MURSD District Update

From the Office of the Superintendent

December 21, 2022

District Highlights

Nipmuc HS Students Visit Dell EMC

On Wednesday, December 7, forty of our Computer Science students had the opportunity to visit the Dell EMC facilities in Hopkinton. Brian Asselin, a Technical Staff Engineer and parent to one of our Nipmuc students, graciously hosted our students for the day. Students were given a 45-minute presentation, toured one of many on-campus labs, went on a building tour, and spent some time in the Experience Lounge speaking with professionals. They learned all about the field of computer science, the different positions at Dell EMC, and the endless possibilities of careers. It was a great trip for our students in computer science courses. Thank you to Mr. Asselin for hosting our students. A special thanks also to Mrs. Alibozek for organizing the trip and Mr. Cochran and Mrs. Miklavic for chaperoning.

Miscoe Hill Middle School Project-Based Learning Playground Project

Approximately 140 sixth-grade students are playing an active role in the reimagining of the Little Little Learners Child Development Center playground. Miscoe Hill Middle School is currently participating in the PBLWorks School Leadership Network, sponsored by the One8 Foundation and the sixth-grade Grade Project-Based Learning Project is an outcome of that partnership.

Check out our news article with all of the details.

Nipmuc Students Present at Harvard University

Last week, Mr. Gorman and Ms. Nieves traveled 16 students from their engineering classes to the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. They learned how biologically-inspired design is carried out at Harvard and had presentations from PhDs about their current work. Three groups of students presented their own biologically-inspired designs to the Wyss Institute faculty and received feedback on their designs. The business director told the students, "You think like we do here at the Wyss Institute." Congratulations to Mr. Gorman, Mrs. Nieves, and all of the students that participated!

Looking Ahead

December 21, 2022

Dear Mendon-Upton School Community,

As I note the date of this newsletter, I'm realizing that today is the winter solstice, the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year. While we could be quick to focus on the early darkness, cold weather, or the beginning of the winter season, I prefer to remember that beginning tomorrow our days with sunshine will begin to once again grow longer. Similarly, this week marks the end of our classes in 2022 and when we return from break we will embark on a strong finish of the school year for 2023. When I am approaching the new year, whether it is a new school year, or refocusing in the new calendar year, I am brought to my favorite quote, "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been." which is abbreviated from the following full quote by poet Rainer Maria Rilke,

  • “And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.”

As we look ahead to our continued work in the new year, from a district perspective, we will set our vision on the next five years as we embark on the development of a new strategic plan. You will hear about our district capital planning and reports on a full district assessment of our facilities. You will learn more about the ongoing discussions and trainings taking place at the school levels to enhance our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to collect, analyze, and use data in meaningful ways to improve student learning. You will see our Portrait of a Learner competencies come to life through student showcases of learning, authentic learning experiences linked to our community, project-based learning design, and student reflections. Your children will come home able to talk about meaningful learning experiences through civic action projects at the secondary level or creative approaches to literacy foundations at the elementary levels. I share some of the exciting snapshots of what is yet to come in the new year with hope, excitement, and renewed energy.

This time of year, although filled with joyous moments for some, can also bring about difficult and challenging emotions for others. We are thankful for those who recognize that we are all in these communities together as one--Mendon families, Upton families, and the MURSD school family. Please continue to support one another, have grace for one another, and realize that everyone has their own personal story they are living. I know I am personally thankful for all of you in our MURSD community, who band together in a flash when someone is in need, who put the well-being of our students as equal to their academic success, and who are committed to creating and sustaining a high-caliber school district for all our students.

I wish you happy holidays, a restful break, and a joyful New Year!

Warm Regards,

~Maureen Cohen

Superintendent of Schools

Strategic Planning 2023-2028

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The Mendon-Upton Regional School District will commence a new strategic planning process starting in January 2023. Similar to the result from the last process, the final plan will serve as a blueprint for all initiatives, priorities, and budgeting over the next five years.

Most importantly, this plan will continue to strive to bring a bold vision about learning in a modern context and giving our students what they really need to be successful in an ever-changing world. As we continue to bring our mission of "Empowering all learners to thrive" we will evaluate our progress so far and initiate new objectives to further bring our mission to life and foster the Portrait of a Learner competencies for all our learners.

We will be looking for the voices of all stakeholders- staff, students, parents, administrators, and community members- to contribute to this important process through focus groups, survey feedback, and/or serving on the Strategic Planning Committee. If you are interested in engaging in this process, please fill out the below form. Stay tuned for focus group dates, which will be shared with the community at the beginning of January. Thank you!

