Hello to Everyone!
I hope you have enjoyed a little bit of a warm up over the past few days. We had a short week this week. Sadly, I had no scheduled school visits this week. I missed it! Gladly, I have two site visits scheduled for early next week.
On Tuesday, Jared Stanton (our Director of Business and Finance) and I attended the final of four Mass Association for Regional Schools (MARS) sessions on budgeting. It was very informative and provided us with tools as we develop our budget booklet. We hope this year’s recommended budget booklet will provide a comprehensive picture of budgeting and finance here in Groton-Dunstable.
As a continuation of my entry plan findings series, this Roundup reviews enrollment data. As a product of a partnership with NESDC (New England School Development Council), we had a historical enrollment review conducted. Fluctuations in enrollment occurred over the past ten years. We ranged from 2.3 percent increases to 5.1 percent decreases. Overall, our enrollment is down 10.9 percent from 10 years but our enrollment has gone up for the past two years. Of note, our 9-12 enrollment is at a ten year high with 102 more students than we had ten years ago. Our biggest drop is in grades K-4 with a ten year difference of 310 students since 2004-2005.
I was so excited to participate in a workshop led by Dr. Novak and Dr. Conway around our hiring procedures here in Groton-Dunstable. This workshop came out of a recent leadership activity in which groups of administrators reviewed a draft hiring guide and made suggestions for further review and revisions. A committee of administrators (including Mr. Myerson, Mrs. Mancini, and Mr. Mastrullo) met with us at Prescott to review a draft of the hiring guide and make revisions and recommendations. The intent of this procedural manual is to refine our processes for posting, interviewing, and offering positions to staff.
It was wonderful to meet with the Groton School’s Headmaster, Temba Maqubela, at Prescott this week. Mr. Maqubela and I discussed opportunities for partnership between our district and the Groton School such as shared guest speakers/visitors, global education efforts, and/or community engagement. He will be visiting the high school sometime soon. Although he has visited many public schools across the county, G-DRHS will be the first public school he will visit in Massachusetts. I am excited for him to see all of the amazing things we do here!
This week, I represented the district on the board of the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative. This is our primary special education collaborative and it was good to hear their annual report which demonstrated that they are financially stable and their programs are strong. For me, the best part of the meeting was hearing from their students of the month who have overcome many obstacles to find success and support.
In this week’s Central Office Administrative team meeting we spent the whole 90 minutes reviewing the sections and components of the new budget booklet. This session was led by Jared Stanton who facilitated the newly developed 3 page checklist of responsibilities that outlines the tasks for the development of the budget booklet-based on state exemplars.
We had a very full School Leadership Team meeting. We discussed: Plickers training, formative assessment for administrators, hiring guide finalization, Universal Design for Learning theory, digital portfolios, budget planning, university partnerships, recycling, and other informational items.
Department Update — Curriculum and Instruction
Submitted by Dr. Katie Novak
Thanks to the Groton-Dunstable PD Committee, our professional development offerings this year are just fantastic! In addition to the multipart series, we currently have 32 staff members taking advantage of our PD book club, and our in-service extension opportunities. Up next? We will be offering an additional in-service course this spring, facilitated by Linda Jones, focused on the listening and speaking skills outlined in the new Massachusetts frameworks. Also, this spring and summer, we will be offering three graduate courses, right here at Prescott, through Fitchburg State, for all interested teachers. Topics include mathematics, Universal Design for Learning, and writing.