Friday, August 29, 2014

Superintendent's Notes

School has Begun!

There has been a lot of concern around the massive amounts of change in public education.  The lead article in the Beacon Villager last week was "Change is in the Air".  It is times like these that the Arts and Music provide us with happiness and resiliency.  If you get a chance please listen to the YouTube link  for Pharrel William's song "Happy" at the end of this message.

Right now the central office employees feel like they're in "a room without a roof" due to the conditions at Coolidge.  However, we are excited about the approved plan to move the central offices to Fowler.  I would ask all of our school community including administrators, teachers, and families to listen to the song "Happy" and remain resilient and positive about the direction of the Town and Schools in Maynard.

Change in the Air at Fowler

As, mentioned in the article above, there are a lot of changes at the Fowler School.  The 5th grade team, Lois Cohen, Principal Mela and I have held meetings to work on how to best adapt to those changes as a result of the central office relocation to Fowler.  I will be sending the 5th grade parents a special letter providing all of the details once they have all been worked out.  I am hoping that letter should be completed soon as all of the meetings on this issue have been productive and positive.

There have been some changes in recess for both the 4th and 5th grades at Fowler.  Recess for 4th and 5th graders at Fowler is something that has been worked on this summer with input from the Physical Education Teachers to make it more inclusive, and safer physically and emotionally for kids.  

We have become a little clearer with the boundaries of the physical space.  We don't allow students to do handstands or flips, so we've created an easy-to-remember "one foot on the ground at all times" rule.  We have a Physical Education Teacher on duty in addition to classroom teachers each day for the 5th grade and a Physical Education Teacher on duty a few days a week to help with the 4th grade.

We are still working with the Capital Planning Committee in the Town of Maynard to build a traditional playground at Fowler.

As mentioned in the Boston Globe, on exhibit in Maynard:

"WINDOWS ON EARTH" Photographs by Astronauts on the International Space Station on display at Gallery Seven, 7 Nason St. in Maynard thruogh September 27th.  Opening Reception: Saturday, Sept. 6th from 7-9 p.m.  Free and Open to the public.  Gallery Hours: Tues. - Fri. 10-6 and Sat. 10-5.  

International Exchange Program

Kevin Caruso has been supporting our International students and families in his role as our International Program Leader.  He  asked the host families how the first day was for our international students and those families that had a chance to respond have said that the students had a great time and felt welcome.

Kevin thanked everyone for going out of their way to make sure the foreign exchange students felt welcome. We hope that everyone will continue to support them over these next few weeks until they begin making those lifelong international friendships in our community that we are hoping to achieve.

We still have a need for additional host families. If you are interested in learning more about how to become a host family please contact:

MaryEllen McCarthy at or 978-758-2817  

Amanda Hemm at or 617-312-7359. 

Listen To Pharrel Williams song "Happy" at the link below:


  1. What about jump rope, hopscotch, and double Dutch? Those all require both feet off the ground. When running both feet are often off the ground. Are all these things banned too?

  2. The general rule "one foot on the ground at all times" was to prevent gymnastic type activities that are dangerous without proper coaching. Jumping rope is considered healthy, safe, and has remained quite popular with the 5th grade students.

  3. Can you speak to whether the lunch system is really moving to cash only? Apparently many kids have been told that during lunch.

    1. The food service still has the electronic payment option as a convenience to parents who prefer that. The "cash only" reference made this year is in regard to the past practice of allowing students to owe cash when there is no money in their account.