Armand Pires, Superintendent
45 Holliston St.
Medway, MA 02053
Monday, Jan. 6, 2020
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Medway Public Schools Provides Annual Update on Advances in District Wellness Initiatives
MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Director of Wellness Dr. Ryan Sherman would like to share an update on the district’s progress toward numerous wellness initiatives over the past year.
Medway Public Schools is dedicated to fostering the social-emotional and healthy development of all students. To ensure that this goal is met, the district has adopted the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model which focuses on the child, stresses a school-wide approach and recognizes health, learning and the school as being a part and reflection of the local community.
“We’ve made outstanding progress in many of our wellness initiatives over the past year, and we will continue to advance these initiatives in the coming year, as well as examine additional areas where we can work to improve the health and wellness of our staff and students,” Dr. Sherman said. “The strides we make in student wellness each year is due to the dedication of the district staff, our parent community and community partners and we thank them for their continued support.”
In the area of counseling, psychological and social services, the district examined its practices in student stress management and returned a completed report of recommendations to Superintendent Pires. Recommendations included looking at things like the district’s homework practices to determine if the district is unintentionally contributing to extra levels of stress in students. Work on examining the district’s practices and tools the district can give students to manage stress is expected to continue into the new year.
In the area of health education, Medway’s elementary health program successfully completed its transition to a skills-based approach to curriculum and instruction. This approach connects each health unit to a skill, which allows students to not only learn the material, but also practice basic health skills. Along with the elementary curriculum transition, Medway Middle School health educators were trained in skills-based instruction. The approach is expected to to be used for the full kindergarten through grade eight health program by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
In the area of physical education and activity, before and after school exercise programs were examined and expanded to help determine how kids can get the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day not only when they’re in school, but also when they are not in school. The district has also begun to examine what it can do to ensure a safer walk for students to and from school.
In regard to nutrition and environmental services, the Weekend Backpack Program was expanded to McGovern Elementary after seeing great success at Burke-Memorial Elementary. Almost 30 bags of food are packaged per week for McGovern students, and another almost 20 for Burke-Memorial students. In partnership with the Medway Village Food Pantry, the program supplies students in need with food for the weekend.
In addressing employee wellness, the district pursued comprehensive wellness for all, which included a professional development afternoon for staff that was dedicated fully to self-care options. This afternoon programming will be included again in this month’s Professional Development Day.
Among other initiatives that saw advances were: the integration of responsive classrooms in K through grade 4; the Family Continuity Partnership clinical integration at Burke-Memorial; full remodel of the Medway High School Fitness Center; a research study and investigation of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) protocol which was completed in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital and Medway T.H.R.I.V.E. expanded to offer numerous parent enrichment programs.
The district has also received just under $375,000 in grant funds to put toward wellness initiatives since the inception of the wellness department in 2016.
“One of the core values of our district is comprehensive wellness for all and we are very proud of the number of initiatives we have pursued to provide our students and staff the opportunity to focus on their wellness,” Superintendent Pires said. “I would like to recognize the hard work of Dr. Sherman, who has worked to secure grants and partnered with staff, parents and community members to institute and advance unique wellness programs throughout our district.”