Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'
February 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments
The Change in Start Time Survey had a great response from parents with 627 parents and a few high school students participating in the online survey.
Proposal for School Year 2011-2012:
High 7:50 a.m. – 2:29 p.m.
Middle 7:45 a.m. – 2:21 p.m.
Lane 8:44 a.m. – 2:55 p.m.
Davis 9:09 a.m. – 3:20 p.m.
The overall results for the survey were as follows:
Total Response: 627
Change in School Start Time: Yes (458) (73%) No (169) (27%)
Every Wednesday 3/4 Day Release: Yes (345) (57%) No (265) (43%)
Bedford High School : 219 Respondents
Change in Start Time: Yes (168) (79%) No (49) (23%)
Every Wednesday3/4 Day Release: Yes (123) (57%) No (91) (43%)
John Glenn Middle School : 148 Respondents
Change in Start Time: Yes (115) (78%) No (33) (22%)
Every Wednesday 3/4 Release: Yes (85) (58%) No (62) (42%)
Lane School: 106 Respondents
Change in Start Time Yes (74) (70%) No (31) (30%)
Every Wednesday 3/4 Release Yes (57) (54%) No (48) (46%)
Davis School: 104 Respondents
Change in Start Time Yes (57) (55%) No (46) (45%)
Every Wednesday 3/4 Release Yes (50) (50%) No (51) (50%)
In terms of “next steps,” I will present a recommendation to the Bedford School Committee on February 15th asking that they approve this change as part of the Calendar for 2011-2012. In addition to seeking School Committee approval, I am also working with the Bedford Education Association as part of our contract negotiations.
Next Steps: If the change is approved, I will then do the following:
- Work with Bedford Charter to develop new Bus Routes for that combine BHS and JGMS students and create more efficient routes for Davis School in an effort to rectify the problem we currently experience with too many buses arriving late in the afternoon.
- Ask the Recreation Department and Kid’s Club to work with parents to develop more Wednesday afternoon opportunities for children.
As we release the results for this survey, I want to address some of the questions and misunderstandings that were reflected in the very helpful “comments” section:
- Why didn’t we flip the schedule for Davis and Lane with the BHS and JGMS schedule? Two factors influenced this decision. The first was dismissal time for the high school. Our participation in a robust offering of interscholastic programs requires that we dismiss no later than 3:00 p.m The second, equally compelling reason, was consideration for working parents who rely on the older students arriving home before the elementary children.
- Why not start all the schools at the same time? The bus company cannot accommodate this change in terms of vehicles and drivers.
- Will this change extend the school year? No. Our statutory requirement is 180 days. The schedule change maintains both the 180 days and the instructional hourly requirements for the schools (990 Hours BHS; 900 Hours JGMS, Lane and Davis.)
- Why did the dismissal time for Davis change from the original proposal with a 3:30 dismissal to a 3:20 dismissal? Parents were concerned about the 3:30 dismissal being too late so we re- did the BHS schedule to move back the ending time for all schools.
- Why did the high school needs drive the change? With a very stable student population, we considered that over the long term all of our students will benefit from changing the high school start time from 7:20 a.m. to 7:50 a.m.
Special thanks to all who provided invaluable input into this process. I will keep you informed as we move forward.
Tags: Parent · Uncategorized
January 12th, 2011 · 8 Comments
The January 11th meeting of the Bedford School Committee focused on consideration of a prioritized list of budget cuts for FY 2012. The proposed cuts are in response to the Finance Committee’s Guideline Budget which reflects a $2.1 million reduction from the Superintendent’s Budget proposal and a $500,000 reduction from the current FY 2011 Budget.
After much discussion the School Committee reached consensus on the following budget reductions:
Cuts with School Committee Consensus (not yet a vote)
Total Reduction: $1019,379:
- Custodial Supplies
- Custodial Contract Services
- Maintenance Contract Services
- Collective Bargaining Reserve
- ELL Coordinator (will be replaced by ELL Teaching Position)
- Grade 3 Teacher (one year cut to reflect smaller incoming class)
- SPED Out of District Tuitions
- 50% of Computer Replacement budget
- 2 (.5) School-based Special Education Secretaries (Remaining (1.0) position will be centralized to service 4 schools)
- SPED Summer IEP Meetings (If necessary, will be convened by Director or Principal)
- Mediation Stipend (function will be assumed by high school assistant principal)
- Virtual High School
- Independent Evaluation budget for SPED (reduce request)
- Utility Savings
- Eliminate all high school buses combining BHS and JGMS on the same Bus Routes (pending approval of new Start and End Times)
- Lane (.5) Custodian
- Lane (.8) (.2) EA
- 50% Custodian Leave Coverage (Overtime for school day substitutes)
- BHS (1.3) Teaching Assistants
- JGMS (2 ) Teaching Assistants
- BHS (.2) Special Education Teacher
- Student Summer Custodial Help
- Lane (1) Teaching Assistant
- Davis 1.5 Teaching Assistants
- Late Bus for JGMS and BHS
As the clock approached midnight, the Committee began a discussion of the next cut that reduces Athletics and Extracurricular Activities budget by $200,000. That discussion will continue on January 18th and include a consideration of user fees.
If you are interested in viewing all of the budget presentations that preceded this discussion, click here: http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/info/news.html
Tags: Budget Information · Community · Uncategorized
Last evening I had the opportunity to provide Special Town Meeting with an update on our Space Planning Study and Enrollment Study, efforts that were conducted during the 2009-2010 school year. Here are the core findings that I shared with STM:
- Enrollment Trends: Growth in enrollment is expected to continue, but only at modest rates. The 2% plus increases in 2008 and 2009 appear to be atypical.
- Program Needs: The study revealed that the real driver of space constraints/future needs is the changing student population and program needs that differ today from when these buildings were designed.
- Short Term Solutions: Some quick-fix re-purposing and re- configuration plans have been identified and are being implemented to alleviate some capacity constraints.
- Further Study: Needed to ensure that our facilities meet the needs of Bedford’s evolving student population.
At this juncture we have developed a three phase plan to respond to the space needs. Here’s a quick summary of the phases:
Phase I: Summer 2010
- Room reassignments and minor renovations. Most constraints have been addressed internally
- Some undesirable compromises have been made at the middle school including:
- Multipurpose Room (divided into 2 classrooms)
- Special Education Classroom (created in library office area)
- Foreign Language assigned to Foods Lab
- Classes assigned to auditorium and cafeteria
Phase II: Completed over 3 years (Summers 2011 – 2013)
- More extensive renovations and room reassignments.
Phase III: Starting in 2014
- Complete Feasibility Study required to assess needs and proposed solutions.
- Further renovations and consideration for new construction at Davis, Lane and JGMS.
As part of further study, we will request funding for a “Feasibility Study” at the 2011 Annual Town Meeting.
To view both the Space Planning Study and Enrollment Study, click here:
Tags: Budget Information · Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized
September 2nd, 2010 · 2 Comments
Check out the new Boston Magazine listing the top 50 high schools. Bedford High School is #6! Here’s the link to the school rankings:
Here’s the Top Ten High Schools:
9. Newton North
10. Newton South
In addition to making the grade as #6, the BHS Social Studies Department made the “Honor Roll” for the depth of its 21st Century offerings for students.
Bedford High School
“The important question isn’t ‘What?’ it’s ‘So what?’” says Bedford teacher Jim Sunderland, who was named Massachusetts History Day Teacher of the Year in 2009. “Take what happened and find the implication and resonance for our lives today.” Finding resonance doesn’t seem to be a problem at Bedford, where each history classroom has a document camera to study maps and newspaper articles, and interactive screens for collaborative web research. When Sunderland’s pupils were learning about Keynesian economics, they interviewed Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. No wonder Bedford students have either won or been finalists in four of the past six National History Day contests.
Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized
Principal Jon Sills has released the Report of the NEASC Visiting Team. In the report the staff and administration are commended for creating a strong and supportive academic environment that meets the needs of a wide range of students. The Bedford community is also commended for its support for the new building. The Visiting Team noted:
The Bedford community should be extremely proud of the newly renovated and larger facility that was recently completed at the high school. The extraordinary commitment by the community to support this project during difficult and unsure economic times shows what can be done if you are dedicated high quality education for all. There are large display area showcasing student work, the hallways and classrooms are spacious and light, and the equipment and accessibility are state-of-the art. The technology including SMARTBoards and numerous computer labs makes it possible to infuse 21st century skills into every classroom for all students. The facility houses numerous labs and large teaching spaces to accommodate a variety of programs and courses including a pre-school program, ROTC program, collaborative special education program, and technology education programs. Offices and space for small and large group discussions are available for meetings and presentations. The Bedford community should be extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished for the benefit of the children attending the high school.
