Editorial: Highs and lows from last week

Editorial: Highs and lows from last week

Congratulations to teachers, students and families of Chariho High School and the Charlestown, Hope Valley, and Richmond elementary schools for earning the statewide status of commended based on standardized tests issued by the state. Schools had to achieve 90 or higher to earn the highest status. The middle school and Ashaway Elementary fell just short of the 90 points needed for the commended. The list of commended schools was released Thursday.

Westerly Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau is keeping quiet about whatever happened with high school football coach Duane Maranda. Garceau admitted Thursday he had been investigating the football program and on Friday said his probe was complete and all was back to normal. “The coach will be back as of tonight,” Garceau said Friday, indicating the coach apparently had been suspended for some period of time. “It is an internal matter and time to move on,” Garceau said. So now the greater community of taxpayers is left wondering what happened while the high school community is free to disseminate various versions of a story rather than having the facts aired for all.

Westerly is getting closer to establishing an Airport Hazard Overlay District to address zoning and development issues in the neighborhoods surrounding Westerly Airport. A draft of the regulations went before the Town Council last week and revisions will continue to be made. This has been a long process and should address issues of fairness between residential neighbors and patrons of the airport.

Charlestown has been deemed an “affected community” regarding the Invenergy power plant proposed for Burrillville. The status means residents can weigh in on the proposed plant at a public hearing to be held in town at a date to be determined. The state Energy Facility Siting Board’s decision to let Charlestown have a say in the plant is based on a contract between the plant and the Narragansett Indian Tribe calling for the tribe, located in Charlestown, to provide water to the plant if operators determine they need additional cooling capacity. The water would be drawn from the local aquifer, from which Charlestown residents, and others in surrounding towns, get their water. This was a key decision for Charlestown and the region.

The Chariho High School-Community partnership holds promise for bringing the students and community and businesses together to the benefit of all. This latest initiative by the Chariho Regional School District is intended to connect parents with teachers and the school district with local businesses for internships and other initiatives. “Community-school partnerships have the potential to dramatically improve the educational offerings at the high school,” said superintendent Barry Ricci. It’s an effort that goes beyond the traditional PTA concept, according to partnership chair Nicole Weeks, a special education teacher at Chariho. “The high school wanted to start something like a PTO or a PTA, but not a traditional PTO where they fundraise,” Weeks told us. “We wanted to get more meaningful partnerships between parents, the community and the school.”


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