Dear Families of Frontier Regional and Union 38,
During the busy days of the summer, when the custodians are working hard to get every room in the district clean and ready for our students, I was able to take time to consider all the achievements Frontier Regional and the four Union 38 schools accomplished last school year. From my first days last summer as a new superintendent to today as I enter into my second year with this exceptional district, I continue to be amazed at the powerful learning happening across our schools
After attending graduations at Frontier Regional, Whately Elementary, Conway Grammar, Sunderland Elementary, Deerfield Elementary and the Whately Pre-School, I can attest that we are preparing our students to meet the next phase of their lives to an outstanding degree. As was reported last spring in the Greenfield Recorder, our 2017 senior class president, Tenzin Tsedon, stated that our students are “lucky to be educated here.”
Some of the highlights from last year include:
- the Central Office moved to the Frontier Regional campus
- elementary schools partnered with the Hitchcock Center to develop interactive science units aligned with the state’s standards
- initiated a social emotional learning program called Second Step that teaches empathy, impulse control, and conflict resolution across all elementary schools
- a social justice initiative is being spearheaded at the high school in collaboration with the Collaborative Educational Services
- one-to-one computers for 7th and 8th grade students
- refinement of the standards based report cards at the elementary level
- on-line testing for all grades on the MCAS Assessment
- developing writing across the curriculum in the elementary, middle, and high schools
- professional development focused on improving assessment practices that includes cross-curricular development and common assessment planning in the high school
- careful research and exploration of the schedule for the high school
- our continued work in differentiated instruction with the goal of providing engaging learning experiences for all students
- another successful summer session of learning provided by our dedicated teachers to ensure that many of our students are engaged in summer learning
- adopted of the Power School data base across the district
- adopted of School Messenger - a mass notification telephone and email system
Last spring, we surveyed the parents on their experience with the Early Release Fridays and we were pleased with the both the quantity and quality of the responses which helped us make adjustments to the program based on the feedback to improve the program. For instance, next year, regardless of snow days, we will always have early release on the stated dates. This will help families with consistency and in planning. This fall, I will be sending out another parent survey to help us identify our areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement, as well as asking for input on ways to increase the connections between home and school.
I will also be sending you a description of blizzard bag alternatives for snow days that other districts have piloted. We will request a quick response on how families feel about engaging in the blizzard bag alternative for snow days after we have had three school cancellations. This would keep us on track to end the school year closer to the scheduled day. Blizzard bags will require some adult support.
As we continue with the hard work that began last year, we are also in the process of developing initiatives for this year:
- offering a full-day Pre-Kindergarten program and optional after care at all four of our elementary schools
- providing one-to-one computing for students in grades 9 to 12, modeled after the middle school implementation
- a task force where a group of special education and regular education teachers will work together throughout this coming year on improving our inclusive special education service delivery model
- continue to provide more opportunities for greater collaboration between the principals and schools
- continue to enhance communication and outreach to our families with more information coming from the central office and schools
- putting the finishing touches on a strategic plan that will guide us as we embrace innovation and continuous improvement in our practices
- providing a greater focus on the connection between exercise and nutrition the impact they have on the brain and learning through the Wellness Committee
- all cafeterias will be using Meals Plus, a record keeping program that will allow us to serve our students and keep records in a more efficient manner
- investigate the viability of using blizzard bags if more than three days are missed due to inclement weather
serve our communities as we strive to provide the highest quality educational experience for our students. I am looking forward to another year of innovation and powerful learning experiences for all students of this outstanding district. Please be in contact with any questions and concerns.
See you bright and early on Wednesday, August 30! Check our website for details.
Lynn M. Carey, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools