Dartmouth Public Schools

Kindness Matters

Dr. Gifford

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.

Big picture

Persuasive Writing - You can make a difference!

Kindergarten students are learning that they can write to make the world better. They are writing signs, poems, letters and songs to ensure that others wash their hands, share equipment, clean up and maybe even remove broccoli from the school menu.

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.

STEM for All

Various programs and classes across the district provide students multiple opportunities to practice and cultivate problem solving and collaboration skills. Dartmouth Public Schools is beginning to vertically align digital literacy and computer science standards. These standards afford students opportunities to integrate core concepts and practices across the curriculum. During both elementary iSTEM clubs and high school robotics classes students had to define how to make a plane fly, evaluate information sources, propose solutions and create a model.


Dartmouth High School

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

Virtual Trips!

How do you further explore the regions of the U.S. beyond reading? Take a Google Road Trip! Grade 4 students at Quinn took a trip around the United States using Google. They pinned their stops and had to attach pictures and explanations of their destinations. They visited National Parks, Famous Landmarks, State Capitals, and more! Just another example of engaging students in relevant experiences.

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.

Professional Development

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.

Education: URI

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