pps-annual-report-2008_09 by xiangpeng

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									Pittsfield Public Schools
  Pittsfield, Massachusetts




   Annual Report
       2008-2009




                       Howard Jacob Eberwein III
                              Superintendent of Schools
September 1, 2009


Dear Members of the School Committee and City Council, Staff, Parents
and Community Members,

It is with enthusiasm that I present the Pittsfield Public Schools’ 2008/09 Annual Report.
In that we are in the midst of such challenging economic times, I will begin by thanking
you for your ongoing support. Through this support we are acknowledging that, because
each child’s growth and progress will ultimately influence the future of our community,
the education of our youth is a top priority.

Since FY ’04, many enhancements have been added to our system. These enhancements
have greatly impacted the educational experience for each child in our schools and have
resulted in positive outcomes throughout the system. District-wide mathematics scores
and reading scores on benchmark assessments have demonstrated positive gains. We
have, in fact, outpaced the rate of improvement as compared to state averages in both
mathematics and English Language Arts. For example, Reid Middle School was
recognized for significant gains in both English Language Arts and mathematics, and
Conte Community School, a school in corrective status, met all academic performance
targets. And beyond academics, all elementary and middle schools met their annual
targets for attendance, 92% or higher. Taconic and Pittsfield High Schools have both
demonstrated significant reductions in school dropout rates while improving graduation
levels. This improvement was so marked that the Rennie Center recently identified
Pittsfield as one of nine communities statewide demonstrating “best practices” for
dropout prevention.

Much of our work is predicated upon establishing priorities and corresponding goals for
our children. We continue to refine the process of organizing and applying data in a
manner that allows us to make informed decisions. In all cases we will continue to focus
our efforts by prioritizing needs so that we can elevate student performance at all grade
levels. Ultimately, as emphasized in Governor Patrick’s Readiness Report, we want
students to be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and expertise that will enable them to
succeed in work and life in the 21st century. This Annual Report reflects progress toward
these goals through careful alignment of our resources in a way that we believe will have
the greatest impact on promoting student learning.


Sincerely,




Howard “Jake” Eberwein, III




                                                                                         2
Pittsfield Public Schools

We strive to
           serve our community and its children by creating an environment where
             lifelong learning is valued, excellence is expected, and improvement is
             continuous.

We will achieve these goals by
          meeting the needs of each student and providing the understanding,
             encouragement, support, knowledge and skills each requires to meet or
             exceed the district’s high expectations and rigorous academic expectations.

In doing so
          we will prepare every student for postsecondary education, career and
             lifelong economic, social, and civic success.

                                   Our Values

ALL STUDENTS
             can learn and achieve, and deserve to learn in an environment with high
             expectations.

EFFECTIVE TEACHING
             is the foundation of, and drives, student learning.

SUCCESS
             happens when
                 o the learning environment is intellectually, emotionally, and
                   physically safe,
                 o the curriculum is rigorous and relevant,
                 o expectations are high, clear, and sustainable,
                 o staff collaborate,
                 o there is a culture of respect and trust,
                 o students are challenged to be active participants in a meaningful
                   learning experience,
                 o there is a focus on results with evidence of student learning used as
                   part of a continuous improvement process.

DIVERSITY
             enriches the learning environment.

COMMUNITY
             partnerships are crucial in shaping student growth and progress.

                                                                                       3
Table of Contents:                           Page

I.     Demographic Profile                   5

II.    Staffing Changes                      6

III.   District Goals                        7

              Introduction                   7
              District                       8
              Themes                         9
              Organizational Expectations    11
              Strategic Planning             16

IV.    Finance                               23

              Grants                         26

V.     Performance                           28

VI.    Departments                           35

              Curriculum/Instruction         35
              Special Education              36
              Early Childhood                37
              English Language Learners      39
              Career/Vocational Technical    39
              Adult Learning Center          40
              Professional Development       41
              Technology                     42
              Custodial                      43
              Food Services                  44
              Bus Operations                 46
              School Building: MSBA          47

VII.   Student Supports

              Positive Behavioral Supports   47
              Safety Nets                    48
              Alternative Pathways           49
              Transitional Support           51
              Twenty-first Century           52
              Academic Support               53
              Juvenile Resource Center       54
              Tutoring                       55




                                                    4
I. Demographic Profile – District on a Page

Enrollment                                                       Gender
       Allendale          298                                             Female             2997
       Capeless           299                                             Male               3123
       Conte              437
       Crosby             407
       Egremont           485
       Morningside        410                                    School Choice
       Stearns            221                                            In - Regular        109
       Williams           319                                            Out – Regular       (317)
       Herberg            688                                            Out – Charter       (61)
       Reid               653                                            Net loss:           (269)
       Pittsfield High    1006
       Taconic High       967
       Total              6120     + Special Education Residential/DYS        90

Race                                        Pittsfield           State
        African American                    10.4 %               8.2%
        Asian                               1.6%                 5.1%
        Hispanic                            7.2%                 14.3%
        Native American                     .3%                  .3%
        White                               77.7%                69.9%
        Multi-Race                          2.8%                 2.0%
Selected Populations
        First Language Not English          5.3%                 15.4%
        Limited English Proficient          3.6%                 5.9%
        Low-Income                          46.0%                30.7%
        Special Education                   17.2%                17.1%

Technology
       Students per computer                2.3%                 3.6%
       Classrooms on Internet               100%                 99.8%

Graduation Rate                             74.0%                81.1%
Dropout Rate                                4.6%                 3.4%
Teachers                                                         Total Employees = 1099.35 FTE
       Total #                              519
       % Licensed                           95.4%
       % Core Highly Qualified              94.8%
       Student to Teacher                   11.8 to 1            State = 13.6 to 1

Parent Child Home Program                   51 Families served                       Total 36 Children served
                                            6 Daycare centers served

Adult Learning Center                       229 Students served (95 GED/ 11 Diploma)

Summer Programming
189   Traditional Summer School                          13      Family Literacy
25    Grades 9-10 JRC Transition                         35      Brain Boosters
26    Grades 8-9 Bridge Program                          6       Camp Vision
15    Grades 5-6 Camp Connect                            35      E.L.I.T.E
66    Grades 5-6 Step Ahead                              20      Summer Boredom Booster
124   Special Education Programs                         15      Tech Adventure

Summer Feeding Program                                   28,046 meals
Students Participating in High School Athletics          907 Total (431 PHS, 476 THS)


                                                                                                                5
Staffing Changes: 2008-2009


District Leadership

Howard ‘Jake’ Eberwein III, Ed.D., Superintendent         July 2008
Barbara Malkas, Deputy Superintendent                     July 2008
Jennifer Boulais, Director of Personnel                   July 2008

School Leadership

Carl Ameen, Principal            Allendale Elementary     July 2008
Joseph Curtis, Principal         Morningside Elementary   July 2008
Brenda Wells, Principal          Williams Elementary      July 2008
Morgan Williams, Principal       Reid Middle              July 2008
Christopher Sposato, Principal   Pittsfield High          July 2008

Sue Burt, Principal,             Capeless Elementary      July 2009
Judy Rush, Principal,            Egremont Elementary      July 2009
Lynda Bianchi, Principal,        Williams Elementary      July 2009
JoAnne Soules, Principal         Pittsfield High          July 2009
John Vosburg, Principal          Taconic High             July 2009

Retirements: End of 2008-2009 School year

Administrators
Mary Ellen Trumbull, Principal Capeless Elementary
Douglas McNally, Principal     Taconic High

Teachers
      Patricia Brewer                       Jean Poopor
      Thomas Cazavelan                      Karen Reynolds
      Katherine Choiniere                   Ann Rosenkranz
      Aline Chyla                           Jane Suave
      Johanna Cornock                       Anne Stickney
      Carol Ann Duquette                    Roseanne Sturgeon
      Linda Dutcher                         Faylene Whalen
      Arlene Fricker                        Maria Zuckerman

Secretaries
       JoAnne Sottile

Interpreter
       Carol Desnoyers

Paraprofessionals
      Barbara Albano



                                                                      6
II. District Goals

Introduction

The goals and objectives cited in the DIP are intended to provide a balcony-level
perspective of the critical areas within which all efforts are targeted. Schools have, in
turn, developed building-level goals and objectives that are specific to each school yet
demonstrate consistency across the district in the implementation of curriculum,
instruction, and learning. Finally, as part of the annual evaluation cycle, teachers and
staff have aligned their individual goals with both school and district goals. In doing so,
we have created a nested system of “tiered” goals that are aligned at all levels.

Each plan represents significant efforts by school leaders, school staff, and school-
community members. Plans were developed through an analysis of school-level data
including those key indicators by which schools expect to be measured. By using this
backward planning approach, we have benchmarked our system in its current state and,
subsequently, established goals for the coming year. In a sense, we have identified where
we are now and where we expect to be in the near future. All activities and strategies
indicated in these plans are intended to move our system, our schools, and our students
forward. Ultimately, it is the effort to refine instruction and provide sound interventions
that will optimize the educational experience of each child.

In that an improvement plan represents the intent of all stakeholders, many individuals
put great thought and effort into these improvement plans. Without a high level of
collaboration, collegiality, and professionalism, these plans could not have been written
or, more importantly, implemented. Clearly it takes a whole community to support the
growth and progress of each child. The entire Pittsfield community must be commended
for its commitment to education. We each play a role in raising our children and, in
doing so, we raise the outcomes for our community. The year began with the
Superintendent challenging staff to “stretch” their expectations. And these plans
represent a continuation of that message and are an ambitious effort to engage in the
challenging work of educating youth so that all students are able to meet the demands
that await them in the 21st century.




                                                                                          7
Improvement Goals: District

District Improvement Plan: Graphic
2008-2009



                             Overarching Themes

    1.         Student Performance: To improve student achievement in the
               core academic areas and reinforce 21st century skills.
    2.         School Climate/Safety: To ensure safe schools and build
               school/community cultures that foster positive learning
               communities driven by high expectations for all students, staff,
               and families.



.




                        Organizational Expectations


         1.    A guaranteed and viable curriculum
         2.    Effective instructional practices
         3.    Effective and regular use of assessment data
         4.    A focus on literacy at all grade levels in all subject areas
         5.    Application of higher order thinking
         6.    Development and application of safety nets and interventions
         7.    Professional development aligned with student need
         8.    Application of the Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) tenets
         9.    Alignment with community agencies and outcomes
         10.   Support for the health and welfare of the students and staff
         11.   Safe schools with clearly delineated emergency plans




                                                                                  8
Overarching Themes:


1. Student Performance: To improve student achievement in the core academic areas
and reinforce 21st century skills.

At the heart of the educators’ job is supporting each student’s academic growth and
progress. Clearly, student learning is the operational foundation upon which all else is
constructed. The academic focus of the Pittsfield Public Schools is on the continuous
development of literacy and numeracy skills. Literacy is a child’s ability to read with
fluency and comprehension. Numeracy involves the ability to understand and manipulate
numbers in a practical and meaningful manner. It is expected that a focus on literacy
(English language arts) and numeracy (mathematics), as measured on state and district
assessments, will prepare students for college, work, and an informed life.

Beyond literacy and numeracy, although interwoven with each, are the additional core
areas of science and social studies. An understanding of each will empower students to
recognize and appreciate history and culture, apply scientific reasoning, and make sound
decisions in a constantly changing world. In addition to these core skills are those skills
necessary for success in the 21st century. They include global awareness, financial,
economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, and health literacy. These
skills will empower our children to recognize and work with individuals representing
diverse cultures and lifestyles. These skills will enable our children to identify,
understand, and appreciate cultural and social diversity. In addition they will be able to
recognize the role of our economy in society, and to participate in civic life by staying
informed and exercising the rights inherent in a democracy.

Finally, students must to learn to work together in teams to solve problems. They will
need to learn and innovate through creative thought, sound reasoning, and
analysis/synthesis of an ever-growing body of information. The development and
inclusion of the arts is critical in this endeavor. Furthermore, students will need to learn
to access, evaluate, and use information, managing technology as a tool to research,
organize and communicate. Added to this, must be career readiness skills which include
the ability to be flexible and adaptable, to show initiative and self-direction, to
demonstrate responsibility, and to set high standards through a positive work ethic.

2. School Climate/Safety: To ensure safe schools and build school/community cultures
that foster positive learning communities driven by high expectations for all students,
staff, and families

In order to ensure that schools are places in which learning can happen, schools must be
safe and orderly. Safety is not limited to physical safety. Rather, intellectual, social, and
emotional safety is equally important.

