May 2017

May 17, 2017

Dear Members Of The Georgetown Community:

The windows are open in my office this morning, and my suit coat is hanging on the back of my chair. Yes, that New England weather that we all love so much is finally here, and we are hitting the home stretch of the 2016 – 2017 school year.

As I reflect upon year one of my tenure at Georgetown Public Schools, I am brought back to the one thing I promised to do this year. I made it my year one mission to start to change the culture within the special education department, and ultimately within our schools. I want a culture in which families are valued, and listened to as part of the process. I want a culture where the appropriate services are provided to all students for them to achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. I want our students to gain the independence necessary for them to be productive members of our community. Most importantly, I want an open, honest atmosphere that promotes trust, satisfaction, and ultimately happiness.

Yesterday, I opened an email from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding Indicator 8. As a brief history lesson, when the US Department of Education audited special education in Massachusetts, there were several indicators in which Massachusetts needed to improve. One of those was around family engagement, which is Indicator 8. The email I received gave data resulting from Georgetown’s response to Indicator 8.

During the 2015 – 2016 school year, every parent of a special education student received a survey written by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The results of the data provided by parents from that survey were analyzed and sent to me.

I cannot express how discouraging I found the results to be. Unfortunately, only 37 surveys were collected, which makes it difficult to determine if the information is an accurate depiction of parent satisfaction within the district. Still, I am not satisfied with the work being done here if even one survey comes back expressing negative feelings about the special education department.

I have posted the survey under the “DOE Review” section of my website, and encourage all of you to take a look at it. The overall parent satisfaction with special education is completely unacceptable to me. My plan is to continue to work closely with all of you, earn your trust, and help you feel better about what we are doing for your children. This survey will be conducted again in another three years. I will not be satisfied with anything less than 100% parent satisfaction at that time.

But I need your help. I need you all to tell me what isn’t working, and what your expectations are. As always, I have an open door policy. Please come see me. Tell me your concerns. I promise to do my best to alleviate them. Oh, and feel free to tell me those things we are doing well, too.  🙂

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Jack Tiano

Director of Student Services