Superintendent's Newsletter

September 16, 2022

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A Message from the Superintendent

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! Greeting all of your children on the first day of school filled all of us with joy and hope for an excellent, more routine, and joy-filled school year.


This summer, the Cunniff Elementary School, the High School, and the Hosmer Elementary School hosted our fabulous summer programming for our students, PreK-12+, benefitting hundreds of Watertown students. We are proud of our staff that make these opportunities possible.


On August 31, we welcomed 41 new teachers and long-term substitutes, nine new Instructional Assistants, 18 new support staff, and six new administrators to the District, with several existing staff moving into new positions or moving to new schools.


And on September 6, we welcomed 90 more students into our schools than last year, with 52 more elementary students and 38 more high school students. The increases in numbers account for some of the new hires, as we had to add classroom teachers and support staff to account for the changing demographics of Watertown!


This year is our year to move forward, while learning from the past. It is hard to believe all that has been accomplished over the past five years in our district, even with some formidable challenges. This year we will create our District Improvement Strategy 2.0 (see information below), we will finish our Equity Plan based on the Equity Audit, and we will finalize the plans for the new high school and the swing space.


To our parents and caregivers- We appreciate all that you do to support our schools. We appreciate it when you are involved and engaged in your child's learning. And we appreciate it when you provide feedback and we encourage you to share your hopes and dreams for your child with their teachers. Our Back to School Nights and Open Houses are coming up fast, and all are welcome to learn more about how we prepare your children for their limitless future.


Always remember that each and every one of us in this strong WPS Community --parents/caregivers, educators, support staff, and administrators-- all have one thing in common. And that is that no matter what, our children and students always come first.


Best wishes for a great year!


Dede Galdston, Superintendet

Seeking Parent/Caregiver Volunteers to Serve on the District Improvement Strategy Development Team

The Watertown Public Schools is forming a District Improvement Strategy 2.0 Development Team, “the Strategy Team”, whose charge is to create a multi-year District Improvement Strategy, as a successor to the current Strategy that was established in 2018.


The team will develop a clearly articulated improvement strategy that emanates from the District’s mission, vision, and core values. Once these have been established, the team will determine the necessary initiatives and action plans to attain the objectives and set measurable benchmarks to monitor progress. The development of this strategy is an iterative process that will involve input and feedback from the School Committee, the District’s Leadership Team, parents, students, WPS faculty and staff, and WPS community members throughout the months.


Watertown Public Schools is looking for broad representation of stakeholders on the Strategy Team 2.0, representing all schools and serving in a variety of roles. We seek diversity of thought, opinion, background, and experiences. Specifically, we are hoping that three parents/caregivers, two students, and one community member, in addition to school staff to serve on the Strategy Team.


DATES FOR MEETINGS:


All meetings will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Cunniff Elementary School.

  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022

  • Tuesday, December 13, 2022

*A fifth meeting may be held in January if needed


Regular attendance and participation are necessary to ensure the completion of the plan. Additional information about the meetings is available here.


APPLICATION PROCESS:


If you would like to apply to be part of the team, please complete the following Google Form. Applications are due by Wednesday, September 21. The team will be selected jointly by the School Committee Chair and the Superintendent; team members will be notified on Friday, September 23.


Thank you for your consideration of this important endeavor!

WPS Handbook Part II with Updated COVID Protocols

Please see the linked WPS Handbook Part II, which is a companion to your child's school-specific handbook. Of note, please familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 protocols. As always, please keep your child home if they are ill, especially if they are exhibiting COVID symptoms.

Building For The Future

With two new elementary schools opening last school year--the Hosmer and the Cunniff Elementary Schools--we now look to our next two projects: the Lowell Elementary School renovation/addition and Watertown High School.


J.R. Lowell: The Lowell Elementary School Renovation and Addition is making excellent progress. Over the summer we celebrated the Topping Off of the new addition, and work has begun "buttoning it up." The inside is barely recognizable as the wall and flooring has been completely removed, making way for fresh finishes, new windows, upgraded HVAC, state-of-the-art technology, and greater opportunities for collaboration.


If you get a chance to stop by the Phillips Administration Building, you will find three full grades of Lowell students there- Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2! With this expansion, many offices have been relocated within the Phillips, outside of the building, and in other schools.


