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As the school year ends, it is a good time to reflect on the road we have traveled and to celebrate what has been a positive year for the Andover Public Schools. Ensuring and improving the quality instruction and care we offer students has remained our primary focus, and we can highlight significant gains in many key areas.
As proposed in our budget process, we added five elementary teachers. This additional staffing had a domino effect that positively impacted 16 classrooms and over 400 students. Districtwide, it reduced the average size of our elementary classes from 23 to 21.4. More dramatically, at some schools and some grade levels, class sizes fell by as many as seven students, enabling teachers to devote additional time to individual needs.
We improved literacy instruction districtwide, with particular attention to students with language-based learning challenges. Through early screening for reading difficulties, monitoring to ensure each student is making appropriate progress, professional development for both regular education and special education teachers in addressing reading challenges, and program improvements for students with reading difficulties, we anticipate a significant long-term benefit not only for students with reading disabilities but for all students.
Responding to parent interest, we implemented an accelerated middle school math program for grades 7 and 8, while strengthening the math program for all middle school students. These changes will enhance students' success in math as they reach high school.
After much planning and preparation, we look forward to launching a new high school schedule in the fall. The schedule features year-long courses, rotating classes, a block of time for personalized support, and collaboration time for teachers. It will create a more supportive environment, strengthen instruction and enhance opportunities for student success.