Personalized instruction

Millis Public Schools

Each year, teachers sit down with students to create a personalized learning profile.

Nancy Gustafson, superintendent of the 1,250-student district, said this is just one way the district is using technology to personalize learning. “Personalization is much more doable in Millis because we are small and we’ve always had this culture that captures our motto, “Small School, Big Family,’’ Gustafson said. “As a district, we knew that personalizing learning is what we could do better than anyone else. We are small, nimble, and flexible.’’

The student profiles include interests, aspirations, learning styles, skill and knowledge levels, and other information that helps teachers personalize their instructional approach.

How that instruction takes place is different from class to class, depending on student needs. Gustafson said some teachers go deeply into project-based learning, in which students have more say in how they learn. She cited an example of a high school history teacher who allowed students to create rap songs to show their mastery of a certain time period.

Students seem to be responding, she said. “We know from surveys that they are more engaged. They like having choices. They like being encouraged to have input into setting their goals.’’

Median sale price of single-family homes: $449,500

ABOVE $479,900

76 Acorn St., Millis

Type Single-family Dutch Colonial

Year built 1982

Lot size 0.75 acre

Bedrooms 3

Baths 2 full, 1 half

Square footage 2,272

Bernie Calvario, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage,


It Takes Two to Tango…..

It Takes Two to Tango… or Tangle! What Agents Should Know About Working With Other Agents

by Cathie Ericson


It takes two to tango… or tangle, and that’s often the case with real estate agents. In almost every transaction, you’ll be working with another real estate professional, and the onus is on you to keep the relationship and transaction cordial, for the client’s sake.
Here are some tips from seasoned pros on how to ease agent-to-agent relations. 
Don’t take on your clients’ emotions.
There’s no question that the home buying and selling process is emotional, no matter which side you’re on, but a real estate agent needs to keep themselves from being caught up in it. 
"Typically, when a real estate agent on the other side of a transaction is being difficult, it’s because their client is being difficult," points out REALTOR® Matt O’Neill of Matt O’Neill Real Estate in Charleston, S.C. He has seen agents who feel it is their duty to get just as angry as their client to fight for what they feel their client deserves, but that reaction only serves to make the entire transaction more challenging. 
"I’ve learned to set positive expectations with the agent on the front end and talk about working together to have a smooth transaction and a successful close for everyone. I always stress win/win," he says. 
Communicate regularly.
John Steele of Steele San Diego Homes was recently in a transaction that almost went south because an agent suddenly went dark and wouldn’t communicate over a relatively minor issue that could have been easily dealt with if the agent had been in touch. 
"It’s almost shocking how many agents won’t respond to multiple voicemails or emails," he says, adding that has helped him see how being open and available can make a dramatic difference throughout a transaction. 
Remember that you’re all human.
Philadelphia-area Realtor® Denise Supplee recently worked with an agent who was short, to the point of being condescending. For the sake of her client, she endured some unprofessional behavior, but she spoke up one day when he was downright rude. 
"It turns out he was under a lot of pressure with an investor client and hadn’t even realized how he was coming across," she says. When she called him out, his demeanor changed and the transaction continued on a more genial note. "As with any relationship, we need to know when to let things roll and when to speak up," says Supplee. 
Remember, you’re all in this together.
While some real estate agents may see the rest of the profession as competitors, savvy ones know they’ll get farther if they cooperate. In fact, the most important relationships you develop are with other agents in your selling area, says Doreen Courtright, licensed associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York City. 
Agents will be more accommodating for others who have been easy to work with in the past. "You want to have a reputation as someone who gets deals done and will make the transaction smooth and drama free," she says.