WARWICK —The school committee voted Tuesday to extend the contract of Northeast Sports Training and Rehabilitation (NEST) for two years at $67,150, totaling $134,300.
The company will provide services for Pilgrim and Toll Gate High Schools. Parents and coaches said the sports training was essential for student athletes.
“We’re comfortable that there are people who will take care of our kids,” said Angelo Corsi, a coach at Pilgrim. “We have to be responsible.”
Paul Murphy, a parent of a student athlete, said the prospect of cutting the training program was “egregious.”
Mike Kenney, a soccer coach at Toll Gate, noted trainers were “the last line of defense” for athletes.
NEST is a team of professional coaches, trainers, therapists, and dieticians who instituted a sports medicine /injury management program for the high schools for the last year.
The school committee also voted to make the district staff development day voluntary after receiving complaints from teachers about a lack of access to their classrooms in the weeks prior to the first day of the new school year.
The teachers said they needed time to prep lesson plans and other activities for their students.
Committee chairperson Karen Bachus noted there was a new math curriculum being instituted. The rollout of the program will be held in the afternoon on teacher orientation day.
“This happened last year,” said Warwick Teachers Union President Darlene Netcoh. “(The teachers) were blindsided. I tried to work with our administration and it didn’t work. My pleas fell on deaf ears. No previous superintendent ever did what this superintendent is doing on orientation day.”
Superintendent Phil Thornton explained it was a priority to improve the district’s scores for math proficiency.
The committee acknowledged that math scores need improvement but were dismayed by the lack of notification provided to teachers
Bachus said it was “very disappointing.”
“It was not handled well,” said member Nathan Cornell.
“We do need better math scores,” said member Kyle Adams, but, “You can’t learn an entire curriculum in three hours.”
Bachus warned there would be “problems” if any teacher was “targeted or harrassed” for not being able to attend the training.
“The idea we would target someone is grossly unfair,” Thornton replied.
Committee members also heard a presentation of the NEASC report for Toll Gate High School.
A team from the organization paid a four-day visit last March and released a 105-page report of their findings.
Commendations include the implementation of a co-teaching model to address the needs of students with individual education plans, the integration of technology by the majority of teachers, the implementation of blended learning strategies, the personalization evident through the senior project program, the wide variety of rubrics used across the school, and the provision of common planning time one period per seven day cycle.
However, not all the feedback was positive.
Principal Candace Caluori cited deficiencies found by NEASC included “inconsistent temperatures throughout the building, roof leaks, poor ventilation and air quality, cracked and broken floor tiles, damaged and improperly used storage areas in science, broken ventilation hoods in science, outdated boys and girls locker rooms, lack of usable athletic fields, rusted and outdated student lockers, aging and inadequate classroom furniture, and a lack of updated materials and technology in the library.”
Calouri explained some of the problems have already been addressed, with more improvements to come. In addition, Calouri is working with administrators to bolster the school’s programs.
“We are already in the process of reviewing and revising our curriculum,” Calouri added.
A copy of memos from Thornton and Athletic Director Ken Rix detailing the contract extension is embedded below: