The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carlisle School Committee shorts, November 3

• iPad gift. The Carlisle School Committee (CSC) thanked fifth grader Ted Storrs for his donation of an Apple iPad at the November 3 meeting. Ted had won it at the Carlisle School Sixth Grade Spaghetti Supper in October, but he explained that he already owns one. His mother, CSC member Mary Storrs, said of the donation, “This wouldn’t have been possible without the families that donated it.” Chair Chad Koski agreed. “We thank everyone involved.” Ted gave a demonstration of the iPad features and offered to help teachers with its use. The CSC voted to accept the gift.

• MCAS results. Superintendent/Principal Joyce Mehaffey gave an overview of the 2010 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System results for Carlisle School (see “Carlisle School scores high on MCAS,” October 1.) She praised the strong results in the written comprehension portion of the English test for grades 4 to 7. Seventh-grade teacher Cheryl Hay explained that they changed their approach to preparing students for the written portion of the English test. “The students are good writers,” she said. “We gave them license to…write what they know how to write, which includes metaphors, personifications and similes. The five paragraph essay had been changed to a personal narrative. We told the kids that this is what [the MCAS test] wanted and they did really well.”

Mehaffey said, “We continue to be a very high-achieving district. The teachers are not teaching to the test but there is a true focus on writing.” CSC member Louis Salemy said, “The town is generous in supporting the school and that’s why we get great results.”

• Ham radio antenna. Alan Lewis, a ham radio operator and member of the Carlisle Amateur Radio Group, asked for permission to install a ham radio antenna on the roof of the Corey Building. The Radio Group is a subcommittee established by the Selectmen in 2009 to assist with communications during emergencies.

The antenna, about four feet high, “is easily installed with four screws and a clamp,” Lewis explained. Corey Auditorium is a designated emergency shelter, Lewis pointed out, so having the capability to use the radios at the school would be essential. An antenna will also be installed at the Carlisle Police building. The antennas and radios were purchased by the Board of Health through a federal grant. “I assume it doesn’t get used unless it is an emergency?” asked Koski. “Yes, for drills and emergencies,” replied Lewis.

Principal Patrice Hurley, wondering if students could become involved, suggested the school “would love to teach a course in ham radio.” Lewis suggested that the school could start a club. He said the equipment could be used by students “as long as there is a licensed operator there.”

• Bullying Prevention Plan. Mehaffey presented a draft of the “Carlisle School Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan.” Each school district must submit an anti-bullying plan to the Department of Education by December 31. “The plan will have to be vetted by staff, the community and teachers,” Mehaffey said. The plan can be viewed at “How much of this is new compared to what we do now?” asked Storrs. Mehaffey said that much of the training and support for students is already done. A large piece of the new process is documenting and reporting incidents. Though the document must be submitted by the end of December, it is a “living document,” explained Assistant to the Superintendent Claire Wilcox, and can be edited after it is delivered to the state.

• October professional day. Mehaffey said teachers raved about the new format of the October 12 professional day. Teachers were told to use the day to do something different, such as visit a museum or a school and bring their experience back to the school. “I visited a superintendent who is the principal/superintendent” in Boxborough, said Mehaffey. “It’s a nice connection,” she added. She said she used the time to discuss the issues he sees in his dual role.

• Moving fire cisterns. Bill Fink, reporting for the School Building Committee, informed the committee that the location of two planned fire cisterns must be placed elsewhere because the original location would not work well with the fire trucks. The new cistern location will be closer to the Highland Building. The building committee will communicate this to the Highland Committee, Fink said.

Donations accepted. The committee voted to accept $11,540 in donations from the CEF, and $18,864.20 in grant funds from the Carlisle School Association (CSA).

The CEF donations include gifts from the Teacher Appreciation drive, which will give each teacher $91 to spend on materials, and $4,725 of Wishing Tree items from the CEF spring auction. Wishing Tree items include digital cameras, science engineering kits, anti-bullying activities and math support.

The CSA grant is based on teacher requests. Items include hands-on science kits, social studies texts, whiteboards, headphones to reduce distractions and a timing clock for the cross-country team.

Payroll needs one signature. The payroll warrant has always been signed by one school committee member, explained Business Manager Susan Pray, but she said she learned recently that the CSC needs to explicitly vote to allow just one signature. A vote was taken and one signature was approved for payroll only.

Goals. The CSC voted to approve the 2010-2011 District Goals and the Superintendent Goals, both of which had been discussed at previous meetings. ∆

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