275 Prospect Street, PO Box 67, Norwood, MA 02062
781.762.6804 Phone | 781.762.0229 Fax

Principally Speaking

Principal sitting on the stairsDear Parent/Guardian:

I was excited to rejoin the Norwood Public Schools as principal of the C.M. Callahan School several years ago and it is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you to our school community.  This is a school that takes great pride in our students’ achievements and we are always excited to include new families to our school.  This is a school that consists of a strong partnership between home and school that is evident based upon the welcoming environment that you will encounter.  Please know that my door is always open- please call, email, or stop in if you have any questions or concerns.  This is a true neighborhood school with a strong sense of community!

The original building was erected in 1930, with an addition added in 1954, and a portable moved to the property and attached in 1990.  Our property includes seven and one-half acres including new parking facilities, which were constructed on both sides of our property in 2008.

The curriculum at the Callahan School is rich and challenging, aligning to the Common Core.  Here at the Callahan we use a balanced approach to literacy.  Balanced literacy involves three essential elements that include:  Readers' Workshop, Writers' Workshop, and Phonics/word study.  In Readers's Workshop student’s learn, practice, and apply reading strategies that will help them become strong, life-long readers.  Teachers demonstrate a strategy to the whole class and model this with Interactive Read Alouds or Shared Reading.  The workshop model also includes independent reading and partner reading with “Just Right Books”, allowing students to practice strategies. Teachers conference with students and conduct guided reading groups to monitor progress and provide instruction targeted for individual students. The district recently adopted Fundations as our phonics program for grades one and two.  This year we are excited to pilot several ELA programs in grades one through four.  Information from the pilot programs will be used to select an ELA program for the district.  Writers’ Workshop begins with a focus lesson that teaches a specific skill or technique related to writing.  As with Readers’ Workshop, the teacher models the skill and then students practice the skill either independently or in small groups. Each student in the class is a working author.  Emphasis is placed on the act of writing.  

In the area of mathematics, the district recently adopted enVisionmath 2.0.  This program focuses on conceptual understanding to deepen student’s abilities to think mathematically.  The philosophy is that when students connect ideas, they deepen their understanding. Students learn to see relationships, ask questions, and try different approaches. Problem-based learning drives students to engage in productive struggle.  Instruction is hands on, involving whole class, small group, partner work and independent work.  In addition, the science and social studies curriculum is rigorous and engaging.  The goal of the Science Center is to make science “come alive” through a hands-on curriculum.  The curriculum is aligned to the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum and the next generation standards.  Alternate weeks of instruction from staff from the science center.  Teachers provide follow-up lessons on alternate weeks as extensions and reinforcement.  Social studies includes a variety of topics delivered through trade books, visuals, songs, poems, and computer software and websites.

There is a great deal of emphasis on the arts here at the Callahan School.  In art student's explore drawing, painting, 3D design, and printmaking.  Specific concepts include the use of line, texture and shape as it relates to a variety of modalities.  In music they are exposed to a variety of songs and activities to expand singing range, beat, and rhythmic patterns. Physical Education . consists of 6 strands including: movement, dance, gymnastics, fitness, ball skills, and social competency concepts and skills (sportsmanship).  In Library students are exposed to a variety of genres as well as a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) challenges.  Our Makerspace in the library is continually evolving!

Our PTA is extremely active and meets monthly to plan educational programs, family oriented activities, and initiatives to support our children’s learning.  I strongly encourage all parents to join this very worthwhile organization.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have at 781-440-5941 or through our website.


Donna G. Brown


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