Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

CONTACT:

Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S., Superintendent of Schools

Telephone:  413-587-1329

STATEMENT OF THE NORTHAMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Northampton Public School Committee announced that the process for the Interim Superintendent is complete.  After reflective consideration, the Search Committee has appointed Ms. Regina Nash as the Interim Superintendent for Northampton Public Schools.  Dr. Nash has accepted the position and will begin on July 23rd.  Dr. Nash joins us from her recent retirement in June from the Frontier Regional and Union #38 School Districts after serving for twelve years as Superintendent.  Dr. Nash has expressed excitement about working with the Northampton Public Schools.  Please join us in welcoming her to our district.

We’d like to thank the School Committee, Mayor and the Business Manager for their participation in this search.  We are confident that the appointment of Regina Nash will allow the Northampton Public Schools to continue moving forward during this transition time of searching for a permanent Superintendent.   

 

By: Justin S.

By: Justin S.

Bridge Street School:

Music:

In May students in grades K-2 enjoyed studying Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in detail.  They listened to the character themes and enacted the story with stick puppets.

The second graders completed a project called the Sound Garden which entailed writing pentatonic music on xylophones and notating it using standard rhythmic notation.  They used eighth notes, quarter notes and quarter rests to represent the syllables in the names of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits and composed a melody for each item.

All students in grades K-2 have been playing Orff songs on mallet instruments in patterns of Do, Mi, Sol and La.  Our favorites included My Elephant Pat and I’m Locked in a Candy Store.  The degree of difficult varied by grade level and each song allowed for some creative lyric writing as well.

Third graders have learned to play four note songs on the soprano recorder and have mastered reading melodies on the treble clef staff.  They can play melodies and descants to accompany songs including Rain, Rain Go Away;  It’s A Beautiful Day; Down By the Station and All Aboard.

Fourth graders just completed a unit on great composer that included Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Vivaldi.  They heard music from the Four Seasons, the Magic Flute, Violin Concertos, and played drums along with the Fanfare for the Common Man.  They especially enjoyed listening to spoof versions of the classics on the CD called Beethoven’s Wig.

Fifth graders have enjoyed playing the folk guitar.  They can play a simple blues shuffle and tried their hands at techniques such as hammer ons, pull offs, and slides.

During the first week in June students will be focusing on music from around the world as the school launches the project “Celebrate the World”.

Each classroom is selecting a country to study in depth and as a part of that they will learn about the instruments and music from the country.  Some of these include Poland, Canada, Italy, Kenya and Australia.

Art:

Through a grant written by parents we are “Celebration of the World”. Throughout the month of May all of Bridge Street students are creating a mask that relates to the country their class is studying.  They use a variety of materials for each grade to create their masks, i.e., metal, clay, paper mache, plaster gauze, paper collage, and wood.  For example: Ms. Moriarty’s fifth grade students are researching Canada.  They are making North West Coast Indian style masks using a combination of clay and plaster gauze to shape their masks. Mrs. Dubiel’s first grade class is studying India, and they are making paper mache elephant masks that they will paint with Indian patterns.  Ms. Hurd’s third grade class chose Kenya as their country, and they are sculpting African animal masks out of clay.  The fourth graders are using paper to create symmetrical cut-out masks embellished with feathers, glitter, overlapping paper shapes, and markers.  The kindergarteners  collaged wooden pieces to form a symmetrical design for their counties of Tanzania, and Cambodia.  They will paint over them and add mixed media to enhance their masks.  The culmination of their intensive research and hands-on projects will take place June 3 – 7th with a display of all their work.

Jackson Street School:

Art:

The kindergarten classes are focusing on learning about color through studying the color wheel.  They have experimented with mixing paints while learning about the artist David Hockney, as well as creating a collaged color wheel demonstrating primary, secondary and complimentary colors.
The first graders are learning about the French artist Claude Monet, who was one of the artists who invented the Impressionism movement.  They drew a Japanese style bridge over a pond onto velvet paper, and colored a garden and water lilies with an impressionistic style.

The second graders made a plaster gauze canvas that they painted on, similar to Fresco paintings on plaster.

The third graders went on a field trip to the Smith College Museum of Art to view their Collecting Asia exhibition.  They are also painting inventive animals onto large canvases that are on display at the Big Y Windows.

The fourth graders learned about Hokusai, the Japanese print maker.  They incised into a Styrofoam plate depicted either a landscape or ocean scape. They rolled a white ink base over their plate, and painted over that with a variety of colored ink.  They placed a dark colored paper on top and rubbed over it to create their colorful print. Hokusai would have carved many wooden plates to create all the colors the fourth graders used.

The Fifth graders created a ceramic tile from clay, while learning how to add coils and slabs on top of them.  They used the technique called Scoring and Slipping, which gives their tile a 3-dimensional quality.  Once fired in the kiln,  they painted on them.

Music:

In preparation for the return of the Jazz Ambassadors on Friday May31st, we have been exploring the roots of blues and jazz music in the southern US.  We turned our attention to the city of New Orleans and the jazz style known as Dixieland.  The most famous jazz musician from New Orleans was Louie Armstrong.  He brought so many things to jazz and was know as the  “Ambassador of Jazz.”   This year the concert will focus on New Orleans and we will be joining the band singing and playing (the staff Uke Ohana)  When the Saints Go Marching In and a reprise of last years Bring Me Sunshine.  Thanks to the JSS Cultural Arts Committee for this amazing experience of live American music!!!!!

They are learning instruments: guitars, recorders, xylophones and ukulele’s  have been learning during this past year.  The Fifth grade is learning a final song to sing at their celebration and the E minor chord on the guitar.  The fourth is putting together singing, recorder, xylophone and ukulele’s- all in one amazing piece!  Third grade is learning the last two notes of the recorder left hand and hopefully will be playing the “Saints” in the next few weeks!!  Second grade is wrapping up their trip around the world – birthday songs are all that’s left!  First and Kindergarten have been scatting their names (a la Louie!) and are about to do the Vowel Rap!

We will end the year by singing Fine, Fine School after Ms. Agna reads the book Fine, Fine School at the last assembly on June 19th and then have a school sing-a-long with the Uke Ohana!

What a great year it has been in the music room!

Leeds Elementary School:

Art:

The students at Leeds in grades K through 4 have been working throughout the past few weeks collaborating with Ted Watt from the HitchcockCenter to create Art that integrates what they have learned in their classrooms during their Nature Studies with him.

Through the nature studies the students learned about rocks, insects, animal tracks, vernal pools and the bugs and animals that live there, changes in the MillRiver, pond life, and animal behavior.

We integrated Art, science, and nature by creating cave paintings and finger print bug jars in kindergarten, plaster animal tracks in first grade, vernal pool sculptures using mixed media in second grade, ice sculptures at the Mill River after learning about Andy Goldsworthy in third grade, and botanical illustrations of flowers and scientific illustrations of pond life in fourth grade.

The fifth grade have just finished working on three murals that are on display on Cooke Avenue at the Big Y Windows.  The theme was endangered animals; each class created a mural using acrylic paint that depicted endangered animals that fly, live near water, and walk on land.  They learned a lot about collaboration, team work, and how to meet deadlines.

Because of the varied nature studies and art projects, the Art room was bustling with activity, creativity, and excitement.  Working in the Art room, students are able to merge process and content and provide self-expression while also learning about materials and the process of making Art.  They are also able to make connections with their academic curriculum, allows them connect with others and the outside world, as well as help develop independence and provide time for collaboration.  It also allows for problem-solving, critical thinking, and provides another means for all children of all abilities and levels to be involved.  While the finished product is enjoyed by all, as an art teacher, I am fortunate to be able to experience the process that is involved in getting to that final product.

Music:

In May students in grades K-2 enjoyed studying Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in detail.  They listened to the character themes and enacted the story with stick puppets.  The professional troupe called the Four Story Players performed this children’s classic on piano and percussion for these younger grades.

The second graders completed a project called the Sound Garden which entailed writing pentatonic music on xylophones and notating it using standard rhythmic notation.  They used eighth notes, quarter notes and quarter rests to represent the syllables in the names of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits and composed a melody for each item.

All students in grades K-2 have been playing Orff songs on mallet instruments in patterns of Do, Mi, Sol and La.  Our favorites included My Elephant Pat and I’m Locked in a Candy Store.  The degree of difficult varied by grade level and each song allowed for some creative lyric writing as well.

Third graders have learned to play four note songs on the soprano recorder and have mastered reading melodies on the treble clef staff.  They can play melodies and descants to accompany songs including Rain, Rain Go Away;  It’s A Beautiful Day; Down By the Station and All Aboard.

Fourth graders just completed a unit on great composer that included Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Vivaldi.  They heard music from the Four Seasons, the Magic Flute, Violin Concertos, and played drums along with the Fanfare for the Common Man.  They especially enjoyed listening to spoof versions of the classics on the CD called Beethoven’s Wig.

Fifth graders have enjoyed playing the folk guitar. They can play a simple blues shuffle and tried their hands at techniques such as hammer ons, pull offs, and slides.  Some of the students are working on putting together guitar and piano accompaniments for a few songs for their graduation ceremony.

Each classroom is selecting a country to study in depth and as a part of that they will learn about the instruments and music from the country.  Some of these include Poland, Canada, Italy, Kenya and Australia.

RK Finn Ryan Road School:

 Art:

Third graders at RK Finn Ryan Road School have recently completed a project in art class that combined art skills in 3D design and color with ELA skills of researching and reporting non-fiction material.  After browsing through art books, each student chose a famous artist whose work they especially admire.  They studied the artist’s work, researched his or her life, and wrote a brief biography of the artist.  Each student then used recycled boxes to create a layered “birthday cake” for the artist that reflected in some way the style of that artist.  The birthday cakes were widely diverse, and each student was able to tell why they had chosen the artist and how their birthday cake was inspired by the artists’ work. The project incorporated the expectation for non-fiction reading and writing with a creative project that the students clearly enjoyed.

JFK Middle School:

Physical Education:

Physical Education students have completed all the core units and are now participating in many elective units. Current units of study include archery, swimming, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, basketball, and swimming games. All students completed the Fitnessgram Health Assessment. Results will be mailed home with the final report cards.

Music:

Sixth grade general music students are composing music on the keyboards to musically “tell” 3-paragraph stories they’ve written.  Most are choosing to work with a partner.  Each group will perform their piece for the class giving the other students the opportunity to share what they imagine the story is that inspired the music.

Seventh grade general music students are involved in a world music unit.  They’re listening to recordings of music from around the world and trying to determine where each piece comes from, as well as stylistic differences, type of instrument and the world family of instruments each belongs in.  There are also some opportunities to try out some world music instruments, such as the digeridoo.

Art:

Grade 6 students recently finished their Native American paper mache bowls.  The 7th grade is working on a printmaking project. The 7th grade is also having an opening Friday, May 31 behind Big Y.  They will be showcasing their group murals which depict their Utopian worlds. The 8th grade is working on glazing their ceramic coil head project.

 

Northampton High School:

Art:

Art students recently decorated Big Y windows. Two artistic students have been accepted to Carnegie Mellon and the Art Institute in Boston to pursue their programs.  The Forbes Library recently hosted our Art Gallery for the month of May.  Student projects were well represented.

 

By: Tishna

By: Tishna

Our week began on Sunday with another beautiful NHS graduation ceremony.  The tradition of music, song, and speeches make this a very entertaining and meaningful event for the students and families.  On Thursday evening, I attended the Smith Vocational and Agricultural School ceremony also held at John M. Greene Hall.  This ceremony was unique as well; heightened enthusiasm, shouts of support, and celebration set the tone for this group of graduates and their families.  Many students received awards and scholarships prior to the presentation of the diplomas.  It was a wonderful week of closure and transition for the seniors of Northampton Public Schools.

We are beginning our hiring season for teaching positions and I have been signing some incredibly talented people this week.  Both new graduates and experienced teachers, filled with creative energy and excitement, are joining our faculty.  These positions were mostly created due to retirements. We are all anxiously awaiting the override vote and hope to restore many of our positions while also adding some needed services and support.

We welcome our new Director of Maintenance, Greg Kochan. Greg had been serving as Maintenance Foreman and is currently transitioning by working with Mike Diemand until his retirement on July 12th.

In budget news this week, we conducted our bus bid opening yesterday and will present the details at School Committee on Thursday evening.  In a nutshell, we had a K-12 three tier system for the past five years at a remarkably competitive price.  We went to bid for a K-8 two-tier system and realized the cost would increase, but thought the reduction in service would off-set the price increase.  Rather, the lowest bid is actually around $225,000 higher than our budget for this year.  This will create further discussion in ALT and School Committee as we propose how to meet this increase and keep a balanced budget for FY14.

