Superintendent's Newsletter

September 4, 2023


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A Message From the Superintendent

Good Evening, WPS Community!

Tomorrow we open our doors and welcome our 2809 Watertown Public School students back to school! Our faculty and staff have been preparing for their arrival throughout the past weeks, and have created warm, inviting, and inspiring learning environments across all of our schools and classrooms.

We will be opening new doors this year at Watertown High School at PFC Richard Moxley Field. We look forward to providing our high school students with an exceptional education within a unique modular high school. We anticipate being in this swing space until April 2026 when we open our doors to only the second LEED Platinum 4.0, Zero Net Energy high school in the country. And on October 11, we welcome our Lowell Elementary School students back to their home school on Lowell Avenue.

This summer, the Hosmer Elementary School hosted our fabulous summer programming for our students, PreK-12+. Thank you to all of you who worked in these programs this year, providing excellent educational support, enrichment and joy for our students! And, we are most grateful to our custodians, maintenance staff, support staff, and Tech Team for getting our buildings ready for the first day of school- no small feat given all that we have going on in our district.

Also, over the summer, several of our WPS educators attended excellent professional development opportunities offered by the District, including the PBLWorks Project Based Learning Institute, Responsive Classroom Training, Restorative Justice Training, Literacy Pilot Program Training, and more! Our amazing educators are continually learning and growing, even during the summer.

We couldn't be more excited to welcome you back and look forward to a highly successful year ahead!

Stay cool,

Dede Galdston, Superintendent of Schools

WHS at PFC Moxley Field Opens!

On Thursday, we celebrated the opening of the modular Watertown High School at PFC Richard Moxley Field.

City and school officials joined for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the end of a multi-year effort to build the temporary High School. The public then had an opportunity to tour the building, which will be home to Watertown High School while the new school building is built at the corner of Columbia Street and Common Street.

As we open our temporary school building, we remember PFC Richard Moxley, who gave his life in service to our country in Vietnam. As part of our commitment to honoring PFC Moxley, students will learn about his life and legacy while Watertown High School sits on the park named in his honor. Moxley Field will once again be a community park after the new WHS opens.

Enjoy pictures from the ribbon cutting and tour below!
Big picture

Parking at Moxley

There is no parking available for students at Moxley Field. Please keep in mind that the City of Watertown has a two hour parking ordinance that will be enforced in the neighborhoods surrounding Moxley.

Student dropoff is on Westminster Avenue northbound only. Please access Westminster Avenue from Main Street. Bemis Street will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. on school delays to allow for students to travel back and forth between Moxley and Watertown Middle School.

Reminder! New Middle School Start Time

With WHS operations moving to Moxley Field, the start of the school day at Watertown Middle School shifts to 7:45 am. This shift provides the required time for busing, drop off and pick up, passing periods, lunch preparation, and after-school activities such as clubs and athletics. If you are a middle school parent, please see Principal Chen Fein's Smore newsletter for more information about drop-off and pick-up logistics.

Opening Days

We were excited to welcome our Watertown teachers back to school with our 2023 Opening Days. The theme for this year is Reaching All Learners. Our teacher and instructional assistants gathered together in the Watertown Middle School Auditorium for the first time in three years to hear remarks from the School Committee Chair, the Superintendent, the Assistant Superintendent, and the Watertown Educators' Association President. In addition, we provided an overview of our multi-year implementation of Restorative Justice, in partnership with Suffolk University. Teachers then spent the next 2 1/2 days preparing for the opening of school and participating in professional learning.

Highlights included: our K-8 Multi-Tiered System of Support, PreK-12 culturally responsive and sustaining practices, and ensuring our Multi-Language Learners' success through targeted differentiation and intervention. Together, we will continue our focus on tackling our achievement gaps by using student achievement data to better target our instruction and by enhancing lines of communication with students' families.

It was great to have our first in-person district-wide Opening Days since before the pandemic. Thank you to all who made this possible!

We asked our teachers what one word captures how they want their students to feel during the Opening Day kickoff:

Big picture

New Attendance Policy

As part of a yearly review of the district handbook, we felt it was necessary to update the WPS attendance policy to reflect our world coming out of COVID.

