Superintendent's Office

Welcome to Andover Public Schools

August 27, 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year. I hope you had an enjoyable and refreshing summer. All of us in Andover are looking forward to being with your children for another exciting year—hopefully one that is minus last year’s windstorms and power outages.

Over the previous three years, we aggressively pursued significant new initiatives such as reducing elementary class size; iAndover’s 1:1 technology roll-out; the new high school schedule; curriculum renewal in writing, science and math; and interventions to address dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties. We have had noteworthy successes in each of these areas. Given the extensive efforts of so many in our district, I am very pleased that this summer we were selected by District Administration magazine as a “District of Distinction” for our work in addressing dyslexia and language-based learning difficulties.

This year our focus will be on deepening our work in those initiatives we have already launched and areas encompassed in our strategic plan. For example, as the next step in our curriculum renewal cycle, we are preparing for the adoption of a new elementary literacy curriculum by providing extensive professional development for our elementary staff. Our goals remain centered on enhancing the rigor of our curriculum, the inclusiveness of our instruction, the responsiveness of the culture and climate in our schools, and the close monitoring of student progress in order to adjust instruction to best meet the needs of each student.  If you are interested in learning more about our strategic plan, we have posted a report on the district website about our progress and the next steps in our strategic plan: APS Agile Strategic Plan Accomplishments for 2017-2018

In addition to the focus on instruction and curriculum, we are paying special attention to improving our facilities in order to enhance the learning environment in our schools. Over the summer, we improved security across the system and built a new entry vestibule with security software at the high school to strengthen security there. We added air conditioning at High Plain and Wood Hill and are constructing a foot ramp to the fields behind the schools. We are in the process of installing new and highly effective sound enhancement systems in several more schools with a goal of enabling all students to clearly hear the teacher and each other, no matter where they are in the room. At Doherty Middle School, we renovated the media center and installed a maker space. We also made many other minor improvements to enhance the quality and longevity of our facilities.

As part of our long-term facility planning, we are partnering with the Massachusetts School Building Authority on the potential renovation or replacement of West Elementary. Meanwhile, the Andover High School Facility Study Committee continues to examine options for a building renovation that will address both the capacity of the school and the quality of the learning environment. At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, the Committee will brief parents and the community on the various options they have been studying. There will be a tour of the building prior to the meeting. We hope you will be able to attend this very important meeting at the Collins Center.

In my opening message to parents last year, I discussed the disturbing events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those events and other incidents of prejudice and intolerance continued to have an impact on us over the past year. I want to reassure parents once again that we in the Andover Public Schools are deeply committed to creating caring, respectful and safe communities within our classrooms and to educating students to think critically, value tolerance and open-mindedness, pursue factual evidence for making choices, set high standards for ethical judgment, and know that they can make a positive difference. These values are deeply held throughout our district, at all levels of the organization. We will continue to do our best to support a culture and climate that models these values.

I recently met with the new teachers who are joining our district. This exciting group of professionals were attracted to Andover by the quality and innovativeness of the education we provide. As I’ve visited classrooms across the district over the past three years, I have consistently been impressed by the talent, dedication, and thoughtfulness of our staff. Andover is truly a special place. I am excited to be here working with this incredible team, and I know that you, too, recognize the many valuable contributions they are making to the education and wellbeing of your children.

Thank you for your confidence in us.  It is a privilege to serve your family and children. I wish you the best for the year ahead and look forward to seeing our students return this week.

Shelley Berman

APS offers a supportive learning community for both children and adults. I feel so privileged to be a part of it. We deeply appreciate your entrusting us with the education of your children, and we will do our utmost to ensure they have a fulfilling, happy and safe year. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. I look forward to seeing you and chatting with you as the school year unfolds.

Sincerely,

Shelley Berman
Superintendent of Schools

IMG_8953.jpg