The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 14, 2007


Carlisle School Committee Shorts, Dec. 5

Freeze alarm. At the December 5 Carlisle School Committee (CSC) meeting Superintendent Marie Doyle announced that the school has received a grant totaling $4,492 from the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), the town's insurance provider, for installation of a 'freeze alarm" to alert school officials when pipes are in danger of freezing.

"One area which I knew the school could take advantage of is the 'freeze-up prevention program,'" explained Building and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery in an e-mail. This fall he submitted a grant request "asking for funds to install low-temperature sensors in the Spalding and Wilkins Buildings as well as to install alarms on the burners in these buildings which would indicate their failure." The system will be installed during the school's winter break, and be monitored by the Lexington Alarm Company.

Consultant process update. CSC Chair Nicole Burkel explained that 19 teachers have so far agreed to participate in individual, 45-minute interviews with the facilitator, John Littleford, to be held in January. The administrators and School Committee members will also participate. A total of 24 teachers are being sought, and Burkel asked Assistant to the Superintendent Claire Wilcox to check with Carlisle Teachers Association President Mike Miller regarding the remaining five teacher slots. After the individual interviews are completed, a three-hour group workshop will be held on January 14 for all who were interviewed.

Teacher evaluations. Director of Student Services Karen Slack reported the "first round of observations" for teacher evaluations had been completed by the administrators (Principals Patrice Hurley and Jim Halliday, Superintendent Marie Doyle, and Slack). Hurley explained in an e-mail that all teachers new to the Carlisle School are evaluated yearly, no matter what their experience. After teachers earn professional status (tenure), they are evaluated every other year.

Science workshop offer. Doyle said the Future Engineer Center at University of Massachusetts Lowell is looking for teachers and schools to participate in their pilot science workshop program, Designlab. The program provides teachers with training, workshop materials and a stipend to run three ten-week engineering classes for sixth and seventh graders (12 students per workshop). Two teachers have expressed an interest, Doyle said in an e-mail. Schools must provide proof of ability to sustain the program after the pilot is completed.

Math. The Math Curriculum Review Committee will continue to review the Everyday Math Program, Doyle said. Alex Krapf, a parent serving on the review committee, noted the need to look at how math topics are covered within a single grade. Doyle said the program may be difficult for new teachers. Some may skip units, while other teachers may continue with the program, but run out of time to complete all the units by the end of the year. "We have outstanding teachers," said Doyle, "but kids should have a similar experience in each classroom."

Doyle noted that the program calls for 70 minutes of math a day, but most teachers are able to achieve around 40 or 45 minutes. If material is omitted, she said it is to be done under the guidance of the math coordinator.

Krapf also said there is a need to examine the "mismatch" between parent and teacher expectations of when students would master certain math skills such as multiplication.

District goals approved. The School Committee voted to approve the 2007—2008 District Goals. However three of the five committee members asked that next year's goals be more specific and measurable. The goals are available on the school web site at:

Superintendent's "stretch" goals approved. The CSC voted to approve four "stretch" goals for Superintendent Doyle. As required by her contract, at the successful completion of the goals, Doyle will receive an additional $4,000. Stretch goals are in addition to the regular duties listed in the Superintendent's contract, though overlap exists. CSC member Michael Fitzgerald asked that next year, the goals include an action plan and a way to evaluate success.

The four stretch goals are: 1. oversee preparation of FY08-09 budget; 2. oversee the school business office during the Business Manager's maternity leave; 3. oversee Phase II of the Math Review and Phase I of the English/Language Arts Review; 4. work with the School Building Committee, state and community to plan the next steps for replacing or repairing the Spalding Building.

Furniture donation. The CSC voted to accept "with gratitude" a donation of furniture from the TranSwitch Corporation of Bedford. Items include secretarial chairs, shelves, a conference table, printer and file cabinets. Doyle said the items were placed in classrooms.

FY09 budget. Committee member Michael Fitzgerald requested budget line item details for the next meeting, which will be January 2, 2008 (the December 19 meeting is cancelled). Doyle expressed concern that a discussion of the various budget options would cause worry for teachers, since one version of the budget may show a 0% increase, potentially affecting teacher positions. Fitzgerald replied that he wanted the details to be discussed in public. Doyle agreed to have the line-item budget ready for January 2.

School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman is out on a two-month maternity leave after the birth of her son, Mathew, on Thanksgiving weekend. She is planning to return to work part-time at first.

During the public comment period, parent Louis Salemy urged the CSC to "keep the status quo" and not consider cuts which would remove "vital teachers and programs." He suggested the committee consider user fees and an override.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito