Superintendent's Update - April 14, 2023

April 14, 2023

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Many of our students are enjoying various "spirit weeks" during this week before the April school vacation, as our schools continue to seek ways to foster positive school cultures and climates while building key academic skills.  Our draft strategic plan emphasizes the mutually reinforcing concepts of the "enhanced well-being of all" and "educational excellence,"  as a positive social and emotional environment fosters a strong learning environment, while students who are successful with their learning feel better about themselves and their school experience.  We continue to seek feedback from families, colleagues, and community members regarding the draft strategic plan through the online exchange here in advance of a School Committee vote on Wednesday, April 26.  I encourage you to view the strategic plan presentation slides here, read the draft plan here, and/or watch the presentation here.

At this past Wednesday's School Committee meeting, a proposed updated homework policy for grades 1-12 was presented for the School Committee's consideration.  You can view the summary presentation slides here, read a memo about the process here, read the proposed policy itself here, and/or watch the presentation here.  I am grateful for everyone who contributed their feedback over this multi-year process, which started prior to the pandemic, and I think the proposed policy responds to important perspectives shared by students, educators, and parents/caregivers.  The School Committee will vote on the updated homework policy on April 26; you can provide feedback to them via email at

On another note, with the summer-like weather today, I'm sure our students will be enjoying the outdoors as they start their school vacation week, and this will likely include many of our middle school students from Sherwood and Oak walking to the center of town after school.  As Mr. Kelly and Ms. Burak, the Sherwood and Oak principals, have communicated to families on multiple occasions, there have been ongoing concerns raised about the safety and behavior of these large groups of middle school students when walking to the center, especially with disruptive and inappropriate behavior at the Shrewsbury Public Library.  While we do not have authority over our students outside of school, on behalf of our partners at the Public Library and businesses in the center of town, I am personally asking our middle school families to think twice about having your child walk to the town center on Fridays and/or early release days. I further ask that families who choose to allow this to be very clear with your child about your expectations for their behavior.  We know that when large groups of early adolescents congregate in unstructured situations, some will make poor judgments, and unfortunately the Shrewsbury Police have had to become involved due to the behavior of some.   I appreciate the assistance of our middle school families in helping to improve this situation.

In closing, I hope that all of you have a wonderful April school vacation.  Safe travels to all who will be heading out of town, and best wishes to all who will be celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr next week. 


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools

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