A lively discussion of the recent MCAS scores happened at the ORR School Committee meeting Wednesday evening. The ORRJHS reported a total of 224 students took the tests. The ORRHS had approximately 161 students who took the tests.
The tests included English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science and Technical Engineering. Biology is included in the ORRHS test. At the ORRJHS, science is not tested in grade 7.
Overall, the trend is up in reading, writing and mathematics, especially with new curriculum tools in place to help students succeed. Science lags a bit behind at the junior high, but high scores happened at the senior high. School officials have plans in place and are planning for future success on the MCAS.
Board members discussed the fact that the numbers are in transition due to newly purchased curriculum tools which, for example, were there for students in 8th grade, but not when those students were in 7th grade.
At the ORRJHS, in grade 7, English Language Arts, 37 students scored in the Advanced category, 156 were Proficient, 28 in Needs Improvement and 3 in Warning/Failing.
In Mathematics, 51 scored in the Advanced category, 90 were Proficient, 70 Needs Improvement and 13 were in the Warning/Failing area.
In grade 8, in English Language Arts, 37 students scored in the Advanced category, 159 were Proficient, 23 Needs Improvement and 8 in Warning/Failing.
At ORRSHS, scores in English Language Arts showed that out of 161 students who took the test, 71 were Advanced, 84 were Proficient, 5 Needed Improvement and only 1 was in the Warning/Failure category.
In Mathematics, 100 students scored as Advanced, 47 were Proficient, 9 Needed Improvement and 5 were in the Warning/Failing area.
In Science, 40 were Advanced, 47 were Proficient, 9 Needed Improvement and 5 were in the Warning/Failure area.
The committee discussed the transition between grades and the newly implemented changes in curriculum and software training for teachers in newly adapted online tools.
In other business, Superintendent Doug White, along with the committee gave Kristin Nascimento the Superintendent’s Certificate of Academic Excellence for her academic and community service achievements. Nascimento is ranked #2 in her class, plays the piano and violin and volunteers at Tobey Hospital.
In addition, she has grown her hair long twice, had it cut and gave it to Locks For Love, a non profit group that assists financially disadvantaged children with hair loss from any diagnosis.
The committee accepted a $250 donation from the Mattapoisett Community Tennis Association in appreciation for the use of the ORRHS tennis courts.
Committee member Tom Shire proposed the purchase of 250 booklets, at $1 each to give to 10th graders studying the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. The committee embraced the idea, with a discussion of purchasing 1000 copies, which would last 5 years of 10th graders receiving the booklet.
The booklet would be presented by a teacher when the topic is covered in history class. A fundraiser would cover the cost to purchase the booklets.
Superintendent White thanked Shire for finding a home for 250 geometry books.
In other business, facilities director Gene Jones requested a vote on the snow removal contract for the upcoming winter. After reviewing various bids, Mr. Jones recommended going with New Beginnings, the company the school used last winter.
Jones told the board that there was a $10,000 budget for snow removal and that several bids were based on the number of inches of snow, with no cap on a blizzard type storm. The committee voted to approve the contractor Jones recommended.
ORRHS Principal Michael Devoll noted that several National Honor Society students volunteered at the voting polls in Marion on election day.
Another area that sparked much discussion is the ongoing teacher contract negotiations which are affecting sports, clubs and after school tutoring sessions.
“There are no teachers on the School Council,” said Devoll. “We are bringing in volunteers to coach sports, help out…but things are challenging.”
ORRJHS Principal Kevin Brogioli voiced similar concerns regarding the lack of teacher involvement in after school, club and after school enrichment participation.
The committee then went into Executive Session to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry