The Eastern Camden County Regional High School District met Wednesday, Oct. 16 for its monthly board of education meeting, with Superintendent Robert Cloutier highlighting two initiatives the district has made progress with in recent weeks.
Since taking over as superintendent earlier this year, Cloutier has met with the other superintendents of the sending districts in order to discuss programs, data and ways to address challenging areas for the communities.
As required by state law, school districts must report certain information, such as testing results, to the public during board of education meetings through presentations. Cloutier, as well as the other superintendents from the sending districts, hopes to be able to create a way to combine such information in a way that is beneficial moving forward.
“We’ve had some discussions about how fruitful it would be for us to bring all the people in our districts together who are involved in looking at and analyzing data and discuss some common ways that we could have a framework that would both serve the purpose of it (providing us) with a better understanding of how all the data works together, as well as have a common framework for how we present the data to the public,” Cloutier said.
Currently, the discussion of such possibilities is still in its beginning stages, with each district gathering the right people to be brought together, with the goal being that such a group can be assembled this year with specific goals down the pipeline.
“Over the past couple years in fact, we’ve really been looking at ways that just beyond sharing what we do as districts, but actually finding ways that we can be aligned even more so,” said Cloutier.
The primary data that will be focused on, according to Cloutier, is standardized data that must be shared with the community. However, Cloutier said secondary objectives are also being identified.
Eastern has focused heavily on chronic absenteeism over the past few years, seeing a drop recently after the implementation of a new bell schedule. Cloutier said by combining statistics, the hope is that Eastern can learn from data points of students in younger years that can be corrected or addressed before reaching high school.
Another topic of discussion among the sending districts was mathematics and looking to update algebra offerings. Previously, Eastern had stated it was looking to update its elective classes to include math themes that can help provide more hands-on learning opportunities for students.
“From the meetings, the idea is, is it possible to have a two-year algebra program beginning in eighth grade?” Cloutier said. “When looking at algebra data under PARCC statewide, that is a concern. When we looked at what other districts were doing, some were doing two-year algebra programs and others were doing larger blocks of math. We were doing larger blocks of math, but we are trying to transition away from that idea.”
Cloutier said the district is looking to offer more electives that support math, while hopefully instituting a two-year algebra program starting in eighth grade, allowing students more flexibility during their senior years after passing the required math courses.
“Being a regional district, it’s certainly a challenge and we didn’t like the grade nine and ten option,” Cloutier said. “That gave the students very little flexibility in their senior years. There is strong support for this from each district’s administrator and teachers, so we’re hoping to see this come to full fruition very soon.”
In other news:
- The board recognized the girls lacrosse team as well as members of the girls spring track team after extremely successful spring seasons last school year.
- Sudhish Devadiga was recognized as Scholar of the Month for October.