The Burlington School Committee has begun discussion on Burlington’s Extended Academic Model (BEAM) enrichment program.
Superintendent Eric Conti informed the committee that Marshall Simonds Middle School Principal Cari Perchase brought in people to look into a report on the program that has been finalized but not thoroughly examined by all the School Committee members.
“The type of enrichment that is the goal of the current BEAM program, really should be something that we are encouraging all classrooms to provide and to allow all students to access,” said Conti.
Conti pointed out that the current design of the BEAM program is not getting the representation of all students in the elementary schools.
“My recommendation would be to really focus on our core academic program and really try to add enrichment into that. And if we wanted to maintain some of the BEAM activities, we could do that through an after school club that would be accessible to all kids,” Conti said.
Committee Member Melissa Massardo had read the complete report.
“I think it was a very good report, I thought that it did a good job of engaging many, many stakeholders. A diverse section of stakeholders and a lot of different investigations,” said Massardo. “I’d be interested in what Dr. Perchase thinks of it, and what she recommends going forward.”
Christine Monaco spoke to the aptitude of students in the BEAM program.
“I do think that having a program of some sort for kids that happen to be very talented and gifted academically is a good thing to do. It helps kids that are bored with an ordinary class schedule,” she said. “I understand the issues surrounding equity and what’s offered to various students, or all students. But I’d like some creative thinking on it, and maybe some studying of other districts and what they do. I think it’s just sort of a let down. These kids are capable of so much. I’d like to see them have opportunities.”
Committee Vice-Chair Carl Foss talked about how the BEAM program has developed over the decades..
“I thought it was fascinating that the appendices that were included that showed what it was in the 80s and in the late 90s and the evolution of the program,” said Foss.”I think as the discussion moves forward it’s probably appropriate to have the next evolution into what BEAM could be.”
The BEAM matter will be on a future School Committee agenda.