The District Leadership Team met to discuss planning for the summer retreat that will be occurring July 18-21. The theme for this year’s retreat will be, From Good to Great. The team will reread the seminal work by author Jim Collins and use it as a framework for our work as identified in the District Improvement Plan. (4D-2)
We also discussed the role of the Special Education Steering Committee and the purpose of the committee. The email invitation, copied below, was sent to administrators and teachers to invite their participation in doing this important work. (3B-1)
Recently, the District contracted with the Walker Partnerships to conduct a thorough review of our Special Education programs. The review was very positive, but identified several areas of growth for the District to focus on. In order to make this work comprehensive, valuable, and meaningful, we will be enacting one of the recommendations which is the creation of a standing committee to advise the Director of Student Services. You are receiving this email because the District believes that your skills and expertise will make you a valuable member of the committee.
The purpose of the committee is to work with and advise the Director of Student Services on trends, needs and long-term programmatic implications in the area of Special Education. The Director will then use your input to develop a long-term strategic improvement plan for Special Education. The committee will discuss and review these recommendations and related progress during four scheduled meetings.
The inaugural meeting of this group will occur on Thursday, June 23rd from 9:00-3:00 at the Administration Building, 155 Apsley Street. Teachers will be paid $25/hour for their participation at this first meeting. At this meeting, the group will work together to identify smaller working groups centered on the five program areas below:
· Program Development;
· Student Success Teams (District Improvement Plan strategic initiative 2016-2017);
· Professional Development for Special and General Educators;
· Evidence-based Practices; and
· Transition Process
Each working group will work to prioritize the recommendations in their focus area. The group will then work to prioritize all of the recommendations into an outline for a strategic improvement plan for special education.
The remaining three meetings will be much shorter in duration and will be used to discuss progress and to provide additional insights into the needs of the schools in regards to Special Education. The full team will meet on:
· September 14th 2:45-4:45
· January 11th 2:45-4:45
· April 5th 2:45-4:45
Attached to this email, you will find a copy of the Walker Report which is also located on the announcements page of our District webpage. We really hope that you will join us to be part of this important work.
Please RSVP to this invitation no later than Thursday, June 16th so that we can reserve your spot at the table.
With Much Appreciation,
Jodi and Cathy
Finally. the Leadership Team explored common issues and expectations around writing teacher Summative Evaluations. We identified the issue of norming around expectations of evidence submission as being an area of further explanation.
Finance and Operations
The Committee will be hearing from the building Principals on their School Improvement Plans at our next meeting. (6/21/16) (2C-1)
Leftover Class Balances
At a recent School Committee meeting, Mrs. Lange and Dr. Reagan reported to the Committee that there were outstanding balances remaining class dues accounts for the following classes and that we were unable to reach any of the officers in those classes:
· Class of 1996 2,572.15
· Class of 2004 3,293.98
· Class of 2005 8,469.27
· Class of 2006 2,288.01
· Class of 2011 13,544.47
· Class of 2012 18,507.82
Thanks to Mr. Avery’s reporting and the power of social media, I am aware that we have now heard from several class officers and we are currently in the following position regarding the disbursement of the funds:
Green indicates that paperwork is complete and the check has either been written or is on the process of being written. Yellow indicates that contact was made with officers, and we are waiting for them to complete an action item before we can proceed. Red indicates that we have attempted, but not been able to make contact with anyone from the class.
The Committee will be voting a final budget for FY17 at our next meeting (6/21/16) (2E-1)
Members of the Committee and the community may have heard that there was a busing safety concern with a recent Physics Field Trip to Six Flags in Agawam. It has been brought to our attention that the buses were overcrowded and potentially unsafe conditions were created. The District has contacted our transportation provider and will be meeting with them next week to discuss our continued concerns around communication.
There are many end of the year showcases of student work occurring throughout our schools. There have been informational animal books integrating music, art, science and technology, authors’ teas, art shows, Math Olympics, field trips to extend our learning, celebrations of writing, student success showcases, concerts, awards nights, and living biography fairs. I am sure I am leaving quite a few things out. The reason that I am including these events in a business report to the School Committee and community is that as I visit some of these events and I hear about others, I am struck by how far our District has come in the past few years. The quality of student work is the best that I have ever seen at all levels. The students I speak with are passionate about their topics and proud of what they have accomplished. As they should be. This does not happen without a team of dedicated, passionate and excited educators pushing students to work to their greatest potential.
At our final meeting before the school year closes, I want to thank EVERY educator who has persevered through the struggle that results in this type of growth and increased student learning.
This past week is a bittersweet week for many Hudson families as students in the Class of 2016 mark the end of their career in the Hudson Public Schools. I was fortunate, along with several School Committee members, to attend some of the milestone events that occur for our students.
On Tuesday, May 31st, I attended the Baccalaureate Celebration. Our students presented self-selected readings, poems, and songs that they felt represented their experiences as the Class of 2016. The class chose the theme “Live, Learn and Let the Memories Last Forever” for their Baccalaureate. To provide proof that some memories do indeed last forever, one of the students performed the Beatles song “In my Life”, this was the class song for Shepherd Hill Regional High School’s class of 1990. I still clearly remember waiting to process into the auditorium on graduation day and the group spontaneously started singing that song.
On Wednesday, June 1st, I attended the Scholarship and Award Night. This night is truly a celebration of the accomplishments and achievements of our high school students. Students received college book awards (juniors), scholastic art and writing awards, departmental achievement awards and special senior class awards. Scholarships were also presented to successful senior applicants. Many of the community sponsors of these scholarships were on hand to present the awards to recipients. A moment that I found to be particularity instructive, as well as touching, was Victor Rimkus’s speech as he and Rosemary presented the scholarship in the memory of his late son. It was a touching moment where our soon-to-be graduates were able to hear from a stalwart pillar of the Hudson community.
The week culminated in graduation at 1:00 p.m. on June 5th. I will have more to report on this after the ceremony. I would like to thank Dr. Reagan and his team for putting together outstanding events to recognize and honor our graduates. (Element 4-D2)
By the Numbers: May 25-June 7, 2016 (Element 3C-1)
• 27 Email Conversations (at least 3 exchanges in conversation)
• 53 Email Exchanges (no more than 2 exchanges in each interaction)
• 6 Tweets
• 7 meetings with individual staff members
• 4 meetings with individual Administrators
• 3 meetings with groups of Administrators
• 3 group presentations for new SIS
• 1 Health and Safety Advisory Committee Meeting
• 1 learning visit
• 1 Grade 1 presentation on animals
• 1 Grade 3 author’s tea
• 1 performance in disability puppet show
• 1 Assabet Valley Collaborative Board of Directors’ Meeting
• 1 HEA meeting
• 1 Para Association meeting
• 1 subcommittee meeting
• 1 Baccalaureate Celebration
• 1 High School Scholarship and Award Night
• 1 High School Graduation
• 1 End of Year Retirement Party (HEA)
All enrollment numbers are up to date as of the writing of this report. They are unofficial numbers. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collects snapshots of enrollment data three times per year October, March, and June. I will provide you with monthly enrollment numbers so that you can be aware of the amount of fluctuation that may or may not be occurring on a monthly basis.