Shelburne School Directors get academic updates

By Gail Callahan

As budget season looms, the Shelburne School Board held a regular meeting last week, examining academic programs and hearing about faculty professional development at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg.

School Board members heard about an academic program which measures reading and math fluency and comprehension. Presenters explained the levels students in each grade should hit by the end of the school year. Standards gradually increase with grade level, and every students is administered an end-of-unit assessment by staff. Board members were shown examples of the tests during the discussion.

Staff members then showed a video, shot at Shelburne Community School (SCS), detailing how teachers in an array of elementary school classrooms teach their children how to read. The presentation detailed the interactions between students and teacher, how the children are taught to read, and how they can break apart words to write them.

“This isn’t a complete picture,” the presenter noted. “But it does show the rudiments of learning at Shelburne Community School.”

The Board heard from SCS Principals Pati Beaumont and Allan Miller. Beaumont noted that two weeks of NECAP testing recently wrapped up for third- through eighth-graders. This standardized test is now retired and will be replaced, Beaumont said.

Miller informed the Board of a suicide prevention workshop he and other SCS staffers attended. Miller planned on emphasizing the information so older middle-school students can discuss it at school. He noted people considering suicide feel alone; 12 youth in Vermont annually take their own lives. Middle school students also completed a unit of bullying and harassment; a member of the Burlington Police Dept. will come to the school to speak about cyber bullying.

Current enrollment stands at 770 students. School Board Chair Russ Caffry noted that student population at the school has been “flat” for the last few years and is projected to remain so for the next period. New developments in town aren’t expected to swell numbers, he said.

Caffry also mentioned facilities. Like neighboring Charlotte Central School, Shelburne is taking stock of its school building. Caffry said it is likely that if a bond is need to fund any upgrades, such a vote isn’t likely in the next year. Caffry said the School Board will tackle the proposed budget for the 2013-14 year shortly. The next regular School Board meeting will likely be held in late January or February.

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