East Greenwich Looks to Stay on Top
Yes, East Greenwich has economic advantages that Central Falls doesn’t have. It also has parents, teachers and a community that is involved in the school. These are all reasons for why East Greenwich High School has been ranked as the best high school in the state and one of the top schools in the nation. But, over and above all that, it is a willingness to continue to push boundaries and have a dialogue about re-shaping what it means to have an education.
During the second “Excellence in Education” forum held on Monday, School Superintendent Dr. Victor Mercurio told a group of about 25 residents that the state’s minimum requirements for a 180-day school year and 330 minutes of instruction per school day may inhibit student performance and teaching efficiency.
Mercurio said the School Department is exploring several alternative plans for creating a year-round academic schedule including the use of a four-day school week.
According to Mercurio, other school districts that have shortened their school weeks in an effort to reduce spending witnessed beneficial results relating to student achievement….In addition to a year-round schedule, Mercurio said the department is also examining the use of longer school days and alternative methods of instruction, such as digital devices and social media.
“The bricks and mortar part of school is no longer the essential piece of the relationship between a teacher and a student,” he said.
The idea of “flipping the classroom” (mentioned here before) was also discussed:
…[Assistant School Superintendent Paula] Dillon said other districts have found success by “flipping the classroom,” which essentially means that students use digital devices to experience the lecturing part of their coursework while at home. They then go to school to work hands-on with teachers for problem solving and review work. The educational model is the opposite of how most districts operate with teachers lecturing during the school day, and students working on the subject matter at home, she said.
The overall goal is to make actual instructional hours more efficient and effective. It sounds like it was an interesting and worthwhile dialogue, but it’s really just shooting the breeze until it is actually put into effect.