The beginning of a new school year brings new opportunities and heightens our excitement for the year ahead. On Wednesday, August 27th, nearly 2,800 students will arrive on the Waterford campus and begin their educational journey for 2014-2015. Over the past few weeks, staff has been setting up their classrooms and preparing for the return of our students. Fourteen teachers new to the Waterford Public Schools will participate in an orientation program on August 22nd. All teaching staff officially report on Monday, August 25th for a series of Professional Development workshops and school-based meetings to ready our staff for the new school year.
As a professional learning community we are committed to continuous improvement and preparing students to meet 21st Century demands, while developing quality instructional practices and programs in a fiscally responsible way. This is what drives our work in the Waterford Public Schools! It will take all of us, including community support, to collaborate in a meaningful way to continue our tradition of excellence.
Throughout the weeks of July and August important work occurs in our school system. Our commitment to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning led to many important summer projects such as curriculum renewal, technology purchases and installation, advanced placement course training for teachers, curriculum writing and valuable professional development opportunities.
In order to deliver the highest quality instructional programs for our students, it is critical to have a curriculum that is rigorous, current, and very tightly aligned with state and national standards. More than 60 staff this summer participated in strengthening current programs.
One of the hallmarks of a high performing school system is the ability to build capacity within, in the pursuit of continuous improvement. For the second consecutive summer the Waterford Public Schools conducted high quality professional development opportunities in Literacy and Writing Instruction, writing K-5 Language Arts Units of Study, and revising 6-12 Science and K-12 Art curriculum.
A number of programs were formally renewed and adopted by the Board of Education this past spring and will be implemented this coming school year. They include K-12 Physical Education and Health, and grades 6-12 Social Studies/History. New resources have been purchased to support the curriculum in all three areas.
The recruitment and selection of new staff continued throughout the summer. Fourteen teachers have been hired along with a new Assistant Principal for Waterford High School and a new Principal for Quaker Hill Elementary School. Our district webpage features a photo display and profile of each new staff member. The value of securing highly qualified teachers and administrators is indisputable, and we continue our quest to hire the “best” for the Waterford Public Schools. All potential candidates go through a rigorous and demanding interview and selection process and frequently comment that they chose Waterford after meeting our impressive teaching and administrative staff.
It has also been an extremely busy and productive summer for the facilities staff. They have worked diligently cleaning all of the buildings, inside and out, painting classrooms, conducting repairs to equipment along with ensuring that each of the 20 major projects, planned for the summer, were accomplished. Preventative maintenance on all of our emergency systems at each of the schools was performed to ensure that they are ready if needed. All emergency generators, fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, emergency battery lights and all fire extinguishers have been tested.
Our technology staff has been hard at work on a number of critical projects that will serve our teachers and students well in the upcoming year. New laptops have been purchased for Quaker Hill and Clark Lane Middle School as part of the District’s 6 year purchasing plan. Student desktop computers have been converted to Virtual Machines which will help the computers to run faster and saves money! Wi-Fi has been expanded and strengthened at Clark Lane Middle School providing better access to our global community.
Bus schedules are posted on our District website and on each school’s website. Please take the time to review the bus stops for your address. I want to assure all parents and students that our buses are safe to drive and our contractor, Student Transportation of America, completes a criminal background check and motor vehicle history review of all bus drivers employed by their company. Parents are reminded to contact the school administration whenever their child encounters a problem riding the bus and to inform Mr. Robert Sirpenski, Director of Finance and Operations, whenever there is an issue with a bus driver or other bus company employee.
As we begin this new school year, all of us in the Waterford Public Schools are committed to providing the best educational experiences to meet the needs of our students and prepare them for the 21st Century demands. We are a school district dedicated to continuous improvement and your continued support and generosity are greatly appreciated. New opportunities await our students and we are ready, excited, and anticipate a great 2014-2015 school year!