The School Department annual objectives and strategic plan seeks to reflect the priorities identified in the district’s defined mission, vision and goals, with the assumption of concurrently providing sufficient resources to ensure compliance of all federal, state and locally mandated educational programs and requirements.

As the foundation of all district wide planning and goal setting spanning the full operations of the department, were the input, creation and adoption of the Mission Statement and Vision Statement, culminating in the release of the Strategic Plan Brochure. Having these solidified blueprints in place enabled the more detailed work in specific operational areas to occur with a common guide driving the output.

Marblehead Public Schools Mission Statement

Our Mission is to foster in our students a passion for learning, and to provide a safe nurturing environment in which they can develop the values, knowledge and skills needed to achieve full potential in their personal, social and work lives, and to become contributing members of society.

Marblehead Public Schools Vision Statement

A model school district, exemplary in its student engagement and academic excellence, where all students meet their highest potential with the support of outstanding instructional leadership and in partnership with the community.

Aligning with this mission and vision, our primary budgetary goals are to provide students with the highest quality administrative and instructional staff, curriculum and assessment tools, and an environment conducive to the potential of greatest student achievement. Long and short term strategic planning, and the budget process, drives the prioritization of these goals with student outcomes always at the forefront of planning.

Budget Process for FY18

The budget developmental process begins with the Superintendent’s Preliminary Budget Goals presented to the School Committee and continues with a series of public discussions vetting new priorities and initiatives, as well as the continuation and level services projections of existing operational expenditures. Internal requests from Principals and Department Heads are funneled through the Business Management Team and Superintendent, and discussions with the Town Finance Office are held verifying contractual increase requests and corresponding supporting data. These collaborations are compiled into a final Superintendent’s proposed budget and is presented to School Committee for approval as well as posted publically on the schools website and presented to the Town Finance Committee and ultimately Town Meeting.

Like the FY17 budget cycle, this year the budget process includes internal budget requests based on needs assessment from principals and department heads. While historically the model to fund expense accounts was a level services assumption, needs based requests better serve to identify and prioritize building specific needs in instruction and facilities. While not every identified need can be funded, tracking and prioritizing these requests will allow the Schools to commence a longer term, five year, prioritized budget plan. This plan will allow for a staggered fulfillment of high level needs with the realignment of existing non-recurring or ‘off-year’ operating funds. This year there will, and should be, serious and thoughtful discussion about the direction of the Marblehead Public Schools, its long term budget, and the educational goals and priorities desired for our children and our future. With changing student populations and fluctuating Federal and State funded programs, the budget must seek to stabilize and maintain essential student programming and support. As Administration works to create and keep current, Strategic Master Plan, Curriculum Multi-Year Outlook, Facilities Long-Range Plan and Technology Plan, we seek to always align and keep consistent building budget planning with district directed planning and initiatives.

The fiscal 17 budget, and the start of fiscal 18 budget process, though not without funding pressures, identified challenges for the school budget, including long term salary line deficits, which were collaboratively addressed with Town Boards and Departments during the fiscal 17 budget process. The School Department looks for ongoing efficiencies and best practices to continue to budget and account for all funding in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner while providing students with the highest opportunity for achievement.

In fiscal 17, the school again was hit with a large scale grant cut on the heels of the State Kindergarten grant elimination. Federal grant, Title I, a funding source stemming from the elementary and secondary education act of 1965 aimed at assisting public school districts in closing the achievement gap of low income and disadvantaged students. Grant award is calculated on the ‘basic grant formula’ or percentage low income/poverty students in district based on Federal census date projections. The fiscal 17 Title I grant to Marblehead Public Schools was cut by 46% or $115,448. Cutting staff and services associated with this grant has been ongoing during the current budget year but the fiscal 18 budget seeks to address and explore funding sources providing continuing resources targeting these students.

