Superintendent's Education Update.

  • We are excited to share with you the of the Superintendent's Education Update. These updates are full of information and photos of good things taking place in Randolph Public Schools.

    It is important to us that you are kept well informed and that you know our students are our number one priority.  Thus, we are committed to continuing the work that's necessary in all our schools, and district-wide.

    Enjoy the reading!

    Thank you,

    Randolph Public Schools
    Office of the Superintendent

Superintendent’s Education Update Volume 2, Issue 2

  • Superintendent’s Summary

    The first semester is over, and the end of 2019 is near.  Randolph Public Schools is showing progress toward its vision for 2020.  A couple highlights to celebrate are:  (1) We were recently awarded over $54,000 by DESE to build the capacity of our teaching staff through licensure; (2) All of our students now eat for free with no additional financial burden on our schools.

    The season of giving has begun for Randolph Public Schools!  I want to thank Bill Teed, from the Elks Club, for his annual free dictionary distribution to every 3rd grader in the district.  Schools have already started can and coat drives for families in need.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, teachers, families, and partners who support Randolph Public Schools.  It is your generosity that matters most; no matter how big or how small, you each play an integral part in our success.  It is my wish this holiday season that as we think about the victories, defeats, highs, and lows of 2019, we empathize with those who struggle with difficult circumstances.  This season is about love and forgiveness.  Let us all think of the ways that we can show others we care.  I wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2020.  We return to learning on Tuesday, January 2, 2020.  Happy Holidays!!

    Culturally Responsive
    What is a Culturally Responsive Classroom and School?

    Education systems, in general, are steeped in norms, traditions, and a lens that too often do not reflect and may not be supportive of the diverse students we serve. All students, families, and communities should have access to schools that are inclusive of, responsive to, and reflective of their cultural backgrounds. We are working in Randolph Public Schools to define cultural responsiveness, address its importance in our schools and classrooms, and identify resources to support this work.

    The goal of this work is for educators to have the knowledge and capacity to serve all students well. In order to be highly effective, educators must develop an authentic understanding of the students and adults in their school communities, ensure that their students’ experiences in school are affirming of who they are and what they bring to the school community, and unpack how their own culture impacts their worldview and approach.

    What is cultural responsiveness?
    Cultural responsiveness is an approach to viewing culture and identity as assets, including students’ race, ethnicity, or linguistic assets, among other characteristics. Zaretta Hammond, a leading scholar on cultural responsiveness, explains that it is “a way to use culture to build trust and relationships with students as well as develop the cognitive scaffolding that builds on the broader knowledge students already have so that they can become competent, independent learners.” We know from the research and from students and families that when educators are responsive to students’ cultures and identities, students will have stronger relationships with educators, better learning experiences, and better outcomes. This is our goal in Randolph Public Schools.

    Over the last few months we have been working on this topic bringing the conversation to our school leaders and educators. This work will take time and be ongoing, but we are committed to creating culturally responsive and sustaining schools and classrooms in Randolph.

    In the News:

    In his letter of November 22nd, Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education recognized Natan Kotlyar and Beth Fitzgerald, both teachers at the Lyons Elementary School, for their vital work as two of their CURATE Fellows this year.

    The CURATE (CUrriculum RAtings by TEachers) project convenes select group of Massachusetts teachers to review and evaluate information on specific curriculum products.  Prospective Fellows undergo a rigorous and competitive application process focused on their instructional skill and experience, knowledge of standards and curriculum, commitment to equity and excellence, and potential as a teacher-leader.  Once selected, Fellows work with colleagues to reach consensus on rating of the curriculum products under review, then contribute to the publication of reports summarizing and justifying their findings. 

    These reports are used by school and district decision-makers across Massachusetts seeking the best curricular materials to serve their students, teachers, and communities.

    Randolph Public Schools is proud of both Mr. Kotlyar and Ms. Fitzgerald, for their work and dedication to our students.  Congratulations on a job well done and for your work in broadening access to high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum in Massachusetts.

