SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 14, 2012

More answers to Salem school questions

At the community meeting on the Salem Public Schools held at Salem State University in September, audience members submitted questions. It was not possible to answer all questions that evening. Below are some of the unanswered questions with answers.

Can you elaborate on the districtwide model of instruction, please?

Research indicates that the teacher plays the biggest role in determining the extent to which students excel. The districtwide model of instruction that Salem schools are pursuing has several components.

First, regular collection of data (ANet) on a quarterly basis, and review of this data in a timely manner, with a focus on using what’s learned to adjust or adapt instruction to ensure that every child has mastered the material.

Second, use of the state’s Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Conditions for school effectiveness as the foundation from which to build professional development to improve instruction. While this may sound like common sense (and it is), a more explicit outline of the details involved is available on the schools’ website, www.salemk12.org.

Is there correlation between the turnaround program/team and after-school programs?

After-school programming, when planned to include academic, physical and motivational components, can be of value to students in supporting the turnaround efforts. The Salem YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Campfire and For Kids Only after-school programs — among others — are focusing on the value their programs can bring to the turnaround efforts.

Are they on the community advisory board?

The Community Advisory Board is made up of many representatives throughout the city and includes some people who also serve on the boards of the after-school providers. One of the benefits of being in Salem is that despite being a city, we are smaller in size than many others. This serves as an advantage in promoting communication among various groups, and contributes to shared efforts and agendas — which in this case benefits children.

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