Office of the Superintendent
Welcome to the Superintendent's Office
Anthony J. Panella
Secretary to the Superintendent and District Clerk
In our district, we’ve been using the best tools at our disposal and creative methods to stay connected to our students and families. The core of our educational mission is to teach and support our students on their academic paths. Here are a few examples of how we have flexed our technical capabilities to connect home and school.
Our broadcast in late January of the National Honor Society induction showcased 99 juniors and seniors. Taped ahead of time and broadcast via Youtube, viewers experienced all the traditional elements of past in-person ceremonies. With remarks by the high school principal and assistant principals, musical accompaniment from the Amherst Sinfonia, keynote from a retired teacher, candle lighting ceremony and slideshow of each student, it was a way for families to share an event with grandparents and other extended family around the country.
Along the same lines, we developed a way to live stream sports through our new Athletics YouTube channel. Families can now watch bowling and swim competitions live, in real time, since spectators cannot attend those events. Again, it allows extended family to tune in and cheer on their favorite athlete.
Later this month, look for information on our website, amherstschools.org, about how you can watch our Middle School musical as a virtual premiere on March 3 and then on-demand.
Field trips and guest speakers have been put on hold, but that has not stopped how we extend student learning.
Art students at Amherst Middle School have the chance to connect with working artists through Wednesday Virtual Visits. Designed as an alternative to in-class guest speakers, the monthly chats on Zoom allow students to learn about careers in the arts field and ask questions directly to graphic designers, art museum staff and working artists.
With a click of a button, teachers can take our students across the globe and immerse them in the language or cultures they are studying. The high school Spanish Club went on a live virtual visit, with a tour guide, of the Palacio de Bellas Artes and Alameda Central in Mexico City. Windermere Boulevard Elementary second graders used Google Expeditions to virtually travel around the world to learn about various festivals. Students shared personal connections to Diwali, Day of the Dead, Eid al- Fitr, Chinese New Year and Christmas.
On a monthly basis, our Family Support Center offers parents advice through its First Tuesdays online sessions. The free sessions have featured experts from child service and mental health agencies as well our own district Student Services team of counselors, social workers and psychologists.
At Smallwood Drive Elementary, the mindfulness committee created a classroom mantra video for students that showed teachers and staff holding inspiring messages such as create your own sunshine, amazing things happen here, be the reason someone smiles today, and better together.
I could share many more examples, but at the heart is our commitment to our students, their families and the value we place on strong connections.