All are invited to celebrate the achievements of our students. Tuesday, June 11. (Note: this was rescheduled from Thursday, May 23, 2013.)
Congratulations to Akiva Gordon for her Summa cum Laude, Gold Medal. In addition, six students received Maxima cum Laude, Silver Medals; 14 received Magna cum Laude; and six received cum Laude.
Celebrate together as our School Department commemorates the success of another graduating class.
May is Teacher Appreciation Month Celebrate by honoring a Weston Public Schools Employee with a WEEFC TAR Award. Honorees will receive a certificate from the Superintendent and be eligible to win additional prizes in a year-end drawing.
Thursday, May 23, 6:30–9pm 12 Baptist Church, 160 Warren St, Roxbury, MA (Note that his location differs from the PTO Calendar) All are encouraged to attend. Let's celebrate the achievements of our students and meet and greet other families. Please br
We have a very exciting event planned, and to make all of this happen we need YOU! Volunteer shifts include: 9:30am-1pm, 12:30-4pm, 3:30-7:30pm. Jobs will include helping with activities, games, parking management, WHS tours, the concert and more.
It is now time to gather community feedback to create the next Long Range Plan. Your confidential responses will be collected and analyzed. The survey will be on line until June 1st.
Education for Every WHS Student
FY’12 year saw the continued growth of a “valued student support program” at WHS, which includes Advisories that provide students with meaningful connections to adults in the building; the Enrichment Center (TEC), a tutoring center that assists all students with course content, organization, study skills, and technology; the Bridge Program, to support students who are returning from substantial absences due to emotional or medical reasons; the Skills Department, which provides support for students with moderate learning issues; and the GOAL Program, which supports students with severe learning disabilities.
For students with special education needs, WHS has also made significant changes. Special Education services are provided to eligible students up to age twenty-two. Eligibility is determined through diagnosis of a disability, lack of effective progress within the general education setting and the need for specially designed instruction to meet the needs of the disability. Such students require specially designed instruction in order to make desired progress. Reflective of the school's priorities, as of the 2012-13 school year, the Skills Department has a Department Head to give voice to the department in the WHS Curriculum Cabinet.
The school’s first leader in the Skills department is Department Head Patrick Kelly, a veteran in the district. Mr. Kelly earned his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Stonehill College and his Masters in Special Education in Moderate Needs Education from Simmons College. He joined the Middle School in 2001 as an inclusion tutor and came to WHS in 2006 as a learning specialist.
According to Mr. Kelly, the WHS Skills Department has grown dramatically in the years since he first arrived. At that time, he was one of only three teachers, with much of their time focused on case management. As of the 2013-14 school year there will be 8 teachers with special education training, all of whom will be primarily focused on curricular education. Mr. Kelly is especially looking forward to the addition next year of a teacher with specific training in social emotional needs who will also serve the Bridge Program.
This shift in the skills program is a response to concerns of family and faculty that students need more explicit skills education as an objective in itself as well as a means to improve academic performance.
Mr. Kelly is also responsible for the GOAL (Getting Organized for Academics and Life) program, which provides a life skills curriculum to enhance employment, community awareness, social skills and strategies. Students learn to use public transportation, prepare meals, manage household budgets, and other activities of daily living. The curriculum includes weekly experiences in the community, with part-time jobs, community service and field trips that expose them to various real-life situations as preparation for independent living upon graduation.
Collaboration among the valued student support programs is key to success. Mr. Kelly serves on the Bridge Core Team, which comprises the Principal, Assistant Principal, Guidance Department Head, Bridge Director, and the Director of Student Services.. He also works closely with the TEC Director to coordinate tutoring services in specific academic areas; and with Guidance to coordinate Skills curriculum with the Guidance Seminar curriculum.
Susan Strong, the newly appointed District Director of Student Services, reflected on how the community has driven the significant evolution in special education in the district. “After being here a year, I am moved by how intimately our faculty know our students. We know our kids, families and their needs. That will lead to a more specific program to meet the needs of our students.”
Parents and faculty had expressed concern about how to balance explicit instruction in study skills, organization, note taking, time management, all of which are important for post-secondary education opportunities, with academic achievement. Addressing this balance has become the objective of a new curriculum, standards and benchmarks, and teaching protocols to be developed this summer.
Strong has been recognized for her commitment to parent education. To date she has held several public meetings with the consultant who is helping the district with this paradigm shift, as well as half a dozen coffees and monthly meetings through the Weston Parent Advisory Council for Special Education. “Educating parents and the community about specific developmental deficiencies will help them recognized and address the issues their children may be facing. This is also important for us as a district, to ensure communication about how we can affect their child’s progress in the schools.”
Regarding special education in WHS, Strong is effusive. “The high school team is particularly effective. The SPED teachers teach; they don’t just manage cases. The department is uniquely reflective and interested in solving problems, which is different from any high school I’ve worked with in the past.”
Slideshow images are from the GOAL room, Bridge room, and Skills Room.