April 27, 2017

Students and staff returned to Willard on Monday after April vacation looking relaxed and refreshed. We now begin the last phase of the 2016-2017 school year. Experience tells me that the remaining weeks of the school year will fly by. Hold on to your hats!

Thank you to the parent volunteers who stepped up to assist with the big job of transporting the many Food Drive boxes to Open Table this morning. We really appreciated the help!

Welcoming incoming kindergarten students and their parents is always an exciting milestone at Willard. Two sessions of Kindergarten Registration were held on Tuesday. The final session will be held today. I would like to stress that teacher assignments for Kindergarten Registration are random and do not indicate the child’s actual kindergarten placement for the upcoming school year. Letters indicating each child’s classroom placement will be sent in late July.

We were all so pleased that the school budget passed at Town Meeting on Monday night! All school staff members appreciate the parent and community support. It is exciting to know that all K-5 students will begin learning Spanish as part of the school program next year. After an extensive interview and vetting process, three Spanish teachers have been recommended to fill the positions for the three elementary schools. Each elementary school will have a full time Spanish teacher. The Superintendent will be meeting with the candidates very soon to finalize the process.

Speaking of staffing changes, I have some news to share. As previously announced, Language Arts Specialist Susan Chafe will be retiring at the end of the school year after 32 years in education and 17 years at Willard. Working with a team of staff, several candidates were interviewed to fill this position. I am pleased to announce that Willard special education teacher, Sharon Hehn emerged from the interview process as the strongest candidate. She has been recommended to fill that position. Grade 5 teacher, Katie Lyons has requested and been granted a One Year Leave of Absence. Mrs. Lyons will be moving out of state due to her husband’s job transfer. Since Mrs. Hehn and Mrs. Lyons staff the co-taught classroom, I have been working with the grade 5 team and other staff members interviewing candidates to fill both of these positions.

I am in the final stages of the hiring process for both candidates and I hope to share that information next week. Shortly before April vacation, Janice Shear announced that she is retiring at the end of the school year, as well, after 25 years of service at Willard. It certainly seems to be a popular year for retirements. As a result, there will be more than a few personnel changes next year. I expect to be very busy over the next several weeks interviewing candidates and planning for the 2017-2018 school year.

These retirements and position changes involve veteran staff members at Willard and create a void in the Willard teaching ranks since all are very special and gifted educators. As always, I strive to hire the very best candidates to fill all teaching and support positions at Willard. I pledge to work hard to hire the best candidates to fill these positions.

All parents are encouraged to mark your calendars for the following special events. This year’s Science Fair (Dive into Science) is scheduled for Sunday, May 7th. The 5th Grade Arts Night will be held on Wednesday, May 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The Art retrospective begins at 6:00 PM and the 5th Grade Concert (Chorus, Orchestra, & Band) begins at 7:00 PM in the auditorium.

The 5th Grade Celebration is scheduled for Thursday, June 15th at 10:30 AM in the Willard Auditorium. This event marks the end of the elementary school experience for our students. Grade 5 parents are invited to attend. Please mark your calendar.

In addition, please mark your calendars for an opportunity to participate in the following

Join the Conversation: Developing a School & Family Partnership Around Technology and the Digital World

As always, thank you for all you do for Willard School.