Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

School Committee, November 16, 2023

Arlington High School New Building Update

The school committee chair Kirsi Allison-Ampe called the meeting to order in the new Arlington High School building. She thanked voters for passing the override last week to fund the strategic plan and increase educator compensation. The override passed with 61.4% voting yes. The new high school building opened the day after the vote. The chair thanked the taxpayers for prioritizing the needs of students and allowing the district to move forward with innovative work.

Peirce School Improvement Plan Presentation

The principal, assistant principal, and coaches from Peirce Elementary School presented their school improvement plan. They reviewed data on absenteeism, achievement, growth, climate, and culture. Key data points:

  • Chronic absenteeism decreased overall and in high needs subgroups. Partnering with families helped reduce absenteeism.
  • ELA achievement increased across the board from 2022 to 2023, especially for high needs students. Third graders scored in the 96th percentile in the state on ELA.
  • Math achievement increased overall. Fifth graders earned a high growth percentile of 73.
  • The achievement gap remains between students with disabilities and students without disabilities, especially in ELA.
  • Sense of belonging increased for students and staff.

Goals for this year:

  • Close the ELA achievement gap between high needs and non-high needs students.
  • Increase student engagement through high leverage practices from the new ELA curriculum.
  • Improve sense of belonging for all students and families.
  • Reduce chronic absenteeism further.

Brackett Elementary School Improvement Plan Presentation

The new principal and assistant principal of Brackett Elementary presented their school improvement plan. Brackett made good progress on state goals, especially in math. The gap remains between students with and without disabilities in ELA. Goals for this year:

  • Close the ELA achievement gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities
  • Integrate EL curriculum and high leverage practices across disciplines
  • Increase student and family voice and open communication
  • Focus on sense of belonging for students with disabilities

Superintendent’s Evaluation

The school committee conducted the annual evaluation of the superintendent. Members assessed progress on goals, performance on standards, and provided an overall rating. The committee rated the superintendent’s performance as proficient overall.

Superintendent’s Update

The superintendent provided an update on the move into the new Arlington High School building. There are some issues being worked through but overall the move has gone smoothly. The district is seeking community members to participate in strategic plan working groups starting in January. Over 40 people have applied to join the groups so far. The superintendent congratulated the cast and crew of the fall play at Arlington High School. Budget planning is underway.

Consent Agenda

The committee approved the consent agenda including warrants and minutes.

Subcommittee Reports

The budget subcommittee met and reviewed the budget calendar. Community Relations subcommittee met and discussed plans for school committee chats this year. Facilities subcommittee received updates on buses, custodial staffing, playgrounds, and air conditioning needs.



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