Superintendent's Update - July 17, 2020

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Please see the updates below and in this six-minute video message that I recorded yesterday, which includes information about summer learning for students, our planning work for school reopening, and our work to advance equity and anti-racism.

Please also note:

1) I am pleased to share the most recent Shrewsbury Public Schools Annual Report.  This report, which covers calendar years 2018 and 2019, was originally scheduled to be published in April but was delayed due to the pandemic.  You will find a variety of interesting data and information in the report, especially brief profiles of several SPS students, staff, and alumni that illustrate the positive impact of our schools.  We have much to be proud of!

2) The School Committee met this past Wednesday evening (meeting video here). They received an update on reopening planning, including the start of some limited in-person special education services this coming Monday and data regarding the recent family survey on reopening;  heard a report regarding this coming school year's budget situation; and discussed and voted on a first phase of bus registration for the coming school year.  Because of the uncertainty around the return to school and the strong possibility that we will need to have limited ridership on buses due to physical distancing, the School Committee took the following actions:  a) they waived the bus fee through the end of December, and b) they voted to have the first phase of registration be for K-12 students who live two or more miles from school.  The Committee also charged me with looking to provide bus access to as many families as possible as we get final regulations from the state government on bus capacity limits, with a particular focus on providing transportation access to families with demonstrated need.  Please look for an email regarding the first phase of the bus registration process early next week.  You can find information on our school reopening planning here, and if you have questions or feedback you may send an email to

3) On behalf of the school district, I want to thank two outstanding public servants who have recently retired from leadership roles in our town.  Police Chief James Hester, who served as a Shrewsbury patrolman and sergeant before becoming chief in 2007, has always been an excellent partner with our schools during his tenure, especially through the two school resource officer positions that he implemented and supported.  SELCO General Manager Michael Hale, who served as the Assistant Town Manager before moving to SELCO in 2011, has always been an enthusiastic supporter of public education in Shrewsbury, especially through partnering to assist with our technology infrastructure, while helping in many quiet ways behind the scenes.  I will miss working with them, and on behalf of SPS wish them both a healthy and happy retirement. 

It looks like our first heat wave of the summer is on the way.  Try to stay cool this weekend, everyone.


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools

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