The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 28, 2001


Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee

· September 11 remembrance. School committee chair Suzanne Whitney Smith opened the September 19 meeting with a request for a moment of silence and spoke a few reflective words in remembrance of the events of last Tuesday. Davida Fox-Melanson, Carlisle School superintendent, credited the teachers and staff with maintaining calm in the face of this terrible American tragedy. All of the events canceled last week have been rescheduled in an effort to return to normal schedules this week. Whitney Smith also indicated that the school committee will send a letter to all the teachers thanking them for the outstanding job they did last week in putting the needs of the students first and ensuring their safety.

· Concern about early retirements. Fox-Melanson reported that due to the state's early retirement incentives that went into effect last year, as many as 12 Carlisle teachers will seek early retirement by the year 2005 and as many as 15 by the year 2006. Fox-Melanson indicated that this is much higher than the norm and is a direct result of the early retirement incentives. As soon as the resignations are confirmed, the school will publish a list of the teachers affected.

· Girls sports grow. Andy Goyer, Carlisle school principal, reported that the boys and girls sports schedules are in place and was especially pleased to see that despite the increase in the number of girls interested in playing soccer, there are still enough girls interested to justify a junior varsity field hockey team. The school now offers boys and girls soccer, junior varsity and varsity field hockey and cross country running.

· School at full capacity. With 132 employees and 850 students currently enrolled, the school is at capacity and must move aggressively on plans for an additional school building. Fox-Melanson said that all systems are heavily taxed. As an example, she said that although the school water is safe and clean, much of it is being consumed, leading to the question of whether the school will need a back-up water supply at some point in time. Fox-Melanson reiterated that the town must move aggressively on plans for an additional school building.

· School district goals. Fox-Melanson reported on the school district goals, highlighted below:

· Continue to support the Task Force on Civility.

· Expand after-school activities for middle school students.

· Introduce expanded social competency lessons in grades 4 and 5.

· Improve literacy in grades K to 3.

· Examine the spelling program in grades 4 and 5.

· Review aspects of the mathematics curriculum.

· Work to make the teaching of science more practical with more student hands-on experience.

· Physical restraint policy. Goyer then concluded his remarks with a proposal for a Physical Restraint Policy. He pointed out that physical restraint of a student would only be used as a "behavior management tool when other less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate. This policy is intended to protect the safety of school community members." The policy is "accompanied by procedures to ensure the proper use of restraint and to prevent or minimize any harm to the student as a result of the use of restraint." The procedures will be reviewed annually, provided to school staff and made available to all parents of enrolled students.

After some discussion about how the school would contact the parents of a student who is being physically restrained, the committee voted unanimously to approve the policy (the school will continue to attempt to contact the student's parent/guardian until contact is made, followed by a written report postmarked no later than three school working days following the use of the restraint). The entire staff will be trained in the policies and procedures before the end of September.

· Education forum rescheduled. Goyer announced that the Education Forum has been scheduled for December 1, 2001, with Catherine Steiner Adair as the keynote speaker. The topic for the forum will be announced shortly.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito