WOOD RIVER JCT. — Members of the Chariho School Committee had their first discussion Tuesday of the latest standardized test results, released by the state Department of Education on Nov. 29.
Assistant Superintendent Jane Daly presented an overview of the results of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System, which was administered for the first time in Rhode Island last May to students in Grades 3 to 8.
The test is modeled on the Massachusetts state test, MCAS, and not unexpectedly, Rhode Island students did not perform as well as their Massachusetts counterparts.
Daly explained that in the Chariho school district, results were, in most cases, better than the state averages.
Districtwide, in English language arts, 54 percent of students are meeting or exceeding expectations. In mathematics, 44.8 percent of students are meeting expectations.
Statewide, the average score for students meeting or exceeding expectations in English is 33.7 percent. In math, at the time of the test, the average is 27 percent.
Conceding that there is still plenty of room for improvement, Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said administrators were already implementing an action plan to bring Chariho scores up to Massachusetts levels.
“I am asking each school to find their school’s demographically comparable counterpart in Massachusetts,” he said. “That will form the basis for comparisons. So we’re in that process now.”
Charlestown Elementary School is currently looking at a school in Ipswich and Richmond school is looking at a possible comparison with a school in Wellesley.
Daly said a report on the test results would be sent home with students this week.
“Those will be sent home this Friday at all of the schools,” she said. “Next, we’re meeting with the principals. We’re going to be meeting with individual principals and we’re also going to a new meeting with them as a whole group this Friday.”
The committee approved the five-year strategic plan for the school district, a document that will guide all school programs. Dubbed Vision 2023, the plan is the result of three meetings of the school faculty, staff members and administrators, community members, parents, students, School Committee members and other elected officials.
The plan sets out six priorities for the next five years. Those include the goal of every Chariho student meeting or exceeding state test performance standards; healthy and safe learning environments; and a greater emphasis on global citizenship, with more students becoming proficient in foreign languages.
Hopkinton committee member George Abbott voted against approving the plan.
“I am generally opposed to this because of the reference to globalism, which in my opinion, is not good for the United States,” he said. “In other words, it’s more in favor of the world as a whole, disregarding our needs as a nation.”
The committee approved the plan, with fellow Hopkinton member Sylvia Stanley addressing Abbott's argument.
“I think training children to accept other cultures, we remain Americans, but to be able to work in a country like Japan or wherever they wanted to go, I think that it’s important for them to do that, so I don’t have any concern about global understanding for children,” she said.
The committee approved a memorandum of agreement with the state Department of Education Building Authority, which has authorized $370,270 in state aid for a redesign of the entrance to Richmond Elementary School to make the student drop-off area safer.
“This is not free money,” Ricci said. “It’s just a different way of reimbursing us on our housing aid. Instead of waiting two years for the money to come in, we get it in real time. We submitted the Richmond school project for their consideration and Richmond school was approved.”
The work must be substantially completed by Dec. 31, 2019.