Jeffrey D. Wagner
WESTPORT – Prior to becoming Acting Principal of Westport Schools, Thomas Aubin worked for over 30 years at Diman, the Greater Fall River Technical and Vocational High School.
Now, it’s possible Westport Middle School / High School could get a taste of more technical learning, with potential for three technical programs at the District High School.
Aubin, Diman’s former superintendent, said last week that the district is applying to the state department of elementary and secondary education for three technical programs during the 2023 school year. The school committee recently agreed to form a subcommittee to review schedules.
The possible expansion of the program appears to come at the right time in the history of the school. The district will be opening a new school building from 5 to 12 this fall. Two years later, technical programs could be offered.
“We want to get into the pipeline before we announce what programs we hope to start. … We are currently in talks with post-secondary schools, as well as with businesses and other stakeholders to create advisory boards to start the process, ”Aubin said.
Kerri McKinnon, assistant superintendent and junior / high school principal, along with Laura Charette, assistant principal, will lead a subcommittee starting next month to review the schedule.
They will work with Nancy Tavares, member of the school committee.
They and school officials said last week that such programs and a schedule change would take time and planning.
Charette said that in this online learning environment, communicating with students about schedules and classes takes longer than usual.
Tavares said there is an “appetite” for technical programs, but that would alter graduation requirements and other related logistical issues.
Tavares said potential technical programs should be phased in.
“We understand that it takes a lot of work to make this happen,” said Antonio Viveiros, president of the school committee.
Aubin said it would take about a year for the programs to be approved at the state level.
School committee chair Antonio Viveiros and committee member Nancy Stanton-Cross told school officials the subcommittee should be small. They both said that small groups, especially in this online meeting environment, would be more productive.