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Natick Public Schools

NON-PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID NATICK, MA 01760 PERMIT NO. 12 13 East Central Street Natick, MA 01760


Senior Citizen NPS Pass Did you know your local public schools in Natick are alive with music, theatre, sports & more? If you’re a Natick resident, over 62 years of age, you are eligible for a FREE NPS Pass. The NPS Pass gives you access, at no charge, to all Natick Public Schools regular season sports, plays, concerts, and other events held in Natick Public Schools’ facilities.

The Natick Drama Workshop and the Walnut Hill School for the Arts will also honor the NPS Pass for their performances! For more information or to apply for a pass, you can pick up an application in person at Natick Public Schools Central Office, 3rd Floor in Town Hall (13 East Central Street) or Natick Community-Senior Center (117 East Central Street). You can also visit us online and print an application from our website:

Special Education Child Find Notice

504 Child Find Notice

Under federal and state special education regulations, Natick Public Schools has a duty to locate, identify, refer, evaluate and, if eligible, provide a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities who reside in the town of Natick. For parents or guardians of children ages 3-21 years of age, who are suspected of having a disability, and who would like more information, please contact:

Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination in publicly funded activities the Natick Public Schools has a duty to identify refer, evaluate, and if eligible, provide access to public education to student with impairments in its jurisdiction. For additional information about the rights or parents of eligible children, or for answers to any questions you might have about identification, evaluation and placement into Section 504 programs, please contact:

Mr. Timothy Luff Asst. Superintendent for Student Services Natick Public Schools 13 East Central Street Natick, MA 01760 (508)647-6510

Mr. Timothy Luff Asst. Superintendent for Student Services Natick Public Schools 13 East Central Street Natick, MA 01760 (508)647-6510

Natick Public Schools ON THE WEB Stay connected with the Natick Public Schools throughout the year. Visit for the latest news and important information from the Natick Public Schools.

AnnualNovember Newsletter 2016

While you’re on the site: • Sign up for our email newsletters • Learn more about our district and schools • Discover career opoortunities • Stay up-to-date on the latest happenings within the district Follow the conversation on social media!

Natick Public Schools

Table of Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Superintendent’s 4 Natick Schools Cabinet/ School 6 Student Awards.............................................. pg 7 Office of Teaching Learning and Innovation..... pg 8 Office of Student Services............................... pg 9 Natick By The Numbers................................. pg 10 PreSchool News............................................ pg 11 21st Century Classroom at Kennedy Middle School .............................................. pg 12 Natick 13 13 News From Natick High School...................... pg 14 Response to Intervention (RTI) 15 Kennedy Building Project.............................. pg 17 Natick Athletics............................................. pg 18 STEM in the Classroom/ The Arts.................. pg 19 Senior Citizen Pass.................................Back Cover Special Education/504 Child Find Notices.....Back Cover

Contact Us Natick Public Schools 13 East Central Street Natick, MA 01760 508-647-6400 2

November 2016 STEM in the Classroom Watch out, things could get messy! Messy in a good way, of course. Last year the Massachusetts Department of Education adopted new Science standards based on the Next Generation Science Standards. As a result, teacher teams grades K–4 worked together to design and build hands-on, project-based learning opportunities for students to experience science in the classroom. Along with earth, physical, and life science units, each grade level will teach engineering or do a STEM challenge.  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), also known as STEAM (when you include the Arts) is a way of thinking and learning about science content through a problem-solving lens.  

going to help them solve the problem at hand. They need to record their thinking and share their findings with others so everyone can learn from each other. In the intermediate grades, they require all the same skills. However, on the intermediate grade-level, the expectations are extended to push students towards noticing patterns in data, comparing results and creating models to communicate their findings.   Science at the elementary level may appear messy, but it is messy on purpose. High engagement and opportunities to explore real life problems will help light the fire for our future problem solvers of the world.

The skills of inquiry, experimentation, and design are critical to our revised units that are being piloted this year. Students question, observe, and test their hypotheses based on authentic problems they are trying to solve. Working through this process, while focused on a shared question, allows students to collaborate and get creative coming to conclusions in different ways. In the primary grades, we want our students to ask questions and make predictions as they identify the tools are

The Arts The arts allow students to express in a new language, a language that allows artist to engage both intellectually and emotionally: to communicate in ways that traditional language cannot allow.  Through the arts, students learn to communicate in and through specific art forms.  Our Fine and Performing Art students learn to create, to critically problem solve, to collaborate, and to communicate (The four C’s). These skills are not just soft skills they are necessary life and work skills that are invaluable.  The arts are unique in that they strongly offer learning experiences in each of the four C’s.

