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  • Superintendent's Update/School Committee Meeting Tonight - February 15, 2023

Superintendent's Update/School Committee Meeting Tonight - February 15, 2023

February 15, 2023

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Our students and educators are working hard as we head toward the February school vacation week.  This morning I had the privilege to attend SHS's 22nd Annual Black History Month Assembly.  This year's edition, titled Black Excellence: A Celebration of the Black Diaspora, included outstanding educational information about the voluntary and involuntary spread of African peoples across the globe, conveyed through the spoken and written word, song, dance, and the visual arts.  Congratulations to the student winners of the art and writing contests, and to the students and faculty advisors of the SHS Black History Committee for putting together an extraordinary experience for all of our SHS students and staff that continued this important tradition of promoting an understanding of Black history and, as stated in our core values, "honoring each person’s individuality, celebrating our community’s diversity, and supporting school cultures of mutual acceptance and respect." 

Please read on for important information:

• School "swatting" threats: You may have seen the news that several school districts in Massachusetts and across the U.S. were affected by hoax “swatting” calls over the past couple of days. “Swatting” is when a false claim of an emergency, such as an active shooter is made to the police.  The law enforcement response, which might include a SWAT team (hence the name), is unexpected by those at the location given in the hoax call.

I want you to know that throughout the year our leadership team works with the Shrewsbury Police and Fire Departments on how we might manage different scenarios, including how to handle threats and hoaxes.  While it is understandable to feel some anxiety regarding any potential threat to our children's and staff members' safety, it still remains true that schools are extremely safe places overall, there are systems and protocols in place, and we will continue to be vigilant.  I do want to remind families that should there ever be a situation where we need to go into lockdown and you learn of that situation through your child or any other source, please do not try to come to the school campus as this complicates the ability of our first responders and school staff to manage a situation. If we are ever in a situation, we will communicate with you as soon as possible regarding what is happening.  

Our schools' safety and security planning and response protocols are heavily influenced by our School Resource Officers.  Today is National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day, and I want to recognize the valuable work that Officer Shawn Valliere (PreK-Grade 8) and Officer Alicia Brownell (SHS) do each day to support our school communities.  We are grateful for their dedication and their partnership in promoting our the safety and well-being of our school communities.

• Strategic Planning Forum for Families TONIGHT: We invite parents and caretakers to take part in the final in-person forum with the district’s consultants from Focused Schools to provide input to help the district shape its next set of priorities and goals.  The forum is TONIGHT, Wednesday evening, February 15th from 6:30-7:30pm at Shrewsbury High School in the Bent Presentation Room (come in the school's main entrance).  I encourage you to share your voice and help us determine the priorities for our next strategic plan.

Reminder: The School Committee meets tonight, Wednesday evening, February 15, at 7:00pm.  The Committee will meet in person at the Richard D. Carney Municipal Office Building (i.e., Town Hall), and the meeting will be broadcast live on SELCO Channels 29 & 329 and streamed live on the Shrewsbury Media Connection website.  

The agenda will include:

• A report on the World Language Seal of Biliteracy program results

• A discussion of a draft of the calendar for the 2023-2024 school year

• The superintendent's recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2024 School Department Budget

• A discussion of what those lights were up in the sky last night.... 

For those who aren't able to watch a School Committee meeting live, the meeting video will be archived in the School Committee section of our website here, and meeting documents will be posted here.  All of the School Committee meeting dates, agendas, and minutes can be found here.


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools

*...and that should be visible again tonight around 6:45pm

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