Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thank You Northbridge - Fall Programs Reinstated

August 13, 2014

At last night's Northbridge School Committee meeting, we received several donations which will reinstate some programs eliminated by this Spring's failed override.

The Northbridge Booster Club provided us with a check for $20,760 which will be used to reinstate all fall sports at the Middle School.  This includes 8th Grade Football, Field Hockey and Soccer.

The Northbridge PTA also provided a check for $955 which will fund the Show Choir at Balmer School.

We were also informed that the Whitinsville Golf Club has donated Greens Fees and coaching services for the Golf team, and that the Whitinsville Christian School offered to take care of transportation of the team.  (Note: Golf is a cooperative sport of students from NHS and WCS.)

Mr. Ken Calabro also attended the meeting last night to inform the committee that hockey parents are planning several fundraisers to help raise the $12k needed to reinstate the High School's varsity hockey and JV club teams. 

I would like to personally thank all of those people involved in making this happen and reminding us all of what a great community we live in.  The amount of time these dedicated volunteers put into this effort is just mind-blowing and they deserve all of our appreciation.  Those who participated in the events, and donated their time and/or money also deserve a big Northbridge Thank You!


With all that being said, parent Kate Tracy stated it best.  "This is only a band-aid."  As we begin to develop the budget for FY16, we know that it will be another challenging year.  The programs saved this year, will once again be at jeopardy for next year if the town's financial situation does not change.  The cuts to staff and teachers and the educational integrity of our schools will be deeper next year, and fundraising and donations can only be relied upon to a point.

I hope to begin dialogue very soon with our School Committee and Administration, as well as the Town Manager, Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee to develop a comprehensive plan to approach the FY16 budget.




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Resolution on Unfunded Mandates

June 25, 2014

The Northbridge School Committee unanimously approved the following resolution to be presented to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees for consideration at their November delegate assembly:




Whereas it is the duty of the school committee to set policies for the education of the children in our community; and

Whereas the number of documents that require action by local school districts in response to externally imposed mandates and regulations has increased drastically without a clear positive impact on student learning, and whereas many of the required actions constitute an unfunded mandate, and

Whereas educators in our community and state, including MASS, have expressed concern about the difficulty carrying out their responsibilities due to this rising tide of state mandates, requiring educators to respond first to bureaucratic requirements rather than classroom instruction; therefore

We call on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to refrain from adding new test mandates and other initiatives, and to revisit the mandates already imposed on districts with a view to reducing interference with classroom instruction, thus allowing educators to do their work.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PARCC vs. MCAS

June 12, 2014

School Committees across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are weighing in on whether districts will remain with the MCAS exam or transition to PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.  The Massachusetts Board of Education will decide in the Fall of 2015 if Massachusetts will fully adopt PARCC or opt to modify MCAS.

Below is a current list of how committees have voted to date (incomplete and evolving).

Northbridge will vote on June 24th.  We received an overview of the tests at our June 10th meeting, which can be found on page 53 of the attached:  June 10th School Committee Meeting Packet

Update:  At its meeting on Tuesday, June 25th, the Northbridge School Committee voted unanimously to administer only MCAS in 2015.

Update: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education posted the districts who have made their early decisions: PARCC and MCAS Early Decision Update: July 2, 2014

Note:  The information provided here was gathered through news articles online and via emails directly from School Committee members.  If you see any incorrect info, please let me know.



PARCC

MCAS
Andover

Abington
Ashburnham-Westminster

Acton-Boxborough
Ashland

Adams-Cheshire
Attleboro

Agawam
Ayer Shirley

Amherst-Pelham
Barnstable

Bridgewater-Raynham
Berlin-Boylston

Cambridge
Bellingham

Chelmsford
Belmont

Conway
Beverly

Deerfield Elementary (Union 38)
Billerica

Dighton-Rehoboth
Braintree

Dracut
Central Berkshire Regional

Duxbury
Chicopee

Dudley-Charlton
Clinton

Fall River
Dennis-Yarmouth

Framingham
Easthampton

Freetown-Lakeville
Falmouth

Frontier Regional
Foxboro

Gloucester
Franklin

Grafton
Gardner

Greenfield
Gill-Montague

Hamilton-Wenham
Groton-Dunstable

Hampden-Wilbraham
Hanover

Hampshire Regional
Haverhill

Harvard
Hull

Hingham
King Philip Regional

Holbrook
Leicester

Holliston
Malden

Holyoke
Marion (ORR)

Hopedale
Mashpee

Hopkinton
Mattapoisett (ORR)

Ipswich
Melrose

Lanesboro
Middleton

Lenox
Milford

Lexington
Monomoy Regional

Longmeadow
Natick

Lowell
New Bedford

Ludlow
Newton

Manchester-Essex
North Reading

Mansfield
Norwell

Marshfield
Norwood

Masconomet
Pembroke

Medford
Pittsfield

Medway
Plainville

Mendon-Upton
Plymouth

Middleboro
Quaboag

Mohawk Trail Regional
Reading

Needham
Revere

Norfolk
Rochester (ORR)

North Adams
Rockport

North Attleboro
Scituate

North Middlesex Regional
Sharon

Northampton
Shrewsbury

Norton
Springfield

Northborough
Stoughton

Northborough-Southboro Regional
Sudbury

Northbridge
Swansea

Peabody
Taunton

Quincy
Tewksbury

Salem
Topsfield

Sandwich
Triton

Saugus
Tyngsborough

Somerville
West Springfield

Southborough
Westborough

Southern Berkshire Regional
Westford

Southwick-Tolland-Granville
Winchendon

Spencer East Brookfield
Woburn

Sunderland


Swampscott


Wachusett


Walpole


Waltham


Wareham


Wellesley


Westport


Whately Elementary


Wilbraham


Williamstown Elementary


Wilmington


Winchester




* updated July 1st (new entries in red)