The final step in the accreditation process will be the vote of the Commission on Secondary Schools. It is expected that the high school will receive notification from the Commission in the coming weeks.
To read the report in its entirety, click here: http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/bhs/news.html
Tags: Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized
It is a well-known fact that great schools are staffed by caring adults who challenge, inspire, and connect to students. The quality of our faculty is a key ingredient that makes Bedford High School a fabulous environment for nurturing young adults. Our internal belief about our high school was recently confirmed by the accolades bestowed on two of our faculty members, Michael Griffin and Jim Sunderland.
Michael Griffin received the MIT Inspirational Teacher Award which recognizes outstanding secondary school teachers who inspire students with a love of learning, encourage them to pursue excellence, and give them the skills and enthusiasm they need to make a positive difference in the world. Mr. Griffin has inspired students both in the classroom and beyond developing life-long environmentalists who never forget the journey to and the lessons from Belize.
Jim Sunderland, was honored at the Northeast Regional Conference on Social Studies where he was the only high school teacher in New England to receive the Kidger Award for Outstanding History Teacher. Mr. Sunderland has sparked a thirst of inquiry and creativity throughout Bedford High School with his brainchild, the History Day competition where our students have been competitive at both the state and national levels. The research projects that lead to this annual competition represent months of work and learning experiences that our students will remember long after their graduation from our high school.
Kudos to Mr. Griffin and Mr. Sunderland! We are very proud to have you on our faculty and thank you for the many hours you invest in our students.
Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized
I am pleased to report that the Bedford Annual Town Meeting approved our FY 2011 Budget last evening with a unanimous vote. In these challenging financial times, it is a significant milestone to have that happen with such broad-based support from all the Town Boards and residents. While the budget is tight for next school year, I am pleased to report that it maintains a robust K-12 Program for children with reasonable class sizes. In addition, the budget allows us to move forward with the addition of an Elementary Math Coach and Behavior Interventionist. It is also “fully funded” without the addition of onerous fees for busing, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.
As we move through tumultuous financial times, it is rewarding to work in a town that continues its financial support for our schools. Special thanks to the residents who are clear about their values and the centrality of schools to the prosperity of the community. It is that support, the tireless efforts of the Bedford School Committee and the efforts of the entire Administrative Team that lead to the final approval of this budget.
Special thanks to all for making this a great school system!
Tags: Community · Uncategorized
The 2010 Annual Town Meeting begins on Monday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bedford High School auditorium. ATM is the final step in the approval process for the FY2011 Budget. In all likelihood, ATM will continue for at least two evenings, with the budget scheduled for discussion and approval on the second night.
Residents have received a copy of the FY2011 Budget Request for the Bedford Public Schools in the mail. Any questions about the budget can be directed to my office.
The February 23, 2010 meeting of the Bedford School Committee included a presentation on the progress we have made as a system on the Superintendent’s Goals for 2009-2010. To review that presentation, you can click here:
The goals are approved by the Bedford School Committee at the start of each school year. The administration then updates the Committee at the mid-year and end of the year on progress we have made.
I am pleased to report that the Bedford School Committee and the Bedford Education Association have joined me in signing the Race to the Top (RTTT) Memorandum of Understanding as part of the endorsement process for Massachusetts’ competitive application for $250 million in federal money earmarked for schools over the course of the next four years. In a recent editorial, Paul Reville (Secretary of Education) and Mitchell Chester (Commissioner of Education) said the following about this opportunity:
Make no mistake, we recognize that Race to the Top is not a panacea. It will not solve all of the state’s educational challenges and certainly not fill the funding gaps we face. But at a time of fiscal downturn, it will provide the state and districts with an important financial boost, and access to opportunities for additional philanthropic dollars and other federal grants, all of which will help us to chart a new and exciting pathway for innovation and reform.
Working in a district where the stakeholders are willing to be bold and forge new ground is significant as we shape the next chapter of school reform in our state. In Bedford, the sense of trust and mutual respect between and among the parties has enabled us to do this.
My hope is that the application from our state lands in the “approved” pile at the federal level.
Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized