October 2012 Update from the Superintendent

posted Oct 10, 2012, 6:07 AM by Fran Prentice   [ updated Oct 10, 2012, 6:09 AM ]
It is hard to believe we have completed the first month of the school year, but the calendar does say October.

We’ve had a successful opening of school thanks to the combined efforts of our students, their families, all our staff and our School Committee.

School Committee

We welcome three new members to our School Committee.  They are Cory Thyng – Wells, Jackie Bevins – Ogunquit, and Sue Pollard – Ogunquit.

The School Committee held two “retreat” meetings during August/September to plan their work for the year ahead and review their roles and expectations of School Committee service.

Our School Committee meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30PM in the Superintendent’s Office conference room.  All regular meeting are open to the public.

WHS Building Project

Over the summer, the Wells High School Building Committee was selected and appointed by the School Committee. Potential Architect/Engineering firms were interviewed and references checked.  At this point the selected firm is developing a proposal for the work. Once we agree to this it will be presented to the School Committee for a vote. From there the architects will develop a concept design which we will take to the voters.  The target for that referendum is June of 2013.  We do have a link on the district website “WHS Building Project” which is updated as we have new information.

Question of the Month          

Why do the schools do so much testing?

(Note: this question has been raised by teachers, parents, a School Committee member and my 82 year old aunt)

Answer:       A certain amount of testing/assessment is required by regulations.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a national assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas including mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography and US history.  If our school is selected for testing, we are required to administer the NAEP.

We choose to administer the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress in order to assess individual and class student progress as it happens.  We administer reading and math in grades 3 – 8 and reading only in grade 9.

The State of Maine requires administration of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) to meet No Child Left Behind Act requirements for testing reading and mathematics once each year from grade 3 through grade 8.  The state also includes a writing assessment administered at grades 5 and 8. 

All high school juniors must complete the SAT (state requirement) and to be helpful we administer the PSAT to our sophomore and junior year students.

District Survey

Last spring we developed a survey in conjunction with the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation through the University of Southern Maine.  We asked all staff, students in the junior high and high school, parents and community members to take the survey.

Of the 533 surveys returned, participation was as follows:

137           Staff

237           Parents and Community Members

159           Students

The results follow.  For questions that were asked of more than one group, all answers were combined into one response slide.  As the summary slide indicates, we are pleased students feel well known by adults in our schools, that they are held to high standards while feeling their needs are being met and our school culture is conducive to teaching and learning.

We were not surprised the top issues include a new high school, improvements to technology and more communication.

We are using the results in our goal setting and planning and will reassess using the survey again.

 Click HERE to review the results of the survey

Communication

As survey results indicate, we can always improve communication efforts.  We have made a few changes along those lines.  The Superintendent’s Update will be posted on the district website each month.  Look for November’s on or about November 1.

We have updated the homepage of the district website for ease of use.  We also have a Facebook page.  You can check us out at:  http://facebook.com/WellsOgunquitCSD

Thanks go out to Michael Richards, our Technology Collaborative Content Coach for his work on these. 

Feel free to give feedback on these efforts.