Superintendent's Report - 3/18/2016

posted Mar 20, 2016, 10:42 AM by Hps Webmaster
Leadership Team Update
District Leadership Team Meeting

The District Leadership Team was scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning. This meeting was cancelled so that Dr. Reagan, Mr. Webster, and I could attend Trooper Clardy’s funeral service. The next items that the team will be addressing are Formative Assessments and Communication.

Finance and Operations

Water Quality at Mulready

As I informed the Committee last week, two of our High School students Sam Tipps (grade 11) and Josh Teixeira (grade 12) conducted water testing at three of our schools as part of their State Science Fair Project. At Mulready School, they tested water from all of the drinking fountains. One sample from a specific fountain tested with elevated levels of lead. The students took another sample of water from the drinking fountain and found that the levels of lead were all within normal limits.

We have requested that Microbac Labs, the lab that tests Town water complete testing of the water from all Mulready drinking fountains early on a Monday morning when the first draw would be after the school was closed for a weekend. This would allow us to determine if sediment was collecting in the water held in the unit during periods of inactivity.

Jessica Aldrich, team lead for Microbac Labs, indicated that a 7 a.m. draw was a bit early for the team and that Mirobac would be willing to send us the collection vessels and instructions for first draw sampling. The first draw sampling will be completed on Monday, March 28th. Monday, March 21st was not an option for the Microbac team due to the impending snow event.  The current plan is all twelve drinking fountains would be tested for first draw, the Microbac team could arrive and take additional samples later in the day. This will result in quality information on which we could base our plan of action, if necessary, at the Mulready location.

It is important to reiterate that the decision to close the water fountains was done out of an overabundance of caution due to a test result that could not be replicated and, in fact, was well within normal limits. The District could have chosen not to act at all. Given the outstanding scholarship and diligence of these students, it was determined that we would be overly cautious until we had results from a professional lab.

Air Quality at Quinn

The District continues to await the final results from the air quality test. The teacher, paraeducators, and students have returned to the classroom and there has not been a repeat of the allergy symptoms.

District Newsletter: Honor Roll
District Communications and Development Coordinator Denise Reid has completed the first edition of our new community newsletter the “Honor Roll”. The newsletter is posted online. Color copies will be distributed to the Senior Center and the community rooms of local housing that is designed for active adults that do not have students attending our schools. It is terrific to see so many of the District’s accomplishments compiled in one place.
Curriculum and Instruction Update

ELL Family Night

On Wednesday, March 16th at 6 p.m. at Forest Avenue, the District held our most recent ELL Family Night.  The focus was on bilingualism with the goals of helping parents to understand the importance of bilingualism, identify some myths and truths about language development for bilingual children, and support their children's language development at home.  The format for the night was an informational presentation, activities with families, and dinner. We had record attendance of approximately 40 individuals representing 14 families attend. Our families were eager to learn, read, and play games with their children in their first languages and were quite appreciative of the games and books they were able to take home. Our elementary English Language Learning teachers made this happen with their collaboration and dedication. I extend my appreciation for all of the hard work they put into this event!

Preschool Update and Parent Meeting

The preschool enrollment at the Hubert School is very successful. In just three days, 60 families had registered.   We had several families attend the informational night regarding the District’s preschool partnership with CHAPS. The families raised issues around the lateness and lack of communication while the decision was being made. They asked several great questions about the program structure and the curriculum that CHAPS students would receive.

At the conclusion of the meeting, parents felt heard and expressed their gratitude for our willingness to be present and answer the tough questions. The majority of parents present were tuition paying parents. They expressed uneasiness about not having a decision regarding where their child attended preschool. Steve Freitas and I were very clear that they did still have many wonderful choices, however, staying at Hudson High School was not one of them. Another parent requested that we add Hubert School to our District App, which we have now done. One mother requested that an air quality test be conducted at Hubert based on some information that she had heard regarding mold and a wet basement. Steve Freitas reported that in the several years that CHAPS has occupied the Hubert School, there have been no respiratory issues.

If this is a direction that the School Committee wishes to pursue, please let me know and I will have Len get a quote. As a frame of reference, to conduct testing on two rooms at Quinn, the price tag was approximately $1,500.

Kindergarten Registration Update

The District has postponed the kindergarten lottery scheduled for Monday evening. The lottery will now be held Monday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m. at the Apsley Street Administration Building. Our current numbers for kindergarten in the 2016-2017 school year are:

                        Farley:            45 interested in full day           23 interested in 1/2 day

Current configuration is three sections of ½ day and two sections of full day


Forest:             36 interested in full day           19 interested in 1/2 day

Current configuration is two sections of ½ day and two sections of full day


Mulready:       24 interested in full day            9 interested in 1/2 day

Current configuration is two sections of ½ day and one section of full-day

 

There is some concern that we have not yet registered many of our ELL families. District K-7 Registrar, Renee Graca, and English Language Learning Coordinator, Erin Goldstein, are working to develop strategies to reach out to these families.

Superintendent’s Items of Interest

UNESCO Research Trip to Portugal

In your packets this week, you had a letter of explanation from Mr. Peter Vacchina regarding why the High School will not be sending a delegation to the UNESCO conference this year. This is a conference that was supported by the Hudson community and School Committee. Mr. Vacchina and I felt strongly that the School Committee and community should know as soon as possible what went awry. This was a very disappointing chain of events, and I am hoping that we can once again send a delegation to the 2018 conference.   

William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching Secondary Social Studies

This award is presented annually to one educator in Massachusetts who has demonstrated excellence in the field of social studies. This year, Hudson High School Teacher, Caitlin Murphy, is the recipient of this prestigious award. Caitlin was chosen for this recognition because of her professional involvement in activities that ranks “among the very best”. In the letter announcing the award, the Executive Board for the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies cites how Caitlin has “incorporated innovative and effective instructional strategies and techniques, and has fostered a spirit of democratic beliefs and values.” Caitlin will receive her award on Monday, April 4th at the Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies. Congratulations Caitlin.

Special Olympics

The MetroWest Special Olympics Track and Field events will be held on Friday, April 15th at Bowditch Field. This field is located on the campus of Framingham State University. This year, there is a rain date of Friday, April 29th.  I am excited to have the rain date after last year’s disappointing weather cancellation. I invite members of the Committee who can to attend. It is a truly wonderful event.

Guest Reader Mulready

On Friday, March 9th, I had the opportunity to be a guest reader in four different classrooms at Mulready Elementary during the finale of their Dr. Seuss Spirit Week. I cannot say enough about how wonderful our students were and how much fun this was. Thank you to all of the students and teachers that welcomed me into their classrooms.

Enrollment

All enrollment numbers are up to date as of the writing of this report. They are unofficial numbers. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collects snapshots of enrollment data three times per year October, March, and June. I will provide you with monthly enrollment numbers so that you can be aware of the amount of fluctuation that may or may not be occurring on a monthly basis.

 

 

5/8/15

2/19/16

3/4/16

3/18/16

 

 

 

HHS

973

970

974

974

 

 

 

QMS

677

642

646

649

 

 

 

Farley

513

497

501

501

 

 

 

Forest Avenue

325

336

337

339

 

 

 

Mulready

279

261

260

262

 

 

 

HHS Pre-K

95

88

89

88

 

 

 

District Total

2,862

2,794

2,807

2,813

 

 

 

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