Roundup of school news: Discrimination filings, SAT results, enrollment, and safety plans

Above: Algonquin Regional High School (Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

I have several stories I want to share about our schools, and more still coming in. Since I don’t have the capacity to fully cover them all, here is a summary of some of the recent events, news and headlines.

Safe School Readiness forum
On September 23rd, Northborough/Southborough schools held a safety forum for parents and the public. There was a low turnout for the event, so I assume most of you missed it.

With help from the police chiefs and a special guest expert, Assistant Superintendent Christine Johnson introduced the new safety model for the district, ALICE.

Lt. Scott Sencabaugh’s presentation focused on the change from obscure alert codes and mandatory lock downs to open communication and the empowerment of staff and older students to make safety decisions when necessary.

Some examples –  if teachers know a shooter is on the other side of the building, they can decide to quickly evacuate their classes and bring them to a safe area.  And if a room is invaded by a shooter, teachers (and older students) can defend themselves by throwing items and lunging, rather than sitting against a wall like targets.

In answering questions, Johnson made it clear that adoption and training of the new model are still in process. The older students had not been introduced to it yet. And staff is still working on what version and information will be share with younger students.

The event was recorded and promised to be aired on Southborough Cable. (Unfortunately, it’s not up or listed on the schedule yet, so I can’t provide a link.)

Northborough/Southborough: Algonquin avoids enrollment spike – from The Metrowest Daily News:
For the first time in a few years, administrators at Algonquin Regional High School haven’t been blindsided with unanticipated enrollment spikes, Superintendent Charles Gobron said Wednesday. (read more)

Algonquin SAT scores: Test takers up, results slightly down but higher than most of region 
The Metrowest Daily News reported SAT results for the state. Unfortunately, their pdf is blurry and the stats quoted in article appear to be off.

They reported that Algonquin’s numbers are up from last year by 19 points to 1713. That implies that we had a mean score of 1694 in 2012. In fact, their 2012 report showed Algonquin’s mean at 1721, 8 points higher than this year. (Or 1 point per additional student who took the test this year.)

Because I know that many of you like to compare to other schools in the area, I’ll share that ARHS’ mean score was significantly higher than most neighboring towns/schools: 38 higher than Shrewsbury, 28 higher than Hopkinton, and 400 higher than Assabet Valley. Westborough’s mean was close. (I honestly couldn’t decipher whether the chart listed their mean math score as 563 or 567, putting their overall mean at 1712 or 1718.)

Below are the scores I compiled from MWDN’s reports, along with the changes. For their full story, click here.


Discrimination Filings in the Boroughs  from NorthboroughPatch:
Equal access to education is not a forgone conclusion in the Boroughs.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that during the past 5 years, the Northborough and/or Southborough school district has had numerous of civil rights complaints filed against it with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on the basis of disability discrimination. Additionally, a complaint was also filed in 2013 for discrimination on the basis of national origin when the school district failed to provide a copy of the student’s individual education plan in a language the parent could understand. (read more)

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