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Westford Public Schools Weather
 
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Superintendent of Schools
Contact TypeContact Information
Contact:
Superintendent of Schools
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent
Address:
23 Depot Street
Westford, MA 01886
Phone:
978-692-5560 X2102
Fax:
978-399-2797
Photo
 

From the Superintendent's Desk

Recent Communications:
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December 14, 2016
RE:  Food Service Concern
On Tuesday, December 13th, I received several emails from parents expressing concern over the school lunch that was served. I feel that it is important to provide some information to you to address any incorrect information that may be circulating on social media.  

The lunch in question consisted of a whole grain, low sodium, low sugar, yeast raised donut (which meets U.S.D.A. guidelines for a bread serving), a fruit choice, carrots, three gluten-free sausage links, Waldorf salad and milk (dessert optional).  Alternate lunch offerings were also available. Typically, the Food Service Program serves a breakfast type meal for lunch once a month.  Such a lunch generally consists of French Toast, waffles, or pancakes. The whole grain donut that was substituted for the aforementioned breakfast items contained less sugar and less carbohydrates and higher dietary fiber.  

Over the years I have encouraged our Food Service Program to try new menu items that meet or exceed U.S.D.A. nutritional guidelines.  We have an excellent Food Service Director and cafeteria staff that devotes much time to planning meals that offer nutritional value and expose children to different foods. I understand that what is observed on a plate may lead one to the conclusion that a particular lunch or food item is lacking in nutritional standards; however prior to anything being served, every food item’s nutritional value is reviewed.  I appreciate that the expectation of every parent is that Westford Public Schools’ will be serving a nutritionally balanced meal to our students.  Be assured that it is also the very important goal of our Food Service staff.

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October 6, 2016
RE: MRSA

It has come to our attention that some students at Westford Academy and a student at the Stony Brook School have been diagnosed with the MRSA infection. We understand the urgency in addressing such infections, and we are taking immediate action to eliminate the source.

The source of most infections of this nature is locker rooms and gyms. The schools are in the process of disinfecting gynasiums and locker rooms, including gym mats, as well as school surfaces with a solution that kills the MRSA bacteria.  According to the Center for Disease Control, MRSA is often spread by skin-to-skin contact; therefore routine hygiene of washing hands and clothing is also very important.  

I recommend that you review the Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet with your child at http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/pdf/MRSA_ConsumerFactSheet_F.pdf.  If you have any questions, please contact the Westford Public Schools Head Nurse, Joan Mitchell, at 978-692-5570 extension 2115.

Sincerely,

Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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August 15, 2016
RE:  Welcome

I hope that you and your family have had a wonderful summer of fun-filled activities.  The excitement associated with a new school year is upon us, and I welcome you to the 2016/2017 school year!

A school system is the backbone of every community, and I am increasingly proud to say that our school system is among the very best in the state.  We have an outstanding staff, rigorous curriculum, and excellent student body who come from supportive families who value education.  Our school system is increasingly recognized for the high level of student achievement and excellent student-focused organizational culture.

Our classrooms are again ready to come alive!  The summer break allows time for all buildings to be thoroughly cleaned by our custodians.  Over the last several weeks, teachers have been transforming their classrooms into visually stimulating environments for learning that will open a child’s eyes and mind upon entering.  Every school will once again become a vibrant center of learning!

As we welcome our students, I want to thank all of you for your support of our students and staff throughout the year.  Your support is what makes this a very special town and school system.

Sincerely,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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July 1, 2016
Re: Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) Notification

On October 22, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law an amendment to the Toxic Substance Control Act requiring schools to determine the presence of asbestos containing building materials in all school buildings. That amendment, called the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) required that all school buildings be visually inspected by accredited inspectors and that bulk samples of suspected materials are taken where the material was not assumed to be asbestos. It further required that management plans be created for each individual building and that maintenance and custodial personnel receive training. This document is the Asbestos Management Plan which provides the means and the methods to effectively deal with asbestos containing building materials.

