Through today we have completed 15 days of school year 2021-22 (8.3 percent). Our primary goal is always to keep our students, staff, and families as healthy as possible and to provide in-person learning in a safe environment. Close collaboration and timely communication between our families and our schools is vital, as is following all safety protocols and practices. We will problem-solve together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students. Our families/students and staff are reminded to assess their health/wellness each day prior to coming to school and to stay home if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. We are very grateful to our dedicated staff and our engaged students for the #212TheExtraDegree of effort they consistently display. A career as a Mashpee educator is so fulfilling and rewarding because of our outstanding students—current and future leaders who are making a difference in our community and in our world.

Students at the Kenneth C. Coombs School are utilizing their outdoor milkweed laboratory to learn all about monarch butterflies. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. We are so grateful to STEM teacher Katie Martin for leading the effort to create a milkweed habitat at the Coombs School. It is amazing to watch our curious young scientists utilize the scientific method as they explore and become experts on this topic.

We are excited to share that 184 Quashnet Elementary School students in grades 4 through 6 have signed up to participate in band or strings this year. This represents 55 percent of students in those three grades. Part of the program includes providing free school-day lessons to our musicians. It’s great to be in Mashpee, a community that greatly values music in our schools.

At Mashpee Middle-High School (MMHS), 265 students in grades 7 through 12 are participating in a fall sport. This represents 38.4 percent of our MMHS student body. Fall sports at MMHS include football, soccer (boys/girls), golf, field hockey, volleyball, and cross-country, with teams at multiple levels in various sports.

Our work towards excellence—being better tomorrow than we are today—is guided by our Plan for Success (2021–2025) strategic plan. The four pillars of our plan are the Portrait of a Graduate; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Teaching and Learning; and Mashpee–A Connected Community. Each pillar has a strategic objective and initiatives designed to accomplish the objective. The four strategic objectives of our plan are (1) We will fully implement the Mashpee Public Schools’ Portrait of a Graduate, (2) We will honor diversity, provide equity, and ensure inclusion throughout the Mashpee Public Schools, (3) We will fully align teaching and learning PreK–12 with our Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework, and (4) We will strengthen & grow positive & reciprocal relationships between the District & the community. Our complete Plan for Success is available at www.mpspk12.org. We recognize that improved outcomes are the result of how well we are investing in the process.

As part of our work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (Pillar 2 of our Plan for Success), we are partnering with Cornell University to train some MPS educators at each school. Participants will learn to enhance organizational culture, to recognize unconscious bias and how it affects the way that people perceive and react to others, to understand the dimensions of diversity that matter most in organizations and why, to assess stereotypes and prejudices that may influence behavior and learn methods to improve the psychological safety of all, and to examine strategies for implementing ethical standards. Moving forward, we plan for additional cohorts of Mashpee educators to participate in this certificate program, with each participant becoming a leader in this work.

We are very excited that our flag pole project is nearing completion. The project resulted in seven new flag poles being installed at our schools (one at MMHS, three at Quashnet, and three at Coombs) and some additional concrete removal and needed repair work in the Quashnet School’s front courtyard. When completed, all flags will be illuminated, something we have not had in the past. At each school, the American flag, the Massachusetts flag, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal flag will be proudly flown. We are planning a ceremony at each school for the raising of the Wampanoag flag for the first time—a ceremony that will include tribal members, including our Native American students. The Mashpee Public Schools recognize and honor the many generations of Wôpanâak people who have lived and been sustained in this territory for more than 10,000 years. We are very grateful for the support of this important project by our Mashpee community.

Some other capital projects that are in the early stages of planning include the conversion of the Mashpee Middle-High School stadium field to turf and the replacement of the current track, which is in need of repairs. We are also examining a broader turf project involving multiple fields at MMHS, particularly given our desire to eliminate the use of fertilizers. Improving the ventilation/climate in all school buildings is also a priority. We recently conducted a stakeholder survey related to the use of ESSER funds in Mashpee. Information collected through the survey will inform our decision-making. Identifying funding sources for these capital projects is part of the process. More information will be shared as we move through the planning process.

Families are reminded that Monday, September 27, is a district-wide half-day for students. Our educators will be participating in valuable professional development in the afternoon. Families (and student drivers) are also reminded to leave plenty of time in the morning to navigate the roads arounds all of our schools. The lights at Route 151 and Old Barnstable Road have always been problematic. Pay close attention to other drivers and be on the look-out for students who are walking and driving. We can control when we leave our houses in the morning. We can’t control the traffic or the lights. Plan accordingly and leave your house with plenty of time to reach your destination without being late. Think about the bigger picture, and please don’t let your impatience lead to a tragedy.

Thank you to the Kiwanis Club of Mashpee for their annual donation of backpacks filled with school supplies and personal care items for our students in need. Their efforts are very much appreciated.

As Rita Pierson says, every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and who insists that they become the best they can possibly be. The children of Mashpee are embraced by a connected community that is filled with champions—and for that we are very grateful!

Stay Connected To Us

Visit us at our outreach site #WeAreMashpee at 11 Greene Street in Mashpee Commons, Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM; online ordering of Mashpee swag is available at sites.google.com/mpspk12.org/wearemashpee/online-store?authuser=0.

Mashpee Public Schools website: www.mpspk12.org

MMHS online newspaper—The Falconer: www.thefalconer.net

MPS COVID-19 data dashboard: www.mpspk12.org/student-supports/health

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