The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 1, 2006

Carlisle School is in excellent shape

To the Editor:

In a letter in last week's Mosquito, Mr. Harris posed some thoughtful questions. I'm happy to respond with the facts.

The number of departures from the school is not out of the norm. The average tenure of a principal is three years. There were 65 vacancies for superintendents in Massachusetts last year, opening many other administrative positions. In the two years prior to the superintendent's arrival, 16 teachers left Carlisle Public Schools. In the past two years 19 teachers have departed. School districts across the Commonwealth are experiencing similar turnover.

An outstanding team of administrators and top notch, experienced educators has been hired. All but one position has been filled and there have been several positive, upbeat meetings with staff and parents. The system is in excellent shape. A facilitator, currently working with several top Metro-West school systems, has been hired to enhance communication among the superintendent, staff, community, and School Committee.

I encourage parents to attend School Committee meetings. Carlisle community members have always been active participants in our school and we welcome your input. Having the facts will reassure you that our pattern of excellence in education will continue and that the faculty and staff are ready to greet our students on opening day, September 5.

Nicole Burkel
School Street
Chair, Carlisle School Committee

Come to the School Committee meeting Sept. 20

To the Editor:

As a parent of three children in the Carlisle Public School I am disturbed by the continuing exodus of experienced teachers. We value our teachers greatly, as they are the heart of our school system. The Carlisle School system has consistently performed exceptionally. It is one of the major reasons families move here and teachers want to work here.

People typically leave jobs for more money or job dissatisfaction. Carlisle is in the top 8% of average teacher's salaries for Massachusetts school systems. Therefore I believe job dissatisfaction is most likely the reason. The question is what the source of the discontent is and what is being done to correct it. Good leadership has many facets, and being able to retain highly regarded employees is one of those.

We have heard the discourse from the Superintendent and the School Committee regarding staff turnover. We have been assured that everything is being done to stem the ongoing resignations. The end result is not consistent with the unconviincing rhetoric. What is more disturbing is that since the last School Committee meeting four more teachers have resigned. Former Carlisle Teachers' Association president and fifth-grade teacher Deborah Butts was one of those resignations. What message does this send to the remaining tenured teachers, the Superintendent, and the School Committee?

Why has our school system become such an undesirable place to work? I believe as a prarent of school-age children and a taxpayer we deserve answers. I strongly urge parents to attend the next School Committee meeting and voice their concerns.

Joseph Gushue
Cross Street

School Superintendent has passed the test of leadership

To the Editor:

In answer to Jim Harris' letter to the Editor last week (Does This Bother Anyone?), I suspect the reasons for the school staff and teacher departures this summer are as many and as varied as the departures themselves.

I was in equal parts stunned by Ms. Butts' unprofessional failure to give reasonable notice of her departure (August 18) and impressed by the speed and professionalism with which the new administrative staff responded. Which brings me to my main point: the test of Marie Doyle's leadership is not the number of departures, but the quality, commitment and strengths of the replacements she attracts to the school. By all accounts, she has passed that test with flying colors.

Alex Parra
Bellows Hill Road
[Ed note: Alex Parra is married to Laura Snowdon, the president of the Carlisle Education Foundation.]

Embrace change

To the Editor:

Whiile on the school plaza watching my youngest child learn to ride her bike without training wheels for the first time this past week, an unfamiliar woman stopped to watch. I could see by the expression on her face that she was captured in the moment of my daughter's first experience. I said hello and soon found she is a new teacher hired over the summer to teach fifth grade here in Carlisle.

While I was unsettled by the two recent departures of fifth grade teachers and worried about who would be hired as replacements, I was quickly reassured by getting to know this very qualified and caring teacher who commented she was honored to be a part of the Carlisle school system.

I often feel that change can be a good thing. I urge parents to focus on the good things change can do for our schools. We should give these new teachers and principals a positive introduction to our excellent school community and embrace their new outlook and unbridled enthusiasm. We owe it to our children to set an example of how to react positively to change. Of course we should continue to be involved in their educational experience by attending meetings, coffees and volunteering on campus. Conducting ourselves in a positive, helpful manner is a more appropriate reaction to change. Panic and negative comments are harmful to our school community. Thank you to the teachers and staff who have dedicated themselves to our school and who are truly invested in Carlisle and are here to embrace change.

Laura Chelton
Old North Road

Carlisle School Committee is dedicated, hard-working

To the Editor:

There has been much speculation as to the reason of the recent teacher/administrator resignations. Many rumors have been swirling around town, causing some parents to become concerned. It's not surprising that parents would be distressed when resignations occur within a short period of time. While it would be easy to point the finger, the reasons for the resignations may be more involved than we are aware of.

I have attended many School Committee meetings and learned a lot about the curriculum and the responsibilities of the School Committee. I've asked questions and made comments. I learned that the School Committee is a dedicated group of parents and community members who are as concerned about the well-being of our children, teachers and administrators as us parents re. They have spent countless hours discussing the concerns that have arisen. They have taken these concerns under advisement and have reached a decision to continue Marie Doyle's tenure as superintendent of our school. I'm confident that this decision was made in the best interest of our school community.

I see this time of change not necessarily as a detriment to our school. I'm enthusiastic that the new administrators, teachers and the superintendent are working collaboratively to educate the vast variety of students we have; whether they are in regular education, special education or are gifted. I support our veteran teachers and thank them for their continued dedication to give our children the best education possible. I look forward to meeting the new staff and am pleased to learn of positive changes taking place that will help our children grow into considerate, intelligent adults.

Kristine Tocci
Lowell Street
[Ed note: Kristine Tocci is co-chair of CPAC, the Carlisle Parent Advisory Committee]

Global warming movie coming to Carlisle

To the Editor:

It was suggested in a letter to the August 25 edition of the Mosquito that the Al Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth was in the category of "infotainment." Far from it. The movie is a serious summary of peer-reviewed research on global warming as approved by the National Academy of Sciences and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In it you will see where our planet stands in relationship to a 400,000 year history of temperatures, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and sea levels. It is impossible to dismiss the strong correlation between carbon dioxide and planet temperature from these research papers as summarized by Al Gore. The data is presented in an accurate, yet lively and engaging manner. It is a must-see movie.

A free, open-to-the-public showing of the Al Gore movie will occur in Carlisle in early October followed by a discussion. Please watch the Mosquito for details.

Ernie Huber
Partridge Lane

Warming data is convincing

To the Editor:

Like Ted Snow in last week's Mosquito Mail, I too avoid making decisions based on the scientific expertise of politicians, etc. However, I do find the evidence of global warming to be convincing and something to be worried about. And any politician that takes the threat of global warming seriously, and wants to do something about it, is more likely to get my vote than one who doesn't.

John Nock
Canterbury Court

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito