Dartmouth Public Schools
After a particularly cold and dreary May, it appears as though spring has finally sprung. Students and teachers are counting down the days until summer recess and the administrative team is preparing for its annual educational retreat, and believe it or not, the 2018-2019 school year.
As you know one of our top priorities this year has been to increase student access to innovative, rigorous and engaging learning opportunities. Our efforts resulted in the expansion of the Elementary iSTEM clubs, an additional high school robotics team, a middle school FIRST Team, a clear articulation of pathways of study in computer science, engineering and more, development of an elementary science scope and sequence and an increase in technology tools. Also to support this goal, we engaged in professional development in personalized and blended learning with the Highlander Institute.
As luck would have it we received a MA Workforce Skills grant in the amount of $500,000 for the purpose of creating an Innovation Lab. It was certainly a serendipitous moment when I received the call, knowing our focus on innovation was strong. Throughout the year we have purchased state of the art equipment such as a CNC machine, 3-D printers, Z-space computers and an Anatomage machine. These resources will enable us to create a re-imagined learning space for many students in a brand new Innovation Lab which will be situated in a room connected to the high school library.
Plans have been underway to recondition this room and renovations will take place over the summer. The unveiling of the Innovation Lab will be an exciting moment for all of us; and it is just one step among many the district is, and will continue to take, to expand our capacity to immerse students in unique learning experiences!
Our Words Matter
Ponder this quote by
Dr. Haim G. Ginott
I have come to a frightening conclusion.
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanised.
Dr. Haim G. Ginott (1975), Teacher and child: A book for parents and teachers, New York, NY: Macmillan.
Persuasive Writing - You can make a difference!
As the culminating project for their unit on persuasive writing students chose topics that were important to them. They then worked in groups to create a presentation board. Included was all the writing formats they learned throughout the unit including posters, letters, books, and a how-to!
Opening Days for School Year 2018-2019
Believe it or not we are already starting to prepare for SY 18-19 and wanted to give up a heads up on some dates, times and events.
Opening day will be Monday, August 27th. The structure will be the same as in the past years. We will start at DHS with an opening welcome meeting and then be dismissed back to schools.
The All Staff Professional Development Day (grades PK-12) will be Tuesday, August 28th. This year's keynote speaker is Bill Daggett, Founder and Chairman, of International Center for Leadership in Education, please take a moment to read his biography. Dr. Daggett will share a message to further inspire our efforts around innovation, personalized and blending learning and pathways!
After Dr. Daggett speaks, folks will attend professional development sessions. These will align nicely with Bill's talking points as they will focuse on strategies relative to preparing students with 21st century skills. Staff will be able to pick from a list of sessions that focus on embedding technology, creativity, rigor and innovation into teaching and learning.
We will also be showcasing some of the new technologies we have purchased through the district budget and the MA Skills Workforce grant we received last year.
Unique professional development, separate from the teachers, will be planned for the TA's. This will include a mandated training session.
Both days will run 8:30-3:00 for all staff with folks being invited to come by at 8am for coffee, refreshments and networking.
Much more information will be forthcoming as details are worked out but we wanted to be sure everyone knows that all staff will be attending these days. This is a great time to embrace the district's commitment to vertically aligning our practices, nurturing our team and ensuring everyone understands the district vision!
Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Experiences
The Department of Education organized a working group of representatives from public schools and higher education to revise the Guidelines to Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Experiences. The revisions include alignment to the revised 2017 Curriculum Frameworks, one document combining both preschool and kindergarten and the inclusion of activities, evidence of student learning and supportive practices for educators. After the revisions were in place, the Department of Education invited districts to "pilot" or offer feedback on the new document. All Dartmouth preschool and kindergarten staff were invited to participate in a professional development session with Melissa McHenry regarding the revised guidelines. This session provided staff with background related to the earliest beginnings of the document and the thought process behind the new changes. Teachers reviewed the document in grade level teams focusing on the following questions:
- Is the document user friendly?
- Are activities appropriate for preschool and/or kindergarten children?
- Are the activities sensitive to the diverse languages and cultures that may be represented in a classroom/community?
- Do the activities support the inclusion of children with disabilities?
- Do the activities and supportive educator practices help you to understand the standards and how to implement them in a developmentally appropriate way?
- Would you use the document to support learning?
At the end of the working session, staff were asked to complete a survey sharing their thoughts and suggestions with the department of education. Thanks to all who participated in this very important work.
Increasing participation for GIRLS in STEM
STEM for our youngest learners
ALL students across the district had opportunities to design and fly planes.
STEM for All
Sunday June 3rd at 1:00 P.M. at Dartmouth High School
Dartmouth Middle School
Monday, June 18th at 6:00 P.M. at Dartmouth High School
Demello Elementary School
Wednesday, June 13th at 7:00 P.M. at Dartmouth High School
Potter Elementary School
Thursday, June 14th at 6:30 P.M. at Dartmouth High School
Quinn Elementary School
Monday, June 11th at 6:00 P.M. at Dartmouth Middle School
News from DESE - Licensure Office Updates
It’s a busy season for our licensure office, so we’re opening our Licensure Call Center an hour earlier on Wednesdays through June 27. On Wednesdays, the call center is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. On other business days, it’s open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.
In addition, the licensure office is encouraging applicants to upload documents, including official transcripts, directly into their Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) account. Hard copies of documents that are mailed to us can take significantly longer to process. Directions on how to upload documents can be found on our How to Use the ELAR Portal web page. Educators can scan their documents and upload them as a PDF or capture them using any image capturing technology and upload them as a JPEG. If you can’t upload a document to your ELAR account, authorized staff in Massachusetts school districts and approved preparation programs can do so on your behalf.
Dartmouth Public Schools recently concluded the third year of our three year professional development plan. As you know, the professional development plan was developed using the results of a staff survey, evaluation feedback, and a review of student data related to proficiency on grade level standards. The Curriculum Council identified professional development strands from this information. The identified focus areas were: Instructional Technology, High Achievement in the Inclusion Classroom and Social-Emotional Learning. In the last two years, Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners (RETELL): Extending the Learning Strand was added to our offerings.
The same cycle will be used to develop the next professional development plan. We will begin with a staff survey and review of student data to design topics for the next three years. Keep an eye out for a staff Professional Development survey coming to your inbox early next week.
Here is an article about things Teachers Want in Professional Development! http://plpnetwork.com/2015/08/28/10-teachers-professional-development/
The Class of 2018 recently held their Junior Banquet at White's of Westport
Dartmouth Public Schools Staff Spotlight
Name: Laurie Wilkins
School/Postion: Administration Building/Accounts Payable
Hometown: Newport, R.I.
One goal I have achieved in my career so far that I feel most satisfied about: Working hard to pay all vendors in a timely manner
A long term goal I am working toward: Going completely paperless
Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: My mom, she is the strongest person I know.
If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be: Bermuda
If I could eat dinner with someone famous, dead or alive, it would be: Princess Diana
Pet Peeve: Hatred
Favorite leisure time activity: Anything Disney
Favorite movie: The American President
Favorite book: A Walk to Remember
I think the world’s greatest invention is: The cell phone, I would be completely lost without mine!
My favorite motto or saying: Hakuna Matata - Means "no worries"
What I like best about working at DPS: lasting relationships I have made