The 2010-2011 school year will be an exciting one for our students, our schools, and our community. As always, the strong support of the Pittsfield community is an essential element in our work to continuously improve the education of our children and youth.
Pittsfield Middle High School (PMHS) Advisories: Student advisories will be refocused around three different program emphases, based on student needs in grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12; students will be assigned to advisories for two-year groupings to work with teachers within those grade level spans. Also, advisories will be shortened and moved to the middle of the day, back-to-back with lunch periods.
PMHS College/Career Readiness: A new emphasis on post-secondary school planning will be developed over the next three years. Elements include job shadowing, college campus visits, and individual career /interest self-assessments for students.
PMHS Course Competencies: A transition in the manner in which course credit is earned will occur over the next three years with an emphasis on student demonstration of specific course competencies rather than the traditional method that was based on seat time.
PMHS Extended Learning Opportunities: Opportunities to earn credit outside of school will support student interests and learning in areas that can not be offered within our school. Students will be encouraged to learn by doing in out-of-school settings.
PMHS Extended Learning Time: Plans are being developed to revamp our summer school, open our library during out-of-school hours, and add a late bus to allow for increased opportunities for academic support and participation in extra-curricular activities. We’re also planning to expand our extra-curricular offerings.
PMHS Personal Learning Plans and Student-Led Conferences: Students will be setting their own goals through the development of personal learning plans. Students will also be taking responsibility for leading discussions when we transition from traditional parent/teacher conferences to student-led conferences.
PMHS Project-Based Learning: Students will find our development of project-based learning to be more engaging than the traditional lecture method of instruction. Students will exercise a greater degree of choice as we make this shift over the next five years.
PMHS Schedule: Our schedule moves to a seven-period day this year (was eight periods) and also includes a late-start on Wednesdays for high school (grades 9-12 students); the late start will provide essential staff development and planning time on a weekly basis. Middle school students (grades 7-8), reporting at the regular time on Wednesdays, will enjoy the benefit of academic support and enrichment during our Wednesday mornings. The schedule will not include any early release days for PMHS students.
PMHS School Council: Our new school council will allow for greater student and parent voice in decision-making. Our student representatives have been elected, and we’re in the process of selecting our adult representatives. Students will hold a majority of seats in our new council.
PMHS Student Leadership: Students will be engaged in identifying and addressing areas of needed improvement at PMHS. Students will be providing leadership for positive change in the climate and learning of our school.
PMHS Teaming: Academic teams are now organized in three interdisciplinary groups: grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. The teams will more closely monitor the progress of each student and be empowered to design interventions for support and enrichment when and where needed.
District-Wide Bullying Prevention: We’ll be working with international bullying prevention expert Stan Davis over the next three years to eliminate bullying in our schools.
District-Wide Instructional Strategy Development: We’ll be working with a major educational research and support organization – WestEd – to help us develop our instructional repertoire of effective teaching and learning strategies.
The exciting developments– and more – are being supported through our district budget and a number of grant programs, including a competitive technology grant of $120,000+ awarded to the district last year and a school improvement grant of $2,000,000+ awarded to PMHS to begin this year.
Supt. John Freeman