Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Welcome Back!

"Hello" from the Curriculum Office at MSAD #6!  Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!  We're always excited for our students to come back in the fall.

Our summer was busy with some fantastic professional development for teachers and educational technicians.  We had trainers from Scholastic come and teach folks how to use a few new reading and math programs at our elementary and middle schools.  We had author and consultant Jennifer Jacobson come and work with a group of about 30 teachers, from all content areas and all grade levels, on creating consistent writing scoring guides.  This will provide continuity among our grade levels, schools, and content areas in the instruction and assessment of student writing.  The work with writing will be an ongoing focus during this school year.

Two summer symposiums were held!  We had over 100 staff members attend our Level 1 training in Performance-based Education.  That training focuses on creating student-centered classrooms, learning tools to foster that kind of classroom, and having students more involved in the ownership of their learning.  We had about 75 folks from last summer's Level 1 attend the Level 2 training, which focused on working deeper with learning standards and unit planning.  The feedback from both symposiums was great, and we're so pleased to have had so many hardworking MSAD #6 staff members there! Pictures coming soon.

A group of teachers, spanning grades K-5, did curriculum work this summer looking at their elementary math program (Everyday Math) and the Common Core State Standards for Math.  They did a tremendous amount of work matching standards with program resources.  Once that work was done, we had about 80 teachers volunteer a couple of hours on a sunny August morning to come together at Buxton Center school to meet and talk and plan.  The work is allowing K-5 teachers to really jump right in this year.  We thank those teachers AGAIN for the work and the attendance by so many to get this off the ground!

Technology will be a big focus again this year.  Our kids are so fortunate!  We have iPads in all of our elementary classrooms, refurbished Mac Books for our 6th graders, and Mac Book Air laptops for all of our 7-12 grade students.  Professional development for our teachers around this technology will be a priority.

As a community of learners themselves, all teaching staff received a copy of the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck.  Library Journal wrote, "Highly essential read for parents, teachers [and] well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfillment." Publishers Weekly wrote, "A serious, practical book.  Dweck's overall assertion that rigid thinking benefits no one, least of all yourself, and that a change of mind is always possible, is welcome."  Book study sessions will be ongoing in all of our buildings throughout this school year.

Stay tuned for more news from the Curriculum Department!