Sunday, October 30, 2011

School Committee: Members

The School Committee is a policy-setting body.  Since education is a State function, the five elected members of the Lexington Public School Committee serve as officers of the State.  At the local level, the School Committee is a legislative body responsible for establishing local policy for seeing that the schools are properly run in accordance with State law and regulations.  Copies of the Policy Manual are available in the Office of the Superintendent, 146 Maple Street, Lexington  MA  02420, or online here.

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:

Mary Ann Stewart, Chair, 2012
Alessandro Alessandrini, Vice-Chair, 2013
Margaret Coppe, 2013
Jessie Steigerwald, 2012
Bonnie Brodner, 2014

Sunday, October 23, 2011

School Committee: Mission

The Lexington School Committee provides oversight and direction to the operation of the Lexington Public School District.  The Committee's role, responsibilities, and high level operating procedures are established in the context of various applicable general laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Our primary responsibilities are to establish the educational vision and goals for the district, approve the budget, establish policies for the district, and hire and evaluate the Superintendent.  The implementation and achievement of these goals lies with the Superintendent and the administrative team.  More simply stated, the role of the School Committee is not to run the schools, but rather to establish the policies by which the schools are run, and to oversee their maintenance in a very broad sense.

For more about School Governance:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Common Core

In July 2010, Massachusetts became one of over forty states to adopt new national education standards.  These standards, called the Common Core State Standards, were designed to prepare students for success in college and 21st century careers.  They are important because they help ensure that all students, no matter where they live, are prepared for success in college and the workforce.  They help set clear and consistent expectations for students, parents, and teachers:  build your child's knowledge and skills; and help set high goals for all students.

The standards are for all students in Kindergarten through grade 12 and, at the present time, are  focused only on English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.  Of course, high standards are not the only thing needed for our children's success.  But standards provide an important first step - a clear roadmap for learning for teachers, parents, and students.  Having clearly defined goals helps families and teachers work together to ensure that students succeed.  Standards help parents and teachers know when students need to be challenged even more.  They will also help your child develop critical thinking skills so necessary for college and career.  

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.

The challenge for school leaders now is to understand how to transition from their current curriculum to the new paradigm.  Activities include comparing the content of the Common Core with current standards as a bridge and implementing the core standards systemically, with an approach that engages the whole school community - teachers, students, families, and community members - to ensure success.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Words To Live By

Courage.  Purpose.  Compassion.  Gratitude.  Service.  Respect.  Support.  Care.  Love.  Concern.  Balance.  Inspire.  Strength.  Revelation.  Calm.  Goodness.  Progressive.  Humility.  Voice.  Reflection.  Attention.  Heart.  Unity.  Solitude.  Truth.  Freedom.  Values.  Discipline.  Justice.  Liberty.  Passion.  Hope.  Advocacy.  Change.  Stability.  Grace.  Empty.  Wonder.  Difficult.  Sight.  Joy.  Flight.  Energy.  Faith.  Challenge.  Vision.  Insight.  Rest.  Wisdom.  Access.  Believe.  Open.  Closed.  Present.  Possibility.  Speak.  Listen.  Presence.  Lead.  Promise.  Trust.  Soul.  Harmony.  Discord.  Consonance.  Sanctuary.  Forward.  Community.  Certainty.  Growth.  Empathy.  Engage.  Adapt.  Levity.  Integrity.