June 14, 2016
Dear Mansfield Families,
It has been a wonderful first year and it is hard to believe the school year is over. I feel very fortunate to work in a place filled with passionate, caring educators and supportive, engaged community members. As we close out 2015-2016, there is much I would like to share with you. (Please see below.) Have a wonderful summer!
Through a competitive bid process, we have selected M & J Bus Company as the transportation carrier for the Mansfield Public Schools. M & J Bus is the carrier in Willington, Coventry, and Windham. They are familiar with this part of the state and have spent a great deal of time coming to understand our needs. We are in the process of working with M & J to develop bus routes and know that there will be changes in our continuing effort to improve service and efficiency. Some middle school and high school students will continue to use group bus stops but using smaller buses will allow us to travel some gravel and steep roads that we did not travel this year. In early August, each family will receive a personal mailing with bus stop information and a new route number. Around that same time, we will add a bus information page to our website. Be sure to look there for a variety of information about school transportation. Beginning August 1st, you can go to www.mansfieldct.gov/schoolbus.
Bus Tracking Phone App
With the start of the new school year, parents will have the option of checking the location of their child’s school bus on a real-time map using a secure smartphone app or computer. This will provide up-to-the-minute bus location information for parents including arrival times. The app and website use secure credentials unique to each parent to provide information specific to only their child’s specific bus routes. The information is provided as part of the existing school bus GPS equipment and is free for students and custodial parents with no advertising. Optional sign-up information will be sent prior to the start of the school year allowing self-signup. Additionally, in-person assistance will be provided at school events at the start of the school year for direct help with sign-up.
Board Adopts Mission and District Framework
At the June 9 Board of Education meeting, a new mission statement, core beliefs, and District Framework were adopted by the Mansfield Board of Education. The result of months of work by the Board including multiple opportunities to gather input and feedback from various members of the schools and community, this document will direct the work of our schools for the next five years. A copy of the mission and framework may be found on our website at www.mansfieldct.gov/mboemissionframework.
We say good-bye to four special Mansfield educators this year. Each has contributed to our schools in countless ways. Ms. Jeanne Jones, paraeducator at Goodwin School, has been with the Mansfield schools for 22 years. Mrs. Joan Carr, music teacher at Southeast School, has been with the Mansfield schools for 27 years. Mrs. Karen Moylan, District Mathematics Consultant, has been with the Mansfield schools for 10 years. Dr. James Palmer, Principal of Vinton Elementary School, has been with Mansfield schools for 34 years. We wish them all good health, new adventures, and much happiness in the future.
Michael Seal Named Principal of Vinton School
On May 26, Michael Seal was appointed principal of Vinton School following a rigorous interview process conducted by teachers, administrators, parents, and Board of Education members. Mr. Seal most recently served as Principal of Urban Discovery Academy in San Diego, California. His career spans over 20 years and includes time as a principal in South Windsor and a teacher in Willington. In addition, Mr. Seal has taught at The School at Columbia University and served as School Director of Explorer Elementary Charter School, a High Tech High school. He is excited to return to Connecticut and work with the wonderful staff and families at Vinton School.
Looking to 2016-2017
There is much in store for our schools and the community in the coming year. On June 23 we begin conversations with the town of Willington about entering into a cooperative arrangement that would see their children coming to Mansfield schools on a tuition basis. This meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Council Chambers at the Mansfield Town Hall at 7:30pm. As we begin implementing the new District Frameworks, we will be focused on continuous improvement of our instructional practices to meet the interests and learning needs of all students. A community focused planning process regarding the future of our facilities will begin by early winter and watch for new communication practices including a Mansfield Public Schools Facebook page.
Kelly M. Lyman