JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
October 16, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Carole Melucci, Principal
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
The School Committee returned to Open Session following a 6:30 p.m. Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5, Exception 2, Contract Negotiations and Exception 9, Level II Grievance. Ms. Kaiser announced that no votes were taken.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:12 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: All present.
Public Forum: None.
Consent Agenda: Mr. Brennan asked to exempt from the Consent Agenda vote both Personnel and Payment of Bills of October 1, 2008.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to approved the Consent Agenda: Minutes of September 4 and 18, 2008; and Payment of Bills of October 1, 2008. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan asked about payment to the YMCA of Kent County. Dr. Fricklas explained that this is for an extended school year program for a student, and it is less expensive than paying for services here.
Mr. Whitehouse asked about payment to Island Therapy. Mrs. Alfred explained that this is for OT/PT for a student. He also asked about payment to Sargent Rehab Center and Dr. Fricklas said this is for out-of-district tuition. Mr. Whitehouse asked about payment to Stenhouse Consulting. Mrs. Alfred explained that this is for technology consulting and is an ongoing purchased service for when things need to be done.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve Bills of October 1, 2008. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan asked whether the approval for Assistant to the Director of Finance is within the budget, and Dr. Lukon said it was.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the Superintendent’s recommendation of Alison Costa Corayer as Assistant to the Director of Finance. All approved. So moved.
Correspondence: Ms. Kaiser received an invitation from the Rhode Island After School Plus Alliance regarding a breakfast on October 17, 2008.
Food Service Update: Dr. Lukon referred to Solange’s data. She said she was working on a graph format that should show figures side by side. She said she thought that both figures were accurate, but last year’s figures included Pre-K. Mrs. Alamanzor commented that there has been a drop in cafeteria orders. Mrs. Rafanelli added that the lasagna was burned today, and all the students in Kindergarten threw it away; there are fewer students buying meals. Ms. Held suggested that administration check to see if there has been a change in the menu.
Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the students at Lawn are complaining. She suggested that they voice their complaints by writing to the School Committee. Mr. Whitehouse said it is good for the students to express their views. He asked the Principals for their comments. Ms. Melucci said fruits and vegetables are fresh, and the students do not say that the food is disgusting. Students do not like whole wheat crust in pizzas. Mrs. Alamanzor commented that it is more the entire choice of food at Lawn that the students do not like. Ms. Kaiser asked whether premium paninis are available yet, and Mrs. Alamanzor said no.
Dr. Lukon added that the point of sale system is not ready yet. A letter must be written to parents to explain the system and give them time to put money in the account. She added that she is hoping to have a meeting with Solange to work out the logistics. Mr. Whitehouse said he wanted to hear what came from this meeting. Mrs. Kallfelz added that Solange encourages students to talk with the chef. Mr. Whitehouse thought it would be good to have a suggestion box. Mrs. Alamanzor added that food service ordering is a new process. Food is ordered in the morning, but if students see something they like better, they get that instead; students who eat later are disappointed because they don’t get what they want.
First Reading of Bullying Policy: Ms. Held read the proposed policy. The committee discussed the rationale for having this policy. Mr. Whitehouse explained that it is a philosophical comment by the School Committee and it supports school administration. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that certain parameters of state law must be in the procedure. She added that consequences have to be uniform. By consensus, members made a number of editorial suggestions, which will be incorporated into the policy.
Mr. Whitehouse asked that, because the policy is so long, the reading at the last work session be considered a First Reading. Dr. Lukon suggested that the Second Reading could be waived. This policy will be read for a second time at the business meeting on November 20.
Joint Meeting with the Town Council: Ms. Kaiser reported that the Town Council has accepted the meeting date of October 30. The Town Administrator and the Superintendent will create the agenda and work out logistics. The Town Administrator has suggested a number of topics to include structural rationale for the budget this year. Dr. Lukon added that she talked with Mr. Keiser today. She suggested the following topics: budget drivers, enrollment, class size, high school, budget parameters such as the assumption of increased cost of health insurance, and the study of scope of personnel. She told Mr. Keiser it was her understanding that the personnel study would be on both school and town sides, and costs would be split. Dr. Lukon will have Janette take care of logistics so that the meeting can be posted.
Update on Busing: This topic was moved to the Director of Pupil Services report.
Bequest to the Jamestown School Committee: Ms. Kaiser announced that this topic will be tabled until the November 6 workshop because the lawyer could not be here tonight.
Approval of 2009 School Committee Meeting Calendar: Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the School Committee meeting calendar as proposed. All approved. So moved.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Lukon reported on a number of items. 1) Dr. Lukon said she has been informed by the federal government that the district will receive 90% of $9,653.67 in Military Impact Aid sometime in November. She explained that there were 52 students from military families in the school system last year: 44 at Lawn and Melrose, and 8 at North Kingstown High School. There are 47 military students in Lawn and Melrose this year, but high school figures are not yet available. She thought there were 5-10 high school students from military families. 2) Enrollment figures are 273 students at Melrose, 203 students at Lawn, and 225 students at the high school. Enrollment at Melrose and Lawn continue to decline, and there are eight more students at the high school.
3) The Superintendents, Business Managers, and Directors of Special Education from Jamestown and North Kingstown will meet next week to discuss more specifically the possibility of North Kingstown students attending school in Jamestown. Mrs. Carlisle suggested that there be a workshop for parents. She added that many parents do not know this is being considered. 4) Aramark is sponsoring a series of professional development workshops this year for Rhode Island School Superintendents Association (RISSA). Dr. Lukon said she attended the first workshop, which was on media relations.
