Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017

Superintendent's Blog
March 3, 2017

The Exeter-West Greenwich School Committee approved the Superintendent's Recommended Budget for the 2017-2018 school year at its last regularly scheduled meeting. Although this year presented us with many challenges as we worked through the budget development process (Most notably, the significant increase in health care costs and addressing the continued trend of increased enrollment at our elementary schools), we have worked hard to maintain quality educational programming while also limiting, to the extent possible, the financial impact on the taxpayers of our member towns. The all-day referendum (ADR) will be held on April 10, 2017. Look for a mailing sent from the school department outlining the details of the ADR.

As we begin to look toward next school year, there are several new and/or exciting changes to anticipate:
  • Grade 2 will move from Wawaloam to Metcalf Elementary School, changing Metcalf's configuration to a grades 2 through 6 school. This will address space and parking issues at Wawaloam and allow us to expand the number of K-1 classrooms as enrollment increases.
  • New classrooms are budgeted for kindergarten, Grade 3 and Grade 4 based on known enrollment. We are also closely monitoring projections for Grade 1 as we could very well open up a seventh grade 1 classroom next school year. 
  • Consistent with the goals set out in our 5-year strategic plan, children at Metcalf in grades 2 through 6 will have a sixth "special" built into their rotation - Spanish. 
  • Band and Chorus will continue to be available to children during the school day at Metcalf.
  • Students in grade 8 will have the option of selecting a year-long special in an area of particular interest as they begin to think about pathways and opportunities in the upcoming high school years. Year-long specials will include Spanish, French, Technology or Art. 
  • At the Senior High School, we are introducing a new AP offering in Biology. We have also worked out a new scheduling plan for AP courses that adds more flexibility to students and increases opportunities for them to engage in rigorous coursework.
  • Additional student supports will be in place at the Senior High School to address students' particular academic needs as we continue to strive for graduation for all students in EWG.

I am proud of the fact that we maintained our focus on the goals set out in our strategic plan while we worked to build a budget that required us to make some difficult decisions in order to limit the overall operations increase. 

Congratulations to the SHS for the most recent report released by the Rhode Island Department of Education on high school graduation rates. Our district improved from an 83% graduation rate in 2015 to a 94% graduation rate in 2016. That is an amazing accomplishment and we should all be VERY proud! The full report is available for review by following the link below:

                                                             RI Graduation Rates
Students in Mrs. Corcoran's classroom were recently filmed during a science lesson at Wawaloam School. The video will be used for training purposes as the GEMS-Net consortium continues to strive for excellence in science instruction across its member districts. It is amazing to see first graders confidently communicate like scientists and engage in deep learning about the content. Congratulations to Mrs. Corcoran for the well-deserved recognition that once again puts our district in the spotlight. View the entire video below to get a sense of what science class looks like in our primary grades.