Competing Priorities Come Together
The Curriculum and Assessment Committee, comprised of faculty members and administrators, has been meeting since March 2004 with a mission to bring every educational opportunity available to Old Colony students into a common vision. Setting priorities for coordinating our programs center around this goal: To improve student learning and teaching strategies to increase academic and technical achievement for all students.
With assistance from consultants from Education by Design, the committee evaluated current practices and reviewed state requirements. The faculty and staff were divided into cluster groups, where they brainstormed to identify, categorize, and prioritize objectives relative to improving students’ education.
A number of accomplishments have materialized from these discussions. The Vocational/Academic Integration program has been revised. A Tools for Success program has been created and implemented for freshmen and sophomores. During students’ time in shop, they review basic math skills, such as the use of fractions, decimals, ratios, measurement, and percents. During the students’ time in related shop, they write a reflection based on their previous shop week, review common errors in word usage, and review words commonly found in the directions of the MCAS test.
All students are required to have a notebook in their academic classes and related shop classes. Conduct and effort grades that appear on the report card have become uniform. The grading scale has also been standardized.
Efforts have also been made to improve instruction and student learning. Faculty and staff have reviewed various methods of note taking to assist students improve their retention of material covered in class. A pilot Wilson Reading Program headed by Student Services will help students improve their basic reading skills. Time has also been scheduled for instructors to discuss pertinent issues at monthly departmental meetings
New Absence Policy Improves Attendance
Habitually absent students at Old Colony are spending more time in the classroom due to the implementation of a new attendance policy that includes a Saturday detention and a correlation of attendance with grades. The School Committee approved the work of the School Council in the spring of 2004. In general, when students are absent, they must have a parent/guardian call the school by 11:00 a.m. the day of the absence and/or provide a note explaining the absence. The note must include the parent’s/guardian’s home and work telephone number. Students who do not bring in a note will receive an administrative detention. The student handbook provides a list of excused absences and what must be done for an extended absence.
When a student has an unexcused absence, he/she will receive a zero for the day in shop. If a student is in in academics, he/she must contact all instructors within three (3) days of returning to school to make arrangements for making up missed work.
If a student has more than three (3) unexcused absences in shop or three (3) unexcused absences in academics or related shop classes within one (1) term, the student will receive a grade of no greater than 60% for that term. The same grading applies to students who have six (6) absences in an academic or related shop class that meets two (2) times per day.
When students are not in class, they miss sharing and receiving information from their peers. To this end, the policy also addresses students who do not attend classes for the full class period. An incomplete class is any tardy or dismissal that falls within a class period. In academic and related shop classes, three (3) incomplete classes equals one (1) unexcused absence. In shop, three (3) tardies or dismissals equals one (1) unexcused absence.
As always, there is a review and hearing process for students who have legitimate reasons for their absences. While adjustments continue to be made by faculty, administration, and students, the new policy is proving to be effective. The overall absence rate has decreased from past years and students are spending more time learning in the classroom.
National Honor Society makes history
Old Colony’s National Honor Society won the National Service Project Award for the fifth time at the NHS conference in St. Louis, MO, on November 11-13, 2004. Old Colony is the only school in the nation to win this award five times. Our NHS Chapter is directed by Mrs. Christine Watling. Congratulations to all!
Around the Colony
* Senior Jennifer Lee Howes received the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ Certificate of Academic Excellence at the Old Colony Fall Advisory Board Dinner on October 13, 2004. Jennifer, a Lakeville resident, has excelled in both academic and vocational studies during her years at Old Colony. She is president of the National Honor Society and is also a member of the Student Council. She has competed in SkillsUSA VICA the past two years. A student-athlete, Jennifer is a member of the varsity volleyball team. Last spring, Jennifer received the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Student Achievement Award.
* Old Colony senior Jacqueline Hebert began her term as the student member of the District School Committee in September. A Rochester resident, Hebert was elected as chairperson of the Student Advisory Committee to the School Committee. The chairperson also serves as an ex-officio member of the District School Committee.
