Volume 3 - Issue 3 November 1, 2017
Happy November!! Sorry that the Knightly News is a little late this month, but two days with no power in all of our schools and a third day with no power in Central Office has put us a little behind.
So many of you received MCAS scores this week, and I wanted to take a moment to comment on the significant changes that the State made in terms of how they are scoring the “next generation” MCAS tests. As you may have seen, the State changed the performance levels and also significantly raised the bar for each of these levels.
I have equated these changes to moving the goalposts for all students in the State. If we thought we were on the 10 yard line, now we have been moved back to the 25 yard line. The State argues that our students are not adequately prepared for post-secondary education, thus the reason for moving the goalposts. Unfortunately, many of our students actually feel like they received a 15-
yard penalty instead as they are now scoring in a lower category.
I worry about the message this sends to our students. I also feel that the State has not made a strong case for moving the goalposts. As you may have also seen on the back of the MCAS score report, Massachusetts is leading the nation with the best public schools in the United States. Yet, 50 percent of the students across the State are not “meeting expectations”. It feels like a very mixed message.
I ask that you do your best to support your kids through this transition. As happens with all “new” tests, the scores will rise over time and our students’ scores will approve. As I said to our faculty, please do not let this change in policy discourage you in your work with our students (and your children).
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!
DID YOU KNOW?
LYLEF SECOND ANNUAL FUNDRAISING DINNER
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Frick Dining Hall - Brooks School
Tickets: $125 (limited seating)
- 5-course gourmet meal prepared by Chef Katya Salkever
- Fine beer pairings by Sam Adams co-founder Jim Koch
- Service by North Andover Public Schools administrators
- Silent auction and raffle
LYLEF (LIVE YOUR LEARNING EDUCATION FUND)
We believe that all North Andover students should have access to learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom that foster critical 21st Century skills. The Live Your Learning Education Fund supports students who lack financial means to take advantage of these opportunities, both domestic and international. LYLEF opens doors to students, many of whom have not had experiences outside of their own community, who would not be able to participate in these rich educational experiences without financial aid.
UNIFIED BASKETBALL JAMBOREE
North Andover High School hosted a Unified Basketball jamboree on Friday, October 20th. Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition. NAHS has 22 students playing on the team and dozens of others who are supporting behind the scenes.
The team is coached by high school teacher Billy Eagan. Special thank you to our town's Fire Department, Police Department, Pep Band, Cheerleaders and Cross Country program for supporting our team on Friday. The program was brought to our school by student leaders Bella Feng, Melanie Quint, Toby Stern and Rose Fennessey. What an incredible way to celebrate ALL students in our school community.
The Boston Celtics and the Play Ball! Foundation are offering a series of 3 workshops to selected students of the Lawrence and North Andover Public Middle Schools to inspire dialog around the unique role that sports can play in teaching the values of diversity and inclusion and promoting conflict resolution. This unique opportunity has been offered to 30 students from each town. Each meeting has a specific goal; the first was held on October 23 at the Wetherbee School in Lawrence and focused on discussions around scenarios that the kids have experienced involving the issues of diversity and inclusion. The second, subject to weather conditions, is scheduled for January 15, 2018 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Boston Celtics Practice Facility and will center on possible ways to respond and the “power of the bystander”. The third event will take place at the North Andover Middle School on March 19, 2018 and will offer guidance on how to lead a similar conversation with younger kids and include a celebration of their efforts. Each workshop will be attended by members of the Celtics coaching staff and players on the current Celtics Roster.
The workshops are facilitated by Dave Hoffman, Sr. Director, Community Engagement for The Boston Celtics. Dave has a Master's Degree in Sports Leadership from Northeastern's College of Professional Studies and his background includes work as a violence prevention and diversity educator and workshop facilitator at Northeastern University's Sport in Society. Also in attendance will be members of both the Lawrence and North Andover administrative staffs, including Dr. Ann Bergin Hall, Ed.D., Lead Psychologist for the Lawrence Public Schools and Nicole Murphy, Director of Social & Emotional Learning for the North Andover Public Schools. Teams at all levels, all over the world use playbooks to prepare for success on the court, field or ice. By studying and practicing the plays, teams are much more likely to execute when the pressure is on. It is our belief that the same holds true for training middle school students to deal with complex social situations. This is the Play Ball! Playbook project.
For more information please watch the YouTube video to the left.
The North Andover Public Schools, in conjunction with the Stevens Memorial Library, are continuing the tradition of the North Andover Reads program begun last year with our One Author, One Community events with Jacqueline Woodson. This year’s theme is Massachusetts Stories, highlighting books by local authors and about local events. NA Reads 2017 kicked off with Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, hosting a community event and book signing on October 15. Author visits to the schools are planned for the next few weeks, with local author Lois Sargent reading What Makes the United States to our K-2 students, a virtual visit with author Joan Hiatt Harlow (author of Midnight Rider and Joshua’s Song) for grades 3-5, a visit from Sacrifice author Kathleen Benner Duble at the middle school, and discussions of The Lace Reader at the high school.
For adults, Lorene Marx and Courtney Ahearn will be hosting a book club discussion of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism by Megan Marshall at the Stevens-Coolidge Estate on November 1st at 6:30pm. They will also be hosting a book club for elementary students on the book Midnight Rider on Wednesday, November 15th at 4:30pm (location TBD).
For families looking to explore more of the history around our community, the Stevens Memorial Library has free or reduced museum passes to local museums. A list of featured museums can be found on the North Andover Reads website, or by contacting the Stevens Memorial Library.
For more information, please check out the North Andover Reads website: nak12.net/nareads
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND ENDEAVORS
North Andover elementary schools are introducing a new keyboarding program to all of our students this year. Keyboarding Without Tears, created by the same company that started the successful program Handwriting Without Tears, is a web-based curriculum that teaches typing, general computer readiness, digital citizenship and online test prep. Starting in kindergarten, students will be able to practice typing with curriculum-aligned games that are engaging and informative.
We are confident that this program will allow the students of North Andover to develop strong computing skills and digital literacy skills, including the ability to take online tests, use computer functions, express themselves fluently through type, and interact safely in online environments.
Tweet of the Month
Congrats to the 19 NA educators earning professional teacher status and to Ed Martin our HOF honoree. A great night!!
School Committee Update
The November School Committee meeting dates are:
November 16, 2017
November 30, 2017
566 Main Street