Middle School’s Schedule & Program Of Studies To Be Reviewed, Changes Likely

WILMINGTON, MA — At a recent Wilmington School Committee Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand announced the formation of a committee to review the Wilmington Middle School’s current schedule and program of studies, and offer suggested improvements.

“We are currently gearing up for a principal search that will lead to the selection of the school’s next permanent (and hopefully long-term) principal,” Brand wrote in a memo he summarized for the School Committee. “However, given concerns regarding the schedule and program of studies, and the fact that any such programmatic changes have been at a standstill given the leadership situation over the past few years, I do not think it’s in the school’s best interests to wait any longer to begin a review process.”

Brand noted that if the review process didn’t start now, and waited for the next principal, any necessary substantive changes to the school’s budget or staffing likely couldn’t be implemented until the 2021-2022 school year, three years from now.

Brand outlined the following timeline:

  • End of January 2019 — Call for volunteers
  • February 2019 — Volunteer committee forms to gather information on (1) current research regarding effective middle school schedules and optimal programs of study; (2) staff feedback regarding current strengths and weaknesses of the school schedule; and (3) information on surrounding and progressive (innovative) middle schools and their schedules and programs of study.
  • June 2019 — Committee reports on findings with the middle school staff and Central Administration.
  • July/August 2019 — The new principal and committee will review findings and begin to initiate next steps regarding possible changes, opportunities, and resources needed.
  • October 2019 — Schedule and program of studies changes and recommendations presented to the staff, community and School Committee for feedback.
  • November/December 2019 — Schedule and program changes finalized and approved by the Superintendent.
  • School Year 2020-2021 — New schedule and/or program changes go into effect.

While concerns regarding the current schedule and program of studies weren’t specified, Brand noted a misalignment existed in some areas with “what the desired middle school program and learning experience ought to be in order to best serve the needs of the district’s middle school students.”

Brand wants changes that consider “best practices in the research around what optimizes a child’s middle school education experience and the type of scheduling that best facilitates teaching and learning for the young adolescent.”

School Committee member David Ragsdale praised Brand for starting the review process now, rather than waiting for the next Principal to start in July.

(NOTE: Cover photo is from Airgoz Aerial Photography/Jamie Boudreau.)

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