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Newsletter 3/8/18


It’s been a while, but lots has been going on and work has continued.  Here’s your update on this snowy day.

100% Transportation Funding Campaign

3,200+ signatures on the on-line petition!!!

Governor Baker may have level-funded RSD transportation, but the fight is far from over.   The House Ways and Means Committee will put forth their budget proposal in April and then that will be debated by the House.  The hope is that they will increase our funding to 100%. Keep writing those e-mails and letters to Jeffrey Sanchez and add Stephen Kulik (the vice-chair) to let them know how much this funding would help our district and towns. Stephen Kulik represents towns in the Berkshires, so he gets the struggles of RSDs, whereas Jeffrey Sanchez has no RSDs in his legislative district.

​​WRSD Budget Proposal

The budget is created based on the district’s strategic plan.  There are 5 areas and below the area, you will find some of the things added to the FY19 budget to achieve some of these goals.

  • Domain 1 – Leadership, Governance, and Communication

  • Domain 2 – Aligned Curriculum

    • Early Literacy Program (Fountas and Pinnell) – Will be rolled out one grade per year in elementary.

    • Early Literacy Director

    • STEM Materials across the district

  • Domain 3 – Effective Instruction

    • ELL Teacher

    • Technology Integration Specialist (District-wide)

    • 1:1 Chromebooks for grade 9, which means that grades 9 & 10 will have 1:1 Chromebooks.

    • Textbook program – This is a 9 year plan to update curriculum materials in the district – a 9-year plan!

    • Bring back a special education program that had been cut several years ago

  • Domain 4 – Professional Development & Structures for Collaboration

    • Funds focused on providing training that supports strategic initiatives

  • Domain 5 – Students Social, Emotional, and Health Needs

    • Director of Guidance and Social-Emotional Learning (K-12)

    • Middle & High School Counseling

Administration positions like those of a Tech. Integration Specialist and Direct of Literacy and Director of Social-Emotional Learning will affect ALL students in the district.  As we are so woefully understaffed in these areas as it is, it is a relief that at least the teachers and staff will have one person who has time to focus on supporting their needs.  There is a myth that our administration in the WRSD is bloated – this is absolutely NOT true and needs to be corrected any time it’s heard.

It is a relief that they are rolling out a new literacy program for the elementary schools. Whatever the opinion on the particular program, at least EVERY first grader in the WRSD will be taught to read by the same program.

Now, remember, if 2 out of 5 towns say NO to this budget, something will have to be cut.  That is why we must work as hard as we can to get all 5 towns to vote YES in May! Our teachers will get some support and then we can continue building from there.

The assessments for each town are listed below.  Due to enrollment and wealth rating changes in the towns, some are seeing a bigger increase than others. You can read the budget narrative for more information.

​​Support MA Regional Schools

The Facebook group, Support MA Regional Schools, that began only a month ago has taken off​.  There are over 600 members representing 20+ districts.  There is a coordinated campaign that began this week, on March 7th, which will hopefully be very effective in getting the state to listen to our pleas for more funding.  Join the group or follow along at  You’ll notice that the group’s video looks familiar!  IAW is helping in any way that we can to get this state-wide movement off the ground.  Please click here to go straight to a document where the task for Campaign #1 has been made even easier for you.

Mass Association of Regional Schools(MARS) – We got a really good response from our presentation at the MARS general meeting.  So good, in fact, that we’ve been invited to present at their legislative breakfast this Friday 3/9.  So far, we know that Senator Gobi and Senator Tran will be there, as well as a representative from Kim Ferguson’s office. The Joint House Ways and Means Committee hearing is actually on 3/19.  The hearing will be focused on education.  Find a Facebook event for this event here.

Local Planning

Yard signs– Here is the design for the yard sign.  We are still working out the details of printing and possible cost.  We’ll certainly update you when we know more. We hope to have a bunch of these in each town in the district through the months of April and May (when town meetings will happen).​  

Annual Town Meetings – Dates are shown below.  It is so important that we all ow up to our town meetings and try to bring as many friends and neighbors as possible.  I know that child care can be an issue and though it is sometimes provided at the event, the meeting might go late. It’s difficult to say how to solve this, but it’s worth some thought before the actual day.

Our Next Meeting – Working on it!  Hoping for Wed. 3/21.

Filling seats —  Upcoming meetings:

  • Monday, 3/12/18 – School Committee Meeting – 7pm @ WRHS Media Center.  The SC will be voting on the budget at this meeting.  

  • Thursday, 3/15/18 – Advocacy Workshop with Tracy Novick – 7pm @ WRHS Media Center.  Tracy is a field coordinator for the MA Association of School Committees.  She has a wealth of knowledge about the funding issues we face. She’ll make a presentation on how we can better advocate.  Hope to see you there! Flyer here.

  • Monday, 3/19/18 – 5:30 @ Memorial Hall in Holden Town Hall – Harriette Chandler and Kim Ferguson will be holding office hours before they attend Holden’s BOS meeting.

You can always check our calendar for upcoming meetings.  

If you can’t make it to these meetings, here’s a few ways to see them:

Email with questions or comments any time.  As always, thanks for your time and commitment to working toward getting the education our kids deserve!  

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