Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! We look forward to seeing our returning families and welcoming those who are new to our schools.
Our custodial and maintenance crews have worked hard over the summer to ensure that the schools shine brightly for our students and staff as they return in September. In addition to the comprehensive cleaning that takes place at each of our 10 schools, our buildings and grounds team handles electrical and plumbing upgrades, painting, carpet, tile and locker replacement where needed, and other large scale projects.
At the same time, our school and department administrators and their 12-month support staff have been busy attending to of all of those important details that make the transition to a new school year run smoothly. New students have been registered, schedules are being finalized and books and classroom resources have been ordered and are being delivered and distributed. Meanwhile, our Information Technology team members are rolling out additional chromebooks for student use at each school, improving the district’s data center, and working on a state-of-the-art Innovation Classroom at Westfield High School. I am grateful to all of our employees who work throughout the summer to set the stage for a successful school year.
One of the most important tasks of the summer is recruiting and selecting knowledgeable and caring staff to replace those who have left the district. This September, we welcome more than 40 new employees to fill retirements or leave replacements. Among them are two new administrators with a wealth of experience: Elizabeth Delasandro and Warren Hynes.
Ms. Delasandro, a longtime math teacher at Edison Intermediate School and, most recently, at Westfield High School, is our new Supervisor of K-12 Mathematics. Mr. Hynes is a 14-year veteran at WHS who taught English and Journalism before being appointed as Assistant Principal at the high school. These seasoned educators emerged as the clear choices for the positions after a search that included 80 applications for the mathematics supervisor position and 251 for the assistant principalship.
The summer months also provide an opportunity for educators to continue their professional growth. One area of focus this year was on the development of our new website which we launched on August 1. The exciting new site, with its clean, fresh look and ease of navigation, is the result of more than a year of thorough research and conversations with various stakeholders.
Our popular STEM camp returned for a sixth year, while our five-week Extended School Year Program helped to reinforce skills for those students who benefit from this extra support. Our weeklong ELL Summer Experience welcomed Westfield students representing 6 different languages.
As always, we recognize the importance of the physical and mental health of our students and staff. Fostering a culture of health and wellness is a key goal in the district’s Strategic Plan. This summer, our administrators attended a workshop which focused on the interconnectedness of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and academic learning. The three-day series provided important examples of how we can further enhance a healthy school environment where our students and staff feel safe, challenged, respected and celebrated.
All this work is focused on Wednesday, September 5th, the day we welcome 6,300 students from Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The work before us is to prepare the next generation for their future careers and lives. I look forward to a successful partnership with our families, staff, and the entire Westfield community to continue our Tradition of Excellence.