Year 5: 2012-2013
Week beginning May 1, 2013
(Introduction to the Superintendent Journal)
Wednesday, May 8, 2013: Children, Gardens, Planning
Today and yesterday had some harrowing moments.
Yesterday an older student decided to not join his class, no one knew where he was, and there was almost an hour’s search for the student who was found, safe and sound. Some people thought we made too much of the situation.
Today, two younger children left school together. In the time it took to find the children and bring them back to the school, parents and staff were worried sick. The police joined our staff in a nanosecond, but at the end of today we (administrators who were aware) were somewhat breathless considering the responsibility schools have to know where every student is at every moment.
Everyone is safe and sound, but these moments stress families and personnel to the max. A child can walk away in a store, in a school, from an event. In just a second …. We will surely review these situations.
Gardens at the Discovery School
The Four Corners School is now an Innovation School, grades K-3, known as “The Discovery School at Four Corners.” This school takes advantage of its large land area and specializes in gardens. Here are some pictures of students gardening at the Discovery School. I believe all the children have a role planting and nurturing their garden and even sampling their crop. Students and families take care of the plants over the weekends and holidays.
Someone sent me pictures of children working in one of the gardens.
It is a long process but elementary principals spent time today working on individual school plans that integrate key commitments for school improvement. There will be even more efforts for welcoming new parents and reaching out to ask for ideas as to how our schools can improve.
Speaking of planning, someone asked if it was possible to begin clubs for students who are interested in lacrosse and skiing. The high school is looking at these possibilities.
Saturday, May 4, 2013: An Exciting Weekend! And Films.
An Exciting Weekend
Today was the Pride Parade in Northampton. There must have been 7,000 people on the streets. All these different groups paraded with banners, decorated vehicles, and overall it was a happy parade event.
There were maybe a dozen different churches with banners that said: The <name> Church Welcomes All Families. And several hospitals were in the parade with banners that said something like: The <name> hospital is proud to provide care to everyone. And many schools were there—many high schools. Greenfield Center School was in the parade. Some elementary and preschools were in the parade. One middle school was in the parade. The school banners said: “Name of School” and then “Our School teaches Social Justice” or “We support all students” or “Our High School Gay Straight Alliance is important.”
Then there were older groups with banners, like: Grandmothers who support our gay grandchildren. Politicians had banners. Different businesses had banners. Each group was maybe 10-20 people. It was a remarkable show of…pride and support. Support here in the Pioneer Valley for a community culture fully supportive of its gay and transgendered neighbors and friends.
Greenfield High now has a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). We should make a Pride GSA banner for our school so if they want to participate in any event, they have a banner.
Mr. Paul Calcari Special Concert
Mr. Calcari hoped for a full house at tonight’s “Music Family Reunion Concert” and he got that—it was standing room only. Former GHS grads returned with graduation dates from 1986 to 2012. They pulled out their music instruments, brushed up their voices, and a fabulous concert it was.
I spoke to one grad who flew up from Florida, after a car accident where she broke her back! She said she wouldn’t have missed this and hasn’t been back to Greenfield since she was graduated from high school.
Travis LeDoyt (a GHS grad billed as “the World’s Most Famous Young Elvis Interpreter” made a video for the audience. I don’t know how he is impersonating Elvis, but he is one of the funniest people I’d ever heard give a presentation. He was hilarious, really. The tape was brilliantly funny.
A GHS 1995 grad with an amazing tenor voice who on Broadway—Kevin Duda—came up from New York and sang. I could have listened to him sing all night. And he also was very funny. I had a chance to talk with him in the hall. And he said he reads this Superintendent journal. Really? So I said I’d mention him in tonight’s journal.
Hello, Kevin! Thanks for participating in tonight’s fabulous concert.
Films from the Film Festival
Greenfield Public Schools have changed in the five years I have been superintendent. One change is a renewed commitment to the arts—with a coordinated program from kindergarten through high school. Finding a way to fund the arts has been a challenge but we’ve done it.
Along with others, I have wanted to help inspire a youth orchestra, which requires a string section. We already have a concert band with training for this. So for the last five years Greenfield Schools have worked a contract with ArtSpace into our grant programs so ArtSpace could provide free string lessons to our students, starting at grade 3. Over five years, we now have student violinists and cellists—good enough to audition for the new Pioneer Valley Youth Orchestra that is starting. A parent at Mr. Calcari’s Reunion Concert mentioned to me how proud he was that his son was trying out for the new youth orchestra on cello. We’ve asked the Greenfield Education Foundation to help us with purchase of student violins.
Another example is our Student Film Festival. We have managed to integrate a Film Festival into our TV and technology programs. We had 66 films submitted this year. There are no technical guidelines. A panel of judges reviews all the films and then certain films are picked to show at the festival. All the films at elementary, middle, or high school level are shown to the students in their level. If time allows, we show all the films. The elementary films are made by very young children—ages 5, 6, and 7.
Here are a few Greenfield Film Festival 2013 Finalists. People who missed the film festival have asked for a preview of what our students developed either in classes or on their own. If you think about it—every commercial you see on TV is a short film. It is another type of future interest our students can develop.
Making a Film http://www.schooltube.com/video/c20f0d2d07a747ba8cac/Making (Grade 1)
4 Fun Cartoons http://www.schooltube.com/video/8345b538a16c4bfc8daf/4 (Grade 1)
Respect www.schooltube.com/video/cb87ee87b3274601830d (Grade 1)
The Day They Were Born www.schooltube.com/video/a4251843ce6148f2a283 (Grade 1)
The Red Suspension Bridge www.schooltube.com/video/d18f142e8b934fb38e92 (Grade 2)
I'm Curious http://www.schooltube.com/video/35aa93542cc949bb8485/I'm Curious (Grade 5)
Flipping Through Skyward http://www.schooltube.com/video/41f1a7258d2646abb4af/ (Grade 9)
Trick Shots www.schooltube.com/video/43edf968974843c9912a (Grade 12)
MAVA-Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield
Virus Virus-www.schooltube.com/video/cdb9373de073457da104 (Grade 7)
I would enjoy hearing back from people about the films. The “Flipping Through Skyward” lasts just a few seconds but each movement represents a different hand drawing. 100s. There is a lot of student talent here.
Page last updated:
May 9, 2013