After a year of grassroots advocacy, the fight is almost over. There have been two very important votes in the Senate and House over the past month. Both bodies unanimously passed the Student Opportunity Act, which when fully phased in, this once-in-a-generation change will bring $1.5 billion more each year to our public schools. I took the opportunity to be there with other local presidents, MTA staff, and Merrie and Max on the day of the vote. We spent the month handing out information and attempting to talk to as many Representatives who were available. We strongly wanted them to pass an amendment which would have assured more local control in regards to how districts choose to use the money. The Senate had passed language that kept harmful accountability measures like this away. Unfortunately, the House did not pass the amendment as we had hoped. Before this Bill is able to be signed, it will go to conference committee to look at the difference between the two versions. We are hoping to keep the pressure on to go with the Senate’s version. I will keep you informed about what we will need to do to get this to happen.
It was an amazing experience to hear the inspired stories of many Representatives who gave their maiden speeches on the House floor. They recalled memories of their own time in public school and stories of educators and students from across the state. It was clear through their passionate words that they had all been positively influenced by an educator in their lifetime. The fight that we pursued through these collective actions will directly benefit our students and the generations to come.
The NTA participated at the very wet and rainy 27th annual Chartley Halloween Parade. Debuting the new NTA logo was proudly on display!
Due to vacancies, Deb Ahern and Heidi Loring have been appointed to paraprofessional building reps. Congratulations!
The MTA has helped to sponsor a new position of New Member Liaison. This position will help orient new members to NPS and the NTA. Also, the role of this position will be to organize new member events. Jennifer Farley has been appointed to this position. Congratulations!
News from the Vice President of the Paraprofessional Unit
I attended an NEA Conference geared towards paraprofessionals in Princeton, NJ this summer with fellow colleagues, Kayla Sweed, Shannon Taylor, Michele Fruci and Erin Rice. The main topic for the conference was “Where are we right now” - “What needs to get done” And How to organize to get there!
This is where we are:
Under the supervision of a certified teacher, paraprofessionals are often the go-to-people at the school. Para’s now assist in classroom management and student behavior, and a myriad of activities to improving the students performance. We work closely with students and teachers and also find time to perform a variety of duties. We are able to build strong bonds with children because we work so closely with them. The children we work work may have cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism or other disabilities. We work with small groups according to the students’ ability level, providing instruction, whether teaching a child to write their names, count by fives or how to work in the community. Although there are some days when we are surprised that we can keep our sanity, those days are far outnumbered by the rewards of watching a child smile because they were able to accomplish even the simplest task. Paraprofessionals exemplify a versatility that makes it difficult to pinpoint what they do because they do so much.
We are long removed from making photocopies and putting up bulletin boards. In the past, many paras’ received minimal training.
This is what we wanted to get done:
Put together a Mentoring Program for newly hired paraprofessionals so we can retain quality, informed paraprofessionals and to improve the quality of classroom assistance. It is very important that new paras to the school district receive the support, advice and direction necessary to make their first year experience as successful and meaningful as possible.
STEM activities and pictures were shared by Kerri Murphy.
The district STEM event twitter entries are grouped by this wakelet:
1. District STEM event. Anyone choosing to participate uses the #LancersSTEMweek19 is entered into a contest for prizes. Prizes to be drawn this week!
2. Norton High School Women in STEM Club - Dr Rego and her club members collaborated with a HAY classroom to perform a DNA activity using strawberries
3. Deaf Kids Code - https://www.deafkidscode.org/ organization came for a day long experience, collaborating with our READs program to learn about robots, circuits, and apps. (MS and HS students) Volunteers from DELL and Fidelity participated and also spoke about careers to the Computer Science Fundamentals course later that day. (Oct 21)
4. STEM in Spanish - Computational thinking and Robotics in the (High School) Spanish classroom (Kerri Murphy and Martha Godfrey) Oct 21, during A and G blocks
These pictures are of the robot friend lesson in the Spanish classroom. That’s why they have Spanish instructions on the posters. The robot picture is for one class when we used robots using Spanish instructions.
5. MassCUE. 20+ Norton teachers attending, presenting and running the conference to bring more hands-on technology into their classrooms (10/23 and 10/24)
MassCue write up and pictures were shared by Kimberly Zajac.
On Wednesday October 23 and Thursday October 24, dozens of Norton Administrators, Educators and Students made way to Gilette Stadium for MassCUE 2019 Fall Conference. From volunteering to presenting to proving the morning mini-keynote performance, Norton was well represented in learning and turning some heads with their technology and innovation prowess.
Click here to watch and listen while The Norton High School A Cappella Trio (Amelia Kirshon, Caitlyn Bailey, Caroline Blakely) aka Treble In Paradise take to the stage on Thursday morning to share their skills and talents:
Photos of Norton Leaders, Teachers and Students in action: