December 20, 2010

Dear CPS Families,

Let me first wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

On Oct. 4, you received a letter outlining the exciting planning process we are undertaking at CPS. This process is an extension of the district’s 2009-10 Middle School Study, and results from the realization that we can’t address middle school issues effectively in isolation.

Mayor David Maher, the Cambridge School Committee and I established three working teams — a Facilities Team, a Controlled Choice Team and a JK-8 Education Programming Team — to engage in the multidimensional planning work required to move our district forward.

As we arrive at another milestone in this process, I am pleased to share with you the vision we are striving to achieve with our remarkable school system, as well as information about the next phase of this process. Your participation and support are critical to our success in transforming the Cambridge Public Schools experience for all students.

Our vision is to become the most academically successful urban school district in the state by harnessing the riches of the Cambridge community and preparing all students for college and 21st century success. The resources we have are many and include our talented, innovative and diverse people; our generous and committed higher education and business partners; and our deep financial resources.

On Dec. 17, the three working teams presented their reports to me and to the School Committee. With this work completed, I want to briefly outline to you our next steps in this process.

On Feb. 1 I will present the School Committee with my recommendations for the change we need in order to achieve the goal we all share: to make the Cambridge Public Schools the premier urban system in the Commonwealth and beyond. Over the next five weeks, as we develop these recommendations, I will be carefully digesting the reports the three teams have presented to me while continuing to examine current educational research, analyze relevant data, and explore best practices in our district and beyond. My team and I will also hold several more public forums across the city, to gather input and feedback from parents and community members.

Three meetings are already scheduled to gather your feedback: two Town Hall meetings on Feb. 9 and 10, and a School Committee Public Hearing on Feb. 15. Please put these dates on your calendar. In addition, I will be convening another meeting of the All City School Council, as well as additional public meetings in other locations, during the month of January. I hope you will visit our website at cpsd.us for updated information about this schedule and meeting locations, and to learn more about this process. Most of all, I hope that you will join me for some of these meetings and share your views. You are also welcome to send feedback by e-mailing me at planning@cpsd.us. I hope I will hear from you.

We in the School Department are brimming with excitement and expectation as we continue this journey to new and better ways to educate our children. I invite each of you to join us in this journey, and look forward to working with you during this process.

Best wishes,

Jeffrey M. Young, Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools