From the Superintendent
A Thanksgiving Message in the Truest Sense
NOVEMBER 24, 2021
To the Entire EPS Community
Thanksgiving is a time when we consider the fundamentally important and joyous things in our lives. The big things. Family, health, happiness, community, jobs, friends, and all that which energizes and motivates us. This is what makes Thanksgiving so universal and cherished.
This year, I find the breadth of my gratitude is greater than ever. Never before have I been this thankful for the things we share as educators and members of the EPS community. Never before have I been so appreciative of the challenges and rewards of being a parent. Never before have I been so grateful for our students, who are at the heart of the critical work we do every day.
So, before we settle in for a long weekend with loved ones, I want to take a moment to highlight some of the many things that we have accomplished and/or experienced so far this school year. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but simply indicative of the building blocks we are putting into place here in Everett, and where they point us.
To going the extra mile. Our entire staff is continually going to extra lengths for our students and families and are thoughtfully helping us navigate this unique school year. A prime example of this was the engaging Hispanic Heritage Month menu of activities that was provided at each school and districtwide and the robust curricular materials that were developed by our educators. So, too, was it evident in the vibrant STEM Week programming facilitated by our curriculum leaders and educators.
To parent outreach and engagement. Over the past three months, we hosted our inaugural Pre-K Premieres for our newest families, and two immensely successful district-wide events (Back to School Bash, Fall Festival). Our Office of English Learners hosted a Family Night, held Tech Goes Home and language courses for parents and guardians, and organized language-based Parent Advisory Committee meetings. At Everett High, we held a student-centric Homecoming Celebration and our first-ever College Fair. At the school level, we held back-to-school nights for families to meet teachers and receive vital information about the school year.
To funding our extensive efforts on behalf of students and families. The EPS has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in competitive grant funding to positively impact every aspect of the EPS, from curriculum to technology to professional development. The budget team is tireless in its commitment to matching our spending priorities to our mission and our values.
To well-deserved recognition. In recent weeks, Neil Plotnick received the first-ever Everett Innovation Scholarship; Jada Simmons Ononeme was honored by the Mystic River Watershed Association, Oswaldo Constanza and Paulina Vaca received Excellence Awards from Latinos for Education, and EHS girls basketball coach Riley Dunn was named the 2021 North Division Coach of the Year by the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association.
To providing greater access. In recent weeks, we have expanded opportunities for EHS students to receive high-quality college and test prep through our partnership with Livius Prep. We are expanding our afterschool offerings via the STEM provider Empow Studios. We have partnered with Regis College and Bridgewater State University to offer educational, degree, and certificate programs to our teachers. For the community, we have teamed with the Cambridge Health Alliance and MGH on several vaccine clinics for all age levels.
To supporting one another. When it comes to helping our residents and families, EPS educators step up time and again. From Brandon Conde Day to Jeans Day fundraisers to school- and class-based drives and projects, our staff’s community spirit is a continual source of pride. Thanks, also, to the educators who have joined the various task forces, curriculum and learning teams, advisory and focus groups we have established to help foster collaboration and support forward progress on all fronts.
To leadership. The EPS Central Office team and our school leaders are pushing forward on critical initiatives such as School Improvement plans, the EPS Strategy for District Improvement, hiring, professional development, social and emotional wellness, evaluations, and curriculum reviews and implementation — to name only a few.
To the resilience we demonstrated in our past and to the brightness of our future. After a prolonged period of stops and starts, unavoidable hesitancy, and frustrating uncertainty, the EPS is on an upward trajectory that can only be achieved by having everyone in our district together again.
To partnership. From businesses to community-based organizations to service clubs to city government, our district is fortunate to have a long and strong list of partners who support us in countless ways. There is great comfort in knowing how much the entire Everett community cares about our students and how committed it is to helping us succeed.
To our School Committee. I want to personally thank the members I have worked with so closely since I was hired in March of 2019. Your professionalism, dedication, and compassion has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. I look forward to working with the new School Committee, including our four new members, beginning in January of 2022.
Finally, it is my sincerest hope that this weekend marks the beginning of a happy holiday season, one in which you find yourself surrounded by loved ones and resuming traditions that were perhaps put on hold last year. I hope you can rest, relax, and recharge before returning on Monday, November 29th — at which time the EPS will resume its never-ending effort to do things we can all be thankful for.