Public Wowed During First Look at New Cunniff School, Officials Celebrate With Ribbon Cutting

Charlie BreitroseThe public gathered outside the new Cunniff Elementary School before open house on Tuesday. The first impression of the new Cunniff Elementary School may have best been captured by the boy who yelled, “Oh, my God!” loud enough to be heard despite the fact he was in a car with all the windows up. A few hundred Watertown residents celebrated the opening of the new elementary school on Warren Street on Tuesday afternoon. After a few remarks and a ribbon cutting, the visitors got a chance to walk around the new school.

Council Approves $5 Million to “Bridge” Watertown High School Project Before Start of Construction

Ai3 ArchitectsA mockup of what the main entrance to the new Watertown High School could look like from a presentation designers made to the School Building Committee in September 2021. As the new Watertown High School continues to be designed, the Town Council approved $5.2 million to bridge the gap before the final approval of funding is given by the state and to keep construction on schedule. The money will help pay for the design of the swing spaces that will be used while the school is under construction, as well as to cover the increased amount of time that it took to come up with the final design, Christy Murphy of Compass Project Management told the Council Tuesday night. The money to cover the $5.2 million came out of the Watertown High School Stabilization Fund, said Town Manager Michael Driscoll said. The Council voted 8-0 to support the use of the funds.

Watertown School Officials Want Input on How to Spend Millions in Pandemic Relief Funds

The Watertown Public Schools will get close to $3 million to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and School officials want to hear from the community about what sorts of things they would like to see the money spent on. As part of the federal American Rescue Plan, the Watertown Public Schools received an allocation of $2,868,929 which can be spent through June 2024. It is part of the third pandemic relief package for schools, known as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III or ESSER III. The money can be spent to support safe reopening of schools and sustaining safe schools, as well as helping students with their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs. Superintendent Dede Galdston said that the grant application for ESSER III requires feedback from residents.

Public Invited to Take a Tour of the New Cunniff Elementary School

Charlie BreitroseA view of the length of the new Cunniff Elementary School, with the cafetorium/gym entrance extending out at the end. Construction at the new Cunniff Elementary School is nearly complete, and the public will get a chance to take a look around the building before it opens. The following announcement was provided by the Watertown School Building Committee:

The School Building Committee will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house at the new Cunniff School on Oct. 5, 2021. Ribbon cutting will be at 4 p.m. followed by an open house to tour the school until 7 p.m.Everyone is invited to attend this very exciting event.

Russo’s Closing Adds to Watertown Schools’ Struggle to Get Food for Lunches

The Watertown Public Schools are having a trouble ensuring they are getting enough food for the school lunches, due in part to the closing of Russo’s market. Shortages in food deliveries from national food chains, plus the loss of a key local source of food has left the Watertown Schools school lunch program uncertain what they will be able to serve to students each day, Watertown’s Director of School Nutrition Brandon Rabbit told WBZ Channel 4. Adding to the difficulty in securing items for school breakfasts and lunches is the closing of Russo’s. The market, which closed after decades in Watertown on Sept. 18, used to be a key provider to the Watertown Schools and about 90 other districts.

New School Director Begins Work to Make Watertown Schools More Equitable and Inclusive

Dr. Kimberlee Henry, the Watertown Public School’s Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. In her first few months in the Watertown Public Schools, the new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has met with a wide range of people in town to become familiar with the school district and the community, and to build relationships with other departments and organizations in Watertown. The district created the new position in response to reports of students who had experienced racial bias and/or bullying in the Watertown Schools. One such incident was reported on by a local TV news station. The Watertown Schools have hired an outside group to conduct an equity audit, and hired Dr. Kimberlee Henry as the first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.