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This is my 8th greeting as Superintendent of Schools of the North Middlesex Regional School District and my 20th year as an administrator in this school district. It seems just yesterday that I started here. Over the course of these years, I have personally seen this District go through many positive changes.

The North Middlesex Regional School District continues to be one of the largest regional school districts in New England with a total population of 4916, which is an increase of 475 since 1991. It is evident as you drive through the three towns, that new houses continue to be built; however, all of our communities have been proactive in creating new space for their expanding populations. Presently we have established a Pepperell Building Committee to look at building a grade 6, 7, 8 educational facility.

This year we will be coming to all town meetings seeking approval for a $2.5 million roof renovation for the high school roof. We believe that we have a solid educational facility at the high school, and each year we have dedicated some of our operating budget to improve a section of the high school. Now is the time to repair the roof. We can no longer continue to "patch it."

Education Reform is in its 6th year with continuous changes taking place. Fiscally, we have benefited from increased state aid (state funding for our District is approximately 64%) and the towns have been obligated to fund only a minimum amount. This has helped fiscally both the school system and our three towns.

Last year was the first year the students in grades 4, 8 and 10 were required to take the MCAS test. Our students took this extremely difficult test, that in essence tests our curriculum to see if it is in line with the state-required curriculum. (It should be noted that our present 8th grade class will be required to pass this test in order to graduate.) I believe we did well; however, we are not satisfied with "good results" and we will continue to strive for "excellent results."

We have some major undertakings this year that will need community input. In February we will begin to create a new 5-year strategic plan for this school district. We are aiming to have this finalized by June. As mentioned earlier, we have created a Building Committee in Pepperell and we will be make a recommendation to the Town of Pepperell in the coming months. In addition, we will be looking at a space needs study at our high school on how to best use the facility.

North Middlesex continues to achieve academic success and is the front-runner in many of the requirements of Education Reform. Our student population going on to 2 and 4-year colleges was 85% for the class of 1998 and our drop out rate has been steadily decreasing. Our goal is to have all students have some form of focused outcome.

A great deal of our success can be attributed to the parental, citizen, business, and governmental support we receive from all three towns. Our teaching staff from preschool to grade 12 is truly dedicated to our students. Whenever we start to question the whys, how’s and what’s, we just need to observe the children and teachers and how they positively interact. Everything we do during the day remains as it has always been: children’s needs, not adults, are our primary goal.

I continue to be proud and honored to be the Superintendent of Schools of this fine community and an educational staff of almost 600. I look forward to the new millennium and the exciting possibilities that our District can achieve.

Respectfully submitted,

James W. McCormick

Superintendent of Schools