Principals Make School Budget Pitches
Barrington's principals make requests to the School Committee for 'common core' materials and resources, more technology, and more teachers and math specialists.
More materials and resources to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), more educational technology, and several more teachers and math specialists are the top budget priorities for Barrington’s principals.
The principals made brief budget presentations to the Barrington School Committee Thursday night, Jan. 3, as the 2013-14 budget-preparation season started.
Their priorities align closely with the recently adopted strategic plan for the schools, said Superintendent Michael Messore.
The elementary principals -- Jim Callahan at Sowams, Tracey McGee at Hampden Meadows, and Tracey Whitehead at Nayatt -- presented their priorities in tandem. Paula Montesi at Primrose Hill did not attend.
Callahan asked for another second-grade teacher. Whitehead asked to drop a third-grade class. McGee anticipates no changes. Neither does Montesi, Callahan said. Their requests for teachers offset each other.
All four principals want more “common core” resources and technology. The standards have been adopted by most states, including Rhode Island, to provide an understanding of what students are expected to learn. They are also designed to be relevant to the real world and to reflect the knowledge and skills that young people will need for success in college and careers.
Andrew Anderson, the middle school principal, asked for another eighth-grade teacher and a math-intervention specialist. He made a particular pitch for more technology.
“We’re already using the technology we have to the maximum,” he said. “And it’s not much.”
Barrington High School Principal Joseph Hurley asked to boost a half-time math specialist to full time while asking for more “common core” materials and more technology, including more virtual-learning, which was started this year.
How the principals would pay for the new positions or any of the new technology or instructional resources did not come up. No one on the school board asked that question of them either.
Messore added that although the principals’ presentations were relatively short, “there was a tremendous amount of work done behind the priorities.”
Regarding the technology, in particular, he said, it must be considered as support for all of the other priorities, particularly the "common core" and classroom instruction and student assessment.
In particular, Messore said: “You must appreciate the difference between hard copy and digitized information for assessment. With the latter, we can respond quickly with a larger amount of information.”
Paula Dillon, director of curriculum and instruction, said that technology also ties directly into the professional development of teachers, who could also literally work from home.
“The question they ask is when can we get access to more technology,” Dillon said.
All of the principals are expected to be asked to return to a future meeting for questions on their priorities as the new school budget is fleshed out over the next few months.