Here's what's hop-pening in our district!

what's hopping in gps resized

 


Radio Minute with Superintendent Jordana Harper and Eliza Calkins

Eliza Calkins is introduced as the new Greenfield Public Schools Foodservice Director. Eliza talks about increasing communications with parents and guardians. She plans to host a district-wide recipe contest for students and families to enter. Air date 8/6/18.


A surprise visit was made to Newton School on June 7th by Jaime from the U.K.-based online children’s yoga program, Cosmic Kids. In the video below, you can watch the student’s ecstatic responses to their surprise visitor.

 


 

Federal Street 3rd annual arts and musical showcase

On Thursday, June 14th, Federal Street School will present its third annual Art and Music Showcase. Art work from all classes will be represented and will highlight art from various countries around the world. In addition, The FSS Band, Strings and Chorus will be performing songs from the same countries. This event is free and open to all FSS families, beginning with the Art show from 6:00-6:30 and musical performances at 6:30 in the gym.


On Monday, June 4th, the Newton School student chorus sang ‘For Good’ from Wicked on WHAI, to celebrate the end of the school year.

Newton students singing song on WHAI

Newton School students had their largest ever student chorus this year! With so many talented singers, they all stopped by the WHAI Recording studio to sing the Broadway number "For Good" and to wish everyone a magical summer!

 


New Library Makerspace!

Makerspace Art area

Click here to see more photos, and watch a video that introduces GHS' Makerspace!

We are pleased to announce that there is now a makerspace in the library. A makerspace is a place where people can work alone or together to be creators, inventors, and experimenters. Below are our goals for this innovative space.

Self-Guided Learning

The GHS library is already a hub for self-guided learning. Students have opportunities independently or with their classes to decide what and how they want to learn through both choice book reading and research projects. The library offers a choose your own adventure experience. We have expanded this role into more areas of learning through our makerspace.

Active Learning & Creating

We do not want our students to passively sit back at their desks waiting to hear knowledge from their teachers, hoping they hold on to some of it. We want our students to engage in their learning, to become the drivers of their education. We want them to realize they can contribute to the world through their writing, coding, designing, and building. This already happens in the classroom and library, but we want to increase opportunities for students to be active learners through the makerspace.

Motivated to Learn

As a way to encourage students to be on task and engaged during class, we will offer the opportunity for students to earn the privilege to visit the library for the last 20 minutes of class to utilize the makerspace and other library resources. If students complete all of their classwork well, they could earn the chance to extend their learning in the library. This would enable teachers to support advanced learners who need more challenge and engage underachievers by giving them additional motivation.

Learning is Fun

Blocks for high school students, you may wonder? Well, in the short time since we received our KEVA planks, we have had students collaborate to study and construct a model of the Eiffel Tower, test how high they could build a tower, and experiment with intricate geometric designs on the idea cards. There are opportunities to use these planks in physics and engineering experiments in science classes, too.

Inquiry Skills

GHS strives to create lifelong learners. Yet, so much of traditional education can stifle learning. Harvard physics professor Eric Mazur discovered that his students were unable to apply what they learned through his lectures in real-world contexts. He began flipping his classroom, having students watch lectures and read before class so they could spend class time working together through applications. This hands on and collaborative approach to learning is proven to result in better understanding and retention. Students learn best by being able to ask questions and they seek the answers to those questions. This model also supports the Common Core standards.

Stress Relief

Research shows that coloring provides much of the same mental benefit as meditation, and allows students to replace anxious or negative thoughts or images with more pleasant ones. Many of our students juggle a lot of responsibilities and some of them suffer from symptoms related to traumatic experiences. Teaching students positive ways to help themselves is a life skill that is important to teach at GHS. We have student designed coloring sheets, communal coloring posters, and other stress aides available to students.

Learning for the Future

Many educators believe that all students should be required to know how to code by the time they graduate high school and that it should be taught in elementary schools. They believe this is a vital literacy skill that students of today will need to succeed in many different fields of employment in the future. The library needs to support this type of digital literacy and help prepare GHS students for the world in which they live.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) in the Library

In the student survey I conducted last year, more than ¼ of respondents were interested in robotics and over 30% in computer programming. When asked what students wish they could learn in school that they don’t have access to, we got responses like computer coding, engineering, electronics, and video game design. Most students, 72% of respondents, believe that more opportunities for hands-on learning would make them better learners, and nearly half felt that access to technology would do the same.

Access to Learning

GHS only offers computer programming as a semester-long elective, but it is not available for students to take every semester. This year, we need our computer programming teacher to teach math and not an elective, leaving our students without any access to computer programming classes.

Engagement in Learning

Many of our students do not have access to things like electronics kits. The modular electronics and robotics kits are easy and intuitive to use, providing a safe context for experimentation. Our students need these low stakes opportunities to take risks, as this is often the best way to learn deeply and create new understandings.

Permanent Stations

The library has several fixed stations: Writing, Art, Legos, Cardboard Construction, Little Bits Electronics, Cubelets Robotics, Puzzles, Relaxation Station, and Building Planks. Most of these stations can evolve through offering different design challenges, can be utilized with other components, or are open to individual interpretation. This prevents the library’s makerspace resources from becoming stale or stagnant.

Library Maker Club

Each month we also rotate activities into the makerspace that were introduced in the Library Maker Club, a joint program with the Greenfield Public Library. The aim here is to keep the makerspace dynamic in what it offers to engage students’ creativity and innovation. This year we have made pop-up valentines, written fan letters to authors, painted decorative rocks, and tested out the Keva Planks and Little Bits.

