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Field Trip to Camp Bournedale Gets High Marks from Students

Nov 30, 2017 11:12AM ● By Brandon Peddle
In the second school committee meeting of November (on 11/28), Jeff Croteau, principal of Bellingham Middle School, reviewed the field trip that 6th-graders recently took to Camp Bournedale in Plymouth, and had several students there to talk about their experience.

The students spoke excitedly about the different programs they had participated in while at the camp for the school week. From going on lobster boats to having hands-on experiences in coastal ecology, students had had an in-depth and dynamic learning experience.

Mr. Croteau said the trip had met his expectations, with the program at Camp Bournedale highly regarded as being a rich educational experience for kids, combining science and history.

An item of concern that Mr. Croteau addressed was the participation in the program at just 47%. He said the main reason for that was cost. The total cost of the trip was $80,000. Committee members discussed beginning fundraising earlier in preparation for the trip so that the cost for students would be lowered.

Students who didn’t go on the the trip went to the YMCA for the week, replicating some of the programs that students at Camp Bournedale were participating in.

Superintendent Mr. Marano said that it’s important to focus on what’s best for students. Despite the steep cost, the students were engaged in a great educational experience, but it’s important to address the concerns and support fundraising earlier. The goal is to increase participation to 70-80% next year.

Financial Forecast Uncertain

Following Mr. Croteau, the Director of Finance for Bellingham schools, Joanne Rebelo, then gave an update on the budget for this year and looked ahead to next year’s budget. She said that the balances for early childhood programs were healthy, with hiring of two Applied Behavioral Analyst (ABA) technicians, an athletic director, and several teachers. Though there were some higher than anticipated costs in areas such as electricity, overall the budget is good.

Mrs. Rebelo pointed at grants that may be reduced or unavailable next year. The bridges grant, which was used for filling positions, had a three-year duration and will end next year. She also believes the Metrowest SEL 240 special education allocation grant will see a reduction next year, and they will have to plan next year’s budget with that in mind.





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