Physical safety includes an assurance that students will be protected from any physical
harm. In order to assure such safety, the Pittsfield Public Schools has developed
comprehensive building supervisory plans including daily schedules, entrance, dismissal
and transportation both to and from the school grounds. Additionally, building security
                                                                                               9
plans have been developed to ensure the safety of each child during the school day.
These strategies include the use of electronic access systems that “buzz” adult visitors in
and out of buildings, a visitor sign-in and sign-out procedure, mandatory CORI checks
for school personnel and supporting adults who have direct contact with children, a
camera system at both high schools, and a human supervisory system that monitors the
main entrance to each building. Finally, plans have been developed at all school
buildings that take into account a range of possible emergencies and employ lock down,
shelter-in-place, and evacuation plans as needed.

Intellectual safety guarantees a child’s right to learn in an environment in which he or she
is free to express ideas, to learn at his or her own pace, to excel and receive enrichment,
and to struggle and receive intervention. In order to support academic and intellectual
freedom, Pittsfield Schools have implemented a three-tiered system of intervention. This
system guarantees that all children receive standards-based core instruction, are assessed
for proficiency, and, subsequently, receive intervention and/or enrichment as identified.
Tiers II and III of the system include small group and one-to-one instruction to ensure
that students who take longer to learn are afforded the opportunity to receive targeted
interventions that support their academic progress and ensure they remain on pace with
their peers. Pittsfield Schools believe in the operational value that all children can learn
at high levels of academic proficiency, and the three-tiered system provides the supports
necessary to achieve this goal. Beyond the three-tiered system, additional supports are
provided to students who qualify for Special Education and to those who do not speak
English as a primary language. Our goal is that all students receive these wrap-around
services while in regular classes, and we make every effort to avoid restrictive and
substantially separate academic settings.

Social and emotional safety refers to a child’s ability to grow and progress in an
environment in which they are acknowledged for personal gains, where they do not fear
harassment and/or bullying, and where they will receive counseling and support when
needed. The Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) system is in place in all Pittsfield schools,
and its implementation will continue to be supported. This system is based on the premise
that students will exhibit positive behavioral and social skills when these skills are taught
and when they are acknowledged within the school setting. Beyond PBS, secondary
schools have Peer Mediation coordinators who train students to act as “peer mediators” in
solving student conflicts in a non-violent manner. Pittsfield also has a comprehensive
bullying prevention curriculum that is supported by a violence prevention counselor.
This curriculum is implemented with the understanding that bullying and any form of
harassment are not tolerated, and victims will be provided support to guarantee their
safety. The Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) grant has enabled the PPS to
enhance the presence of school psychologists and school adjustment counselors. These
counselors work with students and families to support their social and emotional
wellbeing.




                                                                                          10
Organizational Expectations

1. A Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

The Pittsfield Public Schools strives to ensure that all children receive an equally
comprehensive, rigorous, and rich curriculum regardless of where they attend school in
our district. Therefore, Pittsfield is implementing a standards-based instructional system.
This includes the development of curriculum maps and curriculum pacing guides, as well
as the purchase and alignment of print resources including textbooks. The curriculum
renewal process has been ongoing with the most recent purchases in mathematics and
science at the elementary school level. All curriculum work is coordinated by the
curriculum department under the supervision of the Deputy Superintendent. In order to
complete necessary curriculum work, a significant chunk of professional development
time has been provided to allow teachers to develop pacing guides, to align instruction to
print materials and assessments, and to discuss best practice in delivering instruction.


2. Effective Instructional Practices

The Pittsfield Public Schools has an operational value that the most significant factor in
student learning is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher. Pittsfield continues to
implement Effective Daily Instruction (EDI) district wide. Principals and department
heads provide feedback to teachers regarding the effective implementation of EDI based
upon Madeline Hunter’s model, which is used nation wide. Currently, the PPS is in the
process of refining a walk-through protocol to support meaningful feedback to teachers.
We have established a goal that walk throughs will be used as a peer-to-peer model to
promote peer dialogue among colleagues, and as a consistent technique by principals and
department chairs to standardize the feedback mechanism. Academic coaches in both
mathematics and English language arts have been instrumental in providing classroom
teachers with non-evaluative feedback and have promoted instructional improvement
through modeling and co-teaching.


3. Effective and Regular Use of Assessment Data

The Pittsfield Public Schools has expanded its delivery and implementation of
assessment systems. While we are bound to annual measures, the Massachusetts
Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), we
recognize that more regular assessments are needed. Therefore the district has developed
benchmark assessments in both reading and mathematics. These assessments, used in
concert with technological resources, give principals and teachers the power to assess the
progress of each student in real time. In mathematics, the Galileo system is being used in
grades 3 through 9. In reading, the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Early Basic Literacy
Skills) is used to assess reading progress in grades K-5. In addition, progress monitoring
is used as a quick probe that assesses, on a weekly basis if needed, the reading progress
of each child. At the high school level, subject-specific mid-year and end-of-year
assessments have been developed to monitor the knowledge of each child in order to
adjust instruction and re-teach as necessary. Pittsfield is also involved in the state-wide
Cognos grant that affords personnel the opportunity to pilot the new state data
                                                                                         11
warehousing system. This system, still in the developmental stage, will allow access to
data and corresponding software that can be used to analyze data in a meaningful manner.
Ultimately, this data system will be accessible by teachers as they track the progress of
their students.

4. Focus on Literacy at All Grade Levels in All Subject Areas

Literacy has been and continues to be a focus of the Pittsfield Public Schools. Students
who are proficient in reading at grade level are found to perform at higher levels in all
content areas. Additionally, literacy skills have been linked to post-secondary success
and are noted as a critical skill in the world of work. A focus on literacy beginning in
kindergarten with letter recognition and phonemic awareness (sounding out letters and
words) continues though grade school and middle school with an emphasis on fluency
and comprehension. In grade school the three tier model of intervention supports reading
instruction and vocabulary development, and intensive targeted interventions are
provided to those students who fall behind their peers. In middle school the three-key
routine supports a consistent way to read texts, to extract information, and to organize
information. At the high school, reading in the content area is supported in an effort to
challenge students to read for comprehension a range of fiction, non-fiction, and technical
texts.

5. Application of Higher Order Cognition

Students, as citizens in the 21st century, will need to think creatively and deeply. The
Pittsfield Public Schools, based on this assumption, takes into consideration that there are
four levels of knowledge that evolve from low order (recall and memory) to higher order
(criticism, creation, and analysis). In an ambitious effort during the 2007-2008 school
year and continuing into the 2008-2009 year, a Depth of Knowledge (DOK) program was
developed to help Pittsfield educators to recognize the levels of knowledge needed to
perform on the state assessment. More importantly, the intent was to help them
recognize, in their own teaching, how they could integrate the four levels within the
context of their classroom, recognizing the need for children to develop these skills for
success in life. All four levels (Example: Level 1 – memorizing and telling, Level 2 –
graphing and classifying, Level 3 – explaining and investigating, and Level 4 –
synthesizing and designing) are evident in the curriculum through instructional delivery.
As noted, the inclusion of these skills (or lack thereof) is noted through formal and
informal feedback to each teacher.

6. Development and application of Safety Nets and Interventions

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to offer a comprehensive range of supports and
interventions for each child. This year the district is in the process of developing a
comprehensive plan for the Response to Intervention model (RTI). This model is a clean
fit with the many interventions that the Pittsfield Schools offer so that students can meet
academic and behavioral standards and progress and graduate with their peers. At the
elementary and middle schools the three-tiered instructional model provides intensive
support through small group and individual instruction. At the middle school the
house/team provides a personalized structure that allows a group of adults to monitor and
provide the necessary academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional skills to each child
                                                                                         12
under its care. At the high school, a 9th grade team at Taconic High School, a 9th grade
achievement academy at Pittsfield High School, and a five-year plan at Taconic High
School help students to successfully launch their high school careers in the pivotal ninth
grade year. A credit recovery system has enabled students who are behind due to course
failure the option to catch up with their peers. A strong partnership with the Berkshire
County Sheriff’s Department through the Juvenile Resource Center (JRC) has reinforced
a day reporting program for students suspended from school and a drop-out prevention
program for high school juniors and seniors in need of intensive support. In the summer,
the JRC offers recovery classes for grade 9 students who failed two or more classes, and
the PPS offers a bridge program for incoming 8th graders who demonstrate a need based
on their grade 8 record. Attendance supports are provided through a partnership with the
JRC Truancy Intervention Program (TIPS) and the PPS attendance officer and building
coordinators. The Alternative Resource Program (ARP) provides three-tiered
instructional delivery at the Hibbard site and at each middle and high school. The
Adolescent Support Program (ASP) continues to operate in conjunction with the
Department of Mental Health. Work programs and service learning provide non-
traditional means of earning course credit and, in doing so, students learn skills necessary
for the world of work. Finally, services, offered within the PPS, at the Brien Center, and
at the JRC, are wrapped around those children with substance, socio-emotional, and
mental health challenges.

7. Professional Development Aligned with Student Need

A three-year professional development (PD) plan was created in 2007-2008 for delivery
through the 2008-2011 school years. This plan combines the needs of the individual
teacher with the needs of each school building and program. The district kicked off the
year with intensive PD this summer consisting of two distinct components: pacing guide
work and data analysis. Pacing guide efforts, as mentioned, involved the alignment of
standards with print resources (text) and benchmark assessments (locally developed).
Data analysis consisted of school teams being trained, and subsequently using these
skills, to analyze preliminary school data for patterns and trends (much of which is
reflected in the School Improvement Plans). The district then kicked off with a
compliance meeting to review key components of restraint, right to know, harassment,
and special education. Since that time, district PD has included a mix of building-based
initiatives (such as NEASC preparation at the high school level), district- wide initiatives
including curriculum work (including a holistic scoring institute), and outside presenters
(such as the African American Heritage program at Conte Community School). A
follow-up survey to the one administered in the spring of 2008 will be delivered prior to
the close of school.

8. Application of Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) tenets

As mentioned elsewhere, PBS is being implemented district wide. Schools are at varying
levels of implementation with an evaluator noting both successes and challenges. In that
the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant has provided significant resources for training
from outside providers, over a dozen PPS staff are currently completing a train-the-
trainer model so that the district will have in-house resources for continuing the initiative
after the grant period has ended. It is expected that these personnel will work with
principals and PBS leadership teams at each school to support implementation and
                                                                                          13
delivery of the PBS model. The PBS model is one built upon teaching skills to students,
acknowledging them for using those skills in a positive manner, and collecting data on a
ongoing basis in order to adjust program implementation.

9. Alignment with Community Agencies and Outcomes

In order to achieve all that we aspire to in the coming years, the PPS recognizes our role
within a broader community context. Clearly, students are members of our community
in those hours and days outside the school day and school year. Therefore, we must
make all efforts to collectively coordinate efforts and reduce any operational “silos” that
have been established in our city. As a member of the Berkshire United Way (BUW),
the Superintendent has been actively engaged and has engaged the PPS staff in
participating in the community impact model currently being phased in by the BUW.
The PPS worked with the BUW to bring in a national consultant, Jay Connor, to facilitate
a discussion on how the schools could better coordinate efforts with community agencies.
This work has resulted in four city-wide focus groups intent on analyzing and organizing
efforts. PPS personnel sit on all four committees including: early childhood
development and success, K-12 youth development and success, neighborhood success,
and worker and scholar success. Beyond the BUW/PPS joint effort, a coalition for
change (CFC) has been organized as part of the SS/HS grant. This team of school and
community personnel meets monthly to discuss issues related to the SS/HS grant
including violence and substance abuse, for example. Action plans are currently
underway as coordinated by the Director of the SS/HS grant. In addition, the Early
Childhood Coordinator works with local day care and early childhood providers to align
resources, develop curriculum, and conduct training. The Parent-Child Home Program
(PCHP), for example, currently goes into day care settings to provide instruction and
guidance to care givers on how to prepare children for school readiness. The dropout
prevention work consists of several committees (committees including mentoring,
identifying risk, and alternative pathways, for example) that represent a cross section of
school and community personnel organized in an effort to decrease the dropout rate.
Finally, school personnel regularly work with local law and emergency officials in
reviewing student cases and developing response plans.

10. A Healthy/Well Student Body and Staff

A Health and Wellness Committee was re-established in the 2007-2008 school year to
review the Wellness Policy, adopted in the 2006-2007 school year, and develop
corresponding action steps. One focus area included recess time for elementary children
with an emphasis on supervised activities. In addition, in conjunction with Berkshire
Health Systems, bulletin boards were purchased for the intent of posting nutrition-related
news and information for students and staff. One item added to the board, in concert
with the Wellness Committee, was a calendar developed to emphasize specific foods and
health tips on a monthly basis. This informational campaign will be extended to the PPS
website and will soon be launched on TV and as radio public service announcements
intended to raise community awareness. The committee continues to meet on a monthly
basis with an eye towards evaluating and adjusting the Wellness Policy. Beyond the
Wellness Policy, the PPS continues to offer a comprehensive range of physical education
programming and health education system wide. In the elementary schools the “Second
Step” curriculum, and in the middle school the “Steps to Respect” curriculum, both
                                                                                        14
promote non-violent conflict resolution. Each has been implemented through the SS/HS
grant. In grades 5-10 the Michigan model is used for health curriculum delivery.
Included are topics such as nutrition, drug and alcohol awareness, sexuality, and conflict
resolution.

