We were excited to welcome students back to school last week! As we kick off this new academic year, the school board wants to share some of our many priorities and encourage community engagement and feedback. 

Enrollment

K-12 enrollment is up 5.2 percent (excluding pre-k enrollment) over last year, totaling 2,523 students.

Student outcomes

Staff at each of our facilities continue work on the district’s ongoing improvement programs. The overall “umbrella” of MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support) guides our staff in assessments and early identification of any extra support needed for our students. MTSS also steers development of personalized learning plans (PLPs) and in the proficiency-based graduation requirements (PBGRs) which were launched two years ago to comply with state law. The district is also assessing trauma-informed teaching practices with the board following up with outcomes and associated metrics.

The board has prioritized the need for clarity on the metrics that will be used to assess and improve student outcomes over the next five years. Included in that assessment will be a better understanding of where the district needs fewer (or more) resources to deliver on its Ends Policy of having all students prepared for their next step as measured by academic proficiency, a disposition for lifelong learning, personal development and citizenship.

Facilities

At Chamberlin School, the administration continues to work closely with the airport and FAA officials on seeking grant funding for noise mitigation. We are concerned about sound levels as shown the revised noise maps, as well as the anticipated arrival of the F-35 aircraft. Our goal is for the district to have a plan in place, along with funding, that allows children to learn and staff to work in a safe environment.

At Rick Marcotte Central School, the board and administration continue to navigate development of the new City Center building and other projects along Market Street to ensure accessibility to the school, safety and a healthy learning environment during and after construction. Improved transparency to students, their families, and staff is a priority.

Upon completion of Phase I and Phase II studies of the middle/high school campus that have taken place over the past two years, the board made the decision in June to authorize Dore & Whittier to develop concepts for a new middle and high school. Over the summer, a working group made up of faculty, staff and consultants generated a more detailed set of space requirements for the two schools.

In August, Dore & Whittier presented five concepts for redevelopment of the campus to the board. The board is in the process of choosing one of the five concepts for further design work with a goal of developing more detailed costs for voters to consider in March. There will be many opportunities for community input and feedback following board action on a specific concept to take forward.

Collective bargaining and operations 

Receipt of the fact-finding report for reference in negotiations with the teachers’ union (SBEA) was delayed until Aug. 30 and should be in hand as of this publication date. The board plans to meet with the SBEA in mid-September to discuss fact-finding recommendations.

Information technology

The district is engaged in two IT projects, a new learning management system for student information and a statewide financial accounting system.

We are excited to welcome all our students and staff back to school and look forward to hearing more from the community as we move these priorities forward.

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