Friday, October 12, 2018

Superintendent's Report 10.10.18

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
October 10, 2018

Academic Tutor for Grade 3 at Stanley:
  • There were 13 applicants for the position
  • Only four of the applicants had a background in education
  • All four were interviewed and the classroom teachers were part of the process
  • Mrs. Longin and the teachers were in agreement that unfortunately, they were unable to find a good fit from this pool of candidates
  • We have reposted the position and are widening our search to
  • It should be noted that although this development sets us back on our original timeline, the classroom teachers are feeling confident in how positively the year is going and how important it is to find the right fit so the majority of their time can be spent focused on the students
National Blue Ribbon School
  • Swampscott High School has been named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, a designation earned by only .2 percent of schools in the country
  • Swampscott High is one of only 349 schools – including 62 high schools -- nationwide to be honored this year, and one of only three schools in Massachusetts. There are approximately 31,000 high schools and 132,000 schools overall in the U.S.
  • Blue Ribbon schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on metrics including test scores, attendance, and graduation rate: Exemplary High Performing schools and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing schools. Swampscott was recognized in the latter category
  • The subgroups of students that factor into the achievement gap includes minority (19% of Swampscott students), English not as the primary language (10%), special education (16%) and economically disadvantaged (15%) 
  • This award is a result of the work that has been done over the last 5 years. And although this is an award the high school is receiving, it is really a celebration for the entire faculty and staff of the Swampscott Public Schools

District Crisis Team Meeting
  • As a reminder, each school has their own individual crisis teams made up of members from their schools
  • The District Crisis Team is made up of members from all the schools’ teams as well as town agencies including police, fire, and DPW
  • Our fall meeting was held Monday, October 1st
  • Crisis Response Plans and Medical Emergency Response Plans have been updated and distributed to all members of the District Crisis Team
  • Medical Emergency Response Plans are also submitted to the state on or before September 1st every 3 years but are updated within the district annually
  • Some of our agenda items included: Debrief on the Shelter in Place and Parent Meeting held at Clarke School, continued discussion of bringing Narcan into all schools and the Lead Nurse leading the work for a Narcan protocol for the district sign off by the District Physician Dr. Cheryl D'Souza, and review of our tornado drill
November 6th - Professional Development Day
  • Celebrating Our Differences: Inclusiveness for All
  • Keynote speaker: Chad Hymas - Celebrating Our Differences: Building an Inclusive Community
  • Three breakout sessions with topics including Understanding Bias and Anti-BIas Practices, Understanding Racial Equity, 5 Core Competencies of Social-Emotional Learning, Navigating LBTBQ in the classroom - a student panel, and Culturally based Educational Perspectives - a parent panel to name just a few.
  • School Committee is invited for the Keynote, while we as an entire district navigate these new topics in the breakout sessions.
Interim Hadley Principal
  • We have conducted interviews for the Interim Hadley School Principal in Mrs. Bebchick’s absence
  • Highly qualified candidates
  • Will be making a decision in the next week and hopefully, an announcement at the next School Committee meeting
School Business Administrator
  • We have been working very collaboratively with the general government to collaborate and create efficiencies where possible.
  • We hired Mrs. Julie DeLillo as Director of Human Resources
  • We had hired a Joint Facilities Director whose vacancy we are currently working to fill and we are exploring other areas to create efficiencies
  • One area that we cannot consolidate or create an efficiency is in the position of School Business Administrator 
  • This is a position required by the state and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for school departments
  • There are unique requirements such as licensure and certifications that much be achieved in order to qualify for this position 
  • This position is not a general financial management position. This is a CFO position with highly specific skills distinct to public education which is an extremely demanding and dynamic operation
  • The need for a full-time licensed School Business Administrator who is specially trained in the many content areas where a senior manager needs to be able to support my position 24/7
  • This evening, I bring before you a highly skilled and qualified candidate who I wholeheartedly recommend to you for our next School Business Administrator, Ms. Martha Sybert
  • Ms. Sybert comes to us with over 5 years of school finance experience and over 20 years of progressively challenging accounting, budgeting, and finance experience. Her vast experience includes operational planning, budget development, capital planning, and financial analysis
  • It was a unanimous decision and Ms. Martha Sybert is the new School Business Administrator whose start date is to be determined

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Superintendent's Report 9.26.18

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
September 26, 2018

Elementary Enrollment Update - Grade 3/Stanley:
  • Mrs. Longin and I met to discuss the needs of the two third grade classrooms at Stanley. 
  • In order to best meet the needs of the students, the best position to support these classrooms would be an Academic Tutor.
  • An Academic Tutor would allow for small instructional groups in the breakout spaces during core subjects such as math and literacy.
  • As of today, we have 12 applicants with a range of educational experience from 2 to 24 years.
  • Mrs. Longin and her staff are conducting interviews.
  • We are still on track to have this targeted support in place in a couple of weeks.

School Business Administrator Search
  • We conducted interviews as scheduled last Thursday, September 20th.
  • We are currently in negotiations with a candidate to bring forward to the Committee.
MSBA Update
  • Following our enrollment submission, we have been invited in to meet with the MSBA on Monday, October 15th. This meeting is proposed for the MSBA to better understand local conditions and any concerns the District may have as part of the enrollment forecast.
  • Mr. Katz, Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Raymond, and I will be attending this meeting.
  • In addition, the MSBA held two slots for our district to attend a one day class called the Story of a Building. It’s going to be held at the Woodland Elementary School in Milford. Mrs. Wright and I are registered to attend where we look forward to learning about topics such as Construction and Building Operations, Lessons Learned, Best Practices regarding IT software and hardware, and furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
MCAS 2018
  • Administrators have been pouring over the preliminary data since late summer.
  • Results are embargoed until 12:01 tonight and will be released to the public tomorrow.
  • They will be arriving in the district on Friday, the 28th and will be sent home on Tuesday, October 2nd, across the district.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Superintendent's Report 9.12.18

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
September 12, 2018

Elementary Enrollment Update:
  • We’ve continued to monitor the elementary class sizes during the last few weeks of this school year.
  • Despite the difficult budget decisions last spring whereby class sections in grades K-3 were decreased by one, I am pleased to report that most class sizes have leveled out between 18-23 students as predicted. 
  • There are a couple of outliers in 4 grade at Stanley, because they remained at 3 sections: two sections have 16 students and the third has 18. 
  • In addition, third grade at Clarke currently has 25 & 25 however, there are students listed in that homeroom that are attached to other specific programs in that school. However, we are working closely with Mrs. Hunt to determine the additional supports that may be needed here, as well. 
  • The third grade at Stanley School is our largest class with 25 and 26 students in each class.
  • I think it’s important to note that through the appeals process with regard to student relocation assignments, several families appealed their placement and for a number of reasons those appeals were granted. 
  • We are currently reviewing applications for general education ESPs to provide support in those third-grade classrooms. 
  • It is also important to remember that with this decision of decreasing class sections, there is now available breakout space for use at Stanley School. My vision and expectation are that these spaces would be utilized by students in third grade often with the adult support that we will be putting in place. 

School Business Administrator Search
  • The Interview Committee consists of Evan Katz, School Business Administrator, Joanne van der Burg, Budget and Finance Specialist, Martha Raymond, Director of Student Services, Julie DeLillo, Director of Human Resources, Carin Marshall, Chair of the Budget Subcommittee, and myself. 
  • Of the nine resumes we received, we had narrowed the candidates down to 4 and were to be conducting 2 phone interviews and 2 in-person interviews next Thursday. However, 2 candidates have retracted their candidacy.

MSBA Update
  • We submitted the next two deliverables to the MSBA in the Eligibility Period by the deadline of August 30th: The Educational Profile Questionnaire and Enrollment Projection. 
  • I followed up with the MSBA this week to ask where the approval of our School Building Committee stood. I was told it is still being reviewed by legal but our liaison will investigate where we are in the queue. 
  • Our next deliverable date is November 28th when the Enrollment Certification Executed and Maintenance and Capital Planning Information is due.

