention to in order to insure the safety of both children and adults.  Kim's presentation was deliberate and straightforward, showing us the dangers of common items in the home or school that could easily cause serious injury to a child.  I want to thank Kim for her tireless work in this area and encourage parents to visit her website where safety resources can be found.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Wachusett App

As a means to further enhance communication within the WRSD, I am pleased to announce the Wachusett App.  Over the past several months, we have Beta tested the app that is now 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 listings with phone numbers, and
  • a map that will provide directions to any school in the district.  

For the next software update, we will be adding a direct link to our bus company, AA Transportation, as well as a link to the main District website.  Also included will be push notifications for messages sent through the Superintendent’s office, including items such as the cancellation of school due to poor weather.  

Having the opportunity to provide mobile support for our students and community is a vital part of a 21st century school district.  During Governor Patrick’s recent visit to our District, I had the pleasure of showing him the app, and he was very impressed with its utility.  I encourage you to download the app and stay connected to the great events occurring within our school district.  

Governor Patrick visits Thomas Prince School at WRSD

On Thursday, September 4, we had the honor of welcoming Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of Education Matthew Malone to Thomas Prince School in Princeton.  Secretary Malone had visited Thomas Prince earlier this year and was so impressed with the STEAM program that he asked the Governor to see it in person.  The Governor interacted with students while they used iPads, watched as students experimented with water and surface tension, met with students who shared information about the nature trail, and received fresh vegetables from the courtyard garden at the school.  The Governor and Secretary both noted that there was already a great deal of learning taking place even though it was only a few days into the school year.  I had the opportunity to speak with the Governor about the importance of experiential learning and also show him our new Wachusett app. He was impressed with how the app allows us to connect schools, students and families through mobile technology.  

Principal Cringan and the entire Thomas Prince community did a wonderful job sharing their STEAM knowledge with the Governor and Secretary.  I was very proud of all of the students, staff and administrators as we walked through the school.

The following links are to the flickr pages for the Governor and the Secretary where you will find pictures of the visit: