Superintendent's Newsletter

October 2019

Traveling School Committee Meetings

Throughout the course of this year, the School Committee will be holding one of its meetings in each of the schools. Tomorrow's meeting will be held at the Lowell Elementary School. As part of the Teaching and Learning Showcase, students and teachers from the Lowell Elementary School will be demonstrating activities that are part of STEM Week. Additionally, the School Building Committee Chair, Mark Sideris, and the Lowell Principal, Stacy Phelan, will speak briefly about the plans for Lowell's renovation and addition. Other items on the agenda include a review of the 2019 MCAS results and an overview of the WMS Turnaround Plan which was developed over the course of the last school year. The full agenda is available on the WPS website. The next school-based School Committee meeting will be at the Cunniff Elementary School on January 27. The School Committee meetings are open meetings, and anyone interested in attending is more than welcome. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm.

WPS STEM Week Kicks Off Tomorrow!

Beginning tomorrow, students across the Watertown Public Schools will engage in several STEM-rich experiences as part of the state-wide STEM Week. Massachusetts' STEM Week 2019 takes place from October 21st to 25th and is organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council in partnership with the state’s 9 Regional STEM Networks. The theme for the second annual statewide STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM" with the goal of inspiring our students to consider opportunities in STEM fields in their future.

Activities during STEM-week include STEM playgrounds in which students will design and create projects by coding and using design thinking. There will also be several talks about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at all schools. Please visit our WPS STEM Week website for more information about opportunities to engage with during and beyond the STEM Week 2019.

WPS Seeks Professionals for STEM Panels During STEM Week

Are you currently working in a STEM field? Would you be interested in sharing your experience with students at Watertown Middle School or Watertown High School? Even if you don't work in a STEM field, perhaps you know someone who would want to participate.

WHS and WMS are seeking participants who work in STEM fields/industries to be part of a panel presentation. We wish to expose students to the variety of STEM/STEAM careers out there. We want them to connect their learning to authentic experiences and start dreaming of their future selves. We hope to once again gather a diverse group who work in the Boston area, many in our own community of Watertown. Students will be interested to hear what you studied in high school and beyond and how this influenced your professional pathways.

WMS STEM Panel: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9 AM – 11 AM

(two 45-minute panels)

WHS STEM Panel: Thursday, October 24, 2019 11:30 AM – 1 PM

(three ½ hour student groups)

If you are interested in being part of either of these panels, please RSVP to our Career and Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator Laura Alderson Rotondo at or by phone (617) 926-7760.

Update from the School Building Committee Meeting

The School Building Committee met on October 16 to continue its work on both the elementary and the high school building projects. Scott Dunlap, the principal architect for the Building for the Future Initiative, presented an update on the progress towards LEED certification and sustainability. The SBC continues to consider building materials such as flooring and siding. Mr. Dunlap also presented a tentative schedule for the High School Project and reviewed what a Feasibility Study entails. If you are interested in reviewing the presentation, it is available on the WPS wesite or you can access it here.

Superintendent's Coffees

I will be holding the October Superintendent's Coffee on October 28. The Coffee is a time when people can learn about what's happening in the district, ask questions, or provide feedback about your experiences with our schools. The Coffee is held in the Phillips Administration Building, 30 Common Street, Room 301, either at 9:00 am or at 7:00 pm.

Dates for future coffees:

November 25

December 16

January 13

February 24

March 30

April 27

May 25

June 8

Upcoming Events

You are Invited: Watertown Talks Equity

Tuesday, Oct. 29th, 5:30-8pm

68 Waverley Avenue

Watertown, MA

5:30-6:00: Free community dinner (Please RSVP using the link below)

6:00-6:15: Introduction and Invitation to the Anti-Bias Coalition: Who we are, what we do, and why

6:15-7:00: Dr. Darnisa Amante, Keynote Speaker

7:00-7:30: Table Talk: What brings you here?

7:30- Closing the evening- Questions and Takeaways

Click here for more information.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Visting Schools- The Best Part of Being a Superintendent