Friday, March 8, 2013
Some Waltham schools released students early today.
Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said she believes the Waltham Public Schools should have had a 2-hour delay on Friday, March 8 instead of opening the schools at their regular time. McCarthy spoke to Waltham Patch in the wake of Patch readers saying the district should not have held school. Classes began at their normal time, but most students were later released early. According to McCarthy, Consolidated Public Works Director Michael Chiasson requested the schools have a two-hour delay. Under that request, the building would open at 6 a.m. However, Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson decided to open the buildings at their normal time, McCarthy said. “The superintendent has to make the decision by 5 a.m.,” McCarthy said…
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Former Whittemore school principal Sara Lane resigned in January.
Despite repeated inquiries, Waltham Public School officials have not issued a specific explanation on the recent departure of former Henry Whittemore Elementary School principal Sara Lane. Interim Human Resources Administrator George Frost told Waltham Patch that Lane recently resigned from the district, but said because the issue was a personnel matter, and he could not comment further. “We don’t discuss those in public,” Frost said. Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson referred inquiries to Frost. Mayor Jeannette McCarthy told Waltham Patch she was aware there were personnel issues but that she had no further information on them. Lane resigned from her post on Jan. 11 after less than a year on the job. No explanation …
Thursday, February 14, 2013
City officials say they took extra steps to make sure students made it to school safely.
Though some residents complained about the decision to re-open the Waltham Public Schools on Wednesday, Feb. 13, city officials say a “contingency plan” assured them having school was a safe decision. The comments came in the wake of Waltham Patch users saying students fell at or near their ice-covered bus stops on Wednesday morning on their way to school. Overall, some parents felt the sidewalks were not yet safe for students to use, according to the comments. Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson, however, said she believes she made the right call in re-opening schools after three snow days. Nicholson said she and School Safety Officer Ann Frassica reviewed the city’s progress clearing sidewalks at around 4:30 a.m. and …
Friday, December 28, 2012
Check out the most interesting school stories of the year.
The Waltham Public Schools were full of news in 2012. A a report highly critical of the district was made public and the district later issue its own response. In one bizarre incident, a man stole an SAT test from Waltham High School. NOTE: This list was compiled according to news value of the story.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Union believes schools can improve.
In the wake of a damaging state report on the Waltham Public Schools, the union that represents Waltham Public Schools' teachers says it has confidence that administrators will vastly improve the district. "Teachers have put a lot of trust and faith into [Superintendent Susan] Nicholson and [Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Paul] Maiorano. Given the recommendation DESE has made, we are confident that they will be afforded more autonomy by the school committee to make the kinds of leadership-management decisions that will make our schools more successful than they already are," the Waltham Educators Association said in an email statement to Waltham Patch. The WEA was reacting to the report criticizing the Waltham School…
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
High school receives new state accountability status.
The state Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education has upgraded Waltham High School's accountability rating to Level 1 from its previous Level 3 rating, according to the Waltham Public Schools. The rating means the school is among the 80 percent of schools statewide whose "Progress and Performance Index," formerly known as Annual Yearly Progress, rank at least 75 or higher, according to the DESE website. DESE recently altered its formula for classifying schools to include the five-year cohort graduation rate for a school, which led DESE to place Waltham High School in Level 1. Level 1 is the top billing on the state's performance, according to a Waltham Public Schools press release. Superintendent Susan Nicholson could not be reached…
Thursday, August 16, 2012
New documents indicate how Waltham Public Schools could improve.
Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson needs to improve on her relationship with other city departments and the media, according to newly-released performance evaluation documents. Overall, Nicholson did well in her Aug. 7 evaluation, but the full evaluation gives deeper insight into her strengths and weaknesses. Nicholson did not receive any rating below a 2.4 on the individual items, and overall received a 3.16. The final evaluation is a composite of the School Committee members' individual evaluations. Below are additional details on her ratings on a scale of 1 -4, with 4 being the highest ranking. A 1 rating means “unsatisfactory” a 2 ratings means “needs improvement,” a 3 rating means “proficient,” and a 4 ratings …
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Waltham Schools' Parent Info Center will move to the old South junior High School.
The Waltham Public Schools' Parent Information Center will temporarily move to the former South junior High School on Moody Street, but City Councilors said they were annoyed with aspects of the move. The City Council, at its Monday, Aug. 6 meeting, approved moving the PIC from the Henry J. Whittemore Elementary School to the old South school only for the coming school year. The PIC is a central location in which parents can get answers to school-realted questions or seek school services. The move is intended to free up two classrooms at the Whittemore school as the building's enrollment has recently increased, according to Waltham Public Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson. The Council also ordered the school department to formulate a…
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Presentation of the performance evaluation lacked some detail.
A year into her tenure, Waltham Schools Superintendent Susan Nicholson received a good evaluation from the Waltham School Committee on Tuesday. "It's above proficient," said Waltham School Committee Vice Chairwoman Susan Burstein on Nicholson's performance evaluation. Nicholson received good marks on both the regular goals and merit goals portions of the evaluation. The numbers below are averages computed from each members' individual evaluation, according to Burstein. GOALS (Scale of 1 to 4, with 4 as the highest) MERIT GOALS Burstein said Nicholson met all of her merit goals, but did not specify what they were. LACK OF DETAIL Presentation of the results lacked some detail. Burstein said she would not read the detailed results aloud …
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Waltham Public Schools started the process to revise its current teacher evaluation system during a Wednesday, June 6 public hearing.
The Waltham Public Schools chief is recommending the district adopt the state’s new model for evaluating teachers. A new state law requires schools districts formulate a new evaluation system according to the state’s new model. Districts must adopt the model in its current form, create an adapted form of it, or tweak it for their own purposes, according to Superintendent Susan Nicholson. The process to create the new system started with a Wednesday, June 6 public hearing at Waltham High School, during which nobody spoke. Nicholson said she expects to soon begin negotiating with the Waltham Educator’s Association (the city’s teachers union) to include the model in its contract. The model includes four ratings for teachers and …