Dear Families and Friends,
I want to welcome everyone back for a new school year. It feels as though we were just saying goodbye to students and now we are returning with September at our doorstep. The short summer was filled with many changes, including a list of retirees and new hires. The schools are looking clean and tidy. The classroom teachers are ready to welcome your students to their classrooms. Despite the brief summer, I hope everyone was able to enjoy time with their family and to relax.
The first big change is our website. As you might have noticed we have a new look. The administration spent many hours during August to ensure an early Fall debut. While there is still work to be completed on the website, we are excited that most of our information is now available and ready to be accessed. In the coming months we will continue to make additions but for the present the community can readily use the website to access valuable information about your student’s school, schedule, food menu, sports and other important messages. Please take a moment and explore our website. The administration is positive that families will find this website user-friendly and helpful. We ask for your patience while we finish our construction work. Those pages will be noted by the signs.
At our August 19th meeting a new member was added to the School Committee. The Board of Selectman and the School Committee voted to have Barbara Stefan fill the vacant seat on the committee through May 14, 2016. Mrs. Stefan comes to the committee with a strong background in education. We welcome her to the committee and look forward to her contributions.
Over the summer our teachers participated in a variety of coursework both through the district and individually at various colleges and universities. On campus, our teachers completed work in the area of writing. Off campus, many teachers chose to attend courses in their area of expertise, adding to their repertoire of skills. As they prepare to return to their classrooms information learned this summer will be integrated into classroom lessons.
We have continued to focus on the technology rollout for the school year. In late June Ron Menard was hired as the new Chief Information Officer. He has spent many hours assessing our current needs and adding to the system so our students will be able to access technology on demand. To date we have not been able to fill the position of Deputy Chief Information Officer but that will hopefully take place in the coming months. Until then, Chris Senior, Town Manager, Ron Menard and myself will work on a plan that will permit the district to move forward on our technology rollout, granted by the Capital Budget Committee last May. I will be sharing more about the technology rollout and the digital technology committee that will help formulate a five-year plan.
This year we are looking at the whole child and focusing on their social emotional wellness. The administration has spent a great deal of time this summer reflecting upon how to best support our children in the classroom. At the elementary level the schools will implement Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) to assist the students with understanding their social environment. The secondary level is looking at developing outcomes following a school wide survey, Communities for Care, given to the students last year. All students will be supported through our new School Resource Officer, Lt. Sergeant Michael Lopes. He will be located at CMHS and will regularly visit both Deer Hill and Osgood. Lt. Sergeant Lopes comes to us from the police department, having served four years with the Cohasset Police Department and 21 years with the Massachusetts Transit Association.
During the 2015-2016 year, the district will move forward to establish a new Strategic Plan that will guide our student’s education during the next five years. Both the School Committee and I have made this one of our goals to accomplish during the next ten months. In the coming weeks more information will be distributed informing the community on how to participate in the process.
One last note; we have returned to our offices at 143 Pond Street after many months away. While we moved back in June, construction was only recently completed. We hope you will come by and say hello. As always, if you have any thoughts, please feel free to write or call me. Thank you.
Barbara J. Cataldo
Superintendent of Schools