A special thank you to the Greenfield Education Foundation for funding the Little Bits and to the Alumni Association for funding the Cubelets. Thank you also to Superintendent Jordana Harper and Principal Karin Patenaude for their support of the makerspace and innovation in education. Please come check out the new makerspace at our parent night on April 12th from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Volunteers Wanted in the Library

The library welcomes family members as volunteers in the library to check out materials, shelve books, dust, and create displays. If you are interested in volunteering once, weekly, or monthly, please contact the librarian, Jessica Pollock, via email: jespol1@gpsk12.org or by phone at 772-1350x2004. Thanks!

 

Radio Minute with Superintendent Harper and GHS Librarian Jessica Pollock

Superintendent Harper and GHS Librarian Jessica Pollock talk about GHS' new Makerspace. Air date 5/21/18

 


GHS Transitions student featured on MassMobility state-wide publication!

Travel training helps Greenfield High School student with independence.

MassMobility thanks Chelsea Ennis, Greenfield High School Life Program student, for submitting this guest article.

I'm currently a student at Greenfield High School, in The Life Program. I'm still learning about how to take the public transportation buses. I started out taking the public bus with my class to my volunteer jobs. I have been doing this, with a group, for a couple of school years. Recently, I have been taking the public bus independently. Now, every Friday, I take the bus by myself, to my independent work site.

I think it helps people that don't have cars because they can use the public bus, so they can go places they need to go and you only have to pay $1.25 to ride. And if my own means of transportation is indisposed, I can use public transportation as a back-up.

Also, I've been practicing the schedules of the arrivals and departures. This helps me to learn elapsed time, a real world skill, which will help me when I age out of my program at the end of this school year. I recently got my driver's permit, but I am very grateful that I was exposed to travel training during my time at Greenfield High School's Life Program, and I will continue to use the FRTA when the need arises.

 


Checkout some official photos from the 2018 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards Banquet for Hampshire & Franklin Counties! This year's GPS recipients were Ms. Gina Clark, Music Teacher, Federal Street School, Ms. Marguerite Rancourt, Grade 4 Teacher, Discovery School at Four Corners, and Ms. Angela Mass, Math Teacher, Greenfield High School.

GPS 2018 Grinspoon Award winners  GPS 2018 Grinspoon Award Winners outdoor picture  Angela Mass accepting 2018 Grinspoon Award  Angela Mass and guest at 2018 Grinspoon Award Ceremony  Angela Mass and Karin Patenaude at 2018 Grinspoon Award Ceremony  Marguerite Rancourt at 2018 Grinspoon Award Ceremony  Gina Clark and Nancy Putnam at 2018 Grinspoon Award Ceremony  


 

Radio Minute with Superintendent Harper and Kia Burton-King, Title I Family Outreach

Superintendent Jordana Harper, and Greenfield's Title I Family Outreach and Community Liason, Kia Burton-King, share exciting news about the recent Parent Education Series event, held in response to parent interest, Parent Outreach Update. Air date 4/23/18.

 


blueprint for success banner

Greenfield High School, in collaboration with Reader-to-Reader of Amherst College, is hosting Blueprint for Success, a college preparatory program for students in an economically disadvantaged demographic, who have aspirations to attend, and have the capability to succeed, in college. Typical participants are first-generation college-bound students or children in a family who would be first to attend college and need help navigating the college application process.

Greenfield High School has piloted a summer program for the last two years, yet through Title I and 21st Century Promising Programs grant support, we are able to provide an 11-week school-year program for juniors. Beginning on February 7th, 21 students meet on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:45.  Of this group, 7 self-report as first-generation college-bound. Twelve students attended the timed practice SAT session on Saturday, April 7.  Among those students, all raised their scores from the benchmark we have for them (either a PSAT or a previous SAT score).  The average score increase was 143 points, with the gains fairly evenly split between math and verbal, however, one student improved 250 points!

Reader to Reader notes: "Blueprint for Success is a national, multi-faceted program that promotes not only preparedness but a deeper understanding of college life, academics, and finding the right school, showing participants that college is a real and tangible option. It serves students in economically disadvantaged demographics such as inner cities, high poverty rural areas, or emerging communities where students do not see college as a viable option for their future.

Each week the program features SAT or ACT preparation lessons and activities, college search coaching, and essay writing workshops – with a practice test at the end of each week. Results from the student sessions have shown great​ ​increases in both test-taking skills and confidence in applying to college, along with significantly higher SAT and ACT scores. Taught by experienced teachers​ ​and college students with background and training in standardized test and subject matter skills, the program​ helps to develop the skills and knowledge needed to pursue higher education and build a portfolio of resources, information, materials, and college vocabulary to support the college application process. Small group exercises and larger workshops focus on test-taking strategies, scholarships, and more.

Reader to Reader, Inc. is a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing literacy and fostering a love of reading at all ages. They accomplish this primarily through innovative literacy programs, book & computer donation programs, and the development of partnerships with school districts that extend the capacity of the education system to transform struggling students into joyful and engaged lifelong learners."

Greenfield High School's Program:

February 7: Introductions/Overview/QuestBridge details

February 14: College Choices

February 28: Common Application

March 7: Essay (Personal Statement/Supplemental Questions)

March 14: SAT Intro

March 21: Financial Aid/FAFSA/CSS Profile

March 28: Scholarships

April 4: SAT continued

April 7: Saturday Practice SAT (10:00 - 2:00)

April 11: College Culture/Finding Support + Resources

April 25: Panel with Admissions Officers and Final Q&A