Inside Winchester

Table of Contents

Winchester--Village and Town
Statistical Summary
Town Meeting
Town Government
Town Manager
Community Programs
Health Services
Town Finance
Planning, Zoning, and Building
The Public Library


We are a new town wrote Winchester's first School Committee in 1850. "Every step we take is of vital importance. Our present conduct is inseparably connected with our future prosperity and every vote we pass affects the heritage of our children". In this spirit the citizens of Winchester have backed their faith in public education by designating a large share of the Town's revenue for its support.

The School Committee (Six members, three-year terms, no salary)

The responsibility for the public school system is entrusted by the voters to the School Committee--six unsalaried citizens who are elected for three-year, overlapping, terms. In Winchester, the School Committee establishes education policy/submits a proposed annual budget to the Town Manager; supervises expenditures; determines, in accordance with statutes, the courses and subjects to be taught, and the activities to be sponsored. The Committee selects the Superintendent of Schools and acts upon his or her recommendations for school personnel. The Superintendent meets regularly with the committee and serves as its secretary. Regular meetings of the Winchester School Committee are held twice a month during the school year, during budget preparation, and as often as necessary during the summer. They are open to the public, and the approved minutes may be read in the Superintendent's office.

Financing the School System

In Winchester, school budget formulation has become a cooperative activity in which the school Committee attempts to balance educational needs with fiscal responsibility. Preparation of the budget begins in the fall. Requests and recommendations of administrators, principals, and department heads are evaluated carefully and a tentative budget is compiled. Detailed committee discussions follow, then meetings with the Finance Committee and the Town Manager. The School Committee publishes a summary of its proposed budget in the local newspaper, a public hearing takes place, and no longer than thirty days thereafter, the committee transmits its approved budget to the Town Manager.

Roughly one-half of the Towns operating budget-- in fiscal year 1997, approximately $17,000,000--- goes to support the public school system in Winchester. In addition, there are specific programs funded by grants from the State and Federal Governments.

The School Plant

Winchester's schools are presently organized on a K-5 elementary, a 3 year middle school and a 4 year high school educational program. There are five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

The elementary schools are the Ambrose, Lincoln, Lynch, Vinson-Owen, and Muraco schools. These schools vary in educational arrangements Muraco and Ambrose are open-area schools, whereas the Lincoln, Lunch, and Vinson-Owen offer a traditional setting. All have libraries and auditorium-gymnasiums.

The McCall Middle School contains grades six, seven and eight and also provides space for the Youth Center and Winchester Community Music Program. Winchester High School, on Skillings Road, was opened in 1972 and was designed to meet the requirements of a modern high school curriculum, Its auditorium is the site of Town Meeting and many community functions; the field house is used evenings and weekends by townspeople.

The Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School in Wakefield is a four-year comprehensive vocational high school, which enrolls students from Chelsea, Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Saugus, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester, and Wobburn. Winchester is assessed for a share of its support and elects a local resident to serve on its school committee. In addition to the regular day programs, the school offers late afternoon courses in vocational subjects, evening courses, a post-graduate program, and selected summer programs.


The Superintendent of Schools functions as the chief executive and is responsible for implementing the educational program and policies voted on by the School Committee. The Central Administration is housed at the Lynch Elementary School, 154 Horn Pond Brook Rd.,. In addition to the Superintendent, there is an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Director of Pupil Services, and Business Manager.

School principals are in charge of the organization and administration of their schools and supervision and evaluation of their staffs.

Teaching Staff

Under the 1993 Ed Reform law, teachers are hired by the building principal with the approval of the Superintendent. Teachers hired for a fourth successive year automatically go on tenure. All teachers are evaluated annually as a means of improving instruction. Workshops are conducted each summer to assess and update curriculum, and inservice courses are offered.

In addition to the professional staff, the School Department employs secretaries, clerical aides, custodial workers, and cafeteria workers. There are three bargaining units: the Winchester Education Association, The Winchester Secretaries' Association, and The Custodians" Association.

Pupils and Enrollment

Winchester is in a period of gradually increasing enrollment. After a period of declining enrollments in the 1980's with a low enrollment of 2817 in 1989, the student population has been increasing. The actual enrollment for the 1995-96 school year was 3,112, and enrollment for 1996-97 was 3,126. A School enrollment study was completed in December 1995 by Oliver S. Brown Associates, Inc. which projects an enrollment of 3476 in the year of 2001. Enrollment figures are studied and updated annually, and long-range plans are developed.

State law mandates compulsory education for children from six to sixteen years of age. Any child who will be five years old by September 1st may enter kindergarten that September, and any child who will be six in September may enter first grade. For those whose birthdays fall close to the September deadline, evaluation for early admission is possible upon parental request to the school principal.

