Tuesday, October 20, 2015

update on Lawrence

Backup is here
Sagan: "welcome back, year 4"
Riley: "has it been four years?"
high quality academics, high quality outside activities, hard work matters
MCAS: trending up, still need to work on ELA
dropout rate cut in half since 2011
offering 130 new full year full day preK seats for eligible 4 year olds
"moving towards one larger high school with smaller personalized learning environments"
"gradual release of responsibility"
"teach kids to walk the line but then forge their own path"
9th grade academies: "reactive work" on working on dropouts
felt like 9th graders needed a more guided program, more social-emotional supports, a real focus on academics
"won't have to be as reactive" in upper grades
upper academies being planned this year
school year for 9th grade is expanded; start earlier; interesting electives: Crossfit, orchestra, mindfulness and mediation ("which I was personally a little skeptical about" but has received rave reviews)
Playball announcement: $100,000 to expand sports offerings in middle school
talk a lot about test scores, but offering outside opportunities really important
taskforce for special education for it to get "done right and done better"
teacher leadership teams at school level; teachers voted in at school level
working with an outside firm to create a facilities masters' plan
"this is a serious issue in Lawrence" as they have aging buildings and a booming population
Fryer: math and ELA "mirror nearly every reform effort I've seen in American"
Riley: accelerate timeline on language acquisition (I don't think this is possible)
"pound that language into kids"
"try to accelerate that pace...something everyone struggles with in second language learners"
"English is something that we continue to work on and needs help"
tutoring "still going on" but in mathmatics (in response to Q from Fryer about MATCH) and in house
possibly more important to focus on English
Fryer "good models for MATCH tutoring in English"
Stewart interested in data on staffing longevity
Riley: "hired virtually no new principals this year"
had replaced 50% of principals this year; pretty happy with principals we have now
teachers "saw more turnover the first few years...going back down"
Stewart: student support and family engagement?
Riley: "there's a lot of things going on"
expanded Family Resource Center: "have seen amazing results in this area"
if you come to PTO Presidents' Council, meet on a bimontly basis
field days on weekends with virtually every parent showing up
Riley: model where parents are not only welcome but expected to be there
Stewart: co-construtive model for parents as well
Sagan suggests making that part of the next updated
Noyce: how much of need for preK are you filling now?
Riley: waiting for demographic report
Chester: acknowledge the "terrific leadership that Jeff has provided...Lawrence kids in a much better place than they were four or five years ago"
have just renewed tunaround plan
"takes decades for a district" to fail, can't turnaround right away
students with a significant proportion of students whose first language isn't language
highlight work of DESE in shepherding turnaround effort across the state
at the end of this month, bringing together Holyoke, Lawrence, Springfield, "what can we learn from others and from each other"

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