Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Community Members,
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! I hope you had a great summer and took some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. I would like to extend a warm welcome to both our returning families and those who are new to our district. Once again our custodial, maintenance and summer staff crews were hard at work this summer cleaning, painting and upgrading our facilities so students and families will arrive to clean and refreshed buildings and classrooms. Thank you to these crews for their hard work!
The school year officially starts for students in grades 1-12 on Tuesday, August 29th and for Kindergarten and Preschool, Tuesday, September 5th. Kindergarten parents don't forget to make an appointment for screening the week of August 28th. The district will not be in session on Friday, September 1st. Please see our calendar on the district website.
We are ready for a great year with many learning opportunities and exciting new initiatives for our students and staff. The beginning of the school year is busy times for those of us involved in education because it allows us to develop new goals, build new relationships and embark upon new challenges. As a part of our summer work, we have been working to highlight district goals for the coming school year. Expanding on some of our well-received initiatives of the past year, including School Committee school building-based meetings, Superintendent public forums, the Senior elementary walk and many other community-based goals, we seek to identify innovative and engaging student and community driven programs and ideas.
While curriculum, operations, facilities, technology and budget work are perennial and long term or multi-year in nature, student-based target strategic initiatives are annual drivers of the School Committee and district administrative teams. Some of the goals in the works for the upcoming school year are:
- Allergy Awareness – In becoming an allergy aware district, we will review current food and allergen protocols, provide student-based allergen awareness curriculum both in the classroom and as a part of faculty professional development and training. Parents and community will round out this initiative as we seek to work collaboratively as a team to promote allergen awareness and safety for all students and families.
- Service Learning Curriculum – Unify and expand upon the existing district service learning unit study and exercises encouraging students to understand, identify and pursue opportunities to contribute as citizens, in helping others and the community.
- Social and Emotional Learning – While improving student achievement through curriculum and academics is an important part of our mission, we know it is essential to focus on the social and emotional needs of our students as well.
- Curriculum expansion and renewal with science and social studies leading the areas of concentrated alignment and professional development.
Additionally, we continue our exploration of one to one devices at the High School as well as preparation and student training and curriculum in preparation for the expanding online state assessment administration. Rounding out a busy year is the continuing Gerry School feasibility process which is entering the feasibility design analysis and studies.
In staffing news, please join me in welcoming 23 new faculty and administrators to our system. Recruiting and hiring is one of the most important aspects of our work and we do everything possible to ensure that our process is both thorough and thoughtful in staffing decisions. We are consistently working on different ways to support our new staff in Marblehead and their growth as educators throughout the year.
As a reminder, please take a moment to visit our website which includes information on School Committee meetings and agendas, school calendars, departmental information, recent news and strategic planning and curriculum renewal documents. We also invite you to review our interactive data metrics platform iDashboard also on our website. If you have not visited this tool since last year, please check in to see updated financials, demographic and enrollment information as well as upcoming additions such SAT and AP student metrics.
One of the most important parts of my job is to be in the schools on a regular basis connecting with teachers and students. I also look forward to engaging with parents, families and the community in the coming year. We welcome the opportunity to address any questions or concerns that you may have.
Lastly, I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our wonderful and hardworking staff. I am grateful for their dedication and mission in educating the whole child, from core content areas to social and emotional growth. As educational initiatives and mandates become more rigorous, our staff continues to rise to the challenge and grow and learn with our students. I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by such motivated and growth-oriented peers.
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