Published in the August 24, 2016 edition


WAKEFIELD – The Wakefield Public Schools are just about ready for the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith told the School Committee last night.

Faculty and staff report for their first full day on Sept. 1, with students returning on Sept. 7.

Smith relayed an update from Director of Facilities and Transportation Maria Serrao, who reported a “busy and productive summer” on the facilities front at all of the schools in the district. Some of the work completed included capital projects.

At the High School, maintenance has included exterior painting of the Field House, interior ceiling replacement (including LED lighting upgrades), replacement of flooring and the replacement of more than 50 windows. The fire panel and public address system have undergone major upgrades, Smith reported. Additionally, the relocation of internal spaces throughout the school will result in the creation of refreshed student spaces to support teaching and learning.

Other facilities maintenance activities have included interior painting, ceiling and flooring replacements at the Woodville, Greenwood and Doyle schools. The Dolbeare School has benefitted from external painting, Smith said.

Crews have repointed and completed external concrete repairs at the Greenwood, Walton and Doyle schools. The Doyle School will see additional security enhancements with the installation of a new card reader and the last phase of their public address system installation. The Post Academy location behind the Greenwood Fire Station will benefit from new windows, sound attenuation panels, a new card reader and area rugs, Smith told the School Committee.

Smith said that as a new school, the Galvin did not require a great deal of work and it served as the site of all of the school district’s summer programs. Cleaning of the Galvin continued throughout the course of the summer programming, she added.

On the technology front, Smith provided an update from Director of Technology Jeff Weiner. The fleet of Chromebooks for Grade 5 has been upgraded with new devices, Smith said. The Chromebooks they replaced will be used to supplement the supply of loaner devices to support the Bring Your Own Device program at the High School. The old devices will also serve as extras at Galvin when devices go out to repair and provide spare parts for in-house repairs.

Elementary school teachers will receive new devices this fall, Smith told the School Committee. The devices they replace will be assigned to paraprofessionals, entering the supply of loaner devices when staff devices go out to repair and supplement the supply of loaner devices to support the BYOD program at the High School.

Smith also relayed Weiner’s update on the installation of a new phone system at the High School. IT staff are talking with wiring vendors this week to see which vendors can do the installation the earliest. Following that installation of wiring, the School Department’s own IT staff will install the phones in the classrooms. As the new phone system is phased in during the school year, the existing phone system will continue to work until the new system is completely up and running and teachers have had time to get used to the new system.

Smith added that the new phone system will allow teachers to dial 911 directly from their classrooms.

New projectors have been installed throughout the district, Smith noted. Most of those projectors were installed at the high school, with some at Dolbeare, Woodville and one at Greenwood. Seven TVs were installed at Doyle School instead of projectors, Smith said. She said that Weiner reported being able to get the projectors in at a substantial savings and the IT Department will follow this major project up with adding a handful of additional projectors in the district.

One of those additional spaces is The Savings Bank Theater where a new projector will allow people to do presentations from the front of the auditorium.

Smith relayed that a vendor has been selected for the computer server upgrade project. The new hardware will be phased into the existing environment during the school year.

“Everybody’s working really hard to make sure the facilities are ready” for the new school year, Smith told the School Committee.