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Nothing proves the theory of relativity more clearly to me than the brief time it takes for the summer to pass in comparison to other seasons. I hope you have all had a healthy and restful summer. Our 2010-2011 school year routines begin on September 1st. It is only by continuing to work together that we can provide the children of Burlington with as many choices as possible during their school years and beyond.
Our focus in the district this year will continue to be on quality instruction, technology, and communication. We are attempting to improve in each of these areas. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome and essential for our success.
At our elementary schools we will continue to focus on our new schedule and improving how we organize instruction. We are implementing teacher-led curriculum councils so that teachers can make instructional decisions within a district framework that ensures high performance and equity.
Our middle school will continue to work on expanding inclusion across all teams. We are looking to expand curricular opportunities for students during the activity block and after school. Some of these opportunities will include making appropriate Virtual High School (VHS) courses offered at the high school available to middle school students.
Our high school is embarking on a path to establish a one-to-one learning environment in the fall of 2011. This journey will require a great deal of professional and curriculum development in the coming year. BHS continues to work with Bay Path College and Middlesex Community College to expand opportunities for high school students to earn college credits without leaving the building. There are plans to offer our first Web 2.0 class this year.
We are continuing to expand the use of our new student management system. The new web-based system will have a parent portal that will eventually provide access to all sorts of student information – attendance, discipline reports, grades, assignments, lunch balances. We selected the student management system currently in use in Bedford and Lexington. Our purpose is to work together to provide professional development more cost effectively across the three districts.
In addition, we are expanding the use of our “cloud” computing environment for employees and students. The “cloud” will allow us to all upgrade to the same version of software quickly and cost-effectively. We will be migrating to more open-source products for many of our instructional applications. As our use of the “cloud” expands, your children will be able to access the “cloud” from home. Eventually, with some planned infrastructure changes we hope students will be able to bring their own wireless technology from home to use in school.
Finally, we are finishing up the installation of our new school/town infrastructure project. When complete all of our schools will be wireless. The new infrastructure will provide the foundation for the one-to-one learning environment under development. Moreover, a common infrastructure will provide us the opportunity to share applications between all school and town departments.
Communication this year will be particularly critical as we will be completing a new elementary school and starting a major renovation of the middle school. As we have frequently mentioned, opening a new, larger Memorial school will require us to redefine all four elementary attendance zones in town.
The level of parental and community support in Burlington is impressive. Please continue to be involved. As you will hear me repeat, modeling is the best involvement. If you want your children to value learning, then you need to continue to learn with them.
My words from my first year still hold true.
Education is the key to the future success of your children no matter what color of collar they end up wearing as adults. Higher paying, sustainable, secure employment will involve flexibility of thought, problem solving, and complex communication in a world without boundaries. Clearly, our task together as partners in your children’s education is more complex than ever before.
Thank you for your continued support of Burlington Public Schools. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you, the school committee, the community, and the principals, teachers, and staff who work tirelessly on behalf of your children. Please contact me if I can be of assistance at the central office or through my blog at www.burlington.mec.edu.