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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 Business Meeting: June 15, 2006


• Retiring teachers Harle Phelps, Mary Lou Dudley and Peg Gordon were recognized for their many contributions and years of service.


Letters received :

• From the Central Falls School Committee, notification of that committee's endorsement of a resolution circulated by the Jamestown School Committee to seek repeal of Rhode Island special education statutes that are more restrictive than the federal laws.

• From the Providence School Board, notification of that committee's endorsement of the above resolution.

• From the RI Department of Education, notice of that department's acceptance of Jamestown Schools' 2006/07 school calendar.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of May 18, June 1 and June 12; and payment of bills; The committee also approved the transfer of Jeana Calise to the position of kindergarten intervention specialist and the request for Jeana and Julie Calise to job-share; and the transfer of Lark Goodyear to 2 nd grade, Chris Kent to 3 rd grade, and Peggy Wark to the position of pre-school special educator. In addition, the committee approved the one-year appointments of Carole Melucci as grade 2 special educator, Erin Covell as a grade 6 teacher and Thomas Carney as a grade 7 teacher. Summer school appointments were approved for Nick Alfred, Erin Covell, Kristen DeSantis, Norma Gervais, Erin Godfrin, Beverly Green, Jennifer Kitteridge, Faith Krause, Patricia McDevitt, Carole Melucci, Jane Mitchell, Anne Reilly, Sandra Reynolds and Michelle Smith.

Old Business

Third Reading of the Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Policy : The school committee approved the policy by unanimous vote.

NK School Start Time Committee Report Response : The school committee voted to authorize Julia Held and Bucky Brennan to write a letter urging the North Kingstown School Committee to continue to actively explore the options laid out by the Start Time Committee. The Jamestown School Committee is prepared to make changes to Jamestown School start times if such changes are needed to ensure a later start time for high school students.

New Business

Vote on JTA Contract Extension July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2007: The school committee approved by unanimous vote a one-year extension of the JTA contract, with a 3.25% salary increase and additional funds allotted for the top steps to bring these steps up to/or closer to the state mean.

Discussion and Vote on Lawn Principalship/ and Discussion and Vote on Superintendency : Chair Kaiser read the following statement:

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that one of the resignations we just approved in our consent agenda is that of Kathy Sipala, who will leave us this summer to become Superintendent of Schools in Narragansett. The good news is that we have spent the last six months discussing and preparing to restructure the administrative tier and we have a longer-term plan in place.

Our loss is Narragansett's gain. Kathy has been a strong leader and advocate for our schools. She came to us four years ago at a time of turmoil: there was internal conflict within our school community and—in the broader community--the school department had experienced several contentious budget seasons and was in danger of becoming “disconnected” with the town. Kathy is a team player and a skilled communicator who quickly gained the trust and respect of town leaders and the school community. She led the school committee in establishing a school-community partnership; guided a strategic planning team in drafting a five-year vision for the school department; and successfully advocated for a principal at Melrose to ensure building leadership at that school.

Serving as superintendent and principal of Lawn Avenue School, Kathy saw—and helped the school committee see -- that combining the two jobs seriously short-changes our students and teachers. Kathy has advocated for a principal at Lawn Avenue School even though she has known that the ensuing reorganization of administrative roles would cost her a job. She has consistently placed the district's needs before her own.

For that – and her many other invaluable contributions -- we remain in her debt. We wish her well in her new position and look forward to building a new relationship with her as the superintendent of a neighboring (and maybe someday “collaborating”) district.

At our school committee retreat earlier this week, we evaluated and revised our long-term plan in light of the superintendent's imminent departure. We reviewed two previously discussed administrative models for the district, both of which assume a part-time superintendency. We were guided throughout the discussion by the results of our recent survey of the school constituency -- which produced two powerful directives: keep our middle grades in their community school and increase the rigor of its academics. At our retreat, Melrose principal Kathy Almanzor made a compelling case for a K-8 principalship and assistant-principalship, which would provide greater continuity between our two schools and provide the opportunity to strengthen curriculum, instruction and professional development at both. In addition, this model would be more cost-effective than other models, including our current administrative structure.

To ensure a strong administrative presence in both schools, the school committee supports an administrative structure with a part-time superintendent at the top and site-based management at the two schools provided by a K-8 principal and assistant-principal . We believe that this model will afford the continuity and consistency needed to support quality instruction at our two schools and increase the challenge of our programming.

The committee voted to place an ad in the Providence Journal for a part-time superintendent. The committee will meet on June 20 to approve an ad for assistant principal and to discuss the interview process.

Information and Proposals:

The superintendent shared the most recent enrollment figures with the committee. Due to lower than anticipated kindergarten enrollment, the superintendent may decide during the summer to close one kindergarten class next year and transfer a kindergarten teacher to a 2 nd grade opening.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : Melrose SIT elected new leadership and discussed forming parent-teacher study groups with a focus on educational texts; encouraging multi-age group activities (similar to the Field Day groupings) with an academic focus; and continuing next year the service learning project on hunger.

Lawn School Improvement Team : Teachers of the 6 th and 7 th grades reported on this year/and next year's grade structure and format. Lawn SIT also reviewed the SALT survey results and issued a call for new members for the upcoming school year.

SELAC : The group finalized its annual report and elected new leadership.

Facilities Committee : No meeting. Mr. Brennan will propose a meeting to advance plans to install waterless urinals.

North Kingstown High School : No report.

SORICO : Mrs. Sipala reported that the collaborative committee has recommended that SORCIO expand its role as a service provider, particularly in the areas of professional development and curriculum development.

Legislative : Ms. Kaiser reported on RI Senate Bill 3050, which if passed will reduce the cap on municipal tax rate increases from 5.5% to 4% (an incremental reduction to be achieved by 2013). Ms. Kaiser explained the ramifications of the bill, which also calls for state reimbursement for expenditures due to state mandates (by statute, regulation or policy).

Wellness : The Health and Wellness Committee will present their annual report at the July 6 school committee meeting.

The next meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be on June 20 at 4 p.m. in the Lawn Avenue Conference Room. The next business meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be on July 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lawn Avenue School Library.