Natick Public Schools
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.