Update on ARHS curriculum changes: School listening, working on revised plan

Since Algonquin Regional High School announced curriculum changes planned for next year, the school has recieved a lot of criticism from parents. Now Principal Tom Mead has released a statement promising to revise the plan.

At last week’s APTO meeting, Mead spoke to parents and answered questions.

I was unable to attend the meeting. Through social media, I learned:

  • The school was contacted by the Department of Education in September with instructions that they need to comply with the physical education requirements in the next school year.
  • Parents pointed out that DOE regs don’t require those courses to be the same number of hours as a regular course. (See paragraph two on linked page.)
  • Parents asked for the school to find a compromise measure that allows students to still take their planned electives like music and AP courses.
  • Some parents are hoping to address the Regional School Committee about their concerns at their next meeting on February 26. (It is scheduled for 7:30 pm at ARHS. No agenda posted yet.)

When I asked the Superintendent’s office for information, they asked for a few days to get back to me.

Yesterday, Principal Mead released the following statement to parents. He wrote that they are listening to parents and hoping to share a revised plan within a week.

Mead promised that they are working to provide a solution with options for the “most affected” students, sophomores and juniors:

To the parents and students of the classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017:

This is in regard to proposed changes to our required courses in physical and health education.

We are working collaboratively to address the concerns expressed at last week’s APTO meeting as well as respond to the emails and telephone calls received with respect to the health and physical education requirement. Our plan, which will be announced as soon as possible, will constitute the corrective action that is required to fulfill our compliance with a four-year health and fitness requirement as stated in the Coordinated Program Review Audit. In order to comply with this request, a plan must be in place no later than September of 2014.

Our first concern, as always, is to meet the needs of all of our students. What is in the best interest of all students? We have reached out to legal counsel to interpret the language provided to us by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Coordinated Program Review audit and Massachusetts General Law. We are in a transition. We are actively pursuing a solution that will provide students who are most affected by the recent addition of a semester of physical education, our current sophomores and juniors, with options. These options will allow them to access the same curriculum and provide the opportunity to demonstrate they will meet substantial compliance and equity of instruction and content during this transitional period.

We are listening and appreciate your feedback. We look forward to sharing the outcome of our review and discussions – the plan – within the next week. Please note that while we will address this specific scheduling issue, additional conflicts may arise as part of the normal process of the scheduling. Invariably, they often do. We are fortunate that our students continue to seek rigorous academic programs of studies, elect options that provide them with life-long learning experiences, and pursue interests that will fulfill their college and career readiness plan. We are here to assist each student to develop a program that reflects their priorities and interests to the greatest extent possible.

Thank you,

(Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

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Just Curious
9 years ago

I appreciate the great job Mr. Mead does as ARHS principal.

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