Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

School Committee Meeting Notes of October 9, 2012

As we take a break from raking (while hoping the wind blows those leaves away so we can just store the rake?) we heard about some excellent work being done by Supt. Taymore and our administrative team. They are drilling down on MCAS data and determining how to employ high quality professional development and other resources to achieve improvement for all students. You’ll get extra credit (and a lot of knowledge!) by taking a look at the presentations to see what they’re doing. (Just an fyi…we’re hopping on the city bandwagon with respect to agendas and documents. To access them, click on the School Committee page of the schools’ web site and then click “IQM2 Meeting Portal”. Find and click on the appropriate meeting, then click “Agenda Packet”. You will have called up a PDF containing all the documents discussed at the meeting. Notes below will include the respective page number of the PDF in red.)


We recognized and expressed appreciation to Mr. Burt Buchman for his prior service to the Melrose School Committee. (He currently serves in Tyngsborough.) He is receiving the Massachusetts Association of School Committees’ (MASC) Lifetime Achievement Award next month.

Report of the Student Representatives

Students Madeleine Frasca and Amanda Sampson welcomed our Italian exchange students, invited the community to attend the annual MHS Scholarship Fund Pancake Breakfast on 10/20 sponsored by Johnnie's Foodmaster (link here: http://www.melroseschools.com/mhs/pdfs/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20MHS%20pancake%20breakfast%20flyer%202012.pdf), and also invited the community to attend a 10/29 workshop entitled “They Don’t Call it Dating Anymore: A Parent’s Guide to Healthy and Unhealthy Teen Dating Relationships” (link here: http://www.melroseschools.com/mhs/pto.cfm).

Announcements of the Superintendent

Supt. Taymore indicated that she had interviewed two candidates for the Winthrop Interim Principalship and hoped to have a decision prior to week’s end. * She was delighted to announce that the MA School Building Authority (SBA) approved Melrose’s request for a $3.1M grant to renovate/rebuild our science labs. She is hosting a forum on 10/24 to share more information (logistics and agenda here: http://www.melroseschools.com/mhs/pdfs/Agenda%20for%20Science%20Renovations%20Parent%20Mtg%20Oct%2024.pdf). * Don’t forget to check out Curriculum Director Dr. Adams’ blog posts on Melrose Patch!

Announcements of the School Committee Chair

Ms. Casatelli will represent the School Committee at the annual MASC conference in November (pp. 3-4). Resolutions under consideration are on pp. 5-7. * As noted above, Committee document delivery is changing and we voted to go all-electronic beginning in December. We also voted to post documents for the community’s review on Monday instead of Tuesday (p. 8). * Finally, we addressed documents provided to the Attorney General’s Office regarding an Open Meeting Law complaint filed by SC member Ms. Kourkoumelis (p. 9).

Consent Agenda

We ultimately approved the School Committee minutes of 9/27/12 (pp. 10-15), Monthly Budget Summary (pp. 16-21), Personnel Report (p. 22), Cafeteria Report (p. 23), and Warrants (pp. 24-69).

Educational Programs and Personnel

Dr. Margaret Adams presented the 2012-2013 Professional Development Plan (pp. 70-73). After the introduction, it addresses the focus of professional development (also known as training for teachers and all staff members), how it will be implemented, and the “Connections to Melrose Public Schools Strategic Plan”. In order to determine the effectiveness of professional development, administrators will use a variety of assessments (surveys, seeing how the training is put into action in classrooms, etc.) so necessary modifications can be made to enact a continuous system of improