School Committee Update: Teacher Honored, Equity Plan & District Improvement Strategy

The School Committee has met twice over the last few weeks (September 19th and October 3rd). Our own Jackie McCready (Lowell ESL teacher), was nominated by Latinos for Education for exceptional work at the Lowell Elementary School and within the community. She was also honored at the State House in early October. Congratulations, Jackie! Bianca Skraly, Watertown High School Student Advisor, provided an update on the happenings at WHS, including: academics, athletics, the new drop/add period and the upcoming school play Clue.

Group that Advocates for Special Needs Students Growing, Hosting Multiple Events for Parents

The group that advocates for students with special needs in Watertown has had a surge of activity, and will hold a number of upcoming events for both parents of special needs students and others. Parent Heather McManus, who chairs the Watertown SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council, told the School Committee Monday about some of the activities the group is participating in, including chances for parents to learn about services for their children, and how to get involved in the group. On Oct. 17, SEPAC will host a virtual Disability Listening Session. During the event, parents, guardians and caregivers can share disability-related concerns and feedback touched on in the WPS 2022 Equity Audit.

Krikorian Foundation Launches Scholarship Program to Students of Armenian Descent

A screenshot from the Krikorian Foundation Scholarship website. The following information was provided by the Arisdine Krikorian Family Foundation:

The trustees of The Arisdine Krikorian Family Foundation, a section 501(c)(3) organization,launched its first annual scholarship award program. The Foundation was created by Rose andSybil Krikorian, who were raised in Watertown and later moved to Belmont where they lived formany years. They were the daughters of Arisdine and Panos Krikorian, who were born and raised in Armenia. The last survivor of the Krikorian family, Rose, died in August 2021 at the age of 96.

Watertown School to be Featured on PBS’s Ask This Old House

Charlie BreitroseHosmer Elementary School. Watertown’s Hosmer Elementary School will be featured in the season premiere episode of PBS’s “Ask This Old House.” The school sent out the following information:

“Some of you may remember that “Ask This Old House” visited Hosmer last June. During this time they filmed an episode on composting with students and helped us by building a compost bin in our new garden. The episode is scheduled to air on WGBH this Thursday evening at 8:30!

Watertown Resident Wins Autism Research & Education Award

NECCWatertown’s Lauren Rae is a winner of the 2022 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award. The following announcement was provided by the New England Center for Children:

The New England Center for Children© (NECC©), a global leader in autism education and research, has announced Lauren Rae, a resident of Watertown, as a winner of the 2022 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award. The award, established in 2009, honors an NECC staff member who is currently enrolled in each of its two onsite graduate programs — Simmons University and Western New England University — whose work exemplifies the late Myrna Libby’s vision that research guides the education and treatment of individuals with autism. Myrna Libby, Ph.D., BCBA, was a director at NECC for 20 years whose impact endures as she was the principal program architect of NECC’s internationally recognized curriculum. As clinical director, she was a tireless advocate for using scientifically validated approaches and her groundbreaking research helped improve the lives of children with autism.

Parents, Students Wanted for School District Improvement Strategy Committee

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Public Schools:

The Watertown Public Schools is forming a District Improvement Strategy 2.0 Development Team, “the Strategy Team”, whose charge is to create a multi-year District Improvement Strategy, as a successor to the current Strategy that was established in 2018. The team will develop a clearly articulated improvement strategy that emanates from the District’s mission, vision, and core values. Once these have been established, the team will determine the necessary initiatives and action plans to attain the objectives and set measurable benchmarks to monitor progress. The development of this strategy is an iterative process that will involve input and feedback from the School Committee, the District’s Leadership Team, parents, students, WPS faculty and staff, and WPS community members throughout the months. Watertown Public Schools is looking for broad representation of stakeholders on the Strategy Team 2.0, representing all schools and serving in a variety of roles.

Watertown Schools See Influx of Students at Elementary, High School Levels

Charlie BreitroseThe new school building at Cunniff Elementary School, along with the new Hosmer School have seen an increase of enrollment this fall. Watertown High School has also grown. More students arrived at the Watertown Public Schools than expected this fall, requiring the addition of some new classes, teachers and support staff. Superintendent Dede Galdston told the School Committee on Monday that she believes the district’s new schools are part of the draw. The 2022-23 school year is the first that students will spend the whole year in the new Cunniff and Hosmer elementary school buildings.

School Committee Update: Changes to Student Handbooks, Rendering of New High School & More

The following information was provided by the School Committee:

The School Committee met on Monday, August 29, 2022. Over the summer, the School Committee completed and presented the 2021/2022 Superintendent evaluation. Dr. (Dede) Galdston was rated as proficient or exemplary by all members on all four standards in addition to her overall performance. She continues to show strong and steady leadership and we are grateful she is leading the Watertown Public Schools. Minor changes were approved for the Middle School handbook, High School handbook and District handbook.