The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 4, 2008

Shorts from the RSC, June 24

• RSC praises Finn. Superintendent Brenda Finn, who is retiring at the end of June, was praised and thanked for her efforts, accomplishments and leadership for the Concord-Carlisle School District and the Concord Public School District. RSC Chair Jerry Wedge said, “She has done more to improve our school in the last five years than any other superintendent in the recent past.” RSC member Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby presented Finn with a lovely bouquet and thanked her for many things including Finn’s support, mentoring, humor, boundless energy and courage. “We will miss you every day.”

Carlisle Board of Selectman Tim Hult said, “I have a very high regard for Brenda, for her and the work she’s done here.” Hult thanked her for her leadership and noted that “she made the education of all students paramount.” He said Finn put in the extra effort to understand the issues in each town. “It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the Commonwealth…and it is underappreciated by many people. We (the Town of Carlisle officials) deeply respect the work you’ve done here.”

Finn thanked all that were present. • CCHS boys tennis team. Finn congratulated tennis coach Alex Spence and the CCHS Varsity Boys Tennis Team for winning the MIAA Division I championship, with an undefeated team of record of 25-0. CCHS Principal Badalament said he had joined the team pizza party and found the boys “very humble.”

• Math Department report. Mathematics Department Chair John Bookis spoke to the RSC about how Carlisle students perform in math at the high school. RSC member Louis Salemy had asked Bookis to investigate this. Bookis explained that students are not tracked at the high school. Middle school teachers and guidance counselors provide information for initial placement in the four levels of math instruction at the high school: Honors, College Preparation 1, 2 and 3. Students may change levels during their four years. “We want them to be in appropriate levels,” said Bookis.

Bookis said, “Carlisle students represent 26% of the CCHS student body. Carlisle freshmen comprise 44% of the Honors classes, 26% of the College Prep 1 classes, 31% of the CP2 classes and 7% of the CP3 classes.”

“The differences are very subtle,” said Bookis. “Familiarity with technology such as the graphing calculator varies among students…Any initial differences in background quickly begin to fade; we fill in the blanks.” Bookis reported that it would be hard to distinguish Carlisle students from their peers in CCHS math classes. “We would hope to pool the collective talents and experiences of all our students and maximize their potential collectively.”

About half a dozen Concord eighth-graders attend Honors Geometry for the first period of the CCHS day, and are then taken to their middle schools to begin the day there. Bookis did not know why no Carlisle students attended, but wondered if there were philosophical, logistical or fiscal reasons. However, one reason may be that Concord Middle School starts at 8:15 a.m. Carlisle Middle School starts at 7:50 a.m. If Carlisle students were to attend the Honors Geometry class at CCHS, they would miss roughly 30 minutes of middle school each day.

• Facilities. Earlier in the year, students had told the RSC that there were long lines at the bathrooms and broken fixtures. The RSC wanted these problems addressed. Director of Finance and Operations John Flaherty reported that no broken fixtures and no bad drains had been found. He said, “There is some need for cosmetic work.” He said he couldn’t address the overcrowding issue without taking out a classroom to add a bathroom, which will not happen. The bathrooms will get new lights and paint. “We’ll make them more decent.”

• Adding 13 minutes to each day. The high school schedule will add 13 minutes to each day starting in September to be in compliance with the Department of Education’s (DOE) minimum of 990 hours a year of student learning time. This coming year, school will start at 7:25 a.m. instead of 7:35 a.m. and will let out at 2:08 p.m. instead of 2:05 p.m. Teachers wanted to be compensated for their extra time. After much negotiation, which included former Carlisle RSC member Michael Fitzgerald, parties agreed that an extra $200 will be paid this year and next year to each fulltime equivalent (FTE) teacher. This will add $10,200 to the budget. For the 2008-2009 school year, teachers will not be required to show up for their 185th school day if all their professional duties have been completed. This will be a trial year to see how that goes.

• Community Chest supports CCHS. The Concord-Carlisle Community Chest donated $24,950 to CCHS for programs and a counselor. The grant includes $4,950 for support of the COMPASS program and $20,000 for support of the CCHS Intervention/Prevention Counselor.

The COMPASS program is an alternative program for students who are at risk of dropping out. The $4,950 will go to Bob Raskind who provides counseling to students in the program.

CCHS Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby said, “CCHS has two social workers, Dan Simone and Kelli Kirshtein. Kelli provides the prevention/intervention services and she has always been partially funded by the Community Chest.” Sometimes, these counselors are called “Adjustment Counselors.”

In a letter to Diana Rigby, the Community Chest Allocations Committee stated that they feel the counselor position should be fully funded by the RSD.

The RSC approved the donation with gratitude. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito