August 25, 2016
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year. The summer has been filled with many tasks designed to move our schools forward. Many teachers and administrators were involved in professional learning experiences that will translate to new learning experiences for students in the classroom. Our custodians and maintenance personnel have not only cleaned the buildings but made many repairs and improvements to our facilities and we have been working with our new bus company to develop new routes and provide more parent information (see below for details). Some of you will find new staff in your schools as well. In addition, I would like to share with you a few important happenings in our school community. I hope you find the information in this communication helpful.
Willington and Mansfield Explore Cooperative Agreement
Last spring the Willington Board of Education sent a request to the Mansfield Board of Education asking if we would be willing to engage in a conversation regarding accepting Willington students into the Mansfield schools on a per student tuition basis. Willington is exploring this option as an alternative to maintaining their own schools. The first meeting of a joint committee between the two towns was held in late June. Several questions were raised and it was agreed to come back together in the fall to continue the discussion. The next meeting of the two communities will be held on September 14th at 7:00pm at Mansfield Middle School. At that time, several of the questions from the first meeting will be answered and discussion about the desire to continue to explore this possibility will occur. More information including a recording of the first meeting can be found at http://www.mansfieldct.gov/MansfieldWillington.
New Food Services Director Named
In late June, Stephanie Richard was named as Food Services Director for the Mansfield Public Schools and EO Smith High School. Ms. Richard holds a BS in Nutritional Sciences and a MS in Health Promotion and Education from The University of Connecticut and is a registered dietitian. She has experience in school food services, providing nutritional support to disabled adults, and culinary food preparation. Her food service interests include providing locally sourced food to students and presenting nutritionally rich foods in an attractive manner to encourage healthy eating.
Bus Tracking App Coming
Shortly after school begins, parents will receive information about Safe Stop, a digital app that can be accessed from a mobile device or a computer to track their child’s bus. This secure app allows a parent or caregiver to see the location of the bus in real time and after a few weeks, will also provide estimated arrival time at your stop. The information is provided as part of the existing school bus GPS equipment and is free for students and custodial parents with no advertising. Support will be provided at each school’s open house to assist parents with downloading and setting up the app.
Ensuring Students Develop Skills Needed for the World They Will Encounter
There is much written in the education literature about the need for schools to change their practices and focus on what is taught to students. How people access and acquire information, the skills needed for continuous learning, and the qualities sought in the world of work are all evolving rapidly. It is our responsibility to ensure that our students are prepared for the world they will encounter. The conversation about how we need to change has begun in the Mansfield schools and will be a priority focus for the district this year. Early this fall we will be developing a committee of teachers, administrators, and community members to help us more clearly define the skills we seek to develop within our students. Your participation is needed. An announcement will be distributed in a few weeks seeking parents and other community members to assist us in this work. Please consider joining the committee.
Fall Open House Events
We hope you can visit your child’s school, meet teachers, and learn more about the learning that will be happening this year. Open House events have been planned as follows:
Goodwin Elementary School September 15th
Southeast Elementary School September 13th
Vinton Elementary School September 14th
Mansfield Middle School September 7th
Mansfield Public School is now on Facebook
In an effort to provide more timely and frequent communication, Mansfield Public Schools now has a Facebook page. Look for postings of upcoming events, news about the schools, and more. You’ll find us at https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldSchoolsConnecticut.
Kelly M. Lyman
Superintendent of Schools