2015-16 Awards

For a full list of upcoming events this year, please visit

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• • • • • • • • • • • • •

21 Wilson Students Accepted to Eastern District Jr. Festival (2 Jazz Band, 2 Orchestra, 9 Concert Band, 8 Choir) Wilson Winds earns a Silver Medal at 2016 MICCA Concert Festival Wilson Jazz Band earns a Silver Medal at 2016 MAJE Festival Wilson Pops Chorus received an Excellent Rating and finished 1st in their division at Music in the Parks Festival Wilson Jazz Band received an Excellent Rating, finished 1st in their division, and was the #1 Overall MS Jazz Band at Music in the Parks Festival Wilson Winds received a Superior Rating, finished 1st in their division, and was the #1 Overall MS Concert Band at Music in the Parks Festival Wilson Sax Trio earns Silver Medal at MICCA Solo and Ensemble Competition Natick Choir finished 1st and 2nd place in our category at the Music in the Parks Festival in TN this weekend! They also won the 1st place overall award for all high school choirs in participation 19 High School Band and Choir students qualified for districts – three went on to All States High School Band and Choirs won Silver at MICCA 27 High School students became Adobe Dream-

weaver CC certified

Upcoming Events (Dec-Jan) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Nov 25, 26 - NHS Fall Musical – Into the Woods - HS Auditorium 7:30pm Dec. 2- NHS Fall Musical – Into the Woods  - HS Auditorium 7:30pm Dec. 3 – NHS Fall Musical – Into the Woods  - HS Auditorium 3pm Dec. 6 – KMS 5&7 Choir Concert and Art Show – KMS 6:45pm Dec. 8 – KMS 6&8 Choir Concert and Art Show – KMS 6:45pm Dec. 9 – WMS Musical – WMS 7:30pm Dec. 10 – WMS Musical – WMS 7:30pm Dec. 11– WMS Musical – WMS 2pm Dec. 13 – KMS 5&7 Band– KMS 7pm Dec. 15 – KMS 6&8 Band– KMS 7pm Dec. 15 – NHS Choir Concert – UU Wellesley 7pm Dec. 16 - Ben Hem 4th Grade Chorus Concert – Ben Hem 8:30am Dec. 21 – Memorial 4th Grade Chorus Concert – Memorial 9am Dec. 22 – NHS Band Candlelight Concert – NHS 7:30pm Dec. 23 – NHS In School Holiday Concert – NHS 10 am Jan. 9 – Brown Gr. 4 Band Concert – Brown 7:45am Jan 19- WMS 5 Band & Choir Concert – WMS 9am Jan 19- WMS 7&8 Band & Choir Concert – WMS 7pm Jan 20- WMS 6 Band & Choir Concert – WMS 9am Jan 26 – Lilja 4th Grade Chorus – Lilja 8:45am


Natick Public Schools

November 2016 Natick, Let’s Talk

All About Natick Athletics! The Natick Athletics Department is proud of its accomplishments and experiences during the 2015-16 academic year. 25 of our 33 varsity teams qualified for MIAA Postseason Tournament play.  

Our Cheer Team for the first time in Bay State Conference Cheer history won both the Fall and Winter Championships. The Cheer Team went on to win a National Tournament in March. Our Girls’ Basketball Team played in the MA Division 1 State Championship Game in Springfield, MA.  Their MA State Finals appearance was the deepest a Natick High School Girls’ Team Sport had advanced in state tournament play in the history of the school.  

sented Natick well across the conference and commonwealth. Many of our athletes are continuing their athletic pursuits at the collegiate level.

Natick Athletics is fortunate to have the Memorial Artificial Turf Field and Track Facility and Natick High School Gymnasium and Fitness Center to host its athletic programs. Memorial Stadium is home to Natick High School Football, Girls’ and Boys’ Soccer, Field Hockey, Girls’ and Boys’ Lacrosse, and Girls’ and Boys’ Outdoor Track.  Memorial Stadium is also home to many Natick Youth Sports Organizations including Natick Youth Football, Natick Youth Soccer, and Natick Youth Lacrosse.   Natick is proud to host at Memorial Stadium many important community events like American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the Special Olympics.  The Natick High School Gymnasium and Fitness Center is home to Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ and Boys’ Volleyball, Cheer, and Wrestling teams.  The NHS Fitness Center is a state of the art facility and used by all of our students and staff during physical education classes, before and after school, and is a terrific advantage for our athletics teams.   This Fall, Natick Athletics has over 500 NHS student-athletes participating on athletic teams and the Natick Middle Schools – Kennedy and Wilson – have a 150 students participating.  Natick typically is at an athletic participation level of over 40% per season.

Natick Boys’ Indoor and Outdoor 4x400 Relay Team of Lucas Holt, Brian Holihan, Myles Holt, Matt Walak (Spring), and Chris Peabody (Winter) won MA and New England Titles. Our Girls’ Outdoor 4x800 Relay Team of Kelsey Walak, Paige Edwards, Alyssa Bravin, and Grace Connolly were MA Champions.  9th grader Grace Connolly was National Champion in the Spring 1 mile as she won the prestigious New Balance National Freshman 1 mile. Our teams captured Bay State Conference Titles in Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Volleyball, Fall Cheer, Boys’ Ice Hockey, Wrestling, Winter Cheer, and Boys’ Spring Track. Our coaches and athletes repre-


Natick High School Athletics offers 33 Sports during the year and 66 levels of opportunity to play at the 9th grade, junior varsity, and varsity levels. Fall Sports: Co-ed Cheerleading, Boys’ Cross-Country, Girls’ CrossCountry, Field Hockey, Football, Co-ed Golf, Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Swimming, and Girls’ Volleyball. Winter Sports:  Boys’ Alpine Skiing, Girls’ Alpine Skiing, Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Co-ed Cheerleading, Co-ed Gymnastics, Boys’ Ice Hockey, Girls’ Ice Hockey, Boys’ Indoor Track, Girls’ Indoor Track, Boys’ Swimming, and Wrestling. Spring Sports:  Baseball, Boys’ Lacrosse, Girls’ Lacrosse, Boys’ Sailing, Girls’ Sailing, Softball, Boys’ Track, Girls’ Track, Boys’ Tennis, Girls’ Tennis, and Boys’ Volleyball.


