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August 2016

Welcome Back!

Superintendent Dr. Marty SemmelThe start of the 2016-2017 school year is right around the corner and we are in full preparation mode so we are 100% ready for the students of Terryville/Plymouth to return.

For me, education is synonymous with opportunity. I have spent a lot of time with parents over my twenty years as an educator and I have found that we all generally want the same thing for our kids. Parents want their children to have more opportunities than they had for themselves. Therefore, parents work hard at home to instill strong values and encourage their children to get the most out of their education. Our schools will partner with our families and the community as a whole to provide the best education possible to our students.

One thing we need from everyone in this community is a commitment to make our educational program as strong as possible. Developing strength in the program does not necessarily mean more money. Instead, it’s a way of thinking. If we all truly believe in the power of education and that it can provide our students with greater opportunities, then as a community we can make drastic improvements. To start, we need help with student attendance. Too many of our students are absent from school too often. In fact, in many of our schools the percentage of student who miss 18 or more school days in a year is in the double digits. Even the most skilled teachers cannot fill in the holes created by that type of attendance. Develop the strength of our educational program by making sure someone you know and love is going to school on a regular basis. It will pay off huge in the end!

Given our desire to constantly improve our education system, there are a number of enhancements and developments that are coming for the 2016-2017 school year. For example, we will be fully launching our Readers/Writers Workshop model at the beginning of the school year. Our teachers have learned and will continue to grow their expertise in helping all students master reading and writing skills using proven techniques and strategies. In addition, we have just hired a new Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Jennifer Parsons has been highly successful with her work as a Classroom Teacher, Town-Wide Reading and Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for the West Hartford Public Schools, and most recently with CREC as the Early Childhood Coordinator. We are truly excited about this new hire. She will be a catalyst to further growth and success for our staff and students. We will continue to communicate with our families through our weekly emails from principals and my monthly parent update as well as my article in this paper. We will continue to share some of the great memories and information from the year on our Facebook page as well. On July 1 we launched our new website for the district. We hope that you find the website a valuable tool in finding information. We are still working out “bugs” in the website and would appreciate any issues/comments that you find when using it. Finally, one of our overarching goals is to provide more and more students with opportunities to engage in rigorous course work. We are looking to increase the number of students taking Algebra I in 8th grade, we are looking to provide more opportunities across all grades for students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), and we are looking to add an Advanced Placement English course for our Juniors at the high school during the 2017-2018 school year just to name a few.

I am truly excited to start my second full year in Plymouth as your Superintendent of Schools and I look forward to continuing our work together in a collaborative and respectful way to help all of our students set and reach meaningful goals.

Sincerely,
Martin J. Semmel

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