On October 2, the Southeastern Regional Student Advisory Council held their first meeting of the year at Bridgewater-Raynham High School. The council consists of close to 70 student representatives from high schools in southeastern Massachusetts. As one of Old Rochester Regional’s two representatives, I had the pleasure of attending last week’s meeting.
SERSAC’s first conference focused on the topic of digital learning. The State Student Advisory Council delegates reviewed what they had been working on at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education over the summer. At SSAC, it had been decided that the students would work toward improving digital learning in Massachusetts throughout the year. This goal was carried to the SERSAC conference.
One of SERSAC’s main goals for October is to promote the “speed testing” program organized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Speed testing is a simple online program that quickly tests the technological capabilities of a school’s internet. One merely needs to visit www.schoolspeedtest.org, fill out a brief survey, and then allow the speed test program to do a series of uploads and downloads. This tests the school’s Internet speed and sends the information directly to the DESE.
The DESE asks that all schools take 10 to 20 tests per day throughout the month of October. The testing should be done in different parts of the school in order to provide more accurate data. It requires very little effort on the school’s part, but provides valuable information to the DESE. They’re looking to see where there is a need for technological improvement in Massachusetts.
Each school’s representative at SERSAC will bring this information back to their school principals and district committees in order to promote the speed testing process. While the speed testing is SERSAC’s focus in October, the students will have long term goals as well that will be worked on throughout the year. These goals will be facilitated by smaller workgroups.
The student representatives broke into workgroups based on their topic of interest. All topics are related to digital learning. Topics include cell phone policy, internet policy, policy modification, infrastructure improvement, assistance for teachers, resources, digital communication, and awareness. Students will work in these groups at each of SERSAC’s bimonthly meetings. SERSAC will meet again at Bridgewater-Raynham High School on December 4.
In other news, about 40 Old Rochester Regional seniors received the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship last Friday. This scholarship is awarded to students who scored “advanced” and “proficient” on the grade 10 MCAS tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students must also have a combined score from these two MCAS tests that place them in the top 25 percent of their graduating class. The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship provides free tuition for up to eight semesters at any Massachusetts state university.
When it comes to ORR’s students, education doesn’t stop once the weekend begins. Last Saturday, ORR’s AFS club volunteered at Fairhaven’s Manjiro Festival. Students enjoyed learning about the Japanese culture celebrated by the festival. AFS club members also helped set up booths, sold baked goods and coffee for donations, and spread the word about the AFS program.
By Renae Reints