November 2016 School Committee Amy Mistrot, Chair Lisa Tabenkin, Vice Chair Paul Laurent, Clerk Dirk Coburn David Mangan Julie McDonough Firkins Reed

Kennedy Building Project


John F. Kennedy Middle School (Kennedy) is one of two middle schools located in the Town of Natick. The Kennedy community seeks to support its students as they develop through their middle years.

program. Invitation into this grant program was determined, partly, following a site visit to Kennedy Middle School by the MSBA.

Kennedy administration has established an environment where the core values of respect, responsibility and results are in the forefront of everything they do. While educating the whole child, they value each child’s individual differences and seek to provide a program of study that will help each student to grow into a responsible citizen prepared to take on the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Constructed in 1965, Kennedy was designed to accommodate enrollment of 554 students. However, the school currently serves 667 students, with enrollment rising annually. After the initial site visit, it was determined that Kennedy is one of the buildings most in need of repairs in the Commonwealth.

Elementary Schools Karen Ghilani Bennett-Hemenway School 508.647.6580

Natick Public Schools

Superintendent’s Message

Kirk Downing Brown School 508.647.6660

Dear Natick Community, It is with great pleasure and excitement that I send to you our annual newsletter. I am extremely proud that the Natick Public Schools continues to be recognized as one of the premier school districts in the state.   This is because our school committee, staff, and community have all done a remarkable job of

Jordan Hoffman Johnson School 508.647.6680 Dr. Heather Smith Lilja School 508.647.6570 Susan Balboni Memorial School 508.647.6590 Middle Schools Andrew Zitoli Kennedy School 508.647.6650

supporting our students through setting high expectations. This school year has presented new opportunities with technology, staffing and newly designed classrooms.  I would like to highlight the following initiatives and accomplishments, which will allow us to do our exceptional job even better:

Teresa Carney Wilson School 508.647.6670

• Newsweek Magazine recognized Natick High School on its list of the top 500 public high schools in America.

• Boston Magazine placed the Natick Public Schools in the top 50 of the best public schools in Massa-

HIgh School

chusetts for 2016.

• Because of careful budgeting, planning, and a commitment by the Town we have been able to main-

Brian Harrigan Natick High School 508.647.6603

PreSchool MaryBeth Kinkead Natick PreSchool 508.647.6583


tain our most valuable asset … our staff. For the 2016 – 2017 school year, we have increased our staff by 17 much-needed educators to address our rapidly rising student population. The 1:1 program for 8th to 12th graders who can take advantage of having their own laptop computer enters its fifth year with eighth graders receiving new Chromebooks and the high school transitioning to MacAirs. Additional online classes have been added to our curriculum offerings. At the elementary level, we enter our third year of having five iPads in every K-4 classroom. Our belief is that technology in the hands of a well-trained teacher can produce unprecedented levels of student achievement. The Brown Elementary School expansion project was completed with great success with six state of the art modular classrooms being added. Each classroom was designed  with advanced technology and 21st century furniture.

Kennedy serves the educational needs of students in grades five through eight. The student population consists of 696 students of diverse ethnic, educational and socio-economic backgrounds. In addition to general education programs, the middle school also provides service to the English Language Learners throughout the district. In January 2016, Natick Public School District was invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant

Additionally, a master building study—completed by Dore and Whittier Architects, Inc.—found that in order to bring the current building up to code (and conduct all necessary repairs) the Town of Natick would be solely responsible for the $20 million cost. However, by working with the MSBA and coordinating this upgrade through its program, Natick will benefit by providing the community with a new school at a fraction of the cost. Natick currently qualifies for a 53% state reimbursement for a project. To learn more about the status of this project, please visit:


November 2016 Students who are not making adequate progress at Tier 2 will receive Tier 3 interventions. Tier 3 interventions include intensive instruction, specific to the student’s highest area(s) of need. Tier 3 should only represent 1-5% of the population. Tier 3 interventions are provided by the classroom teachers as well as specialists in the specific area of skill deficit.

District Goal Setting

The Office of Teaching Learning and Innovation and Student Services have continued to collaborate on this program resulting in the following RTI goal in supporting student achievement and closing the achievement gaps for the year:   By May 2017, implement a systematic, guaranteed and viable RTI system for the district (year three) with a focus on secondary schools (16-17).  • Both middle schools will implement an RTI block and a data team structure.  • Develop RTI intervention blocks with entrance and exit

requirements for achievement.

• Implement the new screening and intervention solutions

identified by the district for use with Identified students.

• Develop extension and enrichment options for students • •

who have mastered core content. Train data teams at middle and high school level and explore intervention systems at NHS with commensurate curriculum supports/intervention products (16-17) Focus MS/NHS reduction of racial, sped and poverty achievement gaps as a means to supporting all types of learners to access Honors and AP high level coursework.

Dr. Nolin and Mr. Luff are truly excited to continue this work throughout this year and into the future. It is our hope that we can break down the walls between general education and special education and have  true educational belief model where all students can achieve at even higher levels.  

