I can’t believe it is the beginning of December! It seems that only last week we were putting away our beach towels and preparing for a new school year and the arrival of our students.
But now that summer is way behind us and the school year is in full swing, let me share how impressed I am with the level of engagement, work, and learning I have observed this autumn in multiple visits to classrooms throughout the Needham Public Schools. We are fortunate to have talented teachers and administrators promoting challenging learning opportunities for and building strong connections with each one of Needham’s exceptional young people.
Administrators, teachers, and staff are also working hard to use the District’s 2017-18 Goals to improve and strengthen learning for all students. Some of the key activities within each goal area include:
• Implement writing units of study across each elementary school and level.
• Articulate K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) curriculum and experiences; identify K-12 interdisciplinary experiences for all students.
• Expand and strengthen culturally sensitive and inclusive instructional practices, PreK-12.
• Promote the growth of teacher leaders to strengthen their capacity to support professional learning.
• Complete equity audit to ensure all students have equal access to high quality and inclusive programs and instruction.
• Align social & emotional learning curriculum, instruction, and practices to the Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning (CASEL) Framework.
• Administer district survey to measure and understand the impact of SEL practices.
• Ensure Community Service Leaning activities complement and strengthen SEL programs.
• Develop new Technology Strategic Plan.
• Commence construction of the Sunita L. Williams Elementary School and Needham High School expansion.
• Develop plans for Fall 2019 implementation of full day and publicly funded Kindergarten.
• Continue to build on the strong culture of collaboration that empowers teacher voice and responsibility.
The district goals are meant to be a guide and a map and not a list of specific directions; School Improvement Plans and individual educator goals detail the steps and outcomes necessary to support these, and other, key district priorities. We intend to use the goals and actions steps as a way to focus our work and resources in order to improve the learning experience for each child. The goals are ambitious and the outcomes may be imperfect, but we are committed to the work and the opportunity to collaborate to advance teacher, school, and district initiatives.
Later this spring we will update the community on our progress and seek input about how we might improve our efforts to ensure all children experience a rigorous, challenging, and creative education in the Needham Public Schools. To view the complete goals document, check out the district’s website: 2017-18 Needham Public Schools Goals