This year’s School Committee meetings have started off with a few great Highlights in Education. In January, they welcomed players and coaches from the inaugural unified basketball team. The coaches and players spoke about their experience playing on the team for the first time this year. In February, the Committee heard about project-based learning from Barnstable Intermediate School and Barnstable Community Innovation School (BCIS). First, students in the 6th and 7th grade spoke about the projects they worked on including building furniture out of non-recyclable materials, teaching kids under the age of 10 to play basketball, and the request for a comfort dog at the school. The students stated they liked that they were able to choose projects based on something they were interested in and the teachers give them support. At BCIS, the student ambassadors put together a video speaking about the project based learning activities or cadres. Please watch the video here.
Superintendent Sara Ahern and high school Principal Liz Freedman spoke about the new Ace Program (formally known as the alternative or small program). There are currently 23 students enrolled in the program with 5 more about to join. The school runs from 2:30-7:00pm daily. The program is for students looking for a small, alternate high school program for a number of reasons including: smaller program, students who are behind on credits in the day program, and working or family needs.
The School Committee approved the 2023-2024 school calendar which you can find here. The Committee also accepted the Barnstable High School Program of Studies for the 2023-2024 school year. There are a number of career pathways that students can get involved in including: Business, Entrepreneurship, & Finance, Law, Society & Criminal Justice, Computer Science, Culinary Arts & Hospitality, Education, Engineering, Environmental Science & Technology, and Health Careers/Certified Nursing Assistant.
Dr. Ahern spoke about her Superintendent Entry Plan draft report of findings. Since she started as Superintendent on July 1st, she has met with the School Committee, administrators, faculty/staff, union leadership, students, families, Town Manager, elected officials, police chief, fire chiefs, heads of area schools, and many more as part of her entry plan. She has reviewed data and documents including School Committee policies, procedures and forms, collective bargaining agreements, budgets, H.R. materials, student achievement data, town finances, handbooks, program reviews, program of studies, etc. She has made observations through monthly visits to the schools and principals, tours of building and grounds, and attending selected events at the schools. She has found the strengths of the district to include: diversity among our students and families, dedication of faculty and staff, and breadth of opportunities afforded to students. The opportunities in the district include: a strong desire and need to come together as a community, continued focus on academics and SEL (behaviors), a need for talent development, and facilities, enrollment, and future planning.
Dr. Ahern and Deputy Director of Municipal Finance, Gareth Markwell, gave their initial presentation of FY’24 budget. The schools priorities are:
- Equitable allocation of resources
- Talent Development
- Instructional Resources
- Facilities – Planning/Space Needs
- Conservative Budget Development with long-term considerations
Mr. Markwell spoke about the revenue sharing agreement with the Town and School Department, Chapter 70 aid from the state, general fund allocation, revolving funds, school choice funds, and circuit breaker funds, which is the special education reimbursement program. Dr. Ahern spoke about the 96 submission requests from 18 sites including ELL support, instructional leadership, and paraprofessional support. The Committee will meet with the Superintendent, principals, and directors at a Workshop on February 15 to discuss their requests.