JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
November 20, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Jane Littlefield, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal at Lawn School
Carole Melucci, Principal at Melrose School
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
The School Committee returned to Open Session following a 6:00 p.m. Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5, Exception 2, Contract Negotiations and Exception 9, Level III Grievance. Ms. Kaiser announced that no votes were taken.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:15 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 Payment of Bills from the Consent Agenda.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Minutes of October 9, 16, and 30, 2008. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan thanked Mrs. Alfred and Mrs. Littlefield for providing the year-to-date budget. He said he thought it was important to have this update every other month.
Mr. Brennan asked questions about items from the Bills of October 16, 2008. 1) URI Foundation expenditures are for special education and are covered by grants. 2) Mr. Brennan asked about the number of special education students in two specific classes; Mrs Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci answered that there are four students in each class. 3) Mrs. Alfred explained that bills for social work can change year to year; the majority of the expense is at Lawn this year. 4) Mrs. Alfred explained that the money for student assistance services has not yet been transferred from the town. Mrs. Alamanzor added that this person has just returned from maternity leave. She will bring a report to the next meeting.
Ms. Held asked about the consulting fee for Aldo Bianchi, and Mrs. Alamanzor explained that this was for professional development. Ms. Held asked about payments to SODEXHO, and Mrs. Alamanzor explained that SODEXHO provided food for Professional Development Day.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve Payment of Bills of October 16, 2008. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan received two pieces of correspondence. 1) He has a memo that he will discuss under the North Kingstown High School report. 2) Mr. Brennan attended a seminar on wind turbines. He explained that he received an email from the vendor, who wanted to know if he could come to Jamestown to do a presentation. Mr. Brennan said the turbine is a vertical style that mounts on a pole on the building and is not that expensive. He gave Dr. Lukon information so that Mr. Kitts can evaluate the turbine.
Ms. Held received two pieces of correspondence: 1) an invitation to the RIASC School Committee 101 workshop and 2) an invitation to a member appreciation event given by The Trust.
Ms. Kaiser received an invitation to the RIASC quarterly Chairs meeting. Gary Sasse will discuss state finances.
Ms. Held reported that she attended a meeting at RIDE, and she will report later.
Food Service Update: Ms. Kaiser commented that members were given a very helpful report. SODEXHO asked student about their likes/dislikes concerning the menus. The NutriKids system is up and running. Dr. Lukon added that, as of Tuesday, there are accounts for 128 students. She said it is too early to tell whether the system is less time-consuming than the previous method of collecting money; she will evaluate this later. Ms. Kaiser added that the monthly graph shows a big drop in lunch purchases at Lawn and a big increase at Melrose.
Second Reading of Bullying Policy: By consensus, the second reading was waived. Ms. Kaiser asked for any additional changes, but there were none.
Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the policy on bullying/cyberbullying. All approved. So moved.
Joint Meeting with Town Council: There was no further comment about this meeting.
Status Report: Recycling at Jamestown Schools: Ms. Kaiser explained that Lawn has blue bins for recycling and green bins for paper. Ms. Held asked why all rooms have blue bins. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that students carry water bottles. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether there are bins in the gym. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that there is a big yellow barrel, but contents get contaminated so materials in it are not recycled. Ms. Held suggested that blue bins be placed in the gym.
Mr. Whitehouse commented that his school just received an award for recycling. He said the issue is where the recycling goes once it gets into the blue bins. Mrs. Alamanzor said that her understanding is that Island Rubbish takes away the recycling from the bins. Mr. Whitehouse said he will call Mr. Kitts to confirm that bins are recycled appropriately. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the Advisory made recycling a goal this year. There was an extensive kickoff, and Mr. Kelly came to talk with the students. She added that there are now bins in the cafeteria, and recycling is doing better there.
Liaison to North Kingstown School Committee: Ms. Kaiser explained that North Kingstown has new school committee members, and it behooves Jamestown to always have a representative at their meetings. Since Mr. Brennan has to be out of town on business occasionally, the Committee discussed having an alternate when he is not available. Mr. Brennan has established relationships with North Kingstown School Committee members. North Kingstown’s policy is to have no more than one liaison member. Ms. Kaiser suggested that a letter be written to North Kingstown to ask them whether it is permissible to appoint an alternate when Mr. Brennan cannot attend.
Ms. Held asked whether the purpose of the alternate is information gathering; Ms. Kaiser said yes. It is not optimal to have other people attending the meeting, but it is better than having an empty seat. Mr. Brennan said that he rarely has to speak, but sometimes members like to hear other opinions. He added that there are two or three candidates that ran on the plank of the high school being to crowded so throw out Jamestown. He said it is important to have someone represent Jamestown at these meetings, even though he has input only at approximately every other meeting. Ms. Held said she thought writing a letter is the first step.
Ms. Kaiser will write a letter to the North Kingstown School Committee regarding having an alternate attend when Mr. Brennan cannot be there.
Home Schooling Requests: Dr. Lukon explained that Dr. Fricklas recommends approval of a home schooling request.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the home schooling request. All approved. So moved.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Lukon explained that her report covered areas that have already been discussed or will be discussed under Principals’ and Director of Student Services’ reports.
Principals’ Report: Mrs. Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci reported on a number of items. 1) Ms. Melucci and teacher Charlene Tuttle described Melrose’s Election Day activities. Ms. Tuttle received emails from parents about how excellent this project was. Mrs. Alamanzor described Lawn’s Election Day activities and said they were run differently than at Melrose. 2) Jamestown was selected for February 2009 NAEP testing for 4 th and 8 th grades. Both principals attended a workshop. Reports are only by state, and there is no local report. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that students will take either reading, math, or sciences tests, but they will only take one test. Ms. Held added that, at a RIDE meeting she attended, there was discussion concerning Rhode Island’s scores being significantly lower than in other states in New England. Mrs. Alamanzor said they will have to wait to see if NAEP will give urban/suburban scores. Dr. Lukon added that the bottom line is that Rhode Island could be doing better.
Ms. Held suggested that the state needs to see if there are other things that are affecting scores. These might include finances, teacher training, etc. She also questioned whether there could be more breakdown of the scores. She added that African American students in Rhode Island do particularly poorly.
Mrs. Alamanzor said that 8 th Grade students are being pounded by tests. In addition to NAEP and NECAP, they will take a technology test which is required for No Child Left Behind. The students may also have to do a version of the SAT. Mr. Whitehouse asked where the requirement for the technology test came from. Mrs. Alamanzor said RIDE requires it, and she explained how the test works. She added that teachers will have to take a literacy assessment test next year. She said that she did not find the technology test to be particularly difficult and thought the students would do well.
3) Nancy Dorsky came to facilitate discussion of Everyday Math with teachers in K-2. 4) Each grade level will create and implement a writing assessment. Students’ writing will be evaluated using a common rubric. 5) Chris Poulos, a BMX bike champion, came to both schools to talk about making good choices. 6) The Empty Bowls program took place on November 14 and was a great success. Mrs. Alamanzor said kudos go to the volunteers who participated. Mr. Whitehouse will write a letter of thanks from the School Committee. 7) Faculty had a full day of professional development on rigor/relevance on Election Day. Groups worked on a Gold seal lesson, and these will be submitted to Dr. Lukon. In the afternoon, faculty could attend two out of three technology presentations: Lisa Casey discussed blogs, Samira Hakki helped teachers update their web sites, and Nick Alfred demonstrated SMART board features. Mrs. Alamanzor added that the Technology Committee is up and running. Consensus of the committee was that Mrs. Alamanzor bring a copy of their report.
8) Shakespearience Productions gave an interactive folklore presentation to students in grades 5-6 and an interactive presentation on Shakespeare to students in grades 7-8. Both presenters were very engaging. 9) Basketball season is under way. The girls’ team lost to Kickemuit Middle School today, but it was not a bad loss. Girls play a fifth quarter so that additional students are given an opportunity to play. 10) Parent conferences are taking place in both schools today and tomorrow. 11) Students beginning in Grade 6 must have a state-mandated individual learning plans. Plans must address career, social, academic, and personal goals Mrs. Alamanzor said she will be working with North Kingstown in order to integrate with them. Grades 9 and 10 have the assistance of a guidance counselor to help them with their plans. Mr. Alamanzor explained that this plan is part of the new middle/high school requirements. The plan has to stay with students through high school and has to be completed as part of their proficiency by Grade 12.
