JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
December 20, 2007
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:02 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.
Consent Agenda: Ms. Kaiser said there had been a request from Mr. Brennan to exempt the physical education appointment from the Consent Agenda.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda: A) Minutes of November 1 and 15, 2007; B) Payment of Bills of November 7 and 20, 2007; and C) Personnel - Retirement of Pamela Allen, and appointment of Ana Irwin as Teacher Assistant and Eric Bush as Boys’ Basketball Coach. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Kaiser explained that the Consent Agenda vote accepted the resignation of Pamela Allen as a physical education teacher. Joe Ucci has the right of recall to the full-time position and will accept it. She added that in the past year, Mr. Ucci was moved from a .5 to a .7 FTE position because of adaptive physical education, and that .7 FTE position would continue this year. Mr. Brennan thought it made sense to advertise the position as .5 FTE but to consider increasing the hours for adaptive physical education as needed. Dr. Lukon agreed that the hours for this position could be looked at each year.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the appointment of the physical education teacher. All approved. So moved.
Recognition: Mr. Whitehouse suggested that the School Committee recognize Pam Allen for her 29 years of service. Ms. Kaiser accepted with regret Ms. Allen’s request for retirement and wished her well.
Correspondence: Ms. Kaiser received several pieces of correspondence: 1) Holiday cards from Deluca and Weisenbaum and from Solange and Mike Gray; 2) An invitation to the 21st Annual dinner meeting of The Trust on January 24, which will include a program entitled Media Savvy or Media Naive; and 3) An invitation to the 4th Annual SORICO Legislative meeting at North Kingstown on January 7.
Food Service Update: Ms. Kaiser referred to food service graphs which were prepared by SODEXHO and said the trends look good. Percentages are based on enrollment. Ms. Kaiser said the goal-setting meeting focused on communication between the two entities and accountability; this will be an ongoing dialogue. Ms. Held added Solange, the chef, and two students have been coming to the Wellness Committee. She hopes that they will continue to communicate with students about the things they have learned. Dr. Lukon said she is still trying to get the year-to-date food service figures. Ms. Held asked about information from the Federal audit. Dr. Lukon said that the auditors told her that free and reduced lunch figures were not calculated correctly, and she has to check on the documentation for four students; these things must be fixed. Jane Littlefield commented that the numbers are different for Lawn School because students bought a la carte foods last year.
Ms. Kaiser reported that she was a panelist for a showing of the Two Angry Moms video in Newport. She added that there were two people from the People’s Garden Network at the presentation, and they were concerned about whether Jamestown had continued the garden that Mrs. Gorman started with the students. Ms. Kaiser said she assured them that Jamestown would continue working with the garden.
North Kingstown Tuition Update: Ms. Kaiser said she met with Ed Draper at North Kingstown regarding the increase in special education tuition. His simple answer was that, where tuition went down and then way up, something had been left out of InSite figures. When this error was corrected, the tuition figures increased. Ms. Kaiser distributed a worksheet on high school tuition expenses and said that Jamestown has the equivalent of only three full-time special education students at the high school level, and these are for partial services. She explained the tuition formula calculations are based on (InSite figures plus bond cost) minus (30% of bond cost, food service and transportation expenses). Jamestown will be paying North Kingstown tuition of $9,812 per general education student next year.
2nd Reading of the Policy on Tutor Reimbursement: Reading of the proposed policy was waived. School Committee members had no more suggestions. Dr. Lukon said that policies may be voted on after a second reading if there are no corrections.
Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the policy on tutor reimbursement for students in special education as presented tonight. All approved. So moved.
3rd Reading of the Policy on Use of School Buildings by Non-School Entities: Reading of the proposed policy was waived. Ms. Kaiser made editorial corrections. Ms. Held questioned whether work was ongoing regarding the procedures and the fee schedule. Dr. Lukon said that this could not be done until there was a policy; however, they have some text that they like, and Mr. Kitts has estimates of building costs. Mr. Whitehouse questioned whether the level of liability insurance was appropriate.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve as amended the policy on use of school buildings by non-school entities. All approved. So moved.
1st Reading of the Policy on In-School Distribution of Materials from Outside Groups:
Ms. Davis read the proposed policy. Ms. Held questioned whether the policy should refer to the Superintendent or to the Principal. Ms. Kaiser suggested that the Principal would be considered a “designee”. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether the proposed policy was specific enough to help administration, and Dr. Lukon said it was. Mr. Whitehouse questioned whether the policy included distributions by the food service. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that the policy may have to be specific about food service advertising in the school. There will be a second reading of this policy at the next meeting.
