LEXINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
Project-Based Learning – Phase I – LPS FY17: Introduction and Visioning. Under the leadership of LPS senior administrators Mary Czajkowski, Kelly Chase, Anna Monaco, and Sandra Trach, the district will contract with the Buck Institute for Education to convene two workshops on Project-Based Learning (PBL) for school and district leaders, and develop a three-year vision for incorporating PBL at all levels district-wide. PBL is an instructional method that replaces teacher- centered instruction with a student-centered approach that applies learning to real-world challenges. Students are presented with an interesting, complex, authentic question or problem to solve, and create and present something in response.
Project-Based Learning – Phase II – LPS FY18:Implementation. If the results of the Project-Based Learning Visioning Day and Systemic Implementation Planning Workshop demonstrate that the district should proceed to implement PBL system-wide, LEF will support the first year of the implementation process. Working with a coach from the Buck Institute for Education, instructional leaders at the departmental, school and district level will create a plan and receive on-site and virtual professional learning in designing, assessing, and managing a successful and sustainable PBL approach to education. This professional learning will comprise a blend of direct instruction, video analysis, hands-on work, resource sharing, and peer collaboration.
The 2017 Carol Pilarski Program Grant for Professional Development: District-wide Summer Professional Development Workshops: Kelly Chase, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Learning, will create a program of summer professional development workshops for educators throughout the district to address topics of expressed educational, academic, and instructional need. This model of peer professional development enables the district to capitalize on existing expertise in the district while building staff capacity.
Research Based Approaches to Building Reading, Writing and Spelling Skills in Dyslexic and Struggling Learners. Teachers at two schools will pursue certification in research-based approaches to reading, writing, and spelling instruction that have proven effective in boosting learning by dyslexic and struggling learners. Heather Kramer, K-5 Resource Teacher in Estabrook’s Therapeutic Learning Program, will complete the training and practicum required to achieve associate level certification in the Orton-Gillingham method. Eliza Sherriff, a Harrington second grade teacher, will pursue certification in the Wilson Intensive Reading System. Both teachers will use these approaches and serve as resources to other teachers and specialists.
Improving Math Achievement through Growth Mindset. Molly Rawding, Mathematics Specialist at Fiske, will attend the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics annual conference to learn best practices, gather resources, and deliver a presentation on the groundbreaking work completed at Fiske and across the LPS district to engage students in math by employing the principles of growth mindset -- a belief that basic abilities are not fixed nor dependent on native talent but can be improved through perseverance and hard work.
Strengthening Student Counseling. Lysa Pirone and Kerrie Donnelly, Fiske and Harrington K- 5 Counselors, will attend the American Counseling Association Conference, where they will learn from experts on topics relevant to Lexington’s families and students, particularly theme-based group counseling and counseling in gender, sexual identity and diversity.
Best Practices in School Nursing. Michelle Wright, Harrington and Lexington Children’s Place Nurse, will attend the National Association of School Nurses Annual Conference, where she will learn best practices for keeping children healthy, emergency preparedness, policy development, and approaches to addressing specific health conditions that can affect learning.
Mobile Maker Space. Estabrook fourth grade teacher Mark Taggart will purchase rolling carts, storage bins and Maker components and tools to create a “Maker Space on the Go” mobile platform that is accessible to all Estabrook students. He will also establish an extracurricular Maker Club where students can learn engineering principles through inventing, problem solving, and instruction in such skills as sewing and soldering.
Supporting Emerging Literacy and Communication. Fiske Speech-Language Pathologist Deidre Dascoli and Speech-Language Pathologist and District Wide Augmentative Alternative Communication Specialist Amy Golding, will develop a literacy library of books accompanied by visual and tactile literacy supports, and create a training program for teachers and families of students who have challenges with expressive and receptive language, including students in the Intensive Learning Program and students receiving English Language intervention services.
School Community Grants
Dismantling Racism and Strengthening Reading Achievement. Bowman School will continue ongoing initiatives in cultural proficiency and the school’s new “Dismantling Racism” curriculum and implement a faculty initiative on deep comprehension instruction as part of the new Reading Units of Study across the K-5 level.
Outdoor Classroom. Bridge School will complete construction of an outdoor classroom that will give students, staff, and the community a structured yet open space to extend curriculum and learning opportunities. The outdoor classroom will support hands-on learning about the environment, provide an inspiration for creative projects in all content areas, and provide a space for community groups to gather. Failure as a Path to Student Growth and METCO Conference. Estabrook School will host Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure, for a community-wide evening lecture and Q&A about the role of failure in students’ growth and development, and will send a faculty member to the annual METCO Conference.
