This was quite a week of professional learning. Our Professional Development Day on Monday opened with a powerful and timely keynote address from Zaretta Hammond, who reminded us that our approach to culturally responsive teaching will be incomplete unless we have a strong academic focus for ALL students. “Competence builds confidence,” Ms. Hammond reminded us several times. Just talking about racial justice is insufficient if we hope to build the capacity and agency of students to be independent learners. Another key point from Ms. Hammond’s keynote was the importance of “productive struggle” for students. In our desire to support our students, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “over-scaffolding,” which, particularly for struggling students, works against their ability to master challenging material and develop greater self-efficacy. I encourage everyone to continue to reflect on Ms. Hammond’s presentation through her book, “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain,” which we provided for everyone. Many thanks to Sandy Trach, the Teaching and Learning Department, and all of our colleagues who helped plan the day and/or led sessions for our staff.
On Wednesday, a second cohort of district educators spent the first of two days focused on Response to Intervention (RTI) with Mike Mattos. Mr. Mattos challenged us to think systemically about how we ensure that every child receives the additional time and support needed to achieve at high levels. Creating a multi-tiered system of support begins with all students receiving strong core instruction in the essential standards/questions of our curricula. This cannot be accomplished if our goal is to simply “cover” all of the standards of the state frameworks in each of our content areas. There are simply too many. One of our tasks will require us to distill these standards down to the most critical, or “essential” standards, the mastery of which will become our non-negotiable goal in teaching all students. That doesn’t mean we don’t teach other things, but it does mean we have a clearly defined minimum that all students must learn to reach high levels of learning.
Mr. Mattos also correctly identified another challenge we face in supporting our struggling students. When students are pulled out of classrooms to receive additional services, it’s very likely they are missing instruction in our core curriculum, putting them even further behind. Whether looking at schedules or the function of school-based and district-based teams, it’s critical that we ensure we are organized and focused on the success of ALL students.
Finally, some of us had the opportunity to attend the annual METCO Director’s Association (MDA) Conference on Friday. Dr. Tricia Rose from Brown University provided the keynote address on dismantling systemic racism in schools. Similar to Mr. Mattos, Dr. Rose challenged those in attendance to identify and address the broader systems in place in our districts that, however well-intentioned, may be serving to perpetuate systemic racism.
Taken together, these opportunities for professional learning this week reminded me that our big-picture commitments in support of our students must be matched by specific, purposeful, and sustained actions across our district.
Thank you for all that you continue to do for our students and have a great weekend!
12/07/21 – Hardy & Hunnewell Schools Debt Exclusion Town-wide Vote
12/14/21 – SC Meeting – 6:30 pm
12/21/21 – 1/2/22 – December Break
Announcing 2021-2022 ACCEPT’s Educator Leadership Institute (ELI):
Part-Time Preparation for Administrative Leadership and Licensure Program for Educators (Pr/AP at one of two levels: Pre-K-8, 5-12).
Classes begin January 12, 2022 . Application deadline: December 15, 2021
The 18-month part-time program includes:
·High engagement pedagogy with extensive fieldwork opportunities
·Firsthand involvement with practicing administrators
·Optional Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Management (Financial Aid Available)
·Excellent placement record
·Strong peer and faculty Support Network
For more information, please go to: ELI Website or Click Professional Development tab at Accept.org.
Human Relations Services
The Human Relation Services (HRS) can help. Wellesley Public Schools has contracted with HRS to provide up to ten free counseling visits for you and/or your family members. This program is designed to help you deal with stresses of life and work –including personal and family issues, drug or alcohol problems, and job related tension. It offers prevention and intervention to reduce these stresses and improve coping skills.
HRS is located at 11 Chapel Place in Wellesley and can be reached at 781-235-4950. This is a confidential service. Wellesley Public Schools is not aware of the names of employees or their family members who utilize this service.
Do you have a question for the WPS Human Resources Department? Email AskHR@Wellesleyps.org. The Human Resources Department is happy to assist you.
WPS Internal Job Postings on District Website
For all Internal Job Postings, please go to “Internal Job Postings” under the Faculty tab of the District’s website.