Sunday, December 18, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
For more examples for families and students, please visit the State Ethics website: http://www.mass.gov/ethics/gifts-to-public-school-teachers-and-staff.html
Sunday, November 27, 2011
- All comments/questions should be directed to the School Committee Chair.
- During Public Comment, speakers will be limited to three minutes; comments should focus on school policy matters rather than on administrative matters.
- Individuals should not expect an immediate reply from the Committee, since this is a time for questions or concerns to be heard and not the time for decisions to be made. Generally, the Administration will return to the next meeting with a response or the item is place on the Agenda for a following meeting for further discussion.
The Lexington School Committee endeavors to discharge our responsibilities properly and welcomes comments that would serve to improve School Committee procedures.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Additional meetings are scheduled when needed. These meetings serve a much broader purpose than the business meetings. Usually they allow opportunities for the School Committee to explore specific issues in greater detail, to listen to more extensive presentations and public input on topics, and/or to engage in School Committee development activities. Public forums on key topics may also be scheduled.
School Committee agendas and other public documents may be found on the Lexington Public Schools' website. The Public is invited to speak at School Committee meetings during the Public Comments portion of the meeting and, as the Chair and time allows, throughout the meeting after members of the School Committee and the Administration have had an opportunity to express their views.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The LPS administrative staff consists of Dr. Paul B. Ash, Superintendent of Schools; Ms. Carol A. Pilarski, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development; Ms. Mary Ellen Dunn, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business; Mr. Robert. J. Harris, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources; Ms. Linda Chase, Director of Student Services; and Mr. Tom Plati, Director of Educational Technology and Assessment.
For more about the Lexington Public Schools, please visit the LPS website: http://lps.lexingtonma.org/Page/1
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Lexington School Committee is composed of five citizens elected to serve overlapping terms of three years each. At the end of a term, a Committee Member wishing to continue unsalaried service to the community must be re-elected to an additional three-year term. State law does not limit the number of terms a member may serve. Voting for School Committee positions takes place at the regular Annual Town Elections in March. the list of Committee members and the expiration of their term is:
Sunday, October 23, 2011
For more about School Governance: http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/advisory/cm1115gov.html
Sunday, October 16, 2011
National PTA collaborated with education experts, parents, and others to create a set of Guides for families to understand Common Core, strengthen home-school communications, and support childrens' success. You may access them here.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Our Council was comprised of four parents whose children attended the school; each parent served overlapping terms of two years each with two parents elected each year. Three school staff members were elected by the staff. One parent was nominated as Co-Chair and the principal served as the other Co-Chair and also appointed one member from the community at large.
Most often we met monthly in a conference room at the school, before the start of the school day, and for about an hour. The issues we took up impacted the annual school improvement plan: the impact of class size on student performance; school safety and discipline; the school handbook; enhancing family engagement; enhancing the school and grounds and more.
The law requires Councils to:
- hold meetings in a public place and allow anyone in attendance to audio and/or video record the proceedings as long as it is not disruptive to the meeting;
- post a notice of each meeting with the city or town clerk and in a public place at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.
- keep minutes indicating the date, time, place, members present and absent, and actions taken;
- adhere to a quorum, which is to be defined as a majority of the Council members.
- setting district wide performance standards and educational policies that building-level School Improvement Plans (SIP) must take into account;
- reviewing and approving building-level SIP;
- approving a representative process for the election of parent and teacher members of the Council.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Know, understand, and connect to purpose, first. Context shifts so it is important to be clear about one's sense of purpose. Purpose relates to one's values.
As Heifetz, Grashow, & Linsky put it: Clarifying the values that orient your life and work and identifying larger purposes to which you might commit are courageous acts. You have to choose among competing, legitimate purposes, sacrificing many in the service of one or a few. In doing so, you make a statement about what you are willing to die for, and, therefore, what you are willing to live for. ~ from The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
Sunday, September 4, 2011
- Pull, don't push. Draw out questions and help students translate that into insight and understanding. Education is not about the transmission of knowledge, it's about empowering each student to reconcile a question he or she is facing--and can't help but seek out an answer.
- Create from relevance. This has always been the case -- capture their attention and imagination. Engage kids in ways that have relevance to them and discuss them, or, better yet, work to address them, instead of relying on explanation alone.
- Stop calling them "soft" skills. Talents such as creativity, collaboration, communication, empathy, and adaptability are not just nice to have; they're the core capabilities of a 21st-century global economy facing complex challenges.
- Allow for variation. Permit mass customization, both in the system and the classroom. Too often, equality in education is treated as sameness; the truth is that everyone is starting from a different place and going to a different place.
- No more sage on stage. Engaged learning can't always happen in neat rows and so must engage the learner using multiple modes. Everyone needs to feel, experience, and build. In this interactive environment, the role of the teacher is transformed from the expert to a kind of enabling coach. Teachers step away from the front of the room and find a place to engage with their learners as a "guide on the side".
- Teachers are designers. Let them create. Build an environment where teachers are actively engaged in learning by doing. Shift the conversation from prescriptive rules to permissive guidance.
- Build a learning community. Learning doesn't happen in the child's mind alone. It happens through the social interactions with other kids and teachers, parents, the community, and the world at large. Schools must find new ways to engage parents and build local and national partnerships. This doesn't just benefit the child--it brings new resources and knowledge to the entire enterprise.
