Dartmouth Public Schools

Kindness Matters

Dr. Gifford

With the release of the 2017 MCAS data our district has been casting a critical eye toward our results. While MCAS is just one data point among many, it is still a data point that merits attention; it reveals pockets of success as well as concerns. In response, we are taking steps to create a sense of urgency around those areas needing to be addressed. For example, we have met as a district leadership team to discuss generalities as well as with individual school leaders to discuss particulars specific to each school. Our discussions have included a deep dive into the data and key points. For example, it has been noted that enhanced focus needs to be placed on writing. To that end, our mantra is now writing needs to take place every day, everywhere. Fortunately, we are well on our way to making some of the adjustments needed to become part of our practice. For example, the elementary level has been receiving professional development on the workshop model using Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Reading and Writing for several years. While folks are at different places with regard to expertise, we expect all K-5 classrooms to be fully implementing the workshop model structure and conferencing daily by next year. Also, the middle school is rallying around writing by articulating a common writing SMART Goal. Finally, the middle and high school math teams are committed to their work around unpacking standards, vertical alignment and the clear articulation of pathways to Calculus. These efforts support the establishment of a seamless curriculum and rigorous expectations for all students. They build upon each other and afford smooth transitions from one year to the next. It also supports a collaborative environment through which teachers work to ensure consistency with respect to content, common language, and best practices. We are confident that such efforts will lead to enhanced teaching and learning and ultimately improved assessment results.

Obviously, our intent is to ensure we are providing an optimum learning environment filled with numerous opportunities and pathways to success; as such it is reasonable that we experience disappointment when we don’t achieve to our own expectations. In response, we rise to the challenge because we know that results are possible when our entire system comes together and commits to making the education of children the number one priority; eliminating power struggles, excuses and opinions. How we drive our work and go from good to the highest performing district requires us to place an unrelenting focus on quality instruction that is clearly defined, continue to garner community support, dedicate ourselves to operational excellence, maintain strong instructional leadership and nurture a growth mindset. If we do all of these things, we will inspire and trust each other and be able to do great things together; one of which is overcome MCAS challenges with fortitude!

Superintendent Drop In’s

Over the past few weeks, I have held drop in hours at each school, except the middle school which has been scheduled for December 11th from 11am to 12pm. These times have been scheduled to provide staff with an opportunity to share an idea, voice a concern, ask questions or simply chat. I wanted to thank those who have taken time to drop in! I’ve enjoyed our discussions and getting to know you better. It is my hope that this practice will help support your work further.

Drone Photography!

Amazing Photo taken by our DHS Media Club.
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DMS National Honor Society

On Wednesday, December 6, NJHS members from Dartmouth Middle School visited the Council on Aging on Dartmouth Street.

The group made wreath ornaments and had a wonderful time chatting with the seniors who were present. Pamela LeBlanc, the activity coordinator from the COA, followed up the visit with a postie email reporting that the seniors enjoyed the visit couldn't stop commenting on the students' wonderful manners. The Honor Society looks forward to its future visits.

Cushman Kiddos spreading Kindness!

After Thanksgiving, Cushman School continued to spread good cheer for a happy holiday season! This time they shared their smiles across the globe. Last week our little ones were busy making cards, banners and posters for the troops in Afghanistan. A huge thank you to Norman Gunderson from the Veteran's Advisory Board for getting us involved in this very special project. Coming soon...our "Cushman Carolers" will be heading to the Council on Aging for a holiday concert!
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Math Secondary Pathway Network

Dartmouth is hosting teams of teachers and administrators from the region to share and discuss possible math pathways from middle to high school. This is a result of the release of the revised Massachusetts State Standards in Mathematics in 2017. The standards provide guidance for possible pathways to prepare students to be college and career ready after completing their high school coursework. In these meeting folks are sharing data and challenges that each local community faces in making these decisions. All districts agree that careful consideration must be made before any student enters into accelerated mathematics coursework. The group spent its last meeting reviewing the pros and cons of sample pathways. The overarching goal is to ensure that our pathways are going to be equitable and effective.

Additionally, The Dartmouth Secondary Math Pathway Team which is made up of middle school and high school teachers and administrators, along with district leaders, met this week and will meet again on December 21st. This week the team analyzed the standards shared by the middle and high school and categorized them by level and topics. At the next meeting, the team will continue working with the standards, and continue the discourse on how the middle and high school can seamlessly transition them along the Algebra 1 pathway. We will also be building a model pathway for our district that best meets the needs of our students, staff, and community.

Chromebook Tips!

  • To scroll down pages put 2 fingers on the touch pad and pull down (or up)
  • if you do it with 3 fingers it will show you all the windows you have open and you can toggle between them.


Congratulations to the DHTC for its fantastic performance of ELF. Students from across the district delighted packed audiences for 3 sold out shows. Enough can't be said about the talented students who energetically told this holiday story through song, dance, beautiful settings and brilliant costumes. We look forward to the DHTC's next show!

DMS Dartmouth Strong Day!

Dartmouth Middle School held its 4th Annual Dartmouth Strong Day on the shortened Wednesday before Thanksgiving Break. The theme was Social Media & Cyber Bullying. Students dressed in green, put aside their books and attended 3 different events. Earlier in the month the entire student population took a survey about Social Media. On Dartmouth Strong Day the 8th and 7th Grade RARE Reps presented the results of the surveys to all of the homerooms and showed a power point that dealt with Social Media & Cyber Bullying. In the auditorium grade level homerooms had a lip sync battle with songs that dealt with Cyber Bullying. In the gymnasium homeroom teams played Dartmouth Jeopardy and Minute to Win It. Students wrote Thank You Notes to anyone they would like to show gratitude too. It was a great day for reflection on many levels!!

Potter School Happenings!

​Potter celebrates "P to the 3" culture!!​ Potter’s Positive Plan is a process for creating a safer and more effective school. This process focuses on improving the school’s ability to teach and support positive behavior for all students. The plan includes school-wide, consistent expectations intended for all students and all staff in all settings! We had a "P to the 3" Celebration the day before Thanksgiving. We celebrated students making positive behavioral choices, near perfect attendance, and our high flying MCAS scorers!! A visit from Albuquerque Turkey is an annual treat!

Authentic Writing

Mrs. Doe's fifth grade writers are in the middle of their argument essay unit. They did an amazing job with their first task: analyze articles and scrutinize sources to support their positions on whether chocolate milk should continue to be served in schools. What a fantastic start to the unit!

Staff Spotlight

Name: Lisa Reitzas

School/Postion: Literacy Coach, Joseph Demello Elementary

Hometown: Fall River, Massachusetts

Education: C.A.G.S. School Administration; MBA, Marketing; Master of Arts in Teaching; Reading Certification (all levels)

A long term goal: To teach adults how to read

Role model or someone who has had a great impact on my life: My father and mother. They taught me the importance of being a good listener and not taking anything or anyone for granted.

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be: Florence, Italy. I am fascinated with the Renaissance and would love to learn more!

If I could eat dinner with someone famous, dead or alive, it would be: Comedian George Carlin. He was an incredible, insightful comedian. I am always up for a good laugh.

Favorite leasure time activity: Reading of course!

Favorite movie: Rocky. I love inspirational movies!

Favorite book: My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult. I love all of Picoult’s books. I am currently reading her book, Small Great Things.

My favorite motto or saying: Never let anyone steal your joy.

What I like best about working at DPS: The sense of community and the belief that together we can make great things happen!