Superintendent's Newsletter

November 18, 2022

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A Message from the Superintendent

As we approach the Thanksgiving Break, WPS enters into one of the busiest times of the year for our amazing students. Tonight we open the WHS Fall Play "Clue" and tomorrow our world-class Girl's Field Hockey Team plays in the State Championship Game. It's spirit week at the high school, our elementary schools are stuffed with construction paper turkeys, and our middle school students are in the midst of a highly successful Thanksgiving Basket Drive. And the culminating event will be the 100th Watertown v. Belmont Thanksgiving Football Game, being played at Fenway Park no less. November certainly provides ample opportunities to show our school pride and our commitment to giving back to our community.


District Improvement Strategy Development: The Strategy Development Team is currently considering our mission, vision, core values, and our theory of action. Earlier this week parents, caregivers, students, faculty, and staff participated in various focus groups to share feedback regarding their experiences with the Watertown Public Schools. If you were not able to attend and want to provide feedback, please use the following link to a brief 6-question feedback form.


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: As an update, the representative Equity Plan Development Team is progressing through the creation of the District's short- and long-range Equity Plan. This plan emanates from the findings and recommendations of the Equity Audit that was completed last spring. Additionally, District leaders, myself included, are participating in various state-wide initiatives focused on anti-racist leadership, diversifying our faculty and staff, and creating strong partnerships with our parents, caregivers, and community. And recently, three members of the School Committee and I attended the annual school committee and superintendent's leadership conference with this year's theme being Promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Constructing the Narrative to Define the Message. I share this information with you to assure you that we are continually learning and growing in our understanding of how best to ensure that all of our WPS students are successful. And also I share it to demonstrate the commitment of school districts across the state to develop a shared vision for equitable, anti-racist, inclusive, and welcoming schools where all students belong and are provided the necessary support and resources to be successful.


In this newsletter, you will find several items of interest including information about the various activities that are going on in the coming days, an update on our Building for the Future endeavors, important dates, community information, and exciting videos to watch.


I wish you and your family the best for a restful, thankful, and enjoyable Thanksgiving break,


Dr. Dede Galdston, Superintendent of Schools

Clue Makes Its Debut at the WHS Auditorium

Watertown High School is putting on its fall play, Clue.


Three showings are scheduled for this weekend. Friday, November 18 at 6 p.m, Saturday, November 19 at 6 p.m., and Sunday, November 20 at 2 p.m.


All shows will be held at the Watertown High School auditorium.


Tickets are free to Watertown students (with a valid student ID). General admission is $10 and $5 for students and seniors.

Break a leg, WHS!

Take a Virtual Tour the New Watertown High School

You don't want to miss this! Take a virtual tour of the new Watertown High School, set to open in 2026.
Watertown High School - Virtual Tour Architectural Animation

In addition to having state-of-the-art classroom, vocational, performance, and athletic spaces, our high school will be only the second in the country to be both a net zero energy and LEED 4.0 platinum building. This demonstrates Watertown’s commitment to a sustainable future. We are thrilled to give you this sneak peek at what the future high school experience will look like for generations of Watertown students to come.


WHS at Moxley: Construction operations started this week at the Moxley Field modular swing space, which will open next year while construction of the new High School is ongoing. This is the first step to creating what will be one of the most inspiring high school education spaces in the country. Our modular high school at Moxley Field will provide all students with an excellent learning environment as we await the opening of the new high school in 2026.

Please remember that this will result in an earlier start to the school day for students at Watertown Middle School next school year. Middle School will start at 7:45 a.m., with the High School continuing its 8:30 a.m. start time.


Lowell Elementary School: Progess on the Lowell continues at a pace that should have the project done on time for our fall opening, barring any unforeseen issues. The School Building Committee provided a preview of the color scheme for the classrooms and large group spaces. The full presentation can be found here.

New Playground Opens at Hosmer!

The beautiful new playground at Hosmer Elementary School opened last week, much to the excitement of our students. Lots of joy and fun is being had on the new space, both during the school day for students and afterschool and weekends for the community!


Check out these photos and the latest updates on Building for the Future at the elementary level at the link below.

November 8th Professional Development Day

A district-wide professional development day was held on November 8. It was a meaningful day of collaborations among staff. We understand that a day off mid-week can be challenging, but rest assured, our educators participated in high quality professional learning opportunities to enhance their skills teaching your children.


Our Pre-K staff worked with the Boston Children’s Museum designing activities that focus on engineering and empathy. K-5 staff spent their day exploring and learning more about our new math program and further honing their skills to deliver our literacy programs.


Joe Feldman, the author of Grading for Equity, served as the keynote speaker for the Watertown Middle School and High School staff. Dr. Feldman detailed the history of our standard A-F grading system, which developed out of the Industrial Revolution, and shared research on how to create a more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational approach to grading. You can learn more about Grading for Equity here.


A group of teachers from Watertown High School also spent part of their afternoon doing community service, walking through Watertown Square and along the river picking up litter. Thank you for doing your part to keep Watertown clean and a great place to live!

Field Hockey Heads to State Title Game!

Our amazing Raiders field hockey team will look to defend their state championship this weekend when they play Sandwich in the finals of the Division III tournament.


The undefeated Raiders beat Dover-Sherborn 6-0 on Wednesday to clinch a spot in the title game. Molly Driscoll scored 4 goals in the winning effort.


The championship game will be played at Norwell High School on Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets are required and available through GoFan:


https://gofan.co/app/school/MA14766

Also, a big congratulations to two of our field hockey standouts for signing their letters of intent to play at the Division 1 level in college!


Lizzie Loftus and Maggie Driscoll participated in signing day ceremonies at Victory Field last week, surrounded by family, friends, and teammates. Loftus will play at Brown University and Driscoll is heading to Boston University.


“I am very proud of Lizzie Loftus and Maggie Driscoll signing their Letters of Intent to play field hockey in college,” said Eileen Donahue, Field Hockey Head Coach at Watertown High School. “For three years, they did a great job as captains leading the program. Lizzie and Maggie were relentless all over the field directing the team, showing outstanding stickwork, strong hits, and unselfish play. Both players are extremely passionate and competitive when playing the game. They have high expectations for themselves, as well as their teammates. When they play in college, I'm sure Lizzie and Maggie will make huge contributions to their teams.”

Football at Fenway

We are less than a week away from the 100th edition of the Watertown-Belmont Thanksgiving football game, to be played at Fenway Park on Wednesday, November 23 at 4 pm. Watertown leads the all-time series 49-45-5. The Raiders won last year’s matchup 25-0.


If you want to join in this century-old tradition being played for the first time at Fenway, tickets are available online and are $20 per person. And we encourage anyone attending to show their pride by wearing red and black!


Buses will be available for Watertown High School students to travel to and from Fenway Park, and will depart from the high school parking lot at 2 pm on game day. Students are required to sign up in advance for the bus. Parental permission slips must be submitted to the Athletics Office, Room 181A at the high school no later than Tuesday, November 22. A valid mobile game ticket is required to board the bus. For high school student bus signups and permission slips, click here.


GO RAIDERS!

This Old House Visits This New School

In case you missed it, the Hosmer Elementary School was featured on a recent episode of the PBS series Ask This Old House. Watch as the Ask This Old House crew meets with students and builds a compost bin:
How to Build a Classroom Compost Bin | Ask This Old House

Students Helping Neighbors In Need

Students from Watertown Middle School and Watertown High School were recently celebrated for helping elderly and disabled neighbors shovel their properties during last winter's snowstorms.


Each year, the Watertown Recreation Department puts together a snow removal assistance program to help these residents during the winter months. Applications are now open for this year's program. Participants receive a community service credit and a stipend for their hard work.


To learn more or apply, contact Peter Centola, Watertown Recreation Director at 617-972-6494, or click here.

Winter Recreation Programs

The Watertown Recreation Department has released the schedule for their Winter I recreation programs. Programs begin on Monday, November 28 and registration opens on Friday, November 18 at noon. Click here to learn more.

Free COVID Tests

The school district will be handing out free COVID tests to all students, faculty, and support staff before Thanksgiving break. Each individual will receive four tests in total.

The program is made possible by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Tests will also be handed out before winter break in December.

Stay healthy!

WPS UPCOMING EVENTS

Moxley Field Project Community Forum

Monday, Nov. 21st, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Link to the Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86932730605

School Committee Meeting

Monday, Dec. 5th, 7pm

Cunniff Elementary School

Watertown High School Winter Concert

Tuesday, Dec. 13th, 7pm

50 Columbia Street

Watertown, MA

Band, Chorus, Orchestra, World Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band, a special appearance by the WMS Band, and The Watertones will be performing- Come and hear our talented students!

Conversations and Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent

Tuesday, Dec. 20th, 9am

This is an online event.

Join the community conversation with the Superintendent via Zoom, share a virtual cup of coffee, learn more about the Watertown Public Schools and ask questions or provide feedback that is on your mind.

Enjoy your weekend and feel free to reach out at any time!