Our vision is to connect, engage, and inspire all students in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District to reach academic excellence. We, the educators of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, will instill habits of reflection and inquiry to challenge our students in setting ambitious academic and personal goals. Students will develop a strong voice to express thoughts and ideas in the community and the confidence to showcase their talents and successes in preparation for entry into college and the world of work. 


January Blog 2017

Our vision is to connect, engage, and inspire all students in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District to reach academic excellence. We, the educators of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, will instill habits of reflection and inquiry to challenge our students in setting ambitious academic and personal goals. Students will develop a strong voice to express thoughts and ideas in the community and the confidence to showcase their talents and successes in preparation for entry into college and the world of work.

Panther News

January 2017


Greetings ASRSD Families,

Each time I write, I marvel at how quickly a month passes. So far the winter has been mild overall; a few slick mornings causing two delayed openings and one snow day. The last day of school is now Friday, June 16. Please mark your calendars.

FY18 School Budget
Budget development is complicated and laborious. The School Committee, Finance Director and I weave together a budget that prioritizes what is best for the students of the Ayer Shirley School District. We identify the academic needs for the coming school year, and do our best to re-allocate funds to pay for those needs.

Governor Baker has released his state budget recommendations and all school districts in the Commonwealth will receive a $20 increase per student, which is a total increase of $35,420 to our budget. Our FY18 fixed costs increase is $1,056,817.

Employee salaries and benefits are 64% of the total operating budget. Special Education costs are 12%. These cost centers absorb 76% of the total operating budget which leaves 24% for all other fixed costs such as utilities, maintenance, and operation of schools. We strive to create efficiency, reduce expenses, and generate new revenues to provide an excellent education for every student in the district.

What are our fixed cost increases?

 FY18 Fixed Cost Increases




  % inc.


Salary adjustments for all union/non-union ASRSD employees



SpEd Out of District Tuitions



Health Insurance (Fy18 - 8% rate increase)    



Special Education Transportation



 Maintenance Contracts (LAW, MS & PHT)  



 Insurance (Worker’s Comp.)     



 Insurance (Property)       








The Governor’s budget will now be debated in the House, and it is expected they will release their budget in April. In May, the Senate does the same. In June the House and Senate conference committees reconcile differences between the two budgets. The final budget plan which requires the Governor’s signature is completed by July 1.  In the meantime, cities and towns work with a state budget that is typically not finalized until some time in June.

In the context of all of this, the School Department explores avenues to reduce expenses and generate revenue. We want a responsible budget that the towns can support. This process often requires creativity and ingenuity because as stated above, school district’s receive incremental increases each year.

What steps have we taken to reduce expenses?

  • We have reduced expenses in electricity costs.  Effective July 1, 2017, our electricity supply will be obtained through an aggregate purchase, resulting in approximately a $64,000 reduction to next year's budget.  

  • Through the efforts of the School Committee, the district has entered into a net metering contract, which will bring an additional savings in electricity costs.

  • Last year all employees agreed to a health insurance plan design change, which resulted in $20,000 of savings for the employees and $60,000 in savings for the district.

  • We participate in the Community Work Program through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.  This work release program sends inmates to the district to perform light maintenance duties such as painting.

What steps have we taken to generate revenue?

  • Our partnership with Cambridge Institute of international Education yields tuition for those students who elect to complete a year of study at the high school.  

  • We received a generous donation of $60,000  from former Ayer residents, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Norton. They have directed us to use these funds for books for the new K-5 literacy program.

  • Professional Development providers are very costly and we look to cost share with neighboring districts.  The district is committed to providing high quality professional development for our educators.

  • The high school auditorium is a beautiful facility and we advertise its rental to generate rental fees for the district.

Below are some of the highlights of our FY18 budget:

  • Initiates the purchase of 1:1 devices for incoming Grade 9 students

  • Textbook purchase for new AP course, Statistics

  • New reading and writing resources in Grades 6-8

  • Hire of athletic trainer

  • New equipment for sports program

  • Outdoor track coach

  • No reductions in staff

  • Sustains all current programming

  • Maintains reasonable student/teacher ratios

High Quality Instruction in Elementary Classrooms
Every district and school develops Strategy/Improvement plans that drive the vision and mission of the district by designing actions to produce desired outcomes to achieve academic excellence. One of the goals in the district plan is to strengthen Tier I instruction and ensure academic rigor in each and every classroom, Preschool-12.

In the December blog, I wrote about the new Comprehensive Literacy approach to teach reading and writing to our elementary students.  Below is a letter a parent wrote to her child’s teacher after volunteering in the child’s classroom for 45 minutes during a Literacy Center. This letter describes the activities of the children in the Literacy Center, how much our young children are capable of, and just how hard our teachers work.  Many of our classrooms have Literacy Centers. You are always welcome to visit!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/01/24/the-letter-i-had-to-write-to-my-childs-teacher/ utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_term=.132dd1d2ff1a#1228869229-tw%231485489516453

Preschool & Kindergarten Registration
It is that time of year! Please tell your friends and neighbors we are registering our youngsters to join us next year. Please see the flier for all of the details.

Next-Generation MCAS Update
Practice Tests Coming for Next-Generation MCAS: Starting on or around February 1, 2017 and continuing on a rolling basis, ESE will release practice tests to help educators and students prepare for this spring's next-generation MCAS in English language arts and math in grades 3-8. The practice tests will represent a full MCAS session and will be available on paper and in a computer-based format and will be posted on the MCAS support page. A guide to the computer-based equation editor tool for math tests is already posted. More information is available in the most recent Student Assessment Update.

Students have been practicing the technology skills required of the computer-based assessment since the fall. We are most fortunate to have great technology teachers in our elementary schools this year.


  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)  
    Officer William McGuinness from the Shirley Police Department will teach the Dare Program to 5th Graders at the Page Hilltop and LAW. School Resource Officer Bigelow will assist Officer McGuinness.  It is a 10 week program and culminates with a graduation ceremony.

  • Ayer Rotary Club  
    The Ayer Rotary Club donated dictionaries to all third grade students in the district. Every dictionary was inscribed with the student's name. This program was brought to our students through the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Reeves.  Anne Reeves is a paraprofessional at PH and her husband is a Rotarian. Anne also designed the personal inscription for each dictionary. The Ayer Rotary Club is participating in a national service program called The Dictionary Project. The goal of the program is to assist students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with a personal dictionary.  The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and home for years to come. Thank you, Rotarians!

  • Buddy Bench Gift Program  
    The Lura A. White Elementary School was chosen by the The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation "Buddy Bench Gift Program" selection committee as the recipient of the January 2017 buddy bench gift. The Committee enjoyed reading the nomination forms, and learning about their caring, compassionate, and warm-hearted school community. It is apparent that the spirit of kindness permeates the day to day happenings within the school. They are honored to be able to provide the gift of a  buddy bench to the Lura A. White School. And, they thank LAW for welcoming their foundation into LAW’s  wonderful school community! We thank Mrs. Donna Deforge  for bringing this wonderful opportunity to the LAW community.

Fall Sports All Stars

Boys Soccer  
Jeffrey Gendron
Jarod Oberg
Leo Rosales

Central MA All-Stars
Jeffrey Gendron
Jarod Oberg

Jeffrey Gendron 

Girls Soccer
Taryn Manna
Natalie Carroll
Hannah Justice 
Mayden Shelton

Central MA All-Stars
Taryn Manna
Natalie Carroll

Taryn Manna

Tyler Holmes
Steven Lawton

Central MA All-Stars
Steven Lawton
Leo Farrell


Lowell Sun All-Stars
Steven Lawton 

Boys XC
Ethan Matthews
Will Schilp
Will Ernst

Girls XC
Hayley Scheriff
MacKenzie Marshall
Emily Russell

Alex Patano

Taylor Wright



College Acceptances to Date:
American University
Anna Maria College
Assumption College
Bridgewater State University
Emmanuel College
Endicott College
Florida State University
Framingham State University
Franklin Pierce University
Fredonia State University of New York
Johnson & Wales University
Keene State College
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
Montclair State University
New England College
New Paltz State University of New York
Nichols College
Pennsylvania State University
Plymouth State University
Regis University
Rivier University
Rutgers University
Salem State University
Salve Regina University
Southern New Hampshire University
St. Michael’s College
State University of New York Plattsburgh
Stockton University
Suffolk University
Temple University
Trinity University
Westfield State University
Western New England University
Worcester State University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
University of Hartford
University of Maine
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of New England
University of New Hampshire
University of New Haven
University of Rhode Island
University of Scranton

Middle school band performs at the "Holiday Clearance Concert."

Ayer Shirley Regional High School Drama Club students performing their dramatic readings of Ayer’s 1964, 1997 & 2004 Master Plans.

High school students rehearsing for spring play, 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.'

Rotarians presenting dictionaries to 3rd Grade students.

Brianna Dahl and Jorden Young perform at the High school Casual Concert.

141 Washington Street | Phone: 978-772-8600
1 Hospital Rd | Phone: (978) 772-8600
115 Washington Street | Phone: (978) 772-8600
34 Lancaster Road | Phone: (978) 772-8600