School opened smoothly because of the hard work and planning of the entire team. Facilities are looking great and a number of summer projects have been successfully completed on time, from the replacement of part of the façade at CRES to the new roofline at CRMS and the refinished entrance at CHRHS. Bus schedules ran smoothly in spite of a number of new students who were enrolled in the final weeks and days before school opened. CRES enrollment was up a net of 28 students and CHRHS enrollment was up a net of 21 students on the opening day. This does not tell the whole story, because we lost a number of students and had more students transfer in than leave. The number of transient students who we have was also high last year. When we track student progress over time this year and in coming years, we need to start looking at cohorts of student who have remained in our schools over time in order to make the most accurate assessment of the quality of programs. We also have to look at how we quickly get to know new students and make sure that their transition to our schools is smooth.
New staff members have been hired over the past months, and we are providing more training and orientation for them so that they know the expectations and goals of our schools. Teachers who are new to the profession will meet once a month, have opportunities to observe other classrooms, and a chance to work together using the Marzano comprehensive framework that was adopted by the respective Boards last year, the Art and Science of Teaching. This framework was adopted for three reasons: it is a comprehensive framework of the best research about education, it provides a common language for teachers to use when discussing instruction, and it allows us to collaborate to solve problems that arise as we have the purpose of educating all students to high levels of achievement.
A steering committee of teachers and administrators have started working together to bring the Art and Science of Teaching to full fruition in each of the classrooms. This committee worked for one day with David Livingston, an author and senior researcher at Marzano Research Associates. Members of the steering committee will be piloting a self-assessment that details 41 elements of this framework. Members will meet periodically and discuss their work with the framework. A new practice, called instructional rounds, will be piloted. This practice allows teams of teachers to observe a classroom to learn from the teacher who is being observed. The observation is followed by a discussion of strategies that were seen.
All teachers, Ed techs, and administrators had a day of professional development with David Livingston on August 28. All teachers will be involved in two goals for the year: 1. Identifying for students specific instructional goals that are rigorous and relevant, and 2. Becoming completely familiar with the comprehensive framework of the Art and Science of Teaching.
Administrators have identified a third goal for themselves, to work collaboratively with administrators of Union # 69 for the benefit of students.
K-6 teachers had two days of professional development using the latest edition of the Everyday Math program. This work was done in collaboration with Union # 69. Teachers of math in grades 7 and 8 had training in the new Glencoe program that is being used.
Many teachers at the high school were involved in summer curriculum work to align their instruction with the Common Core and new framework for science, the Nextgen framework.
The work that teachers at CRES did in the area of math has paid off as the school is now identified as a “Continuous Improvement Priority Status CIPS 1 on hold” school because of improvement in NECAP scores last year. Both CRES and CHRHS will remain in school improvement for the coming year, work that we would be engaged in regardless of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. Maine is applying for a waiver for the No Child Left Behind Act provisions, and we will keep you up to date as that unfolds.
There are several pieces of legislation the last session that will require new policies. Those are being prepared for the policy committee this month and first reading for the Boards next month. Policy books for the schools have been updated over the summer, and policy books for the Policy Committee and chairpersons are in progress. A number of existing policies should be updated this year based upon recommendations from MSMA (Maine School Management Association). We expect to have all current policies posted on the school website by the middle of September.
It is also necessary to update the Comprehensive Education Plan for each school. School approval by the Department of Education is based upon these plans, and the plan needs to be approved by each Board. Russ Holden is leading this work over the next month.
Russell and I have met to determine who will take the lead on various aspects of leadership. That document was sent to you previously.
Work will also be needed to make sure that job descriptions are up to date and in place for each employee.
We will be developing a new technology plan for this year under the leadership of Bob Ianuzzi. We were allowed a one-year plan for this school year, and it will be important to develop a new three-year plan to set the direction of the use of technology in the district. This technology plan will come to the Boards for approval.
The most important work of setting a strategic direction has been put in motion through collaborative work with MSAD # 28, Five Town CSD, and Union # 69 Boards and administrators. Having a clear direction that is agreed upon by all parties is an essential step in effectively collaborating, efficiently operating each district as an equal partner toward a clear common vision, and maintaining an effective succession of leadership toward the goal of excellence for all students.