Dear Middletown Springs Community Members,
Thank you to everyone who came out to vote at Town Meeting Day. The school budget failed to pass, 165-161. Join us for Soup with the School Board” on Monday, April 29 at the Middletown Springs Elementary School multipurpose room. We will serve a free, light meal, planned and prepared by our own new school cook, Marianna Charalabopoulos. With the help of the farm to school committee, the school has brought a new level of healthy, delicious food to the town’s children. We know you will love her cooking, so join us from 5:30-6:30 for the light meal. The informational meeting will start at 6:30. Childcare will be provided. Bring your questions and concerns to the meeting so we have a well-informed public ready to vote the following day.
And now… Installment three of the School Board Budget Revision!
Quality time spent in school increases student success. There were some questions at the town meeting about both our Pre-K program and our afterschool program. First, there is a great deal of national research on these programs. In a recent book, Critical Hours: After-School Programs and Educational Success, Beth M. Miller concludes that “studies of students who attend high-quality programs for a significant period of time show improvements in academic performance and social competence, including better grades, improved homework completion, higher scores on achievement tests, lower levels of grade retention, improved behavior in school, increased competence and sense of self as a learner, better work habits, fewer absences from school, better emotional adjustment and relationships with parents, and a greater sense of belonging in the community.”
We have the results from last fall’s Kindergarten Readiness Survey. Because of the small number of students in the class and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) , we cannot present percentage of students who attended pre-k and their success. The good thing is this year’s data shows very clearly that students who attend pre-k are prepared for Kindergarten. Keep in mind that Kindergarten has become very academic based which is a change that some community members may not be aware if they have not had children in school for awhile. For student success, it is important that they have the skills of following directions, and be able to sit and listen for an age appropriate length of time. The data from the Kindergarten Readiness Survey shows that students who have been part of pre-k program are well prepared for the expectations of Kindergarten.
In addition, one way we know our Pre-K and Afterschool programs are effective is because our NECAP scores have improved. While our NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) results have been below the state average, our proficiency rate in reading is currently 73%, the same as the state average. Our math proficiency rate is 68%, higher than the state average of 65%.
Additionally, our after school program has shown great benefits to student success. During the after school hours, students get to participate in educational enrichment activities such as woodworking and art club. In the past, Friends for Education has paid for a Spanish teacher to come after school to teach students. Our ever popular Odyssey of the Mind groups, led by teachers, community members, or even Mr. Beal himself, have excited students to compete intellectually and creatively against other schools. All of these programs inspire teamwork, an essential skill in community building. The after school program gives students the space to shine by applying the intense skill and content knowledge they learn during the school day to real-world situations.
The Middletown Springs vote on the revised budget will be held at the Firehouse on Tuesday, April 30. Polls will be open from 7am to 7pm.
The Middletown Springs School Board
Clarence Haynes- Chair
Kendra Larson- Vice-Chair
Karen Mach- Clerk
**If you missed installments one or two, you can find them on “Front Porch Forum” or the Middletown Springs Website.