Our Collective Bargaining sessions continued this week and we are making very good progress.  I am interested in wrapping this up before I leave in July, and to do so, would mean ratifying the contract prior to the faculty and staff leaving at the end of June.  So, we will pick up the pace of talks, propose written language changes, and plan to create our three year agreement over the next three weeks.

And finally in the news this week, Mark Prince, our former Director of Academic Effectiveness, has accepted the position of Assistant Superintendent with Framingham Public Schools.  Congratulations Mark!

Sincerely,

Brian L. Salzer

 

 

graduation_classic_It was a big week for our seniors.  Prom on Tuesday at the Log Cabin was well attended. Students enjoyed dinner, dancing, and an overall positive evening together. Thursday evening, seniors enjoyed a very warm senior picnic, and Friday offered time for the senior breakfast and video viewing.  On Sunday, due to the weather forecast of rain, we will be indoors at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College for our graduation ceremony at 3:00 pm.

Our team continues to review possibilities for personnel, programs, and services following the override vote and we are still establishing our position on the High School Late Start options.  So much of this is interconnected; we will discuss the intricacies of budget and bussing during our School Committee meeting on June 13th.  I will have our new bus contract following the bid opening on June 6th and this will have an impact on our planning.

We welcome new VINS coordinator, Ann Schlereth, to our team. Ann replaces Lynn Barclay as coordinator and will continue to build our network of volunteers, communicate needs and successes in our schools, and will review and help place new candidates wishing to volunteer in our schools.

You may be aware that we have several cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in our school community.  Our school nursing staff is working closely with our local public health authorities as well as our state epidemiologist to identify and refer potential cases. We have also been giving staff and families in the affected schools regular updates and are encouraging consultation with their primary care provider for any symptoms or for immunization, if warranted.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Please visit the NPS Health Services website at http://healthservices.northampton-k12.us/.  You may also call the Director of Health Services, Karen Jarvis-Vance, at 587-1364 for general questions and/or your child’s school nurse with specific questions regarding your child.

Sincerely,

Brian L. Salzer

May 2013 School Highlights:

math girl.ID-10082902Bridge Street School:

1) 6×9 = 3×18

Is this equation true? What is the relationship between the two sides of the equation?

Yes, it is true. 6×9= 54 and 3×18=54

3 is half of six and 18 is 9 doubled. This creates an equivalent problem.

2) Find as many different ways as you can to make this equation true.

40×32 = _____ x _____

Possible answers: 20×64, 80×16, 2×640, 4×320, 5×256, 10×128

3) Place the following decimals in order from least to greatest.

.344, .340, .358, .285, .331, .317, .328, .366

In order they should be

.258, .317, .328, .331, .340, .344, .358, .366

 

Jackson Street School:

Please click on to see the work:

Jackson  Street Math

Leeds Elementary School:

The K3 classroom at Leeds is incubating chicken eggs. If they have 2 dozen eggs and a dozen is equal to 12 eggs, how many eggs would there be in 2 dozen? Answer: 24

RK Finn Ryan Road Elementary School:

“Nora takes three nuggets of gold to be weighed.  One weighs 1.18 grams, another weighs 0.765 gram, and the third weighs 1.295 grams.  What is the total weight of the gold?” (Investigation 2 Session 5 Grade 5 Investigations – adding decimals.)

This activity encourages students to figure out and make sense of adding different decimals (i.e. hundredths and thousandths) in a context that has meaning. The enrichment that Michele Andrews and MaryBeth O’Connor added involved technology. They had the students track the price of gold on GoldPrice.org. They watched the price of gold rise and fall on a graph.  They chose a price to “lock in,” to decide to “sell” their gold.  As a further enrichment they invited the kids to use the gold to design a piece of jewelry and then figure out a price to sell it for.

JFK Middle School:

Please click on to see the work:

JFK  Math

Northampton High School:

Algebra 1B

Quadratics and Geometry Activity

 I want to buy a rug for my classroom. I want to rug to occupy 75% of the floor space of my room, leaving a space x feet wide on all four sides. You are going to help me decide what the dimensions of the rug should be.

1)      With a partner, measure the length and width of my room. You and your partner will need to discuss whether to measure in inches, feet, centimeters, or meters.

2)      Draw a picture to model the problem and label all relevant known and unknown quantities on the picture.

3)      Find the area of my classroom.

