School committee seeks comment on curriculum

Posted Jan. 05, 2011, at 11:39 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2011, at 12:28 p.m.

DEER ISLE, Maine — The island school committee is seeking public comments on educational priorities for the coming school year.

The committee has planned a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10, at the Deer-Isle-Stonington High School cafeteria. The hearing will provide an opportunity for students, parents and residents to air their views on the school curriculum and priorities for the coming year, according to Vice Chairman Skip Greenlaw.

Greenlaw proposed the public meeting after students and parents raised concerns that they were not receiving enough instruction in preparation for college, particularly in writing and mathematics.

“I’d heard from students and parents that our students weren’t getting enough instruction in writing, that they were having trouble writing essays and writing long enough essays,” Greenlaw said Wednesday. “I also talked with one mother who was very bitter about the math curriculum. She said she had to tutor her children at home.”

The school district has been working for several years to improve student results in the areas of writing, math and reading, according to Greenlaw.

“We got a math curriculum that has been widely accepted, but we didn’t see results from it,” he said. “We weren’t getting the results we wanted.”

The school district recently made some adjustments to that program, adding more time for students to work on math, he said. The district also has focused on improving the reading curriculum, he said.

The meeting will be an opportunity to share ideas about improving the curriculum in the district’s two schools, Greenlaw said.

The meeting is not related to the School Improvement Grant and the high school’s designation by the state last year as consistently underachieving, Greenlaw said. Nor is it related specifically to the high school’s improvement plan in the process of being implemented. The meeting, he said, was strictly about gathering information and suggestions about improvements in content areas and instruction.

He said the school committee scheduled the meeting early in the new year before administrators began crafting the budget for the coming year. The meeting will give principals and the superintendent opportunities to incorporate suggestions where possible into the school budgets for the 2011-12 school year, he said.

“We’ve got a good school and we’re always looking for ways to make it better,” he said. “We’re hoping people will come out and tell us what they think. If some people think the curriculum is not working, we need to hear from them. If there are things that are working well, we need to hear that too.”

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