Swansea Elementary Principals Talk School Improvements

During this week’s Swansea School Committee, the principals of the Hoyle Elementary and Gardner Elementary presented various concepts for improvement to the committee on various topics both socially and academically.


The committee ultimately decided on voting in favor of the school improvement plans proposed which topically include a new standard implementation for social studies.


“We’re going to implement new social studies and digital literacy standards,” Hoyle Principal William Courville informed the committee. “The state has come down with new social studies standards and we’ve been working diligently on adjusting our curriculum to fit those. For example, in my building at Hoyle, pre-k to second grade is mostly civics-based information.”


Other improvements which Courville eluded to when talking about social studies standards is the concern of digital literacy. This goes beyond the ability to operate a computer and into the realm of teaching young people how to remain aware of what you project in a digital age.


“Digital literacy has been a great addition to the school,” Courville said. “It doesn’t only speak to operating a computer but also digital safety and awareness as well as what it means to be a digital-safe person when you’re utilizing the internet on various devices.”


It is never too early to start building awareness in this area as Courville tells the committee, “Even in first and second grade, they talk about being a digital safe person, which is huge.”


The Gardner Elementary Principal Nicholas Overy, in his presentation addressed the use of collected data and how it is being applied in Swansea. The various improvements proposed don’t come to fruition without observation and study.


“Our school objective is to more effectively use data to improve school achievement and inform decision-making related to our curriculum and instruction,” he told the committee.


“If you look at school-based activities the first two talk about what we're looking for in terms of data and the next two steps are ‘ok, now where do we go with the information?’ I think schools do a great job of collecting data.”


During the session Superintendent of Swansea Public Schools praised both elementary school principals for embracing the new concepts and buying into the idea of progression.


“We focus on the academic assessments when we look at data in my school in Gardner and in the entire Swansea district,” Overy continued. “We look at anything from student engagement in a lesson to a student getting in trouble to even how happy a child is in class. All types of data is collected and assessed.”