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Moving forward with positive changes in schools

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New administrators at Middlesex High School and Middlesex Elementary School include, seated from left, MHS principal Stephen Castle and MHS assistant principal Danielle Ross; and standing, MES principal Jeannie Duke and MES assistant principal Alicia Carter. (Photo by Tom Chillemi
by Rusty Fairheart
Superintendent
Middlesex Public Schools

It has been an extremely busy and exciting summer for Middlesex County Public Schools as we have been preparing for the upcoming 2009-10 school year. Our administrative staff has been hard at work hiring new personnel, analyzing data, reviewing curriculum, coordinating professional development activities, and planning instructional programs to enhance teaching and learning. Additionally, our support staff has spent countless hours ensuring our facilities are ready to welcome students on September 8.

Good state Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores mean that all three Middlesex County Public Schools are “fully accredited” for the 2009-10 school year.

Additionally, Middlesex High School and St. Clare Walker Middle School met all of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program.

While we are pleased with our successes from last year, we are even more excited about the opportunities and challenges the upcoming year presents. I fully anticipate that all three of our schools, and the division as a whole, will meet all adequate yearly progress benchmarks during the 2009-10 school year.

The summer has also provided us with an opportunity to welcome new additions to our staff. We have 16 new teachers (including instructional support personnel) for the 2009-10 school year and five new administrators.

Mrs. Alicia Carter is the new assistant principal at Middlesex Elementary School, Ms. Tracy Seitz is the new assistant to the principal at St. Clare Walker Middle School, Mr. Stephen Castle is the new principal at Middlesex High School and Director of Career Technical Education, Mrs. Danielle Ross is our assistant principal at Middlesex High School, and Mr. Dan Holloway is the new Director of Technology. We are excited about the skills, abilities, and knowledge our new staff members possess and feel strongly they will play key roles in our future success.

Additionally, we have several returning staff members with new or expanded leadership roles. Mrs. Jeannie Duke is the new principal of Middlesex Elementary School, Ms. Rosalin Ball is now the Director of Exceptional Education and Federal Programs (to include gifted education), Mrs. Susan Zeliff (formerly Mrs. Leggett) is the new teacher/coordinator of gifted education, and Dr. James Lane has been identified as the interim-assistant superintendent for instruction in addition to his role as principal of St. Clare Walker Middle School.

The leadership team of Middlesex County Public Schools worked diligently to identify core values which will provide a framework for future success. Our core values have been identified as:

  • Increased student achievement—all students, all levels.
  • Effective leadership through a shared vision, strong communication, and respectful relationships.
  • Positive public perception, support and involvement. 
  • Organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
  • A culture of professionalism with an emphasis on continuous growth and improvement.

We feel that maintaining a focus on these values will allow us to provide instructional programming and other services which will benefit our students and the community as a whole.

From an instructional perspective, we have several new and continuing initiatives planned for the current year. Based on the recommendation from our grading-scale committee, we are transitioning to a 10-point grading scale division-wide.

Additionally, we are in the process of migrating to a new student data management system. Our new system, Powerschool, will provide parents with online access to student grades and other important school information. Parents will receive information about Powerschool at Back to School Night in September.

Lastly, our instructional staff has received professional development on creating assessments, which should parallel nicely with our ongoing development and revision of curriculum guides and maps, as well as pacing guides. 

The faculty and staff members of Middlesex County Public Schools are excited and enthusiastic about all of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. We feel fortunate to work with such wonderful students and in such a supportive community. Together we can continue to inspire and prepare all students with the confidence, courage and competence to achieve their dreams; contribute to the community; and engage in a lifetime of learning.

posted 09.02.2009

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