WPS Superintendent Updates

A Message from Dr. Gough

October 15, 2021

Middle School Building Project Presentation


We will be holding our 8th presentation at Bird Middle School next Tuesday, October 19 at 7:00 pm regarding the new combined middle school. This will be the final forum prior to Town Meeting (October 23) and Special Election Vote (November 2). The panel will provide information about the project’s history, the Town’s partnership with MSBA, schematic design, timeline, budget, anticipated reimbursement to Walpole, tax impact projections, and an opportunity to ask questions. There will be an optional tour of Bird Middle School prior to the presentation at 6:15 pm.


Want more information? Please visit the project website.

Have a question? Emails can be sent to middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.

COVID Update

The most recent COVID-19 data for Walpole shows a 2.42% positivity rate, a slight uptick from 1.60% on 10/6. There were 11 positive cases for the week of 10/2-10/9 and three cases the prior week (9/26-10/2) for a total of 32 cases since the start of school. Cases are updated every weekend and can be found on the WPS COVID Data Dashboard, which also includes the Massachusetts Weekly Public Health Report.


At this time, DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley has extended the mandatory indoor mask mandate for all Massachusetts schools through November 1. In addition, Commissioner Riley delayed the possible implementation of a mask removal option (for any schools that can demonstrate at least 80% of all faculty, staff, and students are fully vaccinated) until at least October 15. Since the majority of grade 6 students at the middle schools are not vaccine eligible, the student vaccination rate is at approximately 45%. WHS student vaccination rate is currently at 74%, an increase from 72% on 9/25.


Thanks to our in-house medical team, our Test and Stay program continues to be up and running. To date, 312 tests have been administered, which has enabled our students to remain in school and continue with our priority of in-person learning. Several have asked about the potential of having a third WPS vaccination clinic. At this time, the state is unable to provide a clinic for us, however, we are working with the Walpole Health Department to bring a possible vaccination clinic to our town. We will provide further information as it becomes available.

Family Engagement

We enjoyed seeing families in person at our Open Houses. This year, there was a change to the elementary open houses providing a greater curriculum focus for the school year. We appreciate the positive feedback, which will help us with future planning. Our parent-teacher conferences are approaching. This year, we are offering an option of both in-person or virtual.

School Meal Supply Chain Disruptions

As you may be aware, school nutrition programs across the state and the nation are currently faced with unprecedented shortages of food and packaging materials, massive delays or cancellations of deliveries, and department labor shortages. These shortages and delays have affected the availability of certain food items leading to menu substitutions.


All of this means that we may need to make quick substitutions to our menu(s) based upon what is available. We know that this affects students, and we are doing our best to provide updated menu changes when possible. Maria Hall, Food Service Director, and her team are doing an excellent job of managing the situation. The good news is that free breakfast and lunch will continue throughout the school year.

Fales, Leach, Rogers, and Kunde Scholarship

The Fales, Leach, Rogers, and Kunde Scholarship application will be available through November 1. The application can be found on the District Website or at the Superintendent's Office. Awards shall be distributed to undergraduates at four-year accredited colleges. To be eligible for these scholarships, the student must be a graduate of Walpole High School.

Community Event: Uncommon Art

Tomorrow, October 16 from 12-3, Destination Downtown and the Town of Walpole will be holding their second annual Uncommon Art on the Common. This family-friendly event will feature local artists, musicians, and vendors on Walpole Town Common. Artists, musicians, and community members interested in participating may register here: https://bit.ly/3AIlcRJ.


Have a great weekend.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

A Message from Dr. Gough

October 1, 2021


Dear WPS Community,


It’s hard to believe we completed our first month of school, and we are now into October. Mr. Hahn and I visited each school over the course of the past two weeks, and we have been impressed at how quickly students transitioned back to a more traditional educational environment than what we experienced last year. There are many events scheduled in the next two weeks, so please check your student’s school calendars.

Middle School Building Project

Prior to the October 23rd Town Meeting and the November 2nd vote, there will be one more community forum to provide information about the new combined middle school. The forum will be held at Bird Middle School on Tuesday, October 19 at 7:00 pm. There will be an optional tour held prior to the meeting at 6:15 pm. The project team will provide information about the schematic design, overall scope, timeline, budget, MSBA grant process with anticipated reimbursement to Walpole, and tax impact projections. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. Please visit the project website for more information.

Have a question? Emails can be sent to middleschoolproject@walpole.k12.ma.us.

COVID Update

On September 27, Commissioner Riley announced that the mask requirement will remain in place until at least November 1. The Commissioner will review the requirement in the near future to revise as warranted by public health data. However, as of October 15th, if a school demonstrates a vaccination rate of 80% or more, vaccinated individuals in that school would no longer be subject to the mask requirement. Whether or not a district avails itself of the 80% vaccination rate, the decision to lift the mask requirement will be made by school and district leaders in consultation with local health officials. Unvaccinated students and staff still would be required to continue wearing masks. If or when one of our schools reaches the 80% threshold, we must submit an attestation form to DESE for approval. They will respond within 2 business days. In order to prepare for this at any given level, we are currently in the process of having district employees demonstrate proof of vaccination.

In our schools, we have seen a total of 18 positive cases of COVID-19 among students and staff this year. We are decreasing each week, and we hope to see this downward trend continue. A detailed breakdown by school can be found on our COVID-19 Webpage.

Our Test and Stay program continues to be up and running. This program allows individuals who are not yet vaccinated to remain in school after being identified as a close contact in the 0-3 foot range as long as they take a rapid antigen test each morning at school, test negative, and remain symptom-free. Test and Stay is another great mitigation factor to keep our students safe in school and continue our priority of in-person learning.