Director of Student Services Report: Dr. Lukon reported on a number of items for Dr. Fricklas. 1) Eleven staff members participated in crisis intervention last month and have been recertified through 2010-11. 2) The Consolidate Resource Grant has finally been approved. 3) The RIDE School Support System team has completed data analysis. They will return in January to continue their inspection. 4) RIDE presented a preview of the English Language Learner regulations, which will go into effect next year. ELL students must have individual learning plans. There are three ELL students at present. 5) There was a program for teachers and bus monitors on positive behavioral support for improving behavior on the bus. 6) Dr. Lukon received word that the visitors from China will be here the first week in March. She thought School Committee members might consider meeting them. She has talked with the band director about getting an arrangement of the Chinese National Anthem. Mr. Whitehouse will investigate choral music.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the committee discussed the Volunteers in Education program, and teachers are drawing in participants. As an example, Lisa Carlisle added that Bob Sutton brought turkeys from Watson Farm to the school. This SIT did some team building and discussed the standards-based grading system and rigor/relevance. The subcommittee on technology is focusing on better use of current resources. Another subcommittee is looking at the School Improvement Plan. Island Treasures is in process of being organized for the coming year.
SIT/Melrose: Mr. Whitehouse reported that this SIT is reviewing the School Improvement Action Plan and has made some minor adjustments. They thought that perhaps Article 31 money could be made available for writing instruction. They also discussed foreign language in younger grades and communication during lockdowns in the school. Dr. Lukon added that there will be a walk-through the week after Thanksgiving, and there will be an unannounced drill later. She noted that Mr. Whitehouse’s concern about communication with the office is not shared. She said she still thinks the best method of communication is through the intercom.
SELAC: Ms. Held reported that the committee discussed parents’ concerns regarding the Trailblazers Program for the extended school year. Parents whose children did not attend this program had some concerns. She added that there is also a concern regarding therapies. The group wanted to see better communication about programs offered at the school rather than sending students to Trailblazers. There is also concern about having North Kingstown students tuitioning into Jamestown, because many of the rooms that have been proposed are used for special education programs now. Ms. Held said parents were surprised to learn from the newspaper about the possibility of tuitioning in North Kingstown students, Ms. Held said she suggested that SELAC members could read SCAN and they could also send a liaison to the School Committee meetings.
Facilities Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that the committee met to discuss the Capital Plan. They are starting to move projects depending on priorities. They will bring their plan to the School Committee soon.
North Kingstown School Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that the first part of the meeting was discussion about principals’ contracts. The School Committee voted to give the Athletic Director a 3-year contract, and principals all wanted that same thing. They discussed the issue of school surplus returning to the town at the end of the year. Mr. Brennan said he explained how Jamestown handles school surplus. The Committee also discussed North Kingstown’s preliminary school budget. The issue of Jamestown students came up, and tuition will be level-funded next year. There was also communication about a meeting of the League of Cities and Towns; at this meeting, it was announced that school aid from the state will be reduced by 1% this year. Ms. Kaiser added that the legislature will be meeting next week to discuss the budget crisis, so none of the state budget figures are firm. Mr. Brennan said that North Kingstown discussed draconian measures for the school budget. He recommended that their preliminary school budget be copied and distributed to Jamestown School Committee members.
SORICO: Mrs. Kallfelz said there was no report. Ms. Kaiser announced that there will be a Keywork session on December 1. It will be a “meet and greet” for new school committee members. Susan sosnowski will discuss her proposed bill on consolidating school districts. Ms. Kaiser will attend.
Policy: Mr. Whitehouse reported that he met with Dr. Lukon to work in an illegal harassment policy. The subcommittee will also work on a hiring policy. Dr. Lukon is working on a hiring procedures manual.
Wellness: No meeting.
By consensus, the workshop on December 4 will be cancelled.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:44 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date