Boston Magazine - Best of Boston
  • I have Tweeted and celebrated with our staff the fact that Swampscott High School ranked #31 in Boston Magazine’s most recent issue naming Best Public High Schools in 2018. In 2016, Swampscott High School was ranked #39.
  • Criteria include: class size, student-teacher ratio, MCAS, SAT scores, AP scores, graduation rate, students attending college, and teacher evaluation ratings.
  • Significant progress but not surprising. 
  • Data Specialist and AP Teacher Training

The Opening of the School Year
  • It was a challenging start to the school year with the extreme heat. We faced challenges as did every other district that started before Labor Day.
  • The students and staff were troopers through this extreme heat.
  • I want to thank the families for their flexibility during this period when last-minute early release days were called. 
  • Fire Drills (4 per year) and ALICE Drills have been scheduled at all 5 schools.

Summer and Ongoing Maintenance Projects

Clarke School
Painting (3) offices
Patch wall & paint Art Room
Clean & paint Gym Vents
Coordination of plumbing repairs
Floor repairs in Portable Building
Fire Alarm Upgrade project - (ongoing)
Coordination and selection of Stage Lift
Demolition and Construction of walls, floor, and stage for lift - (ongoing)
Moved Library from Portable to Main Building
Repair shelving at Art Room
Patching of concrete stairs at Gym

Hadley School
Patch walls at Stair Landings
Classroom door repairs
Coordination of exterior door repairs
Patch walls in classrooms
Patch & paint Gym floor
Moving of classrooms
Repair fence at Playground

Stanley School
Paint (3) rooms
Paint Art Room floor
Paint (2) Bathrooms
Paint interior & exterior stairs
Moving of classrooms
Floor repairs in classrooms
Coordination of carpet installation in classroom

High School
Coordination of sprinkler repairs in Gym with Metro Swift and Fire Department
Paint room
Coordination of plumbing repairs
Floor repairs at 1st floor 8-Wing
Repair Science Room tables

Middle School
Coordination of plumbing repairs
Coordination of electrical repairs
Installation of Pre School Playground equipment
Cleaning of roof drains
Opened up the wall in HR File Room to access plumbing leak above Kitchen
Office - extensive brick removal necessary to access
Replace ceiling in Kitchen Office

Central Office moves at MS including construction, moving & painting
Green Communities Grant kickoff meeting
Installation of AED cabinets at Athletic Fields
Purchasing and delivering of supplies and materials for Summer Cleaning
Moving of classrooms between buildings in the district
Coordinating of Outside Cleaning contractors at Middle and High Schools
Removal of downed trees and branches after the storm
Coordination of annual Fire Alarm & Sprinkler testing
Coordination of Annual Elevator Testing - (ongoing - rescheduled by State Inspector)
Coordination of the Hiring of new Custodial Staff
Coordination and finalization of numerous preventive maintenance contracts - Fire Alarm and Sprinkler, Emergency Generator and Metasys Controls
Heating system coordination walk-thru to determine the scope or needed work - (ongoing)
Removal of e-waste to HS loading dock for pickup

Replaced the door at Fish House

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Superintendent's Report 8.22.18

Superintendent’s Report to the School Committee
August 22, 2018

Elementary Enrollment Update:

Enrollment in classes at the elementary level has fluctuated throughout the summer.

We don’t consider any of the current data we have at this time to be “finalized” as historically, the data changes between now and our final report to the state due by October 1st.

At this time, our elementary class sizes range from 18 to one class of 26.

Classes were created with the academic and social-emotional needs of each student in mind.

We will continue to review class sizes and areas of needs during the first few weeks of school, as often times, we have not been notified of students who withdraw until school is in session.

We will be utilizing our targeted support funds to provide general education support where needed.

Fifth Grade:

Two exciting changes with fifth graders entering the Middle School this year.

The first day of school, fifth graders should report to the Middle School at 8:45 am instead of 8:00 am. This change gives Mr. Calichman and Ms. Sanborn time that is dedicated to our youngsters transitioning into their new school.

