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Part
1

HARVARD — The Bromfield
School Principal Thomas
Hall presented an outline
of the state of the school
at Tuesday night’s
School Committee meeting,
from the progress of the
middle school model to
the school improvement
plan.

Hall provided a printed
outline that divided his
subject into five categories:
middle school, curriculum
and instruction, co-curricular
activities, school improvement
plan and other items.

Middle School

In the three years since
the sixth grade moved
from Harvard Elementary
School to Bromfield, the
re-configured middle school
model is working well.
Despite growing pains,
students have integrated
successfully, Hall said.

“Practical guidelines
have been adopted, but
we are not a slave to
the middle school philosophy,”
he said, and cited the
level course structure
of seventh and eighth
grade math as an example.

“It is out of the
ordinary, but it works,”
he said.

Hall said team-teaching
is of great benefit to
the students and teachers.
Teachers meet regularly
to update each other on
what is going on in their
individual classrooms
and to share insights
about the students they
share. Among other benefits,
the team structure aids
students in time management,
he said.

Curriculum and instruction

MCAS leads the list of
subheads here, but Hall
said the high stakes test
is not necessarily the
first priority in this
category, given the district’s
success in achieving top
MCAS scores, including
10th grade results that
are number one in the
state in language arts
and math. Seventh and
eighth grade scores topped
the ladder in language
arts and science, respectively.

“This is a tribute
to our students and our
teachers,” he said.

Still, there are some
students who struggle
and helping them to succeed
is an important goal.

Remediation

Citing the “No Child
Left Behind” act,
Hall said that although
the district’s homogenous
makeup does not warrant
grouping student performance
rates in certain categories,
such as ethnicity, special
education is set aside
for the same type of scrutiny.

“If that population
is not making adequate
progress … we go on
a federal watch list,”
he said. Beyond that concern,
it is not only necessary,
but the right thing to
help struggling students,
he said, including those
who do not have identified
special needs or individual
education plans.

To that end, students
having difficulty in particular
subjects may get assistance
at the Learning Center,
established two years
ago at Bromfield. But
Hall said this is not
an opportunity for average
students to tutor up their
grades. For a student
to receive extra help
at the center, a faculty
member must make the recommendation,
he said.

In addition, a two-year
Math Plus program has
been launched at the school,
geared to MCAS standards,
but supporting the curriculum
as well. Hall said the
program has made a difference,
citing five students who
had did poorly in MCAS
math and who passed the
test last year after completing
the program.

Electives, AP and AP scholars
programs

Based on a recommendation
from the New England Association
of Schools and Colleges
(NEASC), which evaluates
schools for accreditation,
Bromfield is offering
more mid-level electives.

“We’ve made
strides,” Hall said,
citing academic, drama,
acting, art and forensics
courses. Continued Dec.
21.