No, this is not a war-zone image from CNN. This is the second floor of North Smithfield High School where demolition has begun to prepare the way for construction of two new science labs and renovations to three old labs. Throughout the summer, three classrooms on the second floor will be converted to two new science labs. Below these labs, our first floor science labs currently have no ceilings to facilitate bringing up new plumbing and electricity from below. Stacking the labs like this saves a considerable amount of money as well as maximizes available space.
One of the rooms demolished to make way for the new Science Labs was the Art Room. However, a new Art Studio space was created, which is bigger and more suitable than what we had previously.
Kudos to our maintenance staff that performed all the renovations in-house. Our staff removed the old fluorescent lights and installed new high efficiency LED's. They replaced yellowing and aged 50+ year old ceiling tiles with new tiles. They painted the walls, trim, and heating units. To expand storage for art supplies, they re-purposed cabinetry from other parts of the building . They ran plumbing to the new location and installed an over-sized utility sink. They even made space for a kiln.
Begun in March 2019, the NSES classroom addition will be completed in August and ready for our teachers and students and the new school year. The kids attending Camp Phoenix this summer get to see the rapid daily progress being made.
During the 2017-18 School Year, we began the process to define a new Education and Facilities Master Plan which in turn shaped our Necessity of School Construction application to the Rhode Island Department. We needed to position North Smithfield's schools to be eligible to receive reimbursements for construction attributed to the decommissioning of Halliwell and reverse a decade of deferred maintenance.
The NSES classroom addition is funded out of $4,000,000 from the 2014 School Bond. An additional $300,000 (non-reimbursable) is reserved for physically decommissioning and securing Halliwell. The high school science lab construction and renovations, along with future renovations to the high school locker rooms, will initially be funded out of the school department's Fund Balance.
Because we followed this process, North Smithfield is eligible for a minimum of 35% reimbursement from the State. Reimbursements from projects funded through the Town Bond will be applied towards debt service payments on the bond. Reimbursements from projects funded though the school department's Fund Balance will be reinvested in additional (RIDE reviewed and approved) repairs and replacements categorized as "Warm, Safe, and Dry"
Between these major projects and the repairs and renovations being done in-house, North Smithfield's school facilities are looking better than ever and continue to improve.
It is an honor and privilege to share with you several photo albums of our 2019 High School Graduates. They leave us with NSHS ranked as one of the top five public high schools in the State. These 104 NSHS graduates earned approximately 1.2 million dollars in scholarship money for the colleges and universities they will attend this fall, once again showing the value of a North Smithfield education.
Below are some images I took of our seniors over the last couple of days.
Vol. 1: The Ceremony 6/6/2019
Vol. 2: Diplomas! 6/6/2019
Vol. 3: Graduates Celebrate! 6/6/2019
NSHS Senior Walk at NSES 6/5/2019
These images and others are also posted to the North Smithfield Schools Facebook Page for community comment and sharing. Everyone is welcome to subscribe and follow our story.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019! We are looking forward to the Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022............!
We are inviting the community to review and comment on our DRAFT Strategic Plan. Strategic Planning is a process for creating the district’s preferred future. It is a long range planning process for district renewal and transformation for the next 3 to 5 years.
Our plan identifies five Priority Areas. Each Priority Area contains an overarching Goal along with a series of supporting Strategies. It is to these Goals and Strategies that district initiatives, programs, and procedures will connect and be measured.
We have created an online form for you to review our goals and strategies and enter your comments and suggestions: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHOTDdZSETy6jm-eV4bFiDL7ALfblYROMjhaYERDn_rJNkaQ/viewform?usp=sf_link. This form will be open until May 8th.
Additionally, a DRAFT version of the full plan can be viewed at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1SN0KoUsr-FCliOHUFEXa9t83WN2b794o. Thank you for your consideration as we work to improve our schools and support the entire community.
Thank you to the hundreds of parents and students who packed the Middle School cafeteria to learn more about how the Middle School is ready to receive the students from Halliwell when it closes its doors at the end of this school year. Also thanks to those who remained after the presentation to share your ideas how we can make this transition even better.
For those of you in the standing room only section at the back of the cafeteria, here is a link to the presentation slides that may have been difficult to see.
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.