Articles

Dear SPS Families,

I am writing to wish you and your family a relaxing and enjoyable April vacation (Friday, April 18th through Friday, April 25th). Hopefully everyone will have an opportunity to enjoy some spring weather! If you are traveling, I wish you safe travels and look forward to seeing you after the break. My best wishes to all who are celebrating holidays this week.

Please take a few minutes to review the important information below regarding the search for our next Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Technology at SPS (upcoming School Committee presentation on April 30th), and the currently available Parent Survey.

Respectfully,

Anne Wilson
Superintendent of Schools

Assistant Superintendent Search

An Initial Interview Team representing all five schools and the central office interviewed six candidates for the position of Assistant Superintendent. Based on team feedback and initial reference checks, we have identified three finalists for the position. The finalists are: Beth Gannon, Doug Lyons, and Kim Swain. Brief bios of the three finalists are included below for your information. The finalists will visit the district during the week of April 28th. During the visits, finalists will visit classrooms, meet with various groups of SPS staff members, and participate in Meet and Greet sessions with staff and parents.

On the days that finalists visit Sudbury, we will hold an informal Meet and Greet for parents to meet each of the three finalists. The Meet and greet sessions will be held in the Senior Center at 40 Fairbank Road, as follows:

Kim Swain - Tuesday, April 29th from 5:30pm until 6:00pm
Beth Gannon - Wednesday, April 30th from 6:00pm until 6:30pm
Doug Lyons - Thursday, May 1st from 5:30pm until 6:00pm

Each candidate will spend approximately 30 minutes with parents and we will provide feedback sheets so that you may share your impressions of the candidates with us. Feedback sheets will be used throughout the day when each finalist visits SPS. The feedback you provide is extremely important to me as I determine who will become the next SPS Assistant Superintendent. I hope that you are able to participate in the Meet and Greet sessions on May 1st and I thank you, in advance, for your time and helpful feedback.

Assistant Superintendent Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Beth Gannon

Ms. Beth Gannon is currently the principal at the Margaret Donovan School K-8 in Randolph, Massachusetts a position she has held since 2009. Prior to her time in Randolph, Beth served as principal at the Henry K. Oliver School, Grades 1-8, in Lawrence, MA and principal at St. Mark Middle School, grades 5-8, in Pittsfield, MA. Beth also has served as the Language Arts District Curriculum Coordinator, Family Literacy Coordinator in Ware, MA. In addition, Beth has taught a wide range of Education courses as an Adjunct Professor at the American International College and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Beth is MA Certified as Superintendent/ Assistant Superintendent, Principal/Assistant Principal (PreK to 6, & 5-8), and Elementary Teacher (1-6).

Beth earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Communication from Seton Hall University and she also earned Post - Baccalaureate Certification in Elementary Education from Rowan University. In addition, Beth holds a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts and she is currently a doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University.

Beth will visit SPS on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.

Doug Lyons

Mr. Doug Lyons is currently the principal of the Walter S. Parker Middle School in Reading, Massachusetts, a position he has held since 2008. Doug also served as Assistant Principal at Parker Middle School and Clark Avenue School in Chelsea, MA. Prior to his time as an administrator, Doug taught middle school and high school mathematics and science in Maine and Massachusetts. Doug is an adjunct professor at Salem State University where he teaches courses on Curriculum in the Master's program. He also has served as a lecturer at Simmons College.

Doug is MA Certified as Principal (Prek-6, 5-9 and 9-12) and Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent, and holds MA Mathematics Teaching Certification (5-9 and 9-12) MA Secondary Physics Certification 9-12.

Doug earned a Bachelor's degree in Marine Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He also earned a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Simmons College and he is currently a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University.

Doug will visit SPS on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Kim Swain

Ms. Kim Swain is currently the principal of the Josiah Haynes Elementary School in Sudbury, a position she has held since 2008. Prior to her current role as principal, Kim served as a Literacy Specialist at the Josiah Haynes Elementary School for eight years. Before her time in Sudbury Public Schools, Kim worked for the University of Chicago in the continuing education department where she presented professional development conferences for educators in public schools in the greater Chicago area. In addition, Kim has worked as a teaching assistant, tutor and freelance writer.

Kim is MA Certified as Principal/Assistant Principal (Prek-6) and Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent. Kim completed the Massachusetts Principal certification program at Boston University School of Education and Management.

Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Language from Carleton College, Minnesota, and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Chicago where she also was a Century Fellow.

Kim will visit SPS on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

Instructional Technology in SPS

At the School Committee meeting on April 30th we will provide an update on the use of instructional technology in SPS.

While we are very excited about our use of technology to enhance learning opportunities and to engage students and families, we also are committed to student safety and the security and privacy of student information. We have recently received questions about student use of online and internet resources in our schools and how we protect student privacy and safety when using those resources. In particular, there have been questions prompted by recent news stories about privacy and the use of Google email services. We use a variety of online and "Web 2.0" instructional resources, as well as resources such as learning management systems that help educators work efficiently and remain focused on student learning. However, we do not currently utilize or provide access to Google email or Google calendar services for students, nor do we have plans to do so in the future.

Student safety and privacy is our ethical and legal obligation, no matter what tools we are using or what activities we are engaging in. At the April 30th School Committee presentation, we will discuss a number of measures taken during the last two years with regard to student safety and privacy as related to technology. Some of the measures/actions have previously been shared with the community by Assistant Superintendent Todd Curtis and Director of Technology Michael O'Brien, however, I believe it is helpful to summarize relevant information in advance of the presentation.

1. Transparency: We recently revised and significantly enhanced the technology section of the SPS Parent Handbook, as shared on February 24th of this year. These enhancements include information about important legal considerations (particularly related to FERPA, COPPA, and CIPA) and our own use of Google Apps for Education in SPS.

2. sudburystudents.org: This website is a portal to important educational resources. It also provides a listing for parents and families with links and brief descriptions so that parents can know and view educational sites used in SPS.

3. Active Sign-Off: Several years ago, the district moved to a system where the Parent Handbook is posted on the district website without paper copies provided and without active parent acknowledgement of receipt. Beginning in May of this year (and as noted in the February 24, 2014 communication), we will be conducting an active sign-off on the technology portion of that document, followed by the same for the full document in September 2014. This is an important part of transparency and our partnership with families.

4. Off-Campus Filtering: While active supervision is the best content filter, we have taken a technical step to enhance the safety and privacy of students when using district-provided devices off-campus.While this was not an issue in past years, we now provide devices for home use as part of our 1:1 program, and so we have recently added a solution that will allow district-provided devices to access the content filtering used within our on-campus network even when off-campus. This is a step we have taken that, while not required, aligns with our commitment to provide for the safety and privacy of our students when they use district-provided technology (in this case, Chromebooks) whether at school or at home.

5. Restrictions on Student Use: Through Google Apps for Education, we have potential access to a full suite of tools for student use. However, we have not provided access for students to either Gmail or Google Calendar in order to ensure that student's privacy is secured.

In addition, we follow U.S. Department of Education guidance when working with and providing information to third-parties, making sure they are protecting any information with which they are entrusted while performing educational functions on behalf of SPS.

6. Online Accounts: We are currently in the process of implementing protocols where any creation of student online accounts will require direct approval from the Teaching and Learning office at Central Office. As a part of this protocol, as discussed in the February 24, 2014 communication, full student names will also no longer be used to create those accounts.

7. Digital Citizenship: We have provided "digital citizenship" instruction through our libraries in recent years. This involves teaching students how to be responsible, proactive protectors of their own privacy and identity when using online resources. We have spent this year analyzing how we can augment and improve that instruction, and will present an update on April 30th.

I hope that this information is helpful and that you will attend the School Committee meeting on April 30, 2014 to hear more. Information will be provided by a team of SPS educators including: Technology Director Michael O'Brien, Technology Integration Specialist Donna Criswell, Wellness Specialist Betsy Grams, ECMS Librarian Joan Scott, ECMS teacher Paula Moore, and Assistant Superintendent Todd Curtis.

Parent Satisfaction and Engagement Survey

Thank you to parents who have completed the Parent Survey! We have received 298 responses thus far. The National Center for School Leadership, who developed and administer the survey we have launched, seeks at least 50 responses from each school. We have exceeded 50 responses at Curtis and Noyes but have not yet reached 50 at Haynes, Loring, and Nixon. If you have not completed a survey, there is still time. The survey window is open until Sunday, April 27, 2014.

We look forward to receiving as much feedback as possible to better understand parent perceptions of the strengths and areas for improvement in the Sudbury Public Schools.