Student Opportunity Act to prioritize high-needs students

Apr 16, 2024

MATTAPOISETT — The Old Rochester Regional School Committee unanimously approved Student Opportunity Act terms to be sent to the state that will aim to help ensure that students are receiving high-quality learning opportunities.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Shari Fedorowicz gave a presentation about the Student Opportunity Act to the school committee on Thursday, April 11.

“It’s basically a commitment to ensure that every student experiences high-quality learning opportunities that lead to success in and after high school,” said Fedorowicz.

Fedorowicz said that the Student Opportunity Act uses evidence-based programs focusing on high-needs students, which includes English language learners, students in low-income housing and students with disabilities.

According to Fedorowicz, the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education suggested five evidence-based programs for the district to focus on: Targeted academic support and acceleration, comprehensive approach to early literacy and early literacy screening and support, expanded access to pre-kindergarten, enhanced pathways to increase educator diversity and high quality secondary pathways and programs.

Recently, the community was asked to prioritize the five evidence-based programs in a survey. Targeted academic support and acceleration was voted as the biggest priority, according to the presentation.

The school district received $28,470 from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to fund the Student Opportunity Act, according to Fedorowicz.

Fedorowicz said that the $28,470, which is about $30 per student in the district, is included in general funds from the state and is used to determine which evidence-based programs will close academic achievement gaps.

Academic achievement gaps include MCAS data, demographics, chronic absenteeism, low performing student data and high needs groups, according to Fedorowicz.

“Based on student data and community feedback, we’re looking to select high-quality pathways and programs and extended learning time for academics,” said Fedorowicz.