Friday, February 13, 2009
Shorts from the CSC February 4
• Four day kindergarten. Superintendent Marie Doyle told the CSC that the school is evaluating the benefits of a four-day kindergarten schedule. Currently the three classes meet five mornings and two afternoons each week. The afternoon sessions are funded through a parent-paid kindergarten fee. The change in schedule would mean students would attend classes all day, Monday through Thursday. Doyle said a round-table discussion will be held in March to discuss all aspects of the schedule change. The school’s goal, she explained, is to save costs by reducing bus usage.
By law Massachusetts schools must offer at least 425 hours of kindergarten per year, free of charge. However, schools have leeway over how to schedule the hours, whether by offering half-day or all-day programs. Carlisle School currently offers well over 430 hours, not including the afternoon sessions.
• State agrees on enrollment data. Carlisle School Committee (CSC) member Bill Fink reported that the projected Carlisle School target enrollment figure given by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is now 700, identical to the number the Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) has been using as its basis for planning educational spaces. The MSBA uses the enrollment estimate in a formula to determine allowable square footage. Fink explained that the calculations indicate that Carlisle’s school buildings would be over the allowable limit for state reimbursement. “The building committee is working to resolve the outstanding issue,” Fink explained, saying the MSBA is not used to dealing with a project in which a new building is added to existing buildings. “We are the second school system dealing with this,” pointed out Superintendent Marie Doyle.
Fink said the SBC would like volunteers to assist in developing a brochure to describe the building proposal to the town.
• ELA Pilot program. Superintendent Doyle reported the school is piloting the English Language Arts (ELA) software Lexia. “It a computer program for reading and phonetic awareness,” she explained. Third grade Special Educator Jennifer Rowland said, “It is a great program. The kids really are enjoying it. It is a great way to practice reading skills. It focuses on different levels and works on a range of skills, beginning at letter recognition and goes up to word meaning and comprehension.”
Third grader Teddy Storrs was asked about his experience with Lexia. “I like it,” he replied. “I think it is fun. There are games you can play.” The students access it by using laptops, Doyle explained. She noted there has been an increase in the demand for the portable computer labs since the pilot was put into place. She said the software “talks to the children.”
Third grade teacher Gene Stamell thanked parents for contributing to the purchase of headphones. “Before we could get the headphones you could hear 21 computers talking,” he said. Doyle agreed, “We are most grateful to parents and the CEF for purchasing the headphones.”
• Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman requested permission to place approval of a three-year contract with two-year option on the Town Warrant for the wastewater treatment facility. She explained she is happy with the current vendor and would like to obtain the best price possible. In order to add a two-year option on to a three-year contract the school must receive Town Meeting approval. “If the town is not happy with the vendor after three years, then we can change,” she added. She noted if the article does not pass a three-year contract would still be in place. She said prices are more competitive when companies have the prospect of a longer contract. CSC Chair Chad Koski asked to see a draft of the proposal.
• Bus contract. The committee voted to approve the new bus contract. It is a three-year contract with Bedford Charter, with an option to extend it for an additional two years.
• Teacher contract negotiations. The committee voted to enter into executive session to discuss teacher contract negotiations. ∆
© 2009 The