Teaching and Learning
Kate Cellucci attended Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Gateway to Technology training for two units: Medical Detectives (WPI) and Electricity and the Environment at the University of Baltimore in July. This training was an integral part of expanding our PLTW offerings at Hudson High School.
Teams from grades 5-11 in both ELA and Social Studies gathered over the summer. Each team met for at least 3 hours in pursuit of designing units and common assessments. Additionally, co-teaching pairs (general education and SPED) in grades 8, 9, and 10 gathered for co-teaching training and curriculum development.
Karen Martin, Director of Elementary Education and Leslie Knight, Director of Secondary Math and Science co-taught a graduate course: Building the Next Generation of Scientists: How to Guide for Elementary School Teachers. This course was designed to preview the new Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Science. Ms. Martin and Ms. Knight continue to partner on many activities that are building a vision of a comprehensive and rigorous K-12 program in Math and Science.
Karen Martin co-taught a second graduate class with Dr. Mary McCarthy, Principal of the Mulready School. The course was titled: Responsive Teaching: How to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners Academically, Socially and Emotionally. This course is strongly recommended for all teachers newly hired in the District. This year we had several veteran teachers who also participated.
Approximately 25 elementary teachers spent a week over the summer mapping curriculum in Math and Literacy. Some excellent work was completed in the areas of writing and the implementation of our new Math program.
Many members of the Farley Elementary faculty spent time over the summer developing learning targets and criteria for success for each of the units in the Math program. This work was sponsored by the District and School Assistance Center (DSAC). Farley is involved with the DSAC as a result of their level 3 status. The work that was completed will benefit every elementary school in the District.
Two elementary ELL teachers worked for three days on a common newcomer ELD curriculum (for grades 2-4) to be implemented across all three schools. Our high school ELL teachers also worked for three days continuing their ELD curriculum mapping. Finally, our high school ELL teachers worked for one day with each of their co-teaching partners to prepare for their newly co-taught classes (Biology, Chemistry, US/World History 1, and US/World History 2) in the fall.
The art department spent time together in person and through the wonder of technology discussing new and old projects for integrating art into other subjects. Mike Correa, Visual Arts Coordinator, spent his time sending out info on the Growth Mindset book by Carol Dweck and planning an exciting project for our Hudson High School art students related to teaching elementary students about the growth mindset. Hudson High School art students will develop a project illustrating a cartoon character representing the needed qualities for learning, with a growth mindset, at the elementary level.
The Wellness, Physical Education, Health and Consumer Family Science Teachers (11) participated in 2 days of curriculum mapping to further develop a vertically and horizontally, standards-based curriculum for all Hudson Public School students.
The Nurses and several Counselors and School Psychologists (approx. 20) participated in a half day workshop on Supporting Students with Behavioral/Mental Health Challenges led by Charlie Appelstein, LCSW, national presenter and author of several books, including No Such Thing as a Bad Kid.
During an additional half day workshop (funded by the MetroWest Foundation grant secured by Sam Wong, Hudson Director of Public Health), Hudson High School Nurses learned about confidential, universal interview screening (SBIRT), used at JFK/Quinn the previous two years, and began planning for potential screening during the spring 2015.
The professional learning of our Wellness Department resulted in the following outcomes:
· Identification and consensus on common assessments (i.e., wellness wheel for health, pacer test for physical education) and increased development of Summary Map (excel spreadsheet) to guide teachers in providing meaningful, sequential scope and sequence for learning.
· Draft protocol for SBIRT screening in 10th grade Spring 2015.
· Increased understanding and confidence in working with students with behavioral/mental health challenges from workshop evaluation.
Our District Leadership Team Retreat was held July 29th -31st at Tower Hill Botanical Garden. The planning of this year’s retreat was a collaborative effort. Our work during the three days focused on building a strong leadership team and communication, educator evaluation, strategic improvement planning and goal setting and high expectations teaching. Each learning segment was facilitated by a team of administrators modeling best practice.
New Teacher Orientation, part one of our three-stage induction program for new teachers, was held August 19th-21st. Todd Wallingford, Director of Secondary Humanities, began leading the improvement of our induction program 4 years ago. He has been joined by Ms. Martin and Ms. Knight and the results were fantastic. The orientation program really takes into account the needs of the new teacher while creating the understanding of the privilege that it is to be a member of the Hudson community of learners.
Progress Toward Goals and Superintendent’s Professional Growth
I attended the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) Executive Institute July 16th -18th. The theme for this year’s institute was Voice and Vision, Leadership Beyond Compliance. I attended some informative sessions on new student discipline legislation, the role that technology plays in the changing face of education and what we can learn from past presidents regarding the challenges of leadership.
I would like to thank you for supporting my involvement in the New Superintendent Induction Program. This three-year program focuses on four pillars of effective District leadership: Teaching and Learning, Building District Capacity, Thinking and Acting Strategically, and Furthering the Development of Leadership Skills. In year one of the program, I will actively be participating in 8 full-day content sessions. I will also be the beneficiary of 8 hours of executive coaching by esteemed former superintendent Dr. Irwin Blumer.
