School Committee approves writing programs to boost MCAS scores

Jan 19, 2023

Students at Wareham Elementary School and Middle School will soon be learning writing programs intended to improve their MCAS scores.

At its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19, the School Committee unanimously approved the writing programs as part of a school improvement plan presented by all three principals of the Wareham School District.

The principals presented the original school improvement plan on Nov. 8, 2022, emphasizing student choice and emotional wellness to improve sagging test scores and attendance rates.

According to School Committee Chair Kevin Brogioli, the District was asked to revise the plan to add more specific goals and measurable outcomes. 

“I am grateful that you went back and revised,” Brogioli said to the principals. “You added a lot more specifics and accountability and measurable items, so thank you.”

The Elementary School plans to implement an “Empowering Writers” program to improve writing proficiency for third and fourth graders.

According to the school improvement plan, the program could increase third graders’ writing proficiency from 33% to 50%. The program could increase fourth graders’ writing proficiency from 17% to 50%. 

“Is it realistic to jump from 17% to 50%?” Asked School Committee Vice Chair Geoff Swett. “I don’t want you to set yourself up for failure.”

Chandler stood by her goal.

“It's a goal, and goals are goals, they are working to achieve,” she said. “I don’t want to minimize what [the students] are capable of.”

Superintendent Matthew D’Andrea agreed with Chandler, acknowledging the work that has been put toward this goal.

The Middle School plans to improve students’ scores on the written portion of the MCAS by bringing back RUST, a graphic that students use to organize their writing. 

Middle School Principal Traci Cote said that she wants her students’ math, writing and essay scores to improve by 10%.

According to Cote, previous test data showed that her students struggled with writing in every subject.

“If our kids can write and comprehend, that’s what we need them to do,” Cote said.

High School Principal Scott Palladino wants his students’ math and English scores to increase by 10% as well.

Palladino also noted that one of the school’s biggest goals is to improve and maintain attendance rates. 

“We want to maintain at least a 92% [attendance rate] but we hope for better,” he said.