Strategy Overview with Links

This page is a work in process.  The Strategy Overview has been turned into a running text document so that we can add links to the district glossary as well as to examples where appropriate.  This will take some time, so check back on the progress – thank you!



Modified 8-Dec-15 – actions that the district has completed in the last quarter and italicized.


We engage all students in learning, raising the aspirations of all students by embracing them in a learning environment designed to meet the needs of all learners. We provide a comprehensive curriculum aligned with state and national standards that challenges and prepares all learners, Pre-K to 12 and beyond. The curriculum is research-based and consistently integrates best practices to provide a focus that is aligned horizontally and vertically across all grades and addresses the needs of all students. The Melrose Public Schools employs highly-qualified teachers and administrators who engage students in a positive and dynamic manner, are student-focused, and work individually and collaboratively to effectively deliver instruction and assessment and advance student performance in all areas of learning. (excerpt: Melrose Public Schools Strategic Plan 2010-2015)

Theory of Action

If teachers plan instruction with clear learning objectives, build content expertise that is supported by a current and well-articulated curriculum, understand culturally proficient pedagogy, apply the best instructional practices, and frequently use assessment to monitor student progress, then teaching and learning will continuously advance and realize high levels of student performance for all learners.

Strategic ObjectivesPlanning: Employ purposeful and deliberate planning that is designed to enable all students to achieve a high level of content mastery and skill development.

Strategic Priority – Consistently employ a common language, philosophy, and methodology for planning and instruction.

Developed common instructional practices in social studies for grades K-5.

Developed common instructional practices in math for grades 6-12.

Training provided to Leadership Team on project based learning. Google site developed to serve as a resource for sharing PBL planning resources and MPS examples.

Year one and year two new teachers use district lesson planning format and UbD (Understanding by Design) to plan instruction.

Math teachers use a lesson template to implement more focused differentiated instruction.

Global Language teachers are building Stage 3 lessons together during Vertical Department Meetings.

Strategic Priority – Increase the opportunities for all staff to model and lead each other in planning curriculum and instruction, analyzing data, and problem solving solutions that benefit students.

Staff in both Social Studies and ELA are participating in the lesson study this year as interdisciplinary teams.

Training this summer on DESE Data Toolkit provided to Leadership Team. Google site developed as resource for data analysis.

Math and business staff share and model instructional practices as well as use the consultancy protocol to problem solve at department meetings.

Strategic Priority – Provide professional development that supports highly effective teams (PLCs) actively engaged in curriculum mapping, data analysis, and self-reflection.

Teacher led professional development has been implemented in elementary ELA and at the secondary level in the global languages, ELA, secondary social studies, and math department.

Two teachers are leading the teacher action research this year in collaboration with a director. Goal is to for teachers to take over the program.

A group of teachers from first cohort of teacher action research continue to develop their research or developed new projects as models for those in their first year.

Strategic Priority – Develop a model for teacher induction that also supports opportunities for teacher leadership among veteran staff.

Induction program now co-led by a director with plan to increase teacher leadership.

Mentor teachers with more responsibility have been established in buildings.

Second year teachers develop or revise a UBD units.

Develop Google site for resources for new teacher induction program.

Mentors are sharing core instructional practices from their discipline with mentees from other disciplines.

Strategic Priority – Provide professional development that increases capacity to include social emotional learning and culturally proficient instruction when planning.

District leadership team identified which core instructional practices support SEL (social emotional learning). Developed Google site for resources for SEL practices.

Some departments are sharing and incorporating these practices into UbD Stage 3 lessons .

All secondary staff participated in day long training by Anti-Defamation League on cultural awareness and responsiveness.

Strategic Priority – Begin the implementation of goal setting and individual learning plans for all students K-12.

All staff in grades K-5 are setting goals in reading, math, or writing with students.

Grades 6-8 are using Your Plan for College (DESE program) to set goals. Grades 9-12 are using Naviance for their Individual Learning Plans.

Strategic ObjectiveContent and Curriculum: Provide rich, high-quality, and current content that fosters the development of higher-level thinking skills and helps all students to attain college and career readiness.

Strategic Priority – Embed proficiency skills reflecting common core standards for literacy and math, depth of knowledge scaffolding, and 21st century skills in all content areas, Pre-K to 12.

Employ project based learning (PBL) planning structure at all levels of instruction, Pre-K to 12.

During the summer, leadership team and some teachers received training on project based learning (PBL).

Several PBL units underway in middle and high school.

Planning for an elementary social studies PBL unit in grade 5 is underway.

Strategic Priority – Continue the development of curriculum maps using UbD, focusing on stage three development, the detailed learning plans. Integrate technology and project based learning into curriculum maps.

Summer PD session on PBL has inspired staff at the secondary level to implement projects this year. Library Media Specialists and Academic Facilitators have been great supporters of this.

