Friday, October 3, 2003
Shorts from the Regional School Committee September 23
• Metco Report. Metco coordinator Norma Dinnall joined the school committee to present a status report on the Metco program. Metco (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity), created in 1966, is a voluntary program aimed at offering children of color educational opportunities, while allowing suburban communities to increase their racial mix. There are 203 Metco students in the Concord and Concord-Carlisle Regional system, with the high school having 90. "Norma, how is the program doing?" asked Fitzgerald. There is a long waiting list for the program in Concord, explained Dinnell. She explained that part of her job is to fill openings as soon as possible. Potential Metco students are evaluated, she said, to be sure they will match the level of instruction currently in Concord. "We can't reject students that have an IEP (Individual Education Plan), but we make an effort to bring kids that match our openings." There has been an increase in Metco students completing college, she continued, and in general the program is doing well. "Other benefits of the program are what we are doing for our community," added Assistant Superintendent Nadine Binkley. "We are not a diverse community, and it's important for Concord and Carlisle to know students from other areas."
• Salary of Metco coordinator an issue. Binkley explained that each year the school system must re-apply for the Metco grants. During the review of this year's forms, Russell Fleming, Department of Education's Unit of Accountability and Targeted Assistance Program, questioned the salary level for the Metco Program Coordinator ($94,804), and has done so for the last three years. Binkley said one of the recommendations for the program was to remove the position of Metco Coordinator from the "teacher bargaining unit," and move it to an administrative position, allowing a separate contract, including salary scale, to be made.
• School Improvement Plan. Dulong, Concord resident Jane Turner Michael, and Carlisle resident Maureen Tarca presented the School Improvement Plan for the Concord-Carlisle High School. According to the report, the four major goals are: to understand and evaluate school policies, procedures and curriculum; Ensure that CCHS is part of the Development Asset Building in Concord and Carlisle; To increase opportunities for students to engage in meaningful co-curricular activities; To increase student achievement through student learning expectations & assessment rubrics; and to develop an organizational structure and processes that will facilitate communication and student learning.
• Skateboard Park. After a short discussion, the committee passed a motion to allow the construction of a skateboard park on the property of the high school.
• Credit Reduction Policy. Dulong presented proposed changes to the Credit Reduction Policy. Students are required to acquire a minimum number of course credits to graduate, and some specific areas of studies, such as English, have separate minimum credit requirements. Previously, if a student was absent from a class in excess of the maximum allowed absences, course credits would be deducted from the specific class total. For example, if the student missed English two times with unexcused absences in a marking term, or nine times with one unexcused absence in a marking term, the credits would be deducted from the English credits, potentially jeopardizing the student's ability to graduate. Instead, the credits will be deducted credits from the total number of credits a student accumulates for the marking period.
• Chemical Health. Dulong outlined the changes to the Chemical Health rule, applied to all CCHS athletes. If a student athlete violates the chemical health rule by buying/selling or consuming alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, steroids, controlled substance or any banned sport nutrition supplement, five steps will occur: 1. parents will be contacted, and a discussion of the violation will be held; 2. if, after due process, the violation is confirmed, the athlete will lose athletic eligibility for a minimum of the next four consecutive interscholastic contests, or four weeks, whichever is longer; 3. to be eligible for reinstatement, the athlete must attend practice; 4. if confirmed of a second violation, the athlete will lose eligibility for the next twelve interscholastic events, or twelve weeks.
In following up with parents, Dulong reported some thought the new policy too lenient, and some thought it too tough. "I think parents should be responsible for what the students do on the week-end," Dulong commented. "I think it's wrong for me to punish students who may make mistakes on Saturday night, when they are in control of their parents," he explained. But some parents have told him they want him to make the same rules apply for clubs and co-curricular activities.
© 2003 The