Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

February 8, 2013 Weekly musings:

Posted on: February 8, 2013

By: Sage F.

By: Sage F.

I began the series of Listening Sessions in our schools this week with Jackson Street on Monday, the high school on Wednesday, and will reschedule once again the meeting for Leeds that was scheduled for Friday.  Faculty and staff met with me over their lunch period to share thoughts and comments about our system.  Conversational topics included: respect for their high quality colleagues, appreciation of administrative leadership, the effectiveness of, and future suggestions for, our professional learning communities, the desire to work more with colleagues across the district, and budget and staffing concerns.  I will continue these meetings through February until I have been in all six schools.

On Tuesday, our administrative leadership team refined the draft of our proposed two-year District Improvement Plan and then we presented our goals to the School Committee Tuesday evening at JFK. The plan was well received; comments were positive and complimentary to the thoughtful and professional focus and design of the plan.  The final draft will be brought to School Committee to vote approval in April and our School Improvement Plans will be crafted with these goals embedded.

Budget work began in earnest this week, with principals and central office staff preparing to work within our guidelines for FY14.  These guidelines force us to engage in creative thinking so we can support our teachers and current services while still reducing costs to remain within our allocation for next year.  We began to share some ideas with School Committee members on Tuesday evening and will continue to develop those ideas into a full proposal for discussion with the Committee and the community at large.  Our current outlook is approximately an $800,000 budget gap and we are looking at a combination of position cuts and fee increases to create a balanced budget.

On Thursday, our team of administrators and teacher leaders completed the MTA training for evaluators for implementing the new Educator Evaluation Tool.  These trained leaders then present the information to the faculty at each building during faculty meeting time and may use some time during our professional development late start on March 13th.

Brian L. Salzer

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