All phases of asbestos inspection and management are reported in this plan including: response action strategy, priorities, scheduling of abatement activities, coordination of personnel and evaluation of results. The plan has an additional function as a reporting document to the State. At the local level, the plan must be made available for general review in the school district.

The Westford Public Schools have completed the 2015 triennial reinspections and reports are available for review.

Contact Richard Crocker, Plant Operations Manager, for more information.

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April 18, 2016
RE:  Music Program Rumors

Good morning,
I had the opportunity to attend the FAME (Families Advancing Music Education) Dinner Dance on Friday evening. It was a wonderful, enjoyable event. During the night, a number of parents asked me about rumors that they were hearing that there would cuts to art and music next year. These rumors are not true. There are no reductions to art or music programs in any grades next year. Our art and music programs are very important to the development of our students and I would never make any reductions without notifying the school committee, you, and our students during the development of our annual budget.These rumors may have been a result of our need to redistribute some of our elementary art and music staff within their respective program. Over the last several years we have experienced a decline  in our elementary enrollment. This year it has resulted in an imbalance in the number of classes that some of our music and art staff have had to teach. For next year we are simply rebalancing the number of classes that the art and music teachers(elementary level) are responsible for so that the weekly work schedules are as equitable as possible. This will not result in any cut/reduction to any art or music program. It's a beautiful Sunday morning and I wanted to send this email to you at this time in an effort to curtail the anxiety that these rumors may be causing.

Regards,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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February 8, 2016
RE:  Why is school closed today?

Some decisions to close schools, due to inclement weather, are easy and others are very difficult. Today’s forecast made it very difficult.  For the last 36 hours we have seen forecasts varying from 3-5” to 6-10” of snow for our region and various predictions on the timing of the snow fall. We have an excellent highway department in Westford and at 4:30 this morning we knew that the trip to school today would be fine; however we also knew that there was a chance that the ride home this afternoon could be quite dangerous.  Additionally, I understand and try to be sensitive to the difficulties that an early release can create for working parents.
 
Today’s call was a tough decision for many superintendents in our region; but please know that decisions are always guided by what we feel are in the best interest of our students’ and staff’s safety.

All school cancellation and delayed opening announcements are made via the television/radio stations (channels 4, 5, 7 & Fox 25), as well as the Westford Public School website at http://www.westfordk12.us.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Regards,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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January 20, 2016
RE:  Safety Protocols

Good afternoon,

You have undoubtedly heard of the computer generated bomb threats that a number of school systems in the state received yesterday. Although our school system did not receive a threat, we are prepared if such a threat is received.

Our school office staff have carefully reviewed the Bomb Threat information and procedures in our school system's Crisis Management Plan which are based on Massachusetts State Police protocols. According to the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, an immediate threat assessment by local public safety officials is the most important step when responding to a bomb threat. Based on the nature of the incoming message, the police department will advise us on whether the threat appears credible which may result in a temporary evacuation or dismissal of students. If the message received is vague and does not appear to be a credible threat, the emergency team in each building will work with the police and fire departments to sweep the building, looking for anything suspicious or out of place. These are always difficult decisions. We will act responsibly and will make every effort to neither under-react, nor over-react.

All school systems, including ours are having to adapt to an increasingly dangerous world both domestically and internationally and our minds and actions need to be continuously focused on school safety. We will continue to work closely with public safety officials to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Regards,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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January 11, 2016
RE:  State Report Card Information

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):

Please accept this letter as an indication of the Westford Public School District's performance on multiple data measures determined by the state, including but not limited to the 2015 PARCC and MCAS exams.  Districts are required to annually report their accountability status as part of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, most recently changed to the Every Student Succeeds Act.  

Massachusetts schools are designated on a Level 1 - 5 scale, with Level 1 being the considered “on target”.  School districts are automatically classified at the performance level of the lowest designated school.  You can see from the information below, we are proud to say that the Westford Public School District is a Level 1 district!

You may click on the links below to see the 2015 state report card information for each school.

