Schools ready to open Tuesday

Posted 8/31/23

As students prepare  to end their summer vacations, the Warwick School Department is ready to welcome them back.

The administration projects an enrollment of 7,963 students on Sept. 5, …

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Schools ready to open Tuesday


As students prepare  to end their summer vacations, the Warwick School Department is ready to welcome them back.

The administration projects an enrollment of 7,963 students on Sept. 5, although the exact number of is subject to change as the year begins.

Assistant superintendent Bill McCaffrey said that one of the biggest goals for the school department in the 2023-24 school year is getting both Warwick Veterans and Winman Middle Schools accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The two schools are currently in the candidate phase of the accreditation process, and if they are accredited, they would become the first middle schools in the state to achieve that status.

“I think it’s healthy to have a school receive that feedback from a third party to help it,” McCaffrey said Tuesday.

Another goal of the administration is to further improve the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, and potentially submitting new CTE programs for approval. In particular, McCaffrey said that the department is looking at expanding opportunities in arts and audio engineering.

School Committee Chair Dave Testa said Wednesday he’s “always looking for achievement,” and has high hopes for the students of Warwick for the upcoming school year.

“We need to be among the top five school districts in the state, and I think we can get there,” he said.

Superintendent Lynn Dambruch said the city has resolved staffing shortages reported earlier this summer. Primarily due to retirements the department was looking to fill 67 teacher spots, 18 teacher and seven administrators positions.

“We’ve managed to fill all of the spots we had open, including seven administration spots,” Dambruch said.

McCaffrey credited the school’s  human resources department for being able to fill the positions.

Among the new hires are two graduates of the Warwick school system- Pilgrim assistant principal Meg Maguire and Sarah LaPointe, Warwick Veterans Middle School assistant principal.

McCaffrey said that the teachers, who had been previously employed by other districts throughout the state and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), show the spirit of giving back in the Warwick community.

“Someone along the way inspired them- a teacher inspired them to get into education, and they remember that experience,” McCaffrey said. “They want to come back and do the same for another Warwick resident in the future.”

Three professional development days are planned for the upcoming school year- Oct. 23, Jan. 23, and April 2. All three days will involve training for teachers, while school buildings will also be in use as polling locations for the 2024 presidential primaries on the latter date.

One school will also be in a temporary location for the duration of the school year, as Oakland Beach Elementary School will spend the 2023-24 school year in the Gorton administrative building due to large-scale renovations of their current building.

As that happens, though, Warren A. Sherman Elementary School returns to their building following a year spent in the administrative building  as Sherman underwent major renovations including installation of a HVAC system.

Warwick Neck Elementary School, which it was feared would not be ready to open on Tuesday , is ready for staff and students thanks to a last minute push to get the HVAC system up and running and the replacement of windows.  School Department Director of Construction and Capital Projects Steve Gothberg oversaw, $20 million in  renovations and improvements over the summer at 13 of the city’s schools.

 “We’re looking forward to everyone coming back this school year,” McCaffrey said. “There have been many upgrades in buildings throughout the district, and we’re ready to see everyone come back to the schools. We’re here to support you.”

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