Information & Proposals:
Dr. Lukon reported on several issues. 1) Administration has been persistent in requesting from North Kingstown the achievement data on students in last year’s 11th Grade; there is now a commitment that they will provide these data regularly. Jamestown will also receive NECAP data. Dr. Lukon called attention to a handout that described the data, and she said the numbers looked good. Dr. Lukon asked what other data School Committee members wanted to see. She added that she would like to see SAT scores, but these are not in School Max. Ms. Held suggested that Jamestown should continue to check Jamestown students’ math and Spanish scores as report cards are generated. Mrs. Alamanzor added that Jamestown receives high school report cards; however, North Kingstown is very unwilling for Jamestown to access their data. Ms. Kaiser suggested that Jamestown continue to ask for specific pieces of data. Dr. Lukon added that her plan is to keep asking for data until the North Kingstown data person gets tired of it and says Jamestown can access the data. She noted that Lee Rabbit said that Jamestown students are behind in keyboarding skills. Ms. Held asked what keyboarding skills are taught in North Kingstown, and she suggested that Jamestown might want to look at their curriculum. Dr. Lukon said that there seems to be a problem with composing/research. 2) The district is making progress regarding Impact Aid. 11% of Jamestown students are from military families. Jamestown submits data now; however, there will be no funding until next year, and administration is not sure how much funding the district will receive. 3) Connect Ed was not yet available on the day of early release last week. Training for this program will be held on January 3. The plan is to use home phone numbers for school announcements but to use cell phone numbers for emergencies. Dr. Lukon added that there is an email component to the program. She commented that PTO assisted in paying the $3.60 per student fee this year. PTO will use this program for some of their announcements. She added that administration was on the phone at 4 a.m. to arrange for students after the early school dismissal. 4) Mr. Yeomans, the father of two North Kingstown High School students, passed away yesterday, and their mother passed away last year. The students’ aunt lives in Jamestown. Dr. Lukon asked how Jamestown could support these students. 5) There was an incident in which a pocket knife was brought to school. Mrs. Alamanzor handled the situation and enforced appropriate consequences. The policy was last revised in 1978, and Dr. Lukon suggested that it needs to be revisited. There is no policy at present that discusses the possession of weapons. Ms. Kaiser congratulated Mrs. Alamanzor on her enforcement of the policy. 6) Dr. Fricklas reported that the Board of Regents approved the special education regulations, which are up for renewal by July 1. Regulations that passed included a) wording concerning the extended school year being determined through the IEP process, b) class size/case load ratios determined by the needs of the students in the districts, c) free and public education provided by the district for parentally placed private school students, and d) speech-language as a special education service for students through age eight. Dr. Fricklas interpreted some of these regulations. 7) Mrs. Alfred is home from the hospital after surgery. Mrs. Littlefield is assisting with budget and bills. Mr. Whitehouse will send a card to Mrs. Alfred. 8) Dr. Lukon called attention to a lexicon of education terms/acronyms. Ms. Held suggested that this lexicon be posted on the school’s web page.
Mrs. Alamanzor reported on several pieces of information. 1) The SALT survey is done and ready to be picked up by courier. Students, teachers, and parents completed surveys. Parental interest has waned, and there is not much change in the survey data. 2) Two evacuation drills and two lockdown drills are required by state law during this year. Dr. Lukon added that drills are being held up because some doors do not have locks. She said there will be a capital proposal for locks. 3) Jenn Clark, Carrie Melucci, and the 3rd Grade co-teaching team attended a math workshop that covered differentiated instruction through the use of learning centers. 4) Teachers met in cross-level teams for monthly professional development and discussed the use of a guiding question and a protocol to share and discuss student work, connections across grade levels, and ideas for differentiation. 5) There will be workshops on Everyday Mathematics for parents of students in grades K-6. 6) Jamestown has received a $1,700 RISCA grant which will be used in the 3rd Grade. Community members will be invited to school to share their stories. 7) Lawn School Advisories participated in preparing packages for the Rhode Island Children’s Fund Gingerbread Express. 8) There have been leaks in the roof at Lawn School this week. Mr. Kitts has been working to clear ice jams in the drains. Dr. Lukon added that the new roof held. 9) The holiday concerts at Lawn School were excellent and well attended. Mrs. Alamanzor commended the music staff. 10) Mrs. Alamanzor distributed an article on coyotes in which Jim Kaczynski’s work with students was mentioned.
SIT/Melrose: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the December meeting was cancelled. Mrs. Alamanzor added that there will be two meetings in January.
