Watertown Schools to Offer Free PreK Starting in Fall 2024

(Courtesy of Watertown Public Schools)

Starting next fall, Watertown will offer free pre-kindergarten classes for 90 4-year-olds in town as part of a new universal PreK program. Since she arrived in Watertown, Superintendent Dede Galdston has been talking about offering universal PreKindergarten. She hoped that the district would get financial help from the federal or state government, but that has not materialized. “Sooner or later, if we feel this is something that is true to our core values, we might want to consider doing it ourselves,” Galdston told the School Committee on Monday. “So, I think we are at the moment and time where I think we do so.”

Following False Alarms Watertown Schools to Hold Emergency Drills, Also Seek to Improve Communication System

After a series of false alarms in the security systems at Watertown’s new schools, the district plans to hold drills for the students, and will look for ways to avoid more incidents in the future. The Watertown Public Schools opened two brand new elementary schools, a third underwent a major renovation and expansion, and students at the high school have a new, temporary home. The new buildings also have new technology, including a multi-hazard notification system, said Superintendent Dede Galdston. All four new schools have had false alarms, she said, some due to wiring and other when the panic button was pressed by mistake. “We want to make sure people understand that these happen and that we will do to prevent that from happening again,” Galdston said.

Residents to Get a Tax Break, ARPA Proposals to be Heard, Complaints Aired About Roads

Photo by Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

Watertown homeowners should see a reduction in their property tax bills in the next Fiscal Year, City Manager George Proakis shared with the City Council Tuesday night. The Council also heard about the dates when they will hear the proposed uses of the City’s ARPA funds, and complaints about a pair of road projects. Property Taxes

The Fiscal Year 2024 tax rates will be presented by the Town Assessor on Nov. 14, but Proakis provided a preview on a key highlight of the presentation at the Oct. 24 City Council meeting: a reduction of about 10 percent for the average Watertown residential property tax payer.

Watertown Schools Receive Recognition, Superintendent Gets Raise & More

By Kendra FoleySchool Committee Chair

The 2023-2024 school year is underway in Watertown and we hope you are having a good start to your year. 

Our year began with exciting news, as the Hosmer Elementary School was honored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a School of Recognition. Hosmer was only one of 66 schools in the state to earn this title as part of DESE’s release of MCAS data and accountability metrics. Our district as a whole also earned high marks from the state. You can read more about the recognition in Ms. Moulton’s newsletter to the Hosmer community. Watertown High School was also recognized for strong academic achievement, earning a place on the College Board’s AP School Honor Roll with a Silver Distinction.

State Recognizes Hosmer Elementary for Improvements on MCAS

(Courtesy of Watertown Public Schools)

The following information was provided by the Watertown Public Schools:

The Hosmer Elementary School has been named a School of Recognition by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education following the release of 2023 accountability data. Hosmer is just one of 65 schools in the state to earn this honor. The Hosmer School outperformed 2023 MCAS targets in both Math and English Language Arts while also improving on scores from 2022. Hosmer recorded a 93% score in DESE’s Progress Towards Targets metric. The state considers 75% as the threshold for meeting or exceeding targets.

Our History: The Origins of the Name Watertown’s Elementary Schools

Dr. Alfred Hosmer (1832-1891) and Dr. Hiram Hosmer (1798-1862) Photographs courtesy of the Watertown Free Public Library

The following story is part of a series on local history provided by the Historical Society of Watertown. It was written by Historical Society of Watertown board member Bob Bloomberg. Bob is also on the board of the Watertown Historic District Commission. He is a genealogist (his contact information is on our website) and has written several book reviews and newspaper articles. He wrote this article for our July 2020 newsletter “The Town Crier.”

Pop quiz: What do Hiram and Alfred Hosmer, P. Sarsfield Cunniff, and James Russell Lowell have in common?

Stormwater Drainage at 2 Schools Need to be Repaired

A pond has formed in a rain garden that is not draining at Hosmer School, near the corner of Mt. Auburn and Boylston streets. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

Rain gardens at two Watertown schools that should be trickling water into the ground after storms have not been draining properly and have become standing ponds. The stormwater systems will have to be reinstalled so they work properly. The rain gardens were installed at Hosmer and Cunniff elementary schools during the construction of the new school buildings.

Busing Available to High School Moxley Campus, Fewer Spots for Hosmer Bus Next Year

by Pixabay

Students living more than three-quarters of a mile from the temporary Watertown High School campus at Moxley Field will be able to ride the school bus for free next year. The School Committee also heard that the number of seats on the bus to Hosmer Elementary School will be reduced starting in the fall. Superintendent Dede Galdston said that while the free busing to the high school will be available, it is intended for students would ride it regularly. “It is for students committed to riding the bus for the school year. It is not public transportation.