JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
March 20, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Jane Littlefield, Interim Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Carole Melucci, Aspiring Principal
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:45 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 requested that Personnel be exempted from the Consent Agenda vote.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda: A) Minutes of February 7,14,28 and March 6, 2008; and B) Payment of Bills of February 11 and 25, 2008. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan said that he exempted Personnel from the vote in order to mention the retirement of Beth Weibust and Linda Rezendes. Both teachers have worked here for 28 years. He thanked them for their service to Jamestown. Mrs. Alamanzor added that they are both fantastic teachers, and she can’t say enough about what they have given to the district.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve Personnel. All approved. So moved.
Correspondence: Mrs. Kallfelz said that she receives electronic newsletters from SORICO and from Dorothy Braley from Kids First who produces a newsletter about wellness and health initiatives in schools. She added that she will forward the newsletter to interested members.
Mr. Brennan received an email from a concerned parent about student masks being sold at the art show that will be held in town. He added that the parent understands that there is a $5 entry fee; however, if masks are sold, half the fee would go to the child and half would go to the gallery. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the Jamestown Education Foundation agreed to pay the $5 fee for all 5th Grade students, and parents will pay the fee for the 4th Grade students. She added that the entry fee will support the Jamestown Arts Center, for which a building is being sought. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the letter about the $50 cost of the masks was not sent by the school and was not given to administration before it was sent. She said that the school clearly supports the $5 fee and the Arts Center, but masks are not for sale. She said she dealt with this situation as soon as possible and sent a letter of explanation to parents.
Ms. Kaiser received several pieces of correspondence: 1) an invitation to RIASC’s annual meeting; 2) a letter from Blue Cross stating that the Governor’s plan would not save Jamestown any money; and 3) a letter from the Campaign for Quality Service expressing concern regarding the state’s awarding the food service contract to Aramark.
Mr. Whitehouse received a letter from the Ethics Commission in response to his question about conflict of interest in voting on contract issues when he is part of a union in another district. Mr. Whitehouse explained that the Ethics Commission that he must recuse himself from votes only if 1) he is an officer of his local union, which Mr. Whitehouse says he is not, or 2) he is being personally represented by his NEARI representative in Jamestown; for example, if Jane Argentieri was representing Mr. Whitehouse in Little Compton, then he would have to recuse himself in a vote. Mr. Whitehouse will make copies of this letter for other School Committee members.
Food Service Update: Dr. Lukon explained that the data look better; however, a few extra students buying lunch could sway the numbers. She said that the school has no way to verify the numbers. Ms. Held asked whether the new food service software that was put in the budget is tied to a particular vendor. Dr. Lukon said no; she got the cost of one system for budget purposes and assumed the cost for other systems would be about the same. Mr. Whitehouse added that he asked staff at his school whether the food service software system saved time; their program was highly endorsed by staff at his school, and it saved much time.
First Reading of the Policy on Unreserved Fund Balance Maintenance: Ms. Davis read the proposed policy. Ms. Littlefield said that she will send this policy to the town auditor before the next meeting so that he can comment on it. Ms. Kaiser added that this policy will be read for a second time at the next meeting.
Second Reading: Summer School Policy: Ms. Davis read the proposed policy. Dr. Lukon said that the reverse of paragraph two could be interpreted to mean that students who attended summer school would move on to the next grade, and this might not be true. Members worked on wording the paragraph so that the meaning was more clearly defined. Final wording was “At the discretion of administration, successful completion of summer school may be required for advancement to the next grade”. Mr. Brennan questioned whether “at the direction of...”, meant “supervision”; Dr. Lukon and Mrs. Alamanzor said it did. The proposed policy will be read for a third time at the next business meeting.
Discussion and Vote on Summer School Tuition: Dr. Lukon explained that administration would like to condense summer school to four days per week for four weeks. The full cost is $90 per week, or a total of $360 for the four week period. Students on reduced lunch program would pay half price, and students on free lunch program would pay no tuition.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to approve the Summer School tuition rate as described. All approved. So moved.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Lukon reported on a number of items.
