Thursday, August 30, 2018

Welcome Back Letter 2018

August 2018 Dear Wachusett Families: It has been a busy summer in the Wachusett Regional School District as we prepare for the start of the school year in a few short weeks. As we work on cleaning buildings, taking stock in new materials and textbooks, as well as updated technology, we are anxiously awaiting the first day of school when the students and staff return from vacation. As we prepare for the coming school year, I would like take this time to share some information with you about our district. For the first time in many years, all five member towns approved a budget prior to the end of the school year. A great deal of preparation and outreach went into discussions on the FY19 budget and the District appreciates the support of Member Towns in the investment of educating our students. The WRSD Strategic Plan played a significant role for the District as we discussed the upcoming budget and the priorities established through the Strategic Plan. From supporting students safety and social-emotional wellness, to alignment of our curricular needs with the Commonwealth, the Strategic Plan has helped define areas of focus for our budget process. Providing our youth with opportunities to learn with strong educators, up-to-date curricular materials and technology, and safe and secure schools are the greatest gifts we can give the children who live in our five towns. Last school year, all ninth grade students received a Chromebook that they could use at school and at home. Over 500 Chromebooks were distributed before the first day of school and the response from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. We also purchased another 700 Chromebooks that were distributed to our other schools, where for the first time, all students in grades 3-8 took the Next Generation MCAS online. In a few weeks, we will have another rollout out of Chromebooks for the incoming 9th grade students. The addition of a Technology Integration Specialist, whose job will be to assist teachers around the integration of technology into their classroom instruction, will further increase how students access the curriculum in a 21st century classroom. Finally, I would like to welcome new building administrators to our District. Liz Garden is the new principal of Mayo Elementary School in Holden, Shawn Rickan is the new principal of Paxton Center School, and Melissa Wallace is the new principal at Dawson Elementary School in Holden. I am pleased to say that Tammy Boyle will continue in the role of principal at Thomas Prince School in Princeton. I am also pleased to announce that Jon Krol has been appointed Director of Social Emotional Learning and Guidance and Cherie Lynne Dupont Kent joined the District on July 1st as the Director of Literacy. Also this year, longtime WRSD special educator Lincoln Waterhouse will serve as the Interim Administrator of Special Education. We are excited to have these new building leaders and Central Office administrators join our community and I look forward to working with them in the coming year.