    School News

    Donovan Elementary School
    After reading articles about children and chess from NEWSELA.com, including Chess Program for Second- and Third-graders a Big Hit, Baltimore Chess Champion Shows Hard Work Pays Off With Individual Title, and Youngest-ever U.S. Chess Master Practices for Eight Hours Each Day; Donovan 3rd graders are excited to be learning with and competing against each other in games of Chess.  Students are practicing decision-making skills, multi-step thinking and strategy all while having fun!   Through donations and purchases the school now has enough sets for all students in the grade to participate and the school has purchased a 39-inch high chess set for the court yard in the spring, so students can play life sized chess.

    John F. Kennedy Elementary School (JFK)
    December was a month full of school spirit, team building and holiday festivities for all at the John F. Kennedy School.  Students and staff participated in multiple school spirit activities such as “Stuffed Animal Day” (bring your favorite stuffed animal) and “Blue Devils’ Day” (show Randolph spirit by wearing blue and white).  JFK teachers and staff showed their team spirit by dressing up in the holiday spirit as grade level or classroom teams.  The grand finale was our annual winter concerts.  These  annual concerts were coordinated by our Music Teacher extraordinaire, Mr. Matthew Thomas.  PreK and Kindergarten students had a combined concert where they performed songs like Jingle Bells and Santa Shark on Thursday.  On Friday, we had a schoolwide Kindergarten-5th grade winter concert.  It was a phenomenal sing along concert in the gymnasium with standing room only.  Students sang several hits such as “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and staff even joined in on the fun and sang/performed “The 12 Days Back from Break.” 

    Lyons Elementary School
    As already mentioned under the “In The News” section of this Update, we are very proud to recognize two Lyons School teachers, Beth Fitzgerald and Natan Kotlyar, both of whom have been recognized by Jeffrey Riley, the Commissioner of Education, for their work as CURATE Fellows this year.

    I want to acknowledge the contributions that both teachers make on a daily basis to the Lyons School. In addition to her work as the fifth and fourth grade special education teacher, Beth facilitates our Instructional Leadership Team.  In that role, she plans the monthly agendas, communicates with staff through a newsletter and is a driving force for the work. Natan is a second grader teacher at the Lyons School. Furthermore, he coordinates the School Climate Committee, which requires him to gather data and concerns from staff, organize community events for both staff and students, and is a positive influence for all.  Both actively support our PTO and School Site Council.

    It is admirable that beyond their active roles at the Lyons School they have sought out this opportunity to make a contribution at the state level.  Congratulations on being selected for this important work! 

    Young Elementary School
    Students in room 31 did a great job researching science topics. They invited the school to see their research findings and to ask questions.
    Students in grade 1 were working on patterns and counting. Their train stretched from one side to the other, even out the door!

    Friday November 22, we had our first “Pineapple Day”. Teachers opened their classrooms to colleagues to share best practices. We learn so much from each other!

     

    Randolph Community Middle School (RCMS)
    Congratulations RCMS!  Engineering Teacher, Mrs. Cardillo and her students were selected as the Overall Challenge winners for the Mass STEM Hub’s Foot Orthosis Online Industry Challenge!

    Their work was reviewed by engineers at Smith and Nephew, a medical device company, and a biomedical engineering professor from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Specifically, the professionals were impressed by the students’ attention to detail and creativity in prototype development and their preparation for how things can change – just like in industry. Some of the feedback they provided included: 

    • The sketches provided by the team were extremely well done. The use of color is exceptionally helpful in understanding what each component is made from, signaled by the legend.
    • One of the major goals was to limit pointing of the toes, which the team clearly thought about and used a limiting strap (diagonal link from the shin to the foot). This is a creative way to address this design goal
    • They liked the students’ acknowledgement of backup plans and simplifications for when putting together their prototype such as "could be a rectangle" and "could use string". The backup plan allows for fast adaption in the real world to any unforeseen problems.

