Beginning the school year is like being shot out of a cannon each August. No matter how much families, students and staff prepare for the opening, there is something jarring and hectic about moving from summer mode into School Mode. As we head into Daylight Savings Time, we all start to become “one” with our schedules, fall activities wind down and the season conspires with our work to allow us to hunker in for the sweet spots of learning new content in the school year. While the “get-to-know-you phase” is over, the autumn sparks of learning and research are fanned into full flames. It’s a delicious time of year.
Summer Work and Training
As a review, we worked with staff throughout the summer to ensure teachers have the most current and job-embedded professional development necessary to teach in digital and analog teaching environments–meeting the needs of the whole child, that is–their academic, social, and technological needs. For our staff, we ran Tech Summer Camp twice per week throughout the summer and into the fall reaching over 55 educators regularly. Curriculum Writing Teams in art K-4, music K-4, math K-12, ELA K-12, ELL (English Language Learners) K-12, Facing History and Ourselves (HS and MS social studies and ELA teachers), Excel and Data Analysis for administrators, K-12 Science Mapping (for a potentially new curriculum in a year), Kindergarten assessment design and K-4 Math involved over 90 teachers K-12 in writing and revising curriculum to meet the demands of Common Core State Standards and new assessment expectations from the Department of
Opening Days Trainings: Supporting our Teaching Corps
We held a two day Administrator’s Retreat for all principals, department heads and department leadership, weekly Tech Tuesdays and Thursdays for special education training on new software, held a summer blended learning graduate course for educators to build course content, and provided training for our reading support staff (KEIPs and FEIPs), Aimsweb Assessment training, new staff orientation and Math/ELA Boot Camps K-8.Our beach-themed opening saw our superintendent take on the Ice Bucket Challenge publicly –launching a major fundraising moment for the ALS Foundation –direct with love and humor from the Natick Schools.
District Goals for the Year
The following District Goals were put in place for the year. We will report to the community regularly through school committee and regular updates on our progress in these areas.
As we close October, we unveiled the new “Ruth Evans Way,” a roadway named for the new Wilson (2003) principal, Ruth Evans. This event, attended by over 50 educators, parents and community members, celebrated this strong, visionary middle school educator who overhauled the middle school instructional program, designed and built the new Wilson facility. She mentored many of our district’s current teacher leaders and administrators, building a strong legacy for Wilson and Natick. The reception brought family and friends from all parts of Evans’s life. It was a beautiful day and well-deserved honor.
Speaking of well deserved honors, we are pleased and proud to share that our superintendent, Dr. Peter Sanchioni, was voted by a cross-state board of educators, to become the MASSCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) Administrator of the Year, 2014. His leadership across the state, working to provide digital complements to strong education settings and using what he has learned and led in Natick to support the state through his work on the Department of Education’s Digital Learning Board have earned him this honor.
On the same day, in a different location in the state, NHS Technology & Engineering Teacher, Doug Scott accepted a well-deserved honor as MA STEM (Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teacher of the year. Spin through some back issues of this blog and you’ll see the magic this teacher brings to his students through his hard work, creativity, diligence and care for our students.
Five educators attended the state’s annual MASSCUE conference at Gillette Stadium last Wednesday and Thursday, and three of our own, Karen Knapik, Sandy Lemon and Grace Magley presented at MASSCUE to educators from across New England. Magley, our Director of Online Learning is on the Board of Educators at MASSCUE–designing and leading digitally integrated instructional professional development for New England. We all learned a great deal to bring back to our colleagues.
Finally, we are pleased to host the region’s annual Blended Learning Symposium.
Stay tuned for the launch of a new Office of Teaching, Learning and Innovation website detailing all of the district’s curriculum, instruction and assessment information and easy location of key documents and updates for staff, students, parents and the community!