- Be an anthropologist, not an archaeologist. An archaeologist seeks to understand the past by investigating its relics and digging for the truth of what was. An anthropologist studies people to understand their values, needs, and desires. In order to design new solutions for the future, we must understand what people care about and design for that.
- Incubate the future. What if our K-12 schools took on the big challenges that we're facing today? Through topics like global warming, transportation, waste management, health care, poverty, and even education, children may see their role in creating this world through examination and creating solutions. It's not about finding the right answer, it's about being in a place where we learn ambition, involvement, responsibility, not to mention science, math, and literature.
- Change the discourse. If you want to drive new behavior, you have to measure new things. Skills such as creativity and collaboration can't be measured on a bubble chart. We need to create new assessments that help us understand and talk about the developmental progress of 21st century skills. This is not just about measuring outcomes, but also measuring process. We need formative assessments that are just as important as numeric ones. And here's the trick: we can't just have the measures - - we actually have to value them.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In education policy, though, wherever you mark the start, the shift is non-linear and not without challenges. The new educational emphasis is on collaboration, accountability, teamwork. Does it require trust? Definitely. Trust takes support, experience, and time. The shift is from teaching to learning. Gone are the quaint days of the one-room school house. That is different than today. Different does not mean deficient. The shift requires using multiple strategies, sourcing media, creating original work developed in collaboration with others sharing the same goals for all students to learn and grow.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
- A clear, concise description of the basic requirements that apply to PACs;
- the key components to address in meeting those requirements;
- and some options for practices, activities, and resources that might assist a PAC in making positive contributions to special education in their community.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
When the Stamp Act crisis developed in 1765, signaling the revolutionary era, Patriot-activists were quick to respond. Patriot men referred to themselves as “sons of liberty” and Patriot women as “daughters of liberty”. Spurred by the revolutionary cause, all were drawn to political action.
Women re-enactors tell of their participation in boycotts on finer British textiles, dressing their parts in “homespun” linen, wool, or “linsey-woolsey”. The constant spinning, knitting, and sewing, they say, kept the hands busy and the mind free. In their sewing or spinning circles, conversation would naturally turn to political and economic matters.
In her book Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts asserts that revolutionary women did what women do in remarkable circumstances: they accompanied soldiers to camp; served as spies; organized boycotts of British goods; and defended their homesteads alone. And all the while they bore and buried and reared children. Then, the Revolutionary War was over and there was a country to raise!
How indebted I am to our Founding Mothers and Daughters of Liberty -- indeed, to all women who have elevated and strengthened the level of political thought and civic engagement throughout our democratic history.
Even now, as rancorous and uncivil discourse in Congress over the size of government threatens to quash us, one thing is certain: government is what we agree to do together, whether we are talking about revenue, laws, highways, or public services.
This Patriot's Day, let's be more like our foremothers and forefathers and renew a spirit of revolutionary activism that draws us into political action. After all, government is all of us—sons and daughters of an ever-emerging nation.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
s members of PTA we have a unified voice that tells our legislators what is important to us.
Yes, family engagement is about building community and partnering with our child's teachers, and yes, it is also about packing healthy lunches and monitoring screen time and supporting children's activities - - but that's not the whole picture.
We all need to work together - beyond the classroom and school - to help our schools get the resources they need to fulfill the promise that public education holds for every child.
Albert Einstein is credited with saying, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Advocacy is like an ever-flowing river, one that you can step into at any place, at any time. And whether you choose to dip your toe in at the edge of the calm shore, or wade all the way into the deep, your presence has already changed the course.
Now, we must make our voices heard for our children, all of our voices together, in one voice; one voice for children, one voice for children in schools, at town meetings and yes, even at the state house.
Our children deserve no less.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Listening to her, I was struck anew by the powerful responsibility we all share to ensure people receive the health care they need and provide children, families, and seniors with the essential human services they depend upon. Across Massachusetts schools lack resources for critical programs they need to reduce gaps and overcome barriers to learning that threaten the quality of education for every child and leave our most vulnerable children behind.
Our state and local governments, with the federal government as a critical third partner, also share responsibility for assuring all children have equitable access to high-quality public education and health care. Budgets are tight but government requirements, and children's needs, are growing; this is most pronounced at the intersection of children's education and health care needs. Engaging families on this issue is vital: when children are healthy, school attendance improves and children learn better.
Here we are, already in the second decade of the 21st century. as we navigate challenges before us, let us continue to look for opportunities. Our public health infrastructure throughout the country must be a higher priority and we need to upgrade state and local health departments. Secretary Sebelius has answered President Obama's call to break down walls in government to serve the American people more effectively. For example, she has teamed up with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to raise the quality of early childhood education programs.
Founded in 1897, PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the country. One of PTA's founding principles is its dedication to engaging parents in the education of their children. Since its inception, PTA has provided workshops and resources on healthy child development to parent groups and community leaders. From the outset, PTA championed the importance of equal opportunity for all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, and addressed associated problems of child labor, childhood diseases, and the unfair and punitive treatment of children involved in the justice system.
PTA continues to advocate for all children to have the opportunity to grow and achieve through education. In the context of PTA, advocacy is supporting and speaking up for children in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children. We educated members of Congress and their staff on PTA's priorities: adequate funding for schools and an improved juvenile justice system that ensures all children are college and career ready.