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Easter Week events at Park Avenue Congregational, elsewhere

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Regent: URO to benefit OneFund Saturday

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Work days at Spy Pond Park begin Saturday

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LexFarm stand to open Saturday

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Olivio's to celebrate Italian-style Easter

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April Vacation Arts Camp at ACA

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Patriots Day parade set for Monday

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Multi-Chamber networking Tuesday

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Read, walk Arlington’s cultural heights Tuesday

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Workshop on Afghanistan Tuesday

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Lambs due at Wright-Locke Wednesday

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Interpretive Alewife walk April 24

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'Reciprocal' at 13Forest; talk April 25

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Drum Connection beats this spring

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National Drug Take-Back Day April 26

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Bikeway cleanup April 26

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EulipiaJazz to launch concert series April 26

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Arlington-Nagaokakyo host families get ready for April

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Chorale, philharmonic concert April 27

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Historical Society: Our veterans April 29

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AFD Theatre presents 'A Little Night Music' May 2-18

AFD Theatre presents 'A Little Night Music' May 2-18

Tryst serves new dinner menu

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Arlington Cultural Commission calendar

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Fourth international film festival seeking entries, lists partners

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Historical talk, reception at May 3 Old Schwamb Mill

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For 2014-15, AFD Theatre seeks music, stage directors, choreographers

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All that's jazz: AHS Pops Concert May 3

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A first: Art to rock Menotomy starting May 4

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May 7 conversation: Can junk food end obesity?

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Foundation's tech showcase May 5

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A cappella joy in Mudville May 10

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Community Collection Day May 10

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Astronomy Nights continue at Robbins Farm May 31

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Community Card for 2013-14 aiding Thompson available

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Soap-box derby participants get ready for June

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Farmers' market to open 16th season June 11

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16th Feast of the East set for June 14

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Conversations about diversity conclude June 9: 'Many Social Classes'

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OPEN MIC

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Kick Stand Cafe, just off Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center, continues the Jam'n Java open- microphone tradition Friday nights once a month for local entertainers starting in December.

For an up-to-date listing, go to Open Mic.

ENTERTAINMENT

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The Regent Theatre on Medford Street is Arlington's showplace of stars.
For an up-to-date listing to know what's on stage what's coming, go to www.regenttheatre.com.

YOUR SPORTS

sox-33914 Hundreds of people came to Town Hall on a rainy evening Saturday, March 29, to pose for pictures with the 2013 Red Sox World Series trophy on a...
marathon-3314Campbell The Boston Marathon has expanded to 36,000 runners this year, and as of April 15, 78 Arlington residents will be among those hitting the...
 Friday April 18, 2014 |  3:03:55 a.m.

Much on his plate, new K-12 math director hopes it all adds up

Matthew J. Coleman in his AHS officeMatthew J. Coleman, school's math director, in his AHS office.

Do your children have an aversion to numbers?Meet Matthew J. Coleman, Arlington's new math director.

Get to know him, and you and your kids may like math a little better ... perhaps much better.

Coleman is 36, and he has ambitious plans for the public schools, which have been without a full-time director since 2006-2007.

"There is so much to do," he said in an interview in his office at Arlington High on Thursday, Nov. 8. "I'm not saying Arlington is behind, but in two to three years, the curriculum must be aligned with the common core."


Rare math faceoff yields high marks


That means new testing standards and teacher-evaluation system as well as technology improvements.

"All schools have to change," he said. As an agent for that change, Coleman brings a decided enthusiasm and depth of knowledge gained over 14 years of teaching, 12 of them in Framingham schools.

His rapid-fire delivery of ideas, in an Oct. 25 presentation well-received by the School Committee (see related story) and in the interview, is infectious.

Genesis of his appraoch

His approach to students, to teachers and to the challenges he faces here has a personal arithmetic: It derives in part from an 11th-grade class he took in Bohemia, Long Island, where he grew up. In a math class called "Creative Problem Solving," the teacher, Mr. McGarr, would present problems. Students would figure them out and, based on their solutions, go on to build things.