1) Operational testing of the new NECAP Science Assessment will be given to all Rhode Island students in grades 4,8, and 11 this spring. Each test will have three sections; two sections are written, and the third is a hands-on performance assessment for grades 4 and 8. Teachers have already received training materials for the hands-on portion of the testing. Mrs. Alamanzor added that the hands-on section shows how students investigate, plan, and write up their results. Scorers have to assess the writing. Dr. Lukon explained that there are rubrics and an “anchor set” to demonstrate what is expected at each grade level. RIDE is partnering with New Hampshire and Vermont in order to bring the hands-on section of this science testing to Rhode Island.
2) Jamestown spent $8,839 for private school students’ textbooks this year and will receive reimbursement from the state for $2,977. Dr. Lukon explained that fewer students are going to private schools after 8th Grade. Ms. Held asked whether there has been discussion about SORICO ordering private school textbooks. Ms. Kaiser explained that there was mixed support by the superintendents, who didn’t think parents would be willing to drive to Westerly to get their books, and they didn’t think they would get the books back. Many texts are only used for one year Dr. Lukon commented that the new secretary at Melrose used to work for a private school; she said that parents got letters regarding lobbying their legislators about textbooks and transportation. Ms. Kaiser went to the Mandate Commission review. They have to come up with a list of mandates to give back to the towns. Andy Andrade from DOE and the Superintendent’s Association were going to highlight three mandates that they thought were doable and that wouldn’t hurt students. They asked school committees to make suggestions. She said she will be interested to see which they choose. Ms. Held questioned whether Jamestown could add to the list the issue of charter school tuition not being required to be paid by high-performing school districts.
3) Dr. Lukon, Maria Alfred, and Jane Littlefield attended a RIDE workshop to learn about statewide initiatives on the Uniform Chart of Accounts, out-of-district transportation, and food service; they are all moving ahead. Uniform Chart of Accounts will be mandatory. Jamestown has volunteered to be part of a pilot with all of South County for the transportation initiative. Food service will be voluntary. Districts will initiate their own food service contracts with Aramark. Ms. Held asked how Aramark could have a state contract if school districts were to initiate their own. Dr. Lukon said she thought it had to do with the state buying food in bulk. Mrs. Kallfelz will ask Dorothy Braley about this. She said she is not sure that the state has chosen Aramark for food service. Ms. Littlefield explained that Aramark gets administrative fees, but they will have to work with each district to tell them what they can provide.
4) Dr. Lukon worked with teachers in grades 3-8 last week to analyze the NECAP reading and writing results by grade. She explained how they looked at questions to determine strengths and gaps in instructional areas. Dr. Lukon distributed information that showed how some of the data was analyzed. By the end of the afternoon, teachers had agreed on priority instructional areas. Dr. Lukon asked whether members wished to have a workshop of NECAP data. Consensus of the Committee was to dedicate the May 8 workshop to a discussion of NECAP data.
5) Dr. Lukon asked whether the Committee could reschedule its May 1 workshop for May 8 because she will be out of the country. Consensus of the Committee was to reschedule the meeting.
6) Dr. Lukon pointed out Mr. Kitts’ report on projects that were done during school vacation.
7) Dr. Lukon explained some of the details of the NECAP report analysis. If many students answered the same question wrong, then teachers looked at instruction to find gaps. Analysis of math will be done at a different workshop. Mr. Whitehouse suggested that it might be interesting to point out to the Town Council the amount of analysis that administration has to do now that was not done fifteen years ago. Mrs. Alamanzor added that NECAP results show some really positive data. Ms. Held asked whether results have been shared with parents. Mrs. Alamanzor said data are shown as a composite of the 8th Grade class. Dr. Lukon added that Jamestown has last year’s printouts, and administrators are analyzing data by hand. Mrs. Alamanzor said that NECAP data and the SALT report will both be explained to parents at School Report Night in April.
Principal’s Report: Mrs. Alamanzor reported on a number of items.
