WPS Superintendent Updates

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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There are still books in the media center. Honest!

A Message from Dr. Gough

April 9, 2021


Dear WPS Community,


"Welcome Back...Again!"

On March 16, 2020, I remember sending out that first communication letting families know that our buildings were closed until April 6th. Little did we know that on April 30th, another correspondence would announce that our buildings would be closed for the remainder of the school year. After opening our doors on September 14th in a hybrid model, on Monday, April 5th, we were excited to welcome back all of our students in grades K-12 to full five day in-person learning. There was a lot of smiling, waving, clapping, shouting, and dancing this past Monday - and that was just the parents during morning drop-off!


It was exciting to see the balloons, signs, school mascots, our energetic staff, and most of all, our students. I would like to thank the staff for their hard work and continued resilience while we shift to another learning module. I would also like to thank the Walpole Police Department for their assistance with arrival and dismissal procedures. Please continue to be patient as we assess and make adjustments as needed.


We will continue to work collaboratively with our Nurse Leader and Board of Health to meet all safety protocols to minimize risk and maximize the safety of our students. As always, we will abide by contact tracing and quarantining policies per our protocol. It is important to note, as we have done all year, we will be prepared to make adjustments at each level as warranted. We can only control what happens in our schools and therefore need your continued support to mitigate risk to keep our school doors open and our athletic, extracurricular, and end of the year programs running smoothly. We are part of an exceptional educational community that is willing to work together to support our students and overcome obstacles.


MCAS

On Thursday, April 1, Commissioner Riley announced that he will recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that they modify the state graduation requirements for the Class of 2022. If approved, this year’s 11th graders would not be required to take the MCAS test. In addition, the timeline for administering the tests in grades 3 through 8 and 10 will be extended until June 11 in an effort to provide maximum flexibility for school districts.


Survey

In conjunction with the Walpole Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Awareness, Jessica M. Kuhn, Regional Coalition Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Prevention, is asking middle school and high school families to participate in a five-minute survey about the perceptions of underage drinking and other drug use. This regional survey is collecting data from the towns of Canton, Holbrook, Stoughton, and Walpole. The survey is anonymous and will assist the Coalitions in supporting our community. Any questions, please feel free to contact Jessica Kuhn at jkuhn@stoughton-ma.gov.


Middle School Building Project

Thank you to all of those community members who were able to join us Thursday evening for the Middle School Building Project Community Forum. We hope you found it informative. If you missed the presentation, you may view it here. Last night’s agenda included the project’s history and timeline, the decision making process, the preferred schematic design, and the estimated cost, reimbursement, and tax projections. Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions.


Have a good weekend.


Stay healthy and safe.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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