JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
December 6, 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 work session to order at 7:05 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Brennan, Held, Kallfelz.
Members absent: Whitehouse.
Michael White, new Town Council Liaison, said that he was glad to be at the meeting and is here to learn.
Mr. Brennan reported that the North Kingstown School Committee proposed that they not say the Pledge of Allegiance in Open Session if it was already said in Executive Session.
Election of Officers:
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to nominate Ms. Kaiser as Chair. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Kaiser moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to nominate Mrs. Kallfelz as Co-Chair. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Kaiser moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to nominate Mr. Whitehouse as Clerk. All approved. So moved.
Appointment of Liaisons:
Ms. Kaiser asked Mr. Brennan if he was willing to continue to serve as Liaison to the North Kingstown School Committee and to the Facilities Committee. Mr. Brennan agreed.
Ms. Kaiser asked Ms. Held if she was willing to continue to serve as Liaison to SELAC and to the Wellness Committee. Ms. Held agreed.
Ms. Kaiser asked Mrs. Kallfelz if she was willing to continue to serve as Liaison to the Lawn SIT and to SORICO. Mrs. Kallfelz agreed.
Ms. Kaiser reported that Mr. Whitehouse has agreed to serve as the Liaison to the Melrose SIT.
Ms. Kaiser reported that SORICO is asking for another designee to attend meetings if the regular representative is unable to attend. Members agreed to act as designees as needed.
First Reading: Policy on Tutor Reimbursement:
Ms. Davis read the proposed policy. Committee members made editorial comments.
Mr. Brennan asked whether the policy was put forth at this time because there was a problem. Dr. Fricklas said that this is a policy draft for editorial comment. He explained that there have been many verbal agreements with a variety of tutors, and their fees are all over the place based on their expertise or supply/demand. He said he has had tutors sign letters of agreement, and the district has done background checks. He added that most tutoring is done on-site, and invoices are submitted. Dr. Fricklas said he thought it was best to have a policy regarding fees, and he said that some JTA teachers have more qualifications than the current tutors. Regarding the $30/hour wage, Dr. Fricklas said that the policy needs to state that there is an endorsed rate and, unless there is a compelling reason, it should remain at that rate. Dr. Lukon added that the administrative team has read and discussed this policy, and they think it is solid. They suggested that background checks be added to the policy.
Mr. Brennan asked whether there is a list of tutors who provide services. Dr. Fricklas answered that the district has a list of recommended tutors, with the exception of those tutors that are from North Kingstown. Mr. Brennan asked whether the school paid for tutoring for IEPs or 504s. Dr. Fricklas said yes; this comes along with the extended school day. Mr. Brennan asked whether the district pays for general education students. Dr. Fricklas explained that the school pays for after-school programs. Mr. Brennan asked whether the school paid for a general education student who needed help in math but was not failing, and Dr. Fricklas said no.
Ms. Kaiser said that this policy will be put on the Agenda for a second reading.
Approval of 2008 Calendar: Dr. Lukon presented that School Committee Calendar for 2008. She explained the schedule for budget workshops and noted that the committee should stay on this timetable. Meeting dates will include January 3, 17, and 24 as well as February 7, 14, and 28.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the School Committee meeting schedule for 2008 as submitted by the Superintendent. All approved. So moved.
Home Schooling Requests:
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the home schooling request as submitted by the Director of Student Services. Mrs. Kallfelz asked about the late date that this request was submitted. Dr. Fricklas explained that the family submitted a letter earlier; he asked them to finish the application so that the package would be complete. Mrs. Kallfelz asked if there is a specific deadline for the application, and Dr. Fricklas answered no. All approved. So moved.
Second Reading: Policy on Use of School Buildings by Non-School-Based Entities: By consensus, reading of this policy was waived.
Mr. Brennan suggested that the paragraph on who is responsible for the policy appear before the paragraph on groups. He questioned the use of the words “for profit”, and Ms. Kaiser suggested that wording be changed to “...or to generate revenue as deemed appropriate”. Mr. Brennan suggested several other changes that would shorten the policy.
Ms. Held suggested that the number of the law be placed in the policy. Dr. Fricklas explained that law number is RIGL 16-2-18.1.
