Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

September 29, 2012 Weekly musings:

Posted on: September 28, 2012

By: stockimages

There were some questions around the release of our 2012 MCAS scores.  As expected, we made some surprising progress in some areas, and met some challenges in others.  Nancy Athas has spoken to the DESE regarding the high school’s drop from Level I to Level II and Johanna McKenna is working on a results summary.  I will present a report at the October 11 School Committee meeting.

To begin my work toward building and improving community business relations, this week I met with the V.P. of Finance from L3 (Kollmorgan) and the owner of Marcotte Ford in Holyoke (who supplies our city vehicles). Angelo Rota and I presented data of the successes of our students and shared the classroom uses of the ELMO document camera and projector.  We plan to visit at least six more businesses this fall.

I appreciated the understanding and support as we moved our sports activities from evening to afternoon games.  Given our warm fall weather, we are going to keep this change in place through September 30th.  Jim Miller and Nancy Athas remain in contact with our conference schools and are proposing to move back to the regular schedule on October 1st.

I attended our first meeting of the M.A.S.S. Superintendent Cohort group on September 20th. Our group continued to learn how to carry out our DIP strategies and then focused on specific strategies for implementing Educator Evaluation Tool system.  Northampton Public Schools are ahead of the curve on the learning and implementation and we continue to be very positive about the impact and direction this new tool provides our profession.

On Tuesday, our professional development day provided the opportunity for teachers and administrators to continue learning together.  We are developing SMART goals in professional practice and student learning, connecting them to our district and school improvement plans, and using the whole process to systematically improve student performance.

I am continuing to work in support of a final decision on the later start time. Even though there were two other suggestions made during the last school committee meeting, I recommend that we first respond to the proposals on the table.  As I stated in the previous “Musings…” it is too late in the process to bring new items to vote if they haven’t had the chance to be discussed in our ALT meetings or in a public forum.  During our Wednesday ALT meeting, we visited this issue once again.  Our administrative team remains resolute in their unanimous support of leaving the start times as is.  If on October 11th, the School Committee chooses to request more proposals, I will be happy to oblige, yet ask to be able to involve the community and our school personnel by sending out the new proposal and holding another public forum for people to discuss the ideas prior to a vote.

Also during this week’s ALT meeting, we continued to discuss strategies for improving our services for students who are English Language Learners and, equally high on our priority list, is the elementary literacy support.  It is important not to lose sight of the fact that we had to make a very difficult budget cut last year losing three positions to support teachers and students in reading K-8.  Our team continues to look at this loss and strategize how to provide adequate instruction while planning for future budget adjustments to bring this support back if possible.

Sincerely,

Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S.

 

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