11. Safe Schools with Clearly Delineated Emergency Plans

As suggested previously, the PPS continues to refine and implement a comprehensive
emergency plan district wide. Each school has developed, with the support of city and
state emergency personnel, a plan to respond to both emergency and disaster conditions.
These plans allow for three primary responses including school lockdown, school shelter-
in-place, and school evacuations. All schools have an evacuation plan and have a
communication and reunification plan for parents. All plans have clearly delineated
command charts that outline roles and responsibilities at the school and district level. In
the 2008-2009 school year, a parent emergency handbook was developed as a resource,
and a condensed version, along with an introductory letter from the Superintendent, was
mailed to all homes in the district. While in the 2007-2008 school year the emphasis was
on the creation and refinement of the plans, the 2008-2009 school year is focused on
practice drills and, as necessary, tabletop exercises. All drills are conducted with city
emergency personnel present. These drills are intended to raise the level of awareness,
familiarity, and confidence in the event of a real emergency. Finally, emergency
equipment has been purchased. This equipment includes safety cameras for several
buildings and a radio communication system that links all schools with each other, with
the district office, and with city emergency offices. Also, emergency bags have been
assembled for each classroom and space in each school and district building. These bags
include those items that may be necessary in the event of an evacuation such as
emergency blankets and first aid supplies.




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Improvement Goals: Strategic Planning

I. Introduction
Currently, under the leadership of Dr. Eberwein, the district is in the process of
developing a strategic plan. Strategic planning is a process (a tool), for organizing the
present on the basis of projections (hopes and aspirations) for the future. Ultimately, a
strategic plan will provide a road map to where the Pittsfield Public Schools hopes to be
in 5 to 10 years.

II. Research: History
It has been determined that no strategic plan has been developed by the Pittsfield Public
Schools within the last five years. The content of recent improvement planning is as
follows:

School year     Superintendent Improvement efforts
2003/04         Travis         School improvement plans were submitted by school
                               in a narrative form with no inter-school coordination
                               or collaboration
2004/05         Travis         School improvement plans were submitted by school
                               off-line using a grid guided by the Department of
                               Education PIM (Performance Improvement Mapping)
                               process. No inter-school coordination or collaboration
2005/06         Darlington     School improvement plans were prepared and
                               submitted by each school using the Filemaker system.
                               Filemaker allowed for each school to see other plans
                               and some degree of inter-school collaboration was
                               noted.
2006/07         Darlington     School improvement plans were prepared using the
                               Filemaker online format. In that principals were in
                               year #1 of NISL (National Institute of School
                               Leadership), plans began to show significant signs of
                               inter-school collaboration.
2007/08         Darlington     School improvement plans were prepared using the
                               Filemaker online format. In that principals were in
                               year #2 of NISL, the plans show a significant degree
                               of inter-school collaboration.




                                                                                        16
III. Annual reports/references

In addition to school improvement plans (noted below and written on an annual basis),
the following artifacts related to annual planning and communication are noted below.
These reports and documents include evidence of the many elements that are found in
both improvement planning and strategic planning.

Annual Reports:
     Who: Written by superintendents
     When: July 1.
     What: Chronicle key priorities, events, accomplishments. A year in review.
     Reference: Policy ADM-35

District Improvement Plans:
       Who: Written by district personnel (curriculum & Deputy Superintendent)
       When: November – February (overview on September 1 of school year)
       What: Outline of key priorities and outlining the key priorities and initiatives
       Reference: Policies COM-38, FND-6 and Regulation MGL 71, 59C

School Improvement Plans:
       Who: Written by district personnel, approved by school councils
       When: November – February
       What: Outline of key priorities and outlining the key priorities and initiatives
       Reference: Policies COM-38, FND-6 and Regulation MGL 71, 59C

Student Handbooks:
       Who: Written by school administration, approved by school councils
       When: Annually by July 1
       What: Rules pertaining to student code of conduct
       Reference: ADM-18, ADM-29 and MGL 71, 37H
Policy Manual:
       Who: School administration, subcommittee, full school committee
       When: Ongoing
       What: Manual of school policies and procedures
       Reference: Policy manual online at www.pittsfield.net

Program of Studies:
      Who: Secondary school staff
      When: Spring of school year
      What: Courses, graduation pathways and requirements
      Reference: Program of studies archive

Parent/School Handbooks
      Who: Elementary and Middle school staff
      When: Start of school year
      What: Overview of school procedures and policies
      Reference: Parent/School Handbook archive



                                                                                          17
Budget Books:
      Who: Compiled by Assistant Superintendent, Business & Finance
      When: On or about March 1
      What: Outlines are budget considerations and backup, includes DIP/SIP.
      Reference: Budget book archive

EQA report:
     Who: Office of Educational Quality and Accountability
     When: 2004-2006
     What: Evaluation of standards and indicators are established by EQA
     Reference: EQA reports online at
            http://www.eqa.mass.edu/home/uploads/GR_457__1.pdf

CPR report:
      Who: Coordinated Program Review
      When: 2006, Mid-year cycle will be in 2009
      What: Evaluation of federally funded and required programming
      Reference: CPR reports online at
             http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa/review/cpr/reports/2006/0236.pdf

NEASC reports:
    Who: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    When: 2004, Taconic and Pittsfield high schools
    What: A 10-year evaluation on standards and indicators as specified by NEASC
           Mid-cycle evaluation (5 year) is due in 2009
    Reference: NEASC decennial report, subsequent follow-up special reports, the 2
           year report, and the impending 5 year report.

NAEYC:
    Who: National Association for the Education of Young Children
    When: Five year cycle
    What: Early childhood programs, Kindergarten
    Reference: NAEYC accreditation and annual reports


IV. Completed in the 2008/09

June 27, 2008
Strategic reflection session: Mission statements were reviewed, a brainstorm on
fundamental and irreplaceable values, an examination of how our system and our work is
unique, a definition of why our organization exists, and a force field analysis of both
barriers and facilitators within our organization.

July 31, 2008
Community connections session: Facilitated by Jay Connor, through the Berkshire
United Way. Discussion of communication strategies, a discussion of committee
structures and planning, examination of how we interface with and engage our
community, a discussion of what we need from our community, and how we can
maximize our alignment with community need.
                                                                                     18
Summer 2008 – September 2008
Data teams assembled at schools to analyze preliminary data, to identify trends and
patterns in student performance with a focus on key indicators, and to create preliminary
improvement plans that respond to the data and provide a foundation for the annual SIP.

September 24, 2008
MCAS data shared with the Pittsfield School Committee, initial action plans (serving as
foundation for SIP) identified by each principal.

October 23, 2008
Preliminary vision and mission statements (derived in summer) shared with
administration staff. Indicators and sample strategic plans distributed.

November 25, 2008
Overview for strategic planning shared with administrative staff. Graphic A (see next
page) shared with administrative staff.

December 17, 2008
First strategic planning session: Overview. Definition of process and terminology, rough
timeline provided, re-visitation and brainstorm around values, vision and mission. Focus
on establishing values statements.

January 14, 2009
Second strategic planning session. Focus on defining and consolidating values.

February 11, 2009.
Third strategic planning session. Overview of final values. Review of mission
statements from schools, current district mission statement, Department of Education,
and other district plans. A foundation set of values and mission (see below) was
developed for input. Also, a preliminary discussion of benchmarking domains.

February 25, 2009
Presentation of District and School Improvement Plans to the Pittsfield School
Committee.

Winter 2008-09
Preparation of district-wide survey. Shared with the following groups: Parent Advisory
Council, Teacher Advisory Council, and Administrative Council. Feedback and edits
received ongoing.

Spring 2009
Draft of mission/values statements for feedback

Spring/Summer 2009
Identification of Strategic Planning Domains including:

       Student indicators: Measures of student progress
       CIA: Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
                                                                                        19
       Talent Development: Human Resources, Professional Development, Leadership
       Capacity Building: Governance, Professional Learning Communities
       Asset Management: Finance, School Facilities, Transportation, Food Service
       Community Resources: Social agencies, Parental involvement, Business
       Support Services: SpEd, ELL, Early Childhood, Technology, Expanded learn.

Anticipated for 2009/10

Fall 2009
       Review of mission and values – distribution widely in district (see Page 3)
       Development of MCAS Response Plans
       Identification of District-Wide Performance Indicators
       Development of School-Wide Instructional Focus
       Development of District/School Improvement Plan
       Review of CDSA Audit Materials

Winter 2010
      Presentation of District/School Improvement Plans
      Refinement of District –Wide Performance Indicators
      Development of District Performance Plan
      Completion of CDSA Audit
      Focus groups on district/school improvement, strategic targets
      Development of Departmental Strategic Plans

Spring 2010
      Draft of 2010-2015 Strategic Plan


V. Commentary

The process of building a Strategic Plan has been challenging. We are working through
a process that is outlined on the following graphic (Page 22). As a public school district,
we respond to many outside agencies that hold us to very specific expectations. The
challenge of building a comprehensive plan is aligning the many ways in which we are
reviewed and held accountable so that our efforts are coordinated. At the same time, it is
critical that we reflect on our mission and values as we build both short and long-term
plans.

In the 2009-2010 school year, we will continue the work of shaping the strategic plan, in
concert with the ongoing annual review plans. In that we created a mission/values
statement and organized our planning into 7 domains during the 2008-2009 school year,
the heart of the work in the 2009-2010 school year will be the identification of key
indicators across the system. Indicators can be described as data points by which the
health (effectiveness) of a system can be assessed. Common indicators include
graduation rate, MCAS scores, and attendance rates. However, there are many others
such as staff turnover, the number of computers per student, and the number of students
participating in Advanced Placement classes.



                                                                                         20
Over the next year, we will deeply explore these indicators in building a performance
plan that will directly impact the longer-range strategic plan. While there are tens of
thousands of data points from which we could choose, the challenge will be culling
through the data to identify those indicators that help us to better assess our students’
progress in order to be, ultimately, college and career ready. Through the CDSA (Center
for District and School Accountability), which will be auditing the district during April of
2010, we will use their standards and indicators as a starting point. In addition, we will
look at other standards provided by NEASC (which guides high school accreditation),
NAEYC (which guides early childhood education), and CPR (which guides compliance
under federally supporting programs).

Since it is important that the community be fully invested in this work, the
Superintendent will use the Faculty Advisory, the Parent Advisory, and the
Administrative Councils to develop the plan. Additionally, public feedback from the
plan will be encouraged through distribution (in print, through our website, and using
PCTV) and public meetings (including School Councils and planned forums).




                                                                                         21
                           2008/09 Improvement Process




                                     Preliminary
                            Themes, Expectations, Indicators

          Vision                                                    Mission


                               Define and Outline Process




Administrative retreat         Conduct Needs Assessment            MCAS
Community focus groups            Establish Indicators             State federal reports
Committee work                                                             EQA-CPR
        Data team (s)                                              Local reports
        Strategic team                                                     Compact for H.E.
Parent /Teacher advisory                                                   Quaglia data
School Councils                                                    Self-audit




                            GAP ANALYSIS



                           System Benchmark




                                                            Strategic Plan
                           SMART     Targets


                                                            School Improvement Plans

                                                                                22
IV. Finance

Commentary:

The budget process for FY10 was challenging. Faced with a substantial reduction in
Chapter 70 aid (state aid to schools) and unrestricted aid (state aid to city), the
Superintendent requested that his staff generate several budget scenarios that anticipated
level service, level funding, a 5% reduction, and a 10% reduction. Given the economic
climate, a level service budget was a best-case scenario. In building these budget
scenarios, the Superintendent charged all principals and directors with developing a list
of potential budget cuts within their schools. In addition, recommendations for
program/staff realignment and justifiable new investments were solicited. The
Superintendent and his administrative Cabinet then met individually with each principal
and director in an effort to discuss budget needs, specifically how potential cuts,
realignment, or new services would impact student learning. At administrative council
meetings, school/department leaders were also asked to examine district priorities and
provide feedback to the Superintendent and his cabinet. All data and feedback were
critical in building several budget models that were ultimately organized into three tiers.
Each tier represented ranked priorities, from greatest to least, that could be exercised in
response to still uncertain state/city funding. The overarching priority in establishing
these tiers was to avoid negative impact to direct student-learning services.

As the budget season unfolded, the federal government passed the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The intent of this money was to allow states to maintain
foundation funding to districts and, in doing so, avoid layoffs. In addition, money from
ARRA was also targeted for Title 1 (Low Income) and IDEA (Individuals with
Disabilities) programs.

As budgets were passed, the final figures were determined.




                                                                                         23
Operating Budget Analysis

FY09 City Appropriation                    49,312,888
Restoration of 9C cuts                         300,000
Revolving Accounts                             530,000
Required Increases                           2,171,199
                               Proposed FY10                          $52,314,087

FY10 City Appropriation                     48,612,888        (less FY09 = 1,000,000)
Revolving Accounts                             530,000
                               Available FY10                         $49,142,188


Proposed Funding FY10                         52,314,087
Available Funding FY10                        49,142,888
                               Shortfall      (3,171,199)

ARRA Foundation Aid                            2,530,706
                  Adjusted Shortfall            (640,000)
           Conference Aid Reduction             (216,546)

               Final FY10 Approved Budget                     $51,673,594

The final budget figure of $51,673,594 constituted an increase of $1,530,706 (3.1%).
However, given that there were over $2 million in required increases (including
contractual obligations, step raises, grant reductions, special education tuition, software,
and the BCC Positive Options program), the school department was forced to exercise
some of the cuts outlined during the planning process, primarily on tier 1.

These cuts were compounded by reductions to grants. Grant reductions to Safe and Drug
Free Schools, Title I and Safe Schools/Healthy Students resulted in additional staffing
cuts district-wide.

It should be noted that the Superintendent and his administrative Cabinet worked closely
with the building leaders, directors, and union leaders to communicate throughout the
budget process. Meeting the required notification timeline, the Superintendent chose to
issue limited lay-off notices, rather than distribute notices to all non-tenured staff, for
example. Doing so required a good deal of planning and deliberation, and the
Superintendent commends his staff for their efforts throughout this process. All told,
approximately 64 layoff notices were released system-wide.




                                                                                           24
When all budgets were settled on the last day of June and grant awards were received
throughout the summer, the final cuts required to meet financial obligations were 15.75
full-time equivalent positions from local budget:

       5       Teachers (Full-Time Equivalents: HS/MS/ES)
                      Part time social studies, business, PE, art, elementary classroom
                      Full time library/media, music, peer mediation
       3.75    Administrators (Principal, Director, Curriculum)
       5       Paraprofessionals
       1       Secretary (Hibbard)
       1       Custodian (Hibbard)

And a net reduction of 5.65 positions from grant-funded sources, including a school
psychologist, peer mediators, teachers, and clerical staff.

One additional position was created:

       1.0     BCC Positive Options Classroom


As part of the FY10 Budget process, the Superintendent regularly solicited and reviewed
cost-saving strategies. From energy conservation methods, to program alignment, all
ideas were on the table. As part of the restructuring of Alternative Education, the
Superintendent proposed that the Hibbard Alternative Program be closed starting in the
2009/10 school year. The Superintendent worked with staff throughout the winter and
spring to plan for this change. In addition, efforts were made throughout the summer to
prepare the reconstituted EOS (Educational Options for Success) program in the home
schools of Herberg Middle, Pittsfield High, and Taconic High. This realignment of
resources into EOS is reflected in several cost savings to the district.

ARRA funding, granted in the summer of 2009, was used to provide relief for the Special
Education Circuit Breaker, which was cut from 72% in FY09 to 30% in FY10. Similarly,
cuts in Title I were offset with ARRA relief. Given that it is mandated that the ARRA
funds be used for investment purposes, some money will be invested into teacher training
(Wilson Reading), materials (books and technology), and the EOS relocation. In the
coming year, the district will also use some of the ARRA funds to invest in a district
enrollment/capacity study in order to determine if the current arrangement and alignment
of schools is ideal, in both the short and long term. In addition, the district will explore
the possibility of opening a Public Day Program, with the intent of retaining students the
district now sends outside, paying significant residential tuition rates.

Looking forward, it is anticipated that the FY11 projections are not favorable. Given the
continued economic downturn, coupled with the fact that the ARRA monies available in
FY10 may not be available in FY11, the situation will present an ongoing challenge. In
addition, the manner in which grant funds are released continues to change, and in some
cases, the funding has been eliminated. One large grant, the Safe Schools/Healthy
Students grant, providing services over the last four years, is ending. Many positions
and programs, such as the Juvenile Resource Center, are directly impacted by this
funding.
                                                                                          25
As we face a tough FY11 planning process, we anticipate moving forward through the
budget process in a coordinated manner, seeking input from the school leaders, union
heads, school personnel, and parents to determine how best to allocate and target limited
resources.

Grants

In all, 44 grants were managed bringing a total of $12, 935, 518.36 to the district. These
grants included state grants such as Academic Supports, Community Partnerships, and
Quality Full Day Kindergarten. Federal grants include Special Education, Teacher
Quality, and Massachusetts 21st Century, for example. Finally, private grants include
Berkshire Health Systems Allied Health, and Lowe’s Toolbox for Education. A
breakdown of all grants and descriptions of each can be found in the FY10 Budget Book.

Safe Schools/Healthy Students:

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant is a three-year grant that was afforded a fourth,
cost-free extension for the 2009/10 school year. This grant expires at the end of FY10
and many services, provided through the 4-year grant, will be eliminated. The impact of
this grant has led to comprehensive staff training (emergency planning, bullying and
violence prevention, positive behavioral supports), improved attendance rates, decreased
dropout rates, increased student achievement, decrease in incidents of violence and use of
substance. A summary of services provided from 2006-2009 through this grant includes:

Activities:
   • National Children’s Mental Health Awareness, Month of May
   • Herberg Middle School Pride Night
   • Absolutely Experiential, after-school groups in the middle schools and Hibbard
        Alternative School
   • Emergency Planning for all schools.
   • Mix it Up Day; No Place for Hate
   • Red Ribbon Week
   • Active Parenting, Parent Groups (over 100 parents)
   • Training/professional development
   • Coalition for Change (Safe Schools monthly meetings)

Programming:
   • Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile Resource Center
   • Brien Center; Substance Abuse Education in the middle and high schools, family
      outreach therapy, Options for Youth after-school program (ages 7+)
   • Pittsfield Police Department, School Resource Officer for Hibbard
   • Peer Mediation Program
   • Middle School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) program
   • School Adjustment Counselors
   • Support for SADD programs at middle and high schools
   • BTRN – Berkshire Trauma Response Network.
   • Second Step curriculum PreK-6th grade
   • Steps to Respect Curriculum (3rd -5th grades)
                                                                                        26
   •   Project Alert; substance abuse prevention (6th grade)

Purchases (equipment):
   • 13 MAC computers
   • Dell Printer
   • Fax Machine
   • 9 Phones
   • 3 Desks
   • 6 Office chairs
   • 5 File cabinets
   • 2 Projectors
   • Mercer Conf. Room projector
   • Upgrade to Powerschool
   • Radio’s for each building to contact PPD
   • Camera
   • Allendale Security cameras
   • Emergency “go bags”

Professional Development:
   • Second Step Violence Prevention
   • Steps to Respect, bullying curriculum.
   • Positive Behavioral Supports (all PPS staff)
   • Post Traumatic Stress Management (155 people)
   • Effective Instructional Practices (722 staff)
   • Emergency Preparedness; 100 staff trained in ICS
   • CPR/First Aid
   • Olweus Bullying
   • Active Parenting Publishers
   • Peers Making Peace (Pax United)
   • National conferences




                                                               27
V. Performance


The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to make noteworthy academic progress. As
required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, all schools and districts across the
Commonwealth are evaluated by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System
(MCAS) in grades 3-8, and 10. Tests are administered in reading, mathematics, English
language arts, and science/technology. Listed below are highlights from the spring 2009
test administration. *Note: Selected graphs are provided. For the full presentation visit
www.pittsfield.net.




   District Data

       •   The overall CPI (composite performance indicator) rose from 75.3 to 79.3.
       •   Overall the district made gains in both English Language Arts (ELA) and
           mathematics.
                o In ELA, the district aggregate score rose 2.6 points (from 81.5 to 84.1)
                o In mathematics, the district aggregate score rose 4.3 points (from 73.2
                    to 77.5)
       •   For the first time since 2002 (when subgroup data was not collected) the
           Pittsfield Public Schools met all AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) targets for
           both ELA and math in the aggregate, and ELA and math for all subgroups (these
           are groups that include free and reduced lunch, limited English Proficiency,
           African-American, Hispanic, and special education).


   NCLB AYP Report Card




   *Note for detailed breakdown go to http://www.pittsfield.net/index.php/about/



                                                                                             28
Comparison to “like” small urban districts




   By grade span (these include 3 spans: grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12):

       •   In 2008 we achieved AYP in 2 of 12 categories.
       •   In 2009 we achieved AYP in 7 of 12 categories.
       •   There was an increase in students scoring in the proficient/advanced categories
           for both ELA and math in all grades (which include grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 for
           a total of 14 indicators) except one.
       •   There was a decrease in the number of students in the failing category in all
           grade levels in 12 of 14 indicators.




                                                                                                29
In district subgroups, from 2004 to 2009
        • Gap between African American students and their peers has closed from 16 to
             10 points.
        • Gap between Free and Reduced lunch students and their peers has closed from
             11 to 8 points.
        • Gap between special education and regular education students has closed from
             23 to 15 points.
        • In all subgroups, for the first time, the Pittsfield Public Schools students have
             outperformed their peers state-wide.

By School:
       • Seven of twelve schools are in AYP status (they have missed their targets in
           either aggregate or one subgroup). Of the seven in status, two (Reid and Conte)
           made all their AYP status. Unfortunately, under NCLB, schools must make
           their target for TWO consecutive years to exit AYP status.

        •   In the state, 45.5% of schools are NOT in status (more that half are IN status).
            Among urban districts, only 15.8% of schools are NOT in status. Pittsfield has
            the FEWEST number of schools in status (41.7%) among urban districts state-
            wide.

    Of 80 total indicators (this includes both aggregate and all subgroups)
        • 58 went up
        • 8 stayed the same (+/- 1 point)
        • 14 declined

    And for AYP categories (each school has 4)
       • In 2008, 25 Yes and 23 No
       • In 2009, 30 Yes and 18 No




                                                                                               30
By Performance ratings:                               By improvement ratings:
                                  -12 Schools-

ELA                                                   ELA
   Very high         2 schools                          Above target            2 schools
   High              7 schools                          On target               7 schools
   Moderate          2 schools                          No change               1 schools
   Low               1 school                           Decline                 2 schools

Math                                                  Math
   Very high         2 schools                          Above target            3 schools
   High              5 schools                          On target               5 schools
   Moderate          4 schools                          No change               2 schools
   Low               1 school                           Decline                 2 schools




Graduation Rate/Dropout Rate

Over the last three years, the Pittsfield Public Schools has made a concerted effort to reduce
dropouts and improve graduation rates. A dropout task force, guided by the Superintendent,
has implemented strategies in key domains including data collection/use, supporting student
transitions, offering mentoring to at-risk students, creating alternative pathways to graduation,
developing collaborative partnerships with local agencies, examining graduation
requirements, and exploring ways to support early childhood programs. The Pittsfield Public
Schools was featured by the Rennie Center as one of only a handful of districts in the
Commonwealth to demonstrate sustained dropout reduction. In addition, the PPS was also
featured in the urban schools’ network in state-wide webinar. We continue to write grants to
support dropout recovery, alternative programs, and transitions from grades 5 to 6, grades 8
to 9, and grades 9 to 10. Highly successful partnerships with the Sheriff’s Department have
provided comprehensive support at the Juvenile Resource Center, which houses several
programs that support at-risk youth. While our graduation rate outpaces the urban average, it
is still significantly below the state average and, as such, will be a continuing point of focus.
It should also be noted that the Pittsfield Public Schools has not expelled a student since the
2005 school year.




                                                                                              31
Attendance

Regular attendance continues to be a focus of all schools and programs because we
recognize that there is a direct correlation between attendance and academic achievement
and graduation. A district-wide committee monitors attendance monthly, supports
attendance campaigns, examines best practices and interventions, and advises policy. In
addition, the district benefits from the Sheriff’s Department’s TIPS (Truancy Intervention
Program) that enlists a uniformed officer and counselor to conduct home visits to
students at risk of dropping out of school. It has also be found that relationships between
students and the Juvenile Justice System, the District Attorney’s office, and the
Department of Children and Families, are critical in providing comprehensive supports,
incentives, and consequences for attendance and absenteeism. In schools, attendance
teams review data, meet with students and families, communicate the importance of
attendance to all students, and solve problems that could lead to dropping out.

All elementary and middle schools met the federally required 92% attendance. In
addition, the district improved from 164 average days present in 2006 to 171 average
days present in 2008. 171 days represents an average district-wide attendance rate of
95%. By subgroup, special education students district-wide were present 92% of days,
African American 93.8%, Hispanic 93.7%, and Free and Reduced Lunch 92.9%.

In the coming year the district Attendance Committee will continue to meet to review
data, practices, and policies. It is expected that the current attendance policies will be
combined into a clear, user friendly document that will help parents, students and staff to
understand the district’s expectations regarding attendance. Attendance strategies and
policies cannot be created or implemented in isolation, rather they require student,
family, staff, and community engagement.


AMAO (Annual Measure of Achievement Objectives)

The Pittsfield Public Schools is required to measure the educational language proficiency
(and advancement) of non-English speaking students. Annually, the AMAO’s are
released to provide districts and their communities with an opportunity to review
progress.

Pittsfield continues to experience a growing number of students who do not speak
English. In response, a comprehensive system of supports including sheltered English
immersion, tutoring, enrichment labs, and after-school programs, have been developed.
In addition, teachers across the district are receiving training on how to support English
Language Learners in the classroom.




                                                                                         32
Progress Target Data – English Language Learners:

This measures the percentage of students who have made progress toward acquiring
English language proficiency.

State Target                         60%
District Performance                 75%
AMAO                                 Achieved

Attainment Target Data – English Language Learners:

This measures the % of students who have attained English language proficiency.

District Target                      31%
District Performance                 39%
AMAO                                 Achieved


College Statistics

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to place an emphasis on preparing students for
postsecondary education and career readiness. Recognizing that all individuals will need
to be lifelong learners in order to remain competitive in a global economy, we strive to
ensure that students a) have aspirations to pursue postsecondary education, b) apply to
and are accepted at postsecondary schools, colleges, and universities, c) enter college
without the need for remediation, and d) complete their postsecondary certificate or
diploma.

The following college statistics are from both Taconic High and Pittsfield High:

   •   355 out of 430 (83%) graduating seniors will pursue some form of postsecondary
       education
   •   167 out of 430 (39%) will attend 4-year schools
   •   175 out of 430 (41%) will attend 2-year schools
   •   13 out of 430 (3%) will attend other schools (eg. trade schools)

Sample colleges/universities/schools include:

Brandeis                     Bryant                        Coastal Carolina
UConn                        Curry                         Elms
Hartford                     Hartwick                      Harvard
Indiana                      James Madison                 Johnson & Wales
Livingstone                  Louisiana State               Marist
MCLA                         UMass                         Norwich
Penn State                   RPI                           Russell Sage
St. Johns                    St. Michaels                  Siena
Smith                        Syracuse                      US Naval Academy
UVM                          VT                            Wentworth
Westfield State              West Virginia                 WPI
                                                                                     33
Holyoke CC                    Berkshire CC                  Hudson Valley CC
Albany Broadcasting           Baran Institute               Motorcycle Mechanics
Marymount                     Framingham                    Northeastern
Salem State                   University of Kentucky        Bentley
Williams                      Carnegie Mellon               AIC
SUNY                          Holy Cross                    Clarkson
Gordon                        URI                           Lasell
UPenn                         Mount Ida                     Providence
St. Anselm                    UNew Haven                    Suffolk


Other Indicators (Performance Plan)

During the 2009-2010 school year the Superintendent intends to move forward with
strategic planning by developing performance goals for schools and departments. This
performance plan will identify specific targets in several domains.

These performance indicators may include :

   •   System: School Choice, preschool enrollment, K readiness
   •   Academic: MCAS performance, grade 3 reading levels, median growth
   •   Equity: Performance gaps by subgroup, participation in honors/AP courses
   •   Human resource: Staff turnover, percent that are highly qualified
   •   Attainment: Graduation, Accuplacer, percent that are college bound
   •   Finance: Per-pupil expenses, teacher-to-student ratio

The goal is to have a performance plan in place at the start of the 2010-2011 school year.




                                                                                        34
VI. Departments/Initiatives

Curriculum and Instruction

The district has developed objectives for improving curriculum, instruction, and
assessment based on student achievement data and district improvement plans. These
objectives are aligned to the targeted district goals:

   •   To ensure a guaranteed and viable vertical/horizontal curriculum across all
       content areas
   •   To reinforce effective instructional practices Pre-K to grade 12

Recognizing that all students entering the workforce or higher education must be fluent readers
and demonstrate literacy in mathematics and science, the activities of the curriculum department
have focused on literacy and content knowledge development.

The district has implemented a targeted accelerated growth loop that includes diagnostic
testing to identify the deficient sub-skills for students not at benchmark for literacy skill
development in kindergarten through grade five, proportional increases in direct
instructional time for improving literacy skills, teaching to the literacy sub-skills and
retesting to make sure students actually catch up. The district has implemented a “reading
across the content area” routine for middle and high school students such as “Three Key
Routine.”

The district has implemented DIBELS assessments in grades K-5; implemented
intervention logs to track student response to intervention, and trained reading coaches to
provide embedded professional development for grades K- 8. A reading program has
been adopted for the elementary schools and pacing guides have been created. The
reading in the content area routines has been implemented at the middle schools.

Students across all grade levels are learning mathematics by developing conceptual
understanding, computational fluency, and problem-solving skills. Teachers and coaches
provide standards-based instruction in mathematics and collect and analyze assessment
data to drive instructional decisions. A new research-based program in mathematics
(Math Expressions), has been adopted and implemented in grades K-5. Curriculum
pacing guides for grades K-10 have been developed and implemented with benchmark
assessments used in grades K-8 to determine student progress and provide on-time
remediation.

Teachers provide science instruction that links content concepts and skills, develops the
scientific process, and is sequential across grade levels. The goal of developing scientific
literacy required for the 21st century is achieved through inquiry-based activities, real-
world problem solving activities, and cooperative learning. A new program in elementary
science has been purchased, and alignment to standards and professional development for
implementation will be provided to insure comprehensive implementation. Initial review
of the secondary sequence and program of studies was begun with the intent of
modification to meet the needs of all students.


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Special Education

Aligned with the Pittsfield Public School’s thematic goal for student achievement, IDEA
2004 requires that school districts reduce the labeling of children as “disabled” by
providing scientifically based reading and behavioral interventions and supports before
making a referral to special education (Response to Intervention- RtI). The Special
Education Department began the school year with intensive training with regard to the
new regulations in determining students’ eligibility to Special Education for Specific
Learning Disabilities. The training discussed the tenants of RtI and the documentation
that is required in order to be compliant with the Special Education criteria. The
department offered on-going training in this area throughout the school year.

Trainings were held in the following areas:
   • Series of workshops for new Special Education teachers in “Special Education
       Policies and Procedures and “Assessment Writing.”
   • MCAS Alternative Portfolio Assessments Laboratory Series where teachers could
       dialogue about the procedures for completing portfolios and share best practices.
       This series also included general education teachers. The district completed about
       100 Alternate Portfolio Assessments.
   • “Autism Child Centered Workshops” This was 6- hour series that utilized a
       manual that was created by three special education teachers and the workshops
       reached out to teachers, paraprofessionals and parents.
   • Autism Study Group was held each month where staff and parents discussed
       specific topics and read articles regarding best practices.
   • Transition Planning Workshops were held for the secondary schools.
   • De-Escalation Techniques and Restraint Training. The district currently has three
       trainers and 50 staff was trained this school year.

Data:
   • There are currently 1,068 students in Special Education. This number is 17% of
      the total number of students in district. This percentage has been consistent over
      the past few years.
   • This school year there were 293 referrals to Special Education, and 140 were
      found to be not eligible. This is an area that needs to be examined more closely
      and will be a goal for the Special Education Department in working with the
      district with RtI.
   • The number of graduates in this year was 63 students.
   • The number of students with Emotional Disabilities is 129, which is a drop from
      last year by 37 students.
   • The number of students with Autism is 63, which is an increase of 8 students.
   • Transition Planning Forms were completed for 287 students between PHS and
      THS.
   • The total number of students in Residential Placements is thirteen.
   • The number of students in Private Day Programs is eleven.
   • Two students graduated from private Day Programs, which will reduce our
      number to nine.


                                                                                       36
Audit:
   • The Department had a Mid-Cycle Review in March and there was only one area,
       the Hibbard Alternative School, that required documentation for a Progress
       Report. The district recently received a letter from DESE stating that there is no
       further documentation required. The Department is currently in compliance with
       the 59 Special Education Criteria.

Looking forward:
   • The Special Education Department has researched Web-based Data Programs and
      will be contracting with E-Sped in August. This will provide the staff with full
      access to a web-based data system that will enhance their ability to complete
      documentation in a timely fashion.
   • The Department has also researched Kurzweil and will be implementing the
      software in the secondary schools for the beginning of school year 2009-2010.
   • The Department is collaborating with Title I and training ten Special Education
      staff in the Wilson Reading program.
   • The Department has written a “Letter of Intent” to open a Public Day Program for
      school year 2010-2011 and has met with the DESE with regard to the regulations
      and policies. The district has received five letters of support from surrounding
      districts. This program will enhance the district’s continuum of services and
      reduce costs in the Residential Budget.
   • The Department wrote an Observation Policy to be in accordance with Chapter
      363.

Early Childhood

   •   PCHP- (Parent Child Home Program) services 52 children (51 families) and 36
       who attend 6 day care centers in Pittsfield. Next year (2009-2010) the plan is to
       continue to work with local childcare centers. The aim is to model for parents/care
       givers how to stimulate a young child’s learning. The family childcare model is
       being implemented nationally based on work done here in Pittsfield. We received
       a mid-year increase of $2,600 for the current year.
   •   PreK – 171 children were provided with half-day Pre-K programs in four schools
       across the district (Capeless, Conte, Morningside, and Crosby). These programs
       include a mixture of targeted supports for both Special Education and general
       education students.
   •   Kindergarten grant saw a one-time increase of $24,220 for the current year. This
       was spent to help align curriculum in math, literacy and art and to provide
       professional development and materials for coaches, the publication of math
       guides, books on Developmentally Appropriate Practice for administrators,
       transition videos, professional development for teachers at the end of the school
       year for NAEYC Classroom Portfolio development and CPR renewal, and to pay
       50% of the additional paraprofessional hired for the additional K classroom this
       year.
   •   School Readiness Committee meets monthly. It includes pre-K and K teachers,
       principals, Donna Baker (Crosby Community Coordinator), and Barbara
       Wasserman (Speech Language Pathologist). Subcommittees include a Transition
                                                                                        37
    Team, which meets and collaborates with early childhood professionals from
    across the city to help ease transitions into K. This group includes participants
    from the Pediatric Development Center, Brien Center, CPC, Head Start, local day
    care centers, regular and Special Education teachers, PCHP, and a Safe Schools/
    Healthy Students Initiative representative. A collection of assessments used
    throughout the city was compiled along with Preschool and Kindergarten
    Learning Experiences documents from the state.
•   Next year an Early Childhood Curriculum Committee will meet to help with the
    alignment of curriculum for Pre-K to grade 3 in accordance with the grant
    directives.
•   NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
    Accreditation
        • Allendale has filed its first annual report.
        • Williams School had a NAEYC visit on June 3. The results from this visit
            will be provided in late summer.
        • All teachers are continuing work on Classroom Portfolios. Early
            Childhood Coordinator Sue Doucette has completed most Program
            Portfolios.

• Unity in the district
     • Registration for kindergarten will be held on the same dates city wide:
         February 26 and 27, 2009.
     • Screening will be conducted in September.
     • Sneak-a Peek day was held the same day across the district. It was
         positively received in 2008 and is scheduled for May 1, 2009.
     • Re-enrollment will use the same procedures as for other elementary
         grades.

• Professional Development offered:
     • NAEYC Portfolio review/development 9/24 and 9/29/08
     • Preschool curriculum/assessment 12/12/08
     • CPR and First Aid courses paid by K grant
     • Kindergarten Readiness 2/13
     • Math Coaches, Hands on Elementary Math 3/5/09
     • Hands on Math (MCS) 4/17/09

•   Early Childhood – Collaborative Efforts:
       • Berkshire United Way
       • Early Prevention of Dropout
       • PPS Strategic Planning
       • Community Collaboration
       • Support Services
       • Curriculum/PD
       • CPC
       • 2/24/09 applied for $245,500 Early Childhood Mental Health Grant from
           USDOE
       • 3/24/09 applied for $3,000,000 Early Reading First Grant from USDOE to
           expand preschool classrooms in the public schools and collaborate with
           local providers to enhance early reading practices.
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English Language Learners

The district has developed a comprehensive plan to ensure that classroom and content-
area teachers who have English Language Learners in their classrooms are Category
trained. Category I-IV trainings are sequential professional development workshops
developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The district
currently offers Category training regularly throughout the year by in-house trainers to
focus groups including: secondary content teachers, elementary classroom teachers,
interventionists/coaches, and SPED staff

The district has initiated the development of a content-based high school English
Language Learner (ELL) curriculum for ELL students at the beginner to early
intermediate level as determined by the state assessments. Utilizing the Curriculum
Guidance Toolkit provided by the Office of Language Acquisition/ESE, the ELL
Curriculum Team will complete the district inventory and materials analysis and
evaluation. Based on the information obtained as well as other data sources, the
standards-based curriculum for secondary ELL students has been developed.

Career/Vocational Technical

The Pittsfield Public Schools Career/Vocational Technicalprograms continue to grow and
strengthen. Our advisory committee members and other community partners offered
their support through the following: programmatic reviews; donations of equipment and
time; job shadowing, internships and cooperative educational placements; visits to
postsecondary institutions and industry-leading worksites; and suggestions for curriculum
and equipment. As the primary introductory experience to our shops, we standardized
the Career Exploratory program and encouraged students to create multimedia portfolios
of their rotations through each vocational program. To solidify our students’ learning
experiences, we strengthened our Cooperative Education program that allows students to
earn credit by working with professionals in their chosen fields. Safety continues to be a
key consideration with many of our students earning their OSHA General Industry or
Construction Trades 10-Hour certification. Other successes include our Automotive
Technology program’s recertification by the National Automotive Technicians
Educational Foundation, Carpentry students’ first place finish in a statewide engineering
design competition held during Construction Career Day, a Metal Fabrication student’s
placing first in Berkshire County in the NOTCH welding competition, Culinary Arts
students earning first place in management skills and third place in culinary skills in the
statewide ProStart competition, and students earning licenses in Cosmetology and Health
Technology.

CVTE Enrollment (2008-09)
Program                                                           08-09
Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing                          31
(THS)
Automotive Technology (THS)                                         23
Carpentry (THS)                                                     32
Cosmetology (PHS)                                                   33

                                                                                           39
Culinary Arts (PHS and THS)                                       68
Drafting (THS) *Chapter 74 only during                            9
07-08
Electronics (THS)                                                 22
Facilities Management (PHS*)                                      15
Graphic Communications (THS)                                      24
Health Technology (PHS* and THS)                                  42
Horticulture (PHS)                                                9
Manufacturing Technology (THS)                                    21
Metal Fabrication & Joining Technology                            24
(THS)
Power Equipment Technology (PHS)                                  15
Career Exploratory (PHS and THS)                                 210
Total Vocational Enrollment (PHS and                             578
THS)
*not currently Chapter 74-approved
programs

Adult Learning Center

The Pittsfield Adult Learning Center enjoyed a very productive academic year during
FY09. Students demonstrated a number of indicators of learning gains, staff participated
in quality professional development, and collaborations in the community were
expanded.

The Center excelled in all DESE performance areas for FY08, setting continuous
improvement goals for the 2008/09 school year. After careful consideration, it was
determined that linking educational activities to community events would be the point of
emphasis. The purpose of this process was to link students’ classroom experiences with
events in the community and also to encourage students to participate in educational
events outside of school. Each month a different theme was highlighted. These themes
included self-improvement, health, civic engagement, and community service. All of
these activities were closely related to academic goals, which are reported in the
SMARTT/ COGNOS databases and are used to measure program performance. During
FY09, students set a total of 493 goals and met 286 of these goals. This represented an
average of 1.51 of 2.59 goals met. In addition to the goals established as part of the
Center’s FY09 Continuous Improvement Plan, students also set and attained other
academic and personal goals including earning a GED or Adult Diploma, obtaining a
driver’s license, entering the workforce, and pursuing higher education.

Another indicator of success during FY09 was the number of graduates from the program
and the overall academic success of students enrolled in the program. A total of 229
students were enrolled in programming at the Center. Of these students, 95 earned a
GED and 11 earned Adult Diplomas, which accounted for 106 total graduates for the
2008/09 year. In addition, the overall student body made academic gains at a rate of
48%, which is considered to be above average in the field of Adult Basic Education.
Students also advanced at least one academic level according to National Reporting
System (NRS) guidelines at a rate of 49%. There were also a number of graduates who

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completed programs or received recognition for academic excellence at Berkshire
Community College. Two students received high honors, five earned honors, and four
graduated from college during the spring semester. Nine former students also completed
the Project Link Transitions to College program and are scheduled to enter a program of
studies at college in the fall.

The Adult Learning Center continued to offer staff professional development
opportunities and collaborated with other organizations to provide quality services to the
adults that it serves. Professional development opportunities were offered through
System of Adult Basic Education Support (SABES) and included topics of ESOL
(English for Speakers of Other Languages) and grammar, student persistence, data
collection and retrieval, and program design. Two staff members also completed a
Category II ELL training sponsored by the Pittsfield Public Schools. A number of staff
members also participated in study groups at the ALC consisting of curriculum alignment
across class levels, MCAS portfolio development, and working with young parents in the
classroom.

The Pittsfield Adult Learning Center also offers continuing education evening classes for
adults in the community who are interested in learning a specific skill set. There are a
variety of program offerings that include licensure classes for plumbers and electricians,
basic conversational Spanish, basic welding, basic computers, and also classes with a
wellness focus such as dance aerobics, yoga, and cooking. A total of 16 unique classes
were conducted over the course of the fall and spring semesters and were attended by a
total of 322 students. The program's biggest draw continued to be the electrical and
plumbing classes (74 students) because of the stable career path to which they lead. In
addition, the program director continued to elicit feedback from the community with
regard to possible future offerings that would be beneficial to adults in terms of work
readiness and employability skills.

Professional Development

Pittsfield Public Schools supports a variety of professional development activities within
the district and through outside providers, workshops, and conferences. The main focus
of professional development is to improve the educational outcomes for students, and
therefore the majority of in-service activities and professional development workshops
are related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. These three components of a
standards-based educational system require that educators collaborate on pacing guide
development and revisions, identify best practices and interventions for improving
student learning, learn how to implement formative and summative assessment systems,
and learn how to use student achievement data to inform instruction. This year
professional development activities have continued to support the district initiatives in
these areas through:

   •   Pacing guide completion for grades K-5 in reading/English language arts and
       mathematics
   •   Ongoing professional development supporting the implementation of the textbook
       adoptions at the elementary level for mathematics and science
   •   Progress monitoring of student performance in literacy and mathematics in grades
       K-5 and grades 3-10 respectively
                                                                                        41
   •   Training for data teams in grades K-8 on data analysis and strategic planning for
       intervention
   •   Further implementation of the Depth of Knowledge (DOK) framework for data
       analysis and to inform instruction at higher levels of expectation
   •   Focused implementation of learning objectives and engagement activities in the
       Madeline Hunter Effective Daily Instruction (EDI) model
   •   Ongoing implementation of Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) for school-wide
       and classroom implementation
   •   Academic coaching for job-embedded professional development and ongoing
       support of district initiatives and to improve content instruction in mathematics
       and literacy

In addition, the district has supported the development of emergency plans at the school
and district levels. This has included providing the training and time necessary for each
school to implement a practice drill and receive feedback on the effectiveness of the plans
from school staff as well as local emergency and law enforcement agencies.

The district provided support and professional development in all compliance issues
(Right to Know, Restraint, Special Education) and areas required by the Federal
Department of Education and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education.

The district has several committees that have been formed to address a specific need or
issue. A sample of the committees is as follows:

   •   Mentor Steering
   •   Attendance Committee
   •   Professional Development
   •   Wellness
   •   Response to Intervention (RtI)
   •   Walk-through Observation Development
   •   Dropout Prevention and Recovery Workgroup
   •   Alternative Education Pathways Workgroup


Technology - Berkshire Wireless Initiative

During the 2008-2009 school year, the Pittsfield Schools completed the last year of the
Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative. This initiative provided a laptop computer for
every student in grades 6-8. We personally wish to express our appreciation to the
business community, postsecondary partners, and teachers, administrators, families, and
students. We have learned many lessons and have seen teaching and learning improved
through this 21st century initiative. We look forward to continuing to build upon lessons
learned as we look to sustain technology throughout the middle schools and expand the
experience into the high school. Note: The full BWLI report can be accessed at
http://www.pittsfield.net/index.php/technology/

In 2008/09, each elementary school received a laptop cart or lab, in addition to those
already in the schools, to be primarily used for formative assessments. By using
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technology to receive timely assessment results, math coaches and teachers were able to
identify specific areas in which individual students were struggling so that they could
provide remediation. When not being used for assessment, these computers were used by
students to visit websites, create presentations, and use other digital applications.

Professional development workshops featured using student data to inform instruction
and multimedia assessments (such as podcasts and blogs). The technology department
worked with many teachers and administrators to form data teams in the schools. In these
groups, teachers analyzed individual strengths and weaknesses of their students and
tailored learning experiences directly to their needs. Teachers also learned how to
instruct students to create multimedia presentations including music composition,
narration, images, videos, comic strips, artwork, technical drawings, and other student-
produced projects.

Throughout the year, the technology staff supported the district’s communication plan.
An automatic calling system, ConnectEd, was installed and used extensively to facilitate
communication between school and home. These calls informed families of snow days,
provided surveys that schools used to make decisions, and conveyed other important
information. The district substantially upgraded both the content and design of the
district website, and continues to see increases in the number of news items and
informational pieces posted every week. Technology staff also worked to promote
activities and events through the district quarterly, PPS Post.

The technology Help Desk was completely reorganized, and both hardware and software
was installed to improve the management of network resources. The Help Desk is now
staffed by a technician at all times, and wait time for service has been reduced to minutes
instead of days. Technicians are also able to perform more repairs in-house, which saves
money that would be spent if these repairs were completed by a private vendor. The
network “pipeline” that brings Internet access to all of our schools was increased, better
linking schools. Also installed was a system to track and monitor network usage to
ensure the most efficient use of our resources. Finally, the School Committee approved a
line item in the FY10 school budget for a technology renewal cycle so that the
department can replace older computers that are quickly becoming obsolete.

Goals for the 2009-2010 school year include building upon these successes by looking at
mobile and handheld computing solutions, ensuring secure backup of our district’s vital
data, researching distance and asynchronous learning opportunities, improving the way
we track and store personnel and student information, and creating a strategic vision of
how all educators in the district should look at the role of technology in teaching and
learning.

Custodial Services

The mission of the custodial services department is to provide professional and effective
facility cleaning and building maintenance which facilitates and sustains an environment
conducive to learning. A review of the custodial services department for the 2008-2009
school year revealed some notable activities and achievements for both the department in
particular and the district in general.


                                                                                        43
Greatest among the department’s achievements was the establishment of the district
recycling program. Under this program, and with the support of the City of Pittsfield, the
Center for Ecological Technology (CET), and the Massachusetts Department of
Environmental Protection, the Pittsfield Public Schools has created a sustainable paper
and cardboard recycling program. The district has already realized significant gains in its
recycling efforts, which has resulted in fewer needed trash pick-ups, creating cost-savings
opportunities for both the district and the City of Pittsfield.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans have been reviewed and updated as needed with
the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. IPM is a systematic strategy
for managing pests, which considers prevention, avoidance, monitoring and suppression.
Throughout the year, pest control methods have been effective, and there was no need to
seek pesticide application in or around any of the district’s buildings.

Next, a comprehensive study was undertaken in order to determine the possibility of
relocating the district’s stockroom/warehouse into Taconic High School. Given the
closure of Hibbard School, the district saw this relocation as a means of consolidating
space and reducing utility costs. While the results of the study showed this endeavor
could potentially be accomplished, it has been determined that the stockroom will remain
housed at Hibbard School for the foreseeable future.

Over the course of the year there were four staffing changes. Four junior custodians were
provisionally appointed within the following schools: Herberg (1 termination); Egremont
Elementary (2 medical discharges); Stearns Elementary (1 retirement). Currently, the
district is staffed with 52 permanent custodians, which will likely be reduced to 51 with
the impending closure of Hibbard School.

With nearly 2000 days taken due to vacation, personal, and sick time, the department
managed to cover absences with a combination of substitute and overtime labor. While
the number of days taken is significant, the department managed to allocate 124 fewer
hours of overtime labor than the previous year.

In the coming school year, one area identified by the Director of Custodial Services for
improvement is creating the opportunity to arrange building inspections with both the
principals and building senior custodians. The Director intends to conduct these
inspections in order to measure the effectiveness of individual and group custodial
cleaning, creating the opportunity to observe staff members to better evaluate their
performance, and establish an environment of high expectations, responsibility, and
accountability throughout the custodial department.

Food Services

The school food service program is an extension of the educational programs of the
Pittsfield Public Schools. The program’s objective is to improve the health of students by
providing palatable and nutritious foods while at the same time enhancing nutrition
education for the students. This year we have served approximately 4,280 lunches, 1,000
breakfasts and 140 Head Start meals every day. The average lunch participation district
wide is 73.7% and 18.9 % for breakfast. Currently 46.5% of students are receiving free
or reduced lunches. We offer universal free breakfast at Morningside and Conte
                                                                                           44
Community Schools, and if Free/Reduced numbers remain the same, Crosby Elementary
will also qualify for universal breakfast during the next school year.

This past year the food service department has made considerable efforts in enhancing
nutrition education to parents and students. Our newsletter, called the Pittsfield Cafeteria
News, is produced monthly, and lunch menus are sent home with all elementary school
children. In the newsletter the Director of Food Services highlights healthy menu choices
along with nutrition information. The lunch menus contain nutrient analysis averaged by
week. School breakfast is designed to meet 1/4 of the Recommended Dietary Allowance
(RDA) and school lunch 1/3 of the RDA. When menu are created, each meal is analyzed
for enough calories, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Total fat is
targeted at below 30% of the total calories, and the saturated fat below 10%. A detailed
nutrient analysis of menus is e-mailed to all school nurses so that they can better assist
students with special dietary needs. The Director has also started a nutrition web page so
that parents and other interested parties can have access to school lunch information.

In September the Food Service Department sponsored Harvest Week, during which
locally grown fruits and vegetables were featured: fresh green beans, sweet potatoes,
butternut squash, carrots, and apples are examples. The Director has applied for the
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program offered by ESE. This program provides funds for a
snack during the school day featuring only fresh fruits and vegetables. Conte Community
School and Crosby Elementary School have agreed to participate, and the program, upon
approval, will be implemented in September 2009.

Professional development is mostly done with school cafeteria managers through
scheduled monthly meetings. Some of the topics discussed this year were customer
service, student allergy issues, sanitation procedures, record keeping, and how to talk to
parents. Professional development with all food service staff consisted of a two-hour
training or re-training on “Offer vs. Serve” at the beginning of school year. “Offer vs.
Serve” (OVS) allows students to decline a certain number of food items in the meal. The
goals of OVS are to minimize plate waste and encourage schools to offer more food
choices. This means that instead of just "serving" students one entree each day, we
"offer" each student choices. The meal choices are broken down into "components".
These components consist of milk, fruits/vegetables, breads/grains, and meats/meat
alternatives. Students choose three or more components to meet the requirement of a
school meal.

During the 2008/09 year, the Food Service office hours were restructured. A full-time
position, open due to a retirement in January, was reduced to part-time. By cutting 16.25
hours a week, the program saved approximately $10,000. In addition, record-keeping
procedures were streamlined with meal claims all submitted online. Financially, the food
service program continues to operate within its budget. An account balance of
$299,911.95 equals approximately 6-weeks of operating costs as mandated by ESE.
With rising food costs, 10-ounce plastic milk bottles are no longer purchased for the
secondary schools. In the coming year, all schools will serve 8-ounce milk cartons,
which will save about $32,000. Beyond savings, this decision will reduce the impact on
the environment.



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In 2008/09, a two-door reach-in refrigerator, steamer (THS), deep chest freezer (Crosby),
and two food warmers (Conte & MCS) were purchased. In the coming years, the Food
Director will replace milk coolers (THS & PHS), a dishwasher (PHS), and a convection
oven (Crosby). Currently, equipment repair costs have increased to an all time high of
$40,000 for FY09. Most of the repairs are on freezers, refrigerators and dishwashers. To
offset these costs, the Food Service Director has applied for an ARRA equipment grant.
As of June 26, 2009, $14,495 has been awarded.

Bus Operations

Despite a shortage of drivers, Bus Operations continues to use creative scheduling with
the support of the union leadership. Dedicated, competent individuals are to be
commended for their ability to provide the same level of service as in previous years.
The Superintendent specifically commends the staff for safe transport in several difficult
situations including flooding, a significant thunderstorm with high winds, and several
difficult snow/ice deliveries. The Safety and Transportation Sub-Committee has
examined transportation patterns with a focus on comprehensive notification for the
2009/10 school year.

Data:
   •    5000 students in home to school, school to home
   •    600 field trips
   •    500 students riding as “ticket” (optional) transport
   •    4000 athletic trips
   •    Late buses
   •    Out-of-Town students: 2 daily runs/ 3 residential twice weekly
   •    Community bus services (IE: Youth Alive)

Training:
   • 4 Certified School Bus Driver Instructors on staff
   • 4 Certified CPR and First Aid Instructors on staff
   • All drivers and monitors have received EPI-pen training
   • Spanish speaking individual on staff in the office to support communication with
       parents and students
   • Goal: To train all drivers and monitors in CPR and First Aid by the end of the
       2009-2010 school year
   • Goal: To train all drivers and monitors to speak and understand basic Spanish in
       order to communicate with students and parents

Mechanics:
  • Split shift provides coverage from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. five days a week
  • Adhere to Preventive Maintenance Plan.
  • Instant response to emergency situations
  • Safer environment for drivers returning from evening charters




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Building: Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)

In the 2008-2009 school year, a Statement of Interest (SOI) was prepared and filed with
the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). Previously (2007), the Pittsfield
School Building Needs Commission (SBNC) has filed SOI’s for the three non-remodeled
elementary schools (Crosby, Conte, and Morningside). At the same time, a visioning
study examining high school education was facilitated by Dore and Whittier Architects.
In 2007, Dr. Katherine Darlington, who was then Superintendent, identified Crosby
Elementary School as the priority school, and two audit teams from the MSBA visited
Crosby to assess the level of need. In November of 2008, Crosby was ranked as
“Planning,” indicating that it was not immediately referred into the capital pipeline. In
May of 2008, Frank Locker and Lee Dore (Dore and Whittier) presented the findings of
the High School Visioning study at a public meeting.

In the fall of 2008, the MSBA opened the second round of SOIs. The SBNC decided to
prioritize the two high schools, and SOIs were prepared by Superintendent Eberwein and
his team. The final SOIs were approved by both the Pittsfield School Committee and the
Pittsfield City Council. In that the MSBA required that one SOI be ranked as highest
priority, Taconic High School was chosen. Both were filed in November of 2008.

In April of 2009, Executive Director of the MSBA Katherine Craven visited Pittsfield
and toured both Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School. In the second round of
SOI review, the MSBA altered their process from a mass ranking to a rolling ranking.
This meant that projects filed would be reviewed on a priority basis with those ranking
lower remaining in the SOI queue. Pittsfield was not screened into the capital pipeline by
the close of the 2008-2009 school year.

As this Annual Report is being written, the MSBA has opened the third round of SOIs.
The process, now streamlined, requires that SOIs on file be “refreshed”. Superintendent
Eberwein, with the support of the SBNC, will refresh both the PHS and THS SOIs by the
October deadline. Given that the applications have not been altered significantly, no vote
is required of the School Committee or City Council. We are hopeful that these SOIs
will be acted upon early in the 2009-2010 school year and that we will be moved into the
feasibility capital pipeline.


VII. Student Supports

Positive Behavior Supports

The past year has realized much progress in the implementation of Positive Behavioral
Supports in the District. Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) is an approach to school-
wide behavior management and enhancement of positive school climate that looks at
intervention within a three-tier model. Efforts at the universal level focus on prevention
activities for all students. Interventions at the middle level address interventions for
students who are identified as being at risk and requiring some targeted group
intervention to remain or return to on-track behavior. The top tier of intervention is
individualized for those students with chronic and persistent behavioral difficulties that
need specially designed behavioral plans and monitoring to be successful.
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The following includes some key accomplishments from the previous year:
   1. Univeral implementation at the secondary schools. Secondary school
       implementation has tended to lag behind their elementary school counterparts
       (both in Pittsfield and nationally). However, great strides have been made over
       the past year in the integration of the teaching and reinforcement of each school’s
       expectations at both the middle and high school level.
   2. Positive reinforcement for student attendance. Many elementary and middle
       schools have held contests or utilized other forms of acknowledgement for
       individuals and classes of students with good attendance.
   3. Universal implementation of violence prevention programming Pre-K through
       middle school. This effort includes the Second Step curriculum for students Pre-
       K through grade 6 that focuses on teaching pro-social skill and the Steps to
       Respect Curriculum, an anti-bullying program, grades 3-5. A survey was done of
       all teachers to measure levels of implementation. Though there is continued room
       for improvement, results indicated that there has been progress in implementation
       over the past year. Further, a second step coordinator has been identified for each
       elementary building to enhance program implementation. This position comes
       with a stipend that is funded through Safe and Drug Free grant monies.
   4. Office discipline referral system. A common set of definitions of problem
       behavior was developed, and PowerSchool was adapted to contain specialized
       PBS data, such as location of the problem, time of day of incident, and possible
       motivation. The goal is to transition schools to an electronic office discipline
       referral system. Three of our elementary schools have piloted this system with
       success.
   5. District-wide professional development. The Psych/SAC Unit has participated in
       year-long professional development and planning focusing on enhancing targeted
       interventions at the building level. This is a systematic intervention for students
       identified as being at risk and is the next focus of implementation of PBS
       principles across the district. School-based planning teams will meet over the
       summer and continue this planning process under the leadership of the school
       adjustment counselor and/or school psychologist. In addition, thirteen district
       staff, school adjustment counselors, school psychologists, and one community
       coordinator, completed the third graduate course in a series focusing on
       developing interventions at the three tiers. This accomplishment increases our
       internal capacity to continue the development of PBS implementation.

Safety Nets

Many forms of safety nets exist to support our students and their parents in order to
maximize student school success. Examples include:

   1. Development of enhanced supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
      A monthly planning and study group focused on providing supports to this group
      was facilitated by the Psych/SAC Unit Leader. Membership included Special
      Education administrators, SACs (School Adjustment Counselors), the district
      clinical psychologist, speech and language providers, regular/special education
      teachers, and paraprofessional staff. This group also attended several professional
      development opportunities outside the district. Plans are made to implement
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        increased social skill instruction and programming at the secondary level next
        year.
   2.   Enhanced use of evidence-based social skill curriculums with students
        In order to positively impact outcomes, increased effort was focused on
        implementation of evidence-based curriculums by SACs with groups of students
        requiring support.
   3.   Implementation of Active Parenting Programming for parents at all grade levels
        throughout the school year
        Parent attendance was consistently better at the elementary level than at the
        secondary schools, but the middle schools have had some success with a model
        that provides a group for parents and their children simultaneously. Three sets of
        classes were offered for preschool parents (including one at the Teen Parent
        Program), four for elementary and two each for middle and high school parents.
        These groups were conducted primarily in the evening by SACs and one school
        psychologist.
   4.   Increased focus on understanding and intervening in bullying behavior
        Within the past year, we trained three individuals as trainers for the Olweus Anti-
        Bullying Approach – two district SACs and a member of the District Attorney’s
        Office. Further, we conducted a survey of all Pittsfield elementary and middle
        school students about bullying behavior. Analysis of this data was shared with all
        building staff to plan school-based interventions based on this data. Lastly, over
        100 staff, parents, and community members attended a two-day Olweus training
        to learn about bullying behavior and successful intervention and to begin planning
        implementation in their buildings. The model includes an initial planning year.
        In order to successfully integrate this initiative with our Positive Behavioral
        Supports interventions, Olweus teams were instructed to include membership
        from their school-based PBS teams.
   5.   Further development of a district-wide approach to Non-Violent Crisis
        Intervention
        Two initial and three refresher workshops were held in the past year to teach de-
        escalation strategies, personal safety techniques, and safe physical holds to
        identified staff. Over 150 staff in the district have been trained using this
        common language and set of interventions.
   6.   Continued implementation of counseling, consultation, assessment and referral
        resources to students, staff and families
        In addition to the highlighted activities above, the routine delivery of services to
        support and enhance student success continue to operate on a routine basis.


Alternative Pathways

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to pay close attention to supporting the growth
and progress of all children. Recognizing that children come to school from diverse
backgrounds and with equally diverse needs, a range of services and pathways has been
developed to ensure the success (as defined by academic progress and
postsecondary/career success) of each child.

