JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
September 20, 2007
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, Aspiring Principal
Michael Schnack, Town Council Liaison
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: All present.
Public Forum: None.
Consent Agenda: Ms. Held moved and Mr. Dolce seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda: A) Minutes of August 14 and 23, 2007; and B) Appointments of Olive Blackwood as Crossing Guard, Stephanie Nocon as Soccer Co-Coach, and Renie Sullivan as Wellness Coach. All approved. So moved.
Ms. Held received notification from the YMCA of their program on September 24, 2007, which will be a kickoff for “America on the Move Week”.
Ms. Kaiser received notification of a breakfast for school leaders on December 26, 2007 at the Crown Plaza.
Mrs. Kallfelz received two pieces of correspondence: 1) an announcement about the NSBA national conference, and 2) an announcement from the PTO regarding their Family Fun Event at URI on Saturday, September 22, 2007.
Food Service Update: Dr. Lukon distributed a handout on meal counts. She said that breakfast counts are still low, but lunch has been well received. Ms. Kaiser added that numbers are a little under the average for September so far. Mrs. Kallfelz said that SODEXHO told her that there is usually a drop in the numbers when there is a change of menu. Mr. Brennan asked how management of food service was going. Ms. Kaiser said she met with Solange Morissette, and there are little problems but no major hurdles. There are longer lines for lunch because students are paying for food in the cafeteria rather than in their classrooms.
Ms. Kaiser explained that beginning on Monday, there will be less time at recess and more time at lunch, but recess and lunch times are not being reversed. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that Kindergarten goes to recess earlier, and it is possible to have recess early for 1st and 2nd Grade; however, it is not possible to have the 3rd lunch earlier. She explained that the change was made to allow more time for lunch so students would not be rushing through lunch to get to recess.
Dr. Lukon announced that parents have been invited to a celebration. Ms. Kaiser added that this has been scheduled to coincide with National School Lunch Week, and the topic will be “Color My World” at Melrose. This program will encourage students to try different foods. Parents have been invited to eat with their children on October 16.
Discussion: Upcoming Meetings:
A) North Kingstown School Committee: Ms. Kaiser explained that the North Kingstown School Committee has submitted possible agenda items for the joint meeting on October 2, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Melrose School. 1) Discussion of consolidation and efficiency - In the event of a major vacancy, it is hoped that there would be some sort of process in place by which both administrations would communicate to coordinate any possible sharing of staff. 2) Capacity opportunities at district schools - This item has come up for discussion as a result of Mr. Brennan’s presentation about this issue. Their committee wants to know how many students could be tuitioned into Lawn if there were needs. Ms. Kaiser explained that North Kingstown closed an elementary school and is seeking funds to renovate a middle school. They may look at alternative placements for their students. Mrs. Alamanzor added that grades 7 and 8 have 118 students now because of reconfiguration, and the contract says 110 whenever possible. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that administration try to look at a maximum number of students who could be accommodated into the district. 3) Educational offerings at North Kingstown (ideas, issues, and concerns) - Ms. Held asked it if were possible to get a course list from North Kingstown. Ms. Kaiser will email this request to the secretary at the high school. 4) Format for ongoing dialogue - North Kingstown has suggested that there be a joint school committee meeting annually. 5) Public forum - It is anticipated that North Kingstown residents will attend this joint meeting.
Ms. Held asked whether communication of data was an issue. She added that there was a time when Jamestown had a hard time finding information about students. Dr. Lukon suggested that communication of data be placed on the agenda.
B) Jamestown Town Council: Ms. Kaiser explained that Council is looking for a date in early October for a joint meeting. Mr. Keiser is waiting for InSite figures. Ms. Kaiser explained that Council is looking for a budget update. Mrs. Alfred said she thought it would be feasible to have a joint meeting at the end of October. InSite figures are not ready and the audit has not been done. Ms. Kaiser explained that Council wants to know how the year is ending prior to beginning the new year.
Mr. Brennan asked if there has been a determination of whether the issue of military financial adjustment would impact the school. Ms. Kaiser explained that administration won’t know numbers until January. She added that, in order to receive adjustment, military-connected families must be 3% of the system, or 10% for civilians that are working on the base. Mrs. Alamanzor noted that the school sent a survey and all of them have to be returned.
Continued Discussion and Possible Vote on Data Entry/Coordinator Position: Dr. Lukon referred to the job description and said there has been lots of discussion about duties and needs. She added that this position is for a data management assistant. Dr. Lukon said that RINET will do the reporting for now, and the assistant will help with data entry.
Dr. Lukon explained that there are two databases right now. 1) Student information is available in School Max, and the district is only using a piece of it. RIDE will send people to train in better use of School Max to track student achievement and using it to inform instruction. Some of this student information piece is in place now, and some of it will include additional duties. 2) A database for personnel is not yet available. RINET is looking into software. Dr. Lukon said administration wants someone to begin inputting personnel data into with Excel, which can be exported into other software. This would include their education, start date, certification, certification number, etc. She said she thought Rhode Island could look at the Massachusetts system, because Rhode Island may use similar information. Dr. Fricklas added that there are levels upon levels of information needed. Dr. Lukon explained that the Commissioner said that RIDE is looking at vendors for software. She also called the Business Manager at her previous job and asked about software. She added that she would hate to invest in a system and then not have it be sufficient. Dr. Lukon suggested that this position be for up to 20 hours per week for one year and then be reassessed. Ms. Kaiser noted that a full-time position was approved previously.
Mr. Dolce asked whether districts will have any choice about purchasing the software. Ms. Kaiser said no, they have to purchase it. Mrs. Alfred said the system has to be in place by 2010. Some of the larger districts are piloting one program, and they have found another program that seems better. Dr. Lukon said she requested job descriptions for this type of position in other districts.
Mr. Dolce referred to the Providence Journal reporter’s request for public information on salaries and benefits. He questioned whether the data management assistant position was clear regarding access to public information, and he suggested that this duty be place in the job description.
Mr. Brennan asked how the district is accounting for people in an electronic way and whether time cards or PeopleSoft-type systems used. Dr. Lukon said she has been talking with Samira Hakki regarding certain fields being input by staff. For example, staff might input their social security numbers, addresses, etc. She suggested that this database could then be printed every year, and staff could be asked to make any updates. She hoped to use technology in a survey form, but she said she would worry about staff having access to the whole database to change it.
Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to authorize the administration to hire a data management assistant for a one-year position for up to 20 hours per week with the job description as outlined by the Superintendent. Mr. Brennan amended the motion but withdrew the amendment after Ms. Kaiser explained that administration will review the position after one year and determine whether it is meeting their needs. The position will end after one year, and the School Committee has to appoint the position again. All approved. So moved.
Third Reading of Policy - Reporting of Communicable, Environmental, and Occupational Disease and Possible Vote:
Ms. Kaiser explained that changes from the last reading had not been incorporated into the document. She proposed replacing the final two paragraphs, and she read them. Other members made additional suggestions. The Third Reading will be tabled until the next meeting.
Chair Report: Jamestown Connectors: Ms. Kaiser explained that she has been asked to be a Jamestown Connector for the Jamestown Vision Project. The focus of this project is on Narragansett Avenue, Four Corners, East Ferry, and the waterfront. There will be a workshop next Thursday where people can learn about the project and make comments. There will be a “sharette” in October. The end result will be some decisions and design guidelines for future development in the village area and possible zoning changes to support it. She said that she is promoting involvement in this project.
Home Schooling Requests: Dr. Fricklas explained that four new families have sent home schooling intent letters, and two families have notified the school regarding their intentions to continue home schooling. He sent letters regarding the application process and letting parents know that once applications have been received, the requests will go to the School Committee. Dr. Fricklas said the issue is that families have already begun teaching. Ms. Held said the committee would want to have the applications before the requests were approved; Dr. Fricklas hoped these would be received by the next meeting.
Ms. Kaiser said that, assuming these are military families, although they need to apply and Jamestown needs to approve, the district has little choice. Dr. Lukon said that home schooling is a national issue, and there have been court cases about it. The district cannot do anything until families apply. Dr. Fricklas said that he will push to get materials in time for the next meeting. He added that most families have already been home schooling, and their curricula pass muster.
Mr. Dolce asked whether this process should have been done in August. Ms. Kaiser said she got a letter from a parent at the beginning of school, and not all can be processed before school starts. Dr. Lukon added that the School Committee has already approved the requests she has received.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Lukon reported on two pieces of information. 1) The SORICO Collaborative Council met on September 15. They discussed and voted separately on Strategic Plan goals, action plans, and business plans. They approved the use of up to $11,000 for consultation services to help with beginning the work on SORICO’s new structure. There was discussion of the $300,000 fund balance and whether it should be used for collaborative efforts or returned to the districts. The second part of the meeting was a presentation by Doreen Marvin about an interactive systems design process. Mr. Brennan asked about SORICO’s annual budget; Mrs. Kallfelz will forward it to him and said that the budget includes money from the state and from grants. Dr. Lukon added that there are a lot of things that SORICO can do, but they cost money.
2) Dr. Lukon reported that Dr. Fricklas has thoroughly analyzed support for two new severe and profound students; he determined that 1.5-2 additional teacher assistants is needed. Administration has agreed with his assessment of this staffing need. One student needs 1:1 assistance, and one student needs almost that level of support. Dr. Lukon said administration is looking at creative switching of assignments, but the staffing is not there.
Mrs. Kallfelz asked why this need was not identified earlier. Dr. Fricklas answered that one student moved to Jamestown during the interim between the new director, and one has an Early Intervention IEP. Mr. Brennan asked whether the committee has the authority to look at staffing. Dr. Fricklas answered that if a child with an IEP comes into a district, it is expected that the district will honor the IEP. He added that he has observed both children and the need is there. Dr. Fricklas said that there are costs associated with full inclusion; however, the benefits outweigh the negatives because tuition expenses would far exceed any local staffing expenses. Ms. Kaiser added that there will not be a vote on this issue tonight.
Mr. Dolce asked whether class size is factored into the equation: if a child is in a class of 12 students, is this considered. Ms. Kaiser explained that a severe/profound designation of 1:1 is hard to argue. Dr. Lukon added that the IEP is a joint team decision. Dr. Fricklas explained the goal areas and service areas that are listed in IEPs and how these areas are addressed. He stated that it is Jamestown’s obligation to honor the language of the IEP now. Ms. Kaiser added that severe and profound is a legal definition, and this is a small percentage of Jamestown’s special needs students. She thought the issue of class size was very different from the issue of education for severe and profound students.
Principal’s Report: Mrs. Alamanzor distributed a handout on enrollment numbers and reported on a number of issues. 1) NECAP testing in reading and math will be given on October 9-11 for grades 3-8. Additional writing tests will be given to grades 5-8 on October 16-17. Results will be received in late January. 2) Lawn Open House was last night, and turnout was excellent. 3) Melrose Open House will be next week. 4) An eight-week cycle of after school enrichment will begin October 8. The Jamestown Education Foundation has been generous with their support. There will be an announcement of this program in the Warrior. 5) There will be another dinner conversation with John Reis for parents and students in Grades 4-8 sometime in October. A program will also be held at Melrose. There will be an announcement of this program in the Warrior. 6) Everyday Mathematics is now fully implemented in Grades K-6. Students in Grades 7-8 are following North Kingstown texts because Jamestown needs to align with their programs. 7) The SODEXHO lunch program is going well, and about 50% of the students are participating. 8) The soccer team at Lawn has been undefeated so far. 9) Mrs. Alamanzor asked to place discussion of the Washington, D.C. field trip for Grade 8 on the agenda for the next meeting so that she can make a presentation and ask for approval of it as a school-sanctioned event.
