School Committee Meeting Update
By Erica Plunkett, Chair, Holliston School Committee
The Committee is glad to welcome back incumbents Kathi Pennypacker and Donald Gray, as well as new member Anne Louise Hanstad. Anne Louise is a 16 year resident of Holliston, with her husband and three daughters. They chose Holliston because of its incredible commitment to education. She has been active in numerous community and church-related events and programs. Anne Louise graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Economics and English Literature and an MBA from Dartmouth. Anne Louise has 25 years in the business world leading teams, with expertise in managing up to $30 million budgets. She has particular experience in the technology sector developing and marketing products in the GPS, mobile, and consumer health care space. On behalf of the entire School Committee, I am glad to have Anne Louise on board.
As always, the School Committee reorganizes after town elections. Dr. Jackson opened the meeting and Erica Plunkett was re-appointed as Chairperson, and Kathi Pennypacker as Vice-Chair. Opening comments included congratulations to all our newly graduated seniors, as well as recognitions of all the end-of-the-year celebrations taking place, including 8th Grade Intergenerational Day and the Placentino Care Party, as well as the RAMS Band who marched in the Memorial Day Parade. Dr. Jackson also extended condolences to the family of Mickey Sulivan, former Athletic Director in Holliston from 1998-2003.
The major presentations of the evening were by the school Principals on their School Improvement plans. As always, these are extremely comprehensive and can be found in their entirety on the District website (www.holliston.k12.ma.us). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Principals. The summaries below are highlights from the 2011-2012 year and look to the 2012-2013 year.
At Placentino, Mrs. Weene noted this year’s work in the following areas:
-Literacy- full implementation of Reading Street
- Technology- utilizing the digital components of Reading Street and enVision Math; strengthening home-school partnerships; and technology as a tool for students with sever communication and/or language issues.
- Assessments- using data to inform Tier 1 supports
-Curriculum Design- Understanding by Design
-Communication- community outreach, particularly with the Food Pantry; translations for members of our ELL parent community
-Health, Safety, and Well Being- CARE initiative and respectful school culture; Family Fitness Night
Looking ahead, Placentino School Improvement Plans will focus on:
- Literacy- Year 2 of full implementation of Reading Street
-Curriculum Desing- continue mapping with Atlas Rubicon
-Assessment- align Mass. Math and ELA 2011 frameworks to Pearson assessment; data driven instruction and differentiation
- Technology- increased use of core curriculum digital components; every teacher will have a web page; parent access to home/school tech tools; expand Placentino Blog
-Community Outreach- increase parent access to school information
-Respectful School Culture- fall presentation on nutrition/healthy food choices; schoolwide dental health focus; Family Fitness Night
At the Miller School, some accomplishments of this year include:
- Curriculum- all grades using Reading Street Common Core Kits and Teacher Editions; data from Reading Street and enVision unit tests and common assessments are included in placement information
-Collaborative School Environment- Seasonal Service Learning Projects; social competency booklist
-Playground- collected over $117K; need $80K additional, and waiting on additional grants. Installation being held till next spring.
In 2012-2013, Mr. Keim at the Miller School reported on:
-Literacy- full implementation of Reading Street and My Sidewalks intervention kits as aligned with ELA frameworks; district ELA review; revise ROSP; consistent use of assessment data; promote reading for pleasure.
-Math- implement 2012 version of enVision; align current assessments to MA frameworks; consistent used of assessment data.
- Technology- utilize technology components of Reading Street and enVision; devise instruction to meet the needs of multiple learning styles and various abilities.
- Collaborative School Environment- charitable outreach activities; student leadership initiatives.
Mr. Botelho at Adams reported on 2012 updates around:
- Critical thinking, communication and collaboration
-Inquiry –based teaching and learning
-Curricular revisions and realignment
-Authentic learning and partnerships
-Powerful and purposeful technology integration
- Student leadership- researched different team models; explored ADL/World of Difference Peer Trainer curriculum
-Anti-bullying Curriculum Development- cyber safety common sense media curriculu; anonymous reporting system; surveys; parent-related events (navigating social media; raising safe and respectful children)
The Adams school will be looking at the following in 2012-2013:
-Curricular revisions informed by the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks- inquiry-based teaching and learning
-Project based/blended learning approach integrating technology into the curriculum; ongoing job embedded Professional Development i.e interactive white board technology, online discussions; flipped classrooms.
- Expand and build new partnerships- Primary Source; Harvard Forest; MIT/Lincoln Labs; schools in France and Spain
-Annual community Building Spirit events; expanded student leadership team and peer leaders model; additional anti-bullying lessons.
-Exhibitions of student work and virtual visits to the school
-Expanded community partnerships, particularly with the other schools, and local organizations
Finally, at the High School, Mr Cournoyer reviewed the past year, looking at:
- Growth in the Advisory Program- including the ADL’s World of Difference and student engagement
-iParent access to online grading
- Technology advances
- NEASC accreditation work
- UbD work
Previewing 2012-2013, Mr. Cournoyer focused on:
- Improvements to the Advisory Program, including an expanded curriculum and student integration
-Development of a theme for the school year (around accountability, self-advocacy and efficacy, and age-appropriate communication with the school.
-Guiding documents and building-wide rubrics
-Identify and perfect Core Courses in each department.
-Continue UbD Stage II work concurrent with NEASC
-NEASC Decennial Visit- April 2013- completion of self-study, prepare to host visiting team.
-Improve classroom practices with teachers
-Focus on technology initiatives- advisory committees; differentiated and frequent professional development; web 2.0 solutions; launch revised SET course and assess it frequently.
The last two items on the agenda were a vote to add two new communities to the ACCEPT (Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury) collaborative and the establishment of the 2012-2013 School Committee meeting dates. These dates can also be found on the District website.
The next School Committee meeting is Thursday, June 14. Central to the agenda will be presentations from the Parent Groups on their activities this year; the Conflict of Interest form; an overview of the summer curriculum work that will be taking place; and, the appointment of the Attendance Officer. While School Committee Office Hours have ended for the school year, as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Central Office or any member of the School Committee.
DID YOU KNOW?... that at Senior Awards Night on May 30, 2012, over $100,000 in scholarships were given to graduating students? The School Committee and the Administration gratefully thank and acknowledge the Foundations, families, local businesses, Holliston Federation of Teachers, parent groups, non-profits, and others who generously support the community’s students who have worked so hard. We wish the Class of 2012 well and look forward to their bright futures!
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