October as “Instruction Month”

Clearly instruction takes place every day and every month.  October, however, is a good opportunity for us to look back and to look forward at the same time.  We receive our MCAS results at the end of September and we are not in the middle of next year’s budget yet.  Ideally, we should take our results – including test scores and other critical factors – to evaluate our efforts from last year and re-dedicate or re-think our efforts looking ahead.

The superintendent’s report during the October 14th school committee meeting will provide a summary of district-level MCAS scores.  In addition to this look backwards, the superintendent’s report will also take time to look forward.  To this end, a part of the meeting will also be dedicated to presenting the district improvement plan.  Besides being state-required, the district improvement plan will help us all move in the same direction and should help us prioritize upcoming budget decisions.

The school committee and district have already seen a draft of the district improvement plan.  Our focus will be in three areas – instruction, technology, and communication.  While there are many district initiatives in each of these areas, the purpose of the plan is to provide a general direction that allows for innovation that both succeeds and fails.  The only real failure is complacency.

The superintendent’s report on October 28th will outline several large initiatives in each area of district improvement.  Instructionally, we will be providing an overview of a Response to Intervention (RTI) instructional model and a classroom walk-through process aimed at evaluating our programs through the eyes of students.  I hope to have more specific information for the school committee regarding our joint technology plans with the town. I am also planning on providing background on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation process.  A common school improvement framework, like NEASC, at the elementary, middle, and high school level will only enhance communication.  The NEASC report may be added to the agenda on October 14th depending on the availability of Mr. Larkin.

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