Summer Professional Development Highlights
It was a busy and productive summer for District staff members and administrators, who participated in a range of professional development initiatives, including workshops on Sustainability/"Love Your Food" grant with the Town of Mamaroneck (which you will hear more about over the course of the year), Technology, Social-Emotional Learning & Mindfulness, and more. In addition to District-sponsored workshops, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Annie Ward noted the tremendous amount of self-selected study - professional reading, networking -- that teachers across the District initiate.
Leading into summer, the District hosted a two-day Beyond Diversity workshop using the Courageous Conversation protocol. Focusing on racial literacy, more than 80+ staff members including Administrators, Department Chairs, Guidance Counselors, and psychologists, along with BOE and PT Council members, engaged in interracial dialogue that Superintendent Dr. Shaps called 'moving and important'.
This school year, the District will continue to partner with Sheldrake Environmental Center and explore other local field expeditions such as the Science Barge in Yonkers. Work was done over the summer on the Integration of our vibrant school gardens across the schools, tied to curriculum.
Elementary Instructional Technology Coach Jesse Dancy led a workshop for 5th grade teachers on integrating the computer science program with the literacy curriculum. Skills, including blogging and media literacy skills such as maintaining an appropriate online persona, will be integrated more authentically right in the classroom and then supported by the computer TAs.
Secondary Technology Coach Mike Sammartano worked with teachers on new tools for creating and consuming content. Highlights included augmented and virtual reality and helping teachers learn how to communicate effectively with the app known as flipgrid. He also led a popular podcasting workshop that educated teachers on the recording process, storytelling, scripting, and interviewing.
The Physical Education department worked on preparing for new technology that will enable students to maintain a fitness portfolio as part of the senior year PE model launched last year. And, the Dual Language Program teachers prepared to welcome the first cohort of Dos Caminos/Dual Language students to the middle school.
It is remarkable to note the groundswell of interest teachers show each summer in continually improving their practices and recharging for the year ahead.
Dr. Shaps Provides Update on Enrollment, Class Sizes
In providing an update to the Board on enrollment and class sizes, Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps noted a 14.3% (68 additional students) increase in K-12 enrollment over last year, with incoming Kindergarten numbers aligned with Feb., 2019 predictions. “We have had a trend over the past 10 years, where we have seen an increase, followed by a decrease, followed by an increase, followed by decrease,” Dr. Shaps said. “The only difference is that cohort size was 380-410; now it is 450+” According to Dr. Shaps, we have 669 (or 13%) more students today in our schools than we did in 2010.
Dr. Shaps said K-5 enrollment this school year remains flat, with both Hommocks and Mamaroneck High School enrollment numbers up slightly. Space is currently being fully utilized at Murray and at Mamaroneck Ave. School with no more classrooms available in those two buildings. Three classrooms are available at Chatsworth Ave. School, and nine are available at Central (which includes five classes currently assigned to Pre-K program).
Class sizes fall under the Board of Education guidelines, with Kindergarten and 1st grade averaging at 20 across the District. A total of 77 of 109 elementary sections have 22 students per class or less. “We have favorable class sizes across the system and are continuing to commit to that,” Dr. Shaps said.
Mark Your Calendar! Exciting Year of PACE Shows Ahead
PACE performances at Mamaroneck High School are not just for MHS families. If you are a parent of a younger student, you will want to see what is ahead for your children at the high school. Attending a PACE performance is one way to do that. Come get a feel for the performing arts curriculum experience -- encompassing dance, music and theatre -- that thousands of Mamaroneck students have enjoyed for so many years.