JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
October 19, 2006
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Robert Power, Superintendent
Elizabeth Pinto, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Michael Schnack, Town Council Liaison
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Held, Kallfelz.
Members excused: Brennan, Filkins.
Public Forum: None.
Recognition: Ms. Kaiser recognized the Superintendent of North Kingstown, who was named Rhode Island’s Superintendent of the Year.
Correspondence: Dr. Power received a letter from NEARI asking to begin contract negotiations. He also received a letter from a parent, and he distributed a copy of his response.
Ms. Kaiser received information about a fundraiser in which students’ artwork is made into postage stamps. The school makes $3 on every book of stamps sold. Ms. Kaiser called attention to correspondence among Mr. Brennan, COX Cable, and herself. She explained that the messages concerned Jamestown’s not being able to receive North Kingstown School Committee meetings or video broadcasts from the high school. The problem has been corrected.
Consent Agenda: Ms. Held asked to exempt the Minutes of September 7 from the Consent Agenda.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda: A) Approval of Minutes of September 21, 2006; B) Payment of Bills of September 22 and October 4, 2006; and C) Personnel - Appointment to Extracurricular Positions for Karyn Kauffman as Jazz Band Director and Eric Bush as Boys’ Basketball Coach. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Held corrected the name Matley in the September 7 Minutes.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Minutes of September 7, 2006. All approved. So moved.
Continued Discussion on Tuitioned Students: Ms. Kaiser explained that the school lawyer expected to send his position paper by Friday, but the school has not received it yet. Discussion was tabled until the paper has been received.
Continued Discussion of Food Service Programs: The Food Service Sub-Committee met with Richard Morrell. Dr. Power and Ms. Kaiser met with Deborah Pini. Mrs. Kallfelz met with Dorothy Fraley of Kids First. Mrs. Kallfelz explained that Kids First is charged with improving the health and wellness status of children in Rhode Island. It provides funding for school systems to overhaul their school lunch programs and education to promote healthier eating. Ms. Fraley gave suggestions regarding Jamestown’s food service, including how it could meet Federal requirements, how it could be evaluated, and how it could be implemented. She was very encouraging and thought that Kids First could help on all of those issues. She suggested that a sub-committee of Mrs. Pini, Dr. Power, the two people on the Food Service Sub-Committee, and Mrs. Alfred could meet to put together a plan. Ms. Fraley was meeting with DOE today to discuss whether Jamestown could be a pilot site for healthy meals. Mrs. Kallfelz will call Ms. Fraley about the results of this meeting, the sub-committee will meet, and it will report at a School Committee meeting. Ms. Held asked whether DOE is involved. Dr. Power said that DOE does site audits, meal counts, and accounting. Ms. Kaiser added that North Kingstown may be going out to bid for their food service.
Continued Discussion of Bus and NKHS Breakfast Schedules: By consensus, this topic was moved up on the Agenda. Ms. Kaiser introduced Mr. Foley from North Kingstown High School and summarized the problem. Mr. Foley explained that, on Mrs. Prairie’s recommendations, buses arrive a full 15 minutes before the school day starts so that students can get breakfast. This has been going on for many years. He gave breakfast and start times. He noted that, although some buses do not always arrive on time, most students get some breakfast time. Mr. Foley said that Jamestown students arrive 15 minutes early. He has not had many complaints this year from parents of students who don’t have time for breakfast. Some students do not eat until lunch.
Ms. Kaiser asked whether students could eat outside the cafeteria. Mr. Foley said that this is not encouraged, but students can eat in Advisory which occurs 1.5 hours after school start time. He added that some students get breakfast and take it for later. Mr. Foley said that school started 15 minutes earlier last year. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether buses were complying with the policy. Ms. Held noted that Jamestown buses were not complying until this year. She asked why breakfast has to be done by the first bell. Mr. Foley said they try to give students 10 minutes at the start of the day so that they can get to their lockers and then get to First Period on time. He added that more students are driven to school now, so they would have, hopefully, more time at home for breakfast.
Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether there was ongoing investigation about pushing back the start time. Mr. Foley said he thought so. The committee considered a 9 a.m. start time but the district could not do this because there were too many problems. He explained that most high schools in Rhode Island start between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., and North Kingstown hopes to move to this time.
Ms. Held explained that Mr. Brennan will meet with North Kingstown’s Director of Transportation on October 24 to discuss using Jamestown buses. She passed on information she had heard that Mr. Horan said 2-3 buses would help. She had heard that the high school was being blamed for the bus problem when it was really the required time that was added to the elementary school day that was causing the issue. Mr. Foley explained that North Kingstown buses are coming back later after their runs, so the high school late bus comes at 4 p.m. He noted that there was a big protest about bus time being too late for elementary students when it darker earlier. Ms. Held said she hoped these meeting would help.
Mr. Foley said that high school parents are meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss students’ electronic portfolios and internet safety. He invited Jamestown parents to attend.
