Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

Highlights for November 2012 School Committee Meeting

Posted on: November 27, 2012

Bridge Street Elementary School

The data team at BSS spent three days, including the late start day, at the DSAC-RBT training in Lenox, MA.  This was part of a six day training that began in August.  The data team learned the process of collaboration through inquiry and how data teams should use assessments for student achievement.

Our ESP’s worked together to design a consistent protocol for behavior during lunch and recess.  We have implemented parts of PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) at Bridge Street.  This process requires a consistent protocol when  behavioral expectations aren’t followed.  It is a program that recognizes students for their positive behaviors and has a three-tiered model that works nicely with the three-tiered model of instruction.

Classroom teachers spent the morning beginning to align the Math Investigations program with the Common Core Standards.  Noting any gaps in Investigations and where we need to supplement instruction making sure that Investigations covers in depth what the Common Core Standards require.

Support staff and special subject teachers worked with the ESP’s.

RK Finn Ryan Road Elementary School

Classroom, Title 1 and Resource Teachers completed their analysis of 2012 MCAS data identifying outstanding strengths and weaknesses in grades 3, 4, and 5 and planning for interventions this year.

Several staff members were trained in Restraint.

K-2 teachers learned how to use the document camera technology from one of their colleagues.

ESP staff were led by two colleagues in aspects of Responsive Classroom.  They received training to facilitate through an NEF grant last summer.

Jackson Street Elementary School

At the Late Start session we all (ESPs and faculty) met together in the library.  We split up in three interest groups.  Two of the groups are based on the reading of books, one is on research into school-wide discipline programs – and all are connected and all relate directly to student success in school.  The books are The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton, of The Responsive Classroom model and the other is How Students Succeed, Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough.  The school-wide discipline programs we looked at include Positive Behavior Intervention Systems, The Responsive Classroom, Peaceful Schools, and others.  We had very interesting and wide-ranging discussions in the three groups and came back together at the end to report, find commonalities and plan for ongoing work/study.  Because our school has:

1.  Done extensive work with Lesley Koplow, of Bank St.  Graduate School, in the Emotionally Responsive model (in fact, JSS is part of her recent book, How Schools Heal).

2.  Have all incorporated 2nd Step/Steps to Respect, (the district’s social/emotional curriculum).

3. Have other “homegrown’ practices.

4. Have several faculty members already trained in The Responsive Classroom model, we will be synthesizing all our work and practices into the “Jackson St. School Responsive Practices” model.

Leeds Elementary School

The Kindergarten team would like to work on setting up a communication blog for parents on our late start day.  This would be working towards our team professional Smart Goal that addresses Standard 111 – both the communication indicator and the curriculum support.

1ST grades are looking at Data and smart goals.

2nd grades have scheduled a meeting with Hollie Marron, Joseph, and Ellie to discuss sensory areas and other ideas for supporting our many second grade students with attentional and behavioral needs.

3rd grade team would like to spend the late-start PD next Wednesday on analyzing the MCAS data by strand.  What will help us in this is the classroom breakdown by strand for both Math and ELA, so we can look for weakness areas across the grade level.

4th grades are planning on analyzing data for MCAS as it pertains to our Smart Goals.

5th grade teachers will be analyzing MCAS data on the professional development “late start” day.  That will help us then write our SMART goal together.

Special Education Teachers will meet with the ETL and discuss planning/scheduling both current and anticipated students who will be on IEPs this year.  ETL may also utilize this time to mindfully plan anticipated IEP meetings.  The purpose is organize/coordinate provider’s schedules when they attend IEP meetings, so that students are minimally impacted.  School Psychologist will plan and schedule SST Referrals.

ESP Staff will get together and create a plan for AM Tutoring.  Planning will include the following:

1.  Assigning ESPs to grade levels.

2.  Rotation plan for ESPs that need to meet with other service providers.

3.  Create plans and ideas for monitoring student attendance and progress.

4.  Rotation plan for duties.

5.  “Lead ESP’s” that ensure work materials are secure.

JFK Middle School

The Late start morning was a valuable and productive opportunity for professional learning and collaboration.  English, Math, Science, Social Studies/History, World Language and Special Education teachers met in departments to begin the process of developing common standards-based benchmark assessments.   The work focused on determining assessment type, question type, and question content, with the goal of implementing a first assessment at the end of the second quarter.  This work will continue on the Professional Development Day, November 6th.

Special subject teachers participated in vertical team meetings with their Northampton High School colleagues.  Their work focused on aligning curriculum and assessment.

Guidance Counselors met vertically with their elementary colleagues to discuss transition and student support.

ESP’s collaborated with Special Education teachers on the benchmark work.  Program ESP’s, Life Skills and ASD, met within their team to work on alternate assessment and modifying curriculum.

NHS:

Teachers began their late start day with an introduction to Professional Learning communities with an awesome presentation from our very own math teacher Carolyn Gardner.  Carolyn is in a doctoral program at UMASS and currently is studying and teaching about PLC’s.  The NHS staff has worked collaboratively in coming up with topics they would like to discuss.  We currently have ten plc’s; technology, advisories, healthy living, block scheduling, data team, professional development, tiered instruction/co teaching, crisis intervention, homework, capstone project.  Carolyn pointed out the characteristics of successful plc’s.  She stressed that it was not a committee rather a  way to look at student achievement through a different lens.  Also it allows faculty to work collaboratively with their colleagues. It should be noted that in our NEASC report over and over staff talked about that as a need.  The teachers then broke out into their groups and were instructed to come up with a vision and plan and a rotating facilitator.   Feedback seemed very positive and we are going to continue in this direction on Nov. 6.  Each group to report back in January.

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