Town Flu Clinics

The Walpole Health Department will be hosting two public flu clinics in the month of October. Please note that an online pre-registration is required for both clinics. Below you will find the registration links for each clinic:


Public Flu Clinic: Sunday, October 3, 2021

Open to ages 4 years old and up

10 am – 2 pm

Walpole Council on Aging, Murphy Room, 60 South Street

Registration: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/walpole?calendar=0b518efd-a73f-4de1-b606-ceb183c688b0

60+ Flu Clinic & Health Fair: Monday, October 18, 2021

Open to ages 60 years old and up

10 am – 2 pm

Walpole Council on Aging, Murphy Room

Registration: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/walpole?calendar=fe1639fd-2ce1-4717-8715-02073765f316


Fales, Leach, Rogers, and Kunde Scholarship

Please be advised that the Fales, Leach, Rogers, and Kunde Scholarship application will be available from October 1 through November 1. The application can be found on the District Website or at the Superintendent's Office. Awards shall be distributed to undergraduates at four-year accredited colleges. The primary criteria for awarding scholarships shall be scholastic ability, need, and character of the applicant. To be eligible for these scholarships, the student must be a graduate of Walpole High School.

Community Event: Uncommon Art

On Saturday, October 16 from 12-3, Destination Downtown and the Town of Walpole will be holding their second annual Uncommon Art on the Common. This family-friendly event will feature local artists, musicians, and vendors on Walpole Town Common. Artists, musicians, and community members interested in participating may register here: https://bit.ly/3AIlcRJ.


MWRA Poster Contest Winner

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) challenged students to create posters and essays about water conservation. Fisher School student Jiya Sonchhatra placed 2nd in the state for the poster she created. She was honored at an awards reception at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, where her winning entry was on display. She was also recognized at last night’s School Committee meeting. Congratulations, Jiya!


Have a great weekend.


Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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A Message from Dr. Gough

September 17, 2021



Dear WPS Community,


We are excited to welcome our students back into classrooms for full-time, in-person learning. For the last 10 days, it has been wonderful to see WPS return to interactive instruction that engages students in collaborative conversation and robust learning experiences. Thank you to the staff for their hard work preparing for a successful opening. As a reminder, you can review our WPS Opening, which includes COVID-19 Protocols.


This year, Walpole Public Schools welcomed over 30 new staff in a variety of roles and responsibilities. All of our new teachers and support staff participated in new staff orientation from August 23 through August 26. One new teacher summarized it best through their orientation survey response. It read simply, “This week showed me how great of a community Walpole is and the various resources that are available to help guide my teaching to involve every student. My number one takeaway from this week is understanding how committed the district is to the overall well-being of the students in the district.”


COVID-19 Reminders

While we are well aware of the frustration many are feeling due to the COVID-19 rules and restrictions, we are committed to moving forward with guidelines that will allow us to keep staff and students as safe as possible, while also promoting interaction and educating our students in person with limited interruption. Families can still sign up for the Test and Stay Program. Click the following link to sign up and give consent for the program: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null. The COVID Dashboard is back in action and will be updated every weekend. Please make sure to click the 2021-2022 tab to view the dashboard. Last week, due to school starting on Wed, the COVID dashboard reflects 9/1 - 9/11 of 10 positive cases. Thank you to our tireless nursing staff who continue to communicate with families about positive cases and their ongoing work with our Test and Stay Program. The ability to utilize our staff enables us to expedite our response time with families.


ESSER III: Did You Have a Chance to Complete the Survey?

The American Rescue Plan Act was authorized to provide states with funding to support the nation's schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students resulting from the Covid 19 Pandemic. School districts are required to consult with the public in order to develop plans for prioritizing and spending these funds. We are asking the public to provide input on the development of Walpole Public Schools ESSER III spending plans by responding to the following survey. ESSER III funds will be used to address targeted needs of a multi-year period. Please take a few minutes to complete the following survey. We have extended the deadline to Sunday, September 19, 2021. You can read the full scope of requirements for ESSER III here: https://www.doe.mass.edu/federalgrants/esser/


Help Wanted!

We are still looking for Educational Support Professionals (Bachelor’s degree required) and substitute teachers. If you know of anyone interested in joining our team, we encourage them to apply online.


Middle School Building Project

As November 2nd is fast approaching, there will be three more community forums to provide information about the new combined middle school. The project team will provide information about the schematic design, overall scope, timeline, budget, MSBA grant process with anticipated reimbursement to Walpole, and town funding and tax impact projections. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. The remaining forums are as follows:


Wednesday, September 22 at 6:00 PM

Council on Aging Murphy Room


Tuesday, September 28 at 7:00 PM

Middle School Community Forum

Johnson Middle School Auditorium

Optional Tour at 6:15


Tuesday, October 19 at 6:00 PM

Bird Middle School Auditorium

Optional Tour at 6:15


Walpole Scholarship Foundation: Tomorrow - Back To School Trivia Night

Love Jeopardy? Come to the Walpole Scholarship Foundation's Back to School Trivia Night tomorrow, Saturday, September 18th at 6:30 pm. The event will be outdoors under the pavilion at Boylston Schul-Verein - German Club. Tickets are still available online and will also be available at the door. Buy a table of 10 or come as an individual. This foundation has awarded over $4 million dollars in scholarships to the students of Walpole! Click here to get your tickets: https://wsftrivia.brownpapertickets.com/.


Walk with the Supers

It’s back! Next Friday, September 24 from 8:30-9:45 am at WHS Track: Walk with the Supers! This event is designed to promote community engagement and wellness. Come for a portion or stay the entire time. This is open to all community members.



Bridget A. Gough, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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