Mark Garceau – Westerly School District
1. What’s the number one thing parents and students should know about this district this year?
That its a great time to be a Bulldog!
In addition to great kids, Westerly has outstanding teachers and principals who are looking forward to welcoming them back in a few short weeks. Our teachers are excited to be launching both a new English Language Arts curriculum and a 1:1 computer initiative that will put new laptops into the hands of all entering freshmen at Westerly High School.
2. What is the biggest challenge your district faces?
Like so many districts Westerly is in need of significant upgrades and improvements to our school buildings. In response, Westerly residents will have the opportunity this October to vote on a referendum question which if (when) it passes, will result in our building a new, state of the art upper elementary school and important safety and instructional program- supporting enhancements at our other schools.
3. What is the vaccination rate for your district and what is your policy for opting out? Have you seen a spike or decline in the number of parents opting out over the last two years?
For Kindergarten students our most recent rate for immunizations is 96%. We do allow for religious and medical exemptions, but have a very small number of families who choose to opt out.
4. Some school districts in the state are banning electronic devices/cell phones. What is your current policy? Do you have plans to also ban electronic devices? If so, why?
We do not ban electronic devices. We recognize that smartphones and other such electronic devices, when used responsibly, are potentially very powerful tools for accessing information and engaging in learning. We would never win the war against cell phones, but we can teach kids what it means to be present and what it means to be a responsible digital citizen.
5. Tell us something nobody knows about your district.
That Westerly continues to strengthen its academic programming, that our visual and performing arts programs are unmatched in the state, and that with excellent teachers, strong leadership and soon-to-be outstanding facilities, WPS is poised to be a leader in the pursuit of improved outcomes and opportunities for all of our community’s children.
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