Getting Ready for School Year

With just under four weeks to go until the start of the 2012-13 school year, Superintendent of Schools John Macero said this week that he feels the department is on or ahead of schedule to be ready to accept students when schools officially open on Friday, September 7, 2012.

“Teachers will be reporting in September 4, 5 and 6 this year and we’re doing something different where we’re going to use all of our professional development time at the beginning of the year to address some things and get them ready for the school year,” he explained.

According to Macero, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has introduced new evaluation protocols for teachers, and to help the teachers understand and prepare for the use these new protocols throughout the year, the administration will implement the new protocols during the first three days of the year.

“So we will not be interrupting the school year (for professional development), once classes start,” said Macero.

Information about school start times for all four schools is listed on the school website, but Macero said that the schools will basically maintain the staggered start times that were in place last year, except that the times at the Middle School will be adjusted to keep students in class for 20 minutes longer during each day.

The projected start times for the other three schools are as follows: William Gorman Fort Banks School 8:05 a.m.; Arthur T Cummings School, 8:30 a.m.; and Winthrop High School, 7:50 a.m.

“The change in the school day at the Middle School will be discussed during the School Committee meeting on Thursday, August 9,” explained Macero. As of press time, the projected start time at the Middle School was still listed as 8 a.m.

New teachers

In preparation for the school year, school administrators have been busy interviewing prospective candidates to fill vacancies. According to Macero, the department had 12 vacancies to fill this summer, down from 34 last year, in Macero’s first year on the job.

“Most of the vacancies this year were to replace retirees, we had about eight or nine this year, including teachers and ESPs,” said the superintendent. “Only two or three positions were vacant because of resignations and in those cases, the departing teachers chose to accept other positions for various personal and convenience issues.”

Of the 12 vacancies, only two remain to be filled, but both of those were positions that opened in just the last week or so.

“We lost a high school Spanish teacher who chose to go teach in western Massachusetts and we also had a resignation of a part-time elementary music teacher who left to teach in New Jersey,” explained Macero.

Both positions have been advertised and Macero said he expects they’ll be filled in time to start the school year.

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