As you are well aware, we participated together in the MASC Governance Workshop facilitated by Dorothy Presser. This was an excellent opportunity for us to learn and grow together as an executive leadership team.
In the coming days, weeks and months, I will be learning about the District while looking through a new lens. I have grown and learned much in my 7 years in Hudson. With my change in roles, it is incumbent upon me to assess the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in our schools from the viewpoint as Superintendent. I hope to provide a written report of what I have learned to the School Committee in January 2015 and how the findings connect to the District and School Improvement Plans. I have completed a first draft of my plan for gathering data. The goals that I have for completing this planning process are listed below.
· Deepen my understanding of the District and our opportunities for growth and development;
· Begin an open, honest and constructive dialogue with all stakeholder groups;
· Build relationships between the District and municipal departments; and
· Initiate a data-based foundation from which to build solid strategic decisions
I have conducted 1:1 meetings with every administrator and several teachers as I conduct my entry process into the role of Superintendent.
I had an opportunity to spend a day completing walkthroughs of each building with Len Belli, Director of Buildings and Grounds. This was an informative day that highlighted the way that the District’s proactive approach to building maintenance has kept our buildings in very good condition. I was also afforded the opportunity to learn the hierarchy of projects that Mr. Belli wishes to undertake that will need the budgetary support of the School Committee.
Personnel and Celebrations
Jessica (Gould) Winders- Athletic Director
Jessica Gould has been appointed as the next Athletic Director of Hudson High School effective July 1, 2014. Currently the Athletic Director of Newbury College in Brookline, MA, Ms. Gould has demonstrated exceptional program leadership at Newbury and in her previous positions as Assistant Athletic Director at Regis College and Assistant Vice President for Sports Management for Special Olympics of Massachusetts. Ms. Gould possesses the skills and experience necessary to build upon the fine tradition that has become Hudson High School Athletics and to bring the program to the next level.
Principal Brian Reagan selected Jessica Gould because of her demonstrated experience as a leader, visionary and change agent. Her philosophy and values align closely with those of Hudson High School.
Jason Webster- Quinn Middle School Principal
Mr. Webster has a passion for middle school, is a strong believer in school community building and staff development, and came highly recommended by his former District as a parent and community-focused educator. He is a great addition to our District administrative team and will excel in providing the leadership necessary to continue the forward momentum of the Quinn Middle School.
Melissa Provost- Farley Elementary School Principal
Melissa Provost is the new C.A. Farley Elementary School Principal. Ms. Provost is a resident of Rochdale and has served in the Leicester school system for the past four years as an Assistant Principal. Ms. Provost served as the Assistant Principal across two elementary schools serving almost 850 students. In this complex and expansive role, Ms. Provost has filled a variety of roles that demonstrate her compassion, reliability, and flexibility. Ms. Provost has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Growth and Development from Anna Maria College, completed requirements for her Administrator Licensure through the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association and received a Master of Education in Elementary Administration from Northeastern University. Ms. Provost is a strong believer in the importance of building relationships with all stakeholders. She models her commitment to learning on a daily basis. Ms. Provost will be an excellent addition to our administrative team and will continue to build upon the forward momentum that the Farley School Community exhibits.
Rachel Scanlon- Farley Assistant Principal
Rachel Scanlon has been an outstanding English Language Arts teacher in the Hudson Public Schools for the past 12 years. She is a published author and all-around educational leader. I am very excited to build our leadership from within. Ms. Scanlon is a resident of Worcester and has a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Urban Schooling in teacher research from Clark University. She received her principal licensure after completing the Merrimack Educational Center’s principal licensure program. I am thrilled that Ms. Scanlon has joined our leadership team.
Erin Goldstein- Director of English Language Learning
Erin Goldstein has assumed the role of Director of English Language Learning. Ms. Goldstein has worked in the Hudson Public Schools as both an ESL Teacher and ESL Coach. Ms. Goldstein is an educator that finds her inspiration in the importance of language in human relationships. She is dedicated to working collaboratively in order to create standards-based curriculum that is responsive to the unique cultural and linguistic needs of students. Ms. Goldstein is currently pursuing doctoral studies at UMASS-Amherst in the area of Language, Literacy and Culture.
Cindy Fensin- Director of Human Resources
Cindy Fensin rejoins our team as Director of Human Resources after a seven year absence where she has been fulfilling that role in the Quabbin Regional School District. Cindy had previously been Hudson’s Human Resource manager, the role currently filled by Kelley DiFolco, prior to her departure. Cindy brings with her twelve years of experience in the complex world of human resources in the public school setting.
· 32 new teachers have been hired across the District. There is a list included in your packet.
· 9 new paraprofessionals have been hired
· 6 new ABA technicians have been hired
Ms. Martin and Ms. Knight have had a presentation proposal accepted for the 2014 Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers (MAST)/Massachusetts Science Education Leadership Association (MSELA) Conference. The theme of the Conference is Supporting Science Educators Facing Change / Supporting Science Leaders Facing Change. The Title of their presentation is: Building the Next Generation of Scientists. Ms. Martin and Ms. Knight will be identified in the program with the following description of their presentation: “This transition to the new Massachusetts Science Frameworks presents us with an excellent opportunity to build teachers' capacity to teach science and scientific thinking. Come hear how elementary teachers in Hudson are learning science and integrating science with literacy and math, putting the joy back into science education.”
Kathy Provost had a piece published on a leading website for educational leaders in the area of literacy. The name of the site is Choice Literacy and Kathy’s article was included under premium content. The tile of Kathy’s piece is, “Finding Purpose in Coaching with Organized Notes”. In this, piece Kathy once again proves herself to be a reflective educator that wants the best for the students and colleagues that she works with. I have included a copy of the piece in your packet.
Our facilities department is functioning at a very high level. This impression was confirmed after combining my seven years of experience in the District with visits to all of the buildings facilitated by Mr. Belli. I have included a list below of the projects that our facilities department has taken on completed over the spring and summer.
· Forest Ave. Roof preparation – In-house team completed all major repairs and modifications for the application of the new restorative membrane placed by contractors under Warrant Article Funding – Outside Labor savings approximately $58,000
· Forest Ave Roof membrane application by contractors
· 18 classrooms and multiple hallways painted
· 9 cork boards converted to whiteboards at HHS
· Stage floor replaced and painted at HHS
· Re-lamping effort with lower wattage bulbs and some elimination, reduced overall energy consumption by 33% at Farley Elementary
· Purchased and installed Maintenance Management software and populated same with all mechanical equipment information to begin a District-wide periodic maintenance program to reduce equipment failures
· Replaced all carpet at QMS
· Installed carpet in all classrooms and library at Mulready
· Installed new window shades at Mulready and Forest Ave. to improve solar performance and cut down on glare in the classrooms
· Completed total heating system flush out to remove old construction sludge in lines and replaced damaged filters and valves to improve system performance at HHS
· Mulready Roof replacement approval by MSBA – the process has started.
The final June 30th carry-forward of School Choice increased $452,790 from the May 19th projection. Our May 19th expense projection was 98.88% accurate showing $35,852,851 in spending. Our actual spending totaled $35,450,373, a $402,478 savings from forecast. The School Choice income was $43,435 more than forecast totaling $668,435. The FY14 Food Services deficit totaled $68,654, a savings of $11,346 from the May forecast. Our School Choice spending increased $4,469 from our May 19 forecast.
What does this mean for our FY15 budget? Our carry-forward into FY15 is $2,181,992 up from our forecasted $1,729,202. When added to our estimates of school choice revenue, School Choice spending, and the anticipated Food Service deficit for next year, the school department will have an estimated $2,706,992 of School Choice to fund the FY15 budget. When the Town recoups the extra 40% of the additional revenue that was received, $198,000, the FY15 budget will have a surplus of $254,790. Ms. Patricia Lange, Director of Finance and Operations, will be present to provide additional details.
Parent and Community Groups
Town Department Heads
I had an enjoyable luncheon with Chief Stevens, Chief Blood and DPW Head Tony Marques along with School Resource Officers Chad Crogan and Roger Downing. This conversation focused on the relationship between the schools and other town departments and student safety. We also discussed the schedule for Readiness Day which will be held on August 26th. I am very appreciative that these gentlemen took time from their busy schedules to educate me and support our schools and students.
Parent Town Meeting 9/16/14
I will be holding my first Parent Town Meeting at Quinn Middle School on Tuesday, September 16th from 6:30-8:30 PM. This will allow me to meet more of our District families and learn how we can continue to grow and learn together as a community.
First Day of School
Our teachers will be returning to school “officially” on August 27th and 28th, though I am not sure that teachers ever truly leave during the summer as is evidenced by the beautiful classrooms and wonderful curriculum work that has happened over the summer. These two days will focus on professional learning, collaboration and resolution of any outstanding building issues.
Our first day of school for students the 2014-2015 school year is Tuesday, September 2nd. Bus routes are posted on the website and families should have received placement/schedule letters.
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 and School Choice numbers so that you can be aware of the amount of fluctuation that may or may not be occurring on a monthly basis.
Special Reports & Presentations
1. School Administration Building (155 Apsley Street) Needs – Len Belli
a. Mr. Belli will provide an update regarding the recent headlines related to the School Administration Building. This is an informational item.
2. Sensory Movie Night – Catherine Kilcoyne
a. Ms. Kilcoyne will provide an update about the Sensory Movie Night that is an outcome of her participation in the A.P.P.L.E. institute with a team of parents. This is an informational item.