From the Blog of the Superintendent 3/15/2013

From the Blog of Northampton Superintendent Brian Salzer:

Below is a sample of the activities our faculty and staff were engaged in during our two hour delay for professional development this past Wednesday:

NHS: PLC groups continued to work on topics of: scheduling, tiered instruction, data, technology, healthy living, professional development, advisories, homework, crisis intervention in the classroom, and the senior capstone project.

During the school year, NHS faculty used in-service days and faculty meetings to discuss, strategize, and implement new initiatives.  One highlight from a PLC: A member of our newly developed student senate recently surveyed the students about homework and he presented the results to the faculty.  Next, the faculty will use these results to discuss homework effectiveness and practice.

JFK: teachers and ESPs continued their work focused on instruction and assessment in departments.  Special education and reading teachers reviewed AIMSWEB assessments for reading and math.  All other departments met with three agenda items: data analysis, looking at student work, and further development of their subject area common benchmark assessments.

RK Finn Ryan Road: faculty continued their work in their four professional learning communities.  ESP staff continued their collaboration around implementation of Responsive Classroom practices especially at recess and lunch times.

Leeds: Teachers worked on math curriculum and teaching strategies in their PLC groups. They also continued their work with the new evaluation tool.  ESP’s learned from Ms. Bachmann some effective strategies to teach mathematical concepts.

Bridge Street: Craig Murdock and Barbara Black led training for the faculty in the self-assessment practice of the new evaluation model.   Principal Choquette attended CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) training at the Mary Lyons Special Education Conference in Deerfield.  Kathy Casale led training of ESP’s on positive behavior interventions.

Jackson Street: Faculty and staff reviewed school safety plans and then spent time in their PLC group reviewing the article, “Handling Seven Interpersonal Challenges with Skill and Grace” from Psychology Today.  The discussion was about effectively navigating difficult conversations with students, parents, and their colleagues.  The conversation was so stimulating that teachers continued the discussion in the days afterward.

As discussed last evening, our budget development continues to consume our meetings and discussions.  We draft and re-draft our numbers daily to review and decide how to best go forward.  Our high quality education in the classroom is our top priority, yet with this budget some of our treasured offerings and effective class sizes will be compromised.  The next draft of our proposed budget will be presented to the School Committee on March 28th and we have an additional two weeks to prepare our final budget proposal for April 11th.

Brian L. Salzer

Image courtesy of alamosbasement via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.