School District Hoping to Add Staff and Courses Over Next Five Years
In a presentation to the school committee Monday night, the district schools explained their needs for the next five years.
The leaders of Seekonk's high school, middle school and elementary schools in Seekonk are hoping that programs and positions are restored to pre-budget cut levels over the next five years.
The previous years’ budgets have forced cuts to staffing, programs and materials. According to Superintendent Maddie Meyer, the district has just been treading water when they need to focus on improving.
“We will have to cut programs, add fees," Meyer said. "I’m not sure what we will have to do, but it will be ugly-looking unless we have support for the parents and the town."
Seekonk High School's Principal Marcia McGovern highlighted the need for a longer day and additional advanced placement courses.
“The next school in the South Coast Conference has 20 minutes more a day,” McGovern said.
Additionally, she showed that Seekonk only offered five AP courses, while most of the other schools in the SCC offered at least eight.
McGovern said additional AP courses are needed to allow students to challenge themselves as well as prepare them for college.
One possibility suggested by school committee member David Quinn was to look at Attleboro’s model of eliminating honors classes and replacing them with AP ones.
Hurley Middle School Principal Dr. Joan Fargnoli showed the need for two additional teachers that would allow the school to return to smaller class sizes. As of now, most classes are at 27 or 28 students, whereas they are preferred to be closer to 20.
Additionally, Dr. Fargnoli would like to see a return to the foreign language program at the middle school, something that was eliminated in previous budget cuts.
In the elementary schools, Martin School Principal Bart Lush and Aitken School Principal Nancy Gagliardi both said they would like to see a full time adjustment councilor at each school. Right now they share one councilor, which makes scheduling time difficult as well as gives the one councilor a large case load.
They would also like to see two additional library media aides to help with the implementation of technology as well as an additional special education teacher at each school.
Currently, they said their staffs are stretched thin and overtaxed.
These ideas are part of a five year plan to improve the schools and Superintendent Meyer said they still need to be prioritized by what can be down in each year.
“It’s not a simple fix. It’s all over the board and in every grade,” Meyer said. “We can’t afford to go backwards anymore.”