Celebrating Literature and the Arts. Fiske School will hold two interactive events for parents and students to celebrate literature and the arts: Family Reading/Poetry Night, and an Evening with the Masters that showcases great artists and provides activities for students to create art in the style of these masters.
A Playground for Quieter Activities. Harrington School will create a separate section of the school playground to suit the social and emotional needs of children who prefer quieter play. This area will include winding walking paths, benches overlooking a “stage” area for drama and dance play, and log-like tunnels.
Supporting Newcomer Families. Hastings School will support families who are new to the community through a parent education initiative that provides information about the Hastings School and Lexington community. Presentations will cover such topics as positive behavior intervention supports, school attendance, parent/teacher conferences, testing, technology support, and school/home balance.
Best Practices in School Nursing. Donna Motherway, Clarke School Nurse, will attend the National Association of School Nurses Annual Conference, where she will learn best practices for keeping children healthy, emergency preparedness, policy development, and addressing specific health conditions that may have an impact on learning. Highlighting South Africa in the Study of World Geography. Danielle Paddol, Clarke seventh grade Social Studies: World Geography Teacher, will participate in an experiential professional learning program created by and for Clarke teachers with Education First to explore South Africa’s geography, climate, culture and history, and transform the world geography unit.
Building Adolescents’ Literacy Skills. Cecelia Vosland, Diamond Guided Learning Specialist in literacy and executive function, will attend the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention and post-convention Assembly on Literature for Adolescents to learn about current research and best practices in curriculum, skill strategies, national literacy trends, and instructional materials to help students who are experiencing difficulties with literacy.
Learning the Creative Theater-Making Process from Masters at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Kate Bromley, Diamond Drama Teacher, will attend the Royal Shakespeare Company Summer School in Stratford-upon-Avon and the afterschool production process.
Making It @ Clarke. Clarke Librarian Carolyn Kelly, working with engineering teachers, the science department head, and the principal, will create an interactive, hands-on learning space in the library that offers materials, tools, kits and technology that enable students to self-direct their learning of STEAM skills while creating projects for class assignments and WIN Block activities.
SCHOOL COMMUNITY GRANTS
Project-Based Learning. Clarke Middle School will provide professional learning and development for a core group of teachers around the design and implementation of project-based learning at Clarke.
Living the Diamond School Ideals. Diamond Middle School will implement a pro-social initiative, DRUM: Diverse, Responsible, United and Mindful, that represents the ideals of the Diamond community. Activities will include an interactive performance by a Malian drummer who will link academic and pro-social endeavors with World Language Month, and student painting of large wall murals that promote the theme.
Strengthening the Study of Physics. Physics teacher Valentina Sountsova will attend the St. Johnsbury Academy’s AP Physics C Summer Institute to learn course expectations, curriculum, and best strategies for teaching principles and practices in a calculus-based course in mechanics and electricity-magnetism. These strategies can be applied to all physics courses at LHS.
A Workshopping Approach to Composing and Interpreting Poetry. Eleventh/twelfth grade English teacher Brendan Moran will participate in the Poetry Seminar at Frost Place, which will bring accomplished poets and teachers of creative writing together with practicing writers to study the poetic craft, with an emphasis on a workshopping approach in which students compose and revise poems for an authentic audience and learn how to critically read and interpret poetry.
Strengthening Digital Literacy Integrating Technology. Instructional Technology Coach Stephanie Hoban will attend the Consortium for School Networking Convention and Educational Technology Leadership Workshop. She will learn best practices for integrating technology into the classroom that will inform both the creation of LPS’s 3-year technology plan and Scope and Sequence for technology standards and the exploration of new Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards.
Addressing Stress and Building Resilience in a Diverse Community. Susan Kaftan, LHS Nurse, will attend a conference on school mental health offered by Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance that shares school-based strategies for addressing stress and building emotional resilience among students from diverse backgrounds.
Integrating Diversity into the Sophomore English Curriculum. Samantha St. Lawrence and the ten-member Sophomore English teaching team will create a shared curriculum unit focusing on a modern work of fiction by an author outside the Eurocentric tradition, to better introduce students to contemporary voices and concerns and represent LHS students’ diverse backgrounds.
SCHOOL COMMUNITY GRANTS
“Challenge Day – Be the Change” and I Block Scheduling. Lexington High School will offer a second year of “Challenge Day – Be the Change,” a full-day program that develops social emotional skills – empathy, emotional control, self-confidence, and pro-social competence – and builds a network of students, educators and administrators who respond to oppression and isolation, practice safe and effective conflict intervention tools, and perform positive change in school and community. LHS will also implement a technology program to schedule students into flexible block assignments in the school’s new I Block intervention and enrichment program.