Franklin staff will spend the year learning about PBL and develop units in science and engineering through the year. As a first step, Franklin has focused on developing questions for inquiry with students.

Our HS Math Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry course was converted to a PBL course. Library Media Specialists and Academic Facilitators are co-planning with the Math teacher and director..

MS Math teaches are collaborating with Library Media Specialists and Academic Facilitators to create a PBL project at each grade level.

Math and Business teachers are scheduling individual or group sessions to collaborate on the continuation of UBD maps with director.

Strategic Priority – Implement the recommendations of the Social Studies/History Program review, including sequence for K-5 and the development of UbD planning in K-12.

Implementation of the social studies action plan is in progress. Additional changes in programming being explored including possible electives and a two year AP U.S. History offering.

New sequence of units being implemented this year in grades K-5.

Core instructional practices in social studies have been identified in grades K-5.

Social studies notebooks to support inquiry have begun in grades K-5. Draft rubric for the social studies notebooks has been developed. Teachers will use the rubric throughout the year to evaluate implementation of the notebooks.

Strategic Priority – Improve teachers’ capacity to provide instructional options that meet individual needs including, differentiation, compacting, and acceleration.

Global Language Department and Salem State University meeting regularly to establish dual enrollment for Spanish for next school year. Students will be able to receive college credit for the completion of a course at MHS.

Dual enrollment in Latin with UMASS/Boston in place allowing students to receive college credit for completion of course at MHS.

Middle school math teachers receive ongoing professional development and feedback from classroom visits on differentiating to meet individual needs.

Strategic Priority – Implement the Melrose Five Year Strategic Instructional Technology Plan, with a focus on the steps identified as priorities for the upcoming school year.

A district technology committee has been formed. The group established a Google site for sharing information and to support collaboration among members.

A staff technology survey was administered this fall and will be analyzed into the winter.

Teacher standards have been shared as a component of the Google Apps training this fall.

Technology committee developed examples of the teacher standards to aid in their implementation across the district.

Technology committee will begin drafting student benchmarks aligned to ISTE standards this winter.

Equipment has arrived and is being prepared for roll out. Contractor to do wiring at the high school has been hired.

Strategic Priority – Expand the use of science and engineering practices, focusing on science inquiry in order to improve the content and mastery of science, technology, and engineering in K-12.

Strengthen writing in science and social studies. Teachers in grades K-5 will review science and social studies notebooks and writing at faculty meetings and grade level meetings throughout the year.

New rubric for grades K-5 for science and social studies notebooks have been developed and will be used throughout the year to evaluate science and social studies notebooks.

Teachers in grades K-5 use CER (claims, evidence, reasoning) framework to support students in writing conclusions in science and social studies.

Grade K-5 committee formed to review and begin process of outlining K-5 science units.

Melrose is collaborating with neighboring districts to create common units in science in grades K-12.

Elementary principals participate in walk-throughs five times during the fall to observe science and social studies instruction.

Science Individual and Group student learning goals have been developed or modified to address growth on district and state standardized assessments by implementing more inquiry-based activities.

Professional practice goals are more aligned to increasing varied and differentiated writing opportunities.

Team of MPS educators enrolled in the Gateway Project though Boston Museum of Science to support identification of resources for science, engineering, and technology.

Teachers at the Franklin have had two sessions of a year long focus on developing inquiry based science and engineering units.

Strategic ObjectiveInstruction: Provide advanced learning opportunities that are student-centered and engage all learners in activities that offer enrichment and challenge and that are focused on student learning, growth, and achievement.

Strategic Priority – Increase the capacity of staff to routinely and independently embed purposeful instructional practices in learning plans in order to increase mastery and skill proficiency among all students.

Instructional support plans developed for every classroom in grades K-5. The plans outlined strategies and supports for students in need and those in need of additional challenge.

Data meetings were held in ELA and math in the middle school to identify supports and instructional practices.

Strategic Priority – Improve the implementation of instructional practices and educational options that support students who are English Language Learners, students with disabilities, at risk, or advanced learners so that we provide targeted intervention, challenge, and advancement at all levels.

Piloting Director as a coach model in Global Languages for high needs students in Grade 8.

Global Languages also piloting a new scheduling approach for students who want to continue to language study but are unable to move up to Honors. Students repeat a a course but at the Honors level. Early feedback is positive.

Elementary teachers collaborating to expand options in Envision math series for enhancement activities for specific units.

Math teachers received professional development over the summer and ongoing professional development throughout the school year on routinely and effectively provide differentiated instruction using varied grouping structures. All MS Math teachers set providing differentiated instruction to support intervention and enrichment as their professional practice goal.