Mr. Brennan asked about “Lawn University”. Mrs. Alamanzor explained six students are taking a course in meteorology this semester, and the Virtual University is going well. They will be taking two different courses next semester.
Mr. Dolce asked about the dinner conversation with John Reis and questioned whether something is being done with faculty on the topic of discipline. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that Mr. Reis will do an inservice for teachers. She added that he did a presentation for the 5th Grade today. Ms. Held asked whether Mr. Reis did a similar presentation last year, and Mrs. Alamanzor said yes.
Ms. Held said that Mrs. Alamanzor referred to the combined grades 7-8 and the number of 118 students; she asked about the progress of this program. Mrs. Alamanzor said grades 5-6 are smaller, and she thought the configuration was good for now. She will report on this program at the half-year.
SIT/Melrose: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the group discussed the following items: the self-SALT survey, the SALT survey visit of February 25-9, 2008, improving rigor, and differentiated instruction. Mrs. Alamanzor added that they are working toward a workshop model as a one-year pilot for math in grades 3 and 4.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Alamanzor reported that the focus of the meeting was the self-SALT survey. Ten teachers and parents will conduct the study.
SELAC: Ms. Held reported that Dr. Lukon, Dr. Fricklas, and Ms. Melucci attended the last meeting. Topics included general questions about administrative changes, and a discussion of the public comment period for state regulations. Consensus of the group was not to have a major speaker for Education Awareness Day; however, discussion continues on having alternative speakers and parent support meetings. Dr. Fricklas mentioned the SELAC Open House on November 13.
Facilities Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that there has not been a meeting; however, he contacted the landscape planner who came to look at the generator area and was going to contact Mr. Kitts. Mr. Brennan asked whether a notice was placed in the Warrior soliciting new members for the committee.
North Kingstown School Committee: Mr. Brennan reported that there was discussion of the athletic department budget at the last meeting. The department defended the budget and boosters defended the items that they support. Mr. Brennan added that there is an issue of turf at the stadium. Maintenance of the turf was removed from stadium maintenance and was given to the school and DPW; now field maintenance is going downhill.
SORICO: No report.
Legislative: Ms. Kaiser reported on several items. 1) There will be a summit at the RI Convention Center on November 13 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. regarding improving educational funding. 2) Judge Robert Flanders, Chair of the Board of Regents, spoke at the RIASC Executive Board. The Governor has asked him to investigate ways to handle teacher contracts at the end of the summer. Judge Flanders also spoke about the Board of Regents; they want to take forty regulations that are more restrictive than federal laws and do away with them. Judge Flanders asked RIASC to help by having local discussions. Ms. Kaiser added that Jamestown has already done this. There will be no major changes for Jamestown. 3) Ms. Kaiser has been appointed to the Legislative Study Commission which will review the impact of unfunded mandates. There are three legislators, one person from the DOE, one principal, one superintendent and one school committee member on this statewide committee.
Policy: Ms. Held suggested that the building use policy be discussed in a workshop. She added that other policies to work on include the advancement policy and the issue of information from outside groups being sent home with students. Mr. Brennan thought that a policy on outside groups was done, but he said a policy is needed of this one cannot be found.
Wellness: Ms. Held reported that there was no meeting. Mrs. Kallfelz reported that Rolling Agenda has a draft plan, and the first round of feedback has gone back to the company. The plan will be practical and safety-oriented. Mrs. Kallfelz said she would forward copies of the plan to members who wanted it. Mr. Brennan suggested that Facilities Committee members should attend the next meeting on October 10. Mrs. Kallfelz responded that Mr. Kitts has been attending; the meeting on October 10 is for stakeholders, but there will be two public forums soon.
Dr. Lukon explained that the report card survey has been received. She suggested that the report card format be discussed at the next workshop on October 4; this would include discussion of the results of the survey, making comments about the report cards, reviewing the form, and deciding what changes need to be made. She questioned whether SIT members should be invited. Ms. Held suggested that this workshop be advertised in the Warrior in addition to posting the Agenda in the Jamestown Press.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Ms. Held moved and Mrs. Kallfelz seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date