Superintendent's Update - May 12, 2023

May 12, 2023

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

I hope that you are enjoying the spectacular spring weather and taking advantage of being outside whenever possible.  It has been great to see our students enjoying being outside for recess, phys ed class, nature study, and athletics.  I was able to stop by a recent SHS Unified Track meet, and it made my day to see our athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing together and enjoying each other as friends.  Programs like Unified Track, Unified Basketball, United Sound, and Special Peer Connections continue to enhance our schools' cultures by fostering a sense of belonging.  I also had the privilege of attending last night's ceremony where 120 students were inducted into the Shrewsbury High School chapter of the National Honor Society.  Click HERE to see the list of SHS students whose scholarship, service, leadership, and character earned this prestigious honor. 

As we come to the end of National Teacher Appreciation Week, please read on for information about various honors received by SPS staff, along with an update on our work on career technical education.  

SPS staff honored for excellence: We have had a number of colleagues recently recognized for their outstanding work.  Please join me in congratulating the following for their accomplishments:

Sarah Monica, the long-time preschool teacher in our Little Colonials Preschool program at SHS, was a semifinalist for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year! Ms. Monica was nominated separately by two different parents; she has done an extraordinary job providing preschool experiences for our youngest students while also supporting our high school students who are taking Child Development courses where they interact with the preschoolers.

Michael Lapomardo, SHS choral director and theatre teacher, was named a quarterfinalist for the GRAMMY National Music Educator Award! Mr. Lapomardo is one of 212 music educators from across the U.S. selected for this honor for making a significant and lasting contribution to music education;  best of luck to him as he continues through the process!

• Jennifer Cuddy, SHS chemistry teacher, was granted an American Association of Immunologists High School Teachers Program Immunology Award to continue studies at the UMass Chan Medical School's Diabetes Center of Excellence research labs and attend an immunology conference in Los Angeles this summer with other teachers from across the country.

• The Shrewsbury Education Foundation selected the recipients for the John P. Collins Awards for Excellence.  SEF President, Kimberly Olsen, presented the following awards:

In the Professional Educator category:

  • Jason Andreola, Business & Technology Teacher, DECA Business Club Advisor, Yearbook Advisor, Shrewsbury High School
  • Allison Berkeley, Rosie Cataldo, & Melissa Nattinville, English Language Education Teacher Team, Shrewsbury High School
  • Shirley LeMay, Family and Consumer Science Teacher, Shrewsbury High School
  • Talene Orlando, Special Education Teacher, Oak Middle School

In the Paraprofessional category:

  • Ravi Farick Barook, Applied Behavioral Analysis Technician, Parker Road Preschool
  • Blake Jarvi, Instructional Aide, Coolidge School
  • Dan Waite, Special Education Aide, Oak Middle School

In the Support Staff category:

  • Jill Carter, Bus Driver (Bus #22), AA Transportation
  • Brian Scheeler, IT Support Specialist, Beal School

In the Leadership category:

  • Pam Poitras, Middle Level Science Coordinator & Interim Assistant Principal, Oak Middle School

In the Unsung Hero category:

  • Donna Morgan, Media Aide & Acting Secretary, Spring Street School

All those nominated for a John P. Collins Award will receive a copy of their nomination in the near future.  Thank you to the SEF for their continued support of our schools and for recognizing the excellence of our staff in this important way!

Update on Career Technical Education: This past Wednesday evening, the School Committee heard a report on the work our district has been doing on career technical Education and career exploration from Dr. Jane Lizotte, Assistant Superintendent for Community Partnerships & Well-Being; Todd Bazydlo, SHS Principal; Angie Flynn, SHS Director of School Counseling; and Kathleen Keohane, Director of Alumni Development and Community Relationships.  This work has taken on a higher level of importance over the past year given the change in admissions policy at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School that has resulted in a lack of access for Shrewsbury resident students in the current 9th grade and below.  While we cannot replicate a vocational technical high school program, significant work has been completed to develop options for students to:

  • pursue career pathway course sequences at SHS; 
  • provide greater access to hands-on engineering and biomedical courses and business classes at SHS;
  • increase opportunities for job shadowing;
  • develop partnerships with outside organizations to provide internships and job training for SHS students; and
  • engage with community business partners and alumni to expand career education opportunities for current students.  

As part of the report, two SHS seniors, Adam Harris and Luiza Saldanha, presented information regarding how career awareness opportunities benefited them for current and future work plans.  Click HERE to read the report, click HERE to view the slide deck, and click HERE to watch the video of the presentation.

There are many recent student successes that I will highlight in a future update.  I hope you have a terrific weekend, and that all of you who are mothers have a wonderful day on Sunday.  Luckily, both my mom and my wife are basketball fans -- happy Mother's Day and go Celtics!


Joe Sawyer
Superintendent of Schools

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