Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

March 8, 2013 Weekly musings:

Posted on: March 8, 2013

By: Expressart

By: Expressart

I completed two more listening sessions this week: JFK and Leeds. Of course, the budget was the biggest concern, but it didn’t dominate the conversation.  Teachers shared how strongly they feel about being a part of the high quality faculty, having a positive school culture, and the desire for more time to work collegially.  Suggested areas for change or improvement were: separate and specific professional development for teachers in P.E., art, and music, creating a committee to redesign the elementary school report cards, and the importance of maintaining current staffing levels as much as possible.

Tuesday evening, School Committee members held a listening sessions with principals and school council members in the JFK library.  All of us are greatly concerned about the level of faculty reductions we will need to make to build a balanced budget.  Conversations continue daily, re-drafting of the budget occurs daily, and we will continue to define the details of the budget to present next Thursday during our regularly scheduled meeting.

Thursday morning, I had the great privilege of surprising our four winners of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching awards.  These unsuspecting master teachers were surprised in their classrooms and congratulated in front of their students with flowers and a recognition speech.  This is one of my favorite days of the year.  Awards went to:  Catherine Smith, Grade 8 Science at JFK Middle School, Andrea James, grades 6-8 French Teacher and World Language Dept.  Chair, JFK Middle School, Michele Andrews, Grade 5 teacher and Math Coach, RK Finn Ryan Road School, and Sue Crago, English teacher, Northampton High School.

We received confirmation this week of our new Adopt-A-School program with the Northampton Police Department.  Four officers are assigned to our elementary schools. Each school will build a relationship with their officer who will be their on-call safety and support person.  Officers will be going to the assigned school over the next two weeks to meet the faculty and students. I am thankful to Chief Sienkiwicz and Capt. Savino for making this possible.

First Annual Northampton Public School’s K-8 Art Show is opening today from 4-7:30 pm. The exhibition features some 60 original two- and three-dimensional pieces created by students from Leeds, Ryan Road, Jackson Street, Bridge Street and J.F.K. Middle schools.  The community is invited to the Arts Night Out opening reception.  This ambitious event is being executed by four talented and dedicated Northampton art teachers: Brenda Lilly from Bridge Street and Jackson Street; Leslie Macutkiewicz from Leeds and Ryan Road; Herschel Levine and Michelle Mallory from J.F.K. Middle School.  The exhibit will be on display until March 23. Regular gallery hours are 11am-4pm, Tuesday through Friday.  The Northampton Center for the Arts is located at 17 New South Street, third floor, in the Sullivan Building of the Old School Commons.

Brian L. Salzer

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