Second Reading of Substitute Policy: Ms. Davis read the policy. Ms. Held asked who defined the critical shortage area. Dr. Power explained that the Superintendent defines it. He used the example of filling a math position, for which he had to go beyond the regular pay schedule to find someone. Ms. Kaiser noted that she had asked Mrs. Alfred to determine the impact on the budget if the pay rate was made retroactive. Mrs. Alfred said the increase is about $700.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Substitute Policy as recommended. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to specify that the pay rates be retroactive to the beginning of the 2006-07 school year. All approved. So moved.
New Business: Pre-Budget Discussion and Report on Property Tax Symposium: Ms. Kaiser suggested that this topic be delayed until November 3 so that Mr. Brennan could be here for discussion. She also suggested that food service be discussed on November 3.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Power presented his report. 1) There are no new tuitioned students, but he received a call from a parent who wants a child to attend Kindergarten next year. 2) Jamestown can have a different kind of food program next year. 3) Dr. Power said he was chosen to be in a program in which New England superintendents go to New York to observe learning styles and leadership styles. 4) Dr. Power attended a conference in Vermont. The main speaker discussed random drug testing, which the Federal government would like to begin at Grade 7. He described a video and discussions and said that the government is looking for districts to make local decisions about this issue. He noted that Cranston may bring this speaker to the state; if this happens, Jamestown will send people to the program. 5) Dr. Power explained that he is meeting regularly with North Kingstown regarding technology services. Jamestown is still looking to North Kingstown for inservices and cost sharing. Dr. Power explained an issue about a line from North Kingstown to Jamestown and its impact on E-Rate funding. The line has been disconnected until the issue can be investigated. Once the issue is settled, the line will be reconnected. 7) Dr. Power explained that Disney will be filming in the hallway of the school, but this will not interfere with classes.
Principal’s Report: Mrs. Alamanzor presented her report. 1) There has not been much change in enrollment. 2) NECAP testing has been completed. There was one double testing day, and she is gathering feedback about it from the teachers. Mr. Franco coordinated the testing. 3) After-school programs are running. There were 13 groups after school yesterday. 4) The Melrose School Open House on September 28 was well attended. 5) Soccer and cross-country sports are continuing, and basketball will be meeting for the first time on October 25. 6) The school mascot, the Warrior Wolf, made its first appearance at Lawn School today. 7) At an assembly for Advisories today, staff middle school photos were shown, and identities were revealed. 8) The Pre-K - 12 Literacy Policy was distributed. There will be professional development on this topic on November 7.
Dr. Power explained that military students generally cycle through the school system; the younger students roll up into the older ages, so there are not the same number of young students from year to year.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that there was general discussion of plans for the year.
SIT/Melrose: Ms. Goode asked why the SITs meet so early. Ms. Held explained that the time is a compromise between teachers’ and parents’ hours.
Mrs. Alamanzor described the four sub-committees and their activities: service learning, differentiation, study groups for parents and teachers, and assessment. SIT members signed up for the committees, which will meet in November and December. Jamestown is due for a SALT visit in 2008, so the SITs will be preparing for it. There will be a combined faculty meeting on Friday, and SIT members are invited.
SELAC: Ms. Kaiser called attention the SELAC’s comprehensive yearly report. Mrs. Alamanzor reported that the SELAC Open House was on October 10. Ms. Pinto said that letters were sent home to parents of children in Pre-K - Grade 3. All services came to answer questions. About thirty people attended.
Facilities Committee: No report.
North Kingstown School Committee: No report.
SORICO: Ms. Kaiser will be making a presentation on the Feasibility Study on October 26.
Legislative: Ms. Kaiser distributed an article from the Providence Journal, which discussed new legislation concerning RIPTA’s responsibility for routing special education buses. The legislature is gathering information now. The article represented the issues well.
Wellness: Ms. Pinto explained that the wellness report in the packet is an update on the yearly report. She called attention to the new healthy schools regulations and added that these need to go into the Strategic Plan. Ms. Kaiser asked whether the School Committee could amend the Strategic Plan, or whether this had to be done by the Strategic Planning Committee. Dr. Power explained that the School Committee can amend the Plan; when the Plan is close to completion, the Strategic Planning Committee is reconvened. Ms. Kaiser said she assumed the Wellness Committee would propose wording for changes to the Strategic Plan and noted that she would wait for these changes before placing this topic on the School Committee Agenda. Mrs. Alamanzor said the Wellness Committee will meet on November 15.
Public Forum: Melissa Barrett asked questions regarding the position for new janitor: who interviews, who hires, and whether a background check is done first. Ms. Kaiser explained that the current standard is to do the background check before hiring. Ms. Barrett asked whether the public had a right to know the duties and salary of the Director of Buildings and Grounds. Ms. Kaiser referred Ms. Barrett to procedures in the Open Meetings Law and said that she could write a letter to the Superintendent requesting this information.
Adjourned: Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:07 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date