Sippican Votes Against School Choice

            After conducting a public hearing during its May 19 meeting, the Marion School Committee voted against School Choice for the 2021-22 academic year. Old Rochester Regional Superintendent of Schools Mike Nelson noted prior to the vote that in recent years Sippican has chosen not to be a School Choice school.

            Asked by member Mary Beauregard during the public hearing, Nelson explained that for every student enrolled in a School Choice slot the school district receives $5,000 but that the per-pupil costs more than double that amount. If there are special services and/or an Individual Education Plan, there is also reimbursement for an additional claim to 100 percent.

            There is approximately $167,000 remaining in Sippican School’s overall $6,700,000 annual budget, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Howie Barber.

            Nelson told the committee that the May 10 Marion and Mattapoisett town meetings not only voted approval for local school budgets but also for the ORR District budget, resulting in the passing of that budget as well.

            DESE has promised additional funding not only for next academic year but for the summer “as we bridge the gap,” said Nelson. “We’ll share more information as that rolls out.”

            Sippican School Principal Marla Sirois reported that Sippican has begun MCAS testing and that Grades 3-5 have completed their ELA test, Grades 3-4 have completed math, and Grades 3-5 were to complete math by the end of the May 17-21 school week.

            Grade 6-8, Sirois said, are on a separate timeline per the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The result is Grade 6 is taking ELA this week and Grade 5 is taking science. Grade 6 will take math in June.

            “This week has been a big change for us,” said Sirois, calling the band’s resumption “a collective sigh of relief and an excitement at the same time. It’s great to be in that space for the rest of the school year.”

            Sirois also reported that the Sippican School Council mapped out all three two-year goals for school improvement and will meet one more time on June 15.

            Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dr. Jannell Pearson-Campbell gave a progress update on professional development and curriculum, the finalizing of self-assessment for DESE, a K-12 literacy plan, and inclusion-focused curriculum.

            Noting that the Joint School Committee approved the Professional Development Plan, Pearson-Campbell explained it as a six-year plan that is in its early stages and will require committee involvement.

            Director of Student Services Craig Davidson announced a June 2-3 meet and greet with Sippican staff.

            At the conclusion of its public meeting, the Marion School Committee entered executive session.

            In its most recent meeting, the ORR School Committee recognized outgoing members Cary Humphrey and Tina Rood.

            The last meeting of the Marion School Committee for 2020-21 is scheduled for June 9, and the Joint School Committee is scheduled to meet June 17. All school committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm, but format has yet to be determined for future meetings.

Marion School Committee

By Mick Colageo

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