TOWNSEND -- School Board members listened to a presentation on possible scheduling changes at North Middlesex Regional High School Monday night.

Principal Christine Battye, Superintendent Maureen Marshall and other administrators have been discussing changes at the school to better comply with new issues in education.

For the last six years, the school has employed a block schedule of four, 87-minute classes per day over two semesters of six months. Elective classes run in quarters. Battye said it allows students to achieve high, but not grow well.

Administrators have reviewed new cognitive and educational research, distributed a Visions and Values survey and looked into Common Core and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing.

PARCC testing, which will be implemented along with the Common Core in the state, requires four tests during the school year that, according to Battye, should show improvement.

A schedule that carries disciplines throughout the school year, she said, would suit that better.

NMRHS Headmaster Christopher Chew said all models the administration has explored utilize the extended class time of between 70 and 87 minutes.

"We are looking to hold onto the great things from our current model and integrate new ideas," he said.

The committee also heard from Wakefield-based Powers & Sullivan, an accounting firm that completed an audit for fiscal 2011.

From a financial standpoint, said Sullivan, the school broke even and did not need to use excess and deficiency funding.


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In a management letter, CPA Richard Sullivan outlined four comments from the previous year, all of which the firm found to be resolved, and five new comments. Powers & Sullivan recommended the creation of a fraud-risk assessment program to analyze and manage asset misappropriation, an audit of student-activity records and a information-technology-disaster-recovery plan.

Sullivan said the recommended disaster plan would establish a plan to ensure data processing in the event of an emergency. If proper IT employees are not on hand, the plan would give directions to deal with internal control matters, according to Sullivan.

The other recommendations were adjustments and revisions to the approval process of purchase orders and transaction journal entries, both of which Sullivan said were already implemented.

During the time Powers & Sullivan was at the facility, he said, there was a sense of urgency and ownership that the firm approved of.

"There are things that aren't on the checklist that we measure, and we saw due diligence in all the requests we made," he said.