Marlboro School Profile
The Marlboro School serves kindergarten through eighth grade students in the town of Marlboro and is located in the southernmost part of the Windham Central Supervisory Union (WCSU). Currently 89 students attend the school. An additional 10 preschoolers receive education through a collaborative arrangement with local preschools, which is supported by the Marlboro School District under Act 62. Of the 89 students, 44% qualify for free or reduced price meals, up from 38% last year. Due to numbers and philosophy the school is organized into multiage classrooms with a kindergarten, 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, and 7th-8th grade configuration.
Marlboro is typical of many small, rural Vermont schools. In the early 1990’s our enrollment peaked at 115 students. After that it declined to a low of 75 students during the 2003-2004 school year. Now, bucking trends elsewhere, we are growing once again, but in a small town it is difficult to make accurate projections as to future growth.
In terms of governance we are our own school district and are overseen by a locally elected school board. The school enjoys a good reputation in the larger community and is a source of pride to townspeople. In the past we have attracted parentally placed tuition students from nearby towns and currently have 5 such students enrolled.
Although part of the Windham Central Supervisory Union (WCSU), we are isolated geographically and there are a number of ways in which we operate independently. Out of eight elementary schools we are the only one serving kindergarten through eighth grade. We have no designated high school. After eighth grade the town pays tuition, which families may use either for a public high school education or to put towards the cost of a private school. We are also independent of the supervisory union in our business practices as we manage our own budget and bookkeeping. We own and run our own school busses. Resources we receive from WCSU are Special Education and services from the superintendent and technology coordinators.
Marlboro has an exceptionally committed staff with little turnover. We have a strong connection with the graduate program in education at Antioch New England. This is a great asset in attracting highly qualified teachers. Several of our teachers received their Master’s degrees there and we often have student interns from Antioch. We are developing a similar relationship with the Spark Teacher Education program. In addition, all of our classroom teachers currently hold Highly Qualified designation from the state of Vermont.
All professional staff has participated in the development and implementation of our local assessment plan. This plan is grounded in a definition of Learning Realms and creation of student portfolios that reflect students’ learning in these realms. 8th graders graduate after the successful completion of their portfolios as assessed by a panel of school staff members. As a Professional Learning Community we use Critical Friends Group protocols to guide our reflection on and work with portfolio assessment.
Meeting the academic needs of individual students is an essential goal at Marlboro. Development of a strong Educational Support Team (EST) process has been a major asset in working towards this. In 2004 our school board supported the creation of an Instructional Support Teacher position. Although we did not receive Title I funding at that time, the board recognized the need to create a structure, which supports all students in reaching their potential. As a result, this teacher collaborates closely with classroom teachers to provide additional support in reading, math, and study skills to students whose needs are recognized through the EST process. In addition we have developed a model, which provides direct support by the Special Educator and the Instructional Support Teacher both in the classroom and in resource rooms. This highly integrated model allows teachers to know students well, to follow students for several years, to collaborate effectively with classroom teachers, and to support students within their classroom environment.
Volunteerism at the Marlboro School is strong. Our Parents and Friends group engages parents in school activities and this year organized and ran Winter Worskhops on Monday mornings in January and February. Parent and community volunteers support the school and our students in many ways. Weekly reading to a class, working one on one with students, maintaining the school website, planning family activity nights, talking with students about their work in the community, fundraising, building a new playground – these are just a few of the ways we benefit from community support. In 1999 the Marlboro School Association was founded to provide resources for special projects that are beyond the scope of the annual budget.
In the fall of 2006, in recognition of our commitment to progressive education and after several years of investigation through our action planning process, Marlboro officially affiliated with a national school reform movement, the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). We recognized the need to connect with like-minded schools and to expand our vision outwards. As a result we have organized our action planning and our professional development around the Ten Common Principles espoused by CES. In recent years this has led to an increased focus on school social climate and on the development of a local assessment plan using “Multiple Forms of Assessment”. We also recognize the importance of continuing to support the development of healthy minds, bodies, and spirits through the implementation of the Marlboro After School Program, the Healthy Snack program, and the 3rd/4th grade classroom garden.
As we analyze date from a wide variety of sources to review the needs of our students, we recognize that, in addition to the new goals and action steps set forth in our Action Plan, current initiatives need time, support, and follow-through in order to be as effective as possible. All this is reflected in the following Title I School-wide Action Plan for 2011-2012.
Kathy Pell, parent and coordinator of Healthy Snack program
Celia Segar, former parent and current volunteer
Jessica Weitz, current parent
Augusta Bartlett, school board
Judy Jarzombek Lang, Kindergarten teacher
Tim Hayes, Junior High teacher
Francie Marbury, principal