This is my 10th greeting as Superintendent of Schools of the North Middlesex Regional School District and my 22nd year as an administrator in the school district. It has been a career that has seen many positive experiences and results with students and adults.

The North Middlesex Regional School District continues to be one of the largest regional school districts in New England with a total population of over 4,800. New houses continue to spring up, especially in the Town of Pepperell. As I am writing this report, we have broken ground and have begun to lay the foundation for the new Nissitissit Middle School, which in two years will house grades 6, 7 and 8 in Pepperell. Varnum Brook will then house grades 3, 4, and 5, and Peter Fitzpatrick will house Pre-K through Grade 2.

In Ashby we will be moving the sixth grade to Hawthorne Brook Middle School, thus all fifth graders from Ashby Elementary and Squannacook Elementary will enter Hawthorne Brook together as 6th graders in the fall of 2001. We are in the process of arranging new bus routes to have our Ashby students directly bussed to Hawthorne Brook. We will be constructing two new classrooms this summer at Hawthorne Brook to accommodate the additional students.

We will be coming to the Towns of Townsend and Ashby for a new roof at Hawthorne Brook Middle School. The existing roof is now 27 years old and in need of repair. Our capital improvement plan is in full swing. The High School just replaced all of its old windows, along with floor tiles and lighting in the Academic Support Center and many of our schools got new rug replacements during the holiday season.

Our 5-year strategic plan continues to be followed and it appears that after three years, we will have to formulate a new one. Many of our goals have been reached or will be reached this year.

The North Middlesex Regional School District continues to achieve academic excellence. Ninety percent of our graduating high school students are going on to two-and four-year colleges with an increased number entering the military service. Our goal is to have all of our students have a focused outcome.

The MCAS exam and graduation requirement continue to be a hot educational topic in the State; however, with the passing of the Early Retirement Program for teachers and administrators, I feel that this will be the biggest challenge facing school systems in the next 3 years. Who will replace these retiring educators?

In the era of MCAS, retirement programs, school safety, and ever-increasing societal changes, North Middlesex Regional School District will strive to be a proactive district rather than a reactive one.

To the entire staff, citizens, and students, I want to again thank you for the opportunity and honor to lead you.

Respectfully submitted,

James W. McCormick

Superintendent of Schools