Friday, March 12, 2010
Carlisle School Committee shorts, Mar. 3
• School calendar for 2010 – 2011. On March 3 the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) discussed the pros and cons of starting school before Labor Day, September 6. They reviewed two possible school calendars, which are identical except for the beginning and ending dates. Starting school on September 1 results in students attending for two days before the four-day Labor Day week-end. The last day of school, with no snow days, would be June 16. Starting on September 7, the same as Concord-Carlisle High School, would make the school year end on June 20, assuming no snow days.
The committee learned that the Carlisle Teachers’ Association took a non-binding vote regarding the calendar. Out of 25 teachers voting, 17, mostly elementary grades, were in favor of starting before Labor Day, while eight preferred to start after Labor Day.
Committee member Dale Ryder commented, “I am very opposed, vehemently opposed, to starting before Labor Day. I see families not being able to take those last vacation days. It cuts off the end of the summer.” New committee member Mary Storrs added, “My issue is that the students would go to school for two days and then take two [school] days off.” Chad Koski said the committee would vote on the calendar at the next meeting.
• CEF grants. The CSC voted to accept $4,875 from the Carlisle Education Foundation’s (CEF) Davida Fox-Melanson Fund for Excellence in Teaching fund. The endowment, supported by donations from the Carlisle community, provides funds for professional training via grant proposals submitted by teachers and staff. The grant will support two conferences: six teachers will attend a workshop on children with emotional needs, and seven will attend a literacy conference. The CSC also voted to accept $3,000 from the CEF for challenging reading books for grades 5-8, to support the middle school Cable TV news and to bring Rob Evans to the school for an anti-bullying workshop.
• School Advisory Council. Elementary Principal Patrice Hurley reported that the Carlisle School Advisory Council met recently. She said that since Ann James has finished her term, a new community representative (not a teacher or a parent) is needed for the council.
Massachusetts public schools are required to have a school council which must be comprised of a school principal, parents and teachers in equal numbers, and a community member. Members on the Carlisle School Council are: Co-chairs: Patrice Hurley, Principal and Mary Beth Stevenson, parent, Carlisle parents Regina Walsh Troast, Dennis McCollum, Dawn Pettipas and Muffy Szegvari, Carlisle School teachers Barney Arnold, Sandy Kelly, Jennifer Putnam and Linda Vanaria, Joyce Mehaffey, principal, and a community representative.
• Request for faculty’s child to attend. Superintendent Marie Doyle said she has received a request from first grade teacher Sandy Graham to have her son attend kindergarten in the fall. She recommended the CSC vote to approve the request. “The [fall] kindergarten class size is low right now,” she said, adding she felt it will remain low. Graham has taught at Carlisle School since 2000. Chair Chad Koski said he would add the vote to the next meeting’s agenda.
• Drop Everything And Read. Hurley reported that students honored children’s author Dr. Seuss’ March 2 birthday by participating in Drop Everything And Read (DEAR). Both students and staff read silently for approximately 15 minutes. In addition, “we had VIPs visit and read to classes,” Hurley said. Doyle said she joined a kindergarten class and read Dr. Seuss books to the students.
• Student leadership assembly. Hurley said a recent student leadership assembly focused on honoring students who practiced acts of kindness. “One student cleaned up his room and donated clothes and toys,” she said. Other acts of kindness included helping in a fundraiser, donating money for Haiti and washing tables in the cafeteria for the next group of diners. “A student baked their own dog biscuits to raise money to support a canine shelter,” she said, “and one student made Valentines for the bus drivers because she thought the buses were so noisy,” added Hurley.
• Policy review. Four policies were reviewed: Sexual Harassment, AED (Automatic External Defibrillators), Bus Policy and PPRA Policy (Pupil Rights). The CSC decided further review was needed on the sexual harassment policy to bring it in line with wording used in other school systems. The AED policy update removed instructions for using the equipment, which they felt belongs instead in the procedures manual. The bus policy had similar changes; most of the rules of riding the bus will be moved to the procedures handbook. No changes were made to the pupil rights policy. The committee voted to accept three updated policies previously reviewed: Volunteer policy, CORI policy and Administration Goals. School policies can be found at www.carlisle.k12.ma.us/general/Policy_Manual.pdf.
• School building project questioned. During the citizen comments period at the end of the meeting, Alex Krapf of Ice Pond Road explained he felt it was an “imprudent action to build a new school building at this time.” He noted the unemployment rate and the state deficit, and expressed concern that the state would not honor the building grant.
• Executive session. The committee adjourned to executive session to discuss contract negotiations, with no intention to return to public session. ∆
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