The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 29, 2007

Carlisle Superintendent responds

To the Editor:

The purpose of this letter is to correct some erroneous information in "Carlisle School Facilitator found to be in conflict of interest" [Mosquito, June 22, 2007]. I did not say, or imply, that Mr. Kirtman had not been responsive to our needs: the administration, the CTA, and the School Committee. Never did I say or imply that we had brief meetings, as every meeting lasted for at least two hours, often more than the required time. I believe that Mr. Kirtman spent more time working for Carlisle than we were actually billed.

As we closed out the year-end budget, I reviewed several bills, including Future Management Systems' plan and estimate. I wrote a letter to Mr. Kirtman asking for a final bill and the return of any funds owed to Carlisle, as I believed we were owed $787.50. Mr. Kirtman promptly called, reminding me that he actually led an extra CTA meeting and worked with Glenn Koocher, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees at a Carlisle School Committee meeting.

I am confident that Future Management Systems and Mr. Kirtman fulfilled their responsibilities for the $787.50 in question. No funds are owed to the Carlisle Public Schools.

Marie H. Doyle
Carlisle School Superintendent

Better communication needed

To the Editor:

At the June 20 School Committee meeting, as parents rose to voice their concerns about the Carlisle Teachers Association's no-confidence vote in Superintendent Marie Doyle, many prefaced their marks with "I'm not sure what the issues are . . ." As a recently retired School Committee member, I understand their uncertainty. In the CTA's communications with the School Committee, it has not been clear what leads the union to believe the Superintendent is unfit. The union has an established grievance procedure that it has never used.

In my discussions with individual teachers over the last three years, most voiced no serious issues with the Superintendent. Some were vague (Ms. Doyle didn't fit the "Carlisle culture;" she didn't understand how special Carlisle was). Others felt she had "lied" when she talked about adopting one approach but opted for another, or that, in deciding on a course of action they didn't like, she had ignored their views.

Sadly, few of the teachers' comments I heard — or have yet heard — pertain to the well-being of students.

Historically, this faculty has had a good deal of influence in deciding what was to be taught and how. Some such decisions did not conform to the state curricular frameworks, which isn't uncommon among school districts. However, I believe it was time to take a holistic look at what we teach in Carlisle and how. We can and must do a better job of meeting the needs of all learners.

Issues of educational substance that arose over this Superintendent's tenure (which were not addressed in the CTA letters) included the Superintendent's insistence on development of benchmarks to help align our educational program with the state frameworks as well as our own district goals. Many, if not most, school districts had previously done so. Nonetheless, some teachers strongly objected to being asked to do this.

When Ms. Doyle instituted more professional development opportunities outside Carlisle, some took it as a snub of Carlisle College, wherein teachers share their knowledge in-house. It was not intended thus; rather, it was to provide broader opportunities.

I urge CTA members to engage with the School Committee this summer in very direct and thorough discussions.

Christy Barbee
Cranberry Hill Lane

Grateful for CCCC grant

To the Editor:

Carlisle Recreation is grateful to the Concord Carlisle Community Chest for their ongoing support of our programs. Their recent grant to Carlisle Recreation allows us to offer scholarship aid to children for one or more sessions of our summer programs. If you know of a child who would benefit from attending a summer program in Carlisle and is in need of assistance, please call our office at 978-369-9815.

Carlisle Recreation would also like to thank everyone who supported our Team in the Concord Carlisle Community Chest Fundraiser Triathlon. The money raised goes to our scholarship fund. Many people don't realize that there are families in Carlisle who are in need of assistance during difficult times in their lives. We want to be there to help them until they can get back on their feet.

We are still accepting donations to the fund through our online registration website. Go to and click on Recreation and then on Online Registration. Or you can stop by our office at Town Hall and make a donation. While you are at it, let us know how we are doing and what we can do to better serve the community. Fall program planning is going on now. If you want to start a new program or know of a program that you would like to participate in, let us know so that we can make it happen!

Jan Deyoe and Cindy Nock
Carlisle Recreation Co-Directors

Carlisle School Committee responds

To the Editor:

The members of the Carlisle School Committee have deep concern for the effective education of the students for whom we have responsibility and we consider and carefully evaluate the opinions and suggestions of the entire school community as they pertain to our management responsibilities. As a School Committee, we are primarily responsible for the selection of the superintendent and the approval of policy and budgets. By statute the Superintendent holds the responsibility for personnel matters and operations. The School Committee recognizes the issues which have been brought forward by the Carlisle Teachers Association. While we believe that these issues should be properly dealt with by the administrative team of the Carlisle Schools, and not the School Committee, we support and encourage the superintendent to take action for their resolution by constructive dialog and an evaluation of the issues that have been raised.

Upon becoming aware of the press releases from the Carlisle Teachers Association, we established a subcommittee of our members, Michael Fitzgerald and Dale Ryder, authorized to participate in discussion, collaborating with the Superintendent and her administrative team, on any and all issues of concern to the Carlisle Teachers Association. This is the same mechanism that has been used to develop the teacher's contract. This subcommittee has already opened communication with the leadership of the Carlisle Teachers Association. We expect that this discussion will immediately result in the School Committee, the administration and the faculty developing an action and communication plan and time line that will identify major issues, an approach for their solution, and expected dates for completion.

Beyond this, we feel that the Carlisle school community should work actively and collectively towards the initiation and continuation of open and respectful dialog that is aimed, not at the enumeration of past problems and the assignment of blame to individuals, but rather towards maximizing the effectiveness of the educational process that supports our students. We have encouraged the superintendent to consider finding a facilitator/consultant acceptable to the Carlisle Teachers Association that can help bridge the gap in communication and trust that seems to exist. It should be recognized that it may be impossible for the School Committee and the administration to provide a detailed reply to some of the points made in the press because of a requirement to protect personal privacy.

We recognize that opinions on the operations of the school system may vary. We urge that all members of the School community, administrators, faculty, parents and the community at large, remain focused on our charge of providing our students the best possible education. We feel that our students, their parents and the taxpayers of Carlisle can expect no less.

Carlisle Public School Committee
Nicole Burkel, Chair
Wendell Sykes, Vice Chair
Michael Fitzgerald
Chad Koski
Dale Ryder

Address teachers' concerns

To the Editor:

I attended the School Committee last week, and watched as parent after parent expressed alarm about the current situation at the school. I urge the School Committee to take immediate action to address the concerns of our teachers. They are the very essence of what makes our school great, and we cannot afford to lose any more of them. The administration needs to be judged by the results that they produce.

Lynne DiCristina
Heald Road

OHD donors make it happen

To the Editor:

Florence and I wish to thank the 108 families and friends who gave so generously to Old Home Day this year. We needed that! It's you who make it happen with your caring and all of us on the committee are deeply grateful.

This year your Old Home Day will, for the first time, span the entire weekend, beginning with a bridge tournament on Friday evening and wrapping up with the Ice Cream Social and Music Cavalcade on Sunday afternoon.

Come enjoy what volunteers and you put together each year. Carlisle's OHD stands alone now in New England as the only event of its kind sponsored solely by the citizenry. Thank you again.

Dave and Florence Reed
OHD Co-chairs
Page Brook Road

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito