Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Talking points at JFK

Northampton School District News:

JFK and NPS have a new website!  It's beautiful.  JFK home page is here: http://www.northampton-k12.us/our-schools/jfk-middle-school

 Teacher updates:

Indoor Field Day fun! Last Friday, from hula hoops and jump ropes, board games and music, calligraphy and poetry, basketball and soccer, yoga and sing-alongs, swimming and movies, and community service art...it was a fun afternoon for kids (and teachers) with all kinds of interests. Thanks to Ms. Adamoyurka, Mr. Driscoll, and Ms. Camarigg who were the core planners for the event and to our students who earned this fun MCAS reward! 

On Wednesday, June 18th, the whole 6th grade will be taking a field trip to the Bronx Zoo. Students and teachers will leave before school starts and return in the early evening after spending a fabulous day at the world's largest metropolitan zoo, home to over 6,000 animals representing 650 species.  The Bronx Zoo pioneered naturalist animal enclosures to decrease the animal stress, and is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places.  

You will want to ask your Ocean's 8th grader about their annual Fire-day-egg drop-rocket launching team activity periods 5-6-7 on June 17th.

Congratulations to the 8th graders for a spectacular performance of Midsummer's Night Dream last Friday, June 13th. 

PTO News:

Thank you for 8th grade celebration parents who volunteered and donated. Thanks also to our sponsors C&S Wholesalers for a fabulous grant, and Big Y supermarket for discounts on food and supplies.

Thanks for all your support. You can order Yankee Candles until July 18 ONLINE AT: Yankee Candle Fundraising

We could also use a few more people helping with communications – on your own time!  Contact us if you are interested, we'd be happy to have you help in whichever way you can! 

You can help raise money for the PTO by voting at FSB Community Grants

Community News:

Tonight! Tick Talk: What You Can Do About Lyme Disease, a community forum exploring the prevalence of Lyme disease, prevention and treatment, will be held Tuesday, June 17, 6 to 8 p.m., at JFK Middle School in Northampton, hosted by the Daily Hampshire Gazette, WHMP Radio, and Northampton Community TV. There will be opportunity for audience questions and comments. The forum will be aired live on WHMP and NCTV. More information at:  whmp tick talk

Tonight: Nurturing Resilience and Compassion in our children and in our schools.  7 pm Jackson Street School library more info on our blog :

Wednesday, June 18th 7 pm : NPS Action Coalition hosts a Community Discussion with the School Committee regarding Common Core and Testing.  More info on our blog:

Northampton Soccer Club Fall 2014 Evaluations are next week!  More info on the website: Northampton Soccer Club

Comcast and Khan Academy are partnering to bring affordable computers and internet into homes.  Free and Reduced lunch eligible families are encouraged to find out more at: internetessentials.com

Attention young Film Makers: Film camp partners with NCTV for 12-16 year olds. More info here: guerrilla film camp

Important reminders:

Lunch menus, and ways to check your student's account balance available at: NPS school lunch    Did you know that you could get an email when your child's balance is low for school lunches?  Make it easy on yourself!  Sign up at www.myschoolbucks.com.  You can pay there if you want, or you can just use it to check your balance, and send in a check. You can even sign up for reminders.  It's easy, it's fun, and you don't have to rely on your teenager bringing home slips to remind you to pay! 

Upcoming events:

Wednesday, June 25th Half day, last day of school

Tuesday Aug 26 Transperformance 4-9 pm

Volunteers needed to help put up sets for Transperformance on Tuesday afternoon – contact us if available 

Check out our new blog: http://jfkmspto.blogspot.com

with consolidated

PTO and School calendar!

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 17 event

NPS Action Coalition hosts Community discussion with the School Committee

Northampton, MA -  In the wake of the Northampton School Committee's recent vote not to implement PARCC testing during the 2014-2015 school year, the Northampton Public Schools Action coalition is hosting a community discussion with the school committee (with moderator Kelsey Flynn) about the impacts of PARCC, the Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing on Northampton students, teachers and schools. This public discussion will be held in the Jackson Street School library at 7:00pm on Wednesday June 18th.

Parent groups, teachers unions, school committees and other elected officials across the state of Massachusetts as well as across the nation are taking positions on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and their associated high stakes test - the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers), the latest iteration of education reform policy that results in a doubling down of high stakes testing that has been on the rise since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and through the Obama administration's Race To The Top (RTTT) competition. These high stakes assessments involve an increase in the amount of time students spend in both test preparation and in test-taking (implementation of PARCC will result in a doubling of test time for students), an increase in tying teacher evaluations to test scores, and the so-called "success" of schools based on these scores rather than more authentic measures of teaching and student learning.

Teachers, parents, students and education scholars are increasingly expressing concern that the CCSS (and PARCC tests) are not developmentally appropriate, and further disadvantage students based on socioeconomic background as well as learning abilities. They have also pointed out the giant profit generating opportunities of these standards, their associated curriculum, and the tests themselves, for companies such as education giant Pearson. A primary concern of these policies is that they are increasing school segregation, privatizing public schools and undermining democratic practices based on very narrow quantitative measures.

The Northampton Public Schools Action Coalition is a group of parents, teachers and school staff across the Northampton Public Schools who are committed to fighting for increased equity in our district. This community discussion is intended to open up space for education and awareness about federal and state education policy and its impact on our students, teachers and schools. Contact PSAC at northamptonpsac@gmail.com or find out more and discover resources at http://northamptonpublicedaction.wordpress.com

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our Julie Spencer-Robinson