Friday, June 18, 1999
Positive home schooling experiences in Carlisle, school committee hears
Member Cindy Nock informed the Carlisle School Committee on June 8 of proposals regarding home schooling which are currently being discussed at Concord-Carlisle Regional School committee meetings.
Member Paul Morrison asked, "Does Carlisle have a policy on home schooling?" Chair David Dockterman responded that Carlisle does not have an official policy. "We appreciate the flexibility to do what works and what is best for the child."
Superintendent Fox-Melanson explained, "Carlisle has had very positive experiences with home schooling. There are two families in Carlisle and it works to the benefit of the child. I'd hate to have a policy created because now the school can consider each child on a case-by-case basis." Principal Andy Goyer added that he works very closely with the families so both the parents and school assume responsibility for the education of the child.
Karen Huntress, a member of the audience, commented that she home- schools a child and very much appreciates the flexibility and what the school has done to support her daughter.
School committee members hoped they could convey to Concord the positive nature of the home schooling experiences in Carlisle.
Good test results
All 95 third-grade students, according to Goyer, took part in the Iowa reading test administered to third grades across the state. The tests included vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling. Sixty-eight percent of the students scored in the "advanced" category and 30 percent scored at the "proficient" level. These results are in reference to other students in the country. Carlisle students have shown a consistent growth pattern over the years and tested in the 90th percentile in vocabulary, 89th in reading comprehension, 91st in reading, and 78th in spelling. The school will send the results home to the parents.
On the Stanford Achievement Tests, students in grades 5, 6, and 7 showed "great results," according to Dockterman. Goyer said the percentile rank indicating the relative standing of Carlisle students in comparison with students in the same grade level nationally showed an increase from 1998 levels, reaching the low 90s percentiles in all areas of math, writing and reading.
State funding formula
Several members of the school committee attended regional meetings called by the Joint Massachusetts House and Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities to solicit testimony on the Chapter 70 finance formula. The goal is to craft a better school finance law. Nock had hoped the state would make a basic percentage pledge and commitment to all students of the Commonwealth. Dockterman felt Carlisle's participation should focus on more state support for smaller school systems in general, especially when one sees the opportunity for children to get lost in larger systems. Current research strongly suggests that school systems should strive for smaller groupings and building areas. "This theme can be an inclusive angle for the smaller schools," said Dockterman.
Dockterman will remain as chair of the school committee for the year 1999-2000, and Morrison will take the position of vice-chair. Suzanne Whitney Smith will assume a position on the building committee and building and grounds subcommittee. Nock and Harry Crowther will serve on the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee. Morrison will remain on the municipal land committee and Dockterman will continue as liaison with the selectmen.
School receives Waters Foundation Grant
Next year, the Carlisle Public School will receive $87,000 from the Waters Foundation Partnership. This grant money is intended to increase the involvement of teachers and specialists in system dynamics instruction and organizational learning. Professional development opportunities will be available for the application of system dynamics to team building and curriculum improvement. The Waters Foundation has supported the Carlisle School systems thinking program for the past few years.
All school committee members were present on June 8 when Dockterman adjourned the meeting into executive session. For 45 minutes, the members discussed "legal issues" and said content would be released when issues of confidentiality would not be compromised.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito