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Smooth Start to School Despite Hot Weather and Several Transitions

There was one word used to describe the first few days back to school in the Mendon Upton Regional School District – "hot!"

With temperatures in the 90's and the heat index climbing to over 100 degrees, students in grades 1-12 boarded buses on August 29 and headed to the district schools for the first day of the 2018/2019 school year.

Although the temps were high, the issues were low.

"There are always a few small issues on the first few days of school such as bussing or scheduling, and it may take a week or two, but they all sort out," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Maruszczak. "But all in all, we have had very smooth and successful first day of school this year."

The district will be seeing some transitions, starting with the new five-year strategic plan that was just approved

at the August 28 School Committee Meeting. The plan – Inspire – is all about providing "meaningful project-based learning" to students at all grade levels.

Another focus will be safety measures thanks to the appointment of an additional full-time resource officer.

"Now that there is a full-time resource officer in Mendon, I am really optimistic that we will be able to make some headway in looking at additional safety measures for our schools," said Maruszczak.

Social and Emotional Learning will also be emphasized,

said Maruszczak, with the roll-out of new pro-social behavior programs at the elementary schools.

At Nipmuc, a new Spanish Exchange program is underway with the welcoming of 19 students this week from San Sebastian, Spain. The students will be staying with host families while they attend classes at Nipmuc and sightsee for two weeks. On September 16, 18 Mendon Upton students will fly to Spain to spend two weeks with students at the district's sister school, Santa Teresa.

Also at Nipmuc, Mary Anne Moran will start the school year as the new co-Principal. Formerly the Associate Principal, she will share the leadership role with current Principal John Clements. "It's pretty rare to have co- Principals, but we have a rare leadership at the high school," said Maruszczak.

He added that the two have as equal partners in leading the school for years, so when Clements approached him about the idea of co-Principals, he was all for it. "It was about taking a look at the talent you have in house," he said. "They are both dedicated to seeing through the great work that they are doing, and is still to be done, at Nipmuc."

Despite all the new additions to the district and the added challenge of dealing with the heat, everything is moving.

"This too shall pass," laughed Maruszczak about a second week of record heat. "When we are talking in February about snow days, this will be a distant memory."


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