1) Preliminary reports on the SALT visit were read to the faculty on March 6. The report cannot be released until it has been endorsed by the Commission. Mrs. Alamanzor read the highlights of the report for each school. She added that there were no surprises in either report. Some of the things in Jamestown’s action plans are things that SALT pointed out; Jamestown has just started working on them.
2) Professional Development Day - a) Heather and Melissa Minto spoke with faculty about integrating Jamestown’s agriculture into the school curriculum. Mrs. Alamanzor distributed a document on using the farmlands as a teaching curriculum. b) Dr. Antosh from the Sherlock Center gave a presentation on inclusion and an overview of Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS). Mr. Whitehouse suggested very strongly that, if this program is to be used in Jamestown, those teachers who are less enthusiastic about it should be trained. Mrs. Alamanzor added that she thinks students shouldn’t be tangibly rewarded for things that they should be doing. She said there have been a lot of concerns about behavior consistency; however, the SALT report considered students to be respectful learners. She explained that this program creates a climate where staff reinforce the positive and not the negative. c) Grades K-2 participated in a 4-Blocks workshop; the blocks included Guided Reading, Self-Selected Reading, Writing, and Working with Words. d) Grades 3-8 participated in a workshop on NECAP and spent time analyzing results grade by grade in reading and writing.
3) The trip to Ellis Island is planned for May 16. A survey was created by the Advisory and was sent to students who went on this trip previously. There were some great comments. The first parent information is Tuesday. Ms. Held suggested that part of the last couple of Principal’s reports would be useful. Ms. Kaiser commented that instructional leadership is needed in both buildings, and the two schools have different needs.
4) The Lawn Sit is planning for Island Treasures. Letters are being sent to the community to ask people to participate. Workshops will be on June 6. It is hoped that students can do more off-site visits.
5) Sydney Keen won Jamestown’s spelling bee, and she placed 7th out of 35 in the regional bee.
6) Debbie Swistack, Elizabeth Congdon Pinto, and Kathy Brownell came to the school today and shared their stories as part of the Jamestown Stories program. Kelly Easton will work with 3rd Grade students as they write their own stories next Thursday.
7) The Language Arts Curriculum Team will be meeting for the first time on April 6 to look at the Language Arts Curriculum and NECAP scores. They will make necessary revisions in the language arts program at each grade level.
8) Mrs. Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci are taking a class in applied data analysis and interpretation. North Kingstown is coming to Jamestown to work on data analysis. Mrs. Alamanzor said she wants to spend time at the high school to analyze their data. Ms. Held asked how the data was being analyzed by grade, and Mrs. Alamanzor explained the process. She added that only 22% of 11th graders in Rhode Island are proficient in math. SORICO hired teachers to work with 8th and 9th grade math/algebra.
SIT/Melrose: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the group discussed Island Treasures.
SIT/Lawn: Mr. Whitehouse reported that the group reviewed responses to the 3rd and 4th Grade math program. They decided that the pilot program probably needs to continue because one year is not enough to evaluate it. He added that SIT members feel pretty comfortable with what has been done at this point, and they will defer to administration for the decision. Ms. Melucci explained that the group had a good conversation, but members weren’t deciding whether the program should continue longer; they thought that administration and faculty should decide.
SELAC: Ms. Held reported that SELAC met last Tuesday. Extra parents attended in order to hear Carol West give an overview of the special education program at North Kingstown. The program was very informative, and parents appreciated it.
Facilities Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that the committee met recently. They wrote the specifications for the bid for landscaping and for resealing the roof. These bids will be advertised in the newspaper.
North Kingstown School Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that he missed the meeting. He said that senior projects have been a struggle. The written papers were given to every teacher in the school to grade; each paper was graded by three teachers, and there was a lack of consistency in grading. The teachers did not want to read the papers, and so they protested by grading inconsistently. Mrs. Alamanzor added that the students have been working very hard on these projects and frustrated by process. Mrs. Alamanzor added that some seniors are coming to Jamestown School to work with a health class in 8th Grade. Dr. Lukon said that some seniors walked out because this project was too much work.
SORICO: No meeting.
Legislative: Discussed previously.
Policy: No meeting.
Wellness: No meeting.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date