"I'm by nature a puzzler," he said, adding "introverted, introspective," adjectives that seem at odds with his lively public persona. "I loved number theory."

How does he plan to puzzle out the tangle of challenges with which the full-time math director must deal?

In an office that features a poster of his brother, who had been a soccer standout in college, as well as a wedding photo of his wife and him, he laid out a roadmap for kindergarten-through-12-grade math in Arlington:

* Update and align the curriculum with the common core curriculum state standards. These wholesale changes point to the need to find further funding, and so he was making his case earlier on Nov. 8 to the Arlington Education Foundation

* Build a culture of collaboration, which is in need of repair after budget cuts had scaled back the K-12 position for years. "I'm visible, I have a lot of energy," he said, adding that at the Nov. 7 EdTech conference he was "emailing teachers all day."

* Break down the walls that deter communication for all teachers. He noted that AHS does not have one math teacher whose schedule allows sharing a period for collaboration.

* Clean and reorganize: "I'm a bit of a neat freak," he said. "The rooms are a mess." That included his office: With help from math teacher Nigel Kraus, he removed texts and files dating to the 1960s. He said he wants teachers to have access, and an organized office aids that.

How to attain goals

To reach these goals, he is heartened. Many teachers are "hungry for leadership," adding, "All welcomed me," and he believes most are on board with refocusing the math curriculum. That support may go a long way to help Coleman address challenges that YourArlington pointed to and asked he would address:

Math director Matt Coleman demonstrates a calculator.Coleman demonstrates a calculator that requires you to estimate a result before it provides the correct one.

     * Math scores for sixth- and seventh-graders: "Teachers need a consistent time to meet," so they can deal with content that is in transition. He wants teachers to make sure they are following the curriculum. He called for a "more contemporary curriculum" and recognized the need for staff stability. He added that eighth-grade scores are "off the charts." Further, fourth- and fifth-grade teachers need a clearer idea of expectations and communication.

     * Students need better support at Ottoson, noting there are two math-support teachers for three grades.

     * Longer range, he wants technology to leverage student achievement. That will require further investment in the schools' server infrastructure.

     * Finally, his October School Committee presentation pointed to restructuring middle-school math, part of suggested changes called "alternate pathways."

Apart from goals and ways to achieve, we return to the man himself. An early riser, he is in his AHS office at 6 a.m. or so, shaping his day, which is only as an administrator for this school year. The fiscal 2013 budget lists his salary at $85,000.

He misses teaching, saying, "I view myself as an educator." For the Westborough resident, math is in the family. He is married to a math coach for the Framingham schools. They are expecting their first child in January.

He is half Puerto Rican (on his mom's side). That lineage may account for his warm comments about the diverse populations with whom he worked at Framingham, a system with a significant Hispanic and Brazilian population.


HELPFUL LINKS

Curriculum Overview

    parcconline.org | Dept. of Education common core

Wants some problems?

     parcconline.org | illustrativemathematics.org | ccsstoolbox.agilemind.com/index_static.html


Common core, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers

Part of Oct. 25 presentation to School Committee:
by Dr. Laura Chesson, assistant superintendent, and Matt Coleman

Doing Math

The grocery store sells beans in bulk. The grocer's sign above the beans says, 5 pounds for $4. At this store, you can buy any number of pounds of beans at this same rate, and all prices include tax. 

Alberto said, "The ratio of the number of dollars to the number of pounds is 4:5. That's $0.80 per pound."
Beth said, "The sign says the ratio of the number of pounds to the number of dollars is 5:4. That's 1.25 pounds per dollar."

1. Are Alberto and Beth both correct? Explain.
2. Claude needs two pounds of beans to make soup. Show Claude how much money he will need.
3. Dora has $10 and wants to stock up on beans. Show Dora how many pounds of beans she can buy.
4. Do you prefer to answer parts (b) and (c) using Alberto's rate of $0.80 per pound, using Beth's rate of 1.25 pounds per dollar, or using another strategy? Explain.

Purpose of the Common Core

"The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) define the rigorous skills and knowledge in English language arts and mathematics that need to be effectively taught and learned for students to be ready to succeed academically in credit-bearing, college-entry courses and in workforce training programs."