    Each of the winning students and Mrs. Cardillo received a Rocketbook notebook and certificate. Her class will have the opportunity to speak virtually with some of the professionals that reviewed the challenge submissions and learn more about their work and career path.

    AIM Academy
    AIM Academy is in our 3rd year with our 2nd grade Buddies Program. Eileen Vlieger, our social worker in AIM was working on developing meaningful community service opportunities for our students. She created our “buddies” program by reaching out to Allison Alaoui a 2nd grade teacher at the JFK elementary school. Ms. Vlieger works with students to develop project ideas for our students to facilitate with the 2nd graders. She supervises and oversees the visits and helps to create fun and engaging experiences for both the 2nd graders and our high school students. We are excited to be expanding the buddies program at RCMS in early 2020 to begin working with 6th graders in our district. Our students truly look forward to our trips to the JFK and being part of something that makes a difference.  

    Randolph High School (RHS)
    Randolph High School is extremely excited about the implementation of our Freshmen Academy for the 2019-2020 school year. Last year, a total of nine teachers in English, math, science, social studies and special education volunteered to teach in our ninth-grade learning communities, appropriately called our 9LC! 

    We have two student-named teams (Blue Bears and Silver Snakes), and last spring and summer these dedicated teachers spent time planning and working to insure all ninth-grade students had the most successful transition to high school possible.  Now, each week, our teachers meet two times to discuss individual students, hold parent/guardian conferences, create common and interdisciplinary lessons, and look at student learning and achievement data.  By sharing the same students and having common planning time to meet the academic, social and behavioral needs of each student, teachers are able to personalize both their instruction and support as they help all students reach their full potential.

    Just last week, our entire 9LC had an awards assembly where students were recognized for the contributions they had made to their learning communities, for their academic and attendance accomplishments, and for the growth and improvement they had achieved over the course of term one.  We look forward to another great 30 weeks of learning, achieving and growing!

    Department Updates

    Math Department
    RCMS continued to celebrate Mathematician of the Month on November 22nd.  Students were nominated by their Math teachers for having the qualities of a Mathematician including: being curious, asking questions, looking for challenging problems, persevering, making mistakes and learning from them, talking to other mathematicians, and explaining their ideas.

    Congratulations to our Mathematicians!
    6th Grade: Tanya Le, Nissrine Elkhamlichi, Adia Browne, and Nghi “Anna” Nguyen
    7th Grade: AnDinh Tran, Naipaporn Innupat, and Matthew Tuan Do
    8th Grade: Jasyra Moreno, Jerry Gao, and Dezire Burns

    As part of the “Mathematizing Your School” initiative, RPS elementary schools are starting to add math activities during lunch.   After eating lunch, we will be adding Math Boggle on the cafeteria tables for students to create number sentences with their peers.

    Teachers have received training on discourse activities to start implementing into the classroom.  Some examples are SPLAT!, Which One Doesn’t Belong, Same But Different, and Esti-mysteries.  These activities are a wonderful opportunity for students to problem solve in math and explain their thinking with other students.

    Human Resources
    We are very pleased to announce that the Randolph Public Schools’ Teacher Diversification Pilot Program grant application with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) has been approved and fully funded for FY20. 

    The competitive Teacher Diversification Pilot Program is designed to support local school district efforts to strengthen and diversify existing teacher recruitment and retention programs.  Through the use of state funds, participating pilot school districts will engage in thoughtful approaches intended to increase the number of effective and diverse teachers in their schools.

    Specifically, the grant delivers funding that directly removes the financial barriers that some staff face in becoming a licensed educator. 

    The Randolph Public Schools has been approved to receive $54,728 for FY20 to offer tuition assistance to district employees who are enrolled in an educator prep program that leads to initial licensure. 

    The grant also supports the purchase of vouchers to offset the cost incurred by staff for state licensure tests (MTELs) and MTEL support classes.  Lastly, acceptance into the Teacher Diversification Pilot Program also entitles Randolph access to cultural proficiency training and supports for staff through DESE.

     

    Language Acquisitions & World Languages

    IMPORTANT MESSAGE for PARENTS OF ELL (English Language Learners) STUDENTS in  RANDOLPH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

    Dear parents/guardians,

    Your student will be taking the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 between January 6 -January 31, 2019. 
    This test is a requirement of U.S. federal ESSA Act (Every Student Succeeds Act).

    What is the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test?
    ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 monitors students' progress in learning academic English.  All ELL students are tested (K-12).
    The test measures students’ abilities to understand, speak and write English used within the school setting. There are four sections of the test: listening, reading, speaking and writing. The ACCESS test is given during school time.

    Why is the test given?
    It helps us monitor the English language development of ELL students and evaluate the district’s English learner programs and instruction.  The district uses the results to determine if students are ready to exit from the ELL program.
    How can you help your student do well on this test?

    • Ask your student or student’s teacher when they are taking the ACCESS for ELLs
    • Discuss with your student why they are taking the test
    • Encourage your student to do their best work
    • Ensure your student has a good night sleep and eats a good breakfast the morning of the test
    • Make sure your student is at school and on time the day of the test 

    Please call your student’s school with any questions regarding the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 test.

    Family and Community Engagement
    The Randolph Public Schools (RPS) annual Thanksgiving Drive held on Saturday, November 23rd was a wonderful success!   The Family Resource Center together with United Way did an outstanding job serving over 300 families and representing over 1,400 individuals, including 595 children.

    Upcoming Events & Important Dates

    • The Office of Family and Community Engagement is looking forward to planning and hosting the district’s annual MLK, Jr. Day Commemoration, in partnership with the Randolph and MA Women’s Suffrage Coalition, on Monday Jan. 21st at Randolph High School.

    IT
    Randolph Public Schools would like to thank Paul Wilder and the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office for their donation of 14 all-in-one desktops with wireless capabilities.  The devices will be utilized in classrooms throughout the district.

    E-Rate Funding
    Randolph Public Schools received a funding commitment of $150,174.78 for the 2019-2020 year from the E-Rate funding program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).  As an independent not-for-profit designated by the Federal Communications Commission, USAC administers the Universal Service Fund (USF).  Almost $10 billion is available annually thanks to the companies and institutions that make universal service possible.  The money received by Randolph will cover 80% of the cost of high-speed internet for Randolph Public Schools for the year.  Additionally, the money will be used to purchase upgraded switches and access points that will be installed throughout the district to improve wireless connectivity

     

    SPED
    During the week of December 2-6, 2019, the Donovan Elementary School participated in the Inclusion Week. The most exciting part of their participation is that the Inclusive Schools Network featured Donovan Elementary School for the work that they do around inclusive practices, UDL (universal design for learning) and co-teaching practices. To read the entire article featuring Donovan Elementary School, please click the link: https://inclusiveschools.org/m-l-donovan-elementary-school/

    The ASA Curriculum (American Student Assistance) will be providing a 10-week college and career curriculum to the entire Grade 8 students  of the RCMS. This curriculum aims to help students identify their strengths and interests and see the connection between the two for a future career path and ultimately higher career satisfaction. For more information about this pilot program, please click the link: https://www.asa.org  

    UPDATES:  

    • In October, we conducted a one-day mini-observation of the Therapeutic Learning Center at Lyons through ACCEPT Collaborative to better understand the entire program. With this mini-observation’s report, we will move forward with a full program evaluation of the TLC in the Spring of 2020.
    • Randolph Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (RMTSS) - all schools across the district are now implementing the newly developed RMTSS process.

