Mattapoisett Schools Commended by State

Mattapoisett schools are doing exceptionally well at narrowing learning proficiency gaps, according to the results of MCAS information released by the state on September 19 and discussed at the Mattapoisett School Committee Meeting held Monday, October 15, at the Center School Cafeteria in Mattapoisett.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recognized the Center and  Old Hammondtown elementary schools for their high progress in narrowing proficiency gaps as well as student growth.

“This recognition is the result of the hard work of our faculty, students, staff and parents,” said Old Hammondtown School Principal Matt D’Andrea. “We are close to one of the highest performing schools across the state.”

Kudos to local schools also came from Superintendent of Schools Doug R. White Jr., School Committee Chairperson James Higgins; and Elise Frangos, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

This year, the state instituted a new accountability system as a result of receiving a No Child Left Behind waiver from the Federal Department of Education. Frangos discussed this new system in detail.

  “Massachusetts was one of the states to acquire a waiver… and had to make some promises. … Some of the promises we made were that we would move forward with college and career readiness and look to have all students gain in reading and mathematics proficiency,” Frangos said. “We also had to move forward with the idea that a new supervision and evaluation system would be brought in.

“Under the new waiver, we have one classification system for all schools using the same indicators and measures, and we also have some flexibility to direct additional resources to schools with the lowest achieving students,” she added.

Frangos said the state’s deadline to reduce proficiency gaps has changed from 2013-2014 to 2016-2017 with the target goal being a 100 reduction by that time. There is also a new requirement to improve student proficiency in science, which poses a new challenge to the state.

“We have great expectations for our science work with continuous study of new science standards, and we need to look carefully at those,” she said.

Local schools are considered “on target” to reach the 100 percent benchmark by 2017. To be considered “on target,” a school must currently be at 75 percent. Accountability data for Mattapoisett schools show narrowed proficiency gaps and student growth in the last two years, Frangos said.

 Superintendent White spoke on the importance of local school educators to come up with a uniform plan to work with MCAS evaluators on how to show proficiency in their respective schools. He suggested the four local school districts come into alignment on goals around student learning, professional practice, and district learning.

“What does proficient look like and what would show that proficiency is met? I am trying to meet with school committees to give an overview on this. I think doing this as one group is important, and to come to an agreement on three-to-six goals that are in line in each of the four districts is important,” White said. “Hopefully, at the joint [school committee] meeting, we can strategize how to move forward with this. … I did this at all four school committees this month, and I will have additional conversations at the joint meeting next week.”

In other matters, White’s report stated that contracts with the Mattapoisett Teachers Association and the Marion Paraprofessionals and Secretaries have been settled. Negotiations between the Old Rochester School Committee and the Old Rochester Professional Educators Association are ongoing. In addition, talks are continuing with the ORR custodians. In Rochester, the Teachers Association and the School Committee have been meeting to settle the teacher’s contract, and talks will begin soon with the Rochester custodians.

Frangos announced a free Parent-Teacher Education Forum to be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, at the library of Old Rochester Junior high School. Kathryn Collins, RN, MSN, PNP, will speak about eating disorders, self-injury (depression and suicidal ideation warning signs), physical and social impact of puberty, and how to support children in difficult peer relationships.

More than 800 grade 4-8 students from the tri-county area will participate in Shake and Bake! in which they will bake for themselves and others as part of a King Arthur Flour Grant Project. The baked goods will be given to the Meals on Wheels and to the Friendship Table at the end of October, when the Vermont-based flour company comes to local schools.

Director of Facilities Eugene Jones gave his report on various maintenance issues.

Center Elementary School had its chairlift (stage) pass inspection, and the elevator is scheduled for inspection next month. The flagpole lights were repaired along with outside lampposts and wall packs. All graffiti from has been cleaned or removed, and boilers were enabled on October 9.

Old Hammondtown Elementary School needs repairs for its major parking lot lights. Mike Gagne is picking up the repair costs, and the lights are expected to be functioning again within two weeks. Boilers also were enabled there as well, and there was preventative maintenance work done on HVAC grounds equipment

According to D’Andrea’s report on Old Hammondtown School:

            •More than 150 students from Center and OHS are participating in after school classes including basketball, cooking, pottery, dance, stock market, and running club.

            •Teachers have met with the principals to set goals for the school academic year.

            •About 30 OHS students are being served breakfast.

            •Progress reports will be issued on Monday, October 22.

            •Students will be dismissed early on Thursday, October 25, and Friday, October 26, for scheduled Parent-Teacher conferences.

            •Sixth grade students are participating in the Lion’s Club poster contest, under the theme, “Imagine Peace.” The posters will be judged the first week in November with the winning poster competing at the national level.

According to the report from Center School Principal Rosemary Bowman:

             •Progress reports for Trimester will be sent home with all students on Monday, October 22.

              •Parent –Teacher conferences scheduled on Thursday, October 25, and Friday, October 26. Students will be released at 12:20 pm on these days.

               •The Mattapoisett PTA will sponsor the Scholastic Book Fair at Center School on November 2, 5, 7, and 8. Parents are invited to attend from 2:30-7:30 pm on Wednesday, November 7, and from 9:30-11:00 am on Thursday, November 8.

                •Mattapoisett Educator members have met with the principal to set the school, grade level, and individual goals for 2012-2013. The common focus of the goals is the implementation of the Sangari Inquiry Based Science and student writing with emphasis on writing in response to non-fiction text.

                •Schools closed on November 12 for Veteran’s Day.

The Joint School Committee meeting will be held Thursday, October 25, at the Superintendent’s Office, 135 Marion Road in Mattapoisett; the next Mattapoisett School Committee meeting will be held on Monday, November 5, at Center School on Barstow Street in Mattapoisett.

By Scott A. Giordano

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