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Newly merged district working to better its schools

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:59 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - School districts across the state are discussing dissolving their mergers as a result of Act 46. But a newly merged district in Central Vermont is bringing in a team to help them get the most out of their merger.

The Washington Central Unified Union School District became a union in 2019, putting five elementary schools and U-32 Middle and High School under the same umbrella. Now, they are starting a Curriculum Management Review to make sure kids are learning the same thing at all their schools.

“A lot of folks want progress, but they don’t want change sometimes. But, it’s a change process and it’s an opportunity to look at our practices and really develop that strategic plan,” said Bryan Olkowski the WCUUSD superintendent.

“There were a lot of inequities,” said Jeanne Collins, the superintendent of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, formed in 2016.

She says they went through a similar process in 2017 and 2018.

“For example, Neshobee School offered a Spanish program, but the other four elementary schools did not. And why? If Spanish, or a foreign language, or a global language is important, why would it only be in one school?” she said.

Collins says districts should help each other out.

“What’s helpful is for districts that have done it to share templates and resources with districts who are coming to that point now,” said Collins.

Olkowski explains now is the time to do this work because the school system will not be the same as it was pre-pandemic and they don’t want to waste time.

“There are going to be some changes about how we think about how we deliver instruction and how we educate all of the children and we really need to start doing that work now,” said Olkowski.

Olkowski expects to receive the curriculum review findings and data in mid-May. The district will then take the next three to five years to assess and begin implementing changes.

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