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Czaporowski reflects on a ‘long year’ and looks toward future

Westfield Public Schools Superintendent

WESTFIELD – Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski shared some thoughts on the end of the school year with The Westfield News this week. Even though June 16 was the last day of school for students, the district office in the Westwood Building, 94 North Elm St. will be open all summer from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We were happy that we were able to finish as close to normal as possible,” said Czaporowski. He said by the end of the year, the students still had to wear masks, “but at least all the kids were back in school.”

During a call with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley this week, Riley said masks for summer school will not be required, and there is currently no mask mandate for the fall.

Czaporowski said it was good for the district to have the students back, even though it was later in the year, because they were able to do some diagnostic testing to help guide instruction for next year.

“One of the messages we don’t want to send next year is how far behind the students are. Some are, and some aren’t – some are right where they should be, some ahead of where they should be, and some behind. We have to work to get the students to where they need to be without the pressure,” Czaporowski said, adding, “I got a few emails from some parents about how much they’ve seen their student advance in spite of the circumstances this year.”

Czaporowski said some students were clearly affected by the isolation and by the pandemic itself, and their schools were able to set them up with services with school adjustment counselors or with River Valley Counseling, which works with the school. “It gave us a head start on what we will be working on next year,” he said.

Currently, there is funding available through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, a three-year grant to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Westfield will be using a portion of the ESSER funding to add guidance counselors; three at the elementary level, and one each at Westfield Intermediate School, Westfield Middle School, Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy.

Adjustment counselors meet with students on social-emotional needs, such as adjusting to school, as part of their individual education plans (IEP), or in groups, such as grief groups, or substance abuse on the high school level.

“Sometimes our kids have a difficult time, for example families going through a divorce. Through all of that we work with parents, too,” Czaporowski said, adding that they notify and get parental consent when a counseling situation is necessary. He said oftentimes they are able to identify material needs through counseling, such as food or clothing.

“We’ve also noticed a lot of need in terms of social emotional from students being isolated, who have suffered the effects of not having interaction with people,” Czaporowski said. He said that’s why the Westfield Middle School, which had the largest number of fully remote students, is running a transition program this summer to offer team building and tours to students that haven’t been in the building yet.

“We’re doing our best to get kids acclimated to coming back to school. The first day of school is Aug. 30, and for kindergarten and pre-school, Sept. 7.”

Czaporowski said building and maintenance projects will also be starting in the next couple of weeks, such as paving at Munger Hill, Westfield High School and Westfield Intermediate School. They are also planning additional HVAC work in multiple buildings, and some are getting new carpets and other maintenance upgrades. “We’re pretty excited,” he said.

Czaporowski said the staff overall are tired. “They worked very hard this year. It’s been a long year. We’re seeing this, because even though we’re running all those summer programs, there is a decrease in applicants,” he said.

Overall, however, Czaporowski said kids are resilient, and the staff was very excited to have all of the students back at the end of the year.

Families who want to register students for next year can do so online at, and can now also upload required documents online. The Central Office, who may be reached at 413 572-6403, will then contact families to finish the process.

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