Middle school officials present improvement plans

By Douglas McCulloch | Aug 28, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Dartmouth Middle School Assistant Principal Carl Robidoux discusses technology changes at the school.

Dartmouth Middle School administrators plan for more technology, student support, and community involvement for the upcoming school year.

Members of Dartmouth Middle School’s administration team updated the School Committee on the status of implementing the school’s improvement plan at the committee’s August 28 meeting. The plan targets three areas – teaching and learning, access and equity, and community engagement.

In teaching and learning, the school is bringing more technology into the classroom, explained Assistant Principal Carl Robidoux. This year, staff will implement new digital literacy standards by replacing a retiring family consumer science teacher with a new digital literacy teacher and a computer science teacher.

The new digital literacy class will highlight ethical and responsible technology use, along with digital media design and examination of real-world applications. An existing computer basics class will be bumped up to a computer science class with programming instruction using the CodeMonkey platform.

In access and equity, the school will expand its response to intervention (RTI) system for supporting at-risk students.

“A big part of our focus was on and will continue to be on the whole child; that we don’t want our RTI program just to specifically look at the academics,” said Sarah Decas.

That means seeking out students who might be having trouble outside of more traditional indicators like grades or disciplinary history. For example, staff will be looking for students who make frequent trips to the nurse's office without a history of illness as a sign of anxiety issues.

Staff are also hitting access and equity goals with a recently expanded RTI room and before- and after-school support programs, including a breakfast club.

In community engagement, officials upped after-school activities to draw parents and the greater community to the school. Last year, that included a world culture day program with special guests, literacy nights, and a partnership with the Rotary Club to host chess tournaments.

This year, partnerships will continue as a new chess club is set to start up with help from the Rotary. Officials hope a grant will continue a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for tech instruction.

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