By Jeff Szymaniak
W-H Superintendent of Schools
The Whitman-Hanson Regional School District officially opened its doors for the 2021-22 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Many things have happened over the summer months both in staffing and in our school buildings to prepare for Opening Day.
The District continues to use the theme “Semper Ad Maiora” which means “always toward the greater.” We are committed to providing opportunities for growth for the students and staff and moving the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District forward and out of the middle. Our mantra for this year is “All In.” Our staff is All In for students, for learning, for inclusion, for staff, for school, for community and for each other.
We have three new administrators in the district. Dr. Joel Jocelyn is the new principal at the Indian Head School. Joel comes to us from Newton where he was Principal at the Franklin Elementary School. Paul Duprey is the new Principal at the Whitman Middle School. Paul comes to us from Franklin where he was Principal at the Remington Middle School. John Stanbrook is the new Director of Business and Finance. Prior to Whitman-Hanson John was the town administrator in Hanson. This spring, the district budget included adding staff, or interventionists, for remedial services and to assist students whose learning was impacted by the COVID pandemic. Thankfully, the federal government provided grant opportunities to offset the cost of adding staff. In total, the district hired 35 new staff members to replace retirements, resignations, transfers, and long-term substitute positions.
There was tremendous activity in most of the school buildings during the summer. The new driveway was installed near the pre-school entrance at the high school. The operations crew was busy emptying out the multiple storage containers that held classroom furniture and materials that were moved to create the six-foot social distancing needed to open last September. These items were returned to the appropriate school building for teachers to place back in their classrooms. Deep cleaning, painting and other building maintenance was done throughout the summer in preparation for Opening Day. The Whitman Middle School Building Committee met during the summer as the district proceeds in the Feasibility Study stage of a potential middle school building project. Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is funding 57.74 percent of the feasibility study. If all goes well, the district will have a project manager hired by Jan. 1, 2022 who will contribute to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) in determining the best solution for a new or renovated middle school building.
All instructional staff reported to school on Monday, Aug. 30 for opening day activities. New teachers were introduced, staff were recognized for attaining professional status (tenure), and we celebrated teachers for their years of service. The Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) as well as the District Accommodation Plan (DCAP) were discussed. To wrap up the formal part of the day, Eugene Hamilton, a unique speaker, delivered powerful message of motivation, the importance of teaching and kindness. A cook-out lunch, complete with an ice cream truck, was sponsored by Equitable Advisors, S.J. Services and Collegiate Press.
One of my goals this year is communication with parents and community members. The district has a Facebook page for members to follow. I also have a Twitter account @WH_Super where I will post district information. We also have a new email address WHinfo@whrsd.org established for families to email their thoughts. Please note that the email is public document and public record so please do not include personal or student information. All school building principals and administrative support staff are available for questions or concerns as well as my office at 781-618-7412.
Let’s work together to make this a great year.