The October School Committee meeting started with the Highlight in Education, where the Barnstable High School (BHS) Football and Cheerleading Captains attended the meeting to introduce themselves and speak about the recognition they received from Dick’s Sporting Goods and the MIAA for their community service. They were presented a check from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $1500.00 and we were selected as the local high school team that was awarded the money for the efforts they make in the community. Dick’s sent an entire team to present the check to the BHS football players and cheerleaders, bought them all Chipotle, and thanked them for being such positive role models in the community and for being such respectful young people. They also received recognition from the MIAA for their Mental Health Main Street Clean Up Project.
In her Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Ahern spoke about student enrollment and gave an update on a potential JROTC program at the high school. Enrollment has declined over the last 6 years not only in Barnstable, but in Massachusetts public schools in general. Barnstable enrollment has increased slightly since 2021. For the potential JROTC program at the high school, students were surveyed at the beginning of the school year to gage interest. 630 students responded with 49 students being interested and 129 students stating they might be interested. Dr. Ahern would like to take this year to learn more about the programs, consider the space availability, build awareness, look at resource availability, and consider budget implications.
The Committee approved Dr. Ahern’s District Improvement Plan, which included the following priorities:
- Foster a sense of belonging
- Implement systems to monitor student understanding
- Ensure strong grade-appropriate instruction
- Evaluate curriculum and plan for professional development
The Committee then heard from each of the principals from the nine schools in Barnstable Public Schools about their School Improvement Plans. Each school’s priorities echoed the district’s priorities. The principals discussed their action items around each of the priorities.
The Director of Facilities discussed the Capital Improvement Projects he would like to move forward to the Town and Town Manager for FY’24. Projects include replacing rooftop ventilators, districtwide door and window replacements, paving and sidewalk repair, mechanical upgrades of the pumps, boilers, and burners, BHS chiller for Knight Hall and PAC, BHS sport fields upgrade, and a new BHS culinary arts kitchen. From here the Town will receive requests from all the departments before the Town Manager makes his recommendation to the Town Council on the projects that should funded.
The final item of the night was the Committee approving the contract of the new Executive Director of Social Emotional Learning and Student Support Services, Mary Beth Shea. She will be starting in her new position on October 12. Welcome to the Barnstable Public Schools, Mary Beth!