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SC Meeting: April 26, 2022

At the April 26 School Committee meeting there was an update on Full Day Kindergarten and Eliot School improvement plan, as well as information on preparing for Town Meeting.

School Committee Chair and Subcommittee Updates

Welcome to our newest School Committee member, Alisa Skatrud!

Superintendent's Comments

Needham Public Schools will continue to distribute at home COVID tests to the school community and will continue with the daily attestation form.

Consent Items

  • The School Department received grants for FY2021/22 totaling $6,717,203 for many areas including COVID-19 related intervention support for students, Summer School Expansion & Engagement, National School Lunch Program, and School Nutrition Supply Chain Assistance.

  • Establish Jessica Rose Quinter Memorial Scholarship

  • FY22 Budget Transfers

  • Accept Donations

All items were adopted.

Full Day Kindergarten Update

A recap and update on Full Day Kindergarten was given.

  • 2015-6 – Study

  • 2016-9 – Planning

  • 2019 – Launch

  • 2020 – COVID

  • 2021 – Hybrid learning & maintaining the Core

  • 2022 – Recovery to get back on track

The Full Day Kindergarten program was built around the following core principles:

  • Social emotional development

  • Cognitive development & general knowledge

  • Language & communication development

  • Physical development and well-being

  • Approaches to learning

Core components include interdisciplinary centers (adopted from Boston Public Schools Focus on K2 curriculum), whole group activities, storytelling, Math (pilot program at Eliot) and ELA components.

The Science Curriculum focuses on Community in September-November, Animals & their Needs (shifted from Animals and their Habitats – worms went home to every Kindergartner last year!) in November-February, Construction in February-April and finishes with Earth from April to June. Science curriculum has framework through grades K-12 to help teachers shift from teaching kids about science to teaching them how to do science.

Eliot School Improvement Plan

The Eliot School Improvement Plan reflects the Portrait of a Needham Graduate competencies:

  • Create confident mathematicians who possess a curiosity of how math is embedded in the world around us

  • Develop lifelong readers and writers who can engage in deep discussions about literacy, and can communicate clearly and effectively in both spoken and written form

  • Create and implement structures to support tier 2 and tier 3 intervention in Literacy and Math for students using the Response to Intervention (RTI) or Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model and applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies

  • Develop Eliot students to be community members and empower them to make positive changes

  • Continue to embrace Eliot’s unique culturally diverse community and make every member feel welcomed and essential

  • Create a partnership with families based on trust, strong communication and collaboration

Grades 2 & 3 piloted Illustrative Math (IM), and that will now be adopted by grades K-5 throughout Needham.

IM is a rigorous, coherent curriculum which provides equity across the district. IM has daily warmups, and encourages student led strategies. Professional development will continue to help strengthen their tier 1 instruction.

There is a new strategic approach to creating and implementing structures to support Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions in Literacy and Math for students using the Response to Intervention or Multi-tiered System of Supports model. Next year a new foundational skills literacy block will be created for second grade. A math foundational skills intervention block will also be added to fourth grade.

Eliot students will be encouraged and empowered to make positive changes within their community. Affinity groups were piloted and more will be created and implemented for diverse populations to increase school belonging.

Non-dominant holidays and traditions that represent different cultural groups at Eliot will be celebrated and provide further education to the school community.

Action Item

2022-2023 Elementary, Middle School and High School Handbooks were approved unanimously.

The next School Committee Meeting is May 10, 2022.


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