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~ Revere School Committee Roundup ~

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By Barbara Taormina


Expanding Islamic education

  The Revere School Committee approved the expansion of The Islamic Education School of Revere at their meeting this week. Although TIES is a private, religious school, the committee still must approve its operation and growth.

Currently, TIES offers kindergarten through grade two and has an enrollment of 14 students. Administrators plan to offer kindergarten through grade five and expect enrollment to climb to about 60 students. TIES hopes to eventually expand to offer high school level courses.

TIES curriculum and assessments are aligned with state standards, and daily schedules and school calendars mirror those of the Revere School District. Students also receive instruction in Arabic language taught by native Arabic speakers, the Qur’an and Arabic culture and traditions.

TIES is supported by the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, which states that its educational programs are meant to “resolve the dilemma Muslim parents were facing in providing their children with a strong academic background, yet protecting them from the public-school environment in which Muslim children might be exposed to influences seriously threatening their proper moral development.”


Clock is ticking on new high school

Brian Dakin, senior project manager for the new Revere High School, was at the School Committee meeting this week with a message – it’s time to decide. Dakin went through the pros and cons of two proposals: building on the existing site and building at Wonderland. Dakin stressed that Revere has stretched the planning and design process as far as it can go, and a decision needs to be made. And according to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), it must be agreed upon by the High School Building Committee, the School Committee and the City Council by the end of this month. Dakin told committee members that every significant delay in the planning process means an additional $25 million a year in construction costs.

The committee agreed to schedule another January meeting to vote and stay on schedule.


Special Education redesign

A team from the Special Education Department was at the School Committee meeting this week to present their work redesigning the district’s Special Education program. Speakers explained that programs were being renamed to highlight supports and goals rather than disabilities. For example, the program for low cognitive students will now be known as Propel; the life skills program is now Ascend.

Small group classes are being regrouped and relocated to offer students more consistency, opportunities and options. The long-term goals are more inclusion at Revere High and more high school graduates.

The Redesign Team said their next step is meeting with administrators to work out logistics. The full redesign will then be presented to the committee and then to the public.


Portable classrooms

Committee member John Kingston proposed that the committee ask the administration to move forward with a plan to add portable classrooms at Revere High. Kingston said the need for the classrooms was apparent years ago and has become more urgent. “The high school is bursting,” said Kingston, adding that the most recent attendance report showed 150 new students enrolled.

“I feel we’re running out of room here,” said Kingston, adding that the committee would only be voting to say this is something to move forward.

But Superintendent Diane Kelly said city officials were working on it and seeking estimated bids.


The presidential primary

The School Committee declined to vote on John Kingston’s proposal to cancel school on the upcoming presidential primary.

Superintendent Dianne Kelly said teachers were offered the option of having a Zoom professional development day but they rejected that offer because they have already completed the required number of professional development days. Committee Vice-Chair Jacqueline Monterroso proposed giving teachers the day off with pay, but Kelly said that would cost $500,000 with no benefits to students.

Mayor Patrick Keefe, Jr., chair of the committee, questioned why there couldn’t be school on primary day. “A federal primary in March, we’re talking 2,500 ballots cast,” said Keefe, adding that the primary is something schools and the Election Department could arrange.

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