Locks on the fifth-grade lockers have been removed. Students should treat these like “cubbies” thereby alleviating the stress students experience when struggling with their locks and getting to class on time.

School Business Administrator Search:

The posting closed August 20th.

This morning we received 9 resumes from (NESDEC) the search firm who was conducting the search.

We are reviewing resumes, will establish an interview committee, and soon begin scheduling interviews.

MSBA Update:

We have submitted our School Building Committee to the MSBA and are awaiting their approval.

I want to thank all the community members who submitted resumes and qualifications to be part of this committee.

We are still in the Eligibility Period with the next deadline being August 30th for our Educational Profile Questionnaire and Enrollment Projection.

Extended Day Enrollment Update:

As of August 13th the current enrollment for the Extended Day Program at each school:

Clarke 90%

Hadley 100%

Stanley 108%

Teen Center 50% (already more students than last year)

Swampscott Public School Tagline:

In the last few weeks, the staff has been voting on a tagline for our District. I am leaving the voting open until the end of next week. Right now, the top three contenders in no particular order are:

Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow

Creating a Brighter Future, One Student at a Time

Every Student Matters, Every Moment Counts, Every Day is a New Beginning

Please note we narrowed leadership submissions down to 6 choices. Then we Googled each selection and found that these or versions of these have been used in other districts. As a result, whatever our final decision is, we recognize we will be sharing with another community.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Welcome Back Families 2018-2019

Swampscott Banner.jpg

August 2018

Dear Swampscott Families,

On behalf of the Swampscott Public Schools I would like to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year. A special welcome to those students and families who are joining us for the first time. The beginning of school is rapidly approaching and there is much to do as both you and the district prepare for the opening of school.

The first day of school for students in Pre-K and grades 1-12 will be on Tuesday, August 28th. Individual screenings will take place by appointment for our incoming Kindergarten students from Tuesday, August 28th through Thursday, August 30th. There is NO SCHOOL on Friday, August 31st, and Monday, September 3rd in honor of the Labor Day holiday. The first day for Kindergarten students is on Tuesday, September 4th. The school year calendar can be printed from our website along with a year-long calendar of events that is easily accessible for each of the schools. The calendar feature also allows filtering for those of you with students in more than one school: Calendar Link to SPS Website

Shortly after school begins, Curriculum Nights will be held at each of the schools for parents and guardians to meet teachers and learn about the curriculum expectations. Please mark your calendar as the dates and times of these events are as follows:

Clarke Elementary Wednesday, September 12th 6:30pm

Hadley Elementary Thursday, September 6th 6:00pm

Stanley Elementary Thursday, September 6th 6:00pm

Middle School (Grades 5 & 6) Tuesday, September 25th 6:00pm

Middle School (Grades 7 & 8) Wednesday, September 26th 6:00pm

Swampscott High School Thursday, September 27th 6:00pm

We continue to build upon the work we began last year in the following curriculum areas:

Pilots: - There will be several curriculum program pilots occurring throughout the district this year. Fifteen teachers in grades K-5 across the district will be piloting Math in Focus and our ESL department will be piloting Reach core curriculum. At the high school level a new Spanish curriculum will be piloted in Spanish I, II, & III and a Financial Literacy curriculum will also be piloted. Piloting programs allows the district to make program adoption decisions by the end of the year to keep our program materials current.

Technology/Google (K-12) – This year we will be mapping out grade level Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards in grades K-12.

We also continue to focus on the priorities in our District Strategy: Social Emotional Well-Being, Educator Growth, Curriculum & Instruction, Assessment & Data, and Technology.

I have only scratched the surface of all the great things happening in our district. July and August are very busy months when countless facility and maintenance projects are underway, curriculum work occurs, interviews and hiring of new staff, all as we anticipate the arrival of the students and faculty. Each school year brings a renewed enthusiasm and excitement to our work and each September I am reminded of what a privilege it is to serve this community and an honor to be your Superintendent.