Putnam superintendent outlines 2013-2014 school year

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Aug. 12, 2013
Putnam Superintendent Dr. William Hull said the coming year will be full of exciting developments. Photo by D. Coffey.
Putnam Superintendent Dr. William Hull said the coming year will be full of exciting developments. Photo by D. Coffey.

Putnam Superintendent Dr. William Hull welcomed his staff back to school with a letter full of the new developments that would greet them in late August. The 2013-2014 academic year will bring with it a high school renovation project, a health clinic imbedded in the middle school, an advisor/advisee program at the high school, involvement in a Positive Behavioral Intervention Support program that is a state initiative from the Department of Education, a new teacher evaluation program, the creation of a writing curriculum that adopts common core standards and efforts to build on the success of the elementary school that earned a school of distinction designation last year.

“We have so many exciting things happening,” Hull said. “It's going to be a full year.”

It's already been a full summer. Hull and his staff have foregone vacations this summer in order to firm up plans to implement all the new programs. “This year has been probably the busiest summer – not only for me but for my administrative team," he said. "We've done all the stuff we normally do like hire new staff, write curriculum, work on school improvement plans. But at the same time, the administration has been out training for the new evaluation plans for weeks at a time. And its not done yet.”

The imbedded health clinic will bring the district closer towards a more efficient coordination of services. “We believe kids can't learn unless they're safe, happy and secure,” Hull said. “We're looking to get kids coordinated services so they don't slip through any cracks.”
The clinic will provide the services of a nurse practitioner, a social worker and the Generations Smile Van. The collaboration with the Department of Children and Families, the school system, and Generations is the next logical step to make sure there is a coordination of services in the area, Hull said.

The advisor/advisee program at the high school will pair 10 to 15 students to one teacher. “Research indicates that if a kid has a significant adult who is able to case manage them, in a sense, they are happier, healthier and more productive,” Hull said. He envisions students having trustworthy adults committed to solving small problems efficiently.

“That's on top of the overarching theme of providing a positive culture for kids,” Hull said. Putnam is involved in the state's Positive Behavioral Intervention Support initiative. It starts with the idea that kids need to learn how to behave well. “We start from zero,” Hull said. “By building a positive supportive culture they become a part of it.”

A new teacher evaluation process is part of a law that took effect July 2013. Hull said the teachers' union worked with them to create a fair system for both administrators and teachers. He called the collaboration healthy and productive. “Teachers want an evaluation process that is fair, open and transparent,” he said. “They don't want poor teachers in their midst.” 

Hull said it was likely that changes to teacher evaluations and common core testing standards could come from the state. “Stay tuned for future developments,” he said.

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