Friday, December 17, 1999
Once again, Carlisle Public School fares well on MCAS tests
Once again, the Carlisle School students have performed well in the 1999 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests, the Carlisle School Committee heard at its December 7 meeting.
The results from tests administered last spring are now available and parents of students who took them should have received individual test results in the mail. The fourth-grade results in English, math and science were slightly higher than last yearwell above the state averages and near the top of elementary schools in the state, according to Boston Globe statistics.
The eighth-grade results included scores for history and social sciences, which was a portion of the test added this year. The relatively poor results in this area in Carlisle and statewide were explained as the result of an alignment problem between the current curriculum and state frameworks. The history and social sciences frameworks, or curriculum guidelines, were the most controversial, not in place until June 1999, and continue to change, according to Principal Andy Goyer.
In the other subjects, eighth-grade scores were not quite as high as last year, but still quite respectable. The scores are expected to be revised upward slightly because of an error in scoring some of the tests that was not corrected before scores were released.
Once again, an item analysis will be done to see whether there are particular areas where the curriculum is weak. As far as changing the curriculum to match the test is concerned, CSC chair David Dockterman noted that some schools change their curriculum based on the test, but then the test changes. "We don't change from year to year if we have a good program," he said.
The school expansion options subcommittee has been formed and CSC members Cindy Nock and Paul Morrison are co-chairs. Nock reported that at the first meeting they had an interesting philosophical discussion about what an "ideal" school would look like. Right now, they are looking at enrollment projections and the "Growing Pains" statistical report compiled last year. All options, including a new facility located on community land, the hillside between the present school and Spalding Field, or Banta—Davis Land, as well as utilizing portable classrooms, regionalization and more are being considered. The committee hopes to establish criteria for a feasibility study and request funding for the study at Spring Town Meeting, Nock said. Other members of the subcommittee are Peter Cole, Beth Hambleton, Ann James and Carol Peters.
Goyer reported on the progress of the task force on emergency safety procedures. A crisis management plan was presented to the CSC. School administrators, counselors and the supervisor of buildings and grounds have been designated in the plan as the responsible parties for managing various aspects of a crisis. The task force is still working on detailed procedures to deal with all contingencies, Goyer said. As the plan says, "There are unlimited possibilities for crisis situationsincluding, but not limited to, suicide, death, acts of violence, trauma, natural disaster and accident."
School business manager Eileen Riley presented her latest iteration of a level service budget with a 10.8 percent increase over last year. This assumes a 4.7 percent increase in enrollment and a 2.3 percent increase in cost of living. At that time, the finance committee had not yet told her of their 6 percent increase guideline.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito