BEYOND THE CLASSROOM:
INNOVATION CAREER PATHWAYS
In 2023 Nipmuc received Innovation Career Pathway (ICP) designation from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Through this designation, Nipmuc received approximately $70,000 to support the development of a multi-year course of study in computer science. Students in the program will engage in a specialized course of study that culminates in a 100-hour internship with a professional partner. In 2024 Nipmuc will introduce ICPs in Business Finance and Business Marketing. The program will expand to the science department in 2025.
SOPHOMORE CAREER SHADOWING
Nipmuc's "My College and Academic Plan" is to provide a variety of meaningful opportunities for students to make connections between their learning and the world beyond our campus. An important part of this plan is to create opportunities for students to explore careers that align with their interests. After completing interest and career inventories, all sophomores have off-campus career shadowing experiences in which they get to walk in the shoes of a professional in a field of interest. The students can use this experience to help them in planning for an internship during junior year.
Nipmuc participated in the Kaleidoscope Collective - working with a group of 22 schools selected from more than 500 applicants to move beyond traditional practices to focus on deeper learning. The Kaleidoscope Collective is a program developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education intended to shift the focus of our schools from traditional practices to deeper learning. As a member of the Kaleidoscope Collective, Nipmuc is receiving training, resources, and encouragement in its work to reimagine school. Learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collective by clicking here.
INSPIRED LEARNING DAYS
Inspired Learning Days are learning events that allow our students to take the lead in their learning. These full-day learning events are co-constructed with students, aligned to our district's Portrait of a Learner, driven by student choice and agency, supported through community partnerships, and are exciting moments of learning for our community. Beginning in 2019-2020, Inspired Learning Days take place in all schools in the district, providing an innovative opportunity for us to live our mission. Learn more about Inspired Learning Days by clicking here.
In the summer before the 2022-2023 school year, a team of teachers posed the question “What if?” in considering how to introduce our freshmen to the Portrait of a Learner at Nipmuc. In brainstorming solutions, they collaborated to revise a semester-long course taken by all freshmen to focus explicitly on the Portrait of a Learner. Through a half year of exploration, all ninth graders at Nipmuc will have the chance to consider the skills, knowledge, and dispositions embedded in the Portrait of a Learner in order to craft a powerful, positive personal narrative.
PORTRAIT OF A LEARNER SCHOLARS
The MURSD Portrait of a Learner not only outlines the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for success, it also provides our community with a new definition of success beyond standardized tests and report cards. In order to help the community see the power of this concept in action, Nipmuc established the Portrait of a Learner Scholars program in which we highlighted the stories of growth and success of a cohort of our students through the lens of the Portrait of a Learner. Through this program, our PoL Scholars created digital profiles that tell their individual stories of curiosity, perseverance, inquiry, and success. This year, all students in grade 9 will have the opportunity to create these powerful profiles. Click here to meet our PoL Scholars!
LEAD LEARNER WORKSHOPS
Lead Learner Workshops are Nipmuc's reimagined leadership sessions in which students and educators work together to explore the future of our school. These workshops replaced our traditional department chair meetings at which a small group of teachers and administrators made decisions for everyone in our school community. Conversely, Lead Learner Workshops are open to any student, staff member, or teacher at our school. They encourage school-wide participation in the exploration of new ideas. Since September 2017, these monthly workshops have provided a platform for all members of our school community to work together in leading Nipmuc. Find out more about what we explore at Lead Learner Workshops by clicking here.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT LUNCHES
Held throughout the school year, Food for Thought Lunches are lunchtime get-togethers with about 12-15 students and 3 - 5 educators. We start by having lunch together then post several questions around the room to get feedback from our students. Students share their viewpoints on chart paper and we then engage in collaborative conversations about their answers. After each Food for Thought Lunch, we create a digital record of every answer and feed them into word cloud generators so that the themes of the student feedback can be made actionable. See what Food for Thought Lunches look like in action by viewing this video.
MASTERY TRANSCRIPT PILOT PROGRAM
Over the past three years, Nipmuc has explored creating Mastery Transcripts in order to help students tell their story of learning beyond the limitations of the traditional transcript. In learning about this tool, Nipmuc created a pilot program in which a small number of students used Mastery’s digital, dynamic, and personalized tool in place of a traditional transcript when applying to colleges and universities this fall/winter. The Mastery Learning Record includes a personal statement, a digital and clickable representation of the Portrait of a Learner skills explored by each student, a portfolio of evidence of their learning from in and out of school, a list of competencies they have explored, and a list of experiences from their career as a student.
SHADOW A STUDENT CHALLENGE
What better way to learn about the student experience than to walk a mile in their shoes? The Shadow a Student Challenge, inviting educators to spend the day shadowing a student in order to gain first-hand knowledge of life at Nipmuc through the eyes of one of our learners. Each year more than 100 students volunteer to be part of this experience in which teachers and principals attend classes, breaks, lunches, and all parts of the school day to prompt reflection, celebrate successes, and learn how to adjust our professional practice in order to meet the needs of our students.
Nipmuc's Wellness Weeks are designed to spread an awareness of wellness practices, promote healthy lifestyles, and learn ways to cope with and decrease stress will hopefully result in healthier minds and bodies for our Nipmuc community. During the week, the school counseling center and student health office offer a wide range of activities so that every student can choose sessions they are interested in and that they will find helpful towards improving their individual wellness.
Click here to access the Nipmuc Wellness Week website and learn more about the wellness programming available to our students.
FINANCIAL WELLNESS FAIR
Nipmuc's Financial Wellness Fairs help students to build their financial preparedness by role-playing life as a 25-year-old in a career that interests them. Students complete an interest inventory that directs them to a potential career. They then receive a mock credit score and monthly income. The fair-like setting gives students the chance to decide how to stretch their paycheck, making tough decisions about expenditures from housing and automobiles to investments and retirement planning. The fair comes to life through a partnership with a wide range of professionals and community leaders who interact with students and guide their fiscal development.