Thursday, May 31, 2018

BMHS Construction Update - May 31, 2018

We are happy to share some new drone shots of the BMHS site thanks to our IT department!

Looking south at the new building from above the ice rink;
existing BMHS and Parker School in the background

View from above the student parking lot

Looking at the new civic entrance from above the current gym

Looking at the new main entrance from above River Street

Looking at the civic wing of the building from River Street

View of the entire building from above River Street

Here are the latest updates of the work in progress:

Academic Wing

  • The electrician has started/pull-in running feeder cable
  • Spraying in the high common area ceilings has started
  • Metal panel continues at the exterior
  • Erection of the Area E stair has started.
Civic Wing
  • Erection of the auditorium catwalk and spotlight platform has started
  • Spray on fireproofing has remobilized and is continuing
  • Metal panel continues at the exterior along the north auditorium
Site Work
  • Rough grading has started at the north side of the gymnasium
  • Excavation has started for the southeast school parking lot REDI Rock wall

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ethics Commission Letter

April 18, 2018

Members of the Billerica community:

Earlier this school year, I received a letter from the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) indicating that the Billerica School Department did not comply with the campaign finance law regarding the distribution of information regarding the December 2, 2017 special election through the school department's email system.  This was discussed publicly in January 2018, and I accepted and continue to accept my responsibility for my actions in this matter.

I contacted the State Ethics Commission initially on January 10, 2018 for further advice on this matter, and subsequently became aware that a complaint had been filed against me.  In response to the investigation by the State Ethics Commission, I received the following "education letter", dated April 11, 2018:

State Ethics Letter to Timothy Piwowar, 4/11/2018

Enclosure: Ethics Advisory 11-1

I am disclosing this information in the interest of transparency and allowing the district to move forward, even though this matter could have remained private.  As I stated in January, we always aim to learn from our mistakes as it is the best way that we can continue to grow.

Tim Piwowar

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BMHS Construction Update - April 17, 2018

Here are the latest updates from the BMHS construction project:

Civic Wing:

  • Installation of Area B Level 01 curtainwall frames at the main entry and main academic corridor is underway, and installation at the Area B Level 02 Learning Commons is completed for both curtainwall framing and glazing
  • Installation of precast stone is underway at the Area B south elevation


  • Subgrade MEP trenching at the Area B Level 00 Gymnasium floor is underway

Academic Wing:
  • Ceramic tile walls in the academic area bathrooms in Area D are undeway


  • Preparations including grinding and moisture mitigation for the layout and installation of terrazzo flooring began in Area C of the Academic Wing
  • Air and water infiltration testing of the building envelope continues in the courtyards
  • The brick mason has remobilized at Area E



Site Work:
  • The retaining wall along the northern section of the site running towards Good Street is underway



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NESDEC Special Education Program Study

At the April 9, 2018 meeting of the Billerica School Committee, the NESDEC Special Education Program Study was presented and discussed with the Committee. The focus of the report was on "... the elementary school[s], particularly the relationship between special education and general education in supporting students' social, emotional, and behavioral needs." The full report can be found at https://tinyurl.com/bpsnesdec0418.

We would like to thank everyone that participated in the NESDEC visits for providing their input to the process. We also look forward to taking the results of this work, and using the recommendations embedded within in order to strengthen our practice across the district. In particular, the following is the list of suggestions given in the summary of the report:

  • Continue and enhance district-wide dialogue among teachers, principals, central office administrators, and parents
  • Redesign general education classrooms
  • Streamline the RtI process
  • Professional development for paraprofessionals
  • Coordinate and collaborate student support services
  • Continue to seek community-wide financial support
More details around the suggestions are within the report; I encourage you to contact me if you have any comments or questions.

Tim Piwowar, Superintendent

New Director of Special Education

I am excited this morning to announce that at last night's School Committee meeting, Ms. Amy Emory was appointed as the district's next Director of Special Education.  Ms. Emory joins us after spending 28 years in Regional School District 13 in Durham and Middlefield, CT, with the last 14 years as the Director of Pupil Services.
Ms. Emory will officially become the Director on July 1; however, she will be spending time transitioning into the district during the month of June.  Carol Fredette will continue to be our Interim Director until June 30, and the transition time will provide Ms. Emory the opportunity to get to meet staff, students, and parents while school is still in session.
I would like to thank all the members of the Screening Committee for their hard work in putting forward excellent finalist candidates. The committee was led by Assistant Superintendent Jill Geiser, and the members of the Committee were:
Jennifer Cherry, SPED Teacher, Parker ES
Beth Anne Frechette, Team Chair, Out-of-District
Terry Gerrish, Community Member
Christine Gibelli, Principal, Vining ES
Jamie Hamm, Psychologist, Marshall MS
Lorraine Huard, Coordinator, Project Support
Michelle Landry, Parent
Nichelle Lennon, Paraprofessional, Dutile ES
Tom Murphy, Principal, BMHS
Phil Peters, Assistant Principal, Locke MS
Rick Thompson, Team Chair, BMHS
Elaine Tuccelli, Parent
Thank you again to the all the Screening Committee members and everyone else who participated in the interview process.
Tim Piwowar, Superintendent

Friday, April 6, 2018

Snow Day Makeup Plan Approved

Parents/Guardians:

     I am happy to share that we received word late this afternoon from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that our plan to makeup three snow days with additional time has been approved.  Our thanks to Commissioner Riley and his team for providing their review and approval of our proposal.

     As a reminder, our plan involves the following:

1.  We will eliminate both remaining district-wide early release days (Friday, April 13 and Tuesday, May 22), and schedule as full days of school.

2.  We will eliminate the half-day on the last day of school (Friday, June 22) and schedule as a full day of school.

3.  We will add one hour to the school day for all students, K-12, for eight consecutive Tuesdays, starting on Tuesday, April 24 and ending on Tuesday, June 12. On these days, schools will follow the regular daily schedule during the course of the "regular" school day, and the additional hour at the end of the day will be designed as a time to provide support/intervention and enrichment opportunities for all students.  Bus transportation will continue to be provided for all students; bus schedules will be pushed back one hour in the afternoon.  More information about specifics at each school will come from the schools directly.

4.  As a result of these changes, the last day of the school year will be Friday, June 22.

     The first day impacted will be next Friday, April 13 - this will now be a full day of school, and not the originally scheduled early release. 

Thank you,
Tim Piwowar, Superintendent

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

BMHS Construction Update - April 4, 2018

Here are the latest updates from the BMHS construction project!

Civic Wing:
  • Curtain wall installations are ongoing throughout the Civic Wing, highlighted by frames and glazing at the upper River Street windows and frames above the main entrance and at the lower commons glass wall into the academic quad

  • Ground-face masonry block started at the south and west interior Gymnasium walls

  • Kitchen grease trap duct work is ongoing

Academic Wing:

  • Drywalling has mobilized on the lower level of the Academic Wing

  • Ceiling grid is being installed in the lower level Pre-K area, as well as in academic corridors at upper levels; perimeter ceiling tiles are underway in classrooms
  • The mason is preparing to re-mobilize at the north end of the Academic Wing and will be working into the quad