Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

April 27, 2012 Weekly Musings

Posted on: April 27, 2012

Photo: digitalart

I can’t help but comment on our viewing of American Teachers this past Wednesday. The film brought to mind all the intrinsic rewards of being a teacher and the altruism of making a positive impact on a student’s learning. It is our nature as teachers to join this profession for those reasons. The heart of an educator is healthiest when giving, serving and committing one’s self to improving the lives of others. This is exactly why it is so difficult for educators to advocate for personal gain in income, benefits, prestige, and increased budgets. It feels selfish; and that is exactly why our teachers need advocates to speak up for them in the interests of children. When our teachers feel respected and appropriately rewarded, our children benefit from the commitment of long-term, experienced teachers. All in all, it was a great message, a poignant look into the lives of a few educators, and a warm reminder to me of how much I loved teaching a classroom full of students each and every day.

Special Education News: From April 19th through the 21st, the national accrediting body of International Multisensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC) conducted a program review of the Western MA Learning Centers for Children (WMLCC), and the Orton-Gillingham (OG) training programs including the site within the Northampton Public Schools.  WMLCC was seeking initial accreditation for our OG training program. While this process is especially difficult and rigorous for newly developed programs, the accreditation committee reported that we exceeded the required competencies on all evaluated criteria. Additionally, it was stated that our model of training and providing tutorials within the public schools is unique, cutting edge, and one that is not available elsewhere in the nation. A team of teachers will travel to Baltimore this fall in order to attend the International Dyslexia Association’s national conference where they will be honored for their achievement.

During our ALT meeting this week we refined our DIP Draft once again. We are nearly ready to present it to School Committee for more input on May 10th. In addition, we finalized our process of lay-offs and communication to those affected, agreed to the dates for our SIP presentations on June 14 and 28, and then spent some time analyzing disaggregated student achievement data provided by Bill Dornbusch. This was an energizing activity we are going to bring back and make a regular part of our working meetings.

Next week, we begin interviews for the Bridge Street School Principalship. Mark Prince and the committee have been working closely and intensely together through an excellent selection process on a very tight timeline. Out of our 60 applicants we initially selected seven to invite for interviews. When contacted, only two were still available. They are scheduled for next Tuesday. So now, we are looking to review an additional five applications.

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