Dear Parents and Guardians of the Marblehead Public Schools:
Welcome to another school year with the Marblehead Public Schools! We have had a busy summer in our buildings and our central administration office preparing the buildings, facilities, and grounds as well as updating technology and curriculum materials district-wide. Additionally, over the summer, we have finalized staffing for the upcoming year, prepared and planned for staff professional development, and participated in a wide range of training including safety and security, technology, curriculum, procurement, health and wellness, and student social and emotional best practices to name a few.
We would love to share with you a few areas of focus and highlights of the upcoming school year.
Returning this year is our full central administrative team who has been working diligently over the summer to prepare for the return of staff and students. In addition to our returning building administrators, we welcome Karen Grenier-Mernin to the position of Assistant Principal at the Village School and joins returning Village School administrative staff, Principal Mandy Murphy and Assistant Principal of Curriculum Stephen Gallo.
K-8 Science Curriculum Alignment – To support science curriculum development and implementation we continue to align district science curriculum to the 2016 STE Frameworks. Additionally, FOSS Science Kits were ordered over the summer for grades K-6 with training being provided to staff to implement student classroom work with the kits.
Social and Emotional Learning – We continue to progress in our work to support improved academic and behavior outcomes of all students through the ongoing implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework (PBIS) in grades K-8 and through staff professional development. Additionally, training will be provided on implementing the Second Step SEL curriculum and Bullying Prevention Units to support consistency across the district in grades K-6. At the Middle and High School level will provide training on developing standards-based health/prevention units to address risk-factors associated with students at these levels.
Service Learning - In Marblehead, service learning combines learning objectives with authentic instructional activities. It also develops critical thinking and civic responsibility. For the upcoming school year, service learning will focus on interdisciplinary learning opportunities, community partnerships, and expanded participation in all schools. A sampling of projects during the 2017-18 school year included visits to Lafayette Nursing home, Red Cross hurricane relief, care packages to the US Virgin Islands, food drives, letters to Veterans and Martin Luther King "National Day of Service" posters.
Safety and Security
A key goal for the 2018-19 school year is the implementation of a comprehensive school safety program throughout the district. Partnering with the Marblehead Police and Marblehead Fire Departments, we will be training all staff on the A.L.I.C.E. school safety protocol. This is a five-step process designed to increase school safety and security. These steps include 1) Alert; 2) Lockdown; 3) Inform; 4) Counter and 5) Evacuate. All principals and designated administrators were trained on this protocol in August, which will continue into the fall.
In our goal of ever-increasing transparency and communication, we invite you to our website at www.marbleheadschools.org. Our website contains a wealth of information on district operations and current updates. While there, please view our data and metrics ‘dashboard’ called iDashboard. This tool provides families and the community clear and accessible data points directly relating to our district strategic goals. Metrics and data points from indicators including faculty/staffing, financials, technology, student enrollment and demographics and assessment and post-graduate plans are all a part of the publically available information provided in this interactive tool. We hope you find it informative and useful!
Our website has also expanded its online materials offerings and organized reports and information by the department as well as by School Committee agenda schedules. All reports presented to School Committee in public session are posted within 24 hours to the School Committee section of the MarbleheadSchools.org website. Additionally, in specific long-term processes, such as the budget, ‘quick-links’ are provided from the MarbleheadSchools.org lading page to allow better the public fast and easy access to commonly searched for documents and materials.
At the building levels, our building administrators continued their family outreach with frequency electronic communications and newsletters.
Additionally, for important information, school closures with a little fun mixed in, I invite you to follow me on Twitter; Marblehead Schools @MPS01945.
NEASC Accreditation - At a recent meeting of the accrediting agency for high schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) approved the Special Progress Report for Marblehead High School. The High School continues as a fully accredited institution and was commended by the Association for progress made in Curriculum, School Culture and Leadership, and Community Resources for Learning. In particular, NEASC was pleased with the use of the Google Docs for curriculum revisions, aligning rubrics to student work examination, professional development to develop and examine curriculum, the support provided in Google applications by the Technology Department, the increased stability of the district and school administration, the quality of communication and collaboration between district and school administration, and the stable and dependable school budget and staffing levels. We extend our thanks to Principal Dan Bauer, Assistant Principals Lynsey Page and Michele Carlson, and the entire faculty for their outstanding work and dedication in moving the High School forward.
AP District - Marblehead Public Schools, continues to be recognized for its strong and comprehensive Advanced Placement (AP) program. The district was recently named to the 7th Annual District AP Honor Roll. This means that Marblehead High School achieved increases in access to AP courses and also maintained or improved the rate at which our AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam. For the new school year, Marblehead High School will offer AP courses in 18 subjects, extending across multiple content areas. Our faculty continues to participate in AP professional development, which further enhances the current program. The AP program at Marblehead High School is critical in providing college-level coursework for our students, in preparation for their transition post-secondary education.
Wellness - In early August, two of our health educators at Marblehead Veterans Middle School, Maura Dartley-Rocco, and Jaimee Callahan, presented a workshop at the 2nd Annual School Health Conference in Salem. They were joined by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. Bradford Smith. The workshop, entitled "How it is Done: Transforming Curriculum to Skills-Based and SEL Aligned" focused on substance use prevention units at the Middle School and High School. This work is an outgrowth of the health curriculum work funded by the Youth Opioid Prevention Grant through the Office of MA Attorney General Maura Healey.
Finally, as you enjoy the last days of summer vacation, please take the time to read the informational correspondence emails from our School Building Administrators. In these messages, families will find targeted information specific to your student and grade level as we prepare to welcome our students in grades 1st through 12th on Tuesday, August 28th. A special welcome to our Pre-K and Kindergarten families – welcome to the Marblehead Public Schools! The first day for Pre-K and Kindergarten students is Tuesday, September 4th.
In closing, as I enter my sixth year as your Superintendent, I want to take an opportunity to thank the community for the privilege of serving your students. At the core of every day and every decision made, are the students of this district. To watch them grow and advance in grade levels, academics and social skills, extracurricular and philanthropic pursuits, and finally graduation from our district, is what keeps my team and I motivated and driven toward constant progress, achievement, and excellence.
I look forward to continued success as we remain committed to our students, families, community and our collective pursuit of providing an exceptional educational experience.
As we begin again, please accept my best wishes for a wonderful school year.
Don't forget to follow us on twitter @MPS01945.
Superintendent of Schools