Saturday, March 31, 2012

Checking in on the District's Goals

Early each spring the administration shares a brief update on the status of district goals and initiatives.  There is so much going on in the Needham Schools, it’s easy to keep moving forward at a high speed without reflecting on where we are going and how we are doing.  However, the update to the School Committee allows us to press pause, step back, and check in to see if we are on track.

Here are some of the highlights we shared with the Committee:

•  Goal One:  Advance Standards Based Learning
-       Implemented new elementary math program (ThinkMath!) in grades 1-5.
-       iPad pilot program underway in 8th grade.
-       Conducting world languages curriculum review.
-       Developing K – 12 common assessments.
-       Published curriculum maps.  For a look, click here:

•  Goal Two:  Develop the Social, Emotional, and Wellness Skills of all Children
-       New elementary and parent programs initiated, including the “Social Thinking Curriculum” and fall middle school parenting conference.
-       Positive Coaching Alliance programs established for student athletes, parents, and coaches.
-       Bullying intervention curriculum developed and implemented in all grades.
-       Bullying prevention and intervention guide distributed throughout schools and community.

•  Goal Three:  Promote Active Citizenship
-       STEAM initiatives involve the growth of robotics teams, including FIRST Tech Challenge and girls’ robotics team at the high school; middle school students work with Stratus Center; and middle school teacher participating in Project LIFT.
-       Each school has identified and implementing at least one school and curriculum based service learning project.
-       District administrators studying cultural proficiency as it relates to all of our students and work in the schools.

•  Goal Four:  Ensure Infrastructure Supports District Values and Learning Goals
-       Pre-feasibility assessment of Mitchell and Hillside Schools underway.
-       Pilot teacher observation and evaluation model underway at Hillside and High Rock Schools.
-       Online payment vendor selected; new financial system software bids being evaluated for a spring award.

These highlights do not represent all of the activity in the district, but they reflect the current status of key elements in the district’s work plan.  Much remains to be accomplished as we collaborate and work together as a professional staff and within the broader community to strengthen teaching and learning in the Needham Schools.  Look for a final report on the 2011-12 goals later in June.

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