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Lower Merion School District

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Superintendent's News

Letter to LMSD Families from the Superintendent

Dear LMSD Families,
There are few events more exciting than the opening of school. Students fill our hallways and classrooms with a sense of anticipation, adventure and curiosity – reminding us of our purpose and inspiring us to deliver our very best as educators. As a school community, new challenges and opportunities are welcome and we appreciate the rhythm and comfort of a return to routine. It is a time of possibility and continuity. In this spirit, I am pleased to share several updates on recent, ongoing and upcoming District initiatives and developments:

Strategic Plan

Earlier this summer, the 2016-17 Strategic Plan Annual Report was published to share the progress of the plan with members of the LMSD community. The document is available in the strategic plan section of our website (www.lmsd.org/all-forward) and includes a summary of the five strategic pathways of the All Forward Strategic Plan and the accompanying strategies that guide us and our work. Many thanks to the committed professionals and community members who have invested time as part of our pathway teams. Each pathway team's explorations are summarized with recommendations for future action which have begun for the 2017-18 school year.

Enrollment Growth

As expected, enrollment continues to grow in LMSD. Thanks to a more aggressive communication effort regarding registration and our partner school plan, we have been able to better plan for and accommodate new students. Last year the "partner school" plan was implemented to help alleviate some of the impacts of enrollment growth at the elementary school level. More information on this plan can be found on our website including important FAQ's https://www.lmsd.org/departments/student-services/registration/partner-school. The plan is helping us to maintain favorable class sizes, preserve programs, maximize existing resources and provide planning flexibility.

Facilities

As part of our comprehensive efforts to address the impacts of enrollment growth and ensure adequate facilities, the classroom expansion at Bala Cynwyd Middle School has moved forward. Modular classrooms were added to the campus in advance of permanent construction. Penn Wynne Elementary School will continue to make use of modular classrooms this year as the ongoing impact of enrollment growth is being evaluated there and at other schools throughout the District.

Cultivating a Positive Learning Environment: Policies and Regulations

One aspect of cultivating a positive learning environment is establishing expectations for how students, staff and families interact with each other. The District has policies that address equal opportunity, controversial and value issues, harassment and civility. Other related policies focus on individual student health, safety and wellness. Recent changes to our wellness and attendance policies will be highlighted in communications sent home from your child's school in the coming weeks. These changes, which include items ranging from nutritional guidelines to truancy laws are intended to meet state and Federal requirements, enhance student safety and promote a healthy school environment. I encourage families to review these and other policies with their children and, if you have a concern, please report it to a school administrator or counselor or to the Office of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or the Senior Director of Policy, Personnel and School Programs by calling 610-645-1800. All policies and regulations can be found on the District website at http://www.lmsd.org/board/policies.

Ask the Superintendent

I look forward to this years "Ask the Superintendent" events and continuing the important conversations about topics shared in this letter and any areas of interest to you. These meetings are very informative and play an important role in shaping our work as a District. Dates for these events are as follows:

  • Wednesday, September 13 at 8:30 AM Administration Building - Room 154
  • Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 PM Academy Building
  • Wednesday, January 10 at 8:30 AM Administration Building - Board Room
  • Sunday, March 18 at 3:00 PM Academy Building
  • Wednesday, May 2 at 10:30 AM Administration Building – Board Room

Finally, if you are new to LMSD or this is your first year with a child in our District, we wish you a very warm welcome. I think you will find it to be a great place for your children to learn and grow. Your school's administration, Home & School Association and our district-wide Interschool Council are great resources and can provide helpful guidance on ways to become involved in support of our schools and classrooms.

Thank you for entrusting us with your child's education. We look forward to a year filled with great success, meaningful growth and learning.

Sincerely,

Robert Copeland
Superintendent