Friday, November 24, 2006
Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee Nov. 15
• Playground volunteer information. As a new security measure, all non-school staff workers (contractors, repair persons) who do not have CORI criminal background checks will be supervised while on school grounds. Instructions on how to volunteer for recess and lunch are now available all the time, Carlisle Elementary School Principal Patrice Hurley explained. Responding to a need to have clear information for parent lunch/recess volunteers, she said volunteers are now able to access parent volunteer guides via a large waterproof box stored on the plaza. The box also contains clipboards and paper, allowing parents to note any information that needs to be passed on to staff. Hurley presented a five-page document which includes a list of playground rules, and a guide to monitoring playground areas such as the castle, plaza, fenced table/sandbox area, snow mounds, and football area in the bus parking lot. A guide to supervising the dining room is included, as well as the rules for dining room behavior, use of the "allergy sensitive tables," and the process of lunch dismissal.
• Strategic plan.The work of creating a comprehensive strategic plan for the school will start in January, Carlisle Superintendent Marie Doyle reported. She said she contacted a former superintendent from Rhode Island, who has offered to facilitate the meetings at no charge. Currently the 2007-2008 draft budget allows for $10,000 for a facilitator, which would be used if the work continues into the next school year (and a new facilitator is needed).
• MCAS. Carlisle Middle School Principal Paul Graseck reported the teaching faculty met to discuss ways to aid students in improving MCAS scores, reviewing the skills needed to answer each question. The "wordiness" of the math test was part of the problem, he said. The staff generated over 300 suggestions to help students.
Hurley informed the school committee that former Special Educator teacher Sue Fitzgerald has been hired to offer training in MCAS alternate assessments. Students meeting the criteria for alternative assessments, called "portfolios," can be excused from taking the MCAS test. Instead the school staff creates a binder of material that illustrates the progress the student has made throughout the year. According to the Massachusetts Department of Education web site, "Teachers report that after the first year of creating student portfolios, they find the process much easier, and they develop strategies to organize and manage this task more efficiently. They begin to make alternate assessment portfolios a part of their daily instruction." The students are graded on the evidence of their progress. Since 2003 students who use an alternative assessment must score at least a "Needs Improvement" on the Math and ELA tests. The web site explains, "It is true that each year, only a few students score sufficiently well to pass the alternate assessment and meet the state's graduation requirement."
© 2006 The