• The district will continue to make available a software portal, which allows parents the opportunity

Central Office Administration

Dr. Peter Sanchioni Superintendent 508-647-6500

• • •

• Meeting the needs of all students has always been a priority of Natick Public Schools and now with the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI), Wilson and Kennedy middle schools hope to provide students with even more opportunities for individual learning. The schools have designated blocks of time during the school day called WIN and Flex Time. During this time, students are put into groups and receive the instruction they need to either remediate or extend their content knowledge and academic skills.  The instructional focus depends upon each child’s academic strengths and areas of need.  Groups are determined using teacher recommendations and data from a variety of sources including PARCC scores and content area formative and summative assessments. During this time, students who need


additional academic support receive intervention in an identified skill, and those students who do not will be involved in extension activities. Students also have the opportunity to receive social/emotional supports from the Student Services Department.  Some examples of the interventions are:

• • • • • • •

Leveled Literacy Intervention        Just Words STAR 360 Go Math Intervention Big Ideas Intervention Ten Marks Getting Organized Without Losing It

Some examples of the extension and enrichment units are: • Fantasy • All About Poetry                                             • Computer Science for Beginners • Hero’s Journey • Ozobot STEM • Dystopian Literature • Cities and Their Infrastructure • Global Awareness through Current Events We are extremely committed to all of our students and we are eager to use this time to support them all.

to access their student’s grades online. All teachers have created online web pages in Moodle where parents can become familiar with course, homework and classroom expectations. A full day of professional development was held on November 8th (Election Day). This is the only full day of professional development for our staff. The focus of this training is how to take advantage of current technology to advance student learning. Overall, Natick High School’s PARCC and MCAS scores were very good in 2016. This District Goals are available for review on the district web site. One of the major initiatives for this year is to continue to develop and implement programs to address our students mental health needs. I would like to welcome Ms. Susan Balboni as the new Principal of the Memorial Elementary School.  Mr. Peter Gray  as the new Director of Finance and Ms. Jordan Hoffman as the new Principal of the Johnson Elementary School. In addition, we welcomed 55 outstanding new educators to our district. After many hours of planning and preparations, Natick has implemented all parts of the educator evaluation system. Components being refined this year include applying rating to two District Determined Measures (DDMs) for all certified staff members. DDMs are agreed upon assessment tools used to measure student growth. In addition, student surveys (Grades 3-12) of teachers will be employed for the third time this year. We look forward to use this system as a vehicle to recognize the excellent teaching that exists in the district.  Information about the new system can be found at: As mandated by Massachusetts law, Natick has developed and implemented  a model anti-bullying program. The following web page contains all of Natick’s policies, procedures and forms: I am very pleased to announce that the nationally recognized BOKS, a before-school exercise program, will continue at our elementary and middle schools. With the belief that exercise can make a difference in learning, Natick High School is offering a before-school fitness class. In addition for the fall, both middle schools are offering a before school biking program. The Kennedy Middle Building Project continues to move through the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s process. It is anticipated that the Feasibility Phase will be completed in 2016 - 2017. Feasibility helps determine whether Kennedy should be built new or renovated. If new what is the best location would be and in both instances what would the design look like and the potential cost. With both middle schools severely overcrowded, we are excited to move this project forward. Let’s Talk our school community communication system enters into its second year. Have compliments, questions or concerns about the district use Let’s Talk! from the District website (www.

We are proud of what we have achieved in our classrooms, in our offices, and on our playing fields and stages, knowing our gains have not come from complacency and satisfaction with the status quo.  The Natick Public Schools are what they are because of a dedicated staff that has a common goal, to do what is best for our students. And, we are always looking for new ways to achieve that end goal.

Dr. Anna Nolin Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning & Innovation 508-647-6492 Timothy Luff Assistant Superintendent of Student Services 508-647-6510 Marianne Davis Director of Human Resources 508-647-6495 Peter Gray Director of Finance 508-647-6491 Grace Magley Director of Digital Learning 508-647-6400, x1510

Newsletter Design Rachel Casey

The Natick Public Schools are a Great Place to Learn. Sincerely, Peter Sanchioni, Ph.D. Superintendent


Natick Public Schools

November 2016

NPS Cabinet “Creating a Culture of Collective Responsibility”

Natick School Central Office Administrative Cabinet

Our district’s mission should we choose to accept it: “To educate all students we serve to high levels through high quality instruction”.   The Natick Public Schools chooses to accept this mission!   Our students, all of our students, can achieve at high levels. This is the underlying mindset that we are working on with our faculty throughout this year, and they heard it loud and clear on opening day.  We teamed up with Solution Tree to bring in guest speaker Austin Buffum, who is the coauthor of the book, Simplifying Response to Intervention (Solution Tree, 2012).  Mr. Buffum, a fellow champion of student achievement like our staff,  presented professional development to assist us in the development of a culture of collective responsibility and to also provide tools and strategies to support ALL of our learners.   This professional development area will continue throughout this year as we enter our 3rd year of our Response to Intervention planning in Natick.   

Dr. Peter Sanchioni — Superintendent Dennis Roche — Director of Technology Marianne Davis — Director of Human Resources Grace Magley — Direct of Digital Learning Peter Gray —Director of Finance Dr. Anna Nolin — Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Innovation Christina Maryland — Grants Research and Communications Specialist Tim Luff — Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

Natick School Committee School Committee meetings are broadcast live on the Natick Pegasus Public Access Television - Education Channel (RCN-channel 13, Comcast-channel 8, Verizon-channel 30). Check the broadcast schedule at    School Committee meetings are generally held on the first and third Monday of the month at 7:15 pm. in the School Committee Room, 3rd Floor, Town Hall.  Schedules are subject to change.  Agendas and meeting materials are posted at http://natickschools.novusagenda. com/agendapublic  and meeting minutes are posted to the Natick Public Schools website at  Each meeting has a segment devoted to public participation. The Committee welcomes your attendance.