School district boundaries are established by the School Committee. Transportation is provided for those students living more than two miles from school, and is available for students with physical handicaps and special needs.

An open enrollment policy is in effect, whereby students in the elementary grades can request assignment out of district, subject to established guidelines which include a provision that parents be responsible for transportation to an out-of-district school, and that no additional staffing be necessary.

Each school publishes a handbook which gives parents and students information and regulations on conduct and procedures.

In recent years, over 80% of Winchester High School graduates have gone on to further education. Scores on standardized tests and college board achievement tests compare favorably with state and national figures, as well as with those from other communities with top academic reputations, Each year Winchester High School students are recognized for academic excellence by the National Honor Society and by the National Merit Scholarship Foundation and are the recipients of other special scholarships and awards. Scholarships are available to Winchester High School graduates through the Winchester Scholarship Foundation.

The Curriculum

The School Committee must include in the curriculum all subjects required by the state law, but has the prerogative of developing the courses of study and educational methods, of selecting textbooks, and of instituting additional courses according to the needs of the community.

REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION (Effective with the Class of 1989)

Effective with the Class of 1989 a student completing senior year at Winchester High School shall be eligible to receive a diploma after passing the following courses and other requirements:

A. One hundred credits of work in Grades 9 through 12.

B. A full year of English each year in Grades 9 through 12 including the writing lab in grade 10.

C. The two year required sequence in American, European, and Global History. With the approval of the Director of Social Studies, AP United States History may replace the second year of the sequence;

D. Two years of mathematics; two years of science, one in biology and one in physical science; and four years of physical education;

E. One year of either fine or applied arts;

F. Achievement of minimum competency in reading, writing, mathematics, and listening, as measured in the Basic Skills Improvement Testing Program.

Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses are offered in high school English, French, Spanish, Latin, biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and U.S. History. It is possible, through the program, for a Winchester High School graduate to enter college as a sophomore.

The Career Life Information Program (CLIP) provides for the educational needs of students in high school not planning to continue formal education beyond graduation. It includes some part-time work in the community as well as individually-tailored glasswork.

Extracurricular Activities

As early as the third grade, in-school instrumental instruction can begin and is taught by the music instructors free of charge. In the secondary schools, choral groups, orchestras and bands give concerts during the school year and participate in other musical activities.

Elementary students enjoy a program of after-school sports suitable to age and physical development . At the high school there are sports programs of football, soccer, basketball, swimming, baseball, track, cross-country, ice hockey, girls' gymnastics, tennis, boys' golf, boys' lacrosse, wrestling, field hockey, and softball.

In the high school, there are special interest clubs,: the Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, German, Math, Philosophy, Creative Writing, and Multicultural Issues Club. Curtain and Cue presents several plays during the year and enters regional and statewide drama festivals. School newspapers and the senior yearbook provide literary experience. There is also a student television station, videotape capability, and computer capability.

In addition, upper-class students may participate in a Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program at the High School which trains them to be peer teachers for the Junior High School and the elementary school programs.

Services to Students

The educational staff of Winchester includes certified specialists in counseling, learning disabilities, speech and reading.

Nursing care is provided in each school. Vision and hearing tests and consultations with teachers and parents are held when children have medical problems. The school physician is available for emergencies, supervises school health programs, and provides physical examinations for all students who have not been examined by their own doctors. Periodic vision, hearing, and postural screening tests are given to all students.

Elementary school counselors and counselor/psychologists work with and counsel students, teachers, and parents to facilitate educational programs. Under Chapter 766, services to children with special needs have been greatly expanded to include those from age three to twenty-one diagnostic services are available and all educational plans are carried out under the direction of the Director of Special Education. Most children with special needs are served in the classroom. An extension of special needs accommodation is SEEM, a seven-town collaborative offering a variety of special programs. Students in the SEEM program attend classes locally or are taken to one of the seven towns. An Advisory Committee on Special Education meets regularly with the staff and reports annually to the School Committee.

Citizen Participation

Winchester residents show a active and informed interest in the public school system. Each school has an independent and active parent association with representation in the Community School Association, Winchester High School has a Parent-Faculty Association. A CSA Enrichment Committee which has representatives from each school arranges for quality programs in the Arts and Sciences.

Additional Programs

Individual Advanced Projects with Mentors- This program, coordinated by the school library staff, is offered to students in grades 5-8 who wish to work on a project that goes beyond the scope of the regular school curriculum. Whenever possible a volunteer "expert" from the community is identified to serve as a mentor to the student.

Creative Arts Workshop - This is a program for junior high students who have been identified as outstandingly talented in the visual arts.

Click here for the Schools page.

e-mail comments to: