Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. The future is bright at South Royalton School. The beginning of the school year It is an exciting time for educators, as we prepare the new senior class for transition to college or career, and welcome a new group of students into our school in the Kindergarten. Our school is a school of choice for many students in surrounding towns and for good reason. The climate and culture is open and welcoming, the academic program is sound and improving, and the community is supportive of the school. We spent the last year taking a look at what our biggest priorities were at each level of our school.
The Elementary School is in the process of rededicating ourselves to the principles of Responsive Classroom. As a supplement to that we are redefining the roles and responsibilities of our discipline system and changing direction a bit. We will be transitioning a discipline focused position to a Behavior Specialist focusing on Behavior modification that will work closely with students, staff and families to build positive behavior plans for all students, and better meet the social and emotional needs of our students’ preK-12. Our focus for the year will be to build a system of supports for students, families, and staff that reflect the strong reputation of the South Royalton School.
At the Middle and High schools we have undertaken a study of our schedules and implemented schedules that expand teacher and student contact hours and reduce the number of study halls in a student’s day. As well there are expanded course offerings for high school students. There will be a push to implement new state initiatives by designing a proficiency based graduation system, and implement Personal Learning Plans for all 7th and 9th graders. We will rededicate ourselves to better communicate with parents and the community.
In the last school year we began using a computer based testing program to help us measure student progress against the Common Core Standards. This has given us periodic data around specific strengths and weaknesses of our students in Math and Language Arts for K-8 students. There is interest and momentum to expand this to the High School as well. The information and data that comes from that testing is beginning to help us to design specific instruction for individual students, bringing more students to the level of proficiency.
This last year was the first year of the new Smarter Balance Exam that all of our 3-8 and 11th grade students took. The staff has been working hard for the last couple of years preparing for this shift in testing. The test has required teachers to look not only at how we teach our students, but also what we teach our students. In many ways the new test has required teachers to change the way they teach and assess students, and has raised the expectations of the necessary knowledge and skills that all students must meet.
Once again, welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. I look forward to working with everyone again this year.
Dean Stearns, Principal