Promoting Teaching & Learning @ NHS

Resources to Increase Capacity for Teaching & Learning

June 2016

This newsletter provides additional information and resources on the areas of focus that drive Needham High School's goals and professional development for the year. We believe attention to each of the following five areas provides the best learning environment for all of our students. Comments and feedback are welcome!

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Cultural Proficiency

IDEAS Courses

​If you have never taken an IDEAS (formerly EMI) course, or have not taken one in a while, please consider signing up for one from the list below. Seats are limited and deadlines are looming (technically past), so act quickly if interested. If these don't work with your schedule, please consider a course in the coming year; you'll find them to be very powerful and worthwhile courses. Those of you considering being a mentor in the Castle Program should particularly consider a course to assist in your support of the student mentee.

IDEAS 1: Anti-Racist School Practices to Support the Success of All Students

Wellesley High School - July 18, 20, 25, 27

Strategies for Examining and Addressing the Academic Achievement Gap

Lincoln-Sudbury High School - June 27, 29

Difficult Conversations: Talking About Race and Racism with Students, Colleagues, and Parents/Guardians

Lincoln-Sudbury High School - July 12, 14

Understanding Self-Efficacy: Helping Students Do Their Best Work

EDCO Offices in Bedford - August 16, 18

Resources from Your Colleagues

Many of you have found some terrific resources as we continue our Cultural Proficiency work. Here are a few that you've shared!

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Technology & Innovation

Moving Toward 1:1

As a reminder, below is the text of an email from the principal about where we're headed for the 2016-2017 school year.

As most of you know, the current 7th graders will be joining the high school in the fall of 2017 with three years of learning experience in a 1:1 digital environment. That fall, the freshman class will begin the high school's 1:1 laptop program.

Next year, we have 1:1 laptop pilots occurring at the high school with the Greater Boston Project, Sophomore Academy, and Freshman Academy. The Castle Program and METCO students will also be provided devices.

The Technology & Innovation Committee has drafted the following goals for the 1:1 program at the high school based on the district-wide initiative and our needs at the secondary level:

  1. Assist students in organizational and study strategies

  2. Empower students to take ownership of their own learning

  3. Empower teachers to innovate their practice and share successes and challenges

  4. Educate students about good digital citizenship practices

  5. Provide teachers with professional development opportunities around incorporating technology into teaching and learning

To further assist in preparing for the transition to a 1:1 environment in the fall of 2017, we have the opportunity to facilitate additional
pilots during the 2016-2017 school year. These pilots will allow us to assign a group of devices to a specific teacher or location that can be used with multiple classes and allow us to gather information on how these devices will impact teaching, learning, and daily planning from a teacher's perspective.

We hope to finalize the allocation of these pilot resources before the end of the school year. As we continue to gather information about how each student having a device impacts teaching and learning, we will be providing lots of opportunities for each of us to learn from one another. As always, please see Johnny Cole or Sam Bookston with feedback, questions, and ideas!

Technology Committee Meeting Minutes

Here are links to the minutes from the previous months' meetings. If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please reach out to someone on the tech committee or one of the chairs (Sam Bookston and Johnny Cole).

Additional Resources

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Interdisciplinary Learning

Interdisciplinary Learning Team News

On behalf of the Interdisciplinary Learning Team at the High School, we are pleased to announce that due to the continued generous support of the Needham Education Foundation, we have funded the following interdisciplinary mini-grants for the 2016-2017 school year:

Leaders in Academics, Community Engagement and Service (LACES) developed by Denise Domnarski and Tim Walsh of the Wellness Department.

Sport Psychology developed by Diana Parkhurst of the Wellness Department and Missy Barry of the History and Social Sciences Department.

Social Memory & Memorial Project developed by Ken Brooke and Adam Coggeshall of the History and Social Sciences Department, Damon Burnard of the Fine and Performing Arts Department, and Hans Batra of the Math Department.

Interdisciplinary Writing developed by Kate Cadavieco and Emily Luck of the Science Department, Gabe Swanger and Elaine Priovolos of the History and Social Sciences Department, and Kelsey Bishop and Brian Hermman of the English Department.

Art History Through the Lens of the Haves and Have Nots developed by Lori Whyte of the History and Social Sciences Department and Shireen Yadollahpour of the Fine and Performing Arts Department.

Each mini-grant was funded based on adhering to the following criteria established by the NEF and the NHS Interdisciplinary Learning team:

  • An innovative project/program that makes the learning process more exciting and meaningful, and therefore has a broad and lasting impact on Needham Public School children

  • An innovative project/program that connects school courses, skills, and content for student enrichment

  • An innovative project/program that engages students in bridging the divides between and among content areas while exploring their own strengths and places for development in a collaborative and innovative 21st Century learning environment

  • An innovative project/program that meets a need and adds value to the student learning experience

  • An innovative project/program that aligns with the Common Core, school curriculum maps, and key interdisciplinary skills (collaboration, communication, self-direction, and problem solving)

  • An innovative project/program that is sustainable so that it can be used as a learning opportunity for whole departments and/or school communities

With the addition of the the five grants, we now have over 30 staff members from nearly every department involved in NEF funded Interdisciplinary Projects.

Finally, we are extremely excited to announce the appointment of Jimmy Odierna as Interdisciplinary Learning Specialist for NHS. Jimmy brings twelve years of exceptional teaching and leadership experience, superior communication skills, a collaborative style, and a true coaching mindset which make him the ideal person for the Interdisciplinary Learning Specialist role. His main goals will be to:

  • support and grow interdisciplinary learning (IL) projects for a broad and lasting impact on student learning at Needham High School

  • develop and provide professional development and resources to staff and community members to promote best practices of IL pedagogy

  • engage in regular meetings with teachers, administrators, and community members to promote the success and sustainability of IL initiatives

Thank you for your continued interest and investment in innovative and interdisciplinary teaching and learning that that motivates and inspires our students everyday.
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Committee Minutes

For more information on the committee work in this area, check out this link to the ILT's running notes:

ILT Meeting Minutes

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Social Emotional Learning

Brené Brown on Empathy
Anxiety: Hibernate, Adapt, or Migrate: Summer Beretsky at TEDxWilliamsport