JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
October 9, 1008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Jane Littlefield, Interim 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 work session to order at 7:12 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Held, Kallfelz, Whitehouse.
Members absent: Brennan.
Public Forum: None.
Workshop Discussion Topics:
Discussion of Joint School Committee/Town Council Meeting:
Ms. Kaiser announced that the joint School Committee/Town Council meeting has been scheduled tentatively for October 30, pending confirmation of the date by the Council. She will work on an agenda for the meeting. At a recent Town Council meeting, she asked about a list of questions for discussion; they had no additional questions other than those that were asked previously.
Ms. Kaiser led a discussion regarding issues to be placed on the agenda for the meeting. 1) Ms. Kaiser reiterated the School Committee’s understanding that the RIPEC review of efficiencies would include both the town and the school district, and the cost would be shared jointly. 2) Ms. Held suggested that current enrollment figures for all grades through the high school be presented. 3) Dr. Lukon said she is looking at staffing numbers and cost estimates for next year. 4) Ms. Held suggested that general information be presented regarding how many students from North Kingstown could be accommodated in Jamestown. Dr. Lukon explained that Phil Thornton has been asked, by North Kingstown School Committee, to prepare various scenarios; one of these includes having students come to Jamestown. She said that she will be meeting with North Kingstown on October 20, and the plan will be discussed at that time; however, Jamestown may not know anything specific until North Kingstown is deep into budget discussions.
Discussion of Class Size and Classroom Space: Dr. Lukon presented data current as of today on class sizes for Grades K-8. She also provided date on recommended maximum class size per the JTA contract.
Ms. Kaiser questioned whether there is a way to serve inclusion students in larger classes by doing something that is not presently done here. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that inclusion classes in two grades have severe/profound students in them. Ms. Held asked whether it is possible to compensate by providing extra support to inclusion students. Ms. Kaiser commented that the cost of additional assistance would be less than the cost of a teacher, but this situation would not be ideal. Mr. Whitehouse suggested that Dr. Fricklas be asked about alternative ways to provide services.
Ms. Held asked Dr. Lukon about the worst case scenario of not receiving any state aid. Dr. Lukon said that if there is no state aid, then there is a question of what happens to 30/50. She suggested that Jamestown may have to consider whether to raise town taxes to cover the shortfall in state aid.
Mr. Whitehouse commented that, if the worse case scenario occurred, it is possible that Jamestown could add 149 students from North Kingstown. Dr. Lukon distributed floor plans of the school and explained that, when looking at space, the goal is to try to add one class per grade level in grades 1-4. At Melrose, the following rooms could become available for classes: 1) learning center, 2) quiet room (now being used for inclusion), 3) computer lab (computers could be put on carts), and 4) ESL/Early Intervention room. She added that there is not enough space for another Kindergarten; however, an additional room could be found by moving Pre-K to a modular facility. Mr. Whitehouse commented that he would like to hear input from teachers as well as administration. Dr. Lukon explained the recommended space for grades 1-5 and for Kindergarten. She added that North Kingstown’s team could be told that Jamestown could add four classes; however, they would have to give the number of students they would send.
Dr. Lukon described the scenario by which one class would be added to Grade 5 in Lawn, and an additional class would be added each year as students moved through the grades. At Lawn, the following rooms could become available for classes: 5th Grade resource room, 2) 6th Grade resource room, 3) 7th Grade resource room, and 4) Pathways room. When students got to grades 7-8, some part-time teachers might have to be added. Dr. Lukon said she thought Jamestown should continue to talk with North Kingstown about this scenario.
There are a number of issues to be considered concerning maximum class size and adding North Kingstown students, 1) Ms. Held said there needs to be a little wiggle room because the district cannot plan on a specific number of military students. 2) Ms. Kaiser questioned whether North Kingstown would want to place some of their teachers here or let them go. 3) Ms. Kaiser questioned whether North Kingstown would transfer some desks and equipment to Jamestown. 4) Dr. Lukon explained that Jamestown does not know how many special education students would be sent from North Kingstown. She added that, because of tuition, money is not an issue, but space is. 5) Ms. Kaiser commented that North Kingstown uses pull-out rather than inclusion for special education.
Mr. Whitehouse asked the Principals how they felt about maximum class sizes, and both Principals were okay with them. Mr. Whitehouse said he thought the class size numbers were reasonable, if not ideal. Dr. Lukon explained that Jamestown’s class sizes are pretty close to Narragansett’s this year, but North Kingstown’s classes are larger. Mr. Whitehouse said Little Compton’s class sizes are comparable.
Discussion of RIDE Curriculum Initiative: Ms. Kaiser reported on a presentation which was given to the quarterly meeting of school committee chairs by RIDE Director of Curriculum, Mary Ann Snider. Ms. Snider spoke about RIDE’s providing vision and leadership for communities as they search for ways to collaborate on curriculum. RIDE is working with staff from the Dana Center in Austin, Texas, will look at Rhode Island standards, and will consider ways to increase consistency between grade-level expectations. On November 17, Uri Treisman, Dana Center’s Director, will address superintendents and school leaders about how communities can build a common curriculum. RIASC wants to coordinate with RIDE in order to have Mr. Treisman talk with school committee members over the weekend. Ms. Kaiser added that Ms. Snider is very interested in having all of Rhode Island participate in the Model Schools program.
Mr. Whitehouse announced that there will be a meeting of the Teacher Evaluation Committee on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., and he will attend.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date