Friday, October 29, 2004
Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee, October 20
• Student Donation to Music Program. Seventh-grade student Caroline Howe raised $100 by making and selling cupcakes at Carlisle's Old Home Day and made a contribution to the Carlisle Public School Music Program. Superintendent Marie Doyle told the School Committee (CSC) Wednesday evening, October 20 how grateful and full of admiration she is for the contribution. She wrote Caroline, "You are a credit to yourself, your parents, our school and this community,"
• School Council Members 2004-2005. The following are members of the 2004-2005 School Council: parents Trevor Mundel, Paul McCormack and Vera Tice; teachers Joan Beauchamp, grades 7 and 8, Shawna Horgan, grade 1, and Deb O'Halloran, grade 5; community member and former teacher Nadine Bishop and Principal Steven Goodwin. Their goal for the year is to create a revised 2004-2005 School Improvement Plan. Last Year's council discussed the needs of the faculty and student community and created the process to hire the math specialist Liz Perry. The present school council has begun to discuss the School Improvement Plan, the MCAS scores, and the district goals.
• Students translate for visitor from China. Two students performed the role of translator for Huang Zhuoxian, Vice Principal of a 6,000-student school in the Jiangsu Province in China. Grade 7 student Jessica Li and grade 8 student Elena Shieh speak Mandarin Chinese and acted as translators during his week-long visit to the Carlisle School. The Sobin and the Dinicola-Huberman families hosted the guest. Huang shared life experiences with the students, and studied the dynamics of the school. He expressed how impressed he was with the students and staff and commented how much the children learned even during their play times. Huang paid a visit to the Cranberry Bog and returned home with some cranberry sauce.
• Carlisle Invitational Track Meet. Superintendent Doyle gave "kudos to the Carlisle track team and three coaches for a sensational season." Three hundred and fifty children from surrounding towns and 79 from Carlisle participated in the track meet in town, requiring heroic mobilization of the Carlisle faculty.
• Superintendent's goals. Doyle presented the CSC with her goals: "To work closely with all constituents in Carlisle, to continue the pattern of excellence in education, and to prepare students to excel in the global economy of this twenty-first century." She explained that the contents of this document will be "ongoing and take several years to develop." The document will be placed on the agenda of a future school committee meeting.
• Middle School teaching plan. Doyle said that the middle school faculty is grappling with the teaching configuration to cover the bulge of students about to pass through the middle school grades. Class size in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades number 104, 112 and 95 students. The question remains how to find the classroom space, but more importantly, to structure the teaching staff. Keeping the smaller class size is important to sustain the excellence in teaching, learning and nurturing quality of the classroom, "There are space limitations and costs involved," Doyle said, "The burden falls on the staff. Some teachers may have to teach two subjects. It means more staff development and summer work."
CSC member Michael Fitzgerald mentioned that already classes are being held in the auditorium. One solution discussed is the hiring of two teachers for next year to give the current grade 5 a boost, to minimize the need to track the math students, keep the size of the classes smaller and give each student in the grade a similar experience with greater interaction between the student and teacher. Other solutions require three teachers per 70 students, or to have two teachers do the job of four, each with 48 students. These alternatives require the faculty to teach subjects other than the one they are certified in. The three-teacher plan would not require additional certification in the new subject matter but the two-teacher plan would. Teachers in this latter case would teach science and math or language and social studies equally during the school day. The CSC needs to make a determination on a plan in order to prepare the budget for 2005-06.
• Realigned school budget. School Business Manager Steven Moore provided the CSC with a realignment of the current year school budget and revolving accounts as of October 1. The presented "snapshot" of the budget brings out several issues.
Seventh-and eighth-grade students are paying $395 yearly for bus transportation to and from school. However, this year more students are being driven to school. The fees collected are lower than expected and place more of a burden on those using the school bus.
In past years the school has received approximately $85,000 from the Waters Foundation for technology support and salaries for the Systems Thinking Program. This next year there will be a shortfall because the school has been notified it will receive only half the amount.
For next year there are anticipated increases in the Special Education and out-of-district tuitions budget, unknown diesel fuel costs and the reconfiguration of principals' salaries due to the change of personnel.
© 2004 The