The implementation of the Everyday Math Program for all Union 61 schools has been realized. All teachers in kindergarten through sixth grade have received a full year of training in the program and every classroom in Union 61 has the same supplies and materials so all students in the districts receive the same mathematics curriculum. For the first time all students entering Tantasqua Regional Junior High School have received the same mathematics curriculum experience no matter which school they attended.
The implementation of full day Kindergarten for the 2010 school year in Brimfield, Holland and Wales has been a great success. Brookfield has had full day Kindergarten for a number of years and Sturbridge will implement a full day program when the new construction is complete.
Our schools continue to provide well-rounded programs including study in Fine Arts, Technology, Physical Education, Health and Athletics. Tantasqua/Union 61 schools continue to serve as models to others in student intern programs and Community Service Learning (CSL). In spite of receiving less grant funds this past year there was an increase in the number of CSL projects as well as community partners for CSL activities. Our Show Choirs, Choraleers and Jazz Vocal Ensemble continue to perform for local, regional, state, national and now international audiences. Union 61 and Tantasqua students outperformed grade level peers on the Science MCAS once again. MCAS performance data in English Language Arts and Mathematics exceeds state averages. Our students show improvement as well on other measures of academic achievement. Star Reading and Star Math scores meet or exceed national norms at each grade level 3- 8. The percentage of students going on to 2 and 4 year colleges increased over last year and Tantasqua’s mean scores on the SAT continue to exceed the average in both Massachusetts and the nation. Our Advanced Placement classes have increased offerings and have seen an increase in scores.
Technology continues to be a vital component within our educational system. Over the past year, many upgrades and enhancements have taken place at each school and at the district level. Most notably we implemented a new student information system. This new system consolidates all student data in the district and interfaces with existing legacy systems. This new system increases efficiency for increasingly complex state mandated reporting. Also, many interactive whiteboards have been installed allowing for increased integration of technology into curriculum.
This past year the ad-hoc strategic planning committee met regularly to help define the vision of the districts. The initiatives identified by the students, staff, parents, and community members will help integrate a variety of programs over the next five years.
We have developed in-district programs for children with severe needs allowing for a better program with their peers. These programs help us keep the state wide rising educational cost for special education down for our five communities.
Tantasqua Regional / School Union 61 School Districts continue to follow an aggressive energy management plan allowing us to reduce energy costs. These energy savings have allowed us to increase instructional materials and lower the budget.