I hope everyone is enjoying the remaining days of summer. We are eager to welcome all of our new and returning students one week from today on Wednesday, August 29th, for the first day of the 2018-2019 school year! (Please note that Wednesday is a half-day for our elementary students only.)
Please note the terrific work of our custodians in deep cleaning each of our buildings and having them ready for our students on opening day. Thank you to our Facilities Management Department!
School year 2018-2019 will be a busy one for the Wellesley Public Schools on many fronts. Wellesley High School will continue working toward renewing its 10-year accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
In terms of school facilities, the District is moving forward with a feasibility study at Hunnewell Elementary School that will allow us to explore options on this site to deliver 21st Century Learning in a new facility. Similarly, a Special Town Meeting will be held on October 2nd for the purpose of requesting feasibility and schematic design funds for the Hardy/Upham project, which we are managing in partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). As we continue to explore our options for supporting our K-5 students with updated facilities, parents and community members will have many opportunities in the coming year to participate in the process.
Last year, the District took important steps to construct its Profile of a Graduate (POG), reflecting the 21st Century competencies we want to develop in all of our graduates. Working with a committee representing students, staff, parents and community members, we developed the following (draft) POG:
WPS aspires to be a world-class school system that develops the heads, hearts, and hands of its students who make contributions to their communities, our nation, and world by inspiring them to:
- Think critically and solve problems
- Create and innovate
- Engage globally
- Communicate and collaborate
- Care for themselves
We hope to finalize this POG in the early fall so that it can serve as the centerpiece for a new five-year strategic plan, which we will also be developing this year and hope to have completed and approved by June. Whew!
Another important theme that will be represented in each of these activities will be a sustained focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). We are excited to deepen our work with Challenge Success at WHS as well as to expand these efforts to WMS. In collaboration with our many community partners, we will also continue to sponsor speakers who engage our entire community on related SEL topics.
We also know our students continue to come to us with diverse strengths and challenges. It is critical for us to have robust, tiered systems of support to meet students where they are and to challenge and support them to grow academically, socially and emotionally. At each school level, we offer tiered resources and supports such as tutoring programs, reading and math interventionists across the elementary schools, a teaming model at WMS and our academic resource center (ARC) at WHS.
We also remain committed to a highly visible diversity and equity agenda. Last year we completed an assessment of the climate of race and diversity in WPS and used these sobering results to begin planning a multi-year action plan to make further progress in areas of need, including our hiring practices, training for staff, and curricula. This work will continue throughout the year as we move to implement recommendations from this planning.
In short, this is a critical year for our District with a number of strategic inflection points that will help us clarify the type of schools and instruction we want for all students. While this work may take us in new directions, it is my hope that we will remain a district that models its core values of Academic Excellence, Commitment to Community, Respect for Human Differences, and Cooperative and Caring Relationships.
With the many announcements and scheduling information forthcoming from our District and schools, I encourage you to visit our website for frequent updates: www.wellesleyps.org. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter@WellesleySupt for updates throughout the year. And, if you have not done so already, please update your contact information through our PowerSchool Parent Portal.
Finally, I want to highlight a great opportunity for new and returning families to come together this Sunday, August 26th, from 1:30-3:30PM, at the Warren Park Playground. Thank you to the World of Wellesley for sponsoring this event. I hope our WPS community will be well represented.
On behalf of the incredible team of educators and support staff who serve the children and families of the Wellesley Public Schools, thank you for putting your faith in us to provide your children with a world-class education. We look forward to working with you throughout the year to ensure the success of all of our students.
Dr. David Lussier