FROM SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT’S DESK: On daily rounds, educators’ ‘magic’ on display

Every school day, I spend at least an hour at one of our five schools doing instructional rounds with the leadership team at that school. The days and the times rotate, allowing me to see different classes each week. I am joined by Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Nan Murphy.

Marblehead School Superintendent John Buckey

It was so gratifying this week to see the work we have been doing the past several years on curriculum alignment on full display, from kindergarten math to elementary English language arts to middle school social studies.

The content, aligned to the state curriculum frameworks, was mirrored across classrooms. What was different was how the curriculum and standards were being taught.

That is the magic of our talented educators — how they take the same material and innovatively customize, personalize and individualize it to the diverse and unique needs of the learners before them.

Perhaps that is why we are the Magicians — the magic of our educators. 

Superintendent-elect Murphy

Congratulations to Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Nan Murphy on her selection to become the next superintendent of schools in Dedham, effective July 1, 2023.

Nan has been exploring opportunities to take this next step in her career, and I am delighted that the Dedham School Committee made her their unanimous choice as their next district leader.

Three years ago, Nan withdrew as a finalist in a superintendent search to take the role as assistant superintendent for us here in Marblehead. I am daily grateful for that decision and feel blessed to have had her shared leadership in our learning community. She has had a positive and measurable impact on our district.

Nan will remain in her position for the remainder of this academic year, providing ample time for us to consider a successor. I will use the update to keep families informed as to the process and timeline for a search.  

Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaker

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, students at Marblehead Veterans Middle School and Marblehead High School were fortunate to hear from a speaker about the impact Dr. King had— and continues to have — on our country.

Ms. Caja Johnson, our METCO director, arranged for Mr. Ron Jones to speak to our students. Ron Jones has been an educator, writer, actor and social activist for over 25 years. He is an Emmy Award winner and executive director of Dialogues on Diversity, one of the nation’s premier social justice, diversity awareness theater companies.

Mr. Jones focused on some key themes for his presentation, including civil rights, the evolution of our country and finding passion in a cause that can help others.

Along the way, Mr. Jones demystified some vocabulary, used some humor and even taught our students about Dr. King’s last unifying focus before he was killed, the Poor People’s Campaign.

A big thanks to Caja Johnson for bringing us this experience.

Preschool screening registration 

Preschool screening registration is open for the 2023-24 school year. All interested peer partners must participate in a screening, which takes place on Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 at Glover.

Peer partners must be 3 years old by Aug. 31 and younger than age 5. Please find additional information at Contact Dr. Paula Donnelly or Alyssa Zimei for more information.

School choice 

This coming week is National School Choice Week. I want to take this opportunity to thank the over 3,000 students, staff and families who choose to make the Marblehead Public Schools their home.

There are many choices of educational venues — public, private, parochial, charter, independent and magnet schools. I am humbled that the overwhelming majority of our community chooses to educate our children in their hometown public schools: Glover, Brown, Village, MVMS and MHS.

The pride and identity of a Marblehead education crosses many generations. I am proud of the work we do and join in celebrating the choice to maintain and honor that proud tradition of a Marblehead Public Schools education. 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Former School Committee member Helaine Hazlett shared with me that the Marblehead Select Board has issued a proclamation for Jan. 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The day, originally designated by the United Nations in 2005, is currently observed in numerous countries worldwide. It commemorates the murder of six million Jews and millions of other minorities by the Nazi regime. The date recognizes when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated in 1945.

On Friday, Jan. 27, Marblehead will recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day. At noon, there will be a candle-lighting ceremony on the grounds of Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St.

At 6 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 393 Atlantic Ave., during the Friday evening service, Rabbi David Meyer and invited guest Select Board Chair Moses Grader will address the congregation in commemoration of victims of the Holocaust.

All are invited and encouraged to attend each of the services to honor the memory of all whose lives were lost during the Holocaust. I hope our families and staff will attend and use this as a powerful teachable moment for our students.

Superintendent coffee and budget workshops

The January Superintendent’s Coffee will be hosted at the Glover School on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 8:15 a.m. This will be an open conversation around topics of interest for our families and the community.

It will also be the morning after our School Committee Budget Workshop, which is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. at MHS and via Zoom.

School Superintendent John Buckey
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