With one week left before students head back to school, Eastern Regional Superintendent Robert Cloutier is excited about the upcoming year and happy with the progress the school made on summer projects.
Eastern’s board held its last summer meeting on Aug. 22, with a routine agenda to tie up loose ends before hallways are once again packed with students.
‘I’m very pleased with the progress we made (over the summer) as soon as school ended when it comes to the HVAC systems,” Cloutier said. “The majority of the work will be completed before the students return (and) some classrooms and areas will have work done throughout September during after-school hours.”
The district budgeted $13-million for updating classrooms with HVAC systems, front parking lot and solar panel reconstruction, painting and general maintenance. Work on the parking lot panels was completed earlier this month, but the project awaits some necessary electrical wiring before panels are up and running.
Cloutier does not expect the parking lot work to be an issue at the school, since there are ample areas set aside for students and staff and work be done when no one is on campus.
The district also made staffing a priority. One area in which Eastern struggled was hiring science teachers for classrooms that were overfilled last year. At present, the superintendent noted, all full-time teaching roles are filled.
“We’re in a good position,” he added. “It has been difficult to fill positions when staff has to take a leave of absence. It is (hard) to fill a role for a month or two months … That is where the challenges come in.”
Cloutier also gave a brief presentation on district goals for the upcoming school year, calling them “strategic directions.” They are:
- Strategic Direction 1: Support a positive and equitable school culture and climate that fosters resiliency, voice, and agency among students, staff, and stakeholders.
- Strategic Direction 2: Create a sustainable, comprehensive, and multimodal approach to provide social and emotional support for the entire district community.
- Strategic Direction 3: Provide engaging, high-quality instruction and learning experiences for students to support both academic rigor and equitable opportunity and develop life skills.
- Strategic Direction 4: Provide a safe and secure learning environment adapted to the 21st century, namely educational expectations, using efficient and sustainable facilities and infrastructure.
Cloutier looks forward to engaging students in the new year and keeping student attendance at sporting events and social activities high.
“We want to make school enjoyable,” he said. “That’s what (it’s about).”