Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

March 11, 2012 Weekly Musings

Posted on: March 12, 2012

ImageIt has been an exciting and productive week for the staff and students of Northampton Public Schools. The performances of Grease were fantastic. I attended the Saturday matinee performance and I gave it an A+! The costumes, the band, the voices, the set, the energy, it was simply a tremendous performance demonstrating the remarkable skill and commitment of our students and staff.

Friday, Principal Nancy Athas and I were able to attend a morning of Robotics competition in Worcester. Coach Amy Johnson led the team of seventeen students and ten adult coach/chaperones as we placed third overall in our first FIRST competition ever. This is truly an amazing and unprecedented performance for a rookie team. The students were very proud of their work and thrilled to compete in the arena. I believe I even detected a smile on Paul the robot.  The team will attend our April 12th School Committee meeting to introduce us to their creation.

As I reported on Thursday evening, we are continuing our Instructional Rounds with our ALT. Thursday’s visit to Ryan Road Elementary School gave us the chance to visit four classrooms and observe students engaged in challenging learning lessons in literacy and math. I continue to be impressed with the level at which students can discuss their own learning and learning strategies. We have talented teachers and administrators in this system who are leading our students to high level achievement.

And, as we continue to build our budget for next year, this is what I am working to preserve. Mayor Narkewicz presented his budget information during Thursday’s School Committee meeting and we all had a detailed look at the state of our City’s finances. Given what we have to work with currently, I will continue to build an educationally sound, yet fiscally responsible, budget for our schools. As I stated Thursday, I will focus on preserving positions as much as possible, while reductions will have to begin with supplies, materials, and technology. We are an organization of teachers serving students and effective instruction occurs when teachers are able to instruct, encourage, inspire, and support student skill development in classes with reasonable student to teacher ratios.

On other fronts, we are continuing to move forward on the implementation of our new Educator Evaluation Tool and System. Committee members are planning their presentation to faculty members at each school during the month of April. We scheduled two future meetings with our Department of School Assistance Center (DSAC) representative Donna Harlan. Donna will join us to support our District Data Team as we evaluate and analyze our curriculum through MCAS results and she will be supporting our ALT as we develop SMART goals for our District Improvement Plan.

Finally, I scheduled a community forum meeting for April 5th to share two possibilities for a late high school start time. I will share these ideas and ask community members to assist in preparing a third option. These ideas will be developed throughout the spring and summer to be presented to School Committee for review in September.

I hope everyone enjoyed some outdoor activities on this beautiful weekend.


Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S.
Northampton Public Schools

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