Tiverton schools open with extra class of first graders

Fort Barton students on parade in a recent year.Fort Barton students on parade in a recent year.

Fort Barton students on parade in a recent year.

Fort Barton students on parade in a recent year.

TIVERTON — Tiverton schools start Thursday, Aug. 29, with a new  first grade class at Fort Barton to accommodate an increase in first graders who’ve enrolled, a new math curriculum, and a new $650,000 sewer system coming online in about two weeks.

About the additional first graders, Tiverton School Superintendent William Rearick  said, “right now it’s a bubble class.  We think it’s an anomaly.”

Normally first grade is capped at 23 students, he said, but we had eight over the cap at Fort Barton and had to create another class.

Pocasset and Ranger Elementary Schools each have two first grade classes, he said, but Fort Barton, which had the same, will now have three classes. The added class required the hiring of a 2/5 remedial math position at Fort Barton, he said.

Middle and high school enrollment figures keep moving, but are “pretty much as projected, and are likely to be where we were last year,” Mr. Rearick said.

A new math curriculum, built to address common core standards, will be instituted this year for all grades in Tiverton schools, Mr. Rearick said, so that “when we teach our kids math, we’ll be teaching information they’re required to have.”

In the area of technology, Mr. Rearick said Tiverton schools are working to make the buildings wireless, and to have enough computers in the buildings to conduct state-required testing and assessments with the students on site.

The sewer project, which was delayed for a year and a half to get Department of Environmental Management (DEM) approval, “will hopefully be wrapped up in a couple of weeks.” The job was bid in June, and construction started in July.

When it goes online, he said, the elementary schools, middle school, and high school will all be compliant with DEM requirements.

The sewer project was originally estimated to cost about $400,000, but the lowest bid came in at $650,000, he said, with the difference being made up from local funds.