Superintendent's Winter Newsletter

February 2020

The first half of the 2019-2020 school year is behind us, and March is at our doorstep. February 6th marked the 100th day of school. Elementary schools across the U.S. typically celebrate the occasion to reinforce skills and show students how much they are able to accomplish in 100 days. I remember those early elementary years when my son and I decorated a poster with 100 candy Smarties. I too celebrated the 100 school days but instead of Smarties, I developed a 100-day Entry Plan.

Although I entered the Superintendency with 27 years of experience in the Walpole Public Schools as a teacher, middle school principal, and Assistant Superintendent, the Entry Plan afforded me the opportunity to take a fresh look at the District through a different lens. It enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the district, identify areas of strength, and recognize opportunities for further inquiry. The outcome will be the basis for the development of a strategy that will help guide our future work. The themes that emerged from this process will lead to a strategy for continued growth. I am grateful for all of those who gave their time to provide such open and honest feedback. This process has only strengthened my appreciation for the community and Walpole Public Schools. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school district as we educate all students to achieve success. You can access Entry Findings by clicking here.

I hope that you and your children have well deserved February break.

Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D., Superintendent

Tuesday Office Hours

Office Hours: Having trouble finding time to take care of work permits, registrations, or tuition payments by 4:30 p.m? Mary Mortali, Administrative Assistant, is in the Superintendent's office on Tuesday evenings until 8:00 p.m. We hope this is helpful for families who may have difficulty getting to the office during the workday.

Middle School Building Project Update: MSBA Votes to Accept Compass Project Management

As you are aware, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted this past fall to invite the Town of Walpole to conduct a Feasibility Study for Bird Middle School with the consideration of Johnson Middle School for the potential consolidation of all students in grades 6-8. The Town of Walpole is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted to appoint Compass Project Management, Inc. to be the Owner’s Project Management (OPM) firm for the Bird Middle School project. Appointing an OPM is the critical first step of this process and the MSBA’s Module 2, “Forming the Project Team.”

The appointment of Compass follows an extensive qualifications-based selection process that the School Building Committee completed in December to select an OPM. The OPM serves as the focal point of management and communication on public building construction projects and works closely with the Town to oversee all parties working on a project. Compass Project Management, Inc. served as Walpole’s Owner’s Project Manager for the Police Station, Fire Station, and Council on Aging building projects, and was instrumental in ensuring that all three projects were completed on-time and under-budget.

With the OPM Selection Process Complete and Compass Project Management on board, the next phase of Module 2 will be to begin the designer selection process, before undertaking the Feasibility Study later this year.

You can find out more about the MSBA process, funding, and the School Building Committee by clicking here.

January Professional Development Day: EdCamp

On Friday, January 17th, staff participated in EdCamp, a day designed to provide participant-driven professional development for educators with a focus on collaboration, group expertise, and instructional design. Sessions included digital learning, a focus on social-emotional learning, content areas to improve teaching and learning, ALICE Training, and sessions on equity. This year, we were fortunate to have Walpole students, such as the Robotics Team and Speech and Debate Team, take time out of their day off to join us.

Curriculum Corner

Social Studies - Civic Engagement and Curriculum Updates

Massachusetts Department of Education released the new Social Studies Frameworks in June of 2018. A Social Studies Task Force, under the direction of SS Department Chair, Mike Donohue, was formed and met regularly last year to review the new frameworks and decide the changes that would be made to the curriculum at Walpole Public Schools. The task force investigated guiding principles, practice standards, and content standards before adopting a new 6 - 12 path and historical thinking expectations that have started to be implemented this school year.

The greatest impact to our curriculum happens in the 8th grade. The foundation for this curriculum is rooted in learning about the United States & Massachusetts Governments and Civic Life. Specifically, this includes:

  1. The philosophical foundations of the United States political system

  2. The development of the United States government

  3. The institutions of the United States government

  4. Rights and responsibilities of citizens

  5. The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court decisions

  6. The structure of Massachusetts state and local government

  7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy

  8. The development of a Civics Engagement Project

The changes to the curriculum have impacted the design of the K-12 curriculum framework. Administration and teachers continue to work together to ensure that we are prepared for the implementation of the new standards and the changing landscape of our civic discourse.

Strategic Planning

Each year, we review the District’s progress toward achieving the goals, objectives, and action steps outlined in the Strategic Plan. On February 6th, school staff, educational leaders, town board members, students, parents, and community members actively engaged in this review, provided a variety of perspectives and began the work of prioritizing actions the district will pursue in order to improve the academic and social-emotional skills of all students. Educational leaders will continue to work on these revisions, and we will share our final updates with the School Committee. I would like to thank the participants for their hard work.

Meet the new Health Director: Melissa Ranieri

Hello, my name is Melissa Ranieri and I would like to introduce myself as the new Health Director for the Town of Walpole. I began working part-time for the Town of Walpole in February 2014 as the Health Technician under the Board of Health. As the Health Technician, I was responsible for conducting onsite food inspections/investigations for food establishments in town. I thoroughly enjoyed my position and working for the Town of Walpole. Six short months later I made the decision to challenge myself by applying for the full-time Deputy Health Agent position; a position that would require a much more diverse and intensive skill set. Immediately I became focused on furthering my education pertaining to Public Health related topics. Over the last five years, I have been able to obtain my Registered Sanitarian licensure, become a licensed Septic System Inspector and licensed Soil Evaluator along with many other public health course certificates, knowledge, and experience. I have had the pleasure of working under the Town's previous Health Director of 33 years, Robin Chapell who has taught me so much. I am excited for the opportunity to further my career in a community with individuals that I truly care for and I look forward to many collaborations with community partners (including the schools) to contribute to the growth and continued success of the Town of Walpole.

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There are multiple ways to get involved in the activities WPS has to offer! Below are just a few examples.

School Nutrition Bites: BackPack Program

Walpole Public Schools in collaboration with the Walpole Food Pantry is currently offering a BackPack Program during the 2019-2020 school year at Walpole Schools. The BackPack Program is designed to provide food to children that would benefit from supplemental nourishment over the weekend. The food is discreetly packed in students' backpacks each Friday afternoon (or at the last day of the school week), ensuring that students are better prepared to learn the following week. There is no cost associated to participate in this program. Please consider your family’s economic status to determine if the food assistance is needed by your child(ren).

If you are interested in participating in the BackPack Program, please contact the School Nutrition Office at 774-315-5642 or via email to

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Upcoming Events

2/22 Elm/Fisher Parent Rock Out, Italian American Club. Email Lori Winer with questions


2/25 Walpole Coalition for Alcohol Drug Awareness Meeting – 10:00 a.m. at

Walpole High School and 7:00 p.m. at Walpole Public Library

2/27 JMS Ryan Song Parent Presentation, 7:00 p.m.

2/27 School Committee Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall

3/3 Barnes & Noble District Art Show

3/12 School Committee Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall

3/13 Early Release

3/25 JMS/Fisher - Third Annual Pot Luck Supper and Cultural Celebration.

3/26 School Committee Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall

Grades 3 – 5 MCAS Schedule:


Gr. 5: March 31 & April 1

Gr. 4: April 2 & April 3

Gr. 3: April 7 & April 8


Gr. 5: May 5 & May 6

Gr. 4: May 7 & May 8

Gr. 3: May 12 & May 13


Gr. 5: May 14 & May 19

Walpole Public Schools, 135 School Street, Walpole, MA

Mission Statement: "Walpole Public Schools educates all students to achieve success."

For more information see the Walpole Public Schools Strategic Plan.