Superintendent's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Parent'

Davis School Garden Celebrated

November 24th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Special thanks to Meghan Mathews, our community partner, and Mrs. Davies for their work on a community garden. Today’s Boston Globe includes a story featuring their work.  The project teaches children many valuable skills and the importance of sharing one’s abundance with others.  Very appropriate to the day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s the link:

Tags: Community · Parent

Collaboration and Problem Solving in Action

November 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

With the loss of “the grid” earlier this week we certainly had the opportunity to problem solve as we developed plans to return to  school on Tuesday. Families without power found ways to stay in communication using iPhones and other devices to gather information on local conditions. Bedford Charter worked with us to identify roads that were blocked and to develop alternate plans for bus stops. Parents were helpful in letting me know the particulars of neighborhoods that had trees blocking access. Our administrators, teachers and support staff were problem-solving behind the scenes so that we could open our high school and have a productive day with 600 middle schoolers added to the mix.

For me, the power outage translated into a learning opportunity as I quickly adapted to running the district with an iPhone and iPad serving as command central. And I learned to never say again on a Friday that I was not concerned about a Saturday storm since it would not involve having to make a “snow day” decision.

Special thanks to the Bedford community for, once again, coming together and making this all work for children. My hope is that all of you are now back on the grid in your homes!

Tags: Community · Parent

Special Education: A Changing Population

October 11th, 2011 · No Comments

The October 9 edition of The Boston Globe Magazine included an article delineating some of the factors that have contributed to a rise in our Special Education population.  In the last decade, schools have seen an increase in both the number of children who require an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and the intensity of the supports these children need to be successful in our schools.

In Bedford, we have added more specialized Special Education Programs in all of our schools to  support these children.  Bringing programs for children with significant Special Needs  in-house has been one strategy to better serve the children in a more cost effective manner.  As this article suggests,  as the intensity of the needs increases,  so do the costs.  Bedford has also launched RtI  (Response to Intervention) a K-12 instructional initiative designed to provide ‘just in time’ intervention designed to eliminate the need for some  referrals to Special Education.

I recommend the article to you as a good background piece on the changing population in our schools.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

Superintendent’s Goals 2011-2012

September 29th, 2011 · No Comments

The Superintendent’s Goals for 2011-2012 have been  approved by the Bedford School Committee.

To review the goals document, click here:

Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

Understanding MCAS Growth Scores

September 26th, 2011 · No Comments

As you review the MCAS results for your child, you may find the “Growth Score” percentage somewhat confusing.  This score compares the growth of a student to peers across the state who had the same MCAS score as your child in 2009.  With this number, the state is measuring and comparing your child’s growth to the growth of peers with a comparable achievement level.

Principal Ackerman, Lane School Principal, has created a video to explain the score.  To access the video, click here:

Tags: Parent · Teaching and Learning

Supporting and Celebrating Students Beyond the Age of 21

September 19th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Yesterday’s New York Times included a compelling portrait of an autistic young man trying to find his place in the world.  The story delineated the importance of building capacity in all of our young people and in paving a path forward into a life of independence beyond the age of 21.  As I read Justin Canha’s story and thought about the gifts he has to offer, I was reminded again of the role all of us must play in creating supportive work environments prepared to welcome and celebrate the Justin’s of the world.  Justin’s experience in his school district with the internships and outreach to the community is similar to what our LABBB Collaborative Program offers to the children we serve.

Please take the time to read Justin’s story asking yourself  how you might  support the Justin’s of the world as they enter the work force.  Here’s the link:

Tags: Community · Parent

Report on the Opening of Schools for 2011-2012

September 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Last evening the Bedford School Committee convened for the first regularly scheduled meeting of the 2011-2012 school year. The meeting included a presentation of the Superintendent’s Goals and a report on the opening of school. We start the year with 2421 students representing an increase from last year. Here’s a comparison of the numbers with last year’s opening:

Bedford High School:         831 (2011) vs. 790 (2010)
John Glenn Middle School: 576 (2011) vs. 571 (2010)
Lane School: 501 (2011) vs.535 (2010)
Davis School: 513 (2011) vs.490(2010)

With the start of a new school year, we have implemented new Start Times and new bus routes. As we adjust to the changes, Bedford Charter has been working closely with the Administrative Team to tweak schedules so that the buses arrive on time to bus stops and to schools. The traffic patterns in town are, as always, part of the challenge we face.

On the instructional front, the Collaborative Wednesday Early Release Schedule represents a change that will have a significant impact on our ability to provide teachers with consistent professional development time.

As we begin a new school year, we appreciate the willingness of parents to work with us to implement the changes and make this a successful year for all of the children we serve.

Tags: Community · Parent

Comcast Offers Discounted Internet Access to Low Income Families

August 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

A new program from Comcast offering $10 a month Internet access to low income families may be of interest to you. Here’s a link to an NPR story about this plan.

Here’s the contact information for the plan:

Tags: Digital Learners · Parent

Bedford High School Teachers Participate in Special Project with Burlington and Andover

June 28th, 2011 · No Comments

With the start of summer break, a cohort of Bedford High School teachers joined colleagues from Burlington and Andover as we begin a regional effort to develop online curriculum and textbooks.  Teachers have participated in mini-workshops with Apple to learn ePublishing and other applications as preparation for our iPad initiative.

The work we are beginning is already well underway in the state of Virginia.   Researchers from the Virginia Department of Education have documented their success in developing student centered  digital classrooms of the future using  1:1 devices such as iPads as classroom tools for all students.  If you are interested in reading this report, click here:

Tags: Digital Learners · Parent · Teaching and Learning

K-12 Social Studies Program Review Presented to the Bedford School Committee

May 26th, 2011 · No Comments

The Visiting Team that reviewed our k-12 Social Studies Program was very complimentary about the quality of Bedford’s  program and the exceptional dedication of our professional staff.  In Bedford we use a comprehensive Self-Study Model, based on the NEASC model for accreditation, to review our programs providing both affirmation of what we do and recommendations for areas where we can  improve.  This program evaluation model includes a three day visit by a Visiting Team of peers who are judged to be leaders in their field.  The Visiting Team’s presentation to the Bedford School Committee  included the following commendations and recommendations:
Major Commendations:

  1. Commitment to professional collaboration.
  2. Effective use of technology.
  3. Intense focus on critical thinking.
  4. Increasing commitment to correlating their local lessons to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
  5. Coordinated alignment of all district-wide documents.
  6. Excellent organization of the site visit by Christine Butler.
  7. Incredible attention and care provided by the Social Studies Host Team, including Christine Butler, Joe Casey, Karen Lerra, and Susan Nocera.
Major Recommendations:
  1. Encouraging BHS Teachers to make the shift to Student-centered learning.
  2. Providing equity and opportunity in non-Level 5 classes at BHS.
  3. Taking the lead of Teachers at Davis and Lane by explicitly teaching literacy strategies in Social Studies at BHS and JGMS.
  4. Creating more common planning and meeting time to dedicate to Social Studies.
  5. Giving Teachers access to resources such as content-area and technology-based professional development.
  6. Exploring the expansion of 21st Century Skills to areas beyond technology literacy

If you would like to view the presentation, click here:

Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning