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SC Meeting: November 20, 2018

At the 11/20 School Committee meeting, SC heard presentations on the Hillside School Improvement Plan, NEF Fall Grants, and an update from the REAL Coalition.

Hillside School Improvement Plan

Principal Michael Kascak and teachers Evan Brown and Liz Hitron presented the Hillside School Improvement Plan. The plan consist of three main goals:

  • Goal #1: Create and improve through regular review, a Continuum of Learning that matches the needs of all learners.

  • Goal #2: Collaborate with our school constituencies, other Needham Schools and other outside institutions to develop and promote student leadership and expanded learning opportunities.

  • Goal #3: Continue to run a safe and successful school program in an aging facility that has inadequate interior and exterior space while preparing to move into the new Sunita Williams School.

Specific objectives in support of these goals which were highlighted included: new and revised assessments for literacy and math, professional development around racial equity, change of the Collaborative Teacher Training Program from Lesley University to Curry College, and progress on the construction of the new Sunita Williams School. More details can be found in the SC packet.

Needham Education Foundation (NEF) Fall Grants

This fall the NEF awarded 16 grants for a total of $67,553. The NEF has changed the grant process, accepting applications three times per year for either small or large grants.

NEF Fall Grants:

  • Making Space Art Installation (NHS)

  • Cognition and Instruction in STEM – Professional Development (NHS)

  • Gregory Katsoulis Author Visit (NHS)

  • Differentiated Learning Spaces in the Library (NHS)

  • The Sky’s the Limit: Drones (NHS)

  • Rubik’s Cube Mosaics (NHS)

  • World War Women: The Unsung Heroines of WWII Performance (NHS)

  • Examined Life: Greek Studies in the Schools Fellowship (High Rock)

  • Full STEAM Ahead: Enhancing Computational Thinking & Spatial Reasoning for All Learners Through Mathematical Play (Broadmeadow)

  • Ukes for Broadmeadow

  • Global Citizens of Broadmeadow: Flag Display

  • Vox Books – Books That Talk! (Hillside)

  • Yoga for Every Learner (Mitchell)

  • The Walking Classroom: WalkKit Podcast Devices (Eliot)

  • Sons of Serendip Music Residency (Pollard and NHS)

REAL Coalition Update

Mary Lammi, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, gave a brief update on the work of the REAL (Race Equity Access Leadership) Coalition. The Coalition was formed last year and is made up of teachers, administrators, parents, and student. The group identified six goal areas, and has formed subcommittees for each area.

  1. Curriculum & Instruction

  2. Professional Learning

  3. Policy & Practices

  4. Culture & Climate

  5. Employment Practices

  6. Communication & Community Engagement

The work of the Coalition is shifting this year from setting goals to taking action. One example of their progress is district-wide professional development event "Racial Equity in Action" that took place on November 21, attended by all NPS staff. Author Beverly Daniel Tatum was the keynote speaker, and then staff split out into over 50 different workshops. Details of the coalition's work in each of the six areas can be found in the SC packet.

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