Mr. Watson called the meeting to order at on a roll call with a quorum present. Members participated in the pledge of allegiance.
The focus of
the study will be how we might change the educational funding for
The Board is
asked to support only the study at this time.
The report will layout the options in detail,
for the Board in Spring of 2010. At
that time, the Board can move forward, change course, or remain with the
current configuration. The planning
will involve community support and involvement over the next fifteen months,
to gather their feedback and ideas about how to make the High School
Board members had several questions about the proposal. What was the reason for this proposal and what made you start thinking about this issue? Mr. Shea stated that it was the number of students that aren’t engaged at the School. We have many students involved in the football team, band and normal high school activities. We also have a large group of students not invested in the school or educational opportunities. A smaller school with a more personal approach can engage those students. It would at least offer an option for students and parents. The smaller school setting can provide an integrated real world education compared to the current departmentalized education high school program. The schedule in a smaller school can be adjusted and tweaked to
members supported the proposal but still have various questions they look
forward to having clarified. The proposal will be considered under New
Business at the Regular Board meeting scheduled for
Ms. McCarley moved, second by Mrs. Hubbard, to adjourn the meeting at The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Robert Watson
Presentation to School Board
BIG STEP FORWARD Proposal/Vision (BSF)
(1) Review, elaboration, and Q&A on the BSF proposal/vision presented and discussed at Instruction
Committee meetings on Oct. 30 and Nov. 20. BSF proposal /vision (four pages) is attached.
* New high school (350-450 students) – one of the best examples in the country of a whole
new model of secondary education – innovative, effective, and aligned with the realities
of the twenty-first century.
* Impact on school district operating budget – not significant.
(2) Further discussion as to why change is needed, the rationale for the approach laid out in the
BSF proposal/vision, and the goals/outcomes we are aiming to achieve.
(3) Discussion/deliberation about next steps and prospectively moving forward with BSF.
(a) Asking for a vote at the Dec. 11 board meeting approving a thorough exploration of the
BSFproposal/vision which would culminate with a comprehensive and detailed presentation to the School Board before the end of the coming 2009-10 school year.
(b) Cost of this sixteen-month process (January/February 2009 through spring 2010)
would be approximately $25,000.
(c) If the board were to approve the comprehensive/detailed proposal in the spring of 2010:
* Transitional/downsizing period
* New school planning and development – 2010-11 & 2011-12 school years (two years).
* New school opens with 9th & 10th graders – 2012-13 school year… and we roll out to full
enrollment over the next two years (9th, 10th, 11th graders in 2013-14 and 9th-12th graders
* It would
be in 2014-15 that we would have an
350-450 students, and a BCA with 100-150 students.
Spaulding High School/secondary education in
BIG STEP FORWARD
w With eight strategic/critical areas of focus.
C. New high school – approximately 350-450 students.
III) NEXT STEPS
enrollment of approximately 1000 students.
Comprehensive program with rigorous academic programs (including
and a strong sense of community and a culture of high expectations. With an information/ technology infrastructure that supports teaching and learning and that provides better data for more-informed decision making (at the administrative level and in the classroom).
space with its own faculty and principal/director (leaving a sophomore-junior-senior program/
high school of about 700 students). Focused on the critical transition year from middle school
to high school, the Academy will reduce drop out and retention rates – as well as better
engage and prepare all students for success in high school
fifth year (2010-11). Prospective schedule change (#3 below) will likely be critical to forward
2. More tightly focused and strengthened school curriculum/course offerings aimed at getting all
students to targeted competencies (essential learning outcomes) – via constant instructional
improvement and measured varied and well-aligned assessment strategies (scored/graded in
a manner most helpful and useful to students and others).
Process has been in the works for a few years. Detailed plan/timeline is now in place to
complete these efforts over next two years – to be wrapped up in 2010-11.
3. Ideal school day schedule (and school year calendar) in place to maximize effectiveness of
teaching and learning – via best mix of shorter and longer periods and frequency of class
meetings, appropriate mix of semester/year-long classes, built-in time for teacher
planning/collaboration, greater flexibility for alternative/non-traditional pathways, etc.
Faculty voted overwhelmingly to tackle this last spring/summer. Process is now beginning –
and should be wrapped up/implemented in 2010-11 or 2011-12.
4. Significantly increased number of quality/rigorous options (or alternative pathways) for
earning high school credits (i.e., demonstrating competencies on essential learning
outcomes) – for at-risk students, highly-engaged/successful students, and all of the
(by about 2011-12 or 2012-13)
5. Campus fully “settled down.” Clear, reasonable, and consistently enforced/reinforced
expectations for all students – with fully-staffed school safety team at the center (along with
powerful school culture set by principal/administrative team) – producing far fewer
disruptions to the learning environment and a stronger sense of community and support.
