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Disappointing 2010 MCAS Results for Mendon Upton Schools

At the October 17 School Committee Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak gave a detailed presentation to the committee and audience on the disappointing 2010 MCAS test results for the district. His 54 slide presentation summarized performance by grade level in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and AP Biology. He stated that there were some significant decreases in scores from 2010 to 2011 for a few grades and subject matters, and that the district did not make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), a target the state sets for the schools.

Maruszczak said that although he was "not pleased (with the scores), what is needed is a good, healthy dose of perspective." He pointed out that 89 percent of the schools across the Commonwealth did not make AYP, and that the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, will be putting in a state application to receive a waiver for "No Child Left Behind." Maruszczak said the reasons for these drops are a "whole bunch of factors," and mentioned that the budget piece is "absolutely" one of them. His full presentation, including results broken down by school, will be posted on the district website and discussed in greater detail in the November 4 Upton Mendon Town Crier.

Maruszczak announced to the School Committee that he has recently applied for and has been awarded a grant from the Mendon-Upton Educational Foundation for "recognizing and funding innovation." The $44,630 grant will be used to purchase iPads for a pilot group of 7th grade students at Miscoe. He gave examples to the School Committee of other schools in Massachusetts who have successfully integrated iPads into their classrooms and reminded them that technology for students "is something I passionately believe in."

Maruszczak allayed concerns from School Committee members on the expense of damages to the units when he explained that there would be a premium insurance policy. For the future, Maruszczak told the Committee that he would like to see this pilot program expanded, and that his vision for the district is to go down the road of ibooks or ereaders instead of textbooks, which he feels could save the district money in the long run. "It's not a question of why, but of when," Maruszczak said.

An update from the Miscoe Green School Repair Subcommittee revealed that they are "on track and on budget," and that the boilers are scheduled to be replaced right after April vacation, the roof will be replaced close to June 10, 2012, and the windows will be replaced in the summer of 2012.

Talks turned to the process for replacing the vacant Upton School Committee seat left by Michelle Goodwin who resigned on October 5. School Committee Chairperson Heather Applegate told the group that they plan to make a recommendation to the Upton Board of Selectmen at their October 18 meeting that they work together to identify a candidate to fill the position on an interim basis, who will serve until the elections in May. She will recommend that anyone interested to send a letter of interest with relevant background information. Applegate said they will wait until they meet with the Upton Board of Selectmen before they go further.

Two new Student Representatives were introduced to the School Committee. Nipmuc senior Jacquelyn Michalowicz and Nipmuc sophomore Jessie Arsenault, will begin reporting to the committee at each meeting on school events and issues affecting the students at Nipmuc.


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