Parent/Guardian Interest and Feedback Form

Health Update

Flu Information and Resources

Click here for information from the MA Department of Public Health on the flu and the importance of getting a flu vaccine.

Free COVID-19 Test Kits

Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests. Click here to order yours.

Mental Health and Substance Use Resources for Parents/Caregivers and Students
For more information and links to helpful resources from the Massachusetts Medical Society, click here for parents and click here for students.

211 HELP Steps

211 HELP Steps is the online platform of Mass 211. From any desktop or mobile device, individuals can search and then connect to local health and human service resources across the Commonwealth. Programs that are included support basic needs such as food security, housing, childcare, transportation as well as resources for mental and emotional health. Click here to access this site.

District Events

Save the Date

  • December 14- Nipmuc Band Concert

  • December 19- School Committee Meeting

  • December 23-Early Dismissal

  • December 24- January 2- Winter Break

  • January 3-Students and Staff Return

  • January 9- School Committee Meeting

  • January 9- Miscoe PTO Meeting

  • January 10-Nipmuc Showcase

  • January 10-Clough PTO

  • January 13- Early Dismissal (Teacher PD)

  • January 16-No School (MLK Jr Day)

  • January 23-School Committee Meeting

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This portion of the newsletter will be dedicated to celebrating all members of our school community who are difference-makers. If you have someone you would like to highlight that is making a difference, please let us know by using the link below. Some will be highlighted here and everyone will receive individual recognition.


YOU INSPIRE ME: Casey Rhodes, Miscoe Hill MS Science Teacher

Casey volunteered to present her project-based learning unit ideas during our recent PBL Learning Walks. I was inspired by Casey's courage to share a unit that was incomplete and ask for feedback from a group that included several people she had never met before. Her willingness to offer her "in-process" unit up for our consideration was a gift to us all and really underscored her commitment to collaboration and our collective learning.

YOU INSPIRE ME: MURSD Music Department

Wow! That is the reaction I have after each of our musical performances that our music teachers facilitate in our district. We have such a committed group of instructors, who make such a positive impact on our students in helping them develop and find their passion for music.

YOU INSPIRE ME: Beth Gervais, Miscoe Hill MS Technology Teacher

Beth has been "all in" in providing leadership and training to support our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pathways. She has helped to lead her colleagues in PLTW Launch trainings at the elementary level and has helped move our PLTW programming forward. Thanks!


The month between Thanksgiving and the Winter Break is often a challenging one for many families, staff, and students. Our counselors continue to bring their best self each day to help support our community through challenging times, but also to develop proactive programming and resources.

YOU INSPIRE ME: Kevin McNeil and Jeremy Mulligan, Miscoe Hill Math Teachers

Kevin and Jeremy are new to MURSD this year. The implemented a Project-Based Learning unit this fall that was organized around the concept of their students designing a new playground/sandbox for the preschool. Kevin recently represented the team at our PBL Learning Walks. He shared details of how they wrestled with issues of time and how to balance the time devoted to the project with other needs such as iReady assessments and the pace of the Desmos curriculum. I feel their efforts as PBL pioneers and as reflective learners themselves deserves a shout out.

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BVExcel is a collaborative program that offers free evening credit-bearing classes throughout the semester at local schools in the Blackstone Valley. We are very excited to be opening the BVExcel spring registration. This spring, BVExcel is offering four classes: Manufacturing I/Intro to Welding, Manufacturing II/ Advanced Welding, Intro to Health Careers, and Robotics.

Click here to view course descriptions and get information on when and where courses meet.

Any questions can be directed to the BVExcel coordinator, Laura Ingemi (, or to your Nipmuc school counselor.

Still need a gift for the holiday season?

The Nipmuc apparel and merchandise store is still open and makes for a great gift for the holiday season. We have updated the platform to have a 24/7 store that will ship within approximately one week directly to your house. Below are two different stores where you can purchase items.

Nipmuc Spirit Wear Store - This store has general Nipmuc spirit gear.

Nipmuc Customizable Gear - This store has similar gear but also can be customized for the classes (i.e. Class of 2023, 2024, etc.) or for individual teams.

The Mendon-Upton Store is always open too. Check out the varied merchandise.

Mendon-Upton Regional School District Store

We have partnered with a local business to begin offering some Mendon-Upton clothing items. You can use the following link to order Mendon-Upton gear.