Friday, February 5, 1999
RSC hears assessment of MCAS results, update on track and pool
At the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District's meeting on January 26, Assistant Superintendent Karen Nerpouni outlined how Concord is working to use last year's Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test results to better prepare students for the annual state tests. Nerpouni raised questions about how much focus should be put on the test. How important are the test scores? Should test preparation time be included in the curriculum? Are summer or after-school programs needed to prepare students? Should some subjects be taught in an earlier grade to align with the test?
Nerpouni said some teachers in Concord are concerned there could be an over-reaction and over-analysis of one year's test scores. However, some language arts teachers plan to use weaknesses identified in the tests to help improve student performance. At the high school level, teachers in the science department believe that some of last year's science test questions were poorly written and they would also like to see technology questions separate from the science exam, since technology is not currently taught at the high school.
Starting in 2001, all students in the state will have to pass the MCAS test given in the tenth grade to receive their high school diploma in 2003. Nerpouni said that the state Board of Education has not yet told the school systems what passing the test means. It remains unclear whether students will need to pass all subjects to receive their diploma. Also, which of the test score categories, Advanced, Proficient and Needs Improvement, will be considered a pass?
Current School Superintendent Gene Thayer summarized the MCAS results by saying that test score analysis, while important, tends to focus on the negative aspects, while 75 percent of students in the district did well on the exams.
New track due this spring
The new track at Emerson Field in Concord is due to be completed this spring, according to Concord Recreation Commission chair Tim Atkins who gave an update on the project to the school committee. The track, which will be used by CCHS athletes and area residents, will be a "Class A" facility, according to Atkins.
Excavations for the track are now completed and gravel is in place. In the spring, the first layer of asphalt will be put down, followed by a second coat, with a urethane coat sprayed on the surface. For safety reasons, a separate discus and shot-put area for track and field events will be set up in the football field area at the high school.
The track project is a joint effort by the high school, the town of Concord and individuals. Contributions for the $500,000 project were: $200,000 from the town of Concord, $100,000 from the CCHS regional budget, a $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor and $116,000 raised from various student and community groups to match the $100,000 donor challenge. Due to successful fundraising, the field surrounding the track will be irrigated by wells drilled at the site.
Community pool project update
A new community pool at CCHS has been in the planning stages for the last year. According to Melinda Preble, chair of the swim facility committee, the pool will be a "high quality, multi-use facility" with function space designed to meet the needs of various groups in the Concord/Carlisle community. The competitive pool is designed to have a diving well and a teaching area. A user-fee system will be established for programs at the pool/community center. Concord RSC member Nancy Beeuwkes said that the high school swim team needs to have a pool on campus. Currently, students must travel to Sudbury to use the Atkinson Community Pool and pay for its use.
A gift of $3.5 million for construction of the pool was given by the trustees of the Alfred Sawyer estate. The bequest was intended to benefit the town of Concord with the stipulation that there be no cost to taxpayers for construction or maintenance costs. An additional $1.5 million endowment from the Sawyer fund is allocated for maintenance of the facility. According to Preble, while the town is grateful for the bequest $2.2 to $3 million in additional funds needs to be raised for the pool/community center project to be completed as envisioned. A construction date has not yet been set.
RSC meetings on Channel 8
The biweekly Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee meetings are now shown on Cablevision's community access station, Channel 8. The schedule for the broadcasts is listed on the station.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito