WPS Superintendent Updates

A Message from Dr. Gough

June 11, 2021


Dear WPS Community,


We are now approaching the last week of school (last day for students June 17th). We are grateful to the staff who continuously adjusted to the needs of our students during this unusual year. Please check your emails in the coming days for any updates from your child’s principals regarding the last days of school.


On Sunday, June 6 the Walpole community celebrated our 147th commencement ceremony to honor Walpole High School’s graduating senior class of 2021. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who made this such a special occasion. We are incredibly grateful for their hard work to ensure this was a memorable day. Also, a special thank you to the Walpole Police Department and Walpole Fire Department for their support with this community event. The graduation parade would not have been possible without them. Most importantly, thank you to the Class of 2021. This year has presented us with many challenges, but you continued to rise to the occasion and represented our community with pride and integrity. It was an honor to congratulate our seniors and give them the recognition they deserve. We wish them well as they embark on a journey filled with new opportunities and new challenges.


It goes without saying that this year was unique. I could never have imagined my first two years as Superintendent would include a global pandemic, remote learning, hybrid learning, and constant mandate changes. However, I remain grateful and humbled by working with so many great students, staff and families. It has been an honor to serve as your superintendent.


Finally, I would like to congratulate our amazing 2021 retirees. Below, we recognize these dedicated individuals for their many years of service to Walpole Public Schools. Thank you for enriching the lives of our students, and we wish you all a very happy retirement.


Have a wonderful summer.

Stay healthy and safe.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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A Message from Dr. Gough

May 28, 2021


Dear WPS Community,


COVID Update

On May 17, 2021, after consultation with the MA COVID Command Center’s Medical

Advisory Board, the Governor announced that given the low rate of outdoor transmission of COVID-19, students no longer have to wear masks when outdoors. Effective May 18, this guidance update applies to recess, physical education, youth sports, and outdoor learning environments. Adults must continue to wear masks outdoors if distancing cannot be maintained (minimum of 6 feet). At this time, adults and students must continue to wear masks indoors. The definition of a close contact has not changed. Anyone within 6 feet for 15 min or more over 24 hours of a positive case is deemed a close contact. However, only close contacts who are within 3 feet in a classroom or on a bus do need to quarantine. We must still maintain six feet for eating lunch and snack.


A big thank you to the Walpole Health Department, which offered a Pfizer vaccine clinic to Walpole Public School students ages 12 and over. On Monday, an email was sent to all high school and middle school families with dates and the corresponding link to register for the vaccine. The first vaccination will be held at the school next week. The second dose will take place on June 25th at the Council on Aging. If you are unable to locate the email and would like more information, please contact Mary Mortali (mmortali@walpole.k12.ma.us) or your child’s school.


Class of 2021

Tuesday was the last day of classes for our Walpole High School seniors. When I think of the Class of 2021 who were impacted by the global pandemic during the last quarter of their junior year and their entire senior year, I think of their resilience, their strength, and their adaptability. Our seniors have been presented with many challenges, but they continue to rise to the occasion and represent our community with pride and integrity. Like last year’s class, I knew many of them when they were in their elementary and middle school classrooms. I have also been fortunate to witness their participation in drama productions, music performances, and athletic events. It will be an honor to hand them their diplomas and watch them become Walpole High School graduates. This community is proud to celebrate them!


On Sunday, June 6 at 2:45 pm, we invite the entire community to come together to congratulate our seniors as they drive the parade route after conferring their diplomas. WPS would like to thank the Walpole Police Department and Walpole Fire Department for their support with this event. This graduation parade would not be possible without them. We hope you can join us in celebrating the class of 2021.


I want to wish a special congratulations to our National Honor Society inductees and current senior members. Co-advisors, Laura Kay and Elizabeth Albertelly, created a wonderful virtual NHS Induction Ceremony that was shared with the community this week. Our NHS students truly represent the 4 pillars of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. In addition, the ceremony recognized some incredible teachers, coaches, and mentors as each senior spoke briefly about a special educator who impacted their lives. We would have preferred to recognize these students and educators in person, but I am grateful for the work involved in creating this virtual ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZClhL65czwg


District Art Show

Although we are unable to be together for the District Art Show, we are able to hold it virtually (again) this year. Thank you to the art department for their dedication and for providing a format that features our students’ work. The next school year, we are looking forward to having this along with many other events in person! District Art Show 2021


Memorial Day

Finally, this weekend provides us with an opportunity and much needed time to get together with family and friends. As many of us look to this weekend as the unofficial kick-off to the summer, it is also a time to pause and honor military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I am proud to be part of a military family. My grandfather, Marine Corps Sgt. Major, fought in WWI, WWII, and the Korean war, my uncle, a Navy Veteran, fought in Vietnam, and my father was a Navy Corpsman. Fortunately, they all made it home after the completion of their service. Recently, I was able to visit those family members at Arlington National Cemetery and Bourne National Cemetery and to pay my respects to those who never made it home. On Monday, May 31st, we salute our fallen and honor our heroes.


