Friday, September 17, 2004
A "fantastic" opening
Most students seemed comfortable starting school. Though a few kindergarteners had a rough start on their first day, by ten-thirty they were happy, she reported. The school also recognized that parents who have children attending for the first time also have an adjustment to go through. "There's a lot of support for parents of new kindergarteners," Doyle said.
Doyle has been visiting classrooms and observing team-building activities. The teachers are taking time to get to know the students and fellow teachers, she said. "Now that school has started, what do you think now?" asked Committee Chair Nicole Burkel. "The energy of the staff is amazing," answered Doyle. "They arrived [at school] weeks ago to set up. One teacher lost a father so other staff set up the classroom" for the teacher, she said. "The teachers' enthusiasm and dedication is very impressive."
Teaching staff grows younger
"Are we growing younger?" asked committee member David Dockterman, wondering what the breakdown is between new teachers and returning teachers. Principal Steve Goodwin replied that 33% of the teachers have been at the Carlisle School from one to three years, 51% for four to fourteen years, and just 16% for sixteen or more years. "Yes, we are growing younger," replied Goodwin.
"How is the mentoring program going?" asked Dockterman. The mentoring program is working well in supporting new teachers, Goodwin said. A new program of mentoring second-year teachers is also going well. "We're doing a lot to help them ramp up really fast," Goodwin added.
"Are the younger teachers helping the older ones use e-mail?" asked committee member Christy Barbee. There has been an increase use of email, replied Goodwin. "Marie is aiming for sending email instead of paper notes," added Peg Lynch, Assistant to the Superintendent. "You have to remember this is the first year that every teacher has had a modern computer on their desk," pointed out Carlisle School Business Manager Steve Moore. "The staff is largely receptive to going paperless," added Doyle. Students are also being encouraged to become computer-savvy earlier. Keyboarding skills will soon be taught in fourth grade, it was announced. After-school keyboarding classes are being investigated for grades five through eight.
A huge sixth grade coming
Looking ahead, the school is expecting a "bubble" population of 115 sixth graders in the 2005-06 school year, Doyle said. A "Middle School Task Force" has been established to examine different scheduling formats, Doyle explained, and will look at issues such as how much foreign language and fine arts should be offered and when, and whether five sections will be created. The task force will be looking at other school systems to gather ideas. "Do we have enough classrooms to accommodate the group?" asked Fitzgerald. "Good question," answered Carlisle Principal Steve Goodwin. "Are we seriously looking at portable classrooms?" continued Fitzgerald. "Possibly," answered Goodwin. Committee member Wendell Sykes asked, "Has any investigation of spaces in churches occurred?" "Both churches on either side of the school have preschools already," replied Burkel, explaining that appropriate school spaces would have to adhere to many state requirements. "There are temporary ways to share classroom space," said Doyle, saying that more than one subject could be taught in a classroom. "Very temporary ways," she added, noting sharing would interfere with the teachers.
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