JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
July 8, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Carole Melucci, Principal
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the work session to order at 7:10 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Brennan, Held, Kallfelz.
Members absent: Whitehouse.
Public Forum: None.
Personnel: Members reviewed additions to the list of personnel to be approved.
Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve appointment of the following Personnel: Lori Rush, Dawn Moore Huff, William Catone, Jennifer Caswell, and Norman Marsh. Mr. Brennan asked for discussion. Mr. Brennan asked whether the English position was English/Language Arts, and Dr. Lukon said yes. Mr. Brennan questioned why the school was hiring a school psychologist. Dr. Lukon explained that the person the district hired last year was not renewed. All approved. So moved.
Mrs. Alamanzor introduced Dawn Moore Huff, who will be teaching 7ht Grade English/Language Arts. Mrs. Huff has already attended the Curriculum Committee meeting.
Fire Alarm Upgrade Bid Acceptance: Dr. Lukon said that she received a letter from the Fire Marshall, who worked with Mr. Kitts and reviewed the bids. Mrs. Alfred gave copies of the bids to Mr. Brennan. She explained that the district received five bids, and a sixth declined to bid. The lowest bidder did not follow specifications and the device count was way off. Mrs. Alfred listed the amounts bid by each vendor. Mr. Kitts and Mr. Tighe thought the $31,800 bid by Coastal Electric was the best. She explained that the district budgeted $33,000 for this upgrade. The bid needs to be approved so the vendor can begin work.
Mr. Brennan moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to approve the bid for the fire alarm upgrade at Lawn Avenue School to Coastal Electric in the amount of $31,800. All approved. So moved.
Workshop Discussion Topics:
North Kingstown Administrative Changes: Dr. Lukon explained that she talked with Interim Superintendent Philip Thornton and told him she would be happy to meet with him to discuss shared services. She explained the interaction she had with previous superintendents. He was unaware of Jamestown’s previous arrangements regarding technology and cafeteria programs. Ms. Held suggested that it made sense to set up a Jamestown subcommittee to meet with a subcommittee from North Kingstown School Committee on a quarterly basis to discuss shared services. She did not think it was good to talk with their whole committee. She thought collaboration was valuable, but there had to be some kind of structure. She added that it made sense to discuss collaboration with North Kingstown first because it is the school of record. Dr. Lukon explained that Mrs. Alamanzor has been working with Dr. Thornton regarding the high school students. She added that, if the overall goal is to save money, it would be difficult to collaborate. Ms. Held commented that, previously, there had been an idea of helping North Kingstown with some of its students.
Consensus of the committee was that a small group from each school committee meet to discuss collaboration. Mr. Brennan commented that Dr. Thornton is a good guy, and it remains to be seen whether he can work within the system to accomplish things. He added that Jamestown needs to pay attention to its students to make sure they continue to be served well. Ms. Held asked whether the North Kingstown School Committee realized that they had a very good person as a Superintendent for only a very short time. Mr. Brennan said no. He added that the candidates that are running for the School Committee are very agenda-driven on issues that are not about education. Mr. Brennan suggested that perhaps this subcommittee meeting should be a prelude to another high school search committee. He said he thought that the high school contract might be reviewed every four years to see how Jamestown’s students are performing both academically and within the special education program.
Ms. Kaiser asked Dr. Lukon to send a letter to North Kingstown to suggest that a subcommittee of two people from the school committees of North Kingstown and Jamestown, as well as the Superintendents from both communities, meet to discuss options for collaboration. Ms. Held and Ms. Kaiser will serve as part of Jamestown’s subcommittee.
Mr. Brennan suggested that the subcommittees should look at special education programs, including inclusion, capacity, and classes. He said North Kingstown is already sending students out of district for special education. Dr. Lukon said this issue was discussed previously, but now there is a new Superintendent and special education director. Ms. Held asked whether the subcommittee on collaboration should also discuss North Kingstown’s sending special education students to Jamestown; Dr. Lukon said she thought this issue should be discussed separately. She added that North Kingstown parents would have to agree to go to a new out-placement site. Mr. Brennan noted that North Kingstown’s SELAC has always spoken highly of Jamestown’s program, and he thought parents would be comfortable with having a special education program in Jamestown.
Dr. Lukon said that North Kingstown will be very tight for middle school students next year. Ms. Kaiser added that another district has a policy that, if their district is overcrowded, students can attend school in a different district as long as parents provide transportation. She suggested that this idea might be more palatable to North Kingstown. Dr. Lukon distributed InSite data on North Kingstown’s school district.
Report on Model School Conference: Dr. Lukon explained that Mr. Whitehouse provided a report. She said this conference was about moving school districts from “good to great”. The International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) identifies great schools in the country. The conference presented information about these schools and most effective practices. Dr. Lukon explained that themes of the conference centered on rigor, relevance, and relationship. She has placed Jamestown on the application lists for the ICLE program and for the Successful Practices Network. Dr. Lukon added that the people who attended the conference are meeting tomorrow to discuss being part of this program. She said the program is not expensive; it is about changing thinking and expectations.
Dr. Lukon said administrators waited until after this conference to discuss the position of math coach. She recommended that the math coach position be .5 FTE, and the remainder of the position become a .5 FTE Professional Development Facilitator. She explained that this change is not creating a position but is only changing the current position. Dr. Lukon added that she has someone on the staff who could do become the Professional Development Facilitator, and she presented a draft job description.
Mrs. Alamanzor explained that teachers need time to observe other teachers. She added that there is a lot going on in Jamestown, and the Professional Development Facilitator could coordinate this program. Dr. Lukon said she thought that the change in emphasis would allow the district to work with the SALT report. Mrs. Alamanzor added that the district needs an overall framework to direct the program, and professional development needs to be done consistently in Jamestown. Dr. Lukon said that the ICLE program works and is based on best practices. She added that now there is a group here that wants to lead this program.
Mr. Brennan commented that professional development should be tied to teacher evaluations. Mrs. Alamanzor said that they are working on the evaluation piece. She added that, as they look at tools, there are criteria, and these could be dovetailed. Ms. Kaiser added that Attleboro’s evaluation system includes one system goal for each evaluation. She explained how the process works there and said they are redoing their evaluations now. Dr. Lukon added that, at the last meeting, there was a list of people who were interested in working with evaluations. She said she hopes that the group can meet before school starts. Mrs. Kallfelz said that Mr. Whitehouse expressed interest in serving on this committee, and she is also happy to be part of it. Dr. Lukon said she would like to share the video of this conference so School Committee members will understand the “why”.
Lawn SALT Report: Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the school still does not have the endorsed report from the Commissioner; however, she was told it was permissible to share it with the School Committee. She thought the school was doing a good job with relationships, but work is needed on rigor, relevance, and culture. She added that SIT is talking about culture. Mrs. Alamanzor said she was not surprised about things in the report and said there were lots of positives about students and teachers caring. She added that the school needs focus. The report comes at a good time right before strategic planning. Ms. Kaiser said she thought it was a very encouraging report. Mrs. Alamanzor added that she is grateful that Jamestown is in a position to go forward. She referred to caring teachers and community.
Recommended Building Use Feel Schedule, 2008-2009: Discussion of this topic was delayed until the meeting on August 14, 2008.
Public Forum: None,
Adjourned: Mr. Brennan moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting to Executive Session at 7:55 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date