At the Wednesday night meeting of the ORR School Committee on October 10, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Elise Frangos presented an MCAS update jointly with Principals Kevin Brogioli and Michael Devoll. The presentation focused on the change from Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, to the Progress and Performance Index, or PPI.
According to current PPI data, both the Junior High and the ORR School District are Level Two. The Senior High is currently Level One. Of the elementary schools, Marion is Level Two while both Mattapoisett and Rochester are Level One. About 86 percent of Massachusetts schools are Levels One and Two.
Frangos explained that the change to PPI comes from a waiver that President Obama granted to Massachusetts public schools. The waiver allows schools to set the reasonable target goal of halving the proficiency gap by 2017; without the waiver, schools would have to meet the unreasonable target of total proficiency by 2014.
“As we neared the deadline it became more and more challenging,” Frangos said. “The big shift is to focus on your high-needs children.”
The waiver eliminates the double-counting that occurred in the AYP system, as the definition for high-needs children includes the previous subgroups of minorities, special needs, English Language Learners, and free and reduced lunch recipients.
For a school to be categorized as Level One, meaning that it is meeting its goals for closing the proficiency gap, the school must receive a score of 75 out of 100. The Junior High, which was the subject of the presentation, received the score 68.
Principal Brogioli continued the presentation by presenting the Junior High’s action plan. Measures include: instituting new Common Core textbooks for English and math classes, lengthening class time from 41 to 53 minutes, guaranteeing students 30 minutes on four days of the week to engage in remedial work, instituting cross-curricular writing assignments for inclusion in student writing portfolios, and increasing the disciplines’ teachers meetings from 36 to 51 meetings per year.
Frangos and Brogioli also cited the school’s areas of success in PPI. The Junior High received “extra credit” points for decreasing the warning/failing category by 10 percent in math, and increasing the advanced category by 10 percent in both math and science.
“Science is now a big part of the calculus to determine progress and performance,” Frangos said.
In its other business, the Committee approved the location for the Class of 2013’s Senior Prom. The class officers attended the meeting to present a PowerPoint slideshow of the selected venue, Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham, MA.
The officers emphasized that Wequassett does not charge for a site fee. Other venues that the class officers had considered charge as high as $9,000.
“A nice place without a site fee is hard to come by,” said Senior Class President Abby Hiller.
Because of the extensive fundraising the Class of 2013 has already done, the officers expect prom tickets to cost $65. The officers will continue organizing fundraisers throughout the year.
The prom location was unanimously approved by the Committee.
Kim Corazzini, American Field Service Advisor, spoke to the Committee about the planning of upcoming events and trips. In November, Corazzini hopes to take the three foreign exchange students (from Italy, Thailand and Chile) to Newport, RI for some educational sight-seeing. In the spring, Corazzini has an opportunity to arrange for an AFS trip to Barker High School in Upstate New York. This trip would potentially include crossing the border into Canada to visit Toronto.
“They’re that close to the border,” Corazzini said. She assured the Committee that the students going on the trip would be in good academic and behavioral standing, as well as active members of the AFS Club.
The School Committee unanimously voted to give Corazzini permission to continue planning the trips.
The next regular meeting of the ORR School Committee will be on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:00 pm in the School Committee Conference Room, located in the Superintendent’s Office.
By Anne Smith