2012 Report of the Randolph Public Schools
The Randolph Public Schools has made significant improvements this year, including~gains in elementary MCAS scores, the launch of Freshman Academy, the creation of AIM Academy, and a three-year Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant award.~~
In 2011-2012, the Randolph Public Schools continued implementing its state-approved Accelerated Plan. ~The plan focuses on three things:
1. High quality learning and teaching
2. Professional development for staff
3. Accountability for staff, schools, and the district.
By focusing on these three areas, the district hoped to see improvement in student performance.~While there is room for improvement, the results of the spring 2012 MCAS show some progress. ~The district's elementary schools made impressive growth. ~The middle and high schools did not see increases overall, but are on track to make gains on the 2013 MCAS.
The district was pleased to learn that it met the state set target for its Progress and Performance Index (PPI). ~ The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education uses PPI to measure the improvement of each district and school. The PPI combines information about closing the gaps between student performance, and graduation and dropout rates. The district went from a PPI score of 39 in 2011 to a much-improved score of 64 for 2012.
Much of the gains are due to the focus on professional development, which is a cornerstone of the Accelerated Plan. All administrators are engaged in professional development to help them recognize and promote quality instruction. Teachers are engaged in professional development on high quality instruction, assessment and data analysis. At the school level, teachers are giving benchmark assessments and learning to use data to guide their instruction. They are engaged in using the “Randolph Way”, the district’s new set of teaching and learning behaviors that draw from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Characteristics of a Standards Based Classroom. All teachers and administrators have been trained in the “Randolph Way.”
Principals are using formative assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses in their schools and to work in areas of need. An “Opportunity to Learn” (OTL) protocol was developed and is now used in 100% of the schools. OTL is a less formal and more personalized introductory way for teachers to provide timely and appropriate intervention and support to students in Randolph. The OTL process is put into effect when a teacher has a concern about a student. All available data on that student is assembled and a team is convened to discuss the student’s strengths and area for improvement. Weekly OTL meetings are led by administrators and result in action plans to address students’ identified needs. All administrators received professional development in leading the Opportunity to Learn protocol and have been
facilitating meetings with teachers.
Every school holds grade level team meetings called Common Planning Time (CPT) three times a week for each team. CPT meetings are led by an administrator and are used as a time to work on curriculum, assessment and instruction. Additionally, the District and School Assistance Centers
On June 28, 2011 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new regulations to guide the evaluation of all educators serving in positions requiring a license—teachers, principals, superintendents, and other administrators. The regulations are designed first and foremost to promote leaders’ and teachers’ growth and development. They place student learning at the center of the process using multiple measures of student learning. This includes a new focus on Family Engagement, an area that has not previously been assessed as part of the evaluation process.
By 2013-14, every district in the Commonwealth will be phasing in evaluation processes and procedures that are consistent with the new regulations. RPS has provided a series of Professional Development opportunities a representative number of Randolph teachers, principals and administrators who turn are sharing what they learn with other teachers in their schools. To support teachers, principals, and administrators in meeting the expectations on the new evaluation, the Office of Family and Community Relations developed a professional development series on family engagement.
There have also been new programs put in place at the elementary and secondary levels. RPS will receive a three-year Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant to implement a project called Asset Based Culture (ABC), which~will serve 1,500 students in the district's four elementary schools. ~Through the grant, the district~will hire additional mental health professionals (school counselors) who will implement the state model for school counseling programs. The work will include a guidance curriculum, running small groups, seeing students individually and running programs for parents. The district is pleased to be one of the sixty recipients of this grant.
The district revamped the alternative education program that served grades 7 – 12. The middle school program was merged with the high school program and moved to Randolph High to form AIM Academy. The program is working to use competency-based curriculum and assessments to support individualized learning and self-pacing to meet the needs of over-age and struggling students. Students receive instructional opportunities and experiences that will prepare them for college and career readiness. New staff helped to create a positive school culture and climate, and increase student achievement and attendance. The Rockport Company made a commitment to design and implement a computer lab to support AIM. The program is on track to have its first two graduates in spring 2013.
RHS also received a one-year grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation to launch the Freshman Academy. Freshman Academy was launched to address the need for a stronger transition into the ninth grade for incoming eighth graders. The model includes Saturday academic support for struggling students.
The district has continued its efforts to engage the community as partners. The Randolph Public Learning Community (RPLC) was launched establishing a group of families, educators, and community members who would work together to develop and implement solutions to some of the challenges impacting RPS. The RPLC determined that it would support the selection and implementation of a district wide family engagement strategy that would impact student learning. The RPLC is on track to select a strategy in spring 2013 and to work with the district on implementation of the strategy starting in September 2013.
Additionally, a number of community partnerships have allowed the district to offer resources to students, families and the community. One of the highest profile partners was the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, which asked RPS to continue to serve as one of its Thanksgiving Assistance Project sites. The project resulted in 500 Randolph families receiving Thanksgiving groceries.
The Randolph Chamber of Commerce and the Randolph-Avon Rotary Club have worked closely with the school system, both providing a seat for the district in their organizations. They have also provided significant support for students by support school events and providing student scholarships.
Wonderful things are happening in our schools every day. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments in academics, music, art, athletics, community service and more. We are grateful for the support and effort of the staff, town, community members, families, and partners, who make our continuous improvement and growth possible. We look forward to continued achievement.
Oscar Santos, Superintendent of Schools