Is it August already? I hope everyone is enjoying their time away this summer. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and feeling the rush of energy that accompanies the arrival of students. Our three areas of focus this year will continue to be instruction, technology, and communication.
You will be arriving to some changes. While I obviously believe the changes are positive and urgently needed, I am mindful that changes – even positive ones – can cause anxiety. Whenever possible, those impacted by changes have been involved in making the change.
The first change is that this letter will not be mailed. By posting the letter, we are able to provide more information and save on postage. If anyone would like a paper copy, we will print them on an as needed basis.
In regards to a few of the changes in instruction, we are implementing a new elementary schedule and eventually some flexible, tiered reading groups (RTI plan). In addition, each team at Marshall Simonds will have a special education teacher this year. Our hope is for expanded inclusion and accommodation delivery primarily in the classroom. At the high school, we will continue to expand dual enrollment opportunities, on-line learning choices. The high school is also initiating a new transition program.
In regards to Technology, we are implementing a new student management system that will provide more efficient information at the desktop, as well as an electronic grade-book, a parent portal, and the ability for BHS students to sign up for courses on line. In addition, we are implementing a “cloud” network – The Burlington Link or BLINK Network. This single sign-on network will create a desktop profile for all users – administrators, support staff, teachers, and students. The purpose of this “cloud” network is to upgrade all of us onto the same version of software and to allow access to this desktop profile from any computer at any time from any place. Ultimately, with this “cloud” network in a wireless environment, students will be able to take their portable technology from home into school. Finally, we purchased classroom hardware. Each school will be receiving additional classroom set-ups – smartboard, laptop, LCD projector (for technology distribution plan click on active link above). With all of these new products coming on line, professional development will be critical.
In regards to communication, please continue to invite me to your classrooms. The more I understand about what you need to be successful, the better the central office can be a resource to you. Obviously, we will continue to work with BCAT, and use other technological resources to keep everyone in the loop (i.e. blogs, Twitter, etc).
Our journey together this year begins on August 31st. We will spend a brief amount of time welcoming our new colleagues and singing. Coffee and snacks will be served in the high school cafeteria at 7:30 AM. From the high school, faculty and staff should report to their respective buildings. Tuesday, September 1st will be our first professional development day. The schedule and details will be posted (details linked below).
Thank you in advance for all of your efforts and enjoy the rest of your summer.