Thursday, February 5, 2015

LES Principal's Report, February 2015

LES School Committee Report

February 10, 2015

ELA Curriculum Planning:  I will be explaining briefly at the meeting, but our basic ELA Plan is set.  It will take the rest of this year and the next two full school years to complete.  At the heart of it, teachers select 2 to 3 pre-made Model Curriculum Units (from the cache at the State level and also EngageNY, an additional free on-line offering) to use in ’15-’16 and ’16-’17. These units will be implemented systematically according to a guided protocol.  The team will engage in a pre-planning meeting where they tweak the suggested unit according to current program already in place and ensure honest alignment to the Common Core standards in our ELA curriculum.  They will actually implement the unit.  There will be a post-unit analysis of implementation with further tweaking and aligning based on student work and assessment results for the next time it is used.  Department Heads will learn the protocol from Sharon DeCarlo, a DSAC literacy consultant, (at no cost to our district) this coming Professional Development day, April 3 and be guided through the first round of implementation prior to June.  I thank the first grade teachers for having agreed to be the “guinea pig” for the protocol.   Next year, Department Heads will guide grade levels with approximately a half day of professional development prior to the implementation and an additional half day of meeting after.  Approximate cost for materials and professional development days will be explained at the meeting. By June of 2017, teachers at LES will have 4-6 units that have been tweaked according to our needs and will be Common Core based.  (We believe in programs, services, and facilities should be of the highest quality and responsive to the changing needs of our local and global community;  AND high quality professional development is essential for improving educational practice and maximizing student achievement.)

LES & South Berkshire Kids PARENT WORKSHOPS (Please see attached flyer.)

We have hosted two and will host two more parent workshops sponsored by the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant that is provided by the Department of Early Education and Care.  Jessica Maloney is managing the grant under the name South Berkshire Kids.  The events themselves have only been attended by a handful of parents, but the information gathered there will have lasting effects in other areas than a few homes.  For example, following the District Attorney’s staff presentation entitled “Internet Safety”, we became aware of free materials for character development classes here at LES.  The materials were just published in 2014 and have a cyber-based approach to issues that unbelievably so begin in Kindergarten.  Heather Lucy was actually floored by the percent of K students who have daily access to multiple forms of technology outside of school for which they are using for non-academic or communication reason.  They knew what apps, avatars, passwords, downloads, iTunes, and some violent games are from a cyber-alphabet activity! These activities were provided at no cost from Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University. Additionally, connections were made to a nutrition/cooking class schedule for our students through the same Nutrition Center that Ana Maria, the speaker, came from.  (We believe the education of our students is a shared priority and responsibility of the school, community, and family AND in promoting broad-based communication and school-family-community partnerships.)

Bs and Better Club: The following students were named to the Bs and Better Club this past marking period:

5th grade  - Bally Banga, Kyle Benzie, Hayden Boroussa, Lizzy Brown, Cam Freeman, Myah Kollmer, Nathan Loftus, Caroline Maloney, Leah Murphy, Camryn O'Dell, Lilly Patton, Emma Puleri, Emma Puntin, Emilie Resca, Dylan Shepard, Tim Terry, Evan Trombley, Cam Tyer, Rachel Wendling, Elliot Winston.

 6th grade - Makenna Albee, Megan Consolati, Colin Durken, Lauren Durken, Maeve Finnegan, Hope Harrison, Evan Heath, Hannah Heath, Amber MacDowell,  Annie Maloney,  Eli Mertinooke, Rubi Nejaime, Cindy Ni, Christopher Petruscu, Jimmy Purcell, Garrett Roche, Hannah Simmons, Daniel Snow, Asa Stone. (We believe in a standard of excellence throughout the district in all endeavors.)

Can we also work on NO MORE SNOW? Teachers are making the best of these breaks in schedule, but our little guys are SO affected by the disruption to schedule.  Sigh.   (We believe given the opportunity, every student can reach his or her potential.)

Respectfully submitted,

Kate Retzel, LES Principal

LMHS Principal Report-February 2015


Lee, Massachusetts 

Principal’s Report

February 2015

            I am pleased to announce that the following students were named Students of the Month for the corresponding times.  Students of the Month are recognized for going (in some way) “above and beyond” in service to the school or community, while maintaining their academic potential.  Congratulations to:

◊ November – Karen Amaya (high school)
                          Hailey Bartini (middle school)

◊ December – Samantha Reynolds (high school)

                          Emily Molino (middle school)

◊ January – Ryan Ruef (high school)

                     Aliyah Noel (middle school)                                                    [District goal 5.1]

                In cooperation with Berkshire Community College’s Adult Learning Program, we are offering two courses to adult English language learners: Basic Computer Literacy, and Hi-Set Prep.  (The Hi-Set test is the replacement for the GED exam.)  BCC is covering the costs of this pilot program through their existing funding, in hopes that after showing its sustainability, the state will fund the program through adult education grants.  BCC has identified adult learners from Lee who are interested in this opportunity, instead of having to travel to either Great Barrington or Pittsfield.  [District goals 3.2, 3.4, 3.5]

                At our January 30th early release professional development time, faculty members worked on further development of our District Determined Measures (DDMs) – the part of the new evaluation system that focuses on student growth.  While many of our teachers are adapting local assessments for this purpose, some are also utilizing standardized assessments (such as MCAS or our new STAR Reading and STAR Math tests).  Most teachers have submitted final drafts of their DDMs to me, and I’ll be providing feedback on them; the final details are still being worked on by other faculty members.  We are on track for having them completed this spring, and for beginning implementation next fall.  [District goals 4.3, 4.6]

                We held an Advisory period on January 29th.  Different grade levels met in their advisories to work on various topics related to school planning and future goals.  The senior class met with me to begin the conversation about the location of graduation, and the possibility of moving the ceremony back to the school grounds from Tanglewood; it was a very good discussion.  After that meeting, I sent information home to their parents, seeking input and their thoughts on the topic.  Several parents have contacted me directly, and we will continue the conversations as we move forward.  I’m attaching that letter to this report for your information.  This is a very important topic to many in our community, and I believe the conversation about possibly moving the ceremony is valuable no matter what the final decision is. 

                LMHS has been fortunate to receive donations in memory of Thomas E. Smith of the Class of 1970.  After discussions, Mrs. Smith has decided that the funds should be used to purchase additional trophy cases, which will allow us to display many items which we have recently rescued from the basement of the town library, where they have been stored since the Central School closed.  It will be exciting, I think, for the community to once again be able to view these items, which celebrate Lee High School successes from the 1930s through the early 1970’s.  We hope to be able to have the cases installed over February vacation.  We also discovered some musical, dramatic, and academic awards which are now being displayed in the case at the entrance to the auditorium.  We will continue celebrating our past in the near future with the reinstallation of the plaques for named spaces, and the World War II memorial plaque.  Plans are beginning for an open house once everything is in place; we hope for it to be a community-wide event.  [District goals 3.3, 3.5]

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg M. Brighenti