District Priority 1

District Priority 1

ALL STUDENTS ARE DRIVERS OF THEIR OWN LEARNING

 

In support of District Priority 1, Needham Public Schools pursued strategies for student choice, independent learning, and personalized pathways while teaching students the content and skills necessary for their personal and academic growth. Here are some key examples:

 

First full year of an in-person and Full-Day Kindergarten

The district's vision for kindergarten was realized in the 2021-2022 school year with students loving learning in a full-day kindergarten program. Although launched in 2019, the full-day kindergarten model could not be fully implemented during remote/hybrid learning. The current kindergarten units of study support the development and agency of the whole child. Activities, which are located in specific areas or centers around the classroom, are designed to develop student independence as learners and foster collaboration with others. Teachers

are shifting from teaching children about science to teaching them how to do science with hands-on practices.

 

Racial Literacy Curriculum

Guided by the district's Roadmap for Becoming A Culturally Responsive Educator, we expanded our formal elementary Racial Literacy curriculum in the 2021-2022 school year. The curriculum enables students to

experience learning in a way that is reflective of their backgrounds, cultural differences, interests, and learning preferences. With a curriculum for kindergarten through grade 5, explicit instruction is being provided on themes such as: a celebration of skin colors, diversity around the world, and how immigration shaped the racial and cultural landscape of the United States.

 

Data Science Electives

At Pollard, the 7th grade data science program expanded to 8th grade in the 2021-2022 school year. Students in both programs are taught to look at data in creative ways, through visualization and physical representation. They work on real-world applications of math and communication skills. More specifically, they study big data sets related to current issues like population decline, plane delays, or climate change. When students generate new ideas, their teachers can adapt the lesson plans in response to student excitement about different topics.

 

Student Initiatives

Whether it was through the NHS student art show entitled "Your Voice Matters" or a student-driven change to the School Committee's approved calendar recognizing Indigenous People's Day, there is growing evidence that our students are becoming drivers of their own learning. This is especially important given the experiences of the last two years with COVID. Students are back in school and taking the initiative to apply lessons learned

to creatively address issues in our community.

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