Wednesday, October 22, 2014

LMHS Principal Report Oct. 2014

Lee, Massachusetts

Principal’s Report
October 14, 2014

September was a very busy month for us at LMHS.  Let me highlight some of the things that have been going on:

·         On September 12th John Smolenski and some others from Mass Insight (MMSI) came for our AP kickoff assembly for the new school year.  We decided to have the full high school (9-12) in the assembly.  Mr. Smolenski presented some pretty impressive data about the near-exponential growth in the numbers of students from LMHS “passing” the AP tests.  Hopefully you were able to see the article that was in the Berkshire Eagle about this.  Of particular note is our AP Statistics data – the most growth in the entire MMSI program!  AP Stats is taught by Tom McCormack, who received a well-deserved round of applause at the assembly, as did the other teachers and students.  This is the last year of our MMSI support grant; we will be having discussions with them soon about options for the future.  [District goals 1.4, 4.1, 4.6]

·         On September 26th the middle school went on their annual field trip to Mount Greylock for the day.  This trip is an integral part of the character development curriculum in the middle school, and went off without a problem.  [District goals 1.4, 4.2, 5.1]

·         The LYA is again offering their after school study program for middle school students.  While attendance hasn’t been extremely high, there are several students in the room daily getting work done. [District goals 3.1, 4.6]

·         We have received notice from NEASC that our reaccreditation visit will be from Sunday, November 13, 2016 through Wednesday, November 16, 2016.  Before that time, the faculty will engage in the self-study process to analyze how well LMHS meets the standards set by NEASC.  The self-study will begin second semester.

·         Also regarding NEASC, we have set our leadership for the self-study process.  The steering committee, which is responsible for the overall supervision of the entire process, will be co-chaired by Mark Hungate and Amy Consolati, with Tim Mertinooke, Patrick Priester, Amy Verdi, Keri Wade, and me as members.  There are also seven faculty committees where the actual self-study work is completed.  The chairs of those groups will be:
§  Core Values & Beliefs – Robin Curry
§  Curriculum – Jane McEvoy
§  Instruction – Tom McCormack
§  Assessment – Pam Briggs
§  School Culture & Leadership – Mary Verdi
§  School Resources for Learning – Dan Korte
§  Community Resources for Learning – Jen Roosa

·         Chief Roosa has notified us that the School Resource Officer will have regular hours at LMHS this year.  We have set aside one of the small offices in the main office area for the SRO.  Having worked in a school with a regular presence of an SRO, I know that this relationship can be mutually beneficial to the school, police department, and (most importantly) the student body.  [District goal 3.5]

·         Over the course of the last month, I have met with small groups from each grade level at the school.  It has been very rewarding to hear how much our students value LMHS and the feeling of community that is present here.  It has also been helpful to hear what the students view as things that should never change about the school, and what they would like to see done differently.  The senior privilege proposal that will be presented at the October school committee meeting is a direct outgrowth of these conversations.  There will be more to come!

·         I had a meeting with representatives from Berkshire Community College about the possibility of bringing evening adult ESL classes to LMHS.  They were very receptive, as a number of Lee residents currently travel to their Great Barrington location for this now.  We hope to be able to start this up in January.  [District goals 3.4, 3.5, 3.6]

·         I’m happy to report that the state has announced the recipients of the John & Abigail Adams Scholarships for the Class of 2015.  As you may know, these are awarded based upon performance on MCAS testing, and the scholarship is free tuition at any state college or university.  Congratulations to the following recipients:  Sara Benjamin, Michael Bona, Hayley Bowers, Casey Collins, Meghan Cook, Madison Curtin, Madeline Daoust, Michael Demos, Adam Finnegan, Tori Garnish, Gurvinder Kaur, Caleb Kinnaman, Hayley Labshere, Samantha Reynolds, Eva Ricci, Nina Ricci, and William Zeininger.

·         We have obtained a site license which allows us to host public performances of movies from the major Hollywood studios.  One of our hopes for this is to put on a film series for members of the community this fall and winter in the auditorium.  More information coming soon!  [District goal 3.5]

·         Our Student Review Team met for the first time last week.  The purpose of this group is to discuss at-risk students and (hopefully) develop plans to support them as needed.  Because this meeting happened just after first quarter progress reports, we focused upon that data: identifying students who are at academic risk in multiple classes.  [District goals 4.3, 4.6, 5.3]

·         The Student Council put on a very successful Spirit Week from September 22 – 26.  It included the usual dress-up days, a bonfire on Wednesday evening, and a pep rally and “powder puff” football game on Friday afternoon.  Some students have expressed a hope in expanding this in future years to a full-fledged Homecoming Week.

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg Brighenti

LES Principal Report Sept. 2014

LES School Committee Report
Sept. 9, 2014
Our theme has been chosen for the year!  It is the phrase, “Just Keep Swimming”, (stolen from the Disney movie, “Finding Nemo”).  As you know, the State and Federal mandates placed in our laps can be overwhelming.  In the face of NAEYC re-accreditation, the new Massachusetts Kindergarten assessment, Common Core, writing of ELA curriculum, etc., we can all just want to give up some days.  We just need to stick together and keep at it to thrive at LES this year.

Opening Days: We had a very smooth opening to the school year!  There were 347 happy faces to greet us on Day 1. Our new Preschool and Kindergarten families were able to visit and get acclimated before the first days where the children came in alone.  Teachers began with batches of data about their new students so they could “hit the ground running” with ample information for optimal instruction for our kiddos. We had a few scheduling, dismissal time traffic, and bussing glitches that will no doubt work themselves out as the days pass. Today we had a quick, successful exit during our first fire drill. (Guiding Belief: We believe in a safe, supportive, organized, and equitable environment).   

Open House – September 24th: We are looking to make our Open House at LES more community-friendly and less of a stand-and-deliver model.  We are creating family-friendly scavenger hunts at each grade level to introduce/show off the great features of LES. We are excited to be able to demonstrate the technological supports such as IXL math/ELA on-line practice; Accelerated Reader; our new ELMOs and, of course, curricular foci.  (Guiding Belief: We believe the use of technology supports and enhances teaching and learning.) Our hope is that immediate and even extended family and community members will attend and be convinced of the greatness of the programming here and understand the activities that will best support their students’ success this coming year.  (Guiding Belief: We believe in promoting broad-based communication and school-family-community partnerships.)

Respectfully Submitted,

Kate Retzel, Principal