* Health Careers instructor Eugenia Santos and six students attended a one-week certificate program at Bristol Community College in August 2004. The Health Careers Discovery Program provided the opportunity for students to participate in Clinical Lab Science, Dental Hygiene, Medical and Clinical Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Occuational Therapy Assistant, Therapeutic Massage, and a Study Skills Placement Test. Students attending were: Lisa Costa (Rochester), Lauren Cruz (Acushnet), Jenna Preston (Freetown), Karissa Rosser (Carver), Katelyn Goncalves (Acushnet), and Sarah Robert (Freetown).
* The Old Colony Administration is pleased to announce the selection of officers for three student organizations for the 2004-2005 school year:
Safe School Alliance
- President: Alyshia Kidd (Carver)
- Vice President: Steffanie Neal (Rochester)
- Secretary: Jessica Cornwall (Carver)
- Treasurer: Jacqueline Hebert (Rochester)
Old Colony Diversity Group
- President: Barbara Masse (Freetown)
- Vice President:Kristy Bernacchio (Lakeville)
- Secretary: Jacqueline Hebert (Rochester)
- Treasurer: Bethany Lopes (Freetown)
Non-Traditional Support Group
- President: Bethany Lopes (Freetown)
- Vice President: Amanda Murdoch (Acushnet)
- Secretary: Jacqueline Hebert (Rochester)
- Treasurer: Kristy Bernacchio (Lakeville)
* The Student Council at Old Colony completed its election for the 2004-2005 school year. Elected to serve as officers of the organization were: President: Stephen Bernat (Acushnet); Vice President: Alexander Amaral (Acushnet); Secretary: Mari Lee Mitchell (Lakeville); and Treasurer: Kerri Rousseau (Acushnet).
* The Old Colony administration announced the reappointment of two students in the 2004-2005 School Council. They are: senior Jacqueline Hebert (Rochester) and senior Jennifer Lee Howes (Lakeville). The School Council meets monthly under the chairmanship of Old Colony’s Assistant Superintendent/Principal, Gary Brown.
* Nine Old Colony Automotive Department seniors recently passed the Automotive Service Excellence Test. The ASE test is an EPA-approved program that meets Section 609 of the Clean Air Act of 1990. This certification allows our students to operate Automotive Air Condition Recovery and Recycling equipment at their place of employment. The following students passed the ASE Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Shop Test: Gordon Boardman, Jay Burtch, Victoria Guillette, Russell Michaud, Joshua Sorenson, Stanley Tomkiewicz (all of Acushnet), David Cordeiro (Lakeville), Patrick Elfen (Mattapoisett), and Tyler Fitzpatrick (Freetown).
* Old Colony’s Peer Leadership group recently held their annual Activity Fair for freshmen students in the school’s cafetorium. The fair gives freshmen an overview of all the clubs, sports, and extracurricular activites available at the school, and gives the students an opportunity to ask peer leaders questions about each organization or sport. Peer Leadership Advisior Audrey Henry coordinates the annual event.
* The SkillsUSA (formerly VICA) Chapter at Old Colony recently completed its election of officers for the current school year. Elected were:
- President – Andre Arsenault (Acushnet)
- Vice President – Erin Mello (Acushnet)
- Secretary – Desiree Genard (Acushnet)
- Treasurer – Jacqueline Fagan (Freetown)
- Reporter – Timothy Blanchard (Carver)
- Historian – Ryan Daniel (Rochester)
- Parliamentarian – Jennifer Howes (Lakeville)
- Ambassador – Lethia Tate (Lakeville)
- Ambassador – Rachel Cardoza (Acushnet)
Six of the officers (Desiree, Rachel, Ryan, Timothy, Jacqueline, and Lethia) attended a three-day Fall Leadership Conference in Fitchburg, MA, on November 14-16, 2004. The officers were introduced to many of the leadership skills that are so vitally neccessary in today’s society. All of the students received leadership awards and three officers received medallions for their group’s performance.
Old Colony’s SkillsUSA Chapter is led by Co-Advisors Marcus Ashley and Steven Miranda.