Monday, June 26, 2017

End of the year message

It seems as though summer is finally around the corner as the wet and cool spring we have experienced is transitioning to a warm end of the year.  With the school year quickly coming to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the past year and also look to the future.

Every year there are so many important events that occur in our district, that it is impossible to adequately list them all.  One item though, the completion of the WRSD Strategic Plan, stands out as an accomplishment that involved many stakeholders - from the Member Towns, the teaching staff, the School Committee, and District and school leadership.  The collaborative process of creating the Strategic Plan brought together representatives of all five communities and helped to create both a vision and mission for the District.   The WRSD Strategic Plan defines five specific domains that help drive an annual action plan, and ultimately better assist all parties in understanding how the plan will help define the future.   The plan is laid out over the next several years, but will be revisited and modified depending upon the needs and budget of the WRSD.  An item such as social and emotional learning has taken on a more prominent role in today’s schools, and our plan continues to build upon how we can better support students’ overall wellbeing.

Earlier this month, I had the chance to attend the Wachusett Regional High School graduation on June 8th at the DCU Center.  Having the opportunity to congratulate the 497 graduates is always one the highlights of the year for me.  In my remarks to the graduates, I noted the importance of being a good person, working hard, and being grateful to those who helped them get this far in their lives.  I truly believe that there are simple ways for our children to make the world a better place, and I am confident that our school district prepares our students to be the next leaders of tomorrow.  I want to congratulate all of our graduates this year and wish them luck as they embark upon the next chapter in their lives.

I would also like to honor those who have worked diligently to make our school district a wonderful place for kids.  I wish the best of luck to all of our staff who are retiring.  I also want to thank Central Tree Middle School Principal Todd Stewart who, after three years leading CTMS, will be leaving Wachusett to begin a new journey as a Doctoral student at Harvard University.  Todd has been a pleasure to work with and served as a very strong principal, an advocate for students and staff, and an always willing and dedicated member of our administrative team.  I would like to wish Todd and our retiring staff the very best.

Cynthia Anderson, Paxton Center School
Megan Bernier, Paxton Center School
Jo Ellen Bishop, Davis Hill Elementary School
Sharra Canan, Davis Hill Elementary School
Mary Cataldi, Dawson Elementary School
Anita Cook, Thomas Prince School
Deborah Duchesneau, Houghton Elementary School
Julie Freniere, Houghton Elementary School
Jeanne Girouard, WRHS
Claudia Holland, Glenwood Elementary School
Phyllis Jaillet, Davis Hill Elementary School
Mary Sue Kirby, WRHS
June Nunnari, Glenwood Elementary School
Diane Phaneuf, WRHS
Denise Prunier, Thomas Prince School
Nancy Shaw, Houghton Elementary School
Antonietta Spacciapoli, Davis Hill Elementary School
Geraldine White-Taronas, Mountview Middle School
Linda Wyatt, District-wide

As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close and we look ahead to a new fiscal year beginning on July 1st, the District’s FY18 budget remains yet to be approved.  At the May Annual Town Meetings, two of the five Member Towns did not approve the budget requested by our district, which means that we will be working under a 1/12th budget until the FY18 budget is supported by the Member Towns and the School Committee, or when the Commissioner of Education sets the budget for the District in December  A representative from DESE attended the June 12th School Committee meeting to discuss the issues associated with the 1/12th budget, as well as the implications of the budget not being decided upon by December 1st.  Passing a budget that supports the educational needs of our children is so very important and we must continue to work with one another to find the means for dedicating these funds to our schools.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your support and dedication to the students of Wachusett Regional School District this past year.  Without the support of our employees and the five communities, the schools in our district would be a very different place in which our educators work and our students learn.  Have a great summer and enjoy your time relaxing with family and friends.