As the 2016-17 school year gets underway, I wanted to take the opportunity to welcome everyone back. As you get back into school mode, I would like to highlight many of the exciting and innovative things going on in the Dracut Public Schools:
- At the elementary level, the district will be unveiling new standards-based report cards that will provide better feedback and information related to student progress.
- We are officially “going paperless” with report cards. Parents are creating online accounts through our student information system (iPass). As the year unfolds parents will increasingly be able to receive valuable information about student progress.
- Breakfast programs will be starting in all district schools this fall. At Dracut High School, the Middies Cafe’ will be open for business. Students will be able to purchase breakfast foods and relax at seating at the cafe’ (and catch up on the news and sports on the television) or inside the Learning Commons.
- Each of the elementary schools and Richardson Middle School will have newly renovated “Maker Spaces” in which students will use and develop their imaginations and thinking skills by tinkering, investigating, pondering, building, and experimenting. At Richardson Middle School, the library is being converted into an innovation center, where Maker work can occur in collaboration with teachers in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
- Interactive boards have been installed in all general education classrooms in the four elementary schools and Richardson Middle School, enabling teachers to provide dynamic instruction to our students.
- Teachers continue to expand their use of instructional technology tools. Many of these tools connect families to school in a more timely and productive way.
- The district has established a relationship with a professor at MIT who has created a curriculum in synthetic biology. Teachers at Dracut High were trained this summer and will begin implementing this cutting-edge course work this year.
- For the first time in a number of years, the Dracut High School Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducting members and celebrating its new home inside Dracut High School.
Behind the scenes, we are adopting a number of high-impact strategies and programs that will provide our teachers and principals with opportunities unavailable to other districts in Massachusetts. We have also been recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as selecting and supporting instructional models and strategies that as seen in high-performing districts across the state.
At every turn, we are working to modernize our schools. This modernization includes not just hardware and software. It includes critical work in making the curriculum and instruction more relevant and dynamic. It is about bringing value-added to everything we do in support of our students. That our graduates continue to be accepted into the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country speaks to the passion and commitment we have.