Dr. Heidi T. Riccio, Superintendent
565 Maple Street
Hathorne, MA 01937
For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Contact: Kelsey Bode
Email: [email protected]
Essex Tech Named a Finalist in DESE Kaleidoscope Collective For Learning Pilot Program
DANVERS — Superintendent Heidi Riccio is pleased to announce that Essex Tech is among 22 schools and districts selected as a finalist for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning pilot program.
Schools and districts selected for the program have been recognized for their commitment to ‘deeper learning’ and some have already begun examining and implementing initiatives to support deeper learning among students. Deeper learning is characterized as interactive, collaborative and relevant educational opportunities linked to state standards.
Essex Tech began its deeper learning work in January 2019 after being awarded a Mass IDEAS Planning grant for $133,000. Since then, the school has launched its Career-Technical-Agricultural-Academic-Content (CTAAC) learning integration initiative, through which educators are working to integrate career technical and agricultural education and academic learning through cross-disciplinary student projects involving multiple content areas.
The school currently has four pilot integration projects underway, including a “Civilization Collapse” project involving freshmen world history classes and environmental tech classes and another project titled “The Chemistry of Composting” that connects equine science students with junior and senior chemistry classes. The district is also expanding the scope of CTAAC integration this year by developing and exploring concepts for several additional integrated learning projects to be fully implemented during the 2020-21 school year.
“We are thrilled to be among the finalists for the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning pilot program to foster deeper learning among our students through the integration of career technical, agricultural and academic learning, which aligns directly with the goals outlined in our five year master plan,” Superintendent Riccio said. “We’re excited to have this opportunity and to further integrate these disciplines to better prepare our students to utilize the lessons and skills they develop here at Essex Tech in their careers and lives after graduation.”
Representatives of finalist schools and districts in the Kaleidoscope Collective, including Superintendent Riccio, Assistant Superintendent Thomas O’Toole and Natural Resource Management teacher Paul Crofts, met for the first time at the DESE-sponsored Collective Convening last Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Best Western in Marlboro. Essex Tech was one of five high schools invited to the event, during which school and district representatives discussed their deeper learning plans.
The next step in the Kaleidoscope Collective process is for DESE to conduct a site visit to each finalist school or district in January. At Essex Tech, DESE officials will observe a launch of CTAAC integration learning with ninth grade students. Additionally, Essex Tech will be holding a community input session on its efforts to effect deeper learning and support the integration of career technical and academic learning. The date of the community input session will be announced once more information becomes available.
The final Kaleidoscope Collective cohort will be announced in February. Schools and districts accepted into the cohort will receive further professional development to support various deeper learning initiatives.