Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association
MESPA Monday Memo
April 3, 2017
From the Executive Director:
1. April Changes @ MESPA
  As we begin the final quarter of the fiscal year on April 1st, here are some changes that are happening at MESPA.
  • MESPA Education Center Sold: Effective Friday, March 31, Assabet Valley Collaborative became the new owner of our office and training center.  Proceeds from the sale will enable us to pay-off our long-term debt, including the mortgage, an equity line of credit, a deed of trust owed to NAESP, and other overdue accounts from previous years.
  • We’re Still Open!  MESPA will continue to operate as we rent office space back from AVC through the summer.  Our Leadership Coaching program and Regional Support Groups will continue through June.
  • Staff Reductions:  With deep regret, we will be eliminating two staff positions as of April 7.   Brenda Elmes and Victoria Ellison have served this association well for the past 19 years. We hope to see them back in the future if staffing needs allow.   See below for more about them.  Frank Hefler will work through June 30, managing our finances and preparing to close out our books.
  • Executive Director:  I will reduce my time to three days per week for the last quarter. My first responsibility will be to continue to be available for member inquiries and support.  You can reach me any day via email.  I will also continue to represent MESPA at the state level working with Mass Partners and DESE.  And I will continue to work with our Board of Directors to plan for the closing out of MESPA and the transition to a new unified PK-12 association. 
2. The Road to Unification

MSSAA First Vice President (and former MESPA member) Mark Wood, Principal/Director of Tantasqua Regional Vocational High School, addressed our Annual Meeting on Friday, March 24.  He explained the process that is underway to create a new unified PK-12 administrative association.  
  • MSSAA Membership Vote Underway (closes April 28):  MSSAA members must approve changes in the original Articles of Organization, including:
    • Name Change to:  Massachusetts School Administrator Association
    • Purpose:  Add “elementary”
    • Membership: Add “elementary”
  • MSSAA Board Vote (June) and Membership Vote (July 27) to approve constitutional revisions necessary for a unified association, such as board representation, etc.
If approved, a new “Massachusetts School Administrator Association” (MSAA) would be in place effective August 1. For more information, go to the MSSAA website: http://www.mssaa.org/mssaa?sid=35.  

The MESPA Board and I will continue working with MSSAA leadership to finalize representation in the new unified association. Based on preliminary conversations, there will be fair representation for elementary principals on the new Board with an opportunity to grow as more of our members become involved. We know that a unified association will provide increased resources for professional learning, as well as a strong voice at the state level. A new Elementary Committee would focus on the needs of elementary principals. The current committee structure used by MSSAA will provide some new opportunities for members to be involved in shaping the association by serving on committees, including:  Assistant Principals, Teaching & Learning, Educational Policies, Legislative, Middle Level, Urban, and Retired.
3. Words of Appreciation
MESPA staff Brenda Elmes (left) and Victoria Ellison (right)
talk with MESPA President Kirk Downing at the Spring Conference.

  Thank You, Brenda & Vickie!
Brenda Elmes and Victoria Ellison have both  demonstrated exceptional loyalty and dedication to MESPA over 19 years of service. Brenda played a key role as coordinator for our CPAL licensure program.  In that capacity, she was a constant presence of support to many an aspiring principal, keeping them on track to complete program requirements. Brenda also coordinated the Coaching and In-District programs. More recently, Brenda took on working with our sponsors and exhibitors for our conferences.  Her genuine caring and kindness contributed to a supportive MESPA culture.  Vickie has been the go-to person for membership – patiently working with members and school districts to get renewals processed, chase down “lapsed” members, and recruit new members.  Vickie also played a key role in conference planning and registration. She helped maintain our website and Constant Contact communication with members. Seeing Brenda and Vickie in action in the final weeks leading up to our Spring Conference was amazing.  Their efforts ensured that our major annual event was such a success!  
  A Debt of Gratitude to NAESP
We are extremely grateful to the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) for their generous support of MESPA.  NAESP paid some of our operating costs during the 2016 calendar year.  They also forgave a significant portion of the debt we had accrued with them over the past several years.   Without the support of our national association, we would not have been able to remain in operation– nor could we emerge from the sale of our property with our long-term debts settled.
 
Rick Rogers
New Job Posting
  Longmeadow: Blueberry Hill Elementary School (Search Re-opened)
For more information, go to: http://mespa.org/job-postings/
From The MESPA Blog:  
Breaking Down the Walls: Global Pen Pals
by Julie Vincentsen, Principal, Ruggles Lane School, Quabbin Regional School District
In this week’s powerful blog post, Julie revisits a challenge from leading technology thinker Alan November, the keynote speaker at MESPA’s Fall Conference.  Alan noted, “We have drastically underestimated what elementary kids can do,” and challenged us with a question:  “How can you possibly be world class if you are not connected to the world?”  

Haunted by Alan’s challenge, Julie describes how she is working  with a sixth grade extension group to help students learn to connect with the world through blogging, Skype, and social media, including a Global Pen Pals program    

To read more, go to the MESPA blog at:  https://mespa2016.wordpress.com/

Keep the Streak Alive!
Share Your Thoughts with Colleagues : Write for the MESPA Blog!

We have had an uninterrupted string of weekly blog posts all year.  Let's keep it going!   Click here to sign up for a post. Are you interested but nervous because you’ve never blogged before and don’t know where to begin? We write for our communities all the time – this just changes your audience. This week's post was based on a piece Julie originally wrote for parents.  
Join Our Next Twitter Chat
#MESPAChat
Wednesday, April 12
8:00-9:00 pm
MESPA on Capitol Hill
MESPA’s National Representative John Quinn and Jill Flanders traveled to Washington, DC as part of the annual National Leaders Conference. While there,  they met with Senator Elizabeth Warren & Representative Joe Kennedy. They also spoke to staff from Senator Markey's Office. Visit #PrincipalsAdvocate on Twitter to learn more.

P.S. D on’t forget to VOTE for NAESP Vice President by April 11.  Look for ballot email from NAESP sent on March 29. For more information, go to: http://www.naesp.org/2017-naesp-election.
MSBA “My Ideal School” Contest (For First Graders)
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is pleased to announce the 2017 “My Ideal School” contest.  

This year, eight regional winners will be chosen, each of whom will receive a special prize generously donated by People’s United Bank.  One lucky grand prize winner will also have their “My Ideal School” contest picture featured on the cover of the MSBA Annual Report.  All winners will be honored at a special awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House on May 31, 2017.  

This contest is open to all first-grade students currently attending a Massachusetts public school. Contest submissions must be postmarked by May 5, 2017, for consideration.  

For more information and a link to the Entry Form, go to: http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/programs/Ideal_School  
Click on image for more information.