Dear Parents and Community,
At last, spring is here and everything is blooming!
I am heartened to see the buds flowering and to see that the growth and expansion of our schools’ instructional programs have also taken root and are yielding significant fruit. This year, Dobbs Ferry teachers have worked tenaciously during the abbreviated Wednesdays on Common Core curriculum revision. A combined teaching team from Springhurst and the Middle School are designing innovative curriculum as part of their work with Performance Based Assessment Design, related to our partnership with the Tri-States Consortium.
At the Middle School and High School, teachers are learning more about the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) and beginning to develop lessons in cross-curriculum departmental teams (grades 6-10). The District successfully submitted its MYP application for the April 1st deadline and we have already been notified by the IB organization that the Middle School/High School has been accepted as an MYP “candidate school” beginning September 1, 2014.
The District is excited to have veteran Middle School social studies teacher Jennifer Hickey as the new Coordinator for the MYP. I know that Ms. Hickey, working with our Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Doug Berry, the Principals and IB Diploma Coordinator Marion Halberg, is joining an excellent team who are in place to guide the MYP process along.
Springhurst is set to celebrate its designation as one of the first No Place For Hate schools in New York State in a program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, the Middle School is ready to share the results of its “Culture and Climate Survey” and the High School has again been named a New York State Rewards School. This month I attended an afternoon reception honoring our seniors who will be graduating in June with the full IB Diploma. Their breadth and depth of study is reflected in the exceptional quality of the projects, research and writings presented for review. The number of High School students graduating with the full IB Diploma continues to grow, as does our IB course offerings.
Over the past two months, the MS/HS School Schedule Task Force has begun the challenging job of looking at our school schedules and exploring alternatives. Given significant changes in education today that affects teaching and learning, we realize that both students and faculty need longer “blocks” of time to engage with content in a meaningful way. Hands-on, inquiry-based instruction requires time that is configured differently, and we are reviewing and considering a number of models being used in other schools. We will keep parents apprised of this investigation as we explore all the scheduling options. The District is also looking at the possibility of extending the Kindergarten day by half an hour so that grades K-2 will have the same school day (8:30am-2:30pm). This will allow common transportation dismissals for the three grades as well as provide additional physical education, technology and library periods.
Lastly, we are extremely proud of our soon-to-be graduating seniors. The Class of 2014 is a truly remarkable group of talented and conscientious young people who embody the wonderful values of our Dobbs Ferry community and are ready to become citizens of the world. I know that you join me in congratulating them on a job well done and wishing them much success in their college and career choices for next year.
Lisa Brady Ed.D