Dear Parents and Guardians of Quincy Public Schools Students:
It is an honor to welcome back our students and their families for the start of another school year. As September quickly approaches, the administrators and staff of the Quincy Public Schools are busy with preparations. At each of our schools, the Principals and their office staffs will be ready to assist your families with registration, transfers, and any other concerns when the school offices reopen on Monday, August 26. In our eighth year of offering Full-Day Kindergarten, we are pleased to welcome over 750 new students and their families to the Quincy Public Schools.
The dedicated professional staff of the Quincy Public Schools is looking forward to a year filled with a variety of learning experiences and accomplishments for your students. Over the summer, more than 400 elementary, middle, and high school teachers availed themselves of Professional Development opportunities to learn about new instructional strategies, technology for their classrooms, and curriculum aligned to the new Common Core State Standards. This week alone, over 225 middle school and high school educators volunteered to attend optional training on our new Student Information System, Aspen X2. Aspen X2 will offer exciting opportunities for home-school connections through the Student/Parent Portal; look for more information on this feature later in the fall.
Last spring, Mayor Koch and the School Committee collaborated with the Superintendent’s Leadership and Principal Teams to fund additional academic classroom and academic program teacher positions to maintain average class sizes well below the School Committee Policy guidelines. In addition, professional positions were added to restore library services at the middle school level and funding was provided for teacher support staff for elementary school book borrowing and technology. Along with the creation of part-time Athletic Director positions at each high school, this year’s budget restored the Freshman Athletic program at both high schools.
This year, Quincy Public Schools will continue the transition to the Massachusetts Frameworks for Common Core State Standards. After being piloted at selected schools, new Common Core-aligned textbooks and technology tools will be implemented at all elementary schools with the Journeys Reading program for Kindergarten through Grade 5 and Grades 4 and 5 of Go Math! At the middle school and high school levels, there will be new Common Core-aligned textbooks and technology tools for Mathematics. Middle and high school Language Arts instruction will continue to reflect the strong Common Core emphasis on non-fiction content area texts. Beginning in 2014, MCAS testing will begin to assess this transition to the Common Core State Standards, with test items based on the standards for both English Language Arts and Mathematics.
Many techology upgrades have been completed this summer, including the installation of wireless access at all school buildings with separate guest network capabilities. New technology labs were completed at the Parker and Clifford Marshall Elementary Schools, and twenty-five iPads were purchased for each high school, along with a number of laptops, document cameras, projectors, educational software, operating system upgrades, and ongoing technology professional development throughout the school system.
Along with staffing, curriculum, and technology enhancements, we are working on many initiatives across the school system. At North Quincy and Quincy High Schools, Grades 11 and 12 students will make a difference in their schools and communities through volunteering in the second year of our Community Service pilot. Extended day opportunities will be available for students at all levels and include chorus, orchestra, theater, Robotics, and middle school athletics. Our partners in the Quincy School~Community Partnership continue to enhance our students’ educational opportunities through providing backpacks and school supplies for a number of elementary school students, real-work experiences to high school Career and Technical Education students, and funding the Mentoring program for new professional educators.
Our school buildings will be ready for the new school year, with improvements such as newly retiled floors and new carpeting, repainted classrooms, refinished gym floors in five buildings, and repairs to building mechanicals including addressing electrical, plumbing, and heating issues. Custodians across the school system have worked diligently all summer to prepare classrooms and offices for the new school year. Through funding appropriated last spring by Mayor Koch and the City Council, many security upgrades have been completed, including video intercom systems, electronic building entry systems, staff identification, classroom door locks, and new lighting and cameras in all buildings. We are also grateful for the support of the Park Department in maintaining and improving the landscaping at our school buildings. We are continuing to work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the Public Buildings department on the construction of the new Central Middle School, which will open later this fall and are in the planning stages of window replacement projects for the Merrymount and Wollaston Elementary Schools and North Quincy High Schools with anticipated completion in Summer 2014.
Please remember that the most meaningful factor in assisting students to have a successful school experience is the concern, participation, and involvement of their parents. In order to help your children attain their goals, we need your involvement, whether it be through attending parent-teacher conferences, volunteering in your child’s school, and most importantly, reinforcing the importance of on-time school attendance, appropriate behavior and class participation, and completion of schoolwork. You can also stay informed about your child’s school and all of Quincy Public Schools through our website www.quincypublicschools.com or by following us on Facebook or Twitter (@QuincyPS).
As you enjoy the last few days of summer vacation, please note the calendar for the opening days of school below. Your principal will be happy to answer any questions you might have related to the opening of school or feel free to contact my office at 617-984-8700.
- The first day of school for Grades 1-9 is Wednesday, September 4.
- Grades 10-12 will begin school on Thursday, September 5.
- Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will attend an Orientation at their individual schools on Friday, September 6; each family will receive a postcard with information on this event.
- The first day of school for Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten is Monday, September 9.
On behalf of all of the staff at the Quincy Public Schools, best wishes for a successful school year to you and your family.
Richard DeCristofaro, Ed.D.