Armand Pires, Superintendent
45 Holliston St.
Medway, MA 02053
Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Medway Public Schools Holds Annual Convocation to Open the New School Year
MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires is pleased to share that the Medway Public School District held its annual Convocation to open the 2019-2020 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Convocation is a meeting held each year to bring the district together before the start of school. Plans for the year are shared with staff and faculty and staff achievements are shared.
“I’d like to formally welcome everyone back to the 2019-2020 school year,” Superintendent Pires said. “I am certain that this will be a wonderful year. We’ve made such great progress in so many years and put in place the pieces that are really going to ensure success as we move forward.”
District leadership began the meeting by thanking the district’s facilities, technology, administrative, business, special education and community education staff who work over the summer to prepare for the new year, as well as welcoming the 41 new faculty and staff members across the district.
Superintendent Pires also recognized faculty and staff who have reached the following significant milestones:
Professional Teacher Status:
- Tara Barrows
- Doug Dufresne
- Tim Geruso
- Marcus Hatt
- Cassandra McGill
- Amanda Moroney
- Emily Pegoraro
20 Years of Service
- Linda Lindsey
- David Murphy
25 Years of Service
- Karen Przybyl
- Jeanne Russell
- Marybeth Curran
- Bonnie Daudelin
- Marc Davidson
- Carolyn Erdelyi
- Cindy O’Connell
- Josh Steffen
- Shannon Tonelli
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), represented by Co-Chair Matthew Schwarm, presented the Outstanding Educator Award to honor educators who have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact on students with special education needs.
SEPAC Outstanding Educator Award:
- Ms. Melissa Warner, McGovern
- Ms. Amanda Young, Burke-Memorial
- Ms. Kathy Scott, high school
- Mr. Bryan Kelly, high school
- Ms. Sarah Lind (moved to a new district)
- Ms. Susan Murphy (retired)
Among other staff recognized were those who participated in 2019 Summer Professional Learning or received a program grant from the Medway Foundation for Education.
This year’s Convocation presented an opportunity for the district to continue their valued commitments to the district’s core values. The district has identified core values of active and continuous learning, equity and empowerment, relationships characterized by trust and mutual respect and comprehensive wellness for all.
“The core values you see are embedded in our strategic plan serve as foundational and fundamental beliefs for us in the district,” Superintendent Pires said. “Strong and clear core values in an organization provide guidance in decision making and guidance in behavior. In the end, our core values, our fundamental beliefs will propel us toward achieving those goals of the strategic plan.”
Faculty members Cindy O’Connell, Jay Rojee, Catherine Loring, Todd Swavey and Superintendent Pires shared personal stories about how these core values intersect with the four principles outlined in the book “Culturize: Every Student. Everyday. Whatever it Takes.” by Jimmy Casas, a read that central office leadership team members committed to over the summer. The book’s message is that school cultures should embrace four principles: Champion for ALL Students, Expect Excellence, Carry the Banner and Be a Merchant of Hope.
During this portion of the district Convocation called “I am Medway,” Cindy O’Connell highlighted the Carry the Banner principle, by sharing her husband’s battle with cancer and how his doctor’s encouragement that he could be one of the people who outlives the life expectancy of a diagnosis gave her husband the will to fight and to do the things he loved until his passing.
“We can never underestimate the effect our words have on ourselves and others,” O’Connell said. “We all have an inner voice that tells us what we can and cannot accomplish. We also serve to be that voice for our students. We must consciously strive to be a positive voice of encouragement, even when the chances of success seem slim.”
To represent the Merchant of Hope principle, Jay Rojee discussed the impact teachers had on him when he attended Medway High School. He discussed how the teachers he developed relationships with and who looked out for him had changed his life in ways he didn’t realize until years later. Rojee spoke of how this realization inspired him to become a teacher in the same district that so greatly impacted his life.
To show the Expect Excellence principle, Catherine Loring discussed a student who appeared to be distant and lack motivation. She sat down with the student to discuss his struggles and why he did not feel successful in school. When the class started poetry, he struggled to channel his emotions and wanted to give up writing his poem. Loring says he published some of the most beautiful poetry in the class. At the end of the year, the student gave Loring a note thanking her for taking the time to get to know him and encourage him.
“There was a boy in my class who ended the year shining bright after feeling dull for so many years,” Loring said. “We will all have students in our classrooms like the one I shared with you today. They are the diamonds that require us to spend more time mining and mining is hard work. Don’t give up. Every diamond deserves to be discovered. Every diamond deserves to shine.”
Todd Swavey discussed the Champion for ALL Students principle, telling a story of a high school drama teacher who became frustrated with a play’s cast. The teacher sat down to have a conversation with the students, listening to their thoughts and concerns. After that, the cast worked harder together because they were invested in each other and in the director who had respected them enough to listen. Swavey encouraged the faculty to take the time to pause during a challenging situation, listen and honestly talk to their students as it can lead to growth and empowerment.
Superintendent Pires also represented the Champion for ALL principle discussing his struggles in elementary school and the impact that a high school English teacher had on his desire to learn. The teacher encouraged him to take more challenging classes and begin thinking about his future, and helped him to apply to college. When Superintendent Pires was appointed to his first job as a principal, he reconnected with the teacher, crediting him with changing the course of his life and being his champion.
After the Convocation, faculty and staff gathered in the high school’s lobby for a small reception.