Elsternwick PS meets Tobin Montessori in Boston

Continuing the series of posts written by Jess, Erin and Sarah 3 teachers attending the Harvard Institute and now visiting schools.
Today we visited The Tobin School in Cambridge. This school was familiar to us, as we had read about it through the case studies presented in ‘Data Wise In Action’, and Mark and Penny had visited in 2012.
We attended two meetings, one a Grade 4/5 data meeting and the other, a Grade 1/2/3 data meeting. The meetings were held in the ‘data room’, where school wide data and student achievement was displayed visibly on the walls.
photo[53]This data was referred to and adjusted throughout both meetings. It was encouraging to note that, just like teachers at EPS, Tobin educators celebrated student successes, whilst looking forward to find the next steps to improve the learning of each student.
Joanne Cleary, the Maths coach shared with us the school’s journey using the Data Wise Process. She kindly spent time explaining what worked well in introducing their staff to Data Wise, what continues to work well, and some helpful tips they learnt along the way. One of the biggest messages from her was about shared ownership. The school valued the idea that everyone has a shared responsibility for the assessment, teaching and learning of all students. We look forward to continuing this conversation with our teachers at home.
We took an extensive tour of the Tobin School. Whilst their academic year was drawing to a close, we still noticed the dedication of the teachers and students engaged with learning in all classrooms.
Here is just some of what we saw:
  • an electronic sign in/out systemphoto[51]
  • a wide use of parent volunteers
  • transitions between classes of students from one year to the next
  • book corners and word walls
  • technology in the classroom including computer pods
  • a veggie patch, which the gardener, parents and students attend to
  • relational learning walls (of both teachers and students), class circles and promises
  • the American flag in each classroom, and flags in the cafeteria which represented the different nationalities of Tobin students photo[52]
  • the cafeteria and lunch time which are held entirely indoors, with 15-20 outside play


We are visiting another two elementary schools within the Boston School District tomorrow. One of our school tours is being conducted by a teacher who worked with Jess Jordon throughout the Data Wise Summer Institute last week.

Did You Know? The telephone was invented here in Boston, in 1975-1976, by Alexander Graham Bell. 


This entry was posted in Assessment, Data Wise Program, Harvard, Instruction, Networks of Schools, school, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Elsternwick PS meets Tobin Montessori in Boston

  1. mwalker says:

    I remember the flags in the cafe as well as very visual symbol of the different countries young people come from. We are trying to do something similar with student overseas travel which is a significant factor in student absences from school (about 15% of our 600 students travel during school term time overseas or interstate).

Interested in your thoughts