Hello Lower Devo Families and Friends,
We hope that this weekend you were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather outside. This coming week we are looking forward to all of our families and friends joining us at the many open house events throughout the building (see schedule below). So much educational research indicates that parent and family involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. (for more on parent involvement in the role of academic success visit this Edutopia article) We hope that you will be able to find the time to attend these important events to learn more on how you can support your students' engagement and success at Lower Devo. If you are unable to attend the open house for your student, please reach out to your child's classroom teacher.
Lower Devo Open House Schedule (dates are also on our Devotion School Community Calendar)
Kindergarten: Friday September 30
Grade 1: Wednesday October 5
Grade 2: Wednesday September 28
Grade 3: Thursday September 29
Grade 4: Tuesday September 27
All open houses will meet promptly from 8:00 - 8:45a. At 8:00am families are invited to Room 518 (5th floor multipurpose room) for a presentation from the principals and PTO. At 8:15 families will be dismissed to grade level classrooms and engage in a presentation from their child's classroom teacher until 8:45am. Students will be escorted and supervised at Grigg's Park for an extra recess during this time. At 8:45am teachers will need to leave the building to walk to Grigg's Park to collect their students and return to the building.
This past week we had an excellent meeting with the PTO leadership and continued to brainstorm solutions to some of the challenges that we face at 30 Webster Street. We again want to thank everyone for your feedback, suggestions, encouragement, and flexibility. We are so fortunate to have this space as our temporary location while construction is happening at 345 Harvard Street. When we think about the alternatives (being stuck on the site and potentially having to extend the construction timeline) we know that these small obstacles pale in comparison to what we could have been facing this fall. With all that in mind, we are continuing to find ways to build and strengthen our community during these transitional years. Below are some upcoming opportunities to build and maintain connections:
We are exploring many other ideas for community building and strengthening relationships both in and outside of the classroom. Please continue to reach out to us with your feedback, suggestions, and questions. We want to be sure these next two years provide our students and families with space and opportunities to grow, learn, explore, and create lasting memories.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you at open houses this week!
Jen and Dave
Mon-Thurs: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Fri: 8:30 AM - 2:10 PM
Phone: (617) 879 - 4930
Address: 194 Boylston St., Brookline, MA 02445
Grade 5-8 Devotion Cabaret tryouts on Thursday, September 29th in room 005 (music room on basement level.) Lauren Checcini and Pam Foggo are the advisors. If this day and time does not work with your schedule, please speak to the advisors directly to arrange another time.
Edward Devotion School Council and School Improvement Plan 2016-2017
(Two sites, one school council and one school improvement plan)
The Devotion School Council held its first monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. The council has four teacher representatives: Michelle Gordon (Kindergarten), Stephanie Baran-Glennon (5th Grade), Riley Monahan (special educator) and Kristine Jackson (special educator). The parent members are Sarah Harris, Mike Toffel, Julie Wingerter, Jonathan Winikoff, Erin Meyer, Sarah Mnookin. The Devotion PTO presidents also attend. Jen Buller, Dave O’Hara and I chair the meetings.
The site council’s primary focus is to inform the yearly creation of the school improvement plan goals, along with faculty and staff and then review action steps taken during the year to meet those goals.
Below are summaries of the five goals as stated in the 2016-2017 Edward Devotion School Improvement Plan.
Foster a Compassionate and Inclusive Community
Our hopes with our first goal are to continue to strengthen our community through three avenues: within the classroom, within grade level clusters, and within the entire K-8 community. First, through the work of Responsive Classroom and Developmental Design we hope to increase the consistent use of language and practices that foster and support a safe learning environment where students are able to take risks and grow academically and socially. Secondly, by piloting the concept of Community Meetings (starting with K-2 and 7-8) we look to make our large school feel small and intimate. By inviting families into our building consistently to share student work/experiences, we hope to foster a sense of involvement and closeness between our families. Thirdly, during these next years of construction as our community exists between different physical spaces, we are hoping to continue and create new opportunities for the entire K-8 community to join together in celebration of learning.
Continue to Implement a Bullying Prevention Program
Based on concrete evidence from the OBQ data for 2014 and 2015, the following goal seeks to strengthen the Edward Devotion School community’s commitment to bullying prevention. The formation of the Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee will help guide our work in layering in best practices from the Olweus curriculum with other anti bullying curricula currently being implemented. The BPCC will also play a vital role in helping support teachers in the day-to-day practice of behavior supports and interventions. Additionally, we intend to reach out to our families and outside community members to involve them in the conversations around defining and preventing bullying.
Support a Culture of Data Inquiry to Promote Student Achievement
Our third goal was established to help identify and elevate best practices in teaching at the Edward Devotion School for the purpose of increasing student engagement and achievement at every level. We plan to create this culture of collaborative inquiry in three ways. First, we will need to establish a safe space for teachers to engage in the sharing of their professional practices and student work. We will help each other in this by creating meeting norms within grade level teams and as a whole faculty. We will also identify protocols that will support our work. Next we will use data that is already readily available to us such as, MCAS, Benchmark Assessment System (BAS- literacy), End of the Year Assessment (EOYA- math), to assess student learning to plan for instruction and differentiation as well as to examine personal practice and elevated best professional practices in specific curricula areas. Finally, we will engage in creating/identifying common grade level pre-/post-assessments that will be used to help inform instruction, interventions, and extensions in addition to examining the strengths and challenges of particular instructional decisions.
Support a Culture of 21st Century Teaching and Learning
One of our goals as educators is to prepare students for the complex global and digital world that is ever evolving around them. To achieve this goal we seek to increase the knowledge base and practice of these skills in all of our staff. Through guided discussions using Alan November’s Who Own’s the Learning, robust professional development,, teacher led workshops that elevate best practices, showcases that invite community members onto our learning journey, and engagement in elements of Project Based Learning, this goal seeks to lay the foundation for what we have identified as a critical shift in practice that will support our students in their own journey of engaged lifelong learning.
Maintenance of a K-8 Devotion School Identity through
The reality of being a K-8 school community operating in separate physical spaces, poses unique challenges that each constituency felt important to address within our School Improvement Plan. This goal seeks to maintain a strong K-8 Devotion School identity so that transitions between physical locations will be as seamless as possible and families, faculty/staff, and students will feel supported and informed during these times of transition.
If you have any questions as to the school council or the Edward Devotion School Improvement plan for the 2016-2017 school year, please ask any of the members listed above.