August 23, 2017

Seekonk Students Head Back to School

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Students in Seekonk will head back to school on August 30 and the school department is busy getting ready for the upcoming year.

“We are looking forward to an exciting and successful school year and we have a number of important initiatives underway,” Superintendent Arlene Bosco said.

A major initiative is a new tuition-free Full Day Kindergarten program that begins this year. Voters at the annual town meeting in June approved $145,000 for the program. The remaining cost was incorporated into the school department budget.

The district is also starting a new preschool program for special education students. “We are excited that a new special education preschool program will also be located at Martin School as well. The development of this program is part of our continuing plan to educate more Seekonk students in their home schools rather than in out-of-district placements,” Bosco said.

Several interim administrators in the district have been appointed permanently. Christopher Jones, who has served as Interim Principal and Kevin Aguiar, Interim Assistant Principal at Seekonk High School are both now permanent. At Hurley Middle School, Interim Assistant Principal Alexis Bouchard, has also been made permanent.

The school district will be increasing its efforts to prevent substance abuse with a new program, Adolescent Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). The district will be conducting voluntary, private and confidential screenings to help identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.  “We have established a trained team that includes the school nurse, school psychologist, adjustment counselors and guidance counselors,” Bosco said. Students in grades 7 and 9 will be screened in the fall and parents will receive further details before the start of the school year.

The district is looking to the future with several studies that are currently being conducted or about to be implemented. Members of the community, parents, staff, students and administrators worked last year and throughout the summer on strategic plan development for the district. Bosco says the administration wants to assure that they have “a clear vision and meaningful, actionable goals so that the district can continue to be successful.” A facilities study was also recently conducted to look at building capacity for projected enrollment increases and in-house program development. The final report is expected to be available within the next few weeks for review.
Last year, an independent special education audit was conducted.  “Overall, the findings were very positive; however, we will continue working on inclusive practices and social-emotional learning this year,” Bosco said.

Finally, in the spring the district will undergo a Coordinated Program Review. Each school district and charter school in Massachusetts receives a Coordinated Program Review by the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education every six years. According to Bosco, it is a major undertaking that assesses a number of areas including Special Education, English learners and Civil Rights.

“Essentially, the overarching goal is to carefully and thoroughly assess our programs, procedures and regulatory compliance,” Bosco said. “We have many great things planned and we are looking forward to another great year!” Bosco added.

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