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|Infrastructure, technology upgrades necessary|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, 22 May 2013 09:14|
As the school year wraps up, the school committee looks forward to prioritizing projects to upgrade the infrastructure and technology at Duxbury’s public schools, and recognizes students’ accomplishments.
At the most recent meeting, Assistant Superintendent Ed Walsh gave a curriculum update on the federal race to the top initiative and the new evaluation system for the school district. The Department of Education has developed guidelines for growth and learning evaluations, which include observation, educator performance, educator plans, self-assessment and creating “smart goals.”
During the most recent professional development day, Walsh said staff members received an extensive overview of the new system. When the program was initially rolled out, the guidelines required districts to develop their own student assessments. Around April vacation, a mandate was issued requiring schools to have at least one assessment in elementary math, middle school math or high school writing by the 2013-2014 school year.
“We must report to the state by Sept. 1 which subject we will be piloting with respect to the district determined measures,” Walsh said. “By Feb. 14 we have to submit a plan that details how we are going to determine student learning with the new system.”
Susan Nauman gave a business update to the school committee with a list of projects, including some capital items that were not funded by this year’s Town Meeting. The priority, Nauman said, was to improve the infrastructure at the Chandler and Alden schools, which includes updating and enhancing the wireless systems. Currently, the enhancement plan is to upgrade the system in $75,000 increments over the next three years. The updated systems will accommodate the new technology at the schools, including iPad carts.
In the $111,000 the school committee was allocated by Town Meeting were funds to install hanging projectors in Chandler and to complete the installation process of the projectors at Alden. All first priority projects funds were approved by Town Meeting. One of the major projects that was not funded by Town Meeting allocations was a plan to replace old computers and laptops at each school.
“For now, we are taking a look at refurbishing teacher laptops to fill out our laptop carts,” Nauman said. “We lost an iPad cart at Alden, Chandler and DMS, so as the year goes on we will try to work in some funds to fill those back in.”
The school committee also approved an weekend sailing trip to Florida and a February 2014 music department trip to New York city, where the string orchestra, wind orchestra and chamber singers will perform at Carnegie Hall.
The school committee also heard from two exchange stu- dents who spent the year at Duxbury High School through the AFS Intercultural Program. Martina, from Italy, and Juliette, from France, thanked the school committee for the opportunity to study at DHS, participate in sports and travel to Disney with the music department.
The school committee also recognized the state champion girls’ hockey team with certificates, and congratulated head coach Friend Weiler on being named an MIAA “coach of the year.”
The School Committee also recognized National Teacher Appreciation Week with a proclamation, which thanked the Parent Teacher Associations at all schools for their hard work in recognizing teachers with food and “goodies.”
Nancy Chadwick, DHS teacher and president of the Duxbury Teachers Association, thanked the school committee for the recognition of the PTA and the teachers.
“It is an honor to work with the public schools in ser- vice of our students and our families,” Chadwick said.