Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

June 1, 2012 Weekly Musings

Posted on: June 4, 2012

Photo: Ian Kahn

The biggest news of the week is Mark Prince’s offer to serve as Interim Superintendent for Gill-Montague Public Schools.  We will await the final detail on this before putting forward any transition plans.  Mark’s work with our grants, teacher evaluation tool implementation, and professional development around our literacy initiative has led to great progress for our district.  When he moves on, he will be able to do so with the confidence that he has done meaningful work and will leave us is a great position to continue to move forward thanks to the foundation he has built for us.

The high school senior week picnic on Tuesday was well attended and complete with all of the fellowship and activities that were planned; it ended quickly with the rolling thunderstorms, yet they held off long enough for the event.  The celebration continued on Wednesday evening with the Awards Ceremony, and then I was able to enjoy the senior breakfast and senior video on Friday morning.  I hope to have great weather and abundant attendance as we say “farewell” to our senior class at graduation on Sunday afternoon at 3:00.

Over at Bridge Street Elementary, our search committee met Tuesday to select our candidates.  We had 47 applicants for this re-opened search. I narrowed them to 19 over the weekend, and Mark Prince and I narrowed it to 10 for the committee review.  The search committee selected seven for interviews to be conducted Thursday and Friday this week.  Upon completion of the interviews Friday, the committee will select two or three finalists to return for the extended school visit and interviews next week.

Mark McLaughlin is working diligently putting the final touches on our FY13 Budget Proposal Book to be presented next week to the Budget and Finance Sub Committee.  This will include positive new details from our Special Education department.  Early indications are that our Out of District Placement budget line will come in under budget which will help our end of the fiscal year budget and may allow us to reduce the budgeted amount of this line for next year, freeing up funds to preserve some of the proposed cuts of teachers and programs.  More detail to be revealed next week.

I am sad to announce yet another unsuccessful search process, this time with the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent position.  After interviewing our eleven initial candidates and one finalist this week, our candidate accepted another position in a nearby school.  The position is reposted again and we will continue to search for the best person for the job.  Meanwhile, Accounting Assistant Tracy Harrity is working with Nicole to train for the position as a substitute during the transition.

Thursday afternoon, I was able to attend the Jackson Street School event “A School Garden and Food Forum.”  Parents, teachers, students, and community members came together to learn more about our school garden, school food, how to handle backyard chickens, and a variety of other wholesome activities.

Finally, we had a graduation ceremony on Wednesday for teachers and students who successfully participated in our Orton-Gillingham Reading instruction program.  This effort was led by Sandy Donah and Nathan Ziegler who have successfully built a solid foundation of core teachers who are trained in the effective delivery of this instructional method.  This professional development will reap rewards in student achievement for many years to come.  I thank Sandy for her commitment to this work right through her last week in our district.  Sandy begins her new position in Hartford Public Schools on Monday and will be greatly missed by all of us in Northampton.

Sincerely,

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

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