Killingly High School principal meets the community

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Sep. 3, 2013
Killingly Town Councilor John Hallbergh, Jr., and his wife Janet talk with new KHS Principal Frederick Silva. Photo by D. Coffey.
Killingly Town Councilor John Hallbergh, Jr., and his wife Janet talk with new KHS Principal Frederick Silva. Photo by D. Coffey.

Killingly High School Principal Frederick Silva spoke to community members on Aug. 27 about some of the challenges facing students and teachers in the 2013-2014 academic year. The challenges involve adjusting to common core standards, instituting new teacher evaluations and improving test scores and graduation rates. Plans for addressing those challenges include a beefed-up technology program, reviewing and revamping schedules, and instituting reading across the curriculum for all grade levels.

Among the technology upgrades will be the institution of a new iPad program and an expanded wireless system. The costs of providing iPads to each student will cost the town $163,000 annually with a four-year lease.

A long-range project involves reviewing the way the current class schedule with 94-minute classes is set up. Silva estimates it would take a year of research in order to choose a schedule that would work, and another year to train staff to teach to the new schedule. “In that second year, you have to look at your policies and regulations to make sure you're in line,” he said.

With the common core standards in place, curriculum reviews are in order. “We have to make sure our curriculums are in line with what's going to be tested,” Silva said. “There may need to be some rewriting and retraining with teachers on how to teach to common core.”

Results of the 2013 Connecticut Mastery Tests and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests for Killingly students were mixed. Officials say part of the reason for declining test scores in math, reading and writing is the transition to teaching to common core standards. “Right now we're focusing on reading across the curriculum,” Silva said. “It's going to help kids in all subjects. And we're looking at ways to teach teachers how to teach reading across the curriculum.”

“We're hoping as people see progress in those major areas, they'll realize we are moving in the right directions,” Silva said. In the meantime, Silva wants to make some quick and easy changes. “One thing that students brought up was how we could make it more homey. How we could bring the history of the old high school into the new school,” he said. Silva talked about creating display cases for student work and trophies, designating an area for awards and plaques, and creating new tradition while continuing old ones. “We're really trying to protect traditions and bring in some new things, as we see the need and opportunity for them,” he said.

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