With the unveiling of the Wall of Honor and 2009 Class Gift on Memorial Day 2012, we have a physical and tangible display of support for those Case High School graduates who have served in the post 9-11 Iraq and Afghanistan wars; as well as a separate framed picture in memory of the late SGT Kyle J. Harrington, who died in January 2009 while serving his country in Iraq. This is something near and dear to Eric's heart; Kyle Harrington was like a brother to him, and Graham went to school with many of the veterans on the Wall of Honor.
The Wall of Honor subcommittee consisted of Graham, fellow School Committee member Dr. A. Keith Carreiro, Superintendent Christine Stanton, Assistant Superintendent Robert Monteiro, Case High School Principal Brian McCann, and Director of Veterans Services in Swansea Robert Sampson. For almost 2 years, they worked to get as full and accurate a list of such veterans. It is a living tribute that will be updated as needed.
Full Day Kindergarten
This is something that Graham was long been an advocate for, and after attending a Deval Patrick town hall forum on the matter, it became even more clear to him how much Swansea needed this. The research is pretty clear in how effective Full Day Kindergarten is. Children who attend Full Day Kindergarten receive 40-50% more instruction, including 30% more time on reading and literacy instruction. Children in Full Day Kindergarten also spend 46% more time on mathematics.
This is something that was long overdue in our town, which was desired and needed for close to two decades. In 2010 when Graham became Chairman, this became the number one priority. Full Day Kindergarten is finally a reality here in Swansea and our children now have an even greater chance at academic excellence.
Since Graham was first elected in 2005, we have eliminated: bus fees, parking fees, and athletic user fees. The bus fees was the most costly to you, with some families with multiple children paying up to $545 for bus passes.
During these tough economic times when most communities are increasing and or adding fees, we worked to eliminate the burden on Swansea families of paying these high cost fees. As it stands now, as long as paperwork is turned in on time to sign up for riding the bus, bus fees are a thing of the past.
Helping All Students Reach Their Potential
We have implemented Virtual High School, a program which gives up to 20 students in our high school the ability to take classes online that they otherwise wouldn't be able to take at Case High School.
We have brought back In-School Suspension at the high school. This is both to keep some students from having a "vacation" day, and it keeps them in school, where they can get help from a teacher if needed while completing their work.
We implemented a Saturday school, which students can utilize to make up missed assignments/tests in order to gain lost credits.
We also developed the ARCH program, a program which keeps autistic children in Swansea Schools and in their communities instead of going to another school through South Coast Educational Collaborative.
We have significantly improved the security at our schools. All of the schools now have surveillance video live-feeds integrated with the Swansea Police; viewable from the police station and from police cruisers, so that any threats or incidents can be seen live and responded to much more efficiently.
We have also overhauled the procedures if there is an active threat inside the schools, to a more proactive approach than the old school of just locking each door. New security systems track every person in the building which ID's every visitor and performs immediate cori-checks, which are kept on file for future visits. Every visitor and employee wears a name badge so that every non-student is identified and accounted for.
We have also created an alternative access to the high school. God forbid anything should happen at the High School, this will be a great help for emergency officials to respond.
Professional School Committee
The School Committee used to lack the decorum befitting n elected board. Members with differences of opinion often had their motives questioned and were chastised and not all members had a voice. Now, all members respect each other and understand there will be differences of opinion and no offense is taken for any vote. Every member has an equal voice. All work towards progress.