Why Do We Need The CCSS?

. Previously, each state had its own standards 

. 21st century students must compete nationally and globally
. CCSS are modeled on highest and best models from all states and nations
. No longer "A mile wide and an inch deep." 
. Consistent standards provide appropriate benchmarks for all students across the country.

Not Just a New Name

"These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business. They are a call to take the next step. It is time for states to work together to build on lessons learned from two decades of standards based reforms." These are:

- 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics
 -Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Key Features of the New Math Frameworks

The new standards support improved curriculum and instruction due to increased:

. FOCUS, via critical areas at each grade level
. COHERENCE, through carefully developed connections within and across grades
. CLARITY, with precisely worded standards that cannot be treated as a checklist
. RIGOR, including a focus on College and Career Readiness and Standards for Mathematical Practice throughout Pre-K-12 Organization
. Standards for Mathematical Practice Carry across all grade levels

PARCC Assessment: 3-8, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2

. The 3-8 PARCC assessments will be delivered at each grade level and will be based directly on the Common Core State Standards. 

. Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 will be end of course exams and will be based directly on the Common Core State Standards.
. The distributed PARCC design includes four components - two required summative and two optional non-summative - to provide educators with timely feedback to inform instruction and provide multiple measures of student achievement across the school year.
. The 3-8 assessments will include a range of item types, including innovative constructed response, extended performance tasks, and selected response (all of which will be computer based).

Summative Assessments

. Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered as close to the end of the school year as possible. The English language arts/literacy (ELA/literacy) PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text. The mathematics PBA will focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings to solve multistep problems requiring abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance, and strategic use of tools.
. End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approximately 90% of the school year. The ELA/literacy EOY will focus on reading comprehension. The mathematics EOY will call on students to demonstrate further conceptual understanding of the Major Content and Additional and
Supporting Content of the grade/course (as outlined in the PARCC Model Content Frameworks), and demonstrate mathematical fluency, when applicable to the grade.

Non-Summative Assessments

. Diagnostic Assessment designed to be an indicator of student knowledge and skills so that instruction, supports, and professional development can be tailored to meet student needs.
. Mid-Year Assessment (MYA) comprised of performance-based items and tasks, with an emphasis on hard-to-measure standards. After study, individual states may consider including the MYA as a summative component.


This story was published Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, and updated the next day to add the last time the schools had a full-time math director (2006-2007).

 

 

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POLL: PRESERVATION ACT

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  • Dollar image

    Treasurer gets deputy after urging vote

    "Below please find the date-trail where important actions took place: "• Internal posting - December 12, 2013 "• External posting- December 12, 2013     o Town Website        o Monster.com "• Review of applicant resume's and credentials - January 13, 2014 through February 3, 2014 "• 1st round of interviews- February 6, 2014 and February 13, 2014     o An Excel-based budgetary exercise situation problem was administered to each applicant during the first round of interviews "• 2nd round of interviews-February 21, 2014        o A writing skills exercise containing an investment scenario was administered during the second round of interviews "I am extremely pleased that we were able to attract and obtain a candidate with Mr. Morse's qualifications, skills, experience and passion. Mr. Morse will bring an array of valuable skills and experience to the Deputy Treasurer's position. "I strongly ...

  • William Hayner

    School Committee reminded of its standards

    School Committee: Norms and Standards (policy BDA-E) We, the Arlington School Committee, acknowledge that a School Committee meeting is a meeting of School Committee members that is held in public and not a public meeting and that we will make every effort to ensure that meetings are effective and efficient. To that end, we acknowledge the importance of subcommittees and we and the superintendent agree to utilize them to focus on specific topics in-depth and to prepare for presentation, deliberation, and possible action by the School Committee.  We, the Arlington School Committee, set forth these Standards and Norms that we will all commit to abide by as individuals and as a committee:     1. Represent the needs and interests of all students in the district.     2. Exercise leadership in vision, planning, policy making, evaluation, and advocacy on behalf of the students and district, not in managing the day-to-day operations of the district. &n ...

