Superintendent's Update - July 24, 2020

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Please see the updates below and in this four-minute video message that I recorded yesterday.  Our staff is hard at work with planning for the reopening of schools in some manner this fall, in an environment of constantly changing information, based on the following:

1) The health & well-being of students, families, & staff is priority #1.
2) Our focus for the coming year is to develop a safe school environment for our students and staff that prioritizes everyone's well-being and enables high levels of learning for all.    
3)  We are planning based on guidance from the MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education while closely monitoring the latest information from medical experts and the evolving data regarding the pandemic both in Massachusetts and in Shrewsbury. 

We will be presenting the state-required analysis of the different reopening options and our preferred option to the School Committee this coming Wednesday, July 29, with a School Committee vote on a reopening plan scheduled for August 5.  Thank you for your patience as we navigate through the complex challenges associated with reopening school.

Please also note:

1) You are invited to watch the SHS Graduation Part 2 "Rise Up" Ceremony live tomorrow morning (Saturday, July 25) at 10:00am on SELCO Channels 29/329 or live streamed on the Shrewsbury Media Connection.  Only graduates and their pre-registered guests may attend the ceremony.

2) Our director of School Nursing, Noelle Freeman, and our school physician, Dr. Timothy Gibson, presented information on the current medical advisories regarding COVID-19 and schools at this past Wednesday's School Committee meeting.  You can view their presentation slides here, and their report and discussion at the meeting here.

3) The School Committee also voted to recommend its Fiscal Year 2021 budget to Town Meeting.  It is a budget plan that assumes a balanced risk, as negotiations for cost mitigation with our employee unions are ongoing, state funding levels are still unknown, and there remains a possibility of federal stimulus funding for public education; absent relief from these sources, potential reductions of up to $2 million may need to be made during the year.  Click here for the slide presentation and here for the report, discussion and vote at the School Committee meeting.

4) In case you missed it: 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!

5) Do over: In my message to you earlier this week, the poll on your favorite fictional teacher in TV or film was not set to receive outside responses.  Click here to let us know your favorite: Mr. Kotter? Ms. Frizzle? Professor McGonagall?  Results next week...


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools

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