During the opening of school this year (welcome back convocation), I noted that a vision for Newtown Public Schools must include…

A visible commitment to safe and inclusive schools - student-centered practices, authentic assessment opportunities, and academic pathways that meet students’ interests and prepare them for the work of the future.

A vision must be translated into action. Newtown Public Schools prides itself on having a team of highly experienced and capable educators. However, with the onset of increased expectations for learning, changes in standards including NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), STEM programming, social/emotional practices, mandated standardized testing and graduation requirements, the inclusion of a Director of Teaching and Learning (pending approval in the 2019-20 budget) will further strengthen the administrative team - including teacher leaders and specialists - in their ability to accomplish both short and long-term goals that support students’ academic and social/emotional needs.

A New director of teaching and learning

As a new administrator, the Director of Teaching and Learning will take the time to listen and learn. As would be expected of any new administrator to the Newtown Public Schools, a new Director of Teaching and Learning will meet with the Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent to understand the role and responsibilities, solicit input from stakeholders regarding current instructional practices K-12, review instructional practices in alignment with approved curricula, and develop a plan of action consistent with District goals to improve student learning, growth, and achievement.

This newly created administrative team would continue to work strategically, deliberately, and effectively to support teaching and learning throughout the District. In alignment with the roles and responsibilities of the position, the Director of Teaching and Learning would be responsible for...

  • working with school leaders during their professional learning community (PLC) time and administrative meetings to identify instructional goals and develop specific action steps to meet those goals;
  • conducting observations of classroom instructional practices across the system (K12) and coaching school leadership teams around best practices;
  • consulting with literacy and math specialists to ensure vertical articulation of curriculum, instruction, and assessments, as well as to identify and address instructional inconsistencies, student learning gaps, and other areas in need of improvement;
  • reviewing data from in-house formative and summative assessments, as well as standardized tests, to enhance student learning outcomes for both regular and special education students;
  • collaborating with the Assistant Superintendent to provide professional development for administrators and teachers that supports high-quality and consistent instructional and assessment practices in all grade levels and subject areas;
  • supervising the inclusion of social/emotional learning practices and evaluating the integrity of these practices in collaboration with the District Safe School Climate Committee, Special Education Department, Counseling Department, and school leaders;
  • monitoring and assisting staff and leaders in the implementation of SRBI (Scientific Research-based Interventions) to ensure improved rates of progress leading to student success;
  • supporting the effective use of district-wide digital learning tools in a manner that positively impacts student learning;
  • providing ongoing reports to the Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, and Curriculum & Instruction Committee (BOE) regarding the status of instructional practices and student learning outcomes; and
  • attending local and State round tables and professional workshops to stay current on educational initiatives and broaden opportunities for our district.