Long term strategies toward budget balance and sustainability include targeted review of revenue sources, vendor and services contract review, utility efficiencies at the building level and appropriate staffing levels and contractual increase projections. Annual review of fee based tuition and rate structures continue as a part of a systematic and paced review of revenue sources in an attempt to balance revenues to specific and appropriate programmatic expenses. This review is a part of the district’s strategic long term budget planning and sustainability efforts. FY17 also continued to show savings across substitute costs and unemployment insurance costs. This has come as a concerted effort through greater controls, communication and internal education. Recent consolidation of copier/printer contracts and a pending change and consolidation of telephone contracts add to the budget efficiencies review.

Looking forward to school year 2017-18, the FY18 budget discussions will encompass three major themes and success indicators. In efforts to manage budget sustainability, we will work collaboratively with Town finance Boards and departments to identify solutions of budget efficiency as well as utilize capital funding associated with Town capital funding and reserves to their maximum potential. Additionally, we continue to review revenue sources and grant and revolving funding and appropriately and responsibly utilize these funds against relevant and appropriate expenses.

Curriculum remains at the forefront of academic and instructional rigor and continued funding toward curriculum alignment, professional development and associated text and material renewal will be identified.

For school year 2017-2018 technology is at the forefront of a needs based budget. Commencing at the High School level, a technology and student device advisory including school administrators, staff, community members and students will investigate needs and potential implementation of one to one student devices. Infrastructure to support these increasing student and staff technology needs will continue to be improved and addressed as funding allows.

Curriculum and Assessment

Recent school years saw successful implementation of a system of curriculum renewal that supports increased academic achievement and social-emotional learning through a coordinated, aligned and consistently delivered curriculum based on challenging standards and high expectations. We continue ongoing math faculty professional development and student engagement, spearheaded by our math curriculum alignment, standards, and mapping work and assisted by a full adoption of K-12 math programming, materials and textbook adoption.

Additional curriculum work in the core content areas of English Language Arts, and this year’s Science/Technology and Engineering frameworks alignment work are directed by the Marblehead Public Schools multi-year curriculum review and revision plan. Ongoing efforts will include continued textbook and materials inventory and renewal cycle aligning with curriculum renewal and state frameworks.

In assessment work, the district continues to analyze multiple assessment data sources to support continuous student improvement and close identified achievement gaps. Ongoing targeted assistance and intervention to support student achievement and success with core content tutorials, reviews and support continue at the building level. Accountability levels, under the state’s accountability system show Marblehead with five school buildings at a Level 1 – the state’s highest ranking. Bell School, in particular, has been commended at the state level for ‘high progress’ in accountability and student achievement. The fiscal 2018 budget will seek to support and progress the Village School, currently the only district building lacking level I distinction from level II. This will occur through targeting student support, Title I programming and additional curriculum and assessment coaching and professional development work.

Student social and emotional wellness, as well as community engagement round out our initiates with buildings to educate the whole child with students participating in positive behavior programming, bullying prevention curriculum, team-building, social engagement enrichment, and opportunities for community partnerships and service. We continue with our Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) initiative across the district.

Facilities and Maintenance Operations

A new HVAC Software Control system was installed in the High School replacing an outdated and malfunctioning system. The old system was recommended for replacement as part of the results of an audit of the High School HVAC system in 2015. Work on the remaining items from the audit will continue into next fiscal year including a full system balance.

Additional work continues on HVAC and temperature control issues at the Veterans, Village and Bell Schools. Veterans’ hot water tanks are beyond their lifespan, and plans are in place for the necessary equipment and labor to replace them in the summer of 2017 as a part of the fiscal 2018 facilities funding.

A revision of the School Capital Facilities Plan is underway. A review of current building condition, priority of maintenance work, and planning for long term projects will be included in the revised plan. Prioritization and the most efficient use of Town Capital funding will be key components

At the forefront of school facilities for fiscal 2018 is the Gerry School feasibility study. With the enrollment data submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Gerry School Building Committee now moves toward selection of the Owner’s Project Manager and Design Architect for the feasibility study.


With the resource of a district wide technology integrated specialist, technology advances and initiatives continue to roll out at all buildings. The third grade curriculum at the elementary schools now included a learn to type program as the State rolls out mandated online assessment testing.

WiFi and infrastructure continue to be strengthened with school buildings better equipped to handle additional staff and student usage of many devices at the same time. These structural improvements will help support the potential rollout of building level student one to one device models. The High School has formed an advisory inclusive of school administrators, staff, community members and students, which will investigate needs and potential implementation of one to one student devices.

Long term outlook aligning with fiscal 2018 budget, includes the State rollout of additional grade level mandated online assessment culminating in grades 3-12 ultimately taking State assessment tests entirely online by 2019. The district will need to address the availability of building wide student devices, strengthened infrastructure and technology staffing support to comply with these changes in assessment administration at the State level.


School administration continues with efforts in community outreach and communication. School year 2015-16 and the first semester of school year 2016-17 included community wide Superintendent forums with updates of key school initiatives and question and answer sessions with the School Central Administration Executive team. Additionally, the Central Administration team is attending school building based PTO/PCO meetings as well as staff meetings and School Advisory Councils by invitation and as appropriate relevant to topic.

As an additional communication tool aimed toward the goal of family and community transparency was the rollout of the iDashboard data metrics dashboard on the School Department website. The iDashboard presents relevant and current information on School financials, enrollment, staffing demographics and performance. The iDashboard will continue to be updated and added to with additional assessment and student performance data to come.

Lastly, new for school year 2015-2016, and continuing into current school year 2016-2017, all agenda, materials and reports presented to School Committee from School Administration in open session is made available to the community on the school website the day following the meeting. The provision of these materials, reports and metrics is meant to facilitate a transparent communication and understanding of topics discussed during the meetings. The fiscal 18 will continue like transparency with all fy18 budget documents available online to the public in real time following School Committee meetings.


Looking to school year 2017-2018, short term student enrollment indicators, from third-party independent sources, predict relatively level or slight down turning enrollment with continued pockets/bubbles of larger grade levels which have remained constant as they have progressed through the grade levels.

While enrollment as whole student body Pre-K through 12 is down 38 students at the time of this report, the Kindergarten class for school year 2016-17 is up 40 students over the last school year, 2015-16. Additionally, 11 new-to-district students enrolled mid-year from the start of school in September. These changing metrics challenge budget projections as we seek a balance of appropriate class sizes as well as the provision of appropriate resources to all students. We take pride in our small class sizes and the ability to teach to all students within our classrooms.

It is important to note that while longer term budget discussion includes analyzing metrics assumptive of enrollment downturn, current student populations, and increasing educational mandates challenge our budget to provide services for increasing student populations in all our sub-groups. With an eye to potentially decreasing long term student enrollment numbers, mandated and appropriate programming targeted to these unique populations must continue to be budgeted appropriately.


There is much to be proud of within the Marblehead Public Schools. As we celebrate student achievements, high assessment scores and rankings, and an advanced percentage rate of students moving on to higher education, we concurrently must look to long term to continue to challenge ourselves toward academic challenge and improvement, and student-based initiatives and advances. Our teachers continue to be the drivers of our top tiered district. They participate in numerous professional development opportunities and are committed to teaching to the whole child. As technology and educational advancement and mandates move quickly, so to do the unique needs of an evolving student body and demographic. Balancing the needs of the district to maintain high performing and rigorous academic and extracurricular student experiences, with long term operational planning and sustainability includes responsible fiscal management, as well as community engagement and communication. We are optimistic as we look to budget the student driven instructional and programmatic growth initiatives of school year 2017-2018, and are proud of the traction and recent successes that we have experienced over the past school year.


Maryann Perry

Superintendent of Schools

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