Teaching and Learning
The Department of Teaching & Learning is responsible for envisioning, planning, and directing the implementation of curriculum and instruction, assessment, and professional learning in the Newton Public Schools. In addition to Curriculum Coordinators, each of whom specializes in a specific content area, our department includes Home Education, English Language Learning Program, Newton METCO, the Creative Arts and Sciences Program, the Calculus Project, Newton School Volunteers, and the New Educator Induction and Mentoring Program. Together, we support educators in our daily efforts to ensure academic excellence, educational equity, and social-emotional wellbeing for all our students.
Our work is guided by our Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles.
Vision: Through collective action and reflection, we will develop all students' social, emotional and academic competencies so that race and other forms of identity are not predictors of academic success.
Mission: Every day, NPS educators actively build and sustain culturally responsive learning communities dedicated to nurturing all students' social, emotional and academic competencies so that each develops into an independent and life-long learner.
Guiding Principles: These four principles guide our partnerships for student achievement:
1. Collaborate for Academic Achievement
- Every educator collaborates with students, families and other educators to set high academic expectations for all learners using state and/or national standards.
- Every student is an active participant in learning, sets goals for achievement, and is challenged and supported to meet or exceed standards and expectations.
- Every family, is a valued partner in their child’s education; we intentionally seek out the voices of families who may be vulnerable, disadvantaged, or marginalized.
2. Foster Safe and Responsive Learning Communities
- Every educator affirms students and families as valuable members of the learning community, supports those who do not feel they belong, and actively builds and sustains partnerships with families.
- Every student learns in classrooms that promote understanding of diversity and respect for differences in all forms of identity.
- Every family, is a welcomed member of the school community, is actively encouraged to participate, and is engaged in regular, two-way and culturally proficient communications about student learning.
3. Teach, Model and Practice Cultural, Social and Emotional Competencies
- Every educator explicitly teaches, models and practices cultural, social and emotional competencies and engages students in positive teacher-to-student and student-to-student interactions.
- Every student practices Cooperation, Assertiveness, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-control skills through positive social and academic interactions with adults and peers.
- Every family is informed about cultural, social and emotional class, school, and district practices. is an informed partner in sustaining culturally responsive school and classroom communities.
4. Build Students' Intellective Capacities and Ensure Access to Content
- Every educator intentionally designs, delivers and assesses rigorous standards-based and culturally responsive learning experiences.
- Educators teach to standards with intention and clarity, differentiate content, process and practice, and provide feedback for growth.
- Educators use cultural knowledge to connect what students know to new concepts and content and to maximize student engagement.
- Educators explicitly teach and model cognitive strategies and routines and provide students with structured opportunities to process challenging content.
- Every student develops an academic mindset, perseverance, effective learning strategies, and academic behaviors.
- Every family has opportunities to share goals for their child’s achievement and information about their child’s social, emotional and academic strengths and needs
Curriculum Coordinators collaborate with High School Department Heads to:
- Align Newton Public Schools’ curriculum to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts, and the Next Generation Science Standards.
- Align Newton Public Schools’ curriculum to research-based, nationally vetted standards in addition to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks as appropriate.
- Ensure that skills, concepts and topics build sequentially from one grade to the next.
- Review programs and practices to reflect current research, and to ensure cultural breadth and educational efficacy.
- Organize and deliver professional learning that for teachers and support staff
- Enhance teachers’ expertise by providing multiple opportunities for teacher collaboration across schools, through professional development experiences and curriculum development work.
- Ensure that each teacher is well equipped to guide all students to mastery of curriculum content by providing culturally responsive unit designs, lesson plans, instructional materials, assessments, and specialized materials.
- Guide and support teachers and administrators in the implementation of research-based, culturally responsive instructional practices
- Collaborate with Special Educators and teachers of English Language Learners to maximize accessibility for every student.
- Review multiple data sources for evidence of the efficacy of our curriculum and instruction, and make appropriate adjustments.
- Supervise and evaluate teachers in either a primary or supporting role
- Provide leadership and curriculum and instructional perspective on district, inter-district, and state committees and advisory boards
Together, coordinators, teachers and administrators actively cultivate a culture of equity and excellence by creating and sustaining curriculum and instructional practices that lead to high quality learning for each and every student.