School Committee Members: Amy Mistrot, Chair Lisa Tabenkin, Vice Chair Paul Laurent, Clerk Dirk Coburn David Mangan Julie McDonough Firkins Reed


Response to Intervention Defined

School Committee Meetings Monday, December 5, 2016 Monday, December 19, 2016 Monday, January 9, 2017 Monday, January 23, 2017 Monday, February 6, 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 Monday, March 6, 2017   

Monday, March 20, 2017 Monday, April 3, 2017 Monday, April 24, 2017 Monday, May 8, 2017 Monday, May 22, 2017 Monday, June 5, 2017 Monday, June 19, 2017

What is RTI? Response-to-Intervention (RTI) is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs. Progress is closely monitored and changes in instruction are based on data collected from ongoing assessments. RTI represents an educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps (NASDSE, 2006).        “RTI is the practice of providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying child-response data to important educational decisions” (Batsche, et al, 2007).  In short, the Natick Schools seeks to further personalize instruction for our students and do so in a more agile and adaptive manner in the coming years.  Our work in assessments, instruction and with data dashboards and

teacher use of data centers around this mission to personalize and adapt the learning to meet the needs of the student for each unit or skill being studied.                    Why is RTI important? RTI eliminates the “wait to fail” situation.  Students receive interventions within the general education setting as needed.   The RTI approach may aid in reducing the number of students referred to special education.        Intervention and enrichment are provided to all students based on need which reduces “idling” time for more advanced learners.             What does RTI look like? Tier 1:  Access to Grade-Level Essentials for All Students        All students receive Tier I interventions in the regular classroom, also know as “Best Practices.” Tier I interventions will be successful with 80- 90% of the student population. Classroom teachers provide Tier I interventions and supports.                     Tier 2:  Additional Time and Support to Meet Grade-Level Essentials Based on academic school-wide screening, students who are not meeting grade level benchmarks and for whom Tier I interventions are not supportive enough will receive Tier 2 interventions.  A team consisting of the classroom teacher, special educators and other necessary staff makes instructional decisions based on an individual student’s performance. The team identifies the academic problem; determines its cause; and then develops, implements, and evaluates a plan to address the problem.  The interventions are flexible and individualized to meet the student’s unique needs.  Students classified as Tier 2 receive the same instruction as students in Tier 1 as well as targeted interventions. Tier 2 represents 5-10% of the population. Tier 2 interventions are provided by the classroom teacher as well as support staff when necessary.                     Tier 3:  Intensive Remediation in Universal Skills


Natick Public Schools

November 2016

News from Natick High School The first month of a new school year is about settling in - learning your schedule and getting to know your teachers; digging into classes and managing your learning; getting involved in extracurriculars and attending social events. Natick High School students have settled in nicely to start the year. We have 1560 students actively involved in all aspects of the high school experience. The building has an energy, excitement and positivity that can be felt across the day. We have terrific students doing great things! From that position of strength and stability, our students have raised two important issues for study, discussion and action. We are delighted to thoughtfully and systematically engage both issues beginning this year. Student Stress: Our students have expressed concern about the stress that they experience in high school. The sources of stress vary widely for our students, from grades and homework to social and family dynamics. To better understand the root causes of student stress and possible solutions, we selected four members of the Senior Class to join Principal Harrigan in an independent study class focused on this issue. The students are leading focus group discussions, reading extensively and visiting other schools who have addressed these issues. The students will be authoring an extensive study of student stress at Natick High School and making a series of recommendations in late Fall. These recommendations will serve as the foundation for school and community discussions and targeted changes. We have taken a few small steps already to alleviate stress, specifically the stress that our 9th graders feel as they transition to high school. We redesigned 9th grade orientation, recruiting 30 Seniors to lead scavenger hunt tours of the building, facilitate small group discussions and play field games with the students. To further promote teamwork and welcome 9th graders to NHS, we hosted a field trip to Hale Reservation in Westwood and Project Adventure in Beverly. The students participated in high and low rope activities led by certified outdoor educators and


small-group discussions and games led by NHS Seniors. It is our hope that these efforts have contributed to the successful transition that we have witnessed from our our 9th graders. Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion: The majority of Natick High School students describe their peers and NHS staff as welcoming, supportive and respectful. In a recent survey of over 1000 students, most reported that they feel “comfortable” or “very comfortable” being themselves at NHS. We view this as an important measure of school climate and essential to the success of our students. This is not the experience for all students however. When asked if they felt comfortable being themselves at Natick High School, some students expressed discomfort, pointing to issues of race and ethnicity, learning needs, sexual orientation and gender identity. While these experiences are certainly not unique to Natick, we are determined to engage them head on. In our increasingly diverse and interconnected world, celebrating diversity and inclusion is important for all of our students. We are beginning a conversation with our students, staff and families around diversity and inclusion. With the help of Jamele Adams, Dean of Students at Brandeis University and a Wilson Middle School parent, we are laying the groundwork and challenging our students to embrace and celebrate who they are. We are delighted to also partner with SPARK Kindness, welcoming the community to contribute in large and small ways. We will be sharing many more details and an invitation to get involved as the year unfolds. With this platform of support, our students have already responded with organic and thoughtful action. For example, the InterFem club hosted a “Celebration of You” event in the NHS Courtyard with art, music, food and discussion promoting diversity, respect and inclusion. We envision many more events just like this to get us talking and celebrating one another.

Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) Award for Academic Excellence Luke Vrotsos

Albert Gerovitch

Luke Vrotsos is a highly independent and self-motivated student. His high school tenure is marked by exceptional academic achievement including honor/high honor roll all terms, induction in the National Honor Society, and the distinction of the Brown University Book Award. Though he is amongst one of the highest achieving students in his graduating class, if not the top performer, he is humble; unvexed by the competitive academic energy of his classmates. His desire to learn is genuine.

Albert is an academic powerhouse. He has taken on many of the most difficult courses that Natick High School has to offer and will finish his high school career having taken over ten Advanced Placement courses — an incredible achievement! In addition to his extensive academic pursuits, Albert is passionate in his role as Team Leader of our highly acclaimed robotics club. He has been a key member of this club over all of his four years of high school. While in college Albert would like to pursue a degree relating to Computer and Cognitive Science.

National School Development Council (NESDEC) Award for Academic Growth and Leadership Theresa Morley-McLaughlin

Sam Cohen

Theresa Morley-McLaughlin represents holistic qualities and values for which she has often been recognized. She is determined, conscientious and possesses a great deal of integrity. Theresa has experienced the high honor of receiving the Harvard Book Award and the Rensselaer Medal in her junior year, as well as a scholarship to WPI through her participation in Math League.

Sam Cohen is three vocations about which he is passionate. He is a talented Gymnast who competes with a club team for a minimum of 14 hours weekly year-round. In his junior year, he was awarded State Champion for his level and age group and 3d place all-around at the Region 6 Championship. He has also found success when competing with the NHS Robotics Team as both a Strategic and Communications leader. He served as the Strategic leader on the 2016 MA State Think Award winning team, which advanced to the East Super Regional competition in Pennsylvania. Sam also serves as co-president of both the NHS Science Bowl Team and the NHS Math Team, where he was the highest scoring member of the NHS team at the 2016 WPI Math Meet.

Her strong leadership skills are evident through her work as the President of Student Council, President of SADD, and Vice President of French Club. Theresa has also devoted a great deal of community service to various organizations, revealing her genuine interest in helping those around her.


Natick Public Schools

November 2016

Office of Teaching, Learning & Innovation We have been busy in the Office of Teaching and Learning and are pleased to share a few achievements and changes that have occurred in the district. Unifying our Reading Literacy Program Teachers and literacy specialists from all schools met over the summer to refine our unified district reading program. Foundational discussions occurred which include that we are a standards-based environment and we will use strong resources from Columbia University’s writing and reading project and contracted with balanced literacy professional development providers, Teachers for Teachers.   As a writing intensive district, we are driven by our writing units and the reading units are meshed around and in service to teaching those units.  Teachers are encouraged to try out new ideas and give feedback on the work.  The hope is to increase the rigor of reading classes and the text complexity of the reading that students do in each of of the grade levels in order to meet the demands of current college and career expectations. STEM Curriculum Update A PK-12 teacher curriculum writing committee was convened to create units from the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) standards released by the Department of Education last December. Currently, various teachers and schools have been piloting newly-written units to fine-tune project-based science and engineering experiences for all students. All new units K-8 will be in play in Fall 2017.  Since the summer of 2015, teachers have been engaged in professional development around new science content not previously included in grade level standards, on the design and engineering process and on project-based, hands-on teaching strategies.  These changes seek to allow students to see the links between disciplines in the sciences and engineering and allow students more authentic, real-life science experiences.   Computer Science The MA Department of Secondary and Elementary Education recently released new computer science and digital literacy standards and an advance team of computer science educators in the district completed an audit of existing courses, revisions of some classes including adding mechanical engineering and AP Computer Science to the high school


offerings. For the middle schools, a phase-in plan was made for this year and next year when the MS schedules are aligned and the subsequent year when grades move to Chromebooks at the middle schools.  The design and engineering/robotics aspect of the 5-12 curriculum will be a focus during the school year 16-17 and identifying strategic K-4 engineering and computer science experiences to be added to the piloted science units. Fine and Performing Arts Curriculum grids for middle school general, choral, instrumental music and art were updated to come into parallel with all other departments.  The group discussed the process for next year’s arts department audit and the Kennedy Center Audit structure has been selected for the process. English Language Learners The ELL Department, which consists of members from the high school (science, math, and literature departments), Kennedy, and Brown, had a successful initial summer meeting to determine our goals for the 2016-2017 school year.  The teachers determined reading and writing common assessments and decided upon goals for district curricular units for the 2016-2017 school year.  Teachers at all three schools (Brown, Kennedy, and the high school) worked during the summer to map curriculum that will connect to the Natick Public schools district goals and that will align to the WIDA (World Class Instructional Design and Assessment Standards) and Massachusetts state standards. Training New Staff Finally, I am pleased to say that we have added a new required graduate training course to be taken by all of our new teachers prior to their obtaining professional status in the Natick School system.  This course, called Teaching, Learning and Innovation in the Natick Schools is a three-credit graduate course which promotes Natick School expectations in teaching, learning, assessment, use of technology, intervention, classroom culture and expectations for eliminating cultural and racial bias in the teaching/learning environment. As always, I am  thrilled to be serving the Natick community and enhancing education for our students. Looking forward to the rest of a great year with you all. Sincerely, Dr. Anna Nolin Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation

Welcome Our New Nurses in School Clinics! Please join us in welcoming these talented nursing professionals to Natick Public Schools!

