Superintendent's Blog

Response to “My Teacher is an APP”

November 21, 2011 · No Comments

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal:  My Teacher is an App has stirred debate throughout the educational community.  The article cites examples of school districts that have incorporated more online learning opportunities as a cost effective measure in a tight fiscal climate.  As one who believes we need to create a learning environment that establishes meaningful connections and collaborations across the world,  I would suggest that the focus on more online learning should be different. As we incorporate more online learning opportunities, we need focus on the quality of the learning environments both online and face to face.

From my perspective, the use of more online learning opportunities does not diminish the need for classroom teachers, rather it changes the roles of teachers and students. To suggest otherwise, devalues the significant influence teachers have on the growth and development of the students we serve.

→ No CommentsCategories: Community · Digital Learners · Teaching and Learning

Collaboration and Problem Solving in Action

November 3, 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!

→ No CommentsCategories: Community · Parent

Special Education: A Changing Population

October 11, 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.

→ No CommentsCategories: Budget Information · Community · Parent

The Man Who Made 21st Century Connectivity Available for Everyone

October 6, 2011 · No Comments

As we mark the untimely passing of Steve Jobs, I think we should all pause and internalize the message he delivered to Stanford graduates in 2005: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

What a powerful message from a man who changed our lives ushering in an accessible, connected 21st Century. Like many of you, I was using an Apple device, the iPad, when the news starting streaming from Twitter announcing his untimely passing. Like many of you, I am indebted to the visionary who had a profound impact on our world and our classrooms.

→ No CommentsCategories: Digital Learners

Superintendent’s Goals 2011-2012

September 29, 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:

→ No CommentsCategories: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

Understanding MCAS Growth Scores

September 26, 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:

→ No CommentsCategories: Parent · Teaching and Learning

Supporting and Celebrating Students Beyond the Age of 21

September 19, 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:

→ 1 CommentCategories: Community · Parent

Report on the Opening of Schools for 2011-2012

September 14, 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.

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Thank You to a Special Community

September 1, 2011 · 2 Comments

At the staff gathering for the opening of the school year, I told the staff that I will retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. For me, this was a very emotional decision since I have loved every minute I have served as both Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent in this amazing community. The collaboration between and among all the constituencies that populate this special place and the support for the needs of all children is what I will always treasure about Bedford.

While it is too soon to begin the goodbyes, it is not too soon to begin the thank yous to all of you who have been instrumental in informing my leadership and helping me do the most important work in our nation, providing the best we have to our children.

With that said, it is my intent to make this a fabulous year for all of your children.

→ 2 CommentsCategories: Community

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-07

August 7, 2011 · No Comments

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