Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

City of Melrose Inauguration: 2016

Last evening's Inauguration of Mayor Dolan, the Board of Aldermen, and the School Committee was a wonderful evening of commitment to the community, beautiful music, and thoughts for the coming year. Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the interest of serving students, and here are my remarks from last night:

Good Evening Governor Baker, Mayor Dolan, Board Members, Department Heads, and Invited Guests,

It is an immense privilege for our School Committee to sit before you this evening as we commit ourselves to serving you and the children of the Melrose Public Schools in 2016.

The citizens of Melrose are the lifeblood of our schools. You are students, families, staff members, business partners, community partners, and volunteers. You are our inspiration and our aspiration. You are our school family and it’s you - the people in our lives - who matter and who make a difference.

Together, our school family achieved many successes in 2015:

·               Melrose was the only district in MA with three “commended” schools based on results of the PARCC test
·               The Lincoln School was named a national Blue Ribbon School
·               In a quick turn-around and out of five levels, the Horace Mann School moved from a Level 3 to a Level 2 school, so that we now have five Level I schools and only two Level 2 schools
·               Eight members of our HS staff were named Partners in Excellence by Mass Insight as a result of their work to improve student outcomes on recent AP exams; and MHS was named an AP Capstone Diploma school which supports equipping students with additional research, communication, and teamwork skills valued by colleges
·               We began implementation of over a million dollars of technology to improve district infrastructure, staff workstations, and student computing
·               Melrose High School is undergoing a complete revamping of its library into a state-of-the-art research, technology, and presentation center

But we have challenges to address in 2016 and beyond:

·               Like working harder at thoughtfully and consistently understanding and accepting all people, regardless of demographics
·               Ensuring we have enough quality classroom space for our burgeoning student population
·               And continuing to recruit, hire, train, and retain the best possible staff, because each student only gets one year in the 1st grade, the 12th grade, and every grade in-between.

This is a time of incredibly fast-paced change – technologically, politically, and of course, educationally. But we, as a state, a city, and a school family can come together and face challenges and change with a sense of purpose, honesty, and compassion. So I ask you to join the School Committee and our administration to build on the many achievements of our school district. We ask for your support and like-mindedness in being purposeful in our actions, honest in our communications, and compassionate in our thoughts and in our deeds. That’s what families do and what our school family must do to capitalize on change and provide our children with the high-quality education they so richly deserve. Thank you.