Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are doing well.  The month of May is typically a very busy time for everyone who works in a Massachusetts public school due to the administration of the MCAS, preparation for next school year, and the excitement for the conclusion of the current school year.  I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for helping the students get ready for the MCAS assessments these past few weeks.  I hope everyone will continue to do the same during the next few weeks as we administer the Math sessions to all three grade levels and the Science, Technology, and Engineering sessions to our 8th graders.  Although we want our students to treat these assessments seriously, I would like to remind everyone that MCAS results are only one data point out of many that we look at to determine whether our students are growing academically.  Although academic progress is important and we should encourage our students to do their best, I hope everyone will continue to remember that values and skills such as the possessing the love of learning, knowing how to self-regulate, and exhibiting respectful behaviors to each other are just as – if not more – important indications of student success than scores on standardized assessments.

I encourage all parents and guardians to make sure students get enough sleep the night before the MCAS and eat a good breakfast the day of the testing.  Students do not have to study or prepare for the MCAS assessments other than doing the above and coming to school with intention to do their best on these tests.

Since the passage of the override in March, the administrative staff and I have been busy planning the hiring of the new positions that the additional funding will be providing us.  Different principals make different decisions about the roles they would like to play in their hiring processes.  I see staffing and making personnel decisions as one of the most important aspect of my job; therefore, I will be involved in the hiring process for each one of our open positions.  I apologize to everyone ahead of time if my responses to your emails, phone calls, or requests for meetings are delayed during the next few weeks.

If you recall, the override gave us the following positions:

  • Three additional world language teachers to allow us to expand the program into 6th grade.
  • One additional PE teacher to help us manage the current large class sizes.
  • One part-time Theater teacher to help us expand our Performance Arts course offerings.
  • One part-time Instructional Technology Specialist to help our teaching staff integrate technology into their practices.
  • One part-time Instructional Coach to support all teaching staff.

One position I would like to draw everyone’s attention to is the Instructional Coach.  As the title of position indicates, this is a person who will be here to help and support all McCall educators in improving their teaching practices.  The person will not have a supervisory or evaluative role; the position is created purely to serve as a resource for all teachers.  There is a lot of research literature out there that indicates a good instructional coach can create a significant impact in helping teachers improve their practices – even more so than traditional Professional Development programs.  I am attaching some articles for your reference.  I am excited that we have the opportunity to start a part-time instructional program next year with the potential to expand it further the following years. 

Lastly, I would like to let everyone know that this month’s May Principal’s Coffee has been moved to June.  With the MCAS being administered this Wednesday morning, our library and many of available spaces are being used for small group testing.  I thank you for your understanding.

Enjoy the upcoming week!

James Lin
McCall Middle School

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