​District-wide communications from the Superintendent's Office are posted on this webpage. An archive from previous academic years is available online.

November 1, 2019

Dear Families:


Last week, on a visit to the Sheehan School, I popped into a first grade classroom.  The kids were all holding paper airplanes that they had constructed prior to my arrival.  They were approaching the point in the lesson when they were going to fly their planes, making observations about how the design of each plane impacted or changed how the plane flew.  As you might imagine, the excitement level was high! As students went to various stations to begin their test flights, the teacher stood in the center of the action, projecting the calm of a veteran teacher, willing to let go of the reins and allow for exploration, while also confident that she would be able to rein it back in after a little “controlled chaos.”  Sure enough, ten minutes later, the class reconvened on the rug for a rich discussion about their observations. When one student hypothesized about how the results might be different if they had to contend with the wind outdoors, the teacher suggested that perhaps after lunch they could test the planes outside.  


You’ve been hearing a lot from me this fall about our elementary building project.  Clearly addressing our facilities needs is a focus for the district right now. Undoubtedly, therefore, you can expect more communication from me on this issue.  Meanwhile, every day the exciting work of the district continues in our schools. We have an articulated Strategy for District Improvement that lays out our goals for providing students with meaningful learning experiences in a healthy and supported school community.  I share the story of the first grade scientists with you as one example of how the important work of meaningful, engaging teaching and learning comes alive in our classrooms.  


We recognize and value that the school and families are partners in this work.  I want to make sure you are aware of two upcoming opportunities for parents:


First, in partnership with the WPS, on November 18th at 7 pm in the Westwood High School auditorium, Westwood Cares will present “The Secret Life of Teens and Tweens.”  This program will be led by Jon Mattleman, a mental health counselor, who helps parents with constructive tools for communicating, problem solving, and working with adolescents.  


Second, on December 4th at 7 pm in the WHS auditorium, Dr. Elizabeth Englander will return to Westwood to present “Parenting in the Digital Age.”  Dr. Englander is a nationally recognized expert in the area of bullying, cyberbullying, and children’s use of technology.  


Finally, thanks to everyone who attended our first building project community forum last week.  We are repeating the presentation and breakout group discussion this Monday, November 4th from 7-8:30 pm in the TMS cafeteria.  If you are unable to attend, you can view video on our elementary building project webpage.


Best wishes for a wonderful November!




Emily Parks



September 26, 2019

Dear WPS Community:


I am writing to share some exciting news.  This afternoon, the Downey Elementary School was named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education!  


The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.


We are incredibly proud of the teachers, staff, and students at Downey whose daily work reflects the core values of the Westwood Public Schools:  academic excellence and continuous improvement, curiosity and tenacity, and respectful relationships in a collaborative environment.  


Congratulations, Downey School!




Emily J. Parks



September 5, 2019


Dear Westwood Families:


I am forwarding to you an advisory regarding Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) that was recently distributed by the Town’s Board of Health.  Westwood is currently designated as at “moderate” risk level. Some bordering communities have discovered infected mosquitoes.  


Although EEE is rare, the virus can be fatal or leave victims with serious, life-long health complications.  After consulting with the Board of Health, and in keeping with precautions taken by school districts in neighboring communities, I’ve decided to conclude outdoor activities in the Westwood Public Schools by 6:45pm until further notice in order to lower the risk to our children. 


The Board of Health continues to monitor the situation closely, and we will continue to seek their guidance.  




Emily J. Parks


August 29, 2019


Dear Westwood Families:


We look forward to welcoming students to school on Tuesday morning!  


This past Monday and Tuesday, we welcomed 40 new teachers to the district for a 2-day orientation, and yesterday all faculty and staff returned to the district to prepare for students’ arrival next week.  From my many conversations this week, it is clear to me that folks have returned from summer recharged, excited, and full of plans to provide a wonderful year of learning for your students!


New beginnings provide both opportunities to reaffirm things that are important and opportunities to make change.  As we begin a new school year, please know that the district continues to value the essential relationship between schools and families.  We know that we are partners with you in the important endeavor of helping kids become skilled, confident, curious, and kind and become graduates who are excited for their futures and ready to contribute to their communities.  


I also want to alert you to a small change in entrance protocol.  If you visit one of our schools during the school day, after pressing the doorbell, you will be asked to provide your name, who you are visiting, and the purpose of the visit prior to being buzzed into the building.  This procedure is a simple, but important, security measure employed in schools. We will be implementing it consistently, for every visitor, even when the school employee monitoring the entrance knows or recognizes the visitor.  We want our schools to be welcoming places. However, we think this small inconvenience is outweighed by the safety concern it addresses. We appreciate in advance your assistance with this new procedure.


