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Dear Families and Community Members,
Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year! We are pleased that the weather is cooperating this year with tropical storms and hurricanes staying away. We are also very pleased with all that we have accomplished over the summer to prepare for a wonderful school year.
Along with shiny tile floors, re-finished gym floors, a deep cleaning throughout the buildings, and some fresh paint in many locations, here are a few of the highlights:
- Clyde Brown Library has been painted and carpeted with old floor tiles removed
- The Pre-school Playground has a beautiful new structure and new mulch due to the hard work of volunteers, many from the Millis fire Department
- The Middle/High School Weight Room has been expanded to accommodate fitness classes and athletes
- Final roof repair at Clyde Brown School
- Upgrade of the walk-in cooler at Clyde Brown
- Flame treating the Stage Curtains at both schools
- Mounting of Smartboards and projectors
- AC installed in nurses offices for student health reasons
The above is in addition to the yearly certifications, inspections and regular maintenance of all equipment such as elevators, fire extinguishers, boilers, kitchen equipment etc., that always happen over the summer. When you see a custodian, please give him a big “THANK YOU!” for their hard work!
There is a 10,000 hour rule for becoming expert at cognitively complex tasks, which translates into about 10 years of work. We are fortunate to have 16 teachers and support staff members with over 20 years of Millis experience so our students are the beneficiaries of much expertise and wisdom.
We have a lot to be proud of in Millis: the High School once again was ranked in the top 1000 schools nationally. More students took AP courses AND, once again, scores went up. In partnership with families, we are encouraging all students to challenge themselves and reach higher, not just those for whom academics come somewhat easily.
Clyde Brown School will be honored on Sept. 10th in Washington DC as the 4th place winner of the International Spanish Academy School of the Year competition!
For several years we have been focusing on the “twenty first century skills” businesses tell us are needed in a global economy, skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, excellent written, oral and visual communication skills and the work ethic and grit needed to succeed. (A child born today may very well live into the 22nd century and one can only imagine what skills will be required then!) Our Mission captures this by focusing on developing not just lifelong learners but LEADERS who will contribute to society. We have a passionate and talented staff working collaboratively in teams to build a culture that develops grit in students. And THAT is remarkable!
Moreover, we PERSONALIZE learning well in Millis. We truly know our students well. At the beginning of each school year teachers get to know their new students by using learning style inventories, interest inventories, and writing prompts to learn about who they are, what they care about and what motivates them. They also do several pre-assessments to find out the skill levels -strengths and weaknesses of our students so that we can personalize our approach to teaching them. This personalization makes a difference and it is, I believe, what we can do in Millis better than any other district in the state!
Our DRAFT Leadership Team vision for Personalizing Learning is:
In Millis we honor each student as an individual learner, recognizing that each student has his or her own learning style, interests, passions, challenges to learning and skill level. We engage all students through varied instructional approaches so that students are afforded flexibility in how they demonstrate their understanding.
This year will be challenging in that we are implementing the Educator Evaluation System that is required by new state regulations. It is a good system, but it will be time-consuming, with a 5-step cycle consisting of:
2) Data analysis and goal setting (one student learning goal and one professional growth goal),
3) Development and implementation of an action plan to achieve the goals,
4) A Mid-Cycle Goal Review and
5) A Summative Evaluation
Principals and other evaluators will be doing many classroom walkthroughs with teachers and supervisors gathering evidence of how the educator is meeting the 4 Standards, 16 Indicators and 33 Elements in the Massachusetts Dept. of Education Model Rubric for educators that can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/edeval/. I am confident that our Millis teachers will embrace this process in the spirit of professional growth. The administrative team is committed to supporting them as we pilot this new process this year.
The success of Millis students relies on good communication and partnering between the schools and families. Please know that your classroom teachers and all administrators welcome your input and feedback. You play a crucial role in the success of your child in school. We cannot honor each child’s individuality nor accomplish nearly as much without your involvement and support. Please contact us with any ideas that you may have to improve your child’s experiences. Thank you for all you do to help make the Millis Public Schools a “Small School, Big Family”!
Nancy L. Gustafson