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Head's Corner, February 12, 2014
Greetings CMS Families,
I hope that you are warm and gearing your family up for February Vacation next week! It appears the groundhog’s prediction of additional six weeks of winter is accurate. We are anticipating yet another snow storm tomorrow. I do not know whether we will have a snow day. I sincerely hope not. In the event that we do, please review the link that gives you up to date information about school closing. Perhaps when we return from break, we will be able to see spring in our horizon.
When we return from break, we will be immersed in our hiring season, finalizing decisions about the elementary building and preparing for our 50th Golden Anniversary Gala on Saturday, March 22nd. These are key topics that were discussed at the Annual State of the School. If you missed the event, you may check out a video recording in the library. You spoke and we listened.
In an effort to enhance our programs overall, we have begun a national search for two program directors, one for the Toddler and Primary Programs and one for the Elementary and Middle School Programs. We have already posted the positions and have received interest in both positions. These leadership roles are crucial to ensuring a successful home and school partnership. Therefore, we invite you to participate in the process and welcome your feedback. If you are interested in meeting the candidates, please send an email to the Parents Association. We will coordinate schedules with the PA. This process will be fair and transparent. We will welcome our first Toddler and Primary Director candidate Munir Shiviji on Tuesday, February 25th. Munir will also offer a workshop “Wired for Success! Why Montessori?” Please mark your calendars!
I have met with almost every CMS faculty and staff member to discuss our program needs and expectations for next year. Like most organizations, there will be some personnel changes. One change that is definite is Gretchen’s role as the School Psychologist. Unfortunately, Gretchen’s schedule will not allow us to effectively meet the needs of our students and staff. Our goal is to always keep the needs of the program first so that we can make the best decisions for your children. We will be hiring a full time School Psychologist. This is one of the positions that my Leadership Team and I will be responsible for hiring. I also anticipate some changes in teaching and administrative positions as well but those have not been confirmed. Please note that the average tenure of a CMS employee is 12 years. We have a very committed faculty and staff and we also have some turnover, which is very healthy for the organization. All positions will begin on July 1, 2014 when the new fiscal year begins.
Enrollment and retention continue to be a high priority and I am pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, we are projecting a steady increase in both. As a result, we will be adding a third Lower Elementary. We hired an architect last summer to help us design an elementary building that will help us to effectively meet the needs of our expanding program. We have been working closely with the neighbors and the City of Cambridge to develop an ideal plan. That process, which involves several factors including but not limited to, zoning and construction, could take up to two years. In the meantime, we have an incredible opportunity for growth in our program. This will require hiring an additional Lower Elementary teacher and making changes to our existing building. Our architects met with administrators, faculty and staff to solicit feedback and they have submitted several plans that we like and that will help support our growth. In the meantime, we will lease additional office space for administrators at the Brickyard, where the Middle School is currently located. We will keep you informed about the building as well as the logistics and staffing for the third classroom.
Finally, as we are getting closer to our 50th Anniversary Golden Gala, I can’t help but take every opportunity to remind you of the significance of this momentous occasion. THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR US!!! Fifty years ago, CMS, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy, college students from majority and historically black institutions, and countless others were part of a revolution. They (we) were courageous enough to make a major impact in the civil rights of humans through dreaming and acting upon a vision.
I realize that the Civil Rights era means different things to different people however, the best way I can describe its impact is to imagine living in a world where I could not chose the neighborhood in which I live, the school that I attend, the place that I chose to worship, the job or career that I am more than qualified, the person I date, marry, or the people that I socialize with because they did not look like me. Then I started to imagine what would life be like without opportunities for all people to participate in politics, education and economic policy, or if people simply could not play on the same teams, attend a movie or play music together.
My heart sinks just at those thoughts. That was just 50 years ago! And yet, a few like-minded individuals we were creating their own revolution right here in Cambridge! We have been offering an exceptional education to all kinds of people long before public and private schools alike understood the value. We have been a drum major for social justice for five decades. Are we there yet? No -- but what distinguishes us from the rest of the pack is that we have the qualitative and quantitative data that speaks volumes about the past fifty years.
Dr. John Wilson, President of Morehouse College (the only historically African American college for black men and Dr. Martin Luther King’s alma mater) and former CMS parent will be in attendance. Dr. Wilson has more the 25 years of leadership in higher education and fundraising. He was instrumental in raising $3 BILLION for MIT during his 16-year tenure. He also has been a champion for education, serving in various capacities in higher education at MIT and George Washington University. Dr. Wilson was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the Executive Director of the White House Inititiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Wilson understands the importance of the work that CMS is doing. He is excited about coming and we are honored to host him! The event will be historic and we want you to be a part of history. Tickets are available but we are not sure how long! I am looking forward to this event and it won’t be the same without celebrating with the people who have been a part of the CMS history! That means you!!! This will be an event that you won’t want to miss! We will celebrate the past and embrace the future, which promises to be very bright! We have so many reasons to celebrate and more on the horizon. I hope that you have a phenomenal break!