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6/28/16 Fuller Middle School Appointment of New Principal

Link to PDF: Statement RE Fuller MS SC MTG June 28

RE: Fuller MS
Appointment of new principal
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The appointment of Jose Duarte as Principal of Fuller Middle School for the 2016-17 school year is a positive step in the district’s efforts to address the existing challenges at Fuller MS, and to highlight the many successes of the school.  Dr. Scott has offered Mr. Duarte a one, plus two-year contract based on performance measures for the coming academic year.  The expectation is that Mr. Duarte will build strong alliances between the school and the community, between the administrative team and the staff, and that he will reach out to parents as he begins the process of implementing his entry plan.  As he shared with the community last week, one of Mr. Duarte’s primary goals is getting to know all students in order to promote a healthy, thriving and safe academic environment. 

The opportunity to hire a dynamic new principal opens the door for rethinking and re-visioning practices at Fuller MS.  During the last two months, the district convened two committees to address different issues at Fuller MS.  The “Re-Visioning Committee” spent three days establishing parameters for a new Fuller building in a formal process that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) will oversee during the next four years.  This group included Fuller MS staff, Central Office administrators, School Committee representation, parents and community members.  Fuller MS students had an opportunity to contribute their thoughts and opinions regarding 21st Century teaching and learning modalities and practices.

The district also formed a Fuller Task Force to provide Principal Duarte with insight and feedback from a “community advisory board” that began highlighting successes at the school and identifying major challenges the school has faced this year.

Among other topics, the agendas centered on the following elements:

  • Providing sustainable support for STEAM
  • Offering professional development around effective classroom management strategies catering to the PBIS model
  • Establishing a healthy social/emotional environment
  • Ensuring trauma-informed classrooms
  • Rebuilding community perception of Fuller MS as a caring, successful school
  • Enhancing communication
  • Examining leadership structure and framework for supporting Fuller
  • Changing the school schedule to match Cameron and Walsh MS schedules
  • Providing appropriate supports for changing demographics
  • Providing academic support for all students
  • Assessing the impact of Sage instruction

As he begins his tenure in the Framingham Public Schools, Principal Duarte will have an opportunity to review and analyze the current organizational structure, the academic landscape, as well as the social emotional environment at Fuller MS. This period of review will afford him the time to build an authentic composite of the school so that he can make informed decisions and advocate for staff and students.  One task will be to make departmental and staffing recommendations to the superintendent based on observations and data to target the school’s needs.

Part of Principal Duarte’s responsibilities will involve listening to teachers and students, and acknowledging robust public commentary regarding any proposed changes in programs, staffing, and instructional practices at Fuller Middle School.   Sensitivity to community needs and addressing public perception will be an ongoing priority for Mr. Duarte.

For the coming academic year, Fuller MS will implement the same schedule as Walsh and Cameron.  Teachers at Fuller will shift from teaching four classes to five.  This time will be useful for scheduling interventions, enrichment, and also for ensuring appropriate services for all students.  The addition of a seventh period will provide flexibility in scheduling these opportunities, as well as offering a chance for students to complete assignments and access additional supports.  In collaboration with Central Office, Principal Duarte will also examine the benefits of a team model (two teams per grade with Team Leaders) versus a “house” model (one house per grade with “Housemasters”) to determine how best to deploy staff, ensuring that all classes are taught by certified staff as he works to maximize available resources.

These measures are designed to address a more stabilized Fuller MS and will include staff and community participation.  Our collective hope is to see positive movement in all areas of the Fuller school community.