Principal’s Report: Mrs. Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci reported on a number of items. 1) The English Language Arts Curriculum Committee met to discuss the connection between the current reading curriculum and grade-level expectations. The group will develop and implement a common writing assessment for the first semester and will also have a common rubric. 2) The PTO sponsored a visit by Boston Museum of Science staff, and Grades 1-8 attended an hour-long assembly that was tied to their science curriculum. 3) Sail Newport and St. Michael’s Country Day School have developed a joint project that connects students and teachers from around the world with major ocean races. Brad Read from Sail Newport gave a presentation to Lawn faculty about this program, which will be incorporated into the curriculum. He will present the program to Melrose’s faculty in November.
4) Students in Grades 3-8 were given NECAP testing in reading and math, and students in Grades 7-8 were given the writing portion of the test. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that science NECAP scores from spring 2008 were released, and results were disappointing. Dr. Lukon added that Jamestown’s students should have done well and didn’t. GEMSNET will be analyzing the scores to see whether the science kit content or delivery is part of the issue. She added that, if the test is indicative of what Jamestown students can do, then there is grade inflation here. 5) Jamestown Press is running a monthly feature called “Kids’ Corner” that highlights student work. 6) After-School Enrichment programs started on Tuesday. Mrs. Alamanzor distributed a list of classes that are being offered at both schools.
7) Lawn did not make the cut for the second round of Champlin grant decisions. Questions were asked to determine why the proposal was turned down and how the grant could be improved for the next grant cycle. The Technology Committee has begun meeting monthly again. Mr. Alfred explained how the Smart Board system would work. Mr. Whitehouse asked whether video cameras were placed on all computers. He suggested that if there were cameras, distance learning could come from anywhere. He added that, at the SIT today, there was a suggestion that students at Melrose and Lawn work together. He said cameras are inexpensive, and he would like to see Mr. Alfred’s class talk with students in Little Compton.
Director of Student Services Report: Dr. Fricklas reported on a number of items. 1) Barrie Grossi and Dr. Lynn Ryan from the Sherlock Center and RITAP did training for special education faculty at Melrose and Lawn regarding the new IEP process and document. 2) The RIDE School Support System record review begins on October 27. 3) Dr. Fricklas extended an invitation for School Committee members to attend the opening orientation program. 4) The first quarter Medicaid Administrative Claim Time Study was completed by all certified special education staff and was submitted for “Comp u Claim” processing. 5) The Teacher Evaluation Committee met this week. They discussed two sample evaluation systems, which will be examined more thoroughly. 6) Thirteen staff members will receive CPI non-violent crisis prevention and intervention training on October 30 and November 3.
7) Dr. Fricklas called attention to a status report by Cheryl Henselder regarding changes made to bus runs. The bottom line is that there are now approximately equal numbers of students on buses 2, 3, and 4. He added that Bus 3 continues to have higher numbers of students in the morning. Some students from Bus 2 want to take Bus 3 because it leaves 15 minutes later. This causes overcrowding in 3-4 seats. Ms. Kaiser suggested that this situation be monitored to see if it continues to be a problem. Dr. Lukon questioned whether the district is responsible for taking students to school if they are waiting for a later bus. She added that nobody is complaining right now. Ms. Kaiser suggested that, if people are complaining, then the School Committee will have to look at the policy.
Mr. Brennan asked whether the district looked into using smaller buses. Dr. Fricklas explained that there is no need now that there are equal numbers of students on each bus.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the group discussed the 3-R pledge, Volunteers in Education, and what potential changes would come at Lawn, and consistency of discipline. Mrs. Alamanzor added that a subcommittee will meet monthly to look at technology and different uses of it. There is also a subcommittee to do the School Improvement Plan.
SIT/Melrose: Mr. Whitehouse reported that the group developed a letter regarding respect and the Positive Behavioral Plan. There was lengthy discussion of foreign language instruction in K-8. There are good ideas and teachers are supportive, but the road is long. There is a need to discuss lockdown procedures and keys at Melrose. Mr. Whitehouse said he charged the staff to find different ways to handle this. The group discussed having walkie-talkies in every classroom. In the event of a lockdown, it may be possible to reconfigure the intercom system to sound an alarm. The group will continue to review the model schools DVD at the meeting on November 13.
SELAC: Ms. Held announced that the group was going to watch the rigor and relevance video. There was very positive feedback.
Facilities Committee: Mr. Brennan announced that there will be a meeting on November 10.
North Kingstown School Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that the fist part of the meeting was with Town Council. There was a very heated discussion about Wickford Elementary, and they may return to a K-5 configuration. The committees looked at enrollment projections; some schools will see a significant drop in students. North Kingstown may close another school to have more balance in the south end. The groups discussed Jamestown in a brief and general way. They may put off any change for another year, because there has already been a change for the students this year. They thought collaboration with Jamestown on educating students would be possible for long-range planning. Ms. Kaiser asked whether this meant 2011, and Mr. Brennan said yes.
SORICO: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the committee met Thursday and discussed their structure, what kind of data they can track, and the process for hiring an Executive Director. Ms. Kaiser added that the next Keywork session will be held on the first Monday in December. There will be a meet and greet for newly elected members. Discussion will focus on maintaining student achievement in this weak economic time.
Policy: Previously discussed. Mr. Whitehouse reported that he has given some sample policies from the RIASC policy files to the subcommittee.
Wellness: No meeting.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date