Westford Academy:  Level 1 Designation
Blanchard Middle School:  Level 1 Designation
Stony Brook Middle School: Level 1 Designation
Abbot Elementary School: Level 1 Designation
Norman E. Day Elementary School:  Level 1 Designation

Feel free to contact me, or your child's building principal, with any questions.  Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Kerry Clery, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

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October 26, 2015
RE: Blanchard Assistant Principal Announcement

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am pleased to announce that I have selected Blanchard teacher Carolyn Jerzylo as the Blanchard Middle School Interim Assistant Principal for the remainder of the school year.  Carolyn will commence her new responsibilities once a highly qualified teacher has been hired to assume her classroom teaching responsibilities.

Carolyn has been an outstanding member of the Blanchard School staff for the last seven year and is highly respected by students and colleagues.  We are happy to have her as a part of our administrative team.  

Please join me in welcoming Carolyn to her new role as Interim Assistant Principal.

Regards,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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October 6, 2015
RE: Blanchard Middle School Principal Announcement

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As a follow up to my previous email, I would like to officially announce my appointment of Tim Hislop as Principal of the Blanchard School.  Mr. Hislop has been a valued member of the Blanchard staff, demonstrating extraordinary commitment and outstanding leadership during his ten year tenure with the Westford Public Schools.

Please join me in welcoming and supporting Mr. Hislop in his newly appointed position of Principal of the Blanchard Middle School.

Sincerely,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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July 7, 2015
RE: Abbot School Assistant Principal Announcement

Dear Parents & Guardians,

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Scott Middlemiss has been named as the Assistant Principal of the Nabnasset and Abbot Schools effective July 1, 2015.  Scott comes to us from Tyngsborough where he earned an excellent reputation for effective leadership while serving as the Assistant Principal of the Tyngsborough Elementary School.

We were fortunate to have had two excellent finalists for the position.  Both finalists were initially interviewed by a thirteen member committee consisting of Nabnasset and Abbot parents and staff, along with several members of our Leadership Team.  Both candidates were then interviewed by Kerry Clery, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and me.  Scott was the choice of the majority of the interview committee, as well as both Kerry Clery and myself.

I know you will join me in enthusiastically welcoming Scott Middlemiss to our Nabnasset and Abbot Schools’ communities.

Sincerely,
Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

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May 5, 2015
RE: Window Replacement Project Update

Robinson School Community,

The Robinson School window replacement project has involved an assessment of existing conditions, including the sealant around the windows.  In the fall I reported to you that some sampling of the caulking indicated the presence of low levels of PCB's that will be removed during the window replacement project.  Once the heavy winter snow melted, testing recently began on the soil under the windows on the exterior of the building.

We have just received the test results and the findings indicate that one of the soil samples immediately adjacent to the building exhibited PCBs above a MassDEP level.  PCB's in soil do not extensively leach laterally and only represent a potential health concern if the soil in the immediate test area is disturbed and ingested.  As a precaution, the MassDEP requires that we place a fence around the area that exhibited the higher PCB level and place a cover over the impacted soil in only this specific test area to ensure that it is not disturbed.  The fence will be adjacent to the main walkway of the school.

Please note that this does not represent a health risk to the students or staff at the Robinson School, and there is no health risk to anyone entering or exiting the school via this walkway.  I will continue to inform you of any additional pertinent information regarding the window replacement project.

Regards,
Everett V. Olsen Jr.
Superintendent of School

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March 19, 2015
RE: Robinson School Principal Announcement

Robinson School Community,

I am excited to announce that Kevin LaCoste will be joining Westford Public Schools as the Principal of the Robinson School effective July 1st.  Kevin is a Westford resident and comes to us from the Nashoba Regional School District where he is currently the Principal of The Center School.  I am confident that Kevin will continue to promote high academics at the Robinson and build upon the very positive school culture.

Please join me in welcoming Kevin to our school system.

Everett V. Olsen, Jr.
Superintendent of School