As you may imagine, this has been a busy and an exciting summer at LPS! We recently concluded a successful summer school program with seventy-six students in attendance. New staff orientation was held August 20th and 21st, followed by full staff orientation August 22nd-24th and yesterday, August 27th was the first day of classes for students. We have restored the position in the high school of Dean/Assistant Principal and we are pleased to welcome Jen Kramer, formerly of the Newton Public Schools, who has assumed the responsibilities of that office. It is always great fun to exchange greetings with our returning students and staff and to welcome new students and new staff to our school community.
We continue to improve the school facilities, both buildings and grounds, the intention being to provide an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. The woodwork and doors in the EMS building have been refinished and many of the classrooms have been painted. In the High School there have been a few classrooms that did not have direct access from the hallway. This summer we constructed doorways to those classrooms that enable direct access from the corridors. Work continues on lowering ceilings and replacing older carpeting. The cafeteria has new tables and chairs that will enable family style meals, as well as providing a more welcoming space for a variety of meetings. The renovation of the greenhouse is nearly complete and provides a wonderful facility for the horticulture program. We continue to improve the grounds with extensive landscaping of the lawns and gardens, including new plantings of shrubs and trees. Sadly, the three pear trees behind the church had to be taken down as they had rotted from within.
This year the staff will be engaged in the initial year of our Curriculum Review & Development program, designed to codify our educational program across the grade levels, thus refining the articulation and the alignment of each content area (core content & essential skills), grades two-twelve. The focus of that work for the next two years will be on ELA (English Language Arts) and math. We are also focusing on our Student Citizenship initiative designed to advance the core principles articulated in our LPS Code of Conduct (Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Courage, & Compassion). This year our theme is Respect & Responsibility and to that end, the students and staff will engage in common readings and discussions nuanced to their grade/age level about the importance of being a person of integrity and contributing to the common good.
We are expanding our opportunities for students to engage in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Alyson Humphreys, Director of Athletics & Activities will keep you informed about these opportunities during the course of the year. We are also pleased that the Special Olympics Program will continue to provide opportunities for LPS students to participate in athletic competitions.
The Partners In Education (PIE) Executive Committee will hold its first meeting of the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday, September 20th from 8:00-9:00 am in the Community Room in the high school building. Gretchen Petersen, Chief Operation Officer and Genie Peterson, a parent, are serving as Co-Chairs of PIE for this year. The first of four Parent Advisory meetings for 2018-19 is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10th from 8:00-9:00 am in the Community Room located in the high school. The focus for that meeting is an update on the school’s programs and initiatives as we begin the current school year.
As I draft this letter we are still awaiting approval of our LPS Reconstruction Plan, a plan required of Chapter 766 Special Education Schools for submission every six years. The approval process has been delayed given the fact that the Massachusetts legislature did not pass the state budget until late July and the governor then had ten days to review it before signing it. Subsequently, The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submits each school’s plan to the Commissioner of Education and to Operational Services Division (OSD) for program and financial approval, respectively. Once those protocols have been completed, schools like LPS are informed as to the status of their Reconstruction Plan. We have been informed that the target for completing this process is no later than October 1st.
We are most appreciative that you have entrusted the education and well-being of your son/daughter to us. We are confident that the educational program and the highly competent and dedicated staff at LPS will enable each student to flourish!