Volume 3 - Issue 5 January 1, 2018
We hope you enjoyed a nice holiday with friends and family. We are all excited for 2018 in the North Andover Public Schools. Between opening the new Early Childhood Complex and our continuing work on the Strategic Plan, we are looking forward to a great year in our schools.
As you know, one of the major changes in 2018 will be that Mr. Gregg Gilligan will become the next Superintendent of Schools starting in July. As a result, we need to hire a new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. The job has already been posted, and our plan is to have someone hired by the end of March. To that end, we are putting together a search committee for this position and are looking for two parents and one community member to serve on the search committee. If you interested in serving on this committee, please email Cindy Parent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We anticipate strong interest in serving on the committee, so we ask that you provide a brief explanation of why you are interested in serving. During the second round of the process in March, each of the finalists will be visiting the district for a day. At that point, we will invite parents to come in and meet each of the finalists and provide feedback. We will provide more information on this part of the process in February. We also are excited to share with you that North Andover has been asked by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to be part of the Leading the Nation celebration this spring, which highlights the fact that Massachusetts public schools are recognized as the best in our nation. As a part of our efforts, we have created a new part of our website focused on how North Andover is Leading the Nation. I encourage you to take a look at our new website, and as always we welcome any feedback. Happy New Year!!
CURRICULUM CORNER - Bedtime Math
(Available in Book form or App)
We hope you have had an opportunity to view the math resources page under Academics on our District's website. Bedtime Math is one of the resources highlighted, and is an exciting new tool to get your children comfortable with math.
Just as reading at home teaches kids to love books, introducing math at home should teach kids to love math, too. Bedtime Math is designed for children ages 3 to 9, and the goal is to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives, as beloved as the bedtime story. There are 3 levels of challenge: Wee Ones, Little Kids, and Big Kids, and each chapter kicks off with a mischief-making topic: wild pets, exploding food, etc. The answers appear conveniently on every page and the back of the book list the math equation underlying each and every math problem so you can track
the math behind the thinking. The book is available in book stores and at Amazon, or with just a few clicks, you can download the Bedtime Math app for iPhone/iPad on the App Store or for Android on Google Play. “The delivery mechanics—computer or paper—don't matter, but the key is talking to your child about math,” says Sian Beilock, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. A research team from the University of Chicago has found that first graders who used the Bedtime Math app at home with their families gained an additional three months of math skills compared to first graders who did a comparable reading app, and the impact on kids whose parents are anxious about math was even greater. Bedtime Math gets kids "jazzed" about numbers!
NAMS Debate/Civics Society
Tour of Town Hall led by Joyce Bradshaw, Town Clerk
Students meet with Superintendent Price and Assistant Superintendent Gilligan at the Central Office
The NAMS Debate/ Civics Society is a new club offered at NAMS which started this fall through the After-Hours Program and will continue as a part of NAPS Community Programs. Its purpose is to gather middle schoolers who are interested in debating current topics in a more formal setting than the classroom. It also focuses on making civics come alive through engaging role-playing activities that allow the students to apply higher-order thinking skills to real-life problems and situations within their very own community.
To end the fall session, the students took two civics field trips within North Andover that allowed them to see how local government works as well as more fully understand the challenges and issues that make it such a meaningful job. The first trip was a comprehensive tour of the newly renovated Town Hall led by Town Clerk, Joyce Bradshaw. The students learned such practical things as how to register to vote and apply for a passport. The students also had the opportunity to meet the Town Solicitor, the Town Manager and other important participants in the running of the Town of North Andover.
The second trip involved a quick walk to the Superintendent's Office for a meeting in the School Committee conference room to discuss setting educational policy with Dr. Jennifer Price, Superintendent of Schools and two of
the Assistant Superintendents, Mr. Greg Gilligan and Mr. James Mealey. In addition to an open and honest Q and A session, the students heard testimonials from school leaders on how they use the skills of debate in their jobs on a daily basis. They also heard the realities of calling a snow day, opening a new kindergarten building, and servicing all of students within the North Andover Public Schools. All of this was deeply engaging and interactive for all involved in the activity.
This club has been organized by social studies teacher, Patrick McGravey, who has been teaching NAMS students civics and history in the eighth grade since 1996 and was looking for a chance to provide more opportunities to engage middle school students and open them up to the excitement and challenges of government. The NAMS Debate/Civics Society will be taking a trip into Boston over the holiday break to explore its rich history and will have trips planned for both February and April vacations through North Andover’s Community Programs. In addition, there will be a two-week Debate/Civics/ History camp in July of 2018 to continue these meaningful and educational experiences for the students of NAMS. Please email Mr. McGravey at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to have your child be a part of this newly formed club at NAMS.
Social Emotional Learning by Nikki Murphy, Director
What is Social Emotional Learning?
Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Social and emotional learning identifies five core competencies that educate hearts, inspire minds, and help people navigate the world more effectively. Those competencies are social awareness, self-management, self-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
SEL in North Andover
Imagine a school where the leaders consistently model good practices, proactively train staff, welcome parents as partners, focus on relationships (student-student, adult-student, adult-adult), use positive discipline policies, and invest time and resources in and out of the
classroom. Research shows that social and emotional learning (SEL) helps create and is most effective in safe and supportive learning environments like these.
Using CASEL’s School Theory of Action framework and resources, the SEL action plan will include the following:
- Develop a vision that prioritizes academic, social, and emotional learning.
- Conduct an SEL-related resources and needs assessment to inform goals for schoolwide SEL.
- Design and implement effective professional learning programs to build internal capacity for academic, social, and emotional learning.
- Adopt and implement evidence-based programs for academic, social, and emotional learning across all grades.
- Integrate SEL at all three levels of school functioning (curriculum and Instruction, school-wide practices and policies, family and community partnerships).
- Establish processes to continuously improve academic, social, and emotional learning through inquiry and data collection.
Tweet of the Month
Now this is what I call tag teaming to learn the job of Supt. of Schools!
School Committee Update
The January School Committee meeting dates are:
January 4, 2018 January 18, 2018 7:00 p.m.
January 25, 2018 - starts at 6 p.m.
Conference Room 566 Main Street