SIT/Lawn: Mr. Whitehouse reported that the committee is reviewing the parent survey from last June. They discussed Jamestown’s standards-based report cards versus regular grading and how to clear up expectations regarding scoring. The group also discussed respect, bullying, adding a positive behavior program in the school, positive expectations for all, and consistency across the board in applying discipline. The SALT folder was reviewed prior to the SALT visit in February. One member expressed concern that Jamestown students may be less prepared for honors math. Mr. Whitehouse said he was pleased with the respectful tone of the discussion.
SELAC: Ms. Held reported that, at the November meeting, committee members finalized their comments to the Board of Regents regarding state regulations. There was no December meeting. The issue of the EMT Registry was on the Agenda, but it was not discussed. She added that there is now more interest in training for working with students with special needs rather than in creating a registry.
Facilities Committee: No report.
North Kingstown School Committee: Ms. Held reported on several issues. 1) There was lots of discussion at the last meeting about both special education and transportation budgets. 2) Diana Clarke is resigning and moving to Narragansett after only five weeks at North Kingstown. 3) Ms. Held said that the budget presentation was straightforward. 4) Ms. Held noted that the School Committee was interested in vending machine revenues. 5) The committee discussed the solicitor. 6) Lynn Sironen, Director of Curriculum, presented new course offerings which will include acting, media literacy, accounting, Portuguese 1-4, another Spanish 4 (culture and literature), and another lab for CCP Geometry. Dr. Lukon questioned the choice of Portuguese as a language. Ms. Held explained that there was student interest, one staff member is certified in it so there would be no further staffing needs, and Portuguese is the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. 6) Ms. Held added that North Kingstown will be facing huge budget issues. They approved non-renewal lists for teachers and for administrative positions. Mr. Whitehouse questioned whether there was interest in teaching Chinese. Ms. Held explained that Spanish is the only language taught in the middle school; French, German, and Spanish are taught in the high school. Mrs. Kallfelz added that one of the teachers is interested in learning Chinese. Dr. Lukon commented that futurists are advocating for teaching Chinese or Arabic in the future. 7) North Kingstown High School was named in US News & World Report as a Silver Medalist for best high schools. She commended North Kingstown for their hard work. Ms. Held added that North Kingstown, Barrington and Classical received silver medals. Dr. Lukon commented that one had to look pretty far down on the list to find a Massachusetts school; however, Massachusetts and Rhode Island schools were fairly high on the list.
SORICO: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that there was discussion about reviewing SORICO’s function and interaction with the districts. The group approved hiring of 1) a professional development leader for special education and 2) an Algebra 1 leader to assist with transition to the high school level. Mrs. Alamanzor added that SORICO hired a teacher-in-residence to work with the transition of Algebra students from 8th to 9th Grade. These will be pilot programs, and there have been questions about how to fund the programs in the future.
Ms. Kaiser announced that the first quarterly meeting of the South County Chairs had attendees from South Kingstown, Narragansett, Westerly, Jamestown, Exeter-West Greenwich, and North Kingstown. The group discussed the spring Keywork program. A subcommittee will be formed to put together a governance handbook for school committees. Ms. Kaiser added that the group also discussed legislative priorities, funding, the pension plan, and regional bussing.
RIASC: Ms. Kaiser reported that the group got news about the DOE proposal for pensions. DOE is proposing that, for the next three years, ½ of the pension contribution increase be paid out of the RIDE budget but be taken out of state aid to the districts during the transition. By the end of three years, all pension increases will come from RIDE, and there will be no variable increases for the districts. RIASC is totally against this proposal because they do not want to accept anything less than a funding formula. They thought the proposal was unfair to urban districts. Ms. Kaiser said she thought it was nice to take the variable pension increase out of the budget.
Policy: Ms. Held said she will take up the weapons issue.
Wellness: Ms. Held suggested that the Wellness Committee work on a tobacco policy, and perhaps there could be a joint meeting to discuss it. She added that there has been a question about combining the present substance abuse policy and a new tobacco policy.
Laura Hosley has requested that she be placed on the next workshop agenda to discuss energy drinks. She questioned whether there could be a policy on it. Dr. Lukon added that some energy drinks contain 50 grams of sugar and as much caffeine as is in seven cups of coffee,
Ms. Kaiser reported that the Mandates Commission met last week. Commission members did a good job of identifying mandates. She added that legislative members seemed more interested in low-hanging fruit such as bus monitors; however, this was only the first meeting, and other issues will be discussed later. Ms. Kaiser explained the process by which the state would pay for mandates.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that the meeting on January 3, 2008 be an Executive Session only, and Laura Hosley be invited to present her information on January 17.
Public Forum: Michaela Kennedy said that she is putting together an article on the Year in Review. If members have things for the article, please send them to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adjourned: Mr. Whitehouse moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:08 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date