Greetings! I hope you are enjoying your summer vacation. I want to provide you with a few important updates and share some of the professional development that our staff is involved with this summer.
First, the members of the interview committee and I interviewed ten candidates for the grade two position. We narrowed the interview pool down to three finalists who then taught a literacy lesson in grade two. After careful consideration of all three finalists, I am pleased to announce that Kelly Adams has been selected for the grade two position. As many of you know may know, this past school year, Kelly worked as a kindergarten assistant in Maureen Silven’s classroom. Maureen’s students were very fortunate as Kelly and Maureen did a significant amount of co-teaching. I had the opportunity to observe Kelly on many occasions as she effectively collaborated and taught with Maureen. Kelly holds all students to high expectations while also fostering a nurturing and positive learning environment. Previous to coming to Thoreau School, Kelly was the lead teacher of a transitional kindergarten classroom at LEAP in Sudbury, MA for three years. Kelly did her student teaching in grades kindergarten and second grade at the Joshua Eaton School in Reading MA. Kelly received her Masters Degree of Education in Early Childhood from Lesley University this past May. Please join me in welcoming Kelly Adams to Thoreau as the new grade two teacher.
Second, All families will receive a letter in mid July indicating who their child’s classroom teacher will be. Also, classroom teachers will be sending a letter to students later in the summer introducing themselves and discussing some of the highlights for the upcoming school year. I want to thank the Thoreau staff for all of their thoughtful work as they balanced classrooms while also carefully considered the best interest of all our students in the placement process. As you can imagine, placing 455 students is not an easy task, but the teachers and I worked collaboratively and did our very best to make sound and careful decisions based on optimal student learning.
Third, parents are cordially invited to join me this summer to discuss ways to improve school communication. We will be meeting in my office on Monday, August 22, from 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM. So far there are approximately 5 parents as well as Sue Howard and Maureen Silven joining me. Everyone is welcome.
In closing, many of our staff members are participating in a variety of professional development opportunities this summer. Listed below are some examples of the educational workshops and activities teachers are attending:
- Technology: Each year, the BLC11 Conference (Building Learning Communities 11) held in Boston, welcomes representatives from around the world along with several prestigious leaders in the field of education. The conference features keynote speakers and over 90 main session workshops. This year, Susan Erickson and Sue Howard, have been asked to present The Blanding Turtles project at the BLC11 Conference. As you may recall, Ms. Erickson’s fourth grade class won second place in the National Disney Planet Challenge this past school year.
- Curriculum Mapping: Teachers are working on a curriculum mapping initiative through Atlas, an online curriculum mapping program. Teachers input lesson plans and units of study through flip charts that align with the state standards for math, literacy, social studies, and science. This is a wonderful way for educators on all grade levels to share resources and lessons across the district.
- Literacy: Teachers are participating in Framing Your Thoughts, literacy curriculum that introduces the fundamentals of writing. Each unit builds upon how the meaning of a thought is expressed. Students use symbols to identify the function of a word’s meaning to create and expand thoughts.
- Math: Teachers are developing additional activities and assessments to help strengthen studentís computation skills and basic math facts. Teachers are also working on writing strategies for answering open response questions.