The District Dispatch
Entering the Final Stretch...Let's Finish Strong!
Hello to All,
As we begin the month of June 2019, I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for making a difference in the lives of our Middleborough Public School students. The 2018-2019 school year has been a successful one and it is due, in a large part, to your collective efforts.
As we close out the year, I would ask that you “Finish Strong” and maintain as much rigor and academic integrity as possible in your classrooms. The perception of the “general public” is that the month of June is not a productive one for teaching and learning! Let us all strive to alter that perception in all of our Middleborough Schools!
We all know that “focus”, as it were, can be difficult to maintain when (and if?) much warmer temperatures arrive and everyone’s minds turn to the two months ahead……… but it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to maintain an active learning environment! Seven percent of the school year remains before us! Try something new to motivate your students; experiment with new genres of writing or literature, work on some STEM areas, create a relay race in PE class involving the solving of equations or fractions on a number line, complete some hands-on activities in mathematics and literature, compare and contrast the Magna Carta with the Mayflower Compact and the U.S. Constitution, conduct research-based debates on interesting topics from our past, our present and our future (what was that Lincoln/Douglas debate all about?, what was the real cause of____________ Conflict or War?)! Keeping their minds (and hands) engaged in worthwhile tasks is the key to finishing strong!
Once again, thanks for all that you do! Please know that I am very much looking forward to presenting Certificates of Recognition for folks who were nominated for developing “Cultures of Excellence” in your school, classroom or assignment. This will occur in the next week and a half or so. These “Faculty and Staff Spotlights” have been great this year and it is our intent to keep the “mojo” going into next year with these presentations/recognitions. For me, this gives me a chance to gain additional insight to some of the wonderful things that go on in the Middleborough Public Schools for every student, in every classroom, every day!
Brian E. Lynch
Copyright and Fair Use
Dramatic news making the rounds on social media recently involved the Houston Independent School District which was found to repeatedly violate federal copyright laws. The district is now responsible for paying $9.2 Million in damages!
Copyright law is complicated but we, in education, have an obligation to understand it and comply with it. This list of articles can be used to expand your knowledge of copyright laws and how they apply to our profession:
Copyright 101 - An article from Educational Leadership that shares facts about copyrights, four tests for Fair Use, and how copyrights apply to various media.
The Educator's Guide to Copyright and Fair Use - This 5-part article from Education World covers copyrights, Fair Use, copyright law and new technology, applying Fair Use to new technology, and district liability.
Copyright and Primary Sources - This page from the Library of Congress contains a Q&A section as well as a section with classroom examples.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
We have all made it May! The rain has even started to subside. It’s mile 26, the bottom of the 9th, end of the 3rd period, last of the 4th quarter. No question that this is the toughest part of the year; everyone is tired and rightfully so. I believe this is where grit comes in. If you haven’t already checked out Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk on grit, there’s no better time than the present.
We ask that our kids “finish strong” and give it their all in the final weeks of the year. As educators we know that is a tall order but modeling that perseverance, that strength, and yes that grit is critical for our students to see. That visible struggle, that exposed vulnerability, is where growth occurs. Be patient with yourselves and reach out if you need help. Your colleagues and administration are all here to help. Whatever you do, listen to the mustn’ts.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ― Shel Silverstein
Mathematics Ambassador Program
Last Spring the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) STEM Education Center to create a Mathematics Ambassador Program. Vicki Miles, mathematics teacher and department head from Middleborough High School, was selected to serve as one of 20 ambassadors across the Commonwealth. The primary work of the ambassadors was to create high quality and engaging math performance tasks.
According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), “Effective mathematics teaching uses tasks as one way to motivate student learning and help students build new mathematical knowledge through problems solving.” (NCTM, 2014, p. 17)
Over the past year, a team of Middleborough teachers have been collaborating to develop high quality math tasks. This work was completed through a series of professional development sessions held at Nichols Middle School. Eight math tasks, all piloted in Middleborough classrooms and analyzed using student work, will soon be published on the DESE website. The eight tasks, authored by Middleborough teachers are aligned to the 2017 MA Mathematics Framework, grades 3 through 8.
The Middleborough Math Task Development Team includes teachers: Meghan Adams, Amy Anderson, Sam Dormady, Kristy Goldman, Lori LeBlanc, Keeley Lombardi, Mike Luppino, Vicki Miles, Ashley Reardon, Alexa Stebbins, and Steph Wooley. The teacher-authors measured their tasks against a “High Quality Math Task Rubric”, to ensure that the tasks: (1) are clearly aligned to standards, (2) require the use of the mathematical practices, (3) promote the use of multiple representations, (4) include a relevant real world context, (5) are accessible to all levels, (6) involve high cognitive demand, (7) promote meaning-making, and (8) involve inquiry/ exploration. On June 11th, a grade 7 Middleborough math task will be presented at a state-wide STEM Task Institute, to be held in Worcester at WPI. Middleborough will also be featured in sharing about the approach taken for this work.
Let’s all take a moment to thank and congratulate our Math Task Development Team! They have done a wonderful job and we are really proud of their efforts to learn and lead in our district and across the State!
NCTM. (2014). Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. Reston, VA: NCTM.