Have made significant progress over past year. And will continue to make progress – but
school size is not helpful.
6. Homeroom/advisory program providing all students (and their families) with a single adult
advisor, a comfortable weekly check-in, a homeroom/advisory peer group of approximately
16-18 other students, and an effective vehicle for school communication, course selection/
Program now in its second year. Should be solidly implemented and firmly established by
2009-10 or 2010-11.
7. No classes (or very few) with more than 24 students. Ideal class size of 16-22 (with some
exceptions). Smaller faculty (and administrative, support, guidance team) but slightly
decreased faculty to student ratio.
term improvements would require more teaching positions.
8. Facilities no longer overcrowded nor in need of expansion – just renovated and reorganized
in some areas. And technological resources (computer labs, Smartboards, etc.) updated/
expanded. (Note, for example, that with 1000 students, we can have three school lunches in
the current cafeteria much more comfortably and at more appropriate times.)
Enrollment of approximately 100-150 students (grades 9-12) at separate school (located at community center). Innovative program aimed at better serving students who are least likely to be successful at Spaulding.
Launched this year. Should be solid, well-established, and at optimum enrollment within next 2-3 years (by about 2010-11).
C. New high school in
Enrollment of 350-450 students attending a new tuition-free public school (charter, pilot, district-run, or another organizational structure) with a focus such as entrepreneurship (both private/
business and public/social entrepreneurship) or some other appropriate and powerful unifying theme. The school will have an innovative cutting-edge academic program (integrated curriculum, project-based learning, etc.) tied closely to the surrounding community (internships, apprenticeships, various forms of collaboration) – but extracurricular and athletic options will be limited.
Start-up funding (likely $5 to $10 million) for renovating and furnishing an existing local space/building to be raised via grant, state, federal money – not local property taxes or municipal bonds.
School of choice. If oversubscribed, interested students to be selected via lottery.
With timely board approval to simply explore this option, the hope would be to have seed money
committed, facilities identified, and charter (of some sort) established within next 2-3 years –
with the school opening a year or two later – as early as 2012-13 (with enrollment phased-in).
are not serving all of our students well enough. The drop out rate is too high. The percentage of students going on to
post-secondary education is too low.
Truancy is a significant problem.
Far too many of our students are at-risk and disengaged from the
learning process. We are doing poorly
on standardized tests such as the
vision outlined above is in line with the recently launched
Spaulding's current principal – with the background and credentials of an entrepreneurial reformer (including significant start-up and fund-raising experience) – is uniquely qualified to lead these efforts.
We have the leadership at the district level and in the community to achieve this vision. We have the will, talent, and creativity at the high school (and now at BCA) to make this happen. Despite the issues and problems we are faced with, we have a significant number of achievements and successes (many of them recent) to build on.
The timing is right. During difficult economic times is precisely the appropriate time to be planning and doing the ground work for five years out – and beyond.
Cost of taking next steps and exploring possibilities is minimal – less than $25,000.
costs are comparable to current operating expenses. Annual district expenditures per high school
student will be approximately the same.
(School administration/overhead should actually decrease.) And the start-up costs of prospective new
high school are to be covered by outside funding. The case for support – based on both the
size and needs of our high school and the needs of the greater
Lastly, we have no real choice but to act boldly. Responsibly, deliberately, thoughtfully – and boldly. It is the right thing to do.
w More students (all students) learning more (reaching targeted competencies), better prepared
for (and more eager to pursue) post-secondary options, better prepared to find and pursue
meaningful and fulfilling work, and better prepared for (and more motivated to engage in)
w Fully engaged, high quality, hard-working, and proud faculty/staff serving all three schools.
bodies at BCA,
all students participating in at least one extracurricular activity.
w Average daily attendance up to at least 95%. Ideally with the top 5-10 rates in the state.
w Drop-out rate lowered to under 10%. Ideally closer to 5%.
w Approximately 75-80% of our graduates going on to post-secondary schools – and all of them
(or at least 90% of them) identified as successful and still enrolled one or two years later.
than 25 ten-day suspensions (or longer) earned/given out at
w All NECAP/NCLB AYP targets met in all areas in need of improvement. No more SINI – and
no more DINI.
w An overwhelmingly and stunningly positive NEASC accreditation review in 2014.
II) NEXT STEPS
Seeking a timely “green light” to properly and fully explore the vision outlined above (ideally within the next three months). Hopeful that an Instruction Committee meeting devoted solely to this proposal could be scheduled before Thanksgiving.
Exploratory stage would culminate (in the spring of 2010) with an extensive and detailed proposal for the board’s consideration – and either an approval vote or not. (Needless to say, the board would be involved every step of the way leading up to this proposal.)