Here are my top five New Year’s resolutions for 2024:
Increase parent and community awareness about district programs and academic excellence. Share additional examples of how the Portrait of a Needham Graduate competencies are coming alive in the classroom for all students; provide more opportunities for all students to access advanced coursework and participate in interdisciplinary learning, like 9IP; highlight and celebrate student excellence in the NPS.
Double down on efforts to ensure equity and inclusion are the foundation upon which all of our work is designed and built. Use the REAL Coalition to: encourage more student voice; provide training around restorative practices that are an alternative to traditional discipline; continue to recruit, hire, and retain a dynamic, talented, and diverse staff; create policies and programs that support all learners and ensure that older students from all backgrounds and faiths have thoughtful and challenging discussions around race, bias, war, and conflict without feeling ostracized or marginalized.
Share district efforts to promote social and emotional learning. Discuss the development of a framework to support all students’ social and emotional wellbeing and mental health; provide additional parent and student school counseling information and updates.
Ask Needham Town Meeting to fund a feasibility study to renovate and expand Pollard. Using the School Master Plan for context and background, explain to the community that the Massachusetts School Building Authority has invited Needham into the pipeline to discuss a possible renovation and expansion of Pollard into a 6-8 middle school. In advance of the May ‘24 Town Meeting provide sufficient information to Town Meeting Members so they may make an informed decision to fund the feasibility study recommended by the Town Manager in the Fiscal Year 2025 Capital Improvement Plan.
Stay healthy! In order to tackle these resolutions and balance that important work with family and health, I have to stay true to my fitness schedule, eat right, put the phone down, and make sure my wife and I head out for weekend winter walks and hikes on local trails. Not sure who told me this, but it makes sense: “Do something that is good for you so that, in turn, you can do good for others.”