Wareham school administrators review goals for upcoming year

Oct 25, 2018

One by one, Wareham school administrators touted past successes and outlined their goals for the coming year before School Committee members on Thursday.

“We know what our students can do,” said Decas Elementary School Principal Bethany Chandler. “No matter how good we get we can always get better.”

Principals from all schools, along with department heads and other educators, offered brief reports on educational goals and updates on their annual strategic and school improvement plans. Minot School Principal Joan Seamans said survey results showed a spike regarding teacher confidence in the school’s leadership team. According to the survey, 84 percent of teachers said they feel the team supports and encourages students, up 28 percent from the previous year.

“We are very proud of the progress we have made,” said Seamans.

Looking ahead, she said administrators want to foster student engagement with a new “makerspace” in the library. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent through lessons on science, technology and mathematics. Seamans said she was looking forward to launching a mentor program that pairs middle school students with elementary students. This year, Minot School students moved into a dedicated wing of the middle school after the elementary school was closed.

Wareham Middle School Principal Tracie Cote spoke on several outreach programs students were involved with in the school and community over the past year.

“Our school community is compassionate and so willing to make a difference,” said Cote.

She highlighted a clothing drive, the school’s newly formed chorus and a student project that provided more than 100 families in need with food-filled backpacks every weekend.

“We at Wareham Middle School are a team and we took our goals to heart and created programs that benefited our student population,” said Cote.

Moving forward, administrators said they’re looking to improving science and technology scores by creating new educational benchmarks in those areas.

“We’re taking control,” said Cote. “We’re taking pride in our school.”

School Committee member Mike Flaherty commended Cote for the improvements, but asked about discipline issues at the middle school

“What concerns me is you’re saying you’re not accepting disruptions in the classroom,” said Flaherty. “Why did we before?”

Cote has worked in Wareham schools for 24 years and was promoted to middle school principal this summer. As principal she said, “My number one priority is discipline.”

“‘I’m happy to hear that,” said Flaherty.

In the high school, Principal Scott Palladino said his school’s improvement plan calls for more collaboration between students and faculty. Specifically, student council members will meet with faculty to review the student handbook, plan school events and develop goals. A new initiative Palladino said he was particularly excited about was an expanded peer observation program where teachers watch their colleagues work. While peer observation has happened on occasion through the years, Palladino said he wanted to include all educators.

“It’s always been very positive for those teachers and I wanted to bring it to a larger scale,” said Palladino. “For years it was very frustrating because I’m the only person in the building that gets to see all the teachers in action.”

Palladino said each teacher in the school will now observe one other teacher four times each school year.

“I plan on building on this, it’s not going to be one and done,” said Palladino.