Cape Cod Hill School Principal Carol M. Kiesman presents her administrative report to the RSU 9 board of directors on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Three elementary schools within the Regional School Unit 9 district will be establishing the BARR program in their curriculum. Cape Cod Hill, Academy Hill and Gerald D. Cushing schools will be implementing the program in certain classes and grades to gauge its impact on student performance.

BARR, which is an abbreviation for Building Assets, Reducing Risk, is a program that, with the help of grant funding, launched in 2019 with the intent of helping incoming freshmen adapt and succeed within the high school framework, thus reducing the number of dropouts.

In his administrative report, Keith Acedo, Principal of both AHS and GDCS, stated they would be implementing BARR at the fourth grade level for AHS and at the first grade level at GDCS. There were two days of training for the staff at AHS in September and two days of training for the staff at GDCS is scheduled for October.

“It is tremendous training,” Acedo stated. “It focuses on building relationships; teacher to students, students to teacher, staff to staff, and school to families. The training is incredible.”

Acedo also mentioned that the program helps in building and collecting data. He also added that BARR compliments their PBIS [Positive Behavior Intervention Support] program, stated that BARR “fits like a glove with PBIS.”

“So it’s just going to strengthen what we do already in our schools,” he added.


Following Acedo was Carol Kiesman, principal of Cape Cod Hill School, who revealed in her report that CCHS would be implementing BARR school-wide. In her report, she stated CCHS will be using a train-the-trainer model to implement BARR. The school currently has five staff members that have been through the initial training with trainers and coaches from the national BARR program.

“We are looking forward to being able to strengthen our culture and community throughout the entire school,” Kiesman stated in the report.

Assistant Superintendent Monique Poulin, who at the time was principal of Mt. Blue High School, reported in January that since implementing BARR, ninth graders have the lowest course failure rate at MBHS, including a reduction from 27% in 2021 to 11% in 2022, as well as seeing a significant increase in school attendance with a drop in chronic absenteeism in the first semester [missing 10% or more days of school] dropping 20% from 2022 to the first semester of 2023.

In other news, GDCS has new playground equipment and outdoor pavilion structures have been completed for both Wilton schools. Acedo also reported that the gym at AHS was painted and new wall mats were installed. He added that the mural that is being painted at AHS is nearing its completion.

“The mural at Academy High School is almost done,” he told the board of directors. “We’re just waiting for the eagle, and that is being worked on by Foster Tech students. So hopefully that will be completed soon.”

Keisman also shared that CCHS is back to holding school assemblies again. “We are back to doing assemblies, again,” she told the board. “Full school assemblies and those are a highlight each month. It will be something different and highlight students of the month, which we call the ‘student in the spotlight’.”

Keisman also took time to thank several individuals in her report, including their custodial crew Bonnie Oliver [head custodian], Bob Tourtelotte, Joyce Smiley, and Cory Young. She also thanked all those involved in the enrichment summer program, specifically Liz Tracy and Lydia Gauthier.

The program had approximately 20 students taking a two week course during the summer, where they learned about animals and habitats, incorporating math and literacy into each project. Keisman also thank Director Judith “Libby” Kraut, who volunteers regularly for CCHS.

“We appreciate Libby so much,” she stated.

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