The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 24, 2008

Carlisle School Committee shorts, Oct. 15

School Building project. Bill Fink, CSC liaison to the School Building Committee (SBC), reported on a recent meeting with HMFH Architects, Inc. (see “School Building Committee interviews HMFH Architects” Friday Oct. 17, 2008) and said the building committee would like to make a presentation to the CSC. He also noted that a subcommittee from the SBC has met to discuss publicity such as mailers and forum meetings. The committee is creating a “talking point sheet,” and wants to answer “anything people would want to know” about the school building project. The SBC has requested a special town meeting in January. “The Selectmen will decide,” explained Fink, “but currently the financial state of affairs is of some concern.” He said the projected size of the building project “started at 38,000 square feet and is 23,499 right now.”

Fall sports. Doyle reported that 117 students are participating in after-school sports programs:

Eighth-grade trip. A planned discussion of the eighth-grade trip was not held. Koski explained, “The teachers weren’t ready to discuss it.” Miller, contacted later, said no teacher has stepped up to run the trip. “We are hoping to find someone, but it is difficult to find someone who has the time and is willing to work for free. We are anticipating running the same trip if we can get a trip leader.”

Low enrollment for STEM classes. Doyle reported on a low response for the fee-based Carlisle School afternoon STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes. Most classes have been postponed until the winter semester, she said. Dale Ryder suggested surveying parents to understand why registration is down. Doyle suggested one reason might be because the same classes will be offered in the winter. Fink said the perception that the classes are “after- school activities” instead of advanced educational opportunities may be the reason some families do not want to pay the cost of the program. Ryder expressed concern about teachers spending time planning classes with low turnout. “I think we should really find out if there is a trend. As good as they are, is this something we should be doing right now?” Fink said parents need to be shown the classes are educational opportunities. Audience member Kelly Driscoll felt the “per class cost” is expensive and other places are offering lower-priced classes.

DEP letter to school. Doyle reported on a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding inappropriate material discovered in the tank at the school’s wastewater treatment facility. Buildings and Ground Supervisor David Flannery, contacted later, explained that a contractor had flushed old floor adhesive residue down the toilet in the Spalding Building. The material was spotted by the wastewater facility operator. It remained in the holding tank, Flannery said, and was removed. “No harm done,” said Flannery. “The [DEP] letter asks us to provide assurances that procedures are in place to prevent this from happening again. I have worked out a plan which includes a permit system for contractors to include written notification and a sign off, posting of all drains as well as additional training and education for my staff regarding the need to be vigilant in this area. This plan will be submitted to DEP for review and comment.”

Superintendent review. CSC member Ryder presented a new superintendent evaluation process. The cycle will begin in March of each year with the superintendent creating a self-evaluation, and the School Committee members writing “draft” evaluations. After reviewing the drafts, the superintendent may choose to meet one-on-one with the School Committee members to discuss their reviews, after which updates, if necessary, are made to the evaluations by the School Committee members. In April the full committee will meet to discuss the separate evaluations and consolidate them into a document, which will be shared with the superintendent in a formal review in May, and made public on the same date.

Policy updates were approved for the following: school visits, buildings and grounds security, emergency plans, and emergency closings. The updated policies will be included in the school handbook.The Department of Education mandates schools have a code of conduct policy for the staff. The CSC will vote on the conduct policy at the next meeting.

Executive session. The committee adjourned to executive session to discuss teacher contract negotiations. ∆

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