ABConnector Newsletter                                         June 2016 Edition

Greetings to All AB Families,
It's hard to believe that the school year is already winding down.  The last day of school is June 22. In the absence of blizzards, and more recently the absence of heat and humidity (which can also be challenging for students and staff), this year proceeded without too many 'environmental' issues.
In the background of all of the exciting programs and learning experiences for students at our schools has been considerable activity at the district level.  I have outlined some of the highlights below.
I am also completing my second year in the district. The last twenty-four months have been an incredible journey for me both personally and professionally, as I have had the opportunity to meet members of our community throughout this fine district and across the towns of Acton and Boxborough, which we so proudly serve.
I have the unique opportunity in my role as Superintendent to see people working in support of our students, and teaching and learning at all levels of our school system. Not a day goes by that I am not struck by some remarkable experience that I wish every person connected with AB had the privilege to see. Some of these efforts are small, like lending a helping hand, and others far grander in terms of generosity, financial or otherwise, but together they represent the overwhelming commitment of this learning community to do everything possible to make the greatest difference in the lives of the thousands of students that we are privileged to work with. This is what makes AB, in my opinion, so special and a place where our families want to stay
Thank you for entrusting us with your children, and thank you for the confidence that you have in us each day to care for them.
It is my honor and privilege to serve as your Superintendent and I want to wish each of you a safe, enjoyable and rewarding summer.
Yours in education,
Glenn Brand
Superintendent of Schools
New Members of Our Staff
Please join me in welcoming the many new members who will be joining our faculty and staff in the coming year.  Our employees are at the heart of everything we do in the district, and we are very pleased to be adding so many talented new members to our community.  

I'd like to extend a particular welcome to Dr. Dawn Bentley and Ms. Pam Smith.  Dr. Bentley will be joining us as Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Ms. Smith will be our new Director of Special Education.  

Dr. Bentley comes to us from Michigan, where she has been the Executive Director of Special Education for the Livingston Educational Service Agency in Livingston County.  She has held several positions in Special Education in Michigan.  In 2014, Dr. Bentley received the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE)'s Murray Batten Humanitarian Award, a state-level honor given to leaders who demonstrate honesty, integrity, trust and compassion.  

Ms. Smith has spent the past two years as Interim Superintendent of Schools in Hopedale, where she had been a Special Educator and Chairperson for many years.  She is looking forward to returning to her Special Education roots as a leader in a large school district.  

Welcome to the Incoming Chair and New School Committee Member 

I'd also like to congratulate to the newly-elected Chair of our School Committee, Mary Brolin, and our two new Vice-Chairs, Amy Krishnamurthy (Acton) and Kathleen Neville (Boxborough), as well as a welcome to our newest School Committee member, Eileen Zhang.  

Safety and Emergency Planning

This year the Superintendent's Safety Task Force focused on a number of key areas in an effort to solidify safety and emergency preparedness across our district. One of the key areas that emerged from this work was the decision to implement the ALICE Program for our alternative lockdown procedures. Information about this program was shared with the School Committee at their meeting on May 19 and at the recent community meeting held on May 31. You can find the PowerPoint presentation from that meeting on our website.  Acton TV also recorded the event; the video will be posted on the AB website as soon as it is available.

Please look for additional information that will be forthcoming in the fall, shortly after school opens, in advance of the program's implementation.

Student Wellness and School Start Times

This year I asked the Superintendent's Wellness Committee to focus on examining the issue of sleep, school start times and the intersection with the health and well-being of our students. This committee, comprised of volunteers from a cross-section of faculty, administrators, health professionals, and community members, has met regularly throughout the year, and has centered its work around three areas: i) a brief review of the related literature; ii) identifying key findings from other districts that have considered making changes to their start times; and iii) examining the key questions, choices, and obstacles that a community such as ours would need to make if we want to consider future changes to our current practices.

The charge of the committee was to identify recommendations for the district to consider regarding this issue. The culmination of the committee's 
work and their report of findings will be presented to the School Committee at their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 9.

A copy of their presentation, along with their more extensive report, will be posted on the district's website later this month.

Capital and Infrastructure Planning

The district is currently in the middle of an extensive capital planning process that began last July. With the assistance of the firm Dore & Wittier, we are developing a district master plan that will be finalized in the late fall of 2016. This plan will help establish a variety of options that the district, and our communities of Acton and Boxborough, can consider for the long-term sustainability of our schools and infrastructure.

The consultants will be holding an informational meeting on June 16, 2016 (see details below).  The meeting is open to all members of the community who would like to find out more about the study and the work completed to date.

Strategic Planning

The district's current five-year strategic plan is coming to an end at the conclusion of this school year. The District Leadership Team, comprised of about fifty members, has begun to review and revise the current values and mission of the district, while also embarking upon the creation of a vision for the school system. This work will lead to the clear identification of short- and longer-term goals and priorities for our system. The components of the plan, including draft proposals for our core values, mission and vision, will soon be available for staff and community feedback as we move towards having the School Committee approve a new plan in the fall.

Highlights and Upcoming Events 

High School Graduation was Friday, June 3 at Leary Field.  Congratulations to our the class of 2016!

ABRSD Awarded $200,000 from MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education.   The Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant is a competitive, matching state grant program that supports student instruction and assessment through the use of information technology, such as enhanced information technology infrastructure (Wi-Fi) and increased broadband access. This grant will complete our four year wireless upgrade plan.

Capital Planning Public Presentation:  We will be reviewing our capital planning progress to date as well as giving an overview of potential future directions.  Please join us for this informational presentation, which will be held on Thursday, June 16 , at 7:00pm in the Junior High School library.  

Central Office is Moving!

The Central Office is moving to the Administration Building .   Due to space  constraints, t he move will take place in two stages.  

Superintendent Glenn Brand, Deputy Superintendent Marie Altieri, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Deb Bookis, and their administrative staff, along with Executive Assistant to the School Committee Beth Petr, will be  moving during the summer of 2016. The Curriculum Specialists currently located in the Administration Building will be moving to the Junior High School. 

As space becomes available during the next school year, the departments of Finance and Human Resources will also relocate to the Administration Building.   

I will keep you updated as the details of timing become clearer.  

Yours in education,
Glenn A. Brand
Superintendent of Schools

Twitter: @SuperABRSD
Administrative Offices Located in RJ Grey Building
The Office of the Superintendent is located at 16 Charter Road in Acton within the RJ Grey Junior High School building.
Acton-Boxborough Regional School District
(978) 264-4700 |

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