May 27, 2018
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Brewer aims to improve high school experience for students

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — A new Brewer High School improvement plan is in the works to help incoming freshmen make stronger connections with the school, to increase flexibility for all students and to get them thinking outside the box, Principal Becky Bubar said Tuesday.

Nine teachers and administrators at the high school have been working on the plan to address problems at the school. They aim to improve freshmen academics and social connections, align graduation requirements with the needs of employers and universities, and get students away from just coasting through school, Bubar said.

The goal is “to come up with plans to better serve students,” Superintendent Daniel Lee said Tuesday.

One part of the plan, which was approved by the school board on Monday, includes changing class schedules from a period to a block system, Bubar said.

“It’s a modified block idea — eight blocks over two days,” she said, adding there also will be options for shorter classes that meet daily.

Specifics about the new schedule will be worked out in the coming months, the principal said.

A second part of the proposed improvement plan includes creating a four-teacher support system for freshmen to “really get them into the high school way of critical thinking,” Bubar said. The freshmen teacher team “will work together with the students on collaborative thinking, problem solving, independent and critical thinking,” she added.

The goal is to get students beyond just absorbing information and instead thinking: “How do I figure out what to do with that information?” the principal said.

A third part of the plan includes increasing graduation requirements, which was difficult to do under the period schedule, Bubar said.

“We want to open up opportunities to offer classes and get away from thinking one size fits all,” she said. “The idea is to increase the rigor and the depth of the work students do.”

School officials plan to host community forums, parent gatherings and discuss the proposed plan with students to get comment over the next several months, she said.

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