To the Editor:
Over the last three years, through the combined efforts of the Bristol School Committee, administrators and staff, Bristol Consolidated School has made positive incremental changes in the education of our children.
Now in its third year of operation, the pre-K program is demonstrating the necessity of early childhood education.
Just recently, Duke University examined 13 years’ worth of data showing “that prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs.” A second study out of Kansas shows that when there’s little verbal communication at home (excessive TV watching kills any verbal conversation between child and parent) up to age three and beyond, there can be as much as a 30 million word gap between non-verbal kids and children who grow up in homes with lots of positive conversation. Social interactions and verbal communication are both vital components of our pre-K program.
Unbeknownst to many people, especially our retired citizens, every child from pre-K to grade 8 are using the technology of computers in their studies and research. We are well into the 21st Century. There is also a growing awareness of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as grades 5 to 8 have math and science 50 minutes per day. Grades K to 4 have math 60 to 75 minutes per day.
Our children now have a robotics club, hands on marine science classes at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, math intervention classes and an engineering squad. Our beloved retired Doc MacGregor, a theoretical mathematician, also teaches math enrichment to our scholars.
There’s much more that has happened over the previous years to enhance education at the Bristol school, but that does not preclude our school committee from seeking the highest possible educational attainment possible.
Our staff is undergoing intensive training in the Marzano evaluative method with the goal of heightened academic achievement. Concurrently, the Bristol School Committee and the Bristol Education Association agree to form a student growth study committee, which will examine how much our students have grown academically, according to psychometric tools.
Presently, data indicates that some students have a full year’s academic growth, while others do not. Where predetermined school-wide growth has been established by a teacher committee and pending ratification by the staff, extra compensation is forthcoming.
The Bristol School Committee applauds our teaching staff in reaching this mutual agreement, certainly a courageous and visionary act.
On March 25, we will be having the first meeting of the Bristol Education Long Range Planning Committee which is open to all individuals interested in the education of all of Bristol’s children. Such planning is essential to moving ahead and your support on voting day, March 16 is essential.
Mr. Davidson, who is spearheading STEM education and academic excellence deserved your support as well.