Trottier’s planned improvements: More class time, STEM, and Chromebooks; less study halls; no FCS

Above: Superintendent Christine Johnson and Assistant Superintendent Greg Martineau were recent “guest chefs” in Trottier’s Family & Consumer Sciences class. That class will no longer be offered in the fall. (Photo from Trottier’s website.)

This week, Principal Kieth Lavoie walked the School Committee through Trottier’s new School Improvement Plan.

The previous plan covered 2013-15. The updated plan covers the next two school years. Here are some highlights:

  • A new schedule will reduce the number of periods, reducing “transition” time. The shift will add 45 minutes of classroom timer per week (more than 20 hours over the year).
  • Family & Consumer Sciences will be eliminated and STEM teaching increased. (FCS teacher Lauren Infantino is retiring. Lavoie expressed “chagrin” at not being able to continue the popular program. He pointed to financial constraints and that no other teacher is certified. However, he was happy to be adding more STEM instruction. And the plan highlights that the STEM curriculum is being developed in conjunction with WPI.)
  • With an incoming class that’s gotten used to frequent iPad use in the classrooms, Trottier is increasing its classroom access to technology. But it won’t all be apple-driven. The school is incorporating Chromebooks and allowing teachers to decide which suit their classroom/projects best. They will also increase laptops and other technology and online resources.
  • The new schedule will have fewer “study halls”. But it will include some “directed study halls”. According to Lavoie, students will be assigned to a study hall run by one of their subject teachers. This will allow students to get more help and teachers to hold small sessions with students to follow up on lessons.
  • Students who don’t take a foreign language will receive more reading instruction with focus on comprehension and non-fiction.

Superintendent Christine Johnson had more news to share on potential changes at Trottier. She was excited to announce that Southborough Access Media will likely move its studio into the school. 

After several months of investigating its choices SAM chose Trottier as its best option. Now the district is legally required to open a bid process before moving ahead.

SAM is considering Trottier Middle School as their new home. However, the district now needs to open a bid process.

Trottier is holding two meetings for parents about scheduling on Monday, May 18 at 9:00 am and 6:30 pm.

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Resident
7 years ago

I am very sad to see the FCS program go. This program has allowed my kids to learn invaluable lessons that they will carry with them through their lives. This has long been a favorite among the kids and Lauren Infantino is LOVED by all the kids. She makes a life lesson, fun and exciting for these kids. It is a sad day when all we care about are test scores. I would rather the kids have a chance in the day to catch up on homework (study hall) or have a class that will teach them something they can really carry into their everyday life. It gives them a break from the grind of learning, learning, learning. I know they are in school to learn but this class and study hall are different kinds of learning. It is a very sad, sad day for the youth of Southboro.

Southborough Mom
7 years ago
Reply to  Resident

I agree! My high schooler feels bad for his siblings that they’ll be missing out on this elective. Based on what I’ve seen come home from two students, I disagree with the assessment of ‘Reality’ below.

I just hope this new change at Trottier is better than the change to two semesters instead of four terms. Can’t say I’m happy with that one.

Reality
7 years ago

FCS has turned into “bake a mixed box cake” and white dough pizza without healthy toppings. It is a favorite because kids get to do what they want. Sure, there is a need for breaks in the schools day, such as recess, art, & PE. The sad reality is where is this “extra time ” coming from? Smoke & mirrors? Sounds like a way to avoid losing staff when the enrollment drops. Guess we will have to go to the meeting.

Beth D
7 years ago

I am very saddened by the loss of the FCS program at our middle school. As a weekly volunteer for this class, I can attest to the benefits of it, and there are many. To name a few; 1. It is a great stress reliever for our children. One student was so anxious over getting her project done. When I told her that everyone moved at their own pace in sewing class and that she didn’t have to worry, the look of complete relief filled her face. Then it filled with joy when she was told that there would not be a test in sewing class. I will never forget that face! 2. Our childern are adept at working with modern day technology. But some of them are quit lacking in everyday skills. FCS class emphasizes the importance of knowing how to sweep the floor and chop a carrot, thread a needle and cut with scissors. I have wittnessed many of our middle school aged kids stuggling with these simple, everyday skills. 3. Team work is essential in FCS class and it is fostered throughout the entire session. Our childern love being able to help one another accomplish completing their projects. There are many “thank you” and smiles shared.

It is true that the reality of the time and budget restrains do not allow for gourmet cooking or detailed seamtress skills to be taught. But instead, everyday skills that will accually be used thoughtout one’s life are the main focus in this wonderful class. It is sad that with the retiring of this teacher, the program is ending. Will this become the trend? Will we loose tech ed, music, art, gym when those teacher retire too?

Thank you Mrs. I. You will be greatly missed.

Beth D
7 years ago

* please forgive my typos. I’m not adept at typing on a phone as our kids are, lol ;)

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