Superintendent's Update - October 24, 2022

October 24, 2022,

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

I want to wish joy and prosperity to all of you who are celebrating Diwali beginning today.  When visiting one of our classes at Floral Street School last week, I had the opportunity to talk with a third grade class who was listening to a read-aloud of a book about Diwali, and at least one quarter of the students in that class shared that they were looking forward to celebrating this important holiday.  We are fortunate that our Shrewsbury community continues to grow in its diversity of religious and cultural traditions; this recent article in the local media provides an overview of Diwali and has information about some associated regional events.  Please also note that tonight is a “no homework” evening for all students according to our school district’s homework calendar, so no assignments are due tomorrow.

I ask that you note the following brief updates:

1) The School Committee has begun the work of setting its budget priorities for the 2023-2024 school year:  At their last meeting, the School Committee discussed a draft of priorities for the Fiscal Year 2024 School Department Budget in order to provide guidance to the administration.  The School Committee will further discuss and vote on this document at their meeting on Wednesday evening; any feedback for the Committee can be sent via email to all members by using   

2) Strategic planning work this fall: As we complete a five-year strategic plan, we have begun the work to create our next one.  Initial steps have included a discussion with students, parents, and staff at a joint meeting of all nine school councils with the School Committee, a strategic planning workshop with the School Committee and administration, as well as soliciting feedback from stakeholders.  We reported on the family ThoughtExchange survey responses at the most recent School Committee meeting, and I invite you to review the summary slides here and the full set of responses here.  Over the next few months, please look for additional opportunities to share your perspectives on the most important priorities our schools should address in the next five years.  You may also be interested in two upcoming panel discussions at upcoming School Committee meetings that will inform our thinking about our future needs, one with college admissions officers this Wednesday, October 26, and another with representatives of other post-high school pathways on Wednesday, November 9.

3) Maintaining healthy schools: Keeping healthy and avoiding absences from school is important for all of our students.  You have likely seen news items regarding a predicted increase in influenza (flu) cases as we head into late fall and winter, in addition to ongoing transmission of the coronavirus.  Families are encouraged to consult with their physicians regarding decisions whether to have your child receive an annual flu shot (public health information here) and/or a COVID-19 initial vaccination or booster shot (public health information here).  As a reminder, information regarding our approach to COVID-19 this school year can be found here.   

There is a positive spirit and a high level of engagement in learning across all of our schools this fall.  Thank you for your continued support as we work hard to provide our students with a great education!


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools 

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