October 27th

posted Oct 27, 2011, 10:25 AM by mstevens@maynard.k12.ma.us

Upcoming Events to Report:

Several of the Maynard School Department’s very important constituent groups have asked me to relay this information about important events on their behalf.

Maynard Music Association  Casino Game Night Fundraiser:

The Casino Night Fundraiser sponsored by Maynard Music Association will be in full swing this Saturday night, October 29 from 6:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.  Where? Maynard Elks. Cost: Admission Vouchers ($40 individual/$70 pair) include $3000 in chips for playing during the evening.  Over 75 prizes will be given away with the grand prize being 2 Red Sox or 2 Bruins Tickets!  Complimentary light refreshments and cash bar available.  Tickets are available from Kathy @978-897-2713 or at the Fowler School office and during parent conferences at Fowler 5:30-8:30 p.m. on October 27th.

Maynard Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) 

Meeting Announcement - Brain Balance: 

Please join Brain Balance Achievement Center and Maynard SEPAC on Monday, November 7th at 7:00 pm at the Fowler School Library in Maynard as we strive to educate our community about the causes of ADHD, autism, aspergers, Tourette's, and other disorders.   In 2011, nearly 25% of all children will struggle through the school year with the challenges of ADHD, autism, dyslexia, aspergers, and other learning and developmental disorders.  For many students, this means daily medications and ongoing battles with academic and social tests.  One of the greatest challenges of these disorders/delays; however, is the lack of understanding - on the part of teachers, parents, and specialists - of exactly what is happening to our children.  Our informational lecture will introduce the concept of positive neuroplasticity, the importance of integrated brain function, and the reality of remediation through hemispheric stimulation.  The Brain Balance Program is a drug-free, multi-modal approach to the remediation of developmental disabilities rooted in the science of life-long brain development.  Using advanced assessments, we work to identify the areas of weakness in a child's brain.  We then develop a customized program of sensory motor activities, academic work, and hemispheric stimulation to encourage brain development and reverse the challenge!  Beyond that work, however, we work closely with parents throughout the process to explain the workings of the brain in each child, and how our work is beneficial.  Our talk will include helpful hints for working with children of every challenge both at home and in the classroom, as well as advice on identifying areas of weakness in your son/daughter.  Contact Jennifer O'Leary at jenniferoleary1@verizon.net or 978-897-2705 for RSVP or more information.  This workshop is free and open to the public. 

Update on the Millis MA Public School Site Visit:

In the sports section of today’s Beacon Villager (10/27/11), I reported all of these events in the Superintendent’s Spotlight Column.  With deadlines for publication, that article was written before the visit to Millis and these Superintendent’s Notes have been written after the visit. 

In the Beacon Villager article, I included links that were in previous Superintendent’s Notes.  Those links explained what 21st Century Learning Skills are.  Too often people think that the programs or technology that supports 21st Century learning are the actual instructional strategies and outcomes that are expected from 21st Century Learning.  When I sent the links on the Superintendent’s Notes, many people said they enjoyed reading the notes, but did not have a chance to click on the links.  If you did not view the links in the past, you can find them in the upcoming Village Beacon today or http://www.wickedlocal.com/maynard  when it gets posted.  It is good background information for the following update on our visit.       

On Tuesday morning our 21st Century Committee met at Millis Middle High School.  The Millis Administration and Staff were very kind to share their time with us.  They started by explaining their experience over the last decade in developing their vision of a superior education system.  They provided us with an opportunity visit classrooms from Kindergarten through High School so that we could have first hand observations of the teaching and learning going on in Millis.  I must say that I was extremely impressed with what we heard and saw.  They are addressing 21st Century Learning Skills through an award winning TV Production Program, an 8th grade iPad Pilot Program and a K-12 Spanish Immersion Program. 

What was most impressive was hearing the students in a first grade class speak in Spanish after only 2 months in school, and hearing the fifth grade elementary students speaking Spanish better than I could after years of study.   Chairperson Amy Rebecca Gay found the following link to a NY Times article espousing the benefits of bilingual education.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science/31conversation.html  Not only does this make common sense, but it is nice when there is scientific evidence as well.

I was also very impressed with the integration of technology across all disciplines and classrooms in Millis.  The integration of technology was a FY12 Academic Priority in the Maynard School Department’s Budgeting Perspective last year.  The Maynard School Committee and School Administration obviously had an important vision of where they see the future of Maynard Education last year and now we have a model district that has a history of a similar vision from which we can learn.

The 21st Century Learning Skills Committee will begin meeting to review their findings from this visit in greater depth than this brief summary.  We will explore the possibility of other visits and activities to improve our understanding and implementation of the 21st Century Learning Skills.  If you are interested in participating on this committee, please contact me at rgerardi@maynard.k12.ma.us