Superintendent's Report - 8/19/16

posted Aug 21, 2016, 1:35 PM by Hps Webmaster   [ updated Aug 21, 2016, 1:39 PM ]
Leadership Team Update
District Level Initiatives

At our District Leadership Team (DLT) retreat, we identified two major initiatives that we will be recruiting teachers to participate in over the upcoming year and one graduate level course that all administrators will participate in. Each of these activities is directly related to our District Improvement Plan.

Studying Skillful Teaching Course (DIP initiatives 2&5; 1A-2)

The District will be working with professional development partner, Research for Better Teaching, to provide 40 teachers with the 37.5 hour graduate class “Studying Skillful Teaching”. The goal eventually will be to have all Hudson Public School teachers take this course of the next three-year period so that every educator will have a common instructional language and expectations. Looking ahead at sustainability for this initiative, at the end of the three-year period, teachers entering their second year in Hudson will take the course. This course will result in teachers studying, applying, and reflecting on practical ways to:

  • Examine powerful beliefs that influence students’ motivation to learn;
  • Support students in developing a growth mindset;
  • Design lessons that focus students on what is most important (objective) and what success criteria looks like (criteria for success);
  • Apply research-based instructional strategies;
  • Collect, analyze, and use formative assessment data to inform timely decisions about what happens next for students’ learning; and
  • Strengthen cultural proficiency in instruction, curriculum, class climate, and school environment.

Curriculum Review Task Force (CRTF) (DIP initiative 1; 1A-1)

With our core curriculum documented, we will now begin the process of reviewing that curriculum to help our District continue to move forward and grow in this area. To do this, we will measure our curriculum against design standards, ensuring vertical alignment within and across content areas, and continually updating unit plans based on our growing knowledge about how students learn best.

Reviewing curriculum documents is a process that will take hard work and dedication from educators across the District. The Hudson Curriculum Review Task Force will consist of curriculum reviewers who:

  • Have a track record of high quality classroom instruction;
  • Are highly collaborative and thrive in the give and take of curriculum development;
  • Enjoy the process of backward design and developing performance assessments;
  • Understand the critical role that curriculum design and alignment play in engaging all students; and
  • Can make at least a two-year commitment to this leadership work.

This standing committee will:

  • Engage in professional development in UbD design standards; 
  • Engage in professional development in providing feedback;
  • Facilitate teacher self-assessment of curriculum;
  • Review Stages 1 and 2 of curriculum unit plans, including performance assessments
  • Provide written and verbal feedback to teachers;
  • Identify common areas for additional professional development in curriculum writing; and
  • Facilitate future professional development in curriculum writing

Analyzing Teaching for Student Results Administrator Course (1A-2, 1E-3, 4D-2)

This 42-hour course is the administrator companion course to the Studying Skillful Teaching course that our teachers will be participating in. As a result of completing this course, our administrators will be able to:

  • Name, explain, and document what high-expertise teachers know and can do in many performance areas from classroom management to planning standards-based lessons and assessments;
  • Capture salient classroom events in literal notes;
  • Connect teacher behavior and decision-making with impact on student learning;
  • Give teacher-evidence based feedback that builds the teachers’ capacity as high-expertise educators and stimulates reflection; and
  • Use multiple data sources to assess growth opportunities and facilitate effective goal-setting meetings and improvement planning.
Looking ahead at sustainability for this initiative, all administrators, hired after this year, will be required to take this course at the RBT Learning Center.


Finance and Operations

Final Budget (2E-1)

Mrs. Lange will be at our meeting on Tuesday night to present the final budget transfers needed to close the FY16 budget. We ended in a very favorable position moving into FY17. We have an estimated increase of $347,000 in school choice funding to support the FY17 budget. The District will have $247,000, after the spending of the preapproved $100,000 for the clinical psychologist position, to apply to the FY17 budget. There is a memo in the packet that details how we realized these savings. I am very appreciative of the sacrifices that our educators and students had to make to realize $225,000 of these savings. While not painless, the District was able to realize these savings, through the ingenuity and dedication of our educators and students, without compromising the quality of teaching and learning that occurs within our classrooms.  

Curriculum and Instruction Update

MCAS

In June, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a phase-in plan for Computer-Based MCAS Testing. According to DESE, computer-based testing will allow ESE to offer more engaging content and a wider range of accessibility features and will also reflect the reality that students are increasingly using technology in and out of the classroom.

The Department notified superintendents that the first step will be for all students in grades 4 and 8 to take the computer-based version of the English language arts and math tests in spring 2017. For grades 3, 5, 6, and 7, schools may elect either the computer-based or the paper-based tests next spring. Superintendents were strongly encouraged to implement the computer-based version in as many additional grades as possible.

Paper versions of all tests will always be available as an accommodation as required by a student's individualized education program (IEP). We also anticipate setting up a process for principals to request a paper-based test accommodation for a small number of students who do not have IEPs but who are unable to take a computer-based test for other reasons.

DESE is currently considering a transition in grades 5 and 7 to full computer-based testing in spring 2018, followed by grades 3 and 6 in spring 2019. They will finalize this schedule after the 2017 test administration and after plans for high school testing are finalized. Commissioner Chester is planning to recommend to the Board of Education that students through the class of 2020 (this year’s freshmen) will have to pass the first generation MCAS as a competency determination for graduation. Currently, the class of 2019 is the final class slated to have the first generation MCAS as the competency determination for graduation.

DESE recently awarded Measured Progress the contract to develop MCAS 2.0. The two finalists for the project were Measured Progress and Pearson. It is their intention to develop a test that is compatible with most of the devices in common use in schools, including tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, and desktop computers. At this time, DESE has not provided additional details regarding the technical specifications for networks and devices.

The District had its first planning meeting to prepare for the computerized tests. We have sufficient devices at Hudson High School to administer the test to the 8th grade students. We are unable to develop a plan for administering the 4th grade test until we know more about the technical specifications. I will keep the Committee updated as things unfold.

Career Counselor Hudson High School (2E-1)

Scott Darlington resigned his position this past week to accept the position of assistant principal at Andover High School. Scott’s departure, though a loss for the District, presents us with an opportunity to restructure his position. On Tuesday, we will be asking the Committee to create a 1.0 FTE position of “career counselor” at Hudson High School. There is a job description and memo in your packet outlining the duties of this position and the rationale for adding it. Dr. Reagan will be at the Committee’s meeting on Tuesday to answer questions.

The District will be able to fund the position because we were unable to fill the Assistant Director of Student Services in Charge of Program Development despite interviewing 13 candidates. We will begin the search for the Assistant Director of Student Services in Charge of Program Development, in the winter, when hopefully we can attract a candidate that meets our needs. Dr. Mike Dubrule will return as Out of District Coordinator until the Assistant Director of Student Services position is filled in the next school year.

Superintendent’s Items of Interest
Enrollment
Our very rough enrollment numbers as of 8/18/16 are as follows:
  • Mulready          242      (-18 from 5/20)
  • Farley               473      (-25 from 5/20)
  • Forest              321      (-19 from 5/20)
  • Quinn               646      (-3 from 5/20)
  • HHS                  957      (-11 from 5/20)

District Total = 2639

New Employees

We have had a very busy hiring season this year. I am very impressed with the high quality candidates that I have met. Our principals and their hiring teams have done an outstanding job selecting talented and enthusiastic employees that will positively impact student learning.  Below is a list of our newest teachers as of 10:00 a.m. on 8/18/16:

Name

Position

Location

 Kelly Albino

 English Teacher

 Quinn Middle School

Amy Berg

Social Studies Teacher - 1 year appointment

Hudson High School

Sytske Campbell

Grade 4 Teacher

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Jessica Caron

Library Media Specialist

Hudson High School

Kaeleigh Chartrand

Grade 3 Teacher - 1 year appointment

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Kerry Cusick

Reading Specialist

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Elaine Cyr

Special Education Teacher

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Kellie Horne

ELL Teacher

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Mark Krans

Math Teacher

Hudson High School

Alcidia Lopes

Portuguese Teacher

Hudson High School

Audra Maria

School Nurse

Farley Elementary School

Sydney Markley

Math Teacher

Quinn Middle School

Pamela McDonald

Chemistry Teacher

Hudson High School

Erika Melanson

Special Education Teacher

Farley Elementary School

Amanda Pezzote

Special Education Pre-K Teacher

Hubert

Ashley Power

English Teacher - 1 year appointment

Quinn Middle School

John Jairo  Ruiz Pineda

Spanish Teacher

Hudson High School

Jessica Sabino

Grade 1 Teacher

Forest Avenue Elementary School

Arianna Silva

Technology Teacher - 1 year appointment

Hudson High School

Kerry Wanamaker

Kindergarten Teacher

Farley Elementary School

Carrie Attaway

Special Education Teacher

Quinn Middle School

Julie Walters

Special Education Teacher

Quinn Middle School

Rebecca Murphy

HR Assistant

Admin Office

Communication (3C-1)

I am compiling some resources intended as tools to clarify communication channels for family. I have included these in your packet for discussion at our meeting. In addition, I have also developed a draft survey for families that I would like to have ready to be sent out in October. This will allow us to determine which channels families prefer as well as gather information on their perceptions of the District and school websites. I look forward to having a thoughtful discussion about these at our meeting on Tuesday.

By the Numbers:  Will return 9/13/16 (Element 3C-1)


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