Have a good weekend.

Stay healthy and safe.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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A Message from Dr. Gough

April 30, 2021


Dear WPS Community,


Welcome back from April break. We hope you had a restful week and were able to enjoy the warmer weather. As we enter into the final weeks of school, we are committed to staying focused on student safety, student learning, and student well-being.


Covid 19 cases are beginning to trend down both in town and in our schools. For the time being, however, all safety protocols will remain in place. Since we’re just coming off the April break, it is important that we evaluate our data over the next several weeks to ensure that classrooms stay open and after-school activities and events remain scheduled.


DESE Update

Commissioner Riley mandated all middle schools return on April 29th and all high schools return on May 17th. However, since Walpole returned on April 5th, we are ahead of schedule! Commissioner Riley also announced that the recommendation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to modify the state graduation requirements for the Class of 2022 was approved. Therefore, this year’s 11th graders are not required to take the MCAS test. The requirement for grades 3 through 8 and 10 will remain in place.


Last Day of School

The last day of school for students Pre-K through Grade 11 is Thursday, June 17th. This will be an early release day. The last day for seniors is May 25th. Principals will send out the exact dismissal times for each school. The last day for staff is Friday, June 18th.


Summer Programming

We are in the initial stages of designing and planning our summer enrichment program. This year, our in-person summer program for K-8 students will have the option to attend one to three weeks of summer programming. This program will be free to all interested students and families. An interest survey will be sent to parents and families early next week to help us determine preliminary staffing needs and enrichment resources. The high school will provide online programs for students in core academic areas to supplement any learning loss or growth. Details will be forthcoming.


Bus applications will be available in mid-May.


2021-2022 School Lunches

The USDA announced that school breakfast, snacks, and lunch will be free for the 2021-2022 school year in efforts to meet the nutritional needs of all students.


Middle School Building Project Update

We are pleased to report that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) approved the Town of Walpole to proceed into Schematic Design replacing the existing Bird Middle School and the Eleanor Johnson Middle School with a new facility serving grades 6-8 (district-wide) on the existing Bird Middle School site. Walpole was one of four districts invited into Schematic Design. Please visit the middle school building project website for further updates and information. We are planning to hold another Community Forum in June. Citizens can check out the middle school building project website here. Anyone with questions or comments can email the middle school project at middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.


WHS Announces New Mascot

At last evening’s School Committee meeting, Student Representative Scotty Cameron had the honor of announcing the new mascot. After many months of hard work, the ‘Commission on Renaming’ is proud to announce that their work to find a new mascot name has finally concluded. This was an exhaustive process where over 600 individual suggestions were submitted from the community, soliciting over 160 individual names for consideration. After many meetings, the committee reduced the submissions to four names:


  • The Walpole Wolfpack

  • The Walpole Wild

  • The Walpole Timberwolves

  • Walpole


We are proud and happy to announce that our new mascot is ‘The Walpole Timberwolves


A Timberwolf inhabits vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Timberwolves are known for their teamwork, strength, speed, and agility. Additionally, the timber industry in Walpole has a long, rich tradition. It wasn't until the 1660s that the first permanent settlers appeared in what is now Walpole Center. They were lured to this area by the stories of the rich timberland. They came in hopes of building a sawmill. The sawmill was the first industry in the Walpole area. Thomas Clapp, who married Mary Fisher, became the owner of the mill. Four families were living at the sawmill, Thomas Clapp, James Fales, Quentin Stockwell, and Samuel Parker. Our Town Forest is a living tribute to the very important timber industry in Walpole. The following article offers a comprehensive history of the various manufacturing industries in Walpole, up to and including the Walpole Woodworkers in the 1930’s.


Information regarding ordering merchandise with the new logo will be available next week. We are excited to adopt ‘The Timberwolves’ as our new mascot!


Have a good weekend.

Stay healthy and safe.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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