Dear Waltham Community,
It is hard to believe that I am about to complete my first year as Superintendent of Schools. I want to thank the School Committee for selecting me as the Superintendent. I am immensely proud to serve the children, families and citizens of our great city in this role. I also want to thank the people of Waltham who have welcomed me with open arms. I have learned what many knew all along: Waltham is a special community. I am honored to partner with Mayor McCarthy, the School Committee and our community to deliver to ALL students that which they deserve: a world-class education.
I hope that you share my excitement of where we stand. I also hope that you share my confidence that with sustained focused efforts that we will become a Level 1 district that continues to commit to a well rounded, enriching and rigorous education for ALL students. There is much to be proud of in Waltham:
- The percentage of students who score Advanced and Proficient on the Physics MCAS assessment is nearly double the state average;
- The Student Growth Percentile (SGP) for the 6th grade English Language Arts MCAS results has consistently outpaced the state median and been identified for “high growth” over the last four consecutive years;
- An analysis of the historical performance of our current 11th grade students in English Language Arts shows significantly larger numbers of students reaching proficient and advanced each year;
- The Whittemore School continues to demonstrate that it is a “school on the move.” The mathematics Cumulative Performance Index (CPI) of Whittemore has increased by 25% since 2014, a staggering improvement. In addition, the school was over 20 CPI points behind the state in 2012 and now is only 8 points behind the state. Finally, the SGP of Whittemore in both ELA and math outpaces district averages;
- The SGP of our English Language Learners far outpaces state averages on the ACCESS assessment. In fact, one out of our nine schools achieved “average growth” for our ELLs on ACCESS. The other eight schools achieved “high growth;”
- Our students have amassed countless awards for their achievements in Fine and Performing Arts, athletics, engineering and design, and scholarship and we charge no-fees for their participation, and
- We are well underway to deliver to the community a new or renovated high school with a compelling and bold educational vision (https://goo.gl/DdWvSM) as well as other educational innovations such as: Dual Language, NewComers Academy, and a Fine and Performing Arts innovation option that is in the early stages of design.
In so many ways, the Waltham Public Schools operates from a position of strength. Our educators are “all in” for Waltham. We also have strong principals who are committed to developing their instructional leadership knowledge and skill and are trusted and smart leaders.
Even with all this talent and commitment, we have a long way to go to achieve the outcomes and to deliver the opportunities we expect for all of our students. I am committed to working directly with the community to ensure that we deliver to all of our students an excellent and equitable education. I know that Waltham is the community where this can happen. As a community, we have the will and skill to deliver excellence for all. I look forward to many more years to come in Waltham and to working directly with our community to achieve our shared goals.
Drew Echelson, Ed.D