     The following program implementation task forces are being put in place to help implement best practices in special education:

    • RISE Task Force at JFK Elementary School – staff recently completed the AAC training and have acquired new curriculum
    • GROW Task Force at Young Elementary School – staff continues to work on their curriculum development: TouchMath and Unique Learning 
    • LBLC Task Force JFK Elementary School – staff continue to be trained around best practices for students in this program/class.
    • ILC Task Force at Randolph Community Middle School (RCMS) – staff continued to discuss about the program curriculum.
    • PV Task Force at Randolph High School (RHS) – staff have visited like schools in the area and are currently creating strategies in developing our transition program for students ages 18-22
    • Inclusion Task Force at RCMS – staff are finalizing their plans of implementation based on the recommendations provided by Dr. Margaret Reed
    • Inclusion Task Force at RHS – staff are finalizing their plans of implementation based on the recommendations provided by Dr. Margaret Reed
    • Speech and Language (SLP) completed the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) training and acquired communication apps to be used in their AAC devices: Proloquo2go and TouchChat
    • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) survey - RPS is working to adapt a comprehensive Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum and to reinforce and expand upon Social Emotional Learning practices throughout the district. In order to ensure that we address the specific needs of our students and families, an anonymous survey has been sent out via email to all parents and guardians in the district. If you have not completed the survey,  please complete one survey for each of your children by December 20th.
    • School-based FIT (Families In Transition) Coordinators officially met and reviewed their roles and responsibilities in supporting families who are in a state of homelessness on September 12, 2019. This is the first year that RPS has this support in  place to further provide additional resources to families who are in transition.
    • First Community Service Coordination Meeting happened on Dec. 9, 2019 to support students and their families who are in a state of homelessness; it was a success! There will be two more meetings for the rest of year to continue this collaboration among the community and school members.
    • At RHS, the guidance counselors are rolling out a new College and Career Curriculum for all Grades 9-12! This has been an amazing undertaking that the guidance counselors and the RHS administrators, together with Ms. Kim Duane have done this year!
    • A professional development training on Homelessness and 51a process for RHS staff was conducted by Student Services Coordinator, Ms. Kimberly Duane. Ms. Duane also provided professional development training on Homelessness to the RCMS staff.

     

    Randolph School Committee
    2019-2020 Remaining School Committee Meetings

    January 16: Meeting held at JFK Elementary School, 7:00pm—9:00pm
    March 5: Joint School Committee & Town Council Meeting at Town Hall, 7:00pm
    March 19: Meeting held at RCMS, 7:00pm—9:00pm
    April 16: Meeting held at RHS, 7:00pm—9:00pm
    May 21: Meeting held at RCTV Studio, 7:00pm—9:00pm
    June 4: Meeting held at Lyons Elementary School, 7:00pm—9:00pm
    June 18: Meeting held at RCTV Studio, 7:00pm—9:00pm

    Employee Appreciation Spotlight ~ December 2019

    SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
    ERICA MANOS
    RANDOLPH COMMUNITY MIDDLE SCHOOL

    Erika Manos is a standards-driven, innovative educator at the Randolph Community Middle School (RCMS) who takes pride in her ability to bring life into the social studies curriculum.  Anytime you walk into her classroom you will see engaged young people applying their knowledge of our past to present-day societal issues.  Ms. Manos’ lesson designs consistently hold students to high standards requiring them to analyze, evaluate and create.  In a recent lesson, students were required to design an artifact for the Oval Office inspired by the Influencers of the founding fathers: John Lock, Thomas Hobbs, Machiavelli and Montesquieu.
    Ms. Manos makes herself available to support colleagues and is currently a leader amongst them as a member of the RCMS Instructional Leadership Team.  We celebrate Ms. Manos’ collaborative, accountable and data- driven paradigm.  She holds certification in a bachelor’s degree in History Education 5-12 as well as a master’s degree in History.
    Ms. Manos, on behalf of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, RCMS Principal and school, and the entire RPS district, thank you for all that you do.  Your focus and drive are exactly what our students need as part of their classroom learning experience.  We are very grateful to have you in our district.

    17 Years in Randolph Public Schools
    12 Years at Randolph Community Middle School

    RCMS Influencer!