Opening Letter to Families 2018

posted Aug 31, 2018, 9:28 AM by Christine Carletti   [ updated Aug 31, 2018, 9:29 AM ]

I hope that this summer has provided your family with opportunities to rest, relax, and recharge for this coming school year and that you can enjoy these last few days before we kick off the 2018/2019 school year on September 4.  All Watertown faculty and staff returned today for our Opening Day staff meeting during which our keynote speaker, Dr. Darnisa Amante, supported our understanding of the importance of equity in our work each day.   Additionally, a panel of six students shared their experiences at the high school and provided us with inspiration for the year and insight into what they appreciate most about their Watertown teachers and classes.  WPS Educators will continue with their professional learning and growth tomorrow and Thursday with highly engaging training throughout the District on a variety of initiatives currently underway.  

Today we welcomed 28 new teachers, several essential support staff, and five new administrators to our WPS community.  We are most grateful that they have chosen our schools and know that they will add much to our success and our students will benefit greatly from their passion and creativity.  

I am pleased to begin this year with a clearly developed and achievable four-year District Improvement Strategy.  Over the course of last spring and into the summer, the WPS Strategy Develop Team, comprised of educators, parents, community members, School Committee members, and administrators, developed the District’s Improvement Strategy which articulates our mission, vision, core values, theory of action, and strategic objectives.  After much deliberation, debate, and discussion, we determined that the mission of the Watertown Public Schools is as follows:

WPS prepares all students for life by engaging them in a challenging and meaningful education within an inclusive, diverse community.

To me, the most important part of this mission statement is that “we prepare our students for life.”  Pure and simple.  How we do it is by engaging students in a challenging and meaningful education and where we do it is in our inclusive and diverse community.  It is our mission every day to prepare our students for their future, and this work is grounded fundamentally in our collective core values of Excellence, Equity, and Community. 

Excellence

  • We commit to high expectations for each student.
  • We invest in a culture of reflection, collaboration, and commitment to continuous improvement.
  • We provide a rigorous and nurturing academic environment.
  • We foster creativity, resiliency, and confidence.

Equity

  • We believe all students can and will learn and grow.
  • We provide all students with a high-quality education.
  • We create conditions necessary for all students to engage in powerful, deep learning.
  • We provide resources for academic and social/emotional success for all students.
  • We ensure access to a welcoming and safe environment for all students, parents, and families.

Community

  • We share accountability for the success of all students.
  • We celebrate the contributions of each individual to our inclusive, diverse community.
  • We believe partnerships with families and the community are the cornerstone of student success.
  • We foster caring and collaborative relationships as the foundation for student engagement.

Each of these values and declarative statements embodies what it means to be part of the Watertown Public Schools community.  It is through this commitment to our core values and the tremendous dedication of our faculty and staff, our partnership with families, and our supportive community that we will achieve all that we hope and dream for our students in Watertown.

We are pleased to start our first day a little later as a way to provide the opportunity for our secondary students to obtain optimal sleeping time to maximize their learning and to encourage better overall health and emotional wellbeing.  Please plan accordingly for the first day of school as this change in start times may impact your morning routine (see table below for start and dismissal times). 

School:

Start:

Dismissal:

Early Release:

Cunniff Elementary School

8:15

2:30

12:15

Hosmer Elementary School

8:15

2:30

12:15

Lowell Elementary School

8:15

2:30

12:15

Watertown Middle School

8:30

3:00

12:30

Watertown High School

8:30

3:05

12:30

As a parent of four children all in middle or high school, I am keenly aware of the myriad events, meetings, and celebrations that occur in September.  All of the principals have or will be sending out letters to families highlighting the important events and dates for each school.  I would also like to call your attention to several key school or district-wide events as well. 

Key dates to remember in the month of September:

September 5:  School Committee Meeting

September 12:  School Building Committee Meeting

September 17:  Superintendent’s Coffees --  9:00 am and 7:00 pm

September 20:  WMS Back to School Night

September 25:  Elementary Back to School Night

September 26:  Early Release

September 27:  WHS Back to School Night

District-wide and school events can also be found at the District website www.watertown.k12.ma.us.  The Watertown Public Schools website is undergoing major renovations, and within a few short weeks, we will be transitioning to a new website.  I will send out an email informing the community when we transition to the new website.  

Together, the WPS community will soon return into the full swing of preparing our students for life, and we look forward to building strong relationships and partnerships with families throughout the coming year.  I wish you and your family the best for these last few days of summer.

Warm regards,

Dede Galdston

 

 

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