October 25, 2017


Dear Parents:


We recently received the district results from last spring’s MCAS testing, and we are pleased to share with you some good news:  Westwood High School is one of seven high schools in the state that were designated this year as a commended school by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  This commendation is in recognition of students’ high achievement and high progress at WHS.  We are proud of this recognition and want to acknowledge the wonderful work across the district that builds the foundation for the culminating MCAS assessment in grade 10.  


Over the next month, we will be analyzing student, grade level and building MCAS results as one strategy for examining the impact of our programs and thinking about how best to support students’ learning.  The analysis this year presents some challenges as last spring’s tests represent a shift from the past two years when students in grades 3-8 took the PARCC assessment, rather than MCAS, in English Language Arts and math.   Moreover, last spring’s ELA and math MCAS in grades 3-8  was the first time time that the “next generation MCAS” (or “MCAS 2.0”) was administered.  This new test is quite different from prior versions of the MCAS, and the scores are not comparable to scores from past years.  To help you understand this change, we are including here a letter to parents from the Acting Education Commissioner for our state with important information about the new test, how to read the parent report, and some other useful parent resources.  We encourage you to review these materials.  


Finally, while assessments such as MCAS provide one important piece of information about a student’s progress, they are only one part of a student’s profile and do not represent the totality of who he or she is as a student.  Similarly, MCAS results tell only one part of the story of our district -- a district where we celebrate academics, the arts, athletics, service, and social/emotional growth.


You will receive your child’s MCAS results during the first week of November.  Please contact your child’s principal if you have any questions or concerns after reviewing the parent report.



Emily J. Parks
  Allison F. Borchers
  Assistant Superintendent


Letter to parents from Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner



September 8, 2017


Dear WPS Families,


We have successfully concluded our first week of the 2017-2018 school year!   I hope that you and your family have had a good start!


Though the start of a new school year always represents a new beginning, for me, this year in particular is the start of something new as I begin my role as Superintendent of Schools. After more than 20 years in the WPS, I feel deeply committed to Westwood and consider myself quite lucky to have the opportunity to lead in this community.  Although I have had the opportunity to know and understand the district from many different roles, this year clearly provides a new vantage point and a wonderful opportunity to listen, observe, and reflect on how we see ourselves today and imagine our district in the future.  To that end, I have created an entry plan that includes many opportunities to talk with parents in order to understand your perspective on the district and your hopes and expectations for your children’s experience in school. In addition to attending events such as PTO meetings, SEPAC, and Site Council meetings throughout the fall, I will be hosting my first “Coffee with the Superintendent” on Tuesday, September 26th at 9:30 am in the Professional Development room at Westwood High School.  If you are able to stop by, please do.  If you are not, please know that there will be other opportunities to talk with each other in the upcoming weeks, both during the day and in the evenings.


The start of a new school year also provides the faculty and administrators an opportunity to reflect on our work and focus our efforts for a new school year.  We spent the week before students arrived welcoming and orienting our new faculty and staff (nearly 50 people this year), followed by 2 days as a district and in school-based teams preparing for our students’ arrival. During this time, I had the opportunity to address the faculty.  To give you a glimpse into what we are thinking about and talking about as we anticipate a new year of teaching and learning with your children, I am sharing with you my opening remarks to faculty.


Finally, last night the Westwood School Committee held its first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year.  As a parent myself, I know how difficult it can be to make it to events such as School Committee meetings on a weeknight.  Fortunately, if you are unable to attend in person, the agenda, minutes, presentation materials, and link to a video of the meeting are available on the district website.  We welcome your participation and hope you will find the website a good resource for staying informed about the district goals, the issues we are discussing, and our decision-making process.  


I look forward to meeting many of you in the upcoming months.  If you see me “out and about,” please introduce yourself and say hello!  Welcome back to a new school year!  



Emily Parks

Superintendent of Schools

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