The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 3, 2006


Carlisle School Committee uses retreat to strategize

The review process for the contract of Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle and the School District Goals for 2006-07 were the subjects of a "retreat" held by the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) at the Gleason Library on October 25. Although posted as an open meeting, the format was a departure from the usual. Held as a replacement for their usual summer retreat, the gathering was planned as a time to review and strategize, but not to vote on specifics.

Tables were moved into a circle, allowing members of the CSC, Doyle, Elementary School Principal Patrice Hurley and Middle School Principal Paul Graseck to face each other, unlike the horseshoe arrangement used at regular meetings. No audience chairs were set up; in fact the chairs were buried behind the drinks table. Another table held a large assortment of sandwiches and desserts, since this meeting would span dinnertime.

Superintendent's review process

Glen Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) was invited to facilitate the discussion.

In the draft minutes of the meeting, Assistant to the Superintendent Claire Wilcox explains, "[CSC Chair] Ms. Burkel stated that the goal of the meeting was to come to consensus on the process and criteria regarding Ms. Doyle's contract. She must be notified by January 2, 2007 if the contract will not be renewed." Burkel, reached by phone, said the focus of the discussion was the criteria which the School Committee would use to discuss Doyle's evaluation. She said Koocher noted the committee had a number of options on the process of Doyle's contract, including letting the contract self-renew for one year, reviewing the contract for a specified time period and negotiating a new contract. Burkel pointed out there could be many variations to the process.

Draft criteria for evaluation

Wilcox noted the suggested criteria for the evaluation:
· Effective leadership of faculty and administration toward achieving goals and objectives
    - Recruiting, hiring, mentoring, maintaining personnel
    - Does the faculty respect the leadership?
    - Effective educational leadership
    - Effective administrative leadership
· Contractual goals for the year
· Relationship with School Committee
· Budget management
    - Sound budget recommendations
    - Represents the budget to the town Finance Committee
    - Hires the right people to do the budget
· Municipal relations
· Superintendent growth and development — personal and professional
· Staff growth and development
· Ethical and honorable individual
· Relationship/communication with parents
· Effective advocate for children.

Next steps

Burkel said she has not discussed the criteria with Doyle yet. "We've identified 10 criteria we want to have a discussion around," she explained. The next step is to discuss how each member feels about the criteria. After the criteria are set, "we will get together to discuss each of our opinions," she said. The committee will then meet with Doyle to allow her to provide input, and finally the committee will meet a third time to decide on the evaluation. She noted that the three meetings will be held in private executive session.

District Goals discussion

The meeting included a discussion of the draft of the District Goals for 2006-07. Doyle pointed out eight main categories of goals. The categories may not change from year to year, she explained; however the details of the goals will be revised yearly. The main categories are:

1. Creating a comprehensive strategic plan,
2. Building a community of respect in a safe and healthy learning environment,
3. Maximizing student learning, 4. Promoting collegiality,
5. Restructuring the Middle School to accommodate the unusually large "bubble" classes currently in grades six and seven,
6. Assessing curriculum,
7. Integrating technology,
8.Meeting space needs and managing the resources of the Carlisle Public School.

As the details of each goal were discussed, suggestions were made to revise the categories, as well as update the "deliverables" of the goals. Under Goal 1, a new committee called the "Strategic Planning Committee" will be formed "composed of administration, staff, students, and parent." Plans for this committee were begun last spring (see "Carlisle School Committee gives Doyle thumbs up," Mosquito, May 12). The committee would "Craft a shared vision under the guidance of the strategic planning committee and identify core values to guide instructional decision-making."

A discussion of D.A.R.E. and its effectiveness was held and, if included in the plan, would fall under Goal 2. Doyle suggested the district undertake the "Risk Assessment" survey done in Concord to determine the status of risky behavior by students in Carlisle.

Graseck was asked about the progress of the "Diversity Committee." He responded that the committee generated a "large list" of action items. The committee members are currently reading a book together, he added. "A general beef of mine is we have a lot of committees reading books together," said School Committee member Christy Barbee. She said she would like see committees work from written goals. Graseck responded that the Diversity Committee will be an "action-oriented committee," and not one that just reads and talks.

Goals for each subject area (English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world language, fine arts, and physical education/health) were discussed in Goal 3.

Committee member Chad Koski noted the importance of aligning the Carlisle School curriculum with Concord's in order to facilitate students' transition to Concord-Carlisle High School. Suggesting that the subject coordinators could meet with their counterparts in Concord, Committee Chair Nicole Burkel said she would "like to see job descriptions of subject coordinators." Coordinators are: math specialist, Liz Perry, math; first-grade teacher Mimi Chandler, science; librarian Sandy Kelly, social studies; Courtney Hadley, fine arts; Margaret Heigl, physical education/health; André Steffeck, world language; and Steve Bober and Sue LaPorte, English language arts.

Barbee suggested school security be taken into account under Goal 8 during the design phase of new school construction.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito