Friday, March 28, 2008
Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee, March 19
• CEF donations. The Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF) will be donating a portable Mac lab and three electronic white boards, announced Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle at the March 19 meeting of the Carlisle School Committee (CSC). She explained later that the portable lab includes a cart, 25 Macintosh computers, a printer and an Internet connector. Money raised at the recent CEF auction is funding the donations. The school’s technology plan calls for increasing the number of computers available for student use. “The ultimate plan calls for a cart per grade level,” she explained.
• Electrical engineering class. Middle school science teachers Wendy Stack and Brad Cranston are leading an after school class in electrical engineering for 24 sixth and seventh graders, Doyle announced. The free class, funded by a University of Massachusetts/ Lowell STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) grant, runs for ten weeks. Doyle later said that she would like to see additional science clubs offered. “I’ve asked the teachers to offer more clubs next year, although we’ll need to charge” a fee to cover the costs.
• Highland Building Committee. School Committee member Dale Ryder said the Highland Building Committee is meeting every other Wednesday. “I think we are making some progress,” she reported. She expects they will present a full report in June. CSC member Wendell Sykes announced he intends to resign from the Highland Building Committee “for personal reasons.”
• A Liveable Carlisle Community (LCC). Marje Stickler and Kathleen Coyle spoke to the School Committee about their group’s efforts. The LCC started a year ago to serve “as a forum for getting various parts of the town committees together to talk about what the town needs, what the parameters are, and maybe make recommendations,” said Coyle. “We don’t have a position, but we’d like to be very much like the League of Woman voters” by facilitating discussions. They invited School Committee members to attend the upcoming LCC forum (See “Bring ideas to A Liveable Carlisle Community forum on April 5,” on page 1.) Committee member Wendell Sykes said he would try to attend.
• Faculty/staff children. Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman and eighth grade English teacher Marcella Pixley have requested permission to have their children attend Kindergarten in Carlisle next fall, reported Superintendent Marie Doyle. The CSC decided to delay voting on the request, expressing concerns about projected class sizes. Fifty-three students have registered for next year’s Kindergarten class. The projected enrollment was forecast at 55 (down from 72 this year), and a reduction from four to three teachers is planned.
• School Choice. The School Committee began with a public hearing on School Choice, a Massachusetts program which allows students to attend any participating school. Each year the CSC is required to vote whether to join the program. Parent Alex Krapf suggested the school would benefi t from the school choice system by using it to stabilize enrollment. The school has had large “bubble classes,” often followed by smaller size classes, he noted. The change in enrollment causes the school to reshape the teaching teams as enrollment shifts. Observing, though, that each class level was near, or at capacity, the CSC recommended the school not adopt the choice system. The CSC will vote at the next meeting.
• District Curriculum Accommodation Plan. Elementary Principal Patrice Hurley presented an updated District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP). Required by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 38Q 1/2, the plan states it is “intended to guide principals and teachers to ensure that all efforts have been made to meet student needs in general education classrooms. The DCAP will support teachers in accommodating the wide range of student learning styles and needs that exist in schools today.” The plan describes the existing modifications, and supports that are available to students and teachers. The plan will be posted on the Carlisle School web site: www. carlisle.mec.edu.• Anti-bullying survey. Hurley discussed the results of an anti-bullying survey conducted in December. She said it shows a “10% overall reduction in those reporting incidents of bullying since the prior year. Some grades reported significant reductions,” while others reported incremental changes. The survey showed that bullying happens during class transitions and in less supervised areas such as the playground and on buses.
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