Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

Posts Tagged ‘High School Late Start

graduation_classic_It was a big week for our seniors.  Prom on Tuesday at the Log Cabin was well attended. Students enjoyed dinner, dancing, and an overall positive evening together. Thursday evening, seniors enjoyed a very warm senior picnic, and Friday offered time for the senior breakfast and video viewing.  On Sunday, due to the weather forecast of rain, we will be indoors at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College for our graduation ceremony at 3:00 pm.

Our team continues to review possibilities for personnel, programs, and services following the override vote and we are still establishing our position on the High School Late Start options.  So much of this is interconnected; we will discuss the intricacies of budget and bussing during our School Committee meeting on June 13th.  I will have our new bus contract following the bid opening on June 6th and this will have an impact on our planning.

We welcome new VINS coordinator, Ann Schlereth, to our team. Ann replaces Lynn Barclay as coordinator and will continue to build our network of volunteers, communicate needs and successes in our schools, and will review and help place new candidates wishing to volunteer in our schools.

You may be aware that we have several cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in our school community.  Our school nursing staff is working closely with our local public health authorities as well as our state epidemiologist to identify and refer potential cases. We have also been giving staff and families in the affected schools regular updates and are encouraging consultation with their primary care provider for any symptoms or for immunization, if warranted.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Please visit the NPS Health Services website at http://healthservices.northampton-k12.us/.  You may also call the Director of Health Services, Karen Jarvis-Vance, at 587-1364 for general questions and/or your child’s school nurse with specific questions regarding your child.

Sincerely,

Brian L. Salzer

hand.hand.ID-10065993 Our principal team is nearly complete. Sal Canata is the preferred candidate for Leeds Elementary School. A team will conduct a site visit with Sal on Wednesday of next week and then plan to offer a contract.  There have been so many people involved in these three hiring committees, panels, and open forums that I can only send a general “thank you” to the hundreds of people who contributed to our principal selections.

On Monday, I had the privilege of participating on a committee at DESE to review MA principal licensure. Our group reviewed drafts and created categories for training principals for an initial MA license. This conversation was perfect timing for me as I have been spending so much time screening and hiring candidates.  There are many facets to the job of principal and it is a critical position to the health and direction of a school. We should all stop and thank our principals regularly for the work we see them do and the incredible amount of work we do not see them do, yet we know must happen behind the scenes to lead the dynamic institutions they lead everyday.

NHS students and parents enjoyed two scholarship nights this week. Our community is very generous in their commitment to our graduates and these ceremonies are a nice way to honor the years of dedication of our students.

Angelo Rota and the IT team have been working hard training faculty and staff on Google Chrome, gmail, and the beginning stages of our new student information system Aspen.

High School Late Start information update: I’d like to advance this conversation another step. The current status is that we have cut bussing to the high school for next year’s budget.  Our bus contract is currently “out for bid” for a two-tier system for the elementary students and JFK. Those start times remain unchanged.  With this, a high school start time of 8:15 is possible without transportation conflict.

If the override passes, we would like to restore bussing for the high school students and then the system works in the morning, but not in the afternoon. So, we may consider bussing the students to school, but not home at the end of the day.  Students could walk, ride share with neighbors, or use public transportation where possible and it will be in the afternoon when it is light and warmer.

This would mean a three-tier system in the morning and a two-tier system in the afternoon which would help control the overall cost of transportation for next year.  I’m going to take this idea to ALT on Tuesday for further discussion.

Sincerely,

Brian Salzer

By: Landlake

By: Landlake

This week we continued to draft the priority list of personnel and services we could return to our schools following a successful override vote.  Details will be released in the near future and will include the restoration of some services including art and music at JFK and the high school, classroom supply budgets at all levels, some new programs and services for students with disabilities and those who are English language learners, as well as the addition of a financial reserve to sustain these services for the next three to four years.

Our administrators and teachers are entering the end-of-year evaluation phase. This is the true test of our pilot year with these new strategies and documents. All of us have been learning and practicing what we learn throughout the year and flexibility has been the key to navigating this process.  In fall, we will have 100% of our faculty on board with the new process and, with many people then going through it for the second time, we will be in great shape moving forward with consistency in observing and analyzing our teaching practices.

National School Nurse’s Day was Wednesday, May 8th.  I know I speak for many families when I offer a heartfelt “thank you” to our treasured nurses for everything they do to help our students stay in school and ready to learn.  Last year 82% of our students, district-wide, saw a school nurse at least once during the school year and currently, our health offices have a 93% return-to-class rate.  This means that for the majority of our students, the school nurse makes a big difference in keeping them healthy and engaged in learning.  Daily, our nurses demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and compassion and we are all grateful for their support in our schools.

Thursday morning, NHS hosted the area Special Olympic Games.  Students, staff and community volunteers from across the Pioneer Valley gathered for a healthy morning of exercise and competition.  The smiles were contagious.

During School Committee last evening, we covered a lot of ground once again. Highlights from the evening were: a visit from the NHS robotics team and robot, a generous gift from Peoples Bank for the purchase of technology, the presentation from the Ad Hoc Committeethat reviewed the High School Late Start and the scheduling of a vote on this topic set for June 13, approval of the District Improvement Plan along with the presentation of School Improvement Plans from Ryan Road, Leeds and NHS, and finally, an A+ report on the Technology Plan from Angelo Rota.

Sincerely,

Brian Salzer


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