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School Committee Action Notes

" SCAN ," issued by the Superintendent's Office in conjunction with the School Committee, is designed to inform staff members and interested others of matters discussed and actions taken by the Jamestown School Committee at its most recent meeting. SCAN does not represent meeting minutes.

Jamestown School Committee Meeting: October 20, 2005


Letters received :

• From the Southern Rhode Island Collaborative, announcing a Nov. 7 Keywork Meeting.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of September 8 and 22, and October 6; payment of bills; and the awarding of tenure to Jeana Calise, Joseph Ucci, Michaela Shoemaker, and Holly Langton. The committee also accepted the resignation of teacher assistant Joan Shaffer. Mrs. Sipala recognized Mrs. Shaffer for more than twenty years of service.

New Business

Discussion of Ad Hoc Committee on Recreation Recommendations : Julie Kallfelz reported that the Oct. 12 meeting of the ad hoc committee included representatives of the school, town, recreation department, baseball and soccer associations, Rolling Agenda, and the Rotary. The groups outlined their needs and called for a clear definition of where the responsibility lies for the various facilities used jointly for recreational purposes by the town and school. Subsequently (at the Oct. 20 meeting), the school committee discussed assuming full responsibility for the cleaning, heating, lighting, and maintenance of the indoor facility (Lawn Avenue gym) in exchange for town maintenance of the jointly used outdoor spaces (ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, etc.) and town scheduling and supervision of non-school use of these facilities, both indoor and outdoor. The committee reviewed a map of the grounds to identify the non-rec areas that will continue to be maintained by the school department. Superintendent Sipala stressed that once roles and responsibilities have been discussed by both the council and school committee, school and town administrators and the rec department should meet to resolve all questions of maintenance and oversight.

Information and Proposals:

Superintendent's Report : The Superintendent reported on the initial month of service provided by North Kingstown under the new technology agreement. She also noted that the contract with North Kingstown Food Services has been extended by only one year to allow changes to be made if necessary once the Health and Wellness Subcommittee makes its recommendations. Jim Filkins volunteered to serve as the school committee member of the Health and Wellness Subcommittee formed last spring. Under a recent amendment to R.I. General Law 16-2-9, school districts must establish a subcommittee to “decrease obesity and address school health and wellness policies for students and employees.” Jamestown's Health and Wellness Subcommittee will report its initial findings at the November business meeting.

Mrs. Sipala shared the student council's desire to change or “update” the school's mascot, the Warrior. The students have written to Sachem Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Indian Tribe to ask whether the tribe finds the Warrior mascot to be objectionable or offensive.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : SIT talked about the school committee's ongoing discussion of reorganization. The superintendent reviewed the schedule of topics and invited SIT's participation. SIT also made plans to bring representatives of all school groups/committees together for a roundtable discussion. At upcoming meetings, SIT will focus on three areas: differentiated instruction, the creation of focus groups, and the incorporation of a school-wide community service project.

Lawn School Improvement Team : SIT discussed the website, the school suggestion box (newly installed), ongoing curriculum mapping, and the discipline code. SIT also discussed the possibility of sponsoring a day dedicated to experiential (out-of-the-classroom) learning.

SELAC : The committee reviewed the list of upcoming workshops sponsored by the RI Parent Information Network, discussed changes in federal regulations and the state education department's interest in consistent discipline for all students. The committee also expressed concerns about reorganization and shared services and how models under discussion will affect the quality of special education services in Jamestown. SELAC is exploring bringing Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of Driven to Distraction , to Jamestown for next year's Education Awareness day.

Facilities Committee : The group plans to add a mechanical engineer to its membership.

North Kingstown : Mr. Brennan reported that the North Kingstown School Committee is reopening the discussion of school start times.

Legislative : Ms. Kaiser has written to Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Senator Jack Reed to enlist their help in seeking to amend Title VIII of ESEA: Impact Aid to distinguish between school districts that absorb students of military families into already existing classrooms and those districts that pay tuition to an outside school department.

Work sessions of the Jamestown School Committee will be held on Nov. 3 and Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Lawn School Library. The next business meeting will be on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.