Middle school test scores on the upswing
by Mike Eldred
Apr 25, 2013 | 1110 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- Transportation, improving test scores, and a unique internship opportunity topped discussions at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting.

Twin Valley Transportation Coordinator Heather Dix briefed board members on her proposed bus schedule for the fall semester, when Whitingham and Wilmington elementary students will be attending the newly renovated Twin Valley Elementary School in Wilmington. Dix said the routes in both towns would remain just about the same.

“Right now all three (Whiting­ham) buses meet at Whitingham School at 7:30 am, and from there there’s one shuttle that goes from Whitingham to the high school,” Dix explained. “Next year, I’ll have all three buses arrive at Whitingham no later than 7:25 am and, instead of a shuttle, the buses will drop off middle-schoolers, then head to the high school to drop off, then head to the elementary school – all before 7:50 am, hopefully.”

In Wilmington, the process is reversed. “Wilmington would stay about the same,” Dix said. “Three buses get to the elementary school at about 7:30 am, and two shuttle to the middle school while the other one goes to the high school to pick up (middle school) students and heads to the middle school. That would stay the same for (2014).”

Dix said the afternoon buses would also be about the same as they were this year, although there may be one minor route change.

Board chair Seth Boyd said the board and school should organize informational meetings soon for parents of students involved in the school transition. “I’m sure parents from Whitingham have questions about what happens here (at the elementary school in Wilmington),” he said. “The board’s there for support, but that’s something for the principals to work out.” Middle school principal Keith Lyman agreed. “That’s a good idea, and something we’ve thought about. The PTG (parent-teacher group) is trying to get something together for parents, and we’d like to have (Whitingham elementary) kids come over and start doing some stuff (at DVES).”

In other discussions, Lyman said that middle school students showed marked improvement in their latest scores on the New England Common Assessment Program standardized tests, and the school has taken steps to acknowledge their effort. “I talked with the staff about how to reward them,” he said. “We’re not trying to give them cookies, but they put in a great effort and they did great on the test. So we recognized them with a letter that I mailed out to families of students that scored threes or fours on the test, and gave out certificates to kids in a celebration before the break, and ended it with ice cream and music. We had a blast.”

Twin Valley High School Principal Bob Morse suggested that board members may want to consider updating their internship policy in consideration of a proposal he may soon bring to the table. “The former superintendent from Keene recommended I take a look at a college student from China who is in the United States learning about business for an internship,” Morse said. “She would be a volunteer, working three days in the office at the high school, and two days at the middle school.”

Morse said he was also researching a program that places tuition-paying students from China in US high schools. “I’m looking into finding host homes for three students from China,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity that I think we should take on. I’m excited about it.”
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