The November 13th School Committee meeting included awards for two accomplished high school seniors, a discussion of the MCAS results, and an update on the Portrait of a Needham Graduate process.
Anna Friedman and Ethan Lee, both seniors at NHS, were awarded The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Certificate of Academic Excellence. These students exemplify our core value around scholarship. These accomplished students discussed their interests, achievements and passions with the school committee and commented on how they have extended their learning at and outside of NHS.
Overall achievement results were consistent with last year in ELA and Science, with a slight dip in Math. Growth in both ELA and Math was strong for students at all grade levels. Needham is rated as “Meeting Targets” and had the sixth highest score of 20 comparable districts.
A new accountability system is in place for the “Next Generation MCAS,” currently in its second year. Differences include a focus on raising performance of the lowest 25% of students, regardless of their proficiency, and measurement of the percentage of 11th and 12th graders completing advanced coursework, not merely passing 10th grade MCAS. There is also an attendance indicator, which requires that students attend class 90% of the time in order to meet the criteria.
For subgroups, growth is where we want it to be, even if achievement is not where we want. The achievement gap increased for students with disabilities and students with high needs. The subgroup data underscores the equity gap that the district is looking at, in order to meet the needs of all students.
Overall, Needham is one of the only districts meeting targets (for achievement and growth).
Portrait of a Needham Graduate update
SC Chair Aaron Pressman and SC member Andrea Longo-Carter presented on the Portrait of a Needham Graduate project to develop a shared vision for Needham’s students. They shared details of the committee formation, process, and learnings. A list of competencies and their definitions were shared with SC, and feedback was solicited. SC shared thoughts on the need for understanding the scientific method, how to discern what is real or not, how we teach students to questions, detect bias, and access information. The connection of the vision to students who pursue vocational education or alternate paths was also discussed, and the desire to be inclusive of all students was emphasized.
The committee voted unanimously on two action items:
Approve Superintendent’s 2018-2019 Goals
Approve Creation of JV2 Boys Hockey Team and Fees
SC is hosting an open house on 11/17 from 9 to10:30am at NHS. Students will lead tours of the new classroom spaces, renovated spaces and gym. This is great opportunity to meet SC and see the new space.