Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

May 25, 2012 Weekly Musings

Posted on: May 25, 2012

Photo: Michael Elliott

At our ALT meeting this week, we put the final touches on the District Improvement Plan.  We have a document we are very proud of and look forward to the School Committee approval on June 14th.  We will add the details to our plan during our summer retreat (draft coming soon).  We also continued to discuss our work around learning about, and implementing, the new Educator Evaluation Tool for next year.  Mark Prince shared valuable information on the process with ALT and then led a retreat of the implementation committee all day on Thursday.  Mark, Lesley Wilson, Joseph Smith, Nathan Ziegler, Sharon Carlson and a group of teachers have collaboratively worked very hard to prepare our district for a successful transition.

Wednesday morning I enjoyed attending the Jackson Street morning math club graduation.  Students, teachers, and families have worked diligently to improve math skills.  The students were from across grade levels and represented the wonderful diversity of the Jackson Street community.

Wednesday evening I met with the combined board of NEF and PTOs.  I continue to be amazed by the effort and generosity of our community and families to financially support our schools, teachers, and classroom opportunities.  Contributions from these groups are well over $300,000.

Assistant Business Manager Wendy Blanchette, Account Assistant Tracy Harrity, and I are in the process of interviewing eleven highly qualified candidates for the position of Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.  Nancy Athas will join me to interview the two finalists next Thursday.

Our high school seniors completed their courses this week and also had a wonderful evening at prom on Thursday.  Next week we will have the Senior Week activities.

Friday morning I was able to attend the first part of the Memorial Day celebration at Ryan Road during which students recited poems, sang songs, and received book donations for their classrooms and libraries.  The event was well attended by the families and community members.

Worth mentioning: Researcher Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” wrote that children often stop learning when they feel emotionally threatened in a classroom environment in which being an extrovert is considered the norm.  She writes that too often “teachers feel they have to turn the introvert into an extrovert.”  Educators often mistakenly look for ways to bring quiet children out of their shells; introverted children will actually improve academically by having more time to reflect and less pressure to be outgoing.  She goes on to report how introverted, or shy, children out perform their peers on many challenging learning objectives and score higher on standardized tests which fit perfectly with their style of learning. [taken from Education Week May 23, 2012 “Studies Highlight Classroom Plight of Quiet Students”]

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Sincerely,

Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S.

Superintendent

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