Message From Our Chairperson

Message From Our Chairperson


A Message From the Board…

Greetings. It is our pleasure to provide you with the first Annual Report of the Orange Southwest School District. A great deal of time and effort has been spent over the past year to ensure that students from Braintree, Brookfield, and Randolph are receiving the best education possible as they prepare for the next stages of their lives. We are profoundly grateful for the professionalism and dedication of our administration, faculty, and staff; and for the support we receive from individuals, families, and businesses throughout our three communities.

In August of this year, we said goodbye to Superintendent Brent Kay, who served our district faithfully and well for more than 15 years, leaving us financially sound and well-positioned for success in the years ahead. In that same month we welcomed new Superintendent Layne Millington to the OSSD. A native Vermonter, Millington was a former high school principal at Swampscott and Marblehead, Massachusetts. Among his first initiatives was to schedule a series of community forums to better understand the concerns, goals, and objectives of families within our district. We encourage you to make time to attend one of these listening sessions.

Our work as a board this year centered on several key areas, including finalizing our transition to a unified district.  While the communities of Braintree, Brookfield and Randolph have been partners in education for many years, moving forward as a single unified board not only allows us to serve all of our students more equitably, but also more economically and efficiently.  We are grateful to everyone who served on all five of our supervisory union boards for helping to make the transition to a single board so seamless.

It is no secret that public education in Vermont is changing…and changing fast. Communities throughout the state have been struggling to comply with Act 46 (consolidation of districts) as enrollments have continued to decline. While the challenges are no different here at OSSD, we have been able to maintain a strong curriculum, including honors and AP courses, while keeping our student-to-teacher ratios in line with state recommendations. At the same time, we have been able to increase our work-based learning opportunities and dual enrollment agreements, giving students the flexibility to design a program of study that aligns with their strengths and interests.

Over the past year we have also spent considerable time planning and implementing Act 77 as the state moves to a proficiency-based learning and assessment education model. Students are now required to show proficiency in a wide range of both “core knowledge” skills such as math, reading, and writing; as well as in “transferable” skills such as problem solving, working independently, and self-awareness. A great deal of effort has gone into the transition to this new system of teaching and grading, and we are pleased with the work being done by our administrators, teachers, and staff to carry out this state mandate.

Finally, we launched a new website this fall to feature the work (and play!) that’s going on at our three elementary schools, at Randolph Union High School, and at the Randolph Technical Career Center. Take a few minutes and check it out at www.orangesouthwest.org. All the latest news and updates are there, including our upcoming meeting schedule and minutes from our past meetings.

We’re proud of the work going on at OSSD, and we hope you are, too. From academic excellence to opportunities to travel internationally; from extra-curricular activities to athletics; and from pre-k to graduation; our students are indeed being given the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to be prepared for the next stages of their lives; which justify the resources invested by the community. That’s our mission, and we are pleased to report another successful year.

Gratefully,
Laura Rochat, Board Chair