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Warwick Public Schools

Philip Thornton, Ed.D, Superintendent

Warwick Public Schools
34 Warwick Lake Avenue
Warwick, Rhode Island, 02889

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The mission of the Warwick Public Schools, working cooperatively with families and the community, is to provide challenging learning environments that enable all students to develop skills and knowledge necessary to become self-directed, life-long learners, highly productive responsible citizens, and contributors to a technological and diverse society.

(Warwick Public Schools Mission Statement, 2001-)

Superintendent, Philip D. Thornton, Ed.D.


Superintendent's Update

From the desk of Philip Thornton

About this update:

 My intent is to connect to the Warwick School Community in a variety of ways. I’ve had many discussions with parents, teachers, and alumni. I’ve attended small group meetings at schools, PTA meetings, gone to neighborhood meetings throughout the district and I’ll continue to do so.

 I want to keep you as informed and connected to what’s happening in our schools as I can. This update - which I’ll send out on a monthly basis – is one of the ways I hope to do just that.

 On my first day on the job, I attended a district-wide meeting on school consolidation. Since this time, this topic has been at the forefront of my thinking.  Going from 19,000 students a decade ago to 9,000 students today means we don’t need as much space as we once did, but we still have to create a consolidation model that maximizes educational programming for students.

 Travelling the city and seeing our schools in action, I have been very impressed by the energy and passion of our teachers and administrators. I see good things happening and enormous potential for our future.

 Winter Survey:

 The School Committee and school administration is currently considering changes to the school calendar. One of these changes being discussed is the elimination of the winter (February) vacation. We want to hear from you on this topic, as your opinion matters. We’ve created a very short survey and hope you’ll take a few minutes to complete it. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WPSvacationsurvey

 Consolidation update:

 In January, we presented the Educational Blueprint for Consolidation to the district.  Our challenge is determining how we can consolidate our district and at the same time make much needed improvements. To me, the point for putting this out in January is to generate feedback from the community.  I fully expect and welcome thinking on how to improve this plan and make refinements to our final consolidation plan. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the presentation: https://prezi.com/vm9vgozk0dww/a-blueprint-for-a-more-efficient-effective-school-system/ 

 One of the changes to report back to you from the initial plan is that we will recommend the reinstatement of two social workers at the elementary school level to support our students. These positions were eliminated in a previous budget year.

 To keep up to date on the Consolidation process, we’ve created a website with frequently asked questions and other information about the process. The site is here: http://tinyurl.com/Warwick-consolidation

 We also have a Facebook page from which to share information or ask questions. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/WarwickRISchoolConsolidation/

 Teacher contract update: 

 Unfortunately, we’ve in a holding pattern until the union leadership can find time to meet with us. An Arbitrator offered 19 dates spanning between December and April. The School Committee has accepted every single date offered in our efforts to meet and negotiate a new contract. Unfortunately, the Union Leadership has rejected 11 of the 19 dates.

 This does not even take into account the fact that at the first day of hearing in December the Union’s partial arbitrator announced that he was unavailable for the entire month of February for a vacation, a fact certainly known prior to his selection by Union.  

 Please know the School Committee has offered to narrow the issues and limit testimony to small time increments in order to resolve this matter in a timely fashion.  Unfortunately, each suggestion has been met with resistance or outright refusal.  

 The School Committee has also offered to meet on weekdays, at night, and/or on the weekends due to the significant importance of the educational issues involved and the need to conclude this in an expeditious manner to address those issues.  

 Communications Update: 

 In January, the Warwick Public Schools conducted a survey of families and staff to help us understand what information the community wants, how often the community wants updates, and what tools are best for sharing this information.  

   The survey showed us that Warwick Public Schools website presence needs a major overhaul, that our community wants a Facebook page from which to help share information, that we need to do a better job in sharing info about the consolidation process, and that parents prefer weekly emails for news and information and automated phone calls once a week. We will have the full results of the survey posted to our district website page soon.  To see the summary of survey results, go to "https://sites.google.com/a/warwickschools.org/wps-survey/"   

 Looking ahead: 

 Sometimes in all the news and information out there, important updates get lost or missed. In case you missed it, here’s what we’re working on adding in the coming school year:  

Full day Kindergarten

Middle school sports

Chrome books for all middle school students

Math support for all students K-6

Reading support for all students K-6

Social worker support added K-12

Nursing support added K-6

Building upgrades - new auditoriums at Pilgrim and vets

Upgraded locker rooms and student fitness areas  

Thanks,

Phil

 

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