March 15, 2019
Last week I wrote about the great things that are happening in our schools. I wrote of the trauma informed lessons at Northeast. I wrote about the effective use of scaffolds being used at Northwest. I wrote of the “family” meetings to support the immediate response to things that occurred that may have potential harm to the community. Finally, I wrote of the tremendous engagement at R.M.S. during Legislative Day.
Well this week, having spent time in many classrooms, I write to share the tremendous evidence of rigorous and relevant lessons that engaged our students. About lessons that were filled with student voice. About lessons that were inclusive of our neediest students. About the amazing amount of collaboration that happens in our schools. About the tremendous conversations I had with students.
This week while visiting Allen St. I had several wonderful conversations with several students. One student articulated that he is excited about the possibility of returning to R.H.S. and possibly attending Stafford and studying Media Arts. During a conversation with three students in another room, they talked about how they really enjoy connecting their learning to real life activities and events. In the gym a basketball game was underway between one of our amazing staff members and two boys which showed the amount of energy (literally) staff puts in to engage students (I hope she won!). Finally, I listened to Director Nicole Carter discuss a “small bump” that had occurred with a student as they shared lunch together.
This week while visiting our Howe Center campus our scholars were deeply engaged in their learning. Students were working on English assignments, reading books, and studying chemistry. Through all content areas they were expertly supported by the great staff of Howe Center. Additionally, one instructor was supporting students as they learned about various sharks through the use of dichotomous graphic organizers. During that lesson one young lady spoke excitedly about a time she swam with sharks (she’s a lot braver than I am!). Finally, I had a conversation, a great conversation, with a student regarding the appropriate use of social media and cell phones. The way he was able to articulate his thoughts and shared how his mother monitors his use (great job mom!).
While at the R.H.S. I was able to observe students collaboratively reviewing for a chemistry exam which engaged each in meaningful conversation. I observed students drawing and painting with obvious passion for the art they were creating. I overhead discussions about feminism, race and diversity. I watched as students were challenged by a math problem and am thankful they didn’t ask me for help. In each room I witnessed the tremendous support teachers were providing students through what were obviously well designed rigorous and relevant learning opportunities.
At Stafford I was in awe as I watched students work on auto body repairs as if they were professionals. I saw students engaged in auto repair. I looked in the window of the salon and was impressed by the learning that our students were involved in. Welding and power mechanics found students once again engaged in rigorous and relevant lessons such as bending metal, cutting sheet metals and working on small motors.
This week I once again witnessed the tremendous talent of our staff that provides the essential lessons, scaffolds and differentiation that allow our students to be so successful. I have to say that our bus drivers, maintenance people and custodians do a heck of a job in keeping our facilities at the highest of standards. Get our students to and from home safely and on-time. And boy are our schools clean.
Thank you for your tremendous commitment to Every Student, Every Day!
Adam Taylor, Superintendent