JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
June 5, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Jane Littlefield, Interim Business Manager
Carole Melucci, Aspiring Principal
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
The School Committee returned to Open Session following an Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5: Exception 2, Litigation regarding Retirement Benefits, and Exception 2, Contract Negotiations. 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 excused: Brennan.
Public Forum: None.
Consent Agenda: Ms. Kaiser requested on Mr. Brennan’s behalf that Personnel be exempted from the Consent Agenda.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the request for high school voucher. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Kaiser explained that Mr. Brennan wanted to express his reservations about granting general Leave of Absence for a non-academic or family reason. She said that, in her opinion, this was in the contract and it was a good instance in which the request should be granted.
Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve Personnel: Appointment of Andrea Brayman, Jennifer Caswell, Tara Higgins, Jennifer Kittredge-Clark, Jamie Ordway, Mary Jane Moynihan, Jennifer Francis, Chris Kent and Tara Toolan as teachers; Recall of Kristen Bennett, Denise Fiorio, Faith Krause, and Colleen MacIntyre as teachers; Extracurricular appointments for Andrea Brayman, Eric Bush, Maureen McGuirl, Kristen Desantis, Renie Sullivan, and Nicholas Alfred; Non-renewals of Eleanor Hanson and Ana Irwin as Teacher Assistants; Appointment of Kristen Bennett, Beverly Green, Faith Krause, Sandra Reynolds, and Michaela Shoemaker as Summer School teachers; Appointment of Anne Reilly, Lisa Clark, Jennifer Eagles, and Leah McGowan as Summer School Teacher Assistants; and Leave of Absence for Thomas Carney. Vote was 3:1 in favor, with Mr. Whitehouse voting Nay. So moved.
Discussion and Possible Vote on Rescheduling June 19 Meeting: Dr. Lukon explained that Carole Melucci’s graduation from her program for preparation for Principal is on June 19. Dr. Lukon and and Mrs. Alamanzor will attend. Although it is before the meeting, Dr. Lukon expects the program to last 2-3 hours.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to move the meeting from June 19 to June 18, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. All approved. So moved.
Workshop Discussion Topic:
Food Service: Ms. Kaiser explained that she, Mrs. Kallfelz, and administrators met with Sodexho. The district missed the required May 1st date for having a new contract. The district is required to send the final signed contract to RIDE by June 30. Ms. Kaiser said that the district does not know the bottom line for this year, but it will be within the budget. The group discussed several strategies if the district began to go over the budget: 1) offer premium items separately at a higher cost, 2) not offer snacks, and 3) raise prices. Ms. Kaiser said districts that go over budget generally have to cut back on nutritional standards and increase costs; however, Jamestown does not have to do this yet and is holding to the same cost. Dr. Lukon noted that the management fee increased by $309. The food service contract will come to the School Committee for a vote on June 18.
SALT Reports: Dr. Lukon explained that she distributed a pre-release copy of the SALT report for Lawn School. Ms. Kaiser said the team did a very good job of pointing Jamestown in some necessary directions. Ms. Melucci said that the report was read at SIT and discussed at PTO and SELAC. The school will be focusing next year on English/Language Arts curriculum and problem-solving. The district just put in place a program for writing for Melrose, and this will guide the school in making necessary changes. Ms. Melucci said she felt that the SALT report was accurate, but she didn’t think the team saw all of the good things in the school. Ms. Kaiser asked whether this report was discussed by the faculty. Ms. Melucci replied that the report was read at a faculty meeting and discussed.
Ms. Kaiser said what she took away from the report, in addition to where the district needed to have a more concerted effort, was that that there are places where change is needed; there are good things being done, but they are not consistent. Ms. Melucci said she thought that this may have to do with the fact that there are ten new teachers at Melrose this year. Ms. Kaiser said it made her feel extremely comfortable with putting a Principal at Melrose School. Dr. Lukon there should be fully articulated expectations, and this is something that the district does not have. Ms. Melucci said that language was mentioned in both SALT reports. The district has formed a committee to look at the K-8 program from the top down; they will look at the 8th Grade program to determine what is needed and then will work down through the grades. Committee members will look at the curriculum guide to determine where it aligns with NECAP. Ms. Held said that one thing that was mentioned was student instructional level; differentiation is done in some classrooms but not in others. Ms. Kaiser added that some teachers commented that they could not do small group work because of managerial problems, but that is why Jamestown has small class size. If a class is studying a piece of literature and 1/3 of the class isn’t following, then this requires small group work.
