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MHS Submits Progress Report to Accrediting Agency

NEASC required the special progress report after the school was given warning status earlier this year.

Melrose High School has submitted its progress report to NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges), outlining how the school is addressing areas of concern that resulted in the school being .

NEASC's Commission on Public Secondary Schools will review the report before voting on the school's status in the two warning categories: Curriculum and Community Resources for Learning.

In May 2011, NEASC informed Melrose High School officials that the school had earned reaccreditation, but had also regarding the lack of a curriculum alignment plan, crowded classrooms and the aging building's condition.

That warning status required the school to submit the special progress report delineating how the school is addressing those areas of concern and classifying the recommendation as "Completed," "In Progress," "Planned for the Future," "Rejected," or "No Action."

In its May 20 letter to school officials, NEASC specifically asked for the special progress report to address seven areas. Below are NEASC's requests in bold, followed by the report's status and highlights from the report. A PDF of the full report is attached to this article; it can also be downloaded from the Melrose Schools' website.

Submit the school's formal plan and timeline to align the curriculum with the academic expectations for learning.

Classification: In Progress

  • Standardized template for course syllabi developed and presented to MHS leadership team in May 2011, based on work begun by English and foreign language departments.
  • Review by department chairs of curriculum documents and contents of Atlast curriculum mapping software, with full report on state of each department's curriculum documentation completed on Oct. 21.
  • Work began on Nov. 8 on action plan stipulating by end of year, every course will have a syllabus meeting requirements of the template with teachers posting supporting documentation to Atlas.
  • Currently completed updated documents for: Family and consumer, social studies, wellness, foreign language and English; and 90 percent of science and math courses, with remaining math and science courses completed by June 1.
  • Existing course syllabi aligned with new common core standards, and work begun to align assessments in each course to school-wide learning expectations designated for course.
  • Walkthrough protocol implemented to ensure alignment between written and taught curriculum.

Provide sufficient instructional materials, including textbooks, for the implementation of the curriculum.

Classification: In Progress

  • End of last school year, $45,900 allocated to purchase math, science and history textbooks; $5,000 allocated for ELL materials; $2,400 spent on new graphic calculators; $10,328 spent on 111 new student desks. Fiscal 2012 budget includes $28,279 increase in textbook funding.
  • This school year, foreign language department purchased two Smart response systems, a receiver, three document cameras, 15 voice recorders and batteries for $7,895.
  • New textbooks purchased for CP II Biology, CP I Environment Science, Physical Science and Honors Physics. Search for a new Chemistry textbook underway, with recommendation made to School Committee by April 30.
  • Donation of $75,000 to high school being matched by city, used to purchase three mobile iPad carts with 30 iPads each and an additional 11 teacher iPads to upgrade foreign language lab.

Develop a plan to ensure an adequate and dependable source of revenue to provide and maintain a variety of areas for student learning.

Classification: In Progress

  • Ongoing plan to continue to advocate for additional funding. Draft budget for next school year includes 2.4 percent increase in funding, total of $2,723, for non-salary line items.

Develop a plan to repair or replace the leaking roof immediately.

Classification: Completed.

  • City replaced 46,000 square feet of the original roof, with assistance from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (SBA), at approximate cost of $600,000.

Provide a timeline to resolve all facilities issues identified in the evaluation report.

Classification: In Progress

  • Mayor Rob Dolan announced commitment to a proposed $5.5 million in spending to address all facilities issues, from renovating bathrooms, painting, implementing wireless Internet to support technology; and conversation of Resource Center to a Technology Center.
  • HVAC: Roof-top units have exceeded life expectancies. Upgrade scheduled to begin in spring or summer of 2013, with preliminary costs between $1.2 and $1.5 million.
  • Hood vents: All hoods vents except for one are currently fully functional, science lab with non-functional vent has a second, fully-functional vent. City pursuing funding through SBA to upgrade science classrooms and labs.
  • With roof replacement complete, work has commenced repairing walls and replacing ceiling tiles, vents ducts, mopboards and other items.

Assess the facility for safety concerns, with particular attention given to hallways and exists for emergency evacuations and make appropriate.

Classification: Completed

  • School required to pass inspection performed by building inspector each August, most recent certificate of inspect issued on Aug. 23, 2011.
  • Melrose Fire Department inspected building and found no issues with hallways or exits.
  • Since beginning of school year, four informal walk through safety evaluations completed in partnership with Fire Department.
  • Assistant Principal and School Resource Officer evaluated, compared to 11 other schools and updated the school's evacuation, lockdown and shelter-in-place procedures.

Evaluate the performance of the cleaning company to keep the school environment consistently clean and conducive to teaching and learning.

Classification: Completed

  • Contractor has submitted documents including updated insurance certificates name City of Melrose as additional insured; materials Safety Data Sheet packaged prior to changes of cleaning products; Names of all cleaning staff at the high school and names of any substitute cleaners; and more.
  • Director of facilities will continue to hold monthly on-site meets with contractor's area manager to review quality of cleaning; quarterly on-site meetings with contractor's president; planning sessions prior to start of each of the four school vacations; and more.

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