A Pathways Committee was formed with the goal of reviewing the current status of
alternative programs in the Pittsfield Public Schools. In addition, visits to programs
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outside the city and state including The Big Picture School, Springfield Academy,
Braintree Academy, and Roxbury Preparatory School were conducted to examine
effective practices with the goal of tailoring best approaches in Pittsfield. The following
changes have been identified for the 2009-2010 school year:

Hibbard School will be closed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. The revised
Alternative Pathways will be renamed EOS (Educational Options for Success). Students
who currently participate in Tier 1 (fully included) or Tier II (partially included)
programs will participate fully in their home schools. This change will ensure that all
students have equal access to the full general education curriculum, programs, and
resources. Classroom spaces will be provided at Taconic High, Pittsfield High, and
Herberg Middle Schools to accommodate both staff and students. While each school-
based program will allow students with the safety net of staffing support and academic
support, the goal for each child will be full inclusion in general education classes.

The district will provide summer training for staff working in the EOS programs.
Meetings will be held with students and parents to provide students with transitional
supports. In doing so, program expectations and individual goals will be established.

The district will also pursue the development of a special education public day program
to meet the needs of students in grades K-12 who are not able to function in the general
education environment. Letters of intent have been sent to the DESE and to surrounding
districts, as regulations require. Money from ARRA (American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act) will be used to explore and seed this program with the goal of
reducing the funds currently spent paying substantial residential tuitions with private
vendors.

Several new pathways will be added and/or developed further. The first, the Positive
Options Program, is scheduled to begin in September of 2009. This program will service
grade 11 and 12 students who are at risk for dropping out of school. Housed on the
Berkshire Community College campus, the Positive Options Program will be supervised
by a teacher and a paraprofessional who will provide both direct instruction and
facilitated online courses (through Plato Learning) for all students. In addition, students
will be able to participate in BCC-provided student forums and events and, as students
are able, to enroll in BCC classes. In doing so, students will fulfill graduation
requirements while, at the same time, earning college credit.

Community Service Learning (CSL) is another area in which students will be able to re-
engage with school in a meaningful way. CSL engages students in the educational
process, using what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life, community set,
problems. In doing so, students not only learn about democracy and citizenship, but they
also become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service
they perform. The Pittsfield Public Schools has used two CSL grants to provide
professional development, develop CSL modules, implement CSL projects, participate in
workshops, and presented at state conferences. A locally organized CSL advisory
committee will develop a mission statement, map out goals and objectives, and identify
gaps and obstacles. With 12 CSL projects, students have actively engaged in meaningful
activities that have supported academic and social development. Partnerships with
Soldier On, Goodwill, Big Brothers/Sisters, Berkshire United Way, Christian Center,
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local labor councils, Berkshire Museum, and Hancock Shaker Village have provided a
range of opportunities for projects in multiple content areas that can be cross-graded as
well. An example of the type of project these students are involved in, is the memorial
garden designed for and constructed at Crosby Elementary Schools. Through this project
students learned about soil characteristics, plant growth and development, geometry and
surface area, and collaboration and teamwork. Ultimately, CSL provides an opportunity
for students to earn and recover credits, to think creatively, to create action plans, and to
work collaboratively with peers and members of the community. These 21st century
work skills are critical to youth development in empowering students to engage in their
education and, at the same time, have a voice in their community.

Work Based Learning (WBL) continues to be a mechanism for students to connect with
the world of work. WBL allows students varying levels of on-the-job training through
career fairs (grade 9), job shadows (grade 10), mentoring (all grades), internships (grades
11/12), and cooperative work (grade 12). All work is monitored with teacher advisors
and work coordinators so that each student’s experience follows the guidelines
established through the Massachusetts Work Based Learning Plans.

An Alternative Pathways steering committee has been established as part of the Dropout
Prevention and Recovery work. This committee meets quarterly to review program
goals, examine student progress, and discuss both success and gaps making it possible for
Alternative Pathways work to be continually evaluated and revised to fit the needs of the
students.

Transition Supports

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to place an emphasis on supporting smooth
school transitions for students entering the school system and transitioning between grade
levels. A district committee meets regularly to assess programs and develop appropriate
interventions for these students.

A targeted program to support Pre-K students has been established at several elementary
schools where students are provided with early academic and social instruction. A total
of 171 students participated in Pre-K at four schools (Capeless, Crosby, Conte, and
Morningside). In addition, kindergarten “Sneak-A-Peak” orientations and “Transition
Month” (September) have been implemented to support a smooth transition into
kindergarten and our K-12 school system.

A program to support students transitioning from the elementary to middle schools was
established during the 2008-2009 school year. Both “Step Ahead” and “Camp Connect”
were developed to help students orient to the middle school, become acclimated to the
school setting, meet some of the teachers, and work on academic and organization skills
during the summer. “Camp Connect” included activity-based lessons in reading, writing,
math, and science. Both programs were funded through federal/state grants.

At the high school, a transition program afforded middle school students the opportunity
to visit the high school, meet high school students and teachers, and tour the school.
These programs happened throughout the spring, with additional tours provided during
the summer. To start the school year, a “First-Day” program was offered to sixth and
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ninth grade students and their parents. During this half-day program, students and
parents were introduced to the school and staff, and expectations were outlined. Parents
and students also had the chance to walk through an abbreviated school-day schedule.

Additionally, a summer “Bridge” program was offered for grade 8 students who
demonstrated the need to get a jumpstart on their high school careers. During this four-
week program, students were provided with opportunities to enhance academic,
organizational, and social skills. Blending academic, vocational/technical education, and
community service learning, students had an opportunity through this program to work as
members of a team, using technology, and applying math, English language arts, and
science concepts as part of a service project. In addition, students were able to build peer
connections through adventure-based experiences.


Twenty-First Century

Both Conte Community and Crosby Elementary Schools participate in 21st Century Grant
Programming. This grant allows for after-school activities for Conte and Crosby
students. At Conte the grant has enabled school-year and summer programs for the past
eight years. Most notably, during the past three years, Conte has been honored as an
“exemplary” program model for the state.

Conte’s after-school program serves almost one third of its student population - 167
students. Also woven into the program are before-school Adventure Based Counseling
(20 students), a homework study hall (22+ students each day), English Language Learner
tutoring (8 students), Title I academic tutoring (12+ students), and Big Brothers, Big
Sisters (11 Taconic students, 9 Conte students). Student interns and community
volunteers also participate in these programs. The after-school program runs for three
ten-week sessions, Tuesday-Thursday, from 3:15-5:15. At the end of each session the
“Connected for Success Showcase” gives students and staff the opportunity to share their
achievements. Conte also hosts a “Summer Science Camp” each year, serving 40-60
students. Additionally, this year a professional development component will be added for
teachers to learn and apply strategies for integrating science, math, and art (S>M>Art) in
the classroom.

Crosby’s “Brain Boosters” before and after-school program serves 69 students in grades
2-5. And there is a mini six-week program offered each session for Grade 1. The
program runs for thirty-two weeks during the school year and four weeks during the
summer. Three ten-week sessions are offered as well as two vacation camps (February
and April). The program is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning
Centers grant through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The morning program, which runs from 7:30-8:30, features Adventure Based Counseling.
ABC, which integrates cooperative games with social skills training, encouraging
students to work together to resolve conflicts while working on problem solving
techniques. The after-school program runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Students begin with a snack and move into a homework help/academic support time,
transitioning during the second half into an enrichment program. Enrichment activities
include open-ended, cooperative learning, and project- based activities.
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During this time, our students partner with various service providers including Berkshire
Theatre Festival, Berkshire Museum, Gladys Brigham Center, and Berkshire Community
College. Enrichment offerings include theater, yoga, technology, nutrition and cooking,
robotics, cooperative games, Spanish, and “Crosby’s Big Backyard” (a gardening
curriculum).

The 21st CCLC Grant requires the site to use the “Survey of After-School Youth
Outcomes” to assess students. Students are given both a pre and post test, and are
assessed in the following outcomes: Academic Performance (across targeted content
areas), Learning Skills, Behavior in the Program, Engagement in Learning, Problem
Solving Skills, Communication Skills, Relationships with Adults, and Relationship with
Peers. Each outcome area is measured by asking teachers and after-school staff to
respond to four or five questions related to observable youth behaviors. The chosen
outcomes align with the program goals and program practices.

Both schools partner with a range of local community service providers including
Berkshire Theatre Festival, Berkshire Museum, PCTVM, the Gladys Brigham Center,
and Berkshire Community College. In doing so, academic and enrichment opportunities
are framed with real world applications. Examples of the collaborative community
partners include the Berkshire Theatre Festival (BTF) play-write program and the
Berkshire Museum student filmmaking project. Students also presented original plays
through the Berkshire Theatre Festival partnership. Other activities include yoga,
technology, nutrition and cooking, cooperative games, Spanish, and a gardening
curriculum.

In addition to these grant-funded after-school programs, the Pittsfield Public Schools
continues to offer a range of after-school programming at all levels. At the elementary
level, many PTOs (Parent Teacher Organizations) work in partnership with the schools to
offer enrichment programming. At the middle school, clubs such as robotics, intramural
supports, and targeted academic supports for English Language Learners are offered.
Finally, the high schools offer an array of after-school athletic teams, clubs, and student
government. With dozens of clubs and activities that reflect the emerging interests of
staff and students (from fly fishing, to ballroom dancing, to theatre) students are
encouraged to extend their school day beyond the last bell.

In the coming year, the Superintendent expects to continue to explore no or low cost
ways to build after-school programming. Many community partners continue to offer
their time and expertise, and for that the school system is thankful. The goal is that all
children will have some after school-activity of interest to support and enrich their
educational experience.

Academic support

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to offer academic support to those children most
in need. Programs offered for English Language Learners, students qualifying for special
education services, and grade 9 and 10 students struggling to meet academic goals have
been delivered. Students are identified by assessment data including, but not limited to,
MCAS performance. Funded through several grants including CPSS and the MCAS
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remediation grant, these programs provide during and after-school opportunities to
further develop and practice academic skills in mathematics and English language arts. In
addition, experiences that engage students in community service learning allow students
to apply academic skills in working with peers to solve a community problem. For
example, a cultural cookbook was developed by a team of students. In doing so,
research, design, layout, technology, writing, and mathematics skills were applied. More
traditional 1:1 tutoring was provided to high school students in need of meeting a
competency determination (the minimum score to be eligible for a diploma). This intense
academic remediation has been very successful in helping students to meet this goal.
Finally, a summer recovery program for grade 9 students was offered at the Juvenile
Resource Center. Open to students who had failed several core classes, an intense five-
week summer program exposed students to building skills in these areas so that they
could recover credit and advance to grade 10. Twenty-five students completed this JRC
program.

The Pittsfield Public Schools will continue to be aggressive in pursuing academic support
grants to provide tier 3 academic supports for students within and outside the school day
and school year. In addition, strong partnerships with community agencies and the
Sheriff’s Department will be maintained.


Juvenile Resource Center

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to partner with the Berkshire County Sheriff’s
Department, Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Sheriff, through the Juvenile Resource Center
(JRC). The JRC continues to provide a series of comprehensive services and programs
to at risk youth. The following data represents the 2008-2009 year:

   •   Short-term suspension: 502 students served over 2365 days of suspension.
       Twenty-eight percent (143) students were repeat offenders.
   •   Long-term suspension: 16 students were tutored as an alternative to expulsion
       and/or residential placement. 14 of 16 were reported as having successful
       educational outcomes
   •   Truancy intervention: Over 435 significantly truant students received
       interventions with 70% responding affirmatively to intervention.
   •   Dropout prevention: 70 students participated. Of this group, 30 graduated, 29
       advanced to the next grade, 7 withdrew, 2 returned to their home school, and 2
       transferred.
   •   Summer program: 25 students were in the ninth grade transition program, 22
       students in grades 10-12 participated in credit recovery.

In that the 2009-2010 schoolyear represents the last year of the Safe Schools/Healthy
Students federal grant, which was used in great part to fund services at the JRC,
continued funding is being aggressively pursued. Most likely, continued operations at the
JRC will require collaboration of several agencies, access to grant funding, and increased
contributions from the Pittsfield Schools.




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Tutoring

The Pittsfield Public Schools continues to offer tutoring as a mechanism to support
students in cases of discipline (as an alternative to exclusion), for medical reasons, to
meet the requirements of an IEP, and to support English Language Learners (ELL). In
addition, more informal tutoring is provided as staff-to-student and student-to-student
support throughout the system.

A total of 194 students received tutoring services. Twenty-eight were for medical
reasons, 8 for discipline, 114 for special education/IEP reasons, and 44 for ELL.

Tutoring continues to be an effective mechanism for supporting the unique needs of
students in order to keep them on pace with their peers, so they can advance in grade and,
ultimately, from our PK-12 school system.




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