Dr. Lukon explained that the district will be doing pre- and post- testing for Degrees of Reading Power next year, and she explained how this will work. She added that it was piloted at Lawn School this year; teachers were very receptive, but the range of students was very different. She said that the district has to provide differentiated reading levels so that all student will grow. Dr. Lukon said that Degrees of Reading Power will help with selection of library books and appropriate book levels for students. She added that this program is not appropriate for very beginning reading levels. Dr. Lukon said, in her previous district, they sent MCAS to the company to assess reading level. There are students at Lawn that could read anything the teacher would give them. If this is so, then the teacher knows with confidence what students can read.
Ms. Melucci explained that the Four Blocks method is used in the younger grades to increase reading level. She added that Jamestown is fortunate because there is a wealth of trade books here. She added that the district needs to look at how teachers are using guided reading blocks but also to have students be exposed to other books.
Mr. Whitehouse commented that he is interested in using the SALT reports as a point of departure. He added that he will be very interested next year 1) to see “What did we do?”, 2) to show how change was determined and on what was it focused, and 3) to view the outcomes. Ms. Melucci said that the SALT recommendations are gold. The district can use the reports as focus areas and has already used them to guide some recent work. She added that the NECAP and SALT results drive changes that improve results. She said the committee will work next year to focus on this.
Ms. Kaiser said she meant her earlier comments to be about consistency. Ms. Melucci said that, regarding differentiations, the district is looking at it. She said that teachers commented that the district should showcase particular areas to the parents so they will know what is being done. Mr. Whitehouse said that he has been on a number of SALT teams. People have to agree on the language before the report can be written. He said that the SALT report’s final advice was succinct in that the school is a star that is not yet shining bright. He thought the district should take the report for what it is worth and work with it. Mr. Whitehouse thought that all teachers could get onboard as the new school year progresses in September. Ms. Melucci added that she likes the idea of an action plan to keep a clear focus.
Public Forum: Phil Capaldi asked whether the vote for Personnel also approved non-renewals, and Ms. Kaiser said it did. Mr. Whitehouse commented that the School Committee and administration worked very hard to help people keep their jobs.
Mr. Capaldi said that, as the district goes forward, it will need to look at building functional teams at all grade levels. Ms. Kaiser answered that the School Committee has made it a strong priority for administration to create a more structured evaluation tool and also to look at team dynamics. Mr. Capaldi said that Mrs. Alamanzor had asked the union to ask for names of members to serve on a committee to discuss options. Mr. Whitehouse commented that he wanted teacher evaluations to start in June 2008.
Dr. Lukon said she was told by at the last meeting with RIDE to expect teacher standards to begin in fall 2008. Mr. Capaldi has agreed to chair the committee. Mr. Whitehouse said Jamestown should not have to wait for the state. Instead, the administration, School Committee and faculty can come up with really strong general guidelines in specific areas. Ms. Kaiser added that Jamestown does not want to have an evaluation tool at odds with the state, because that sets up the district for a grievance. Mr. Capaldi said that in Barrington, at certain times the state was looking for innovations to come from within, so being in the forefront would help to deal with some of the new standards. Dr. Lukon explained that RIDE was specific that this was not an evaluation tool but was a set of standards by which evaluations were to take place. Ms. Melucci added that there are different forms of evaluation, and the district needs to explore options and different formats. Dr. Lukon said the district has numerous examples.
Adjourned: Ms. Kaiser announced that the School Committee would reconvene an Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5, Exception 2, Contract Negotiations. She closed the Open Session of the meeting at 7:58 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date