As always, we thank you for entrusting us with your children and look forward to an exciting year!  Best wishes for a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!




Emily J. Parks


August 22, 2019

Dear Families,


Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! This email contains important information about back-to-school and instructions for some tasks that families will need to complete in order to start the school year smoothly.  We have attempted to consolidate information from various departments into one streamlined letter.  



We are excited to welcome back students, Grade 1 through Grade 12, on Tuesday, September 3. (Please note:  September 3 is an open house for kindergarten students from 9am-11 am.   The first day of school for preschool only is Monday, September 9.)


A one-page printout of the 2019-2020 school calendar, including school hours, is available on the district website.


In addition, the interactive calendar on the district website includes events like PTO fairs, picture day, and other events at each school.  Users may view events only at one location by selecting a particular school, or view an aggregate of events happening at all schools, by selecting the “All locations” filter.   Families also may subscribe to a school’s web calendar by clicking the subscribe link on the right-hand side. This will sync the school calendar to your cell phone.


The online calendarcan be accessed from either the district homepage or a school’s homepage. 



Verifying Student Information

Families are asked to login to their account on our family portal (“Aspen”) and verify student contact information for each child, as well as confirm parent contact information. This process  ensures that all contact information is correct and up-to-date. We ask that you complete this task even if no information has changed from last year, as the process also includes the student handbook acknowledgment, media permissions, permission to be included in the school directory, and other annual questions.   To complete this process, please click here.


If you cannot remember your Aspen login information or password, please click herefor instructions.


If you are a new family, you should have received an email with your login information and instructions for setting up your account.   If you did not receive this email, please email the Aspen Support Desk at aspen@westwood.k12.ma.us.


If you are interested in learning more about other features of the Aspen parent portal or help regarding browser settings, please click here


If you have questions about your Aspen parent portal account, please email the Aspen Support Desk at aspen@westwood.k12.ma.us.


School Messenger Notifications

School Messenger is our automated telephone calling and email system used to contact families.  School Messenger uses the contact information that is contained in the Aspen parent portal. Families may update their telephone numbers and email addresses using their Aspen account as noted above. 


Based upon feedback from families, we have set up some internal guidelines for use of the system:  


Email subject lines will be standardized for quick identification in the recipient’s inbox:  School name - Email subject.  If the email contains urgent information and should be opened immediately, the subject line will read:  URGENT: School name - email subject.   


Automated phone calls regarding non-urgent matters will be sent only after school hours.  


Bus Transportation

If you have not yet registered for bus transportation, you may do so online.


Bus routes will be posted on the district website by Friday. Families can check their child’s Aspen account to determine what bus number has been assigned. Bus assignments also appear on middle and high school students’ class schedules.


If you have questions about bus registration, please email Barbara Moore at busregistration@westwood.k12.ma.us


Setting Up or Adding Funds to Your Food Service Account

The Food Service Department provides parents with a convenient, easy, and secure online service to monitor school lunch accounts. You may register online at www.myschoolbucks.com. To register, you will need to know your child’s student ID number which can be found by looking at your child’s Aspen account, your child’s report card, or your High School student’s ID card.


You may deposit funds either online through MySchoolBucks.com or by writing a check payable to Westwood Public Schools, noting “Food Service” in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to Westwood Public Schools Food Service Department, 220 Nahatan Street, Westwood, MA 02090 or by using the green drop box in front of the District Administration office at the same address.


Information about the Food Service Department, including lunch menus, is available on the district website. 


Free and reduced lunch applications for the 2019-2020 school year are available onlineor by calling 781-326-7500, x1301. All calls are confidential. 


If you have questions about the Food Service Department, MySchoolBucks, or Free and Reduced Lunch, please contact Sandy Mack at smack@westwood.k12.ma.us.


Extended Day

Elementary school families that are interested in the Extended Day Program may contact Janice Van Hyning at jvanhyning@westwood.k12.ma.us.  More information about the Extended Day Programis available on the district website.


Connect with the Westwood Schools

We encourage families to connect with the District.


Website (www.westwood.k12.ma.us): The district website is an important resource about events, School Committee meetings, and other useful information.  The website is searchable by keyword and is often the best place to get information. 


Twitter (@westwood_ps): The Westwood Schools’ Twitter feed includes brief news items about our schools, students, and teachers.


Facebook (www.fb.com/westwoodschools): The Westwood Schools’ Facebook page contains school news, upcoming events, and announcements.


Telephone (781-326-7500): You may wish to program this number into your cell phone.


Again, welcome to the new school year!  Enjoy the last days of summer. We look forward to seeing families soon.




The Administration of the Westwood Public Schools



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