Jennifer “Jen” Garb-Palumbo MS, RN, joined the health clinic staff at Natick High School. Jen received her undergraduate education at Georgetown University and her graduate degree from Simmons College. Having worked as a school nurse for the past twelve years in a neighboring high school, Jen has the experience of orchestrating a cardiac screening for staff and students.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to our nursing staff.

Erin Brown Sivak MS, RN, is a welcomed addition to the Brown School Community. Erin completed her undergraduate degree at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and received her graduate degree from Northeastern University. Having worked in a variety of clinical settings, Erin brings extensive experience regarding medically fragile and cognitively delayed students. Her clinical knowledge and interpersonal demeanor are a welcomed addition to our nursing team.

Celebrating 50 Years of METCO

Michelle Leblanc BSN, RN, was the nurse at the Natick Preschool for the past 3 years. She has transitioned to the role of the full time Memorial School Nurse in amazing fashion! Michelle received her undergraduate nursing degree from Fitchburg State University. With many years of Pediatric Nursing experience, including working as a triage nurse for a busy Pediatric practice, Michelle is willing to share her creativity and talents with her students while teaching them about health and wellness.

started attending John F. Kennedy Jr. High School and Natick High in September 1969. Today this “pilot program” has evolved into a sustained commitment  and  become a part of the fabric of Natick Public Schools. What started as a pilot program has grown into a larger community that everyone now recognizes and knows as the METCO program.

On August 14th, 1967, the Natick School Committee (consisting of members Paul Ambler, Gail Cosgrove, Minot MacDonald, J.Vincent Saunders, Thomas J. Shea, C.Bernie Siglove and Chairwoman Helen Sellew) voted unanimously to charter a “pilot program” named the “Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities” (METCO) within the Natick Public Schools (NPS). Superintendent Alfred Maffeo, and NPS administration, worked to build the inaugural class of twenty students from Boston who

Currently, Natick Public Schools has fifty-four students, with diverse backgrounds from Boston, enrolled in in the district. These students bring their talents academically, socially or athletically to complement and enhance the community of Natick. The pendulum of time does reveal there is more work required to achieve educational equity in all school districts. However, today, we take the time to acknowledge the successes of the METCO program and its 50th anniversary as a change agent moving us in the right direction.


Natick Public Schools

November 2016 Office of Student Services I am excited to welcome all of you back to another year in the Natick Public Schools. I trust that your child’s year has gotten off to a great start.  As always, I am invigorated about our initiatives and offerings for our special education students here in Natick.   As a district, we are moving into the third year of planning our enhancements for the Response to Intervention process.  We have coordinated a significant amount of professional development for all of our staff in this area.  The primary focus is to help build a culture of collective responsibility, that is, a joint belief that ALL of our students can achieve at high levels.  Dr. Nolin and I are working together in this endeavor and are both excited to see the outcome.

This year, Jen Brenneman’s 5th grade classroom at Kennedy Middle School has been transformed into a 21st century classroom in advance of the reality of a brand new school being built over the next few years. Current research on how children learn has necessitated the need for a different looking classroom from the standpoint of instructional delivery, furniture, and new technologies. “The idea is that digital devices, software, and learning platforms offer a once-unimaginable array of options for tailoring education to each individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, interests and motivations, personal preferences, and optimal pace of learning.”1 Gone are the days of children sitting for long hours while the teacher is the focal point of instruction. Traditional classroom instruction is being replaced with lessons that allow students to collaborate, work independently, or in small groups. The teacher facilitates  instruction while students begin to take ownership over their own learning.  This type of instruction, also known as blended learning, is an educational program in which a student learns, at least in part, through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media. This class will be integrated into a 1:1 setting using Chromebooks. These are usually reserved for our older grades.  A Chromebook is a laptop designed primarily for internet access. Most of what students will do will be part of the Google for Education applications. These reside in “the cloud.” Having their own laptops will enable our fifth grade students to  have access to a learning management system that will help to deliver the content in a deeper and more meaningful way.  The classroom will also have monitors on the wall which will allow students to watch instructional  videos and collaborate on projects together.  The teacher will have easy access to data that will


help to inform her instruction. “Integrating technology with face-to-face teacher time generally produces better academic outcomes than employing either technique alone.” 2 The furniture in this classroom is very different from most classrooms in the Commonwealth.  “Our classroom environments should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.”2 The chairs are comfortable and on wheels, which allow for easier movement and quick switches into groups. Workspaces are equipped with a desk top and hanging whiteboard, which allows for formative assessments (frequent checks for understanding) by the teacher.  The classroom is also fitted with a “U” desk which is used by the teacher to meet with small groups of children and to work on specific and timely needed skills.  The teacher’s desk is also on wheels which enables her to be prescriptive, proactive, and on the move by providing deskside coaching students in a personal way instead of lecturing at the front of the class. The learning environment shifts to support the idea that children are at the center of learning and the onus of the learning is on them with teacher support. 1)Harold, Benjamin. “Technology in Education: An Overview.” Educa-

tion Week, 5 Feb.     2016, Accessed 29 Sept.      2016. 2)Delzer, Kayla. “Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom

Redesign.” Edutopia, George Lukas Educational Foundation, 22 Apr. 2016 Accessed 29 Sept. 2016.

There are significant studies that show that students with selfawareness and self-determination skills achieve both socially and academically at greater levels. Given this information I have developed goals to roll out an initiative with all of our special education and regular education staff around student facilitated/led IEPs.  We are working this year with Dr. Lori Peterson out of the University of Northern Colorado to train our staff to develop and implement a course of action in this area for our students preschool to age 22.  Each school level will be working with Dr. Peterson on a specific strategy for children to learn to develop these skills.  At the elementary level, it may be as simple as a student introducing their parent at an IEP team meeting and describing their interests. At the middle school level it may include a student facilitating part of the meeting.  At the high school level it could involve the student running their entire meeting.  The team goal is to teach these skills to the students to participate in the meeting in a way that focuses the attention on their specific learning needs.   I am truly excited about this opportunity and believe it will go a long way in building student independence and making their programming meaningful to them. In recent years we have made some significant changes in our specialized programs, some with minimal time for preparation of teachers, parents, and students. We realized that we have to do a better job in planning these changes in a more respectful way to all.  To that end, last year we developed a 3-Year Specialized Program plan for our elementary schools in collaboration with our special ed parent advisory council, schools, and administration.  We now have a plan of what programs will be offered, where they will be located and potential students who will be impacted by any changes through the spring of 2019. This projection allows us to better prepare students for transitions, staff with appropriate training, and buildings with needed accommodations.  This year we will be projecting our 4th year

for the elementary level and the 1st three year projections for the middle and high school. I would be remiss if I did not mention our special education parent survey that was completed by more than 490 families during the last school year.  Our ratings, once again, revealed more than a 90% satisfaction rate in the areas of communication, service delivery, and the IEP team process.  The comments provided by families displayed the professionalism and caring of our staff here in the Natick Public Schools.  It is data like this that makes me proud of our team and the families here in Natick. Some other exciting things going on this year: • Extended School Year Services have been expanded to incorporate a recreational component for students if parents wish to have their students extend their days. This year we will evaluate and determine the possible addition of general ed peers to the program • We are piloting an alternative learning model at our high school North Star program. The Summit School model, is an independently driven technology-based curriculum that allows students to work at their own pace with our teachers facilitating the process • We have created two new district wide positions:  An Evaluation Team Leader that will assist in the transition from Middle to High School and an Assistive Technology/ Augmentative Communication Specialist • We were awarded a 3-year extension of our Skills for Success grant through the MetroWest Health Foundation that provides a social worker to help families and students who need home based wraparound services All the best for this school year, Timothy M. Luff Assistant Superintendent Student Services


Natick Public Schools Natick By The Numbers

November 2016 Growth Mindset in PreSchool Exercising a Growth Mindset in preschool helps students expand their problem solving skills, build resilience, and develop a sense of who they are and what they can do now, and in the future. Developing a Growth Mindset helps students embrace challenges and understand that making mistakes is part of learning. When students make a mistake they can be taught to use it as a way to “grown their brain” and learn.

In Mrs. Barry’s preschool class, students and teachers use the “Can Can” to emphasis the importance of the positive language used in class. Students are able to put in a “warm fuzzy” if they use positive language or turn their statements into a positive experience. For example, a student may say, “I can’t zip my coat YET” instead of “I can’t do it” or “I will be able to write my name some day” instead of “I’ll never be able to write my name.” Children also practice using positive self-talk and thinking of things they can do and others they can’t do YET in order for them to feel comfortable using this kind of language.

Adult modeling and encouraging positive language use is essential in developing a Growth Mindset. The power of the word “YET” is limitless. For example, I can’t tie my shoes, YET. I can’t read, YET.  Using the word “Yet” sends a message to keep trying and that children will eventually be able to succeed at something they currently find difficult.  

Mrs. Barry and her assistant teachers, Mrs. Rosenberg and Mrs. Donovan, model talking about times when they faced challenges, such as riding a bike, and had to work really hard to overcome them. This teaching team believes it is important for students to hear about times their teachers faced challenges and demonstrated resiliency. Lastly, these teachers send the message that making mistakes is okay and in fact helps “grow their brains!”  This helps students to  understand that grown-ups makes mistakes too, and that we can learn from them and keep going.

Adults can help by telling stories and talking about obstacles that they have faced and overcome. This helps students to know that everyone faces challenges and can overcome them.

Natick PreSchool Opens Satellite Classroom at Brown School Natick PreSchool has a new classroom housed at Brown School! The PreSchool is excited to partner with Brown School Principal Kirk Downing and staff in providing the same excellence in educational programming that families have become accustomed to at Natick PreSchool. Teachers Susan Earner and Michele Fernandes are piloting this satellite classroom and have expressed enthusiasm about pioneering their work with preschool-age students in the elementary school setting. All of Mrs. Earner’s and Mrs. Fernandes’ students will be Brown School kindergarteners next year!


APPLY FOR ENROLLMENT TO THE NATICK PRESCHOOL! The Natick PreSchool program continues to thrive as evidenced by eager families calling to ask about admission. Children must be three years old by August 31st of the year they will begin preschool in order to apply for enrollment. Enrollment requests are taken beginning November 1 and a lottery will be held by February 1.  Visit the Natick PreSchool website for timely information:


2016 Natick Schools Annual Newsletter  
2016 Natick Schools Annual Newsletter  

Natick Public Schools Annual Newsletter Published in November 2016