Periodically I will take the liberty of sharing articles I run across that I think might be of interest to you. Two such articles are Jane E. Brody pieces from the Personal Health section of the New York Times on screen time and children, Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children, July 6, 2015 New York Times and Limit Children’s Screen Time, and Your Own, July 14, 2015 New York Times. The July 6 article presents some thought-provoking research and concerns regarding problems inherent in not limiting recreational screen time (phones, T.V., internet, video games, etc.) for children and teenagers. The July 14 article provides recommendations for planning device-free family activities that help parents control children’s screen use more effectively.
Our district’s instructional goals are the yearly road map that guide district priorities for staff development, instructional planning and allocation of instructional resources. These goals are developed by our district leadership team, which consists of the building and district administrators, secondary department chairs and K-12 directors, along with input and feedback from faculty from the various departments.
Each year the team establishes district goals that are our SMART goals, (specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and time bound). These SMART goals support our broader big picture goals, which generally remain consistent over a period of years, with the SMART goals moving us closer to our “broad picture goals.” For example, one of our “big picture goals” has been to “ensure development of astute student researchers who understand how to ask and answer important questions.” In 2013-14, a supporting SMART goal was to “define and articulate specific skills in research and writing and define student products in grades 7, 8 and 9 English and Social Studies to support student success with 10th grade research paper.” In 2014-15, using a backward design, the SMART goal developed into drafting grades 5 and 6 research skills curriculum and outcomes in ELA/Social Studies to articulate with the 7-12 research curriculum. With our foundation in place, the supporting SMART goal for this school year is to plan for the interdisciplinary implementation of the AP Capstone Program in 2016-17 that brings math, science and social science research initiatives together at the secondary level.
Another “big picture goal” is Goal #1: A common framework and language supports unified practice and collaboration among all staff for achieving student learning. Over the past three years, the District has undertaken and accomplished several supporting SMART goals in this ongoing pursuit as our programs continue to grow and change. This year, two SMART goals that support this “big picture goal” are establishing an Instructional Advisory Council with K-12 representation from administration, leadership and teaching staff while creating opportunities for articulation within and across content areas and grades within the context of a collaborative professional learning community.
In just one of many examples of the type of action planning that supports our SMART goals, earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a lively meeting, chaired by secondary ELA chair Stephen Collier. Last year’s fourth grade academic intervention support teacher from North Side and the grade 5, 6 and 7 ELA/AIS teachers shared their programs and ideas with each other. Many thanks to Mr. Collier and Jacqueline Busking, Antonia Laruccia, Allison Sussman, Michelle Ricci and Nicole Scala for the insight shared and efforts made in a great model of articulated collaboration, which promotes maximizing our students’ learning through the building of vertical articulation and common language.
The East Williston Educational Foundation is hosting a professional traveling carnival on Oct. 9, 10 and 11. It will take place at the Willets Road parking lot. There will be rides, food, and an all-around great fun weekend of entertainment. Proceeds will benefit the East Williston Schools. Don’t forget to mark your calendars and tell your friends and neighbors in surrounding towns as well.