I wanted to take a moment to address the BDN articles regarding the graduation of a student and our graduation policy. While I cannot discuss particular students due to FERPA, it is important to know that we need to follow all legalities to earn a high school diploma. When any student marches and receives a diploma, it is in the state statute that marching across the stage and receiving your diploma, signifies the end of a students' programming at the school department. Our policy has always stated that students need to meet the requirements and pay fees and fines, in order to participate in the ceremony. The IEP team decides if special education students are to finish in four years, five years or six years. We will continue to honor the IEP decisions as to when a special education student has completed their program.
As for the graduation policy and teacher survey, the Brewer School Department values the education that we provide all students following best practices that allow all our students to succeed. While this is a difficult process whenever you change policy, we want to make sure we do this slowly and correctly for all students. The school committee took action to postpone a vote, to make sure we were doing this the right way for all students. We value our teachers and the work they do with our children as they provide meaningful learning experiences based on clear, effective learning goals and multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning. We will continue to work on our graduation policy as we gain additional feedback to effectively meet the needs of all students. Once that additional feedback is received, the policy will move forward for a second reading.
I thank you for believing in the Brewer School Department and valuing all the programming we provide our students. At the end of the day, it is about what is best for children and their learning.
Dr. Cheri Towle
Superintendent of Schools