Strategic Priority – Deepen the structures and fidelity of practice of the district’s Massachusetts Tiered System of Support (MTSS) procedures and protocols, including the District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP), Individual Student Support Plans, Critical Case Management, and collaboration between multiple service providers.

Addition of Individual Student Support Plan (ISSP) in ELA and math to MTSS process provides teachers with a specific plan for remediation and extension in grades PreK-5. Plans will be reviewed and updated in January.

Strategic Priority – Expand and improve instructional supports for teachers such as demonstration or lab classrooms, lesson study, peer observation, instructional rounds, collaboration, and teacher led professional activities.

All elementary schools have lesson studies as part of their school improvement plans.

After data meetings in grades K-5, staff encouraged to visit other schools and classroom to support implementation of instructional practices.

Third cohort of teachers trained to participate in district walk-throughs. First walk-throughs of the year are currently underway. Google site created to support walk through training.

Secondary ELA and social studies teachers are conducting joint lesson studies.

Piloting focused team support in Math for grades 6-8 as well as an opportunity for all Math and Business teachers to observe peers, co-teach and/or plan lessons collaboratively with director, and observe model lessons.

Strategic Priority – Expand the options and opportunities for differentiated and targeted professional development based on teacher input and identified district, school, and educator goals.

PD day in October ran differentiated offerings for elementary teachers.

Addressing with Labor-Management how to implement differentiated PD for instructional technology across the district..

All K-12 staff participated in 4 hours of training on Google Apps for Education in the fall. Google trainings this fall provided for beginner and advanced levels with multiple opportunities to explore different components of Google Apps for Education.

Third cohort of teachers engaged in RETELL. All administrators have completed SEI administrator training.

Monthly ELL workshop series implemented to support integration of ELL strategies among RETELL training teachers and others.

Strategic Priority – Increase through training, modeling, and other supports the use of instructional technology in all aspects of teaching and learning.

Secondary academic facilitator and secondary media library specialists continue to lead effort to increase the use of instructional technology across all curricula.

Social Studies/History and ELA grades 6-12 have created multiple lessons embedding technology.

Noodle Tools used throughout grades 6-12 as a web based tool for note-taking and writing of research projects.

Strategic ObjectiveAssessment and Data: Create dynamic assessments that provide reliable and valid data that informs teaching and learning in order to advance student performance.

Strategic Priority – Collaborate with the MEA to establish student growth parameters for identified District Determined Measures (DDMs) by grade and content area.

Elementary parameters for reading and math are in place.

Secondary Math teachers determined parameters for growth for BOY/MOY/EOY DDM series for the current year..

At secondary level, parameters piloted last year are still in place. More specific parameters for each course and level need to be negotiated.

Strategic Priority – Complete the piloting of DDMs, collect assessment data, and make appropriate revisions for alignment to curriculum, primarily in Guidance, special education, and Visual and Performing Arts.

Secondary department meetings are focusing on revisions to curriculum and assessments based on data.

Guidance is using the implementation of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) as their DDM for this school year.

ELA and math assessments in grades K-12 currently being revised to reflect PARCC and MCAS 2.0 format and expectations.

Middle school math teachers are administering 6 benchmark exams throughout the year and performing a standard analysis.

Strategic Priority – Expand and improve the capacity of data teams to analyze, disaggregate, and use data to to make necessary adjustments and changes to teaching and learning for both individual students and whole classes.

Questioning protocol added to department data analysis meetings. The probing question for every teacher is “who are your struggling (advanced) students? How do you know? How did you support them in this lesson?”

Secondary level departments looking at summative data that impacts programming and analyzing individual student data and targeting struggling and advanced students.

All elementary schools have added a high needs data analysis group to their practice.

Data meetings in math and ELA implemented at middle school this fall to review beginning of year assessments.

Math teachers, special education teachers, guidance counselors, Math Director, Principal, and Special Education director are part of a data team at the MS that analyze individual student data, class data, and subgroup data to improve student outcomes.

Strategic Priority – Expand the use of Aspen as the district’s database for all student information, assessment data, and parent communication at all levels.

By end of last year, all staff had established Aspen pages. Training for new staff is ongoing. With addition of Google Ed, questions about which to use for communication needs to be resolved.

Strategic Priority – Use multiple means of communication, including regularly updated Aspen pages to communicate proactively with students and families.

Teachers are creating Google sites for their classes.

Staff are increasingly comfortable with using Twitter for direct communication with students.

Communication consultant has held first session with principals to help them improve communications internally and externally.

Google sites used as a tool for the documentation and sharing of professional development activities.

Strategic Priority – Update Aspen grade book for grades 6-12 for families and students more than one and in a timely manner during the quarter.

We are working with the Labor-Management Committee to define “timely” and account for the differences in the assessment practices among classes (i.e., ELA v. wellness).