4)      Find out what 75% of your result from #3 is. That is the area of the rug.

5)      Write an algebraic model that represents the area of the rug as a quadratic expression involving x. Use your picture in #2 to help you.

6)      Set your expression from #5 equal to your result from #4 and solve for x.

7)      What should the dimensions of my new rug be?

 Inverse Relationships

 Name ___________________________

1)         Have your partner stand at a distance of 3 meters from you.  Use a tape measure or count 3 tiles for every meter.

2)         Stand facing your partner with your toes just touching the 3 meter mark.  Hold a centimeter ruler at arm’s length and line up the “0” end of the ruler with the top of your partner’s head.  Measure (to the nearest centimeter) the apparent height of your partner at this distance.

3)         Have your partner move 4 meters away from you.  Repeat step 2.

4)         Repeat step 2 for distances from 5 meters to 9 meters and record your results in the table below.

Distance (m)                                3           4           5           6           7           8            9

Apparent height (cm)                ____    ____     ____    ____     ____     ____

5)         GRAPH the data on separate graph paper (distance is X, height is Y)

6)         How does apparent height vary with distance?

7)         Multiply the paired values of distance and apparent height (step 4) and write the product below.

_____     _____     _____   _____    _____    _____

What do you notice?  If you can’t come up with a pattern, speak to Mr. Sass.

8)         Use your pattern in Step 7 to mathematically predict what the apparent height of your partner would be if you are 15 meters away.

9)         Test your hypothesis in the hallway.    How close were you?

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hand.hand.ID-10065993 Our principal team is nearly complete. Sal Canata is the preferred candidate for Leeds Elementary School. A team will conduct a site visit with Sal on Wednesday of next week and then plan to offer a contract.  There have been so many people involved in these three hiring committees, panels, and open forums that I can only send a general “thank you” to the hundreds of people who contributed to our principal selections.

On Monday, I had the privilege of participating on a committee at DESE to review MA principal licensure. Our group reviewed drafts and created categories for training principals for an initial MA license. This conversation was perfect timing for me as I have been spending so much time screening and hiring candidates.  There are many facets to the job of principal and it is a critical position to the health and direction of a school. We should all stop and thank our principals regularly for the work we see them do and the incredible amount of work we do not see them do, yet we know must happen behind the scenes to lead the dynamic institutions they lead everyday.

NHS students and parents enjoyed two scholarship nights this week. Our community is very generous in their commitment to our graduates and these ceremonies are a nice way to honor the years of dedication of our students.

Angelo Rota and the IT team have been working hard training faculty and staff on Google Chrome, gmail, and the beginning stages of our new student information system Aspen.

High School Late Start information update: I’d like to advance this conversation another step. The current status is that we have cut bussing to the high school for next year’s budget.  Our bus contract is currently “out for bid” for a two-tier system for the elementary students and JFK. Those start times remain unchanged.  With this, a high school start time of 8:15 is possible without transportation conflict.

If the override passes, we would like to restore bussing for the high school students and then the system works in the morning, but not in the afternoon. So, we may consider bussing the students to school, but not home at the end of the day.  Students could walk, ride share with neighbors, or use public transportation where possible and it will be in the afternoon when it is light and warmer.

This would mean a three-tier system in the morning and a two-tier system in the afternoon which would help control the overall cost of transportation for next year.  I’m going to take this idea to ALT on Tuesday for further discussion.

Sincerely,

Brian Salzer

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S., Superintendent of Schools

Telephone:  413-587-1331

 STATEMENT OF THE NORTHAMPTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

After reflective consideration following the principal interviews, reviewing the feedback from the questionnaires, emails, references and Search Committee recommendations, the Superintendent of Northampton Public Schools announced the preferred candidate for Principal at Leeds Elementary School as Mr. Sal Canata.  Superintendent Salzer and a team from the search committee will conduct a site visit on Wednesday, May 29th.  Pending a successful site visit, Mr. Canata will be offered a three year contract. Mr. Canata is currently serving as Associate Principal at JFK Middle School where he has been for the past eight years. Mr. Canata has expressed excitement about working with the Leeds School community and continuing with the Northampton Public Schools.

We’d like to thank the faculty, staff, parents and community for their participation, enthusiasm, input and support for LeedsElementary School. It was clearly evident during this process that the parents and staff are vested in supporting a quality education for our students.

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