On Wednesday, February 6th, North Smithfield Schools and the Rhode Island Island Department of Education met for the initial schematic design review for the new NSHS science labs and renovations.
Even though we submitted science lab concepts and designs as part of our Stage II Application to RIDE, and were fully approved, in Stage III of the project we had to significantly scale back our plans due to hard budget constraints. This in no way impacts our eligibility to receive a minimum 35% reimbursement on construction costs. It just means the final scope and cost of the project will be less than the full amount for which we were approved. This is however, a normal part of the Stage III cycle when designs and pricing firm up in preparation for going out to bid.
Our current science labs are located on the first floor of NSHS (pictured in white above). In our redesigned plans , the existing science labs on the horizontal, center section will be "cleaned up" with new paint, ceiling tiles, lighting, floors, and will benefit from some mechanical, plumbing, and electrical upgrades. The current science labs along the vertical, left hand wing, will no longer serve as science labs and instead will be retrofitted into updated and functional classroom space. The cross-hatched room at the top of the left hand wing will continue to function as a STEM lab. The cross-hatched room at the top of the right hand wing is a possible re-location for our 2D Art Studio.
It is on the second floor, directly above the existing science labs, that we are going to construct two new state of the art science labs. Not only have we designed these labs to accommodate the Biology, Physics, and Chemistry classes of today, but they easily adapt to any program of scientific inquiry demanded in the future. We chose this space because it offers the greatest amount of square footage with the least amount of construction. By stacking the labs above one another, we can consolidate mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems and costs. This configuration basically offers us the most bang for the buck.
We are continuing with project development for the high school science labs and anticipate meeting all RIDE requirements for a final schematic design review. With the current project timetable we anticipate going out for bid the spring and begin demolition and construction this coming summer. Unfortunately work will continue into the autumn, however we are confident that with some creative scheduling and use of swing spaces, instruction will not be compromised. These new labs and refurbished spaces will be a tremendous resource to the NSHS students and a model showing what this fifty year old building is still capable of delivering.
Dear North Smithfield Parents and Guardians,
We are inviting you to lend us your voice on the SurveyWorks Survey.
With your responses to 44 questions, you can help us assess, plan, and prioritize:
We have sent an email to all families who have students attending North Smithfield Schools with the SurveyWorks website address and login information.
For those who have already taken the survey, we thank you very much. To everyone else, we thank you for your support and helping us to continuously improve our schools
Last year, NS Schools produced a Master Facilities and Education Plan in accordance with regulations from the Department of Education and successfully completed:
STAGE I – IDENTIFICATION OF NEED
STAGE II – DEVELOPMENT OF A SOLUTION
This year we are well into:
STAGE III - Design Review and Guidance
Our focus during STAGE III has been on the addition, and other improvements, to NSES as well as upgrading the High School Science Labs. We have had multiple design consultations with our construction managers (Gilbane) and architects (Studio Jaed) and teachers and staff exploring best practices, options, pricing, and ultimately developing the most cost effective, educationally appropriate design to present to the Rhode Island Department of Education for review and approval.
The designs must pass though a series of reviews and meet multiple criteria. I am pleased to announce that we are near final approval for the NSES addition plans.
The plans for NSES call for a four room addition and a bio-retention system to accommodate storm water runoff while nurturing a green space and garden which will be incorporated into outdoor classroom space.
With our NSES design phase and review nearing completion, we are still on track for construction beginning in March and completed by the end of the summer in time to accommodate students who would otherwise have gone to Halliwell for the fourth grade.
Upcoming is our preliminary design review with the Department of Education to review initial plans for the High School Science Lab component of Stage III. The review and approval will allow us to develop the necessary construction and design documents with a goal to have final review approval in time to begin renovations this coming summer.
Our FY20 budget request is available online and being sent to the Town for consideration. It includes an overall 2.16% budget increase which translates into a 4% town appropriation. Please review the FY20 Budget Executive Summary which outlines areas where we have maximized efficiencies, lowered costs, and expanded student supports. This document also outlines areas were costs have increased, the impact of a projected decrease in state aid to education, and the cuts triggered.
While this budget balances fiscal responsibility, operational efficiency, and contractual obligations, we cannot lose focus on our students, school and classroom resources, providing academic opportunities, instructional and social supports, and ensure safe and healthy buildings
We are making progress. On the most recent statewide RICAS assessments, North Smithfield Schools posted the #1 student growth rates in English Language Arts and Mathematics. In fact, North Smithfield Schools consistently ranks near the top in the state across multiple measures and assessments. We have expanded our student supports and intervention. We have developed High School Career Pathways and approved Career and Technical Educational Programs. We are improving our learning environments by renovating our facilities with work completed in-house and leveraging state reimbursements.
In summary, our buildings are looking better than ever. Our students are performing at the highest levels, posting the highest growth rates, and achievement gaps are narrowing. It is my genuine belief that our schools are our strength, and with community support and through continuous improvement, we will grow even stronger.
FY20 Budget Executive Summary:
All FY20 Budget Documents:
The Rhode Island Department of Education has released the new School Report Cards and Accountability Ratings for 18-19. New this year is the School Accountability Rating which evaluates a school’s performance, from traditional measures like test scores and graduation rates, to broader measures like chronic absenteeism for students and teachers. This data then results in a Star Rating for every public school in the state.
With the publishing of the statewide RICAS results, we can now asses our student’s performance for the 17-18 school year.
North Smithfield remains strong in English Language Arts as we consistently rank near the top in the State. Math is problematic state-wide. In comparison to the rest of the state, North Smithfield presents itself admirably in Mathematics rankings.
However, The RICAS is a very rigorous series of assessments and, even though we are well above the state average for the % Meeting or Exceeding the Expectations in both ELA and Mathematics, there is still much work to be done.
One of the most encouraging rankings is our #1 placement in average student growth percentiles in ELA and Math on the RICAS assessment.
For ELA, we attribute our historical strength and growth to the instruction and systems of supports developed between our classroom teachers and our ELA Interventionists over the years.
In Math, until recently, we did not have full time Interventionists. In 16-17, we presented to the School Committee a plan to expand intervention for students in Math and were able to budget and add two full-time Math Interventionists, one at Halliwell and one at NSMS. In 17-18, we were able to add another Math Interventionist at NSMS. Also, due to increasing student needs at NSES, we added another ELA Interventionist. Our Interventionists and classroom teachers work as a team to improve ELA and Math instruction and together are quickly able to identify and respond to students who require extra assistance.
We attribute our #1 statewide ranking in Average Growth for both ELA and Mathematics to our teachers continuously assessing and improving instruction and our ability to respond to individual student needs through intervention.
Analyzing the Data:
While this summary data presents a snapshot of where we stand in the state, it is the supporting data we are most excited about. With the full range of data provided by these assessments, we are better able to identify our strengths and weaknesses across multiple standards and skills, at the school level, grade level, and even at the individual student level.
Our teachers are analyzing the data and adjusting the curriculum and instruction to continue our growth trend and ensure that more and more North Smithfield students will meet or exceed all expectations.
North Smithfield School Department
P.O. Box 72
Slatersville, RI 02876
P: (401) 769-5492 F: (401) 769-5493
Michael St. Jean, Superintendent
North Smithfield Middle School - Room 137
1850 Providence Pike
North Smithfield, RI 02896