BUCKFIELD – A sense of pride is growing at Buckfield Junior/Senior High School, but more needs to be done, according to a recently released accreditation report.

The review team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges visited the school for four days after a self-study committee examined school programs, activities and facilities from August 2003 to February of this year.

A new advisory program is working on improving school climate, the report said, by increasing communication with parents and students, as well as improving student achievement.

The school, serving Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner, has a student population of 327 in grades 7 through 12 and is expected to increase steadily, the report said.

Of the school’s 54 graduating seniors last year, 73 percent reported they were going on to some form of higher education.

The report noted a big effort to bring staff, students and parents on board with the school’s mission statement, which states that “learning is a lifelong process encompassing the body, mind and spirit.” The mission statement says the school honors individual differences, fosters creativity, encourages active participation and challenges everyone to reach his or her full potential.

To further that end, the school awards three students each month a Mind, Body or Spirit Award for demonstrating commitment to the mission. There’s a new student code of conduct developed by the ethics class, and a student-led team has been organized to promote a healthy school climate by focusing specifically on respect issues.

The school’s ability to focus so much energy on school climate was made easier by a $150,000 Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration grant from the state Department of Education.

An after-school Community Builders program allows students to explore such activities as drama, art, yoga and karate.

The statement and expectations for student learning are posted in some classrooms in all students’ planners, the report notes.

In terms of academics, the report notes that “the commitment toward a standards-based curriculum indicates that the staff is in the process of raising the bar’ for all students.”

The report gave high marks regarding the condition of the high school building, saying the 13-year-old facility is clean and well maintained.

Among concerns listed in the report:

• There needs to be more integration among the learning areas within the school.

• There is a lack of secretarial help in the main office.

• The school lacks a full-time school nurse.

• There are limited technology and print resources.

• There is a lack of storage space.

• There is inadequate faculty parking areas.

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