Lawn Ave.  SIT notes

February 9, 2006

(back to Lawn Sit)

Minutes were accepted from the January 12th, SIT meeting.

Old Business :

Presented by: K. Sipala, Superintendent

Explained her budget discussion/presentation/suggestions to SC. It was suggested that one less teacher be in 7 th grade for next year. Yes, numbers of students in classrooms and the expense of enabling 4 classrooms at that level cannot be justified with the budget constraints identified by the town council.

Not suggested: A reduction of one 4 th and one 5 th grade teacher/classroom.

Response to the Spanish Discussion of last SIT meeting :

•  There was a suggestion at the last meeting that would allow the 7 th grade English program to remain as is by reducing the Spanish teaching position to part time and Spanish would not be offered to other grade levels other than 8 th grade.

Ms. Onosko did address the suggestion made. She mentioned that it would be to the children's advantage to keep Spanish, as it is, where the younger grade levels experience languages at an earlier year.

•  Expose to languages early…earlier the better.

•  Learning the culture of diverse groups present a more comfortable enabling of accepting.

•  Postponement of introduction to foreign language would have less impact to the older student without the earlier exposure. More of an impact happens at the earlier age by causing educational excitement. The earlier children have foreign language exposure, the more time in their life they will have time to visit and develop the experience into a more well rounded education. “It's not just enrichment, rather it's involvement.”

•  Presently, what are our children going into. N. Kingstown students have shown a need to improve test grades in reading. Therefore, the NK, School Committee reallocated funds to provide instructional reading course work to ALL 7 th graders. NKSC believed it would be most advantageous to provided reading instruction to the 7 th grade population. Because of this, their 8th Grade is the only grade level to receive foreign language instruction.

Seventh grade foreign language time slot is not replaced with a reading course designed for reteaching, improving, enhancing, and maintaining reading skills. At the Davisville and Wickford Middle Schools, ALL students will be expected to participate in the reading instruction during their 7 th grade.

In Jamestown , we already have the reading instruction. PLP support is given to those children in need, but not to all children who are not in need of additional instruction. Mrs. Betsy Aho addresses the PLP reading needs weekly and as need be.

An overview of the present instruction foreign language instruction :

World Language students are still getting the language and may decide to enter Spanish I when entering High School. In Jamestown, 7 th graders must do Spanish. They must do at least one year of Spanish in high school.

About 60 students graduated from Jamestown School last year. Ten students didn't follow the language recommendation made by JS at their departure and entrance into the 9 th grade. The rest did and have been successful.

Math Discussion:

Math is a concern for some parents of Jamestown children now attending High School. To help answer reasons why, Barbara Moss of NK High School, Department Head of Math Dept., will be here at the next meeting (3/13) to address what could be done with math program at Jamestown School to support the transition into high school instruction. Questions, concerning Calculus, will be asked of Ms. Moss.

One of the reasons the SIT Committee suggested to Jamestown School Committee:

•  Requested keeping the four present, 7 th grade teachers/homerooms and reasons were given. The SC members considered this. However, it was decided based on financial reasons and pupil population that there would be 3, 7 th grade teachers for next school year, 2006-07.

Changes to support improve Math Instruction at Jamestown.

•  Melrose Elem. Schools is changing to “Everyday Math” as of next year.

•  Lawn Ave Jamestown grades now have a sequential, Connected Math program. It begins in 5 th grade and moves through to 8 th grade.

•  We have enrichment after school math club. Feb. 25 is the math competition where Jamestown children can show their math ability and thinking.

Looking overall to what our student are finding difficulties with at NK…

•  Yes, the honors math program is very difficult at NK. That doesn't mean that children are not doing well as much as some children are moving to better option levels.

•  Some of those from Jamestown School Department are said to be strong and doing well. However, it is true, that some children, who are beginning in Math Honors Program, are having difficulty. It is a very difficult area.

•  Test taking generally from middle school to high school, is a tough transition. Timed tests has not been stressed or practiced to comfort level where JT children need to show what they know within time constraints. They have not been asked enough to show what they know during a timed period.

•  JT children are being asked to show the piece that they know in a timed JT may need to give more experiences to children under a timed test situation.

•  Be firm with meeting deadlines, and the children meeting those deadlines.

•  Give opportunities to children in testing situations that support the math atmosphere of NK.

•  At High School, Average grade of JT geometry score was 76 for 1 st quarter.

•  Average grade of college prep was 74 for 1 st term. JT students are at that level of success. Nine children in honors were from JT.

•  According to guidance counselors at NK, 70% in an honor's course is considered good. JT parents aren't use to their child receiving a C grade. Of course JT doesn't grade that way, anyway.

At NK, Middle School Math curriculum is more traditional but pretty much the same program we have here in JT.

•  Next year, the grouping of 8 th grade children will be identified. There will be those who need to be challenged and those who need to improve. They will be instructed accordingly.

Our test scores are the same whether they are from NK or JT.

•  Suggested 7th/8 th grade combining of math instruction. Could be done but it would be a scheduling concern. There might be a 7th/8 th grade split in the upcoming years due to the pupil population.

Question: Would this support those students who want enrichment? Would this support those in need of additional instruction/practice?

Flexible grouping: Helps with this idea of enriching and supporting.

Will this interfere with team identity?

In the future, possibly Multi-aged teams of children will be organized. That may need to come, due to low pupil population.

Children need to become more involved in identifying that they need more help if they do…don't procrastinate.

•  Needing involve rather than just complain… to be a part of asking for help…Speaking up to get the help or acceleration.

•  Should we have an additional piece for the JT children going to NK that provides the transition help? Academically, Socially, etc. or not. Guidance, contacts with counseling may need help to be fostered by a person hired to do so, even for just the first term of the school year. To ease, assess, and observe the needs of our JT students.

Meeting ended at 5:30

STAFF/SIT Joint Meeting: Feb. 13

Regular SIT meeting will be March 9, 2006.