February 2016 Newsletter

Dear Watertown Strong Schools Supporter, Welcome to the first newsletter of 2016!  We plan to send out a monthly newsletter to keep you updated on our efforts and all things related to education in Watertown. For up to the minute information, please look to our website and Facebook page (links provided at the bottom of this newsletter).

2016 Goals/Initiatives WSS held a meeting of the leadership team at the end of January to discuss 2016 advocacy efforts.  We identified two areas that we wish to focus on and have set up a working group for each area.  These working groups will hold their first meetings to finalize 2016 goals in early March.

  • The Overcrowding/Class size working group will focus on advocating for short-, mid-, and long-term solutions to the physical space issues facing our district and causing overcrowding issues especially in our Elementary schools.  Class size is also an area of advocacy and is related to physical space solutions.
  • The Communications/Information Infrastructure working group will cover several areas of advocacy: improvement of school/parent/community communication; improvement of the district website to make it easier to find information; posting of draft School Committee and Sub Committee meeting minutes; a better parent information portal allowing parents to see student assessment information, grades, progress reports, teacher feedback, homework; etc.

Unofficial Meeting Minutes Because it is often difficult for parents and community members to attend all of the meetings they are interested in, and because “official minutes” are often not posted until up to a month later, it can be a challenge to stay up to date on everything.   Therefore, in an effort to keep the community as informed as possible, WSS has started taking “unofficial” meeting minutes, providing associated commentary and posting it to our website and Facebook page within 24hrs of the meeting.  We have received a lot of positive feedback from the community and plan to continue this practice.  See below for links to recent minutes.

2016 Volunteer Survey In early February, WSS sent out a survey looking for volunteers.  Thank you to everyone that filled out a survey and indicated their interest in becoming more involved with Watertown Strong Schools.  It was a great success!  The survey is still open to anyone interested.

School Start Times The Watertown Public Schools’ Wellness Committee is studying school start times in relation to the sleep needs of teens. The committee is seeking input from Watertown parents/guardians, students, and educators.  The parent survey was sent out on 2/24/16.  The Wellness Committee plans to report its findings at the May 2016 School Committee meeting. We encourage everyone to fill out the survey and provide your feedback.

Several WSS parents have joined together and started a local chapter of the national Start School Later organization.  If you are interested in joining or would like more information about healthy school hours, please visit the website. Check out the Superintendent's Notebook to hear Dr. Jean Fitzgerald, Superintendent, Elizabeth Kaplan, Lowell Principal, Laura Alderson Rotondo, Career and Technical Education Coordinator, and Magen Slesinger, FAPA Coordinator discuss STEAM initiatives in Watertown.


Thank you,

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