Lawn Avenue School

School Improvement Team

July 31, 2008

Attendees: Kathy Almanzor, Jenn Clark, Lisa Carlisle, Ann Zainyeh, Dara Chadwick, Nora Santamour, John Baldwin, Duval DiGasper, Bev Rudman, Katie Lowell.

1. Family Volunteer Commitment to Lawn: SIT Chairs Ann Zainyeh and Lisa Carlisle presented a new program designed to encourage family involvement at the school. Families will be asked to commit to two volunteer hours per year at the school. Kathy Almanzor noted that we are not looking for parents to volunteer on a regular schedule in their child’s classroom; that type of volunteer effort is better suited to the elementary school level. Instead, the team would like to create a pool of volunteers that can assist teachers on an as-needed basis, help set up for events, chaperone field trips and assist with other as-needed duties. Ann Zainyeh suggested calling the program Volunteers in Education or VIE.

After some discussion as to which duties might be best fulfilled by parents, it was decided that the team will ask for only a one-hour commitment for this year. Those families who fulfill the one-hour commitment will be recognized in the Warrior.

During the discussion, the subject of creating a resource directory of parent/family “expertise and talents” came up. The goal is that teachers will use this directory to locate a real-world expert from our community who can reinforce the subject matter that the teacher is covering. Jenn Clark used the example of teaching a unit about maps; she could theoretically go to the resource directory to locate someone within our school community who might have an expertise in maps and bring that person into the classroom to present. After some discussion, it was agreed that this would be not only a valuable resource for teachers, but also another avenue through which families could fulfill their volunteer commitment. Ann Zainyeh expressed concern about setting limits on parents volunteering in the classroom of their own children, but the team agreed that it wouldn’t be an issue if those parents were being asked to come in for a one-time event during which they’d share their particular expertise.

Dara Chadwick will provide an expertise profile questionnaire that will be included in the welcome packet on the first day of school and in the Warrior.

2. Rigor and Relevance Model: Kathy Almanzor reported that she and several other administrators and teachers attended a Model Schools Conference of the International Center for Leadership in Education in Florida recently, during which they learned more about the Rigor & Relevance Model. This model will be an opportunity for Jamestown Schools to “push ourselves from good to great,” she said. The model offers “Gold Seal Lessons” and other methods for tying various initiatives together, all of which will come into play as the SIT team considers the district’s strategic plan over the next two years. Kathy added that Jamestown has applied to be part of the Successful Schools Network, which, if the district is accepted, will provide additional online opportunities for professional development. Kathy will present the materials and have teachers watch the conference’s keynote address on orientation day. She will report the teachers’ reaction to the program back to the SIT during its next meeting. SIT members will also have an opportunity to view the keynote address at that time.

3. Behavior Plan — 3R Pledge: Ann Zainyeh presented a model of the “visual aid” that will be used throughout the school this year to reinforce the 3R Pledge: “Respect for self, respect for others, respect for your community.” The idea is that the visual aid — a handprint of each student and adult in our school community — will create consistency throughout the school. Kathy Almanzor has also created a list of specific incidents and behaviors, and how they will be addressed, to continue a consistent behavioral approach.

Nora Santamour spoke to the team about a behavior strategy used in East Greenwich that involves processing sheets for student behavior problems. It was agreed that such an approach would be too time-consuming for teachers for everyday infractions; however, the team agreed that teachers and teacher assistants need clear, concise and consistent guidelines for dealing with such everyday infractions. Serious matters or those involving physical altercations will be referred to Kathy.

4. Advisory Period: Jenn Clark addressed the advisory period, adding that an Advisory Group has been meeting throughout the summer to plan and set goals for advisories for the coming year. All advisories will once again focus on the theme of “respect” and will conduct activities related to the theme. Jenn passed out a copy of last spring’s advisory schedule for team members to review, as well as a brainstorming sheet that looks at the elements of community and schoolwide projects that address community. The Advisory Group will appoint “student ambassadors” for the coming year – one from each eighth-grade advisory group – to work cooperatively with the Advisory Group and help guide the program.

5. Island Treasures Day: Sally Schott has agreed to serve as chairperson for the 2009 Island Treasures Day.

6. Next SIT Meeting: The next SIT meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Lawn Library. It is hoped that the earlier meeting time will make it easier for both teachers and parents to attend SIT meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

Dara Chadwick

Recording Secretary