We pride ourselves in maintaining a very high attendance rate throughout the year. Understandably, there will be times when our students will need to take time away from school for a variety of excused reasons. The following protocol is in place to ensure good attendance, support our families, and follow state and federal laws.

EXCUSED absences:

● Short-term illness (three consecutive days or fewer) reported to the school using the attendance google form

● Extended illness (four or more consecutive days) requires a doctor’s note with a return date,

submitted to the school nurse

● Death of a student’s family member

● Court appearances

● Religious observances and holidays

● The Principal may decide to excuse an absence that does not fit within the above categories. The parent/guardian must contact the principal to discuss these circumstances.

Parents/caregivers are required to fill out the school-specific attendance form for an excused absence. These forms can be found in the Principal's newsletters.

UNEXCUSED absences:

● Cutting class

● Family vacation

● Work

● Any absence of four or more consecutive days that are not documented by a doctor’s note

For more information regarding the District's attendance policy and protocols, please see the 23/24 WPS Handbook Part II.

Welcoming Our New Staff Members

We are excited to welcome more than 30 new teachers to Watertown Public Schools! They bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for education to Watertown, and as such will be great educators for our students.

Please make sure to say hello to new faces you will see around our buildings. Also, a few more staff members have been hired since our new teacher orientation, and as soon as we have their photos we will update the Smore.

Introducing New Members of Our Administrative Team!

We welcome Dr. Ceronne Daly as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Dr. Daly served in the Boston Public Schools for more than 10 years, serving in various roles. Most recently she was the Managing Director of the Office of Recruitment, Cultivation, and Diversity Programs for BPS. Throughout her career, she held positions in organizations in ways that "improve outcomes to support district leaders, school leaders, students, and families in achieving excellence." Watertown is fortunate to have in Dr. Daly a director with experience, compassion, vision, and a desire to have a meaningful impact on all students in our schools.

Also joining our team is Ms. Cynthia Paris, our interim Early Childhood Principal! Ms. Paris is a highly experienced educational leader. She has over 25 years of experience in education, with a focus on working with multilingual students and students with special learning needs. Her career includes positions in Boston Public Schools, Newton Public Schools, and Lawrence Public Schools, where she held roles as Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools. Ms. Paris holds several educator licenses, is a native speaker of Spanish, and is dedicated to providing high-quality education to all students.

And we welcome Mr. Benjamin Kraus as our new Assistant Principal at the Lowell Elementary School. Mr. Kraus comes to us from Santiago, Chile, and recently completed his graduate studies in educational leadership at Harvard University. He has jumped right in feet first and is learning a lot about leading with feet in two buildings while we await the opening of the new Lowell on October 11. Mr. Kraus is also a native speaker of Spanish.

At the high school, a familiar face, Ms. Adrienne Eaton, will be our interim Assistant Principal. Ms. Eaton has been a guidance counselor at WHS for several years and has served in the role of Lead Guidance Counselor for the past five years. She also serves on the NEMLEC STARS team, a highly skilled multi-district crisis response team. Ms. Eaton quickly jumped into the role and has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of the opening of the swing space at Moxley. Students who work with Ms. Eaton will be fortunate to have such a caring and connected Assistant Principal.

Summer Success

A big thank you to all who made Summer Success possible, from Program Directors Rick Saunders and Kathy Burton to our amazing staff.

Enjoy some pictures from the final day of the program, where participants danced, had popcorn, and shared stories of their favorite books.

We Are Hiring

Watertown Public Schools still has a variety of job openings. Click the link below to learn more about a potential career with our school district.

We are also actively looking for substitute teachers.

Recently, the Watertown School Committee unanimously approved an increase in pay for substitute teachers, which brings our compensation for substitutes in line with surrounding districts. The new pay structure is:

$125/day for non-certified subs.
$135/day for certified subs.
$145/day for retired Watertown teachers.

And the Watertown Police Department has positions available for Crossing Guards. This is a vitally important position for our schools. For more information about how to become a crossing guard please contact Sergeant David Sampson at


Coffee with the Superintendent

Tuesday, Sep. 12th, 9am

This is an online event.

School Committee Meeting

Monday, Sep. 18th, 7pm

246 Warren Street

Watertown, MA

School Committee Meeting

Monday, Oct. 2nd, 7pm

246 Warren Street

Watertown, MA

Feel free to reach out at any time!