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    Vote *against* Community Preservation Act

    If you can afford it ... The CPA is a good deal for municipalities whose residents can afford it. In exchange for a property tax surcharge of 1 to 3 percent, the state will provide matching money (used to be $1 for $1, is now more on the order of 50 cents state matching on each dollar of local property tax surcharge). At least 10% of the match must be spent on each of 3 categories - open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing; the remaining 70% can be spent on a much wider (but still limited) range of possibilities. Spending is thus on projects which most communities would like to spend money anyway. The state match reduces by half the cost of extra spending. Bottom line is that CPA money is worth spending on, if one can afford it. I suggest that individual support for or opposition against the CPA is based largely on one's personal finances. Those who feel they can afford to pay more have compelling reason to support it; those who feel they can't have compelling rea ...

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    How the Community Preservation Act is good for Arlington

    Surcharge of no miore than 3% Money for the fund is raised through a surcharge of no more than 3 percent on the property-tax levy. Massachusetts has set up a fund that is used to partially offset these charges. On average historically, the reimbursement rate has been about 30 percent of the surcharge. After decades of growth and development, residents from across the state began to realize that their communities were rapidly changing and that they needed to do something to protect the resources that made their home towns unique. Some communities wanted to protect open space, some to preserve historic sites and others wanted to ensure affordable housing for their residents. All petitioned the state government for assistance in planning and funding. With so many worthwhile interests competing for limited resources, it took nearly 20 years of on-and-off debate to complete the legislation now known as the Community Preservation Act. The law does four things. It addresses all of the co ...

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    Long Live Metco, Starks writes

    The reason I co-authored the article with Mr. Foskett was to make sure that as we head into the need for future overrides for our schools that we make sure that we are talking about all of the costs that our public schools are asked to take on and that we as a town decide whether to continue to support them or not. As I had hoped, the discussion that has ensued about Metco has been a positive response to keeping the program going. I will continue to work to get more funding for the program and make sure that our legislators know how woefully underfunded it is. But my stance on Metco needing more funding is not a reflection on whether or not I think it is an important program that has a long future here in Arlington. Education itself is woefully underfunded, but you will not find a more passionate advocate for it than those of us who serve on School Committee. This letter was published Friday, April 11, 2014. ...

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    Kurt Fusaris, who writes The Arlington Avocado blog, takes his political knife to the April 5 town election. He takes a look at how his forecasts turned out. He also takes a close read of the results and makes some conjectures as to what happened and why. See his detailed post here >> Kurt is not curt. This blog link was published Wednesday, April 9, 2014. ...

  • Simulator for Distractology Tour

    What are you doing to distract your driving?

    According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide in 2012, more than 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and approximately 421,000 people were injured. Massachusetts law makes it illegal for any operator of a motor vehicle to use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. Fines start at $100 and can be as high as $500 for subsequent offenses. Drivers younger than 18 are also subject to license or permit suspension for as long as one year. "All motorists need to know that Massachusetts is serious about stopping this deadly behavior," Ryan said. "Driving and texting has reached epidemic levels, and enforcing the law is part of the cure." This news release was published Tuesday, April 8, 2014. ...

  • An old-fashioned reporter

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  • Bob Sprague

    Vote steers Arlington clear of change

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  • Douglass T. Davidoff

    Two modest proposals for after the election

    Suggestions for renaming First: Let’s rename the Board of Selectmen to the "Select Board." Second: Let’s rename the Town Meeting to "Representative Town Meeting." As a relatively new resident of Arlington, having moved here only four years ago, I don’t know if these two ideas that gnaw at me have been debated before in the town. If they have, it’s a marvel that the Arlington I have come to know wouldn’t have moved sooner to address deficiencies I see in naming our chief town governance structures. The New England tradition of town meetings and "select men" elected to manage town affairs between meetings of the town citizenry is well documented. From Maine to Connecticut, town meetings and select men have run affairs of New England towns for centuries. But in Connecticut, where I grew up, the towns that grew in population and abandoned the town meeting because it became unwieldy often replaced it with elected leaders who sit in what’s usually a "Representative Town Meeting." My h ...

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