Welcome back to school!
It has been very exciting to visit the schools this week and see teachers and students back together again. In visiting classrooms, I saw old friends and new. Otter Valley Unified started elementary school choice as an option this year, and 20 students (18 families) have chosen to attend a different school in the district. This is a great opportunity that our Act 46 merger allowed. In addition, we were able to retain more teachers and allow for voluntary teacher transfer, even as the budget reduced positions. All of this makes RNESU and Otter Valley Unified Union the place to be!
Another benefit of the merger this year was the ability to create more opportunity for elementary summer programs and include more students. Leicester Alive opened its doors to students from Sudbury and Whiting this summer. Both Leicester Alive and Neshobe Soar partnered with Brandon Recreation to create full day enrichment opportunities for over 80 elementary students, including the Lothrop program and were able to serve 1312 breakfasts and 1255 lunches over the 5 week programs. I am very excited about these opportunities for students and families!
Otter Valley Unified has spent the summer focusing on a new framework for behavioral expectations. Positive Behavior Supports (PBIS) is a nationally researched approach that helps to set clear expectations for student behavior, explicitly teaches these expectations and consistently responds to behavior issues. Data is collected and used for system improvement. Lothrop Elementary has been using PBIS for the past few years.
Otter Valley is also opening this year with a new middle school model. Geoff Lawrence, OV Associate Principal, is overseeing this model. Watch for more information coming out and for opportunities to celebrate student learning throughout the year.
We have two new principals this year. Thom Fleury and Rod Driscoll are co-principals of our small schools, Leicester, Whiting and Sudbury. Also, Whiting and Sudbury have merged into one school, 2 campuses with a new name: Learning Academy at Whiting and Sudbury. Whiting will serve grades PreK to 2 and Sudbury serves grades 3-6.
The climate survey last spring was a great success and we generated some wonderful feedback. In future articles, I will delve into those topics and share along the way.
There is so much more to share but for now, I will pause. I do want to remind you all that you can learn more about our schools by watching Spotlight on RNESU on PEG TV (link on school websites). We tape this show monthly to highlight different aspects of our schools. Please tune in or watch a podcast!
For now, I just say, “Welcome back. We are glad you are here.”