WHS: The design documents for the new high school are nearing 60% completion! The building is shaping up quite nicely and will provide an excellent teaching and learning environment for decades. For a great overview of the project and amazing renderings of the exterior of the new building, please take a look at the last School Building Committee presentation which focused on the WHS design.


Construction for the Moxley modular swing space will begin this November and will be ready by the fall of 2023, along with renovated spaces at the middle school to provide our Career and Technical Education programs. Please remember that the shared space at the Moxley/middle school location necessitates an earlier arrival for middle school students next year. Middle school will start at 7:45 and high school will continue its start time of 8:30.


An update for the Hosmer: The Hosmer playground and the softball fields are anticipated to be done by late fall, 2022. We can't wait to utilize the full space of the Hosmer outdoor areas soon! Play on the softball fields will begin next school year, as the field needs time to become established.

WPS UPCOMING EVENTS

The ESL Department is Sponsoring a Meet and Greet at Filippello Park on September 17 from 2-5 PM.

This Saturday! Belmont v. Watertown Soccer Night: We Live For the Nights We Remember


Soccer Night in Belmont is this Saturday Night! Come support our Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer teams as we take on our rivals under the lights in Belmont!


Everyone is welcome to attend this exciting FREE soccer event where the community can come together and enjoy two varsity soccer games, where younger children get to look up to the varsity players, and where the varsity players get to play under the lights.


Your support of the teams will increase the likelihood of taking home the Phoenix Cup, the annual trophy that bears the names of the victors and the score!


Girl's Varsity Soccer Game is at 4:30

Boy's Varsity Soccer Game is at 6:30


Fun, Games, Prizes! Support Our Teams!


Belmont High School, Harris Field

Reminder: Tickets to Games are Free for WPS Students and No Bikes at Victory Field for Tonight's Game

This year, we are pleased to provide free tickets for all regular season home athletics events to Watertown Public Schools students, and all children 5 and under are free regardless of where they reside. Come out and support our student-athletes!


Watertown High School is excited about our home football game tomorrow night against Hamilton-Wenham High School. Due to the expected large crowd, we are not allowing any bicycles at the Victory Field Stadium. We appreciate your support as everyone’s safety is our main priority.

School Committee Meeting

Monday, Sep. 19th, 7pm

Cunniff Elementary School

Please see the linked agenda.


Members of the public can attend in person at the Cunniff Elementary School, Second Floor Learning Common or by Zoom.

Conversations and Coffee with the Superintendent

Tuesday, Sep. 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.

Special Education Parent Advisory Council General Meeting

Wednesday, Sep. 21st, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

SEPAC General Open Meeting

Our first meeting of the 2022-2023 school year is being held on Wednesday, September 21 from 6:30-8:00pm. This will be a fully remote meeting. Click here for the meeting link to attend on Zoom.


During this meeting, we invite caregivers to share about any Special Education Initiatives as well as voice concerns that they view as priorities for SEPAC to help address. WPS administrators will join for the last half hour of the meeting to listen and take questions.


Please contact us at sepac.watertown@gmail.com with any questions. We look forward to the opportunity to meet with you!

Watertown V. Belmont- 100th Game at FENWAY!

Wednesday, Nov. 23rd, 4pm

Fenway Park

TICKETS: General admission tickets are available for purchase at www.redsox.com/highschoolfootball starting at $20/ticket for each day, providing access to the day’s games, with 25 percent of every ticket sold given back to the school each patron is supporting. CURRENT Watertown High School Students will get their tickets through the high school.

Big picture

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE COMMUNITY

The City of Watertown Community Plan Workshops

Help plan Watertown’s future! Attend an interactive workshop on September 20 (Middle School) or 29 (Free Public Library)—both start at 6:30 PM. Let the planners know what you think about draft goals and strategies for the city’s next comprehensive plan. Pre-register and learn more at: www.watertown-ma.gov/comp-plan .

Watertown: A Community of Caring

Thursday, Sep. 22nd, 6-8pm

123 Main Street

Watertown, MA

Addressing Substance Use Disorders

Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Resources


Join us from 6:00-8:00 for:

  • Light dinner
  • Performance by 2nd Act
  • Presentations and Testimonials


In person at the Watertown Free Public Library- Watertown Savings Bank Room or by Zoom. For Zoom link, please visit: www.watertowncares.org

Watertown Faire on the Square

Saturday, Sep. 24th, 11am-4pm

Thaxter Street

Watertown, MA

More information about the Faire on the Square can be found here.

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