HomeWeekend Wrap-UpSinkhole in Forge Village, Updated WPS Calendar: Weekend Wrap-Up

Sinkhole in Forge Village, Updated WPS Calendar: Weekend Wrap-Up


Subscribe to our mailing list and consider following WestfordCAT on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for daily updates from Westford's hometown source for news. 

WESTFORD — Welcome to the Sept. 18 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford.

Damaged drainage pipe triggers sinkhole in Forge Village

A failed drainage pipe triggered a sinkhole to open up in Forge Village.

The sinkhole, located near 42 East Prescott St. was discovered on Monday morning by the Department of Public Works.

Repair work will begin on Sept. 12 and is scheduled to continue at least through Sept. 14., according to a Facebook post from the department.

Some parent-teacher conference dates changed with updated district calendar

The Westford Public Schools calendar has seen a number of minor updates amid a recently ratified faculty contract that changes the dates of some parent-teacher conferences.

There will be no early release dates or delayed start on Nov. 20 or Nov. 21, with elementary conferences pushed to Dec. 13 and Dec. 14.

Spring conferences for elementary students will still take place on March 18 and March 19, 2024. These days will now be early release days, as opposed to March 19, 2024 following a delayed start schedule.

Middle school conferences will take place on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11, 2024. Both days will be early release days for middle school students.

The School Committee voted unanimously on Sept. 11 to approve the updated calendar.

VIDEO: Westford’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony 2023

School Committee and Superintendent discuss goals, expectations for 2023-2024 year

The School Committee and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Chew discussed their draft goals for the 2023-2024 school year.

The School Committee also reviewed additional discussions for the year during their summer retreat.

HVAC units will be added to the Blanchard roof as part of the design services for the roof replacement project. Communication between the DEI and School Committees and operating protocols were also reviewed “to help focus business meetings, be efficient, and help build relationships between committee and superintendent,” according to School Committee Chair Valery Young.

“I think those were good conversations to have to start the year. As a new chair I appreciate hearing from all the committee members during the retreat and starting the new year off as productively as possible,” Young said during an Aug. 28 meeting.

School Committee’s overarching goals

The School Committee has four overarching goals for the year.

  • To increase the visibility/inclusion of data reports at meetings (concerning financial, personnel enrollment, special education, discipline, etc.) when making data-driven decisions
  • Commit to creating a fiscally responsible FY25 budget while being mindful of the impact on staff, students, and families
  • Continuing to support and improve the social and emotional well-being of students and staff
  • Continuing to support and improve the diversity, equity & inclusion work across the district and community

Guidelines will be created for school committee presentations to be distributed to staff and presenters in advance at meetings and make all requested data available to committee members via a shared data folder.

The Committee will ensure all FY25 budgetary decisions are data-driven while “being mindful of the impacts on staff, students, and families”. The finance subcommittee will continue reviewing all fees. Any updates to WPS fees will be included in the FY25 budget.

A school start-time working group will also be created to look for feasible short-term options using the previous committee’s data and research. Their findings and recommendations will be presented to the School Committee in December 2023.

For DEI, the Policy Subcommittee will review selected policies and present its suggestions by May 2024.

Superintendent draft goals

Superintendent Dr. Christopher Chew also proposed four goals to be completed by June 2024. They concern Professional Practice, Student Learning, and District Improvement.

  • Engage in the third and final year of the New Superintendent Induction Program
  • Develop collaborative and restorative principles and practices to strengthen relationships and community at both middle schools through previously secured ARPA funding
  • Develop new 10 year Master Plan in collaboration with the Director of Facilities to be approved by the School Committee
  • Have WPS engage with an outside provider to conduct an Equity Audit of district resources and practices

WPS will work with the Town of Westford Wellness Coordinator and Director of Special Education and SEL while developing these restorative practices. Teachers from the middle schools and Ambassador teachers from Westford Academy will participate in professional development while the program develops.

A Master Plan working group which will include the Director of Facilities, Director of School Finance and a representative from the School Committee, which plans to hold monthly meetings to assess future projects and goals.

Independent providers will collaborate with the Director of Equity, Curriculum, and Instruction to conduct the Equity Audit.

The Equity Audit also requires the identification of one to two specific indicators. The four indicators include Instructional Leadership, Management and Operations, Family and Community Engagement, and Professional Culture.

The School Committee approved these draft goals during their Sept. 11 meeting.

WestfordCAT News

Support WestfordCAT News

Local journalism is vital to our communities. As other publications shift focus toward regional journalism, WestfordCAT continues to provide high-quality hyperlocal reporting to our town, free for everyone to read. So  we have a small favor to ask. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, helps us sustain our journalism and keep our community informed. Please consider supporting WestfordCAT by donating online.

Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.

Upcoming Events