Mr. Brennan questioned prioritization of groups and asked who establishes the sign-up periods. Dr. Lukon said that the issue of sign-up periods needs to be determined, and requests are coming in on a rolling basis. Mr. Brennan asked whether the Application for Use of School Facilities was the same as the Building Use Application form. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that there is a white form for in-house use and a yellow form for other groups. Dr. Lukon suggested that the School Committee approve a fee schedule. She asked whether Janette could accept the underlined changes in the policy that were made by the Committee’s request at the last meeting. Consensus of the Committee was to accept those changes.
Workshop Discussion of Policies: Ms. Kaiser explained that there will be discussion only of several policies this evening, but these are not first readings.
Ms. Kaiser suggested the addition of wording regarding cyberbullying. By consensus, members agreed to include cyberbullying in the policy. Ms. Kaiser explained that the addition of this topic will establish a basis of argument to take action where cyberbullying occurs off school grounds but affects students or staff. Ms. Kaiser asked whether the whole policy on bullying needed to be revised. Dr. Lukon answered that it did not need revision; the committee needs to put forth only the changes.
In-School Distribution of Materials from Outside Groups:
Ms. Held asked whether materials have been distributed by the school for outside groups. Mrs. Alamanzor answered that the school keeps being asked to do so, but she doesn’t think it is supposed to be done. Mr. Brennan described two cases in which he thought distribution was questionable. Ms. Held said she didn’t think partisan information was appropriate to send home with students.
Dr. Lukon said she was asked by the BU Reading Clinic to send information home; however, she didn’t want to send materials home because it would appear that the district was endorsing a program about which administration didn’t know anything. Ms. Held suggested that book and other sales of commercial materials be moved from the front office. Ms. Kaiser added that this type of promotional material is usually found in the teacher’s room at her school. Mrs. Alamanzor will move away from the front office those book and other sales materials that are meant for teachers. Dr. Lukon said she remembered reading something about political distribution, and she will check to see if there are policies that cover it.
Mr. Brennan said he didn’t think political materials were appropriate for sending home with students. Ms. Held said she thought that if the School Committee was taking a position that would affect the schools, then it was appropriate to send information home. Dr. Lukon added that the district will have an automated telephone service for emergencies very soon; she suggested that this medium could be used for sending other messages to parents. She explained that the PTO is sponsoring the phone service this year, and more districts are putting this type of service into place.
Ms. Kaiser suggested changes that would shorten the policy and would permit school administration to use discretion regarding sending messages home. Ms. Held described rules for soliciting on election day. Mr. White added that it is state law that candidates remain a certain number of feet away from doors to election venues.
Mr. White asked what percentage of parents have email. He said he was concerned about how some parents would receive messages if they didn’t have email. Mrs. Kallfelz explained that about 80% of parents have email. Family email information is collected at the beginning of each school year.
Ms. Kaiser said she thought this policy needed reworking. Ms. Held requested that committee members share their suggestions with her and with Mr. Brennan; they will work to incorporate the suggestions into a proposed policy.
Ms. Kaiser wanted to see a change in the policy regarding summer school being optional for Grade 4-8 students who would benefit form the program but were not failing their grade. She also suggested that students maintain at least a 90% attendance rate in summer school.
Mr. Brennan suggested that there be a “tutoring rate” within the contract. He thought that the program should be self-funding, except in hardship cases. Dr. Fricklas suggested that there be a sentence in this policy stating that it does not supercede state law on the extended school year for special education. He will send specific wording to the subcommittee.
Dr. Lukon asked about the intent of the policy. She suggested that if students do not meet requirements, then parents would pay for the program. She added that she has a philosophical problem with retaining students and said this is an individual decision for parents and the education team. Ms. Held said that she wanted parents to have an incentive for their students to succeed during the school year. She suggested that, for those students who do not complete summer school, progress to the next grade is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the Principal. The policy subcommittee will work with administration on the wording of the proposed policy.
Ms. Held reported that Laura Hosley and the Wellness Committee have requested that the School Committee update the smoking policy. Ms. Held suggested that the policy subcommittee look at model tobacco policies. She added that tobacco and substance abuse could be included in the same policy. Ms. Held will talk with members of the Wellness Committee about the tobacco policy; they think that the present policy is lacking.
Topics for the Agenda for the meeting on December 20 will include North Kingstown tuition update, Food Service update, and personnel. Dr. Lukon suggested that the topic of personnel be placed on each Agenda automatically so that any personnel changes could be handled as soon as possible.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date