Friday, September 14, 2001
Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee
· School council. The proposal to form a school council for the academic year 2001-2002 was approved by the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) on Tuesday, September 4, 2001. According to the Carlisle Public School Handbook, the school council is an advisory group mandated by Section 53, Chapter 71 of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993. Members serve a one-year term and generally include one school administrator, two teachers, five elected parents and one community member. The council assesses and updates the School Improvement Plan and presents its findings to the school committee at the end of the year. School principal Andy Goyer will co-chair the council. At the meeting CSC member David Dockterman expressed hope the school will seek the best use of this committee made up of town residents, teachers and school parents. Goyer said this is a concern and he will be "seeking guidance" to ensure that will be the case.
· Population growth. CSC member David Dockterman was asked to spearhead a task force called the Interim Growth Accommodations Committee to keep abreast of the pressures resulting from the student population growth at the school. There are presently 854 students on campus and the administration is aware of others planning to arrive during the year. Last year new students arrived every month including June. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson stated the teachers and school need to be aware of the ways they are coping with and managing the logistics and increasing numbers. It is hoped this committee will report on a regular basis to keep the school committee and public informed.
· Music cabinet. Parents Kathy and Mark Phillippo have had a storage cabinet made for the school music department according to a letter to the school committee from music teacher Tom O'Halloran. The cabinet holds recording/playback audio components and can be transported to the music room, the classrooms or the auditorium for recording concerts and choral rehearsals.
· Resignations. Valerie Marshall and Amy Nadzo have written letters to the school committee to formally resign positions as special needs teachers for the Carlisle Public School effective during the summer. Amy Nadzo was the eighth grade special needs teacher and Valerie Marshall held the position of Grade 2 Special Educator.
· CEF grant. A letter from Jeff Brown, president of the Carlisle Education Foundation, confirms that its Grants Committee has approved a $25,000 grant to the Carlisle Public School. These monies will provide the support for the ongoing technology initiative in the school. Superintendent Fox-Melanson said at the school committee meeting, "We are very grateful for the continued support of the Education Foundation. Thank you."
· Review of mentoring program. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson brought a letter to the school committee meeting from a school parent asking for a review of the effectiveness of the mentoring program for substitutes. Under a pilot program during the 2000-2001 school year, an experienced teacher is assigned to provide regular mentoring services to each new teacher in the Carlisle School. A great deal of time was spent discussing a difficult situation last year when a number of events caused some classes to have as regular teachers last-minute substitute replacements. In this case the replacements were certified and permanent and the school tried to keep the disruption to a minimum. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said under certain circumstances choices are limited and community expectations are high. Dr. Stapp said, "The school put in as many supports as it could for the students. The school does have an established mentoring program and also hires permanent substitutes to minimize the problems caused by teacher absences." Chair Suzanne Whitney Smith said, "I feel comfortable with the fact that mentoring was in place and we did the best we could do under the particular circumstances."
· Physical restraint policy. Principal Andy Goyer said that he, assistant principal Steve Goodwin, and director of special support services Dr. Linda Stapp are presenting a preliminary draft of a document concerned with Physical Restraint, Policy and Procedures. The document complies with the provisions of 603 CMR section 46.00 dealing with restraint of students in public schools. All teachers are required to have restraint training and two members of the Carlisle Faculty, Assistant Principal Steve Goodman and Principal Andy Goyer, will have the training to be the trainers for the Carlisle staff. Dr. Stapp said the bulk of the training is to recognize and diffuse the situation before it escalates and restraint is needed. If a restraint is necessary for longer than five minutes the State Department of Education must be notified. However under all circumstances the situation must be reported to the parents of the student and within the school internally. The Policy and Procedures will be discussed further and adopted at the October 2 School Committee meeting.
· Orientation Day. Superintendent Fox-Melanson said teachers Susan Fitzgerald, Alan Ticotsky, David Mayall and Stephen Bober organized a very successful teaching orientation day for the school faculty. Daisy's Market provided the lunch and the teachers ended the day by walking to Kimball's for ice cream.
· Repairs needed. Fox-Melanson and buildings and grounds supervisor David Flannery took school committee members on a tour of the school campus including the sidewalks around the Corey Building and the new floors of Wilkins.
Flannery pointed out irregularities in the levels of the concrete slabs around the base of the entrance to the Corey Building posing the potential for a real tripping accident. The unevenness in the levels of the concrete slabs on the ground can be of one to two inches. Some gaps are also opening up between the sidewalk and the curbing. Flannery went on to say the soil in this location of the building is fill and seems to be compacting. Cracks have also appeared in the ladies room wall near the entrance which have been repaired. CSC member Crowther asked about smoothing over the differences with concrete or painting the surfaces to provide warning signals. Flannery felt in order to have the repairs last it would be important to have the opinion of a person familiar with concrete.
The CSC adjourned to executive session to discuss legal issues. The next meeting will be September 18.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito