Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 3, 2013
DIS School board gives official approval to Marine Studies Pathway
by Jessica Brophy
After months of discussion and planning by high school principal Todd West, the school board gave unanimous approval to the Marine Studies Pathway model at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 4.
The pathway represents a substantial change from the vocational courses offered in the current marine trades program at the school. As such, superintendent Mark Jenkins noted it would be good for the board to officially approve the move toward the pathway approach.
In the Marine Studies Pathway, the majority of a student’s coursework would be completed in project-based and hands-on learning, much of it outside the traditional classroom. Marine studies will challenge students to meet the same standards-based proficiencies as any other student at the high school and help them be prepared for both college and the workforce.
The board also unanimously approved the acceptance of a $3,000 planning grant from the Maine Educational Loan Marketing Corporation. West said part of that planning money will be used to apply for a larger grant from MELMAC to launch the program.
In other business, Mickie Flores, middle school science teacher, has been selected to become a member of the teacher advisory cohort of the Lunder New Naturalists Program. The project is designed to use technology to connect seventh-grade classes from around the state to meet curricular goals in science and social studies. According to Mike Benjamin’s Principal Report, the project uses Teddy Roosevelt’s time in Maine as a lens through which science and social studies classes should investigate the natural and social history of our state. Flores will be the lead teacher for Hancock County.
Benjamin reported that the Continued Improvement Priority Status plan is near completion. This is the plan negotiated with the state for schools who do not make Adequate Yearly Progress according to No Child Left Behind benchmarks. Benjamin said the plan is already in motion, though it hasn’t been finalized yet. Priority areas of the plan include professional development in literacy, math instruction and data analysis, and student behavior intervention.
West said in his report he and Director of Student Services Sandy Robinson traveled in November to Peninsula area middle schools and hosted Adams School students who might be interested in attending Deer Isle-Stonington High School. West reported that there was “considerable buzz” about the Marine Studies Pathway.