Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: District Newsletter - October 2020

Franklin Public Schools: District Newsletter - October 2020
What is a Digital Learning Integrationist?
The role of Digital Learning Integrationist (DLI) is a new position which was created this year in order to support the ever changing technology needs of our staff, students and families. Our three district DLIs, Marianne Zogby, Kate Merten and Jim d'Entremont, have over 70 years of combined teaching experience and are using their vast knowledge and tech savvy skills to support the use of technology in classrooms across the entire district.

The DLIs facilitated the PD sessions that led up to the start of the school year and have provided support with the Google Suite and its functionality for staff and families alike.They have been curating digital resources, creating support videos and offering assistance to staff on the best digital tools to use to meet their classroom objectives. The DLI team is also developing the FPS Digital Learning Center, which will serve as a unified source of all district supported learning apps and tools for students, families and staff.
The DLIs will be holding office hours for each school, including the Virtual Learning Academy, to offer face-to face planning time and support. Their role will evolve over the course of the year, as learning models change and new needs are identified.

Find helpful information on their their monthly TIPs Newsletter (Tech Integration Practices)
New 8th Grade Civics Curriculum

The 8th grade students in Franklin are learning a new curriculum beginning in the 20-21 school year: US and Massachusetts Government & Civic Life. This new state-mandated course is designed to give students the opportunity to study the foundations of U.S. democracy, how and why it has developed over time, and the role of individuals - including young people - in maintaining a healthy democracy.

Students have been exploring civic rights and responsibilities and what it means to be an informed citizen.They are learning to engage in conversations about controversial issues, how to disagree and debate in a respectful manner, media literacy, and the role of propaganda. The 8th graders are also reflecting and considering their own civic priorities and learning where American values fall on the political spectrum. These topics have been especially interesting as we approach the November 3rd election and have led to interesting and enlightening conversations!

After focusing on the current civic climate, the students will explore our history, learning about important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. They will touch on topics and historical events that have shaped the growth of our nation and the development of our laws, making connections to current events along the way.

Throughout the year, the 8th graders will also we working towards a civic action project that will allow them to engage with local issues of their choice. This year long process is intended to educate students on how they can engage and try to make an impact as citizens of their community, state and nation.
Want to hear more? Listen on FPS Voice to Jonathan Mello and Jeff Anthony, 8th grade social studies teachers at Annie Sullivan Middle School, share more information about how this curriculum is being introduced in their classrooms, how the 2020 election is aligning and sparking conversations and their plans for the school year.
JFK Named National Blue Ribbon School
John F. Kennedy Elementary school was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education! JFK was one of only 367 schools nationwide (and one of 6 in MA) to receive this award! Congratulations!

FHS Math Department adopts new grading system for
the 20-21 School Year.
The FHS Math Department has implemented Standards-Based Grading across many of their courses including Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus and Calculus. The grading system was piloted last year, earning positive feedback and showing improved retention results. It is now being incorporated across the the majority of math courses offered at FHS.

"Research suggests that retention is a big challenge for many students when learning math," shared Ron Taylor, Math Department Head at FHS. "The new grading system assesses and grades student work in a manner than demonstrates growth over time, which is key to building on mathematical concepts." The research compiled showed that students frequently cram for tests, an ineffective way of learning concepts and retaining them at a deeper level. The research also revealed that teachers feel they spend too much time reviewing and/or reteaching content lost over the summer months or at the beginning of the year. The solution to alter both the frequency and type of assessments has proven to be helpful.

"We will move away from simply averaging grades collected during a term, and instead, for each standard, we will collect multiple pieces of evidence of student work to determine an overall grade that reflects the student's overall understanding of the standards covered,' explained Taylor.

This new grading system is explained in the following videos and covers the reasoning, issues and solutions in greater detail.

The FPS Middle Schools are excited to "virtually" welcome visiting author Jordan Sonnenblick! There are plenty of fun events planed over the coming weeks for our students and their families to engage in!

Stay tuned for more information including Stop, Drop & Read events, a Virtual Book fair and ways to learn more about Jordan Sonnenblick and his books!

On October 13th, the School Committee approved the strategic initiatives of the 20-21 District Improvement Plan. The plan details plans for the following objectives:
  • Social-Emotional Well-being of Students and Staff 
  • Engaging and Rigorous Curriculum
  • High-Quality Instruction to Meet the Academic and SEL Needs of Each Learner
  • Effective Two-Way Communication to Support Student Learning
Are you looking for information related to the facilities analysis? There is a dedicated page on our website which houses all of the pertinent information including timelines, presentations, research and reports.
Franklin Public Schools | www.franklinps.net

Town of Franklin | 355 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038
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