October 8, 2018
Happening This Week
- School Picture Day
Wednesday, October 10
- Safe Routes to School Day
- Bus Evacuation Drill (All students will participate in this annual drill to practice exiting a bus in an emergency).
- 3:30-4:30 Estabrook School Council Agenda posted at: https://www.lexingtonma.gov/home/events/107323
“My” Vision for A School
During Back to School Night, I was chatting with parents in the library. The conversation turned more serious when a parent asked me, “So, what are your priorities for the school?” At last week’s Principal’s Coffee, another parent asked me to describe my vision for the school.
I have been mulling over these questions. Do I have a vision for a school? Absolutely. Do I believe a principal plays an important role in shaping the vision and setting priorities for the school? Having worked as a principal for 27 years, an emphatic yes. Should I be the only one who Is setting priorities and vision for the school? My answer here is a resounding no.
I believe a school’s vision should be one that is shared by the members of the community. As parents, teachers, and administrators, we each bring a personal vision to the school. Together, our personal visions help shape a shared vision for the school.
With that context, it is certainly fair to ask me to share my personal vision for a school.
My vision begins with building strong relationships with and a caring sense of community for children, staff and families. This sense of community includes an environment in which all members are respected and similarities and differences are acknowledged and appreciated. Effective communication and outreach should support involvement by families. I believe in the power of school-wide traditions to foster a sense of belonging.
A second part of my vision is to maintain a focus on children first with a commitment to working with diverse learners. Curriculum should be adapted to meet the needs of children. Instruction needs to take into account the varied learning needs of students. I am a strong proponent of providing inclusive learning environments for all students. And I care deeply about diversity and equity work.
A third part of my vision is about the importance of cultivating a culture of reflective practice through sustained professional learning for faculty. I believe the adults in a school must be learning and growing in order for children to do the same. I believe in working with teachers to create an intellectually stimulating environment that will keep us engaged and satisfied in our work.
Finally, my vision for a school involves shared and sustainable leadership. A school is too complex an institution to be about one person’s leadership. I plan to work collaboratively with fellow administrators Christina Gavin and Jenn Beaulac, our faculty Leadership Team, the PTO and the School Council in supporting shared and sustainable leadership at Estabrook.
In a future column, I will respond to the question from Back to School Night and share some thoughts on our priorities for this school year.
MCAS Results to Be Mailed Home This Week
At the end of the week, parents of fourth and fifth grade students will be mailed a report showing their child’s performance on last spring’s MCAS testing. The report provides one indicator of how your child is performing in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Parents of fourth graders should keep in mind that last year was the first time your child took an MCAS test.
The results will be reported by achievement level and scaled scores:
Achievement Level Scaled Score
Exceeding Expectations 530-560
Meeting Expectations 500-529
Partially Meeting Expectations 470-499
Not Meeting Expectations 440-469
In addition, students who have taken the MCAS for at least two years will receive a growth percentile. (40-60 is considered acceptable growth). The report will also provide information about how your child performed compared to other students at Estabrook, in Lexington, and across the state.
If you’d like to see a sample report, here is a link to an MCAS Parent Report Template. Parents who speak other languages will also receive a template in their native language.
In addition to MCAS results, you should consider what your child’s teachers tell you about their day-to-day performance in class (during parent conferences in Fall and Spring and on the standards-based report card in January and June). You should also consider how your child performs on classroom and districts assessments (e.g. unit assessments in math, on-demand writing tasks, etc.).
Another important point for international families was raised during last week’s English Language Learner parent breakfast. Unlike some other countries, MCAS tests do not affect whether your child is promoted or what secondary program they will attend. (Only the tenth grade MCAS “counts’ in some way - students must pass it in order to graduate from high school.) Rather, MCAS is intended to provide parents and teachers information about how a student is doing relative to the state standards and what areas may need additional attention. We also analyze school-wide results to identify trends, such as how subgroups are performing and what curriculum standards may need more attention.
Should you have any questions about your child’s MCAS results, please feel free to contact me, Assistant Principal Christina Gavin or Special Education ETS Jenn Beaulac, or your child's teacher.
Around the School Last Week
A Smile Is the Same in Every Language
A full house at last week's ELL Parent Coffee.
School Counselor Matthew Willis Begins First Grade Lessons
First grade students learned to be the “Boss of Your Brain” by telling the Whatif Monster to get lost when you’re worried.
It’s Friday! Time for Assistant Principal Christina Gavin to recognize this week’s Estabees. Nice job being safe, responsible, respectful & kind!