This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Young Fresh Fellows

Today's Salem News takes an in-depth look at the Merrimack College Fellows Program, which the district is planning to participate in next year.  The fellows will be used to support classroom teachers in the 6th grade at Briscoe, 5th grade at Hannah, and 3rd grade at Centerville, all classes with projected class sizes of 29 or above.  A second fellow will also be used at Centerville to staff the TLC intervention program, which lost one teacher due to the loss of federal ARRA dollars. 
Unlike more traditional programs that place student teachers for only a few weeks or months, the Merrimack students will work in the Beverly schools full time for the entire school year...

...[Superintendent] Galinski said the graduate students are more experienced than traditional student teachers, who are undergraduates and work in the schools for only a few weeks, and some teacher's aides, who only need two years of college.

"These are people that have a bachelor's degree and are working sometimes toward certification in two areas," she said. "It's a nice opportunity for the fellow and for us."...
...Galinski said the fellows will be co-teaching with experienced teachers and providing small group instruction.
"It's not replacing teachers," she said. "It's providing support because we have a larger number of students."
Most community members we have spoken with support the concept as a creative way of dealing with today's budget realities, although some wonder how much say school administrators will have in choosing specific fellows for their schools.

The News also visits the Riverside Elementary School in Danvers, which became one of the first schools in the area to take part in the program which began this year.
Emily Janakas has spent the school year as a fellow at Riverside Elementary School in Danvers, where she helps out as a special education aide. Janakas, a 22-year-old Lynnfield resident, enrolled in the fellowship program after earning her undergraduate degree in elementary education last June.

"It's definitely been an intense year," she said. "It's been challenging, but I have an excellent support system at Riverside and at Merrimack. I've learned so much this year I can't even describe it. It's furthered my passion for teaching."
[Note: Kudos to any readers who get the post title reference.]

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