Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear Parents, Student, and Staff:

This will be the final newsletter for the school year. I'd like to take this opportunity to share some information with you, as well as to follow up on my last newsletter.

Ashford School’s Summer Hours
Please note that from July 1-August 14, Ashford School’s summer operating hours will be Monday through Thursday 7:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. The building will not be open on Fridays.

The parent survey sent out in May asking your opinion regarding the possibility of implementing a school uniform policy was discussed at the June 4th Board of Education meeting. The results of the survey did not support developing a school uniform policy. As a result, this issue has been dropped. Thank you for your participation in this survey. Parental involvement is a critical aspect of our decision making process, and we appreciate your thoughtful responses.

Superintendent’s Advisory Council
During the past few months several parents have indicated that they would appreciate a mechanism for communicating and advising the superintendent directly. This sounds like a terrific idea. In response to this suggestion, I announced at the June 4th BOE meeting that I am seeking volunteers for Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. This group would meet once in October, January and March, with other meetings if circumstances require them. If you are interested, give us a call and we will put you on the list.

Welcome to Ashford
We are pleased to announce that our new Director of Special Education will be Mrs. Donna Hartigan. Mrs. Hartigan has had a long and distinguished career in Special Education leadership and will begin working in Ashford on July 1. We have also added a new Speech and Language Pathologist, Rebecca Driscoll. Ms. Driscoll comes to us with experience at Day Kimball Hospital with specialized certification in Assistive Technology as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication. We are very enthusiastic about the addition of these two new colleagues and look forward to their influence in our community.

Ashford’s New Electronic Notification System
You will be receiving a form in your summer packet to ask you to enroll in an electronic notification system in the event of school closings, early dismissals, late openings, other school emergencies and announcements. This system will use automatic e-mail, text messages, and auto-dialed phone calls to alert you to important announcements in a timely fashion. This K-12 alert system is currently used in many other school districts and has proven to be reliable and efficient. We expect to begin the process this July and August.

Thank You
Now that the 2008-2009 school year is about to end, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has made me feel welcome I began at the end of January, and after nearly five months already feel like a member of your community. I am looking forward to many more opportunities for us to work together in a continuing effort to make our school one of the regions best. I also wish to remind you that I welcome your ideas, look forward to answering your questions, and hope to keep our dialogue active and open in the best interests of Ashford’s students. Please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Health Alert -4.29.09 - Parent Letter Posted

A letter to Parents about the Swine Influenza (flu) situation has been posted on the Ashford School website. Click here to read the letter and additional information.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009-2010 Budget Process

I am now at the early stages of presenting a budget proposal to the Board of Education. I will be meeting with them this coming Thursday evening to review this proposal. Feel free to attend and comment.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Newsletter • Issue 1 • January 2009

Dear Ashford Colleagues and Community Members:

I am writing to introduce myself and invite you to join me in planning the direction that Ashford School will take over the next few years. I have written this newsletter as a means of expressing some thoughts regarding communication, leadership, and teamwork as tools for effective schools. I am very excited to be part of Ashford School’s future.

The hiring of a new Superintendent of Schools is an excellent opportunity for a community and its school district to address concerns, examine goals, and review its mission and vision with a new perspective. I am sure that each of you has ideas and observations that would serve the school well as I begin my term as your Superintendent. I am looking forward to meeting you, hearing your ideas, and working together in service to the children of Ashford. Your ideas and involvement are very important to the success of our school system.

I will be scheduling meetings with individual citizens and groups over the course of my first six months as Superintendent to hear what people see as the strengths, weaknesses, and potential for improvement of the school. Please call my office to schedule a meeting. Even if we just get acquainted, the time will be well spent.

I will also be meeting with our elected officials to discuss their ideas, concerns, and vision for the future of Ashford School. My intention is to build a strong partnership between the community’s agencies. We must work together to designate the resources required to insure a successful school.

Public Forum

I have scheduled an evening Open Forum, February 11th, from 7-8:30 P.M. in the school media center. These sessions will be open to anyone who wishes to drop in and share his or her best thoughts about our school with me. It will be an informal session allowing for flexible drop-in interaction. If it is inconvenient for you to attend this meeting, you are invited to use the form that I have attached to serve as a starting point for your comments. Feel free to fully express your priorities and issues of concern, and mail or bring the survey to my office.

Download Form in pdf format

Download Form in .doc format

Questions to Consider

I am looking forward to hearing what you see as the school’s strengths, it weaknesses, your ideas for change, your budgetary priorities, and if there are aspects of the school that you think should never change. It is my intention that after hearing the best ideas of everyone willing to share, I will be able to begin the process setting goals, establishing priorities, and taking action.

Keeping the Student in Mind

The overarching goal of every educator is to develop a school district built to increase student learning capacity. I am sure that everyone wants the school to be the best learning environment possible. Together we can achieve this. I ask that whenever you call or meet with us that you consider how important it is to work on behalf of our students and to create a truly exceptional school-one that gives every Ashford child an opportunity to succeed.

School District Climate and Culture

Whenever a community brings in new administrators there is a change in school climate and culture. I am looking forward to joining your community to lead your school. I fully intend to bring a spirit of enthusiasm and energy to Ashford. I am dedicated to excellence, and I believe that we should aspire to develop an exemplary school with a positive climate and a culture of teamwork all directed at providing our children with the most effective learning experience possible. It is important that we seize this moment and create something to be proud of. I am looking forward to our time together as we devote our collective energy to the best interests of our students.

After the Dust Settles

It will take me a while to get to know everyone and to begin the process of change that is emerges. I ask that we never forget that everyone is part of this process. We must remain true to the ideal that a strong school is built upon positive attitudes and the energy of a community. Decisions will always include many voices and incorporate thoughtful balancing of affordability and desirability. We should make the most of our resources through effective teamwork.

About the Budget

There will be several Board of Education meetings as well as Board of Selectman and Board of Finance meetings to discuss the school budget. In addition to these traditional sessions, I will also hold a few public meetings to present the budget for your feedback. Please be as involved as possible. Your voice is just as important as your support.

Ashford School Web site
I will be posting notices as well as a newsletter to keep you informed on the school website regularly. Visit us on the web at, The site is filled with useful information.

Let’s Begin!

I am truly enthusiastic, and feel very optimistic that we can be successful in bringing Ashford School to the next level of success. I am also convinced that we can improve the performance of all of our students through targeted strategies and the collective wisdom of a well-intentioned team.

The Quest for Excellence is a Lifelong Process!