SCS Board hears success story, prepares for budget season

By Gail Callahan

During the Oct. 9 School Board meeting, the Shelburne School Directors listened to an array of topics, ranging from a summer school program to preparations for its upcoming budget season.

Three representatives for Shelburne’s Summer School gave an overview of the program. As an on- and off-campus project, the program sees both teachers and paraprofessionals working with students.

“This is to help students to continue to learn and to stop regression,” said Jon Strazza, Shelburne Community School (SCS) director of student services. “We need to get the message out we provide these services.”

The cost of the program is about $37 a day per pupil, which includes the cost of breakfast and snack. Participating students have shown improvements in math and reading; many gain fluency in both subjects or achieve grade-level skills. The Summer School program faces competition from other seasonal camps and programs scattered throughout the region. School officials are working to identify students who should attend the program before the onslaught of camp advertising begins.

SCS Co-Principals Allan Miller and Pati Beaumont gave a summary of activities at the school. The school recently hired Amy Buckley to fill the SAP counselor position left vacant by Margo Austin’s resignation. Austin now works in a similar capacity at Burlington High School.

Beaumont noted the school recently wrapped up a series of successful curriculum nights. However, last year’s NECAP science scores for students now in fifth grade didn’t see much growth; and last year’s eighth graders’ scores also didn’t show much steady progress.

Molly McClaskey, director of curriculum for the Chittenden South Supervisory Union School District, also weighed in on students’ progression in science. She said studies show that many newly-minted college freshmen are not prepared for academic classes in that discipline.

“Kids who graduate from high school just aren’t as well prepared [in science] as they should be,” said McClaskey.

At that point, Chair Caffry wondered if hiring a science coordinator isn’t far in Shelburne’s future. The Milton School District appears to be on the cusp of that effort, hiring a professional for a similar position.

As the metting turned toward budget matters, Caffry listed a number of services, including physical, occupational, and psychological services, which are up for discussion. Caffry said the Board need not decide now to vote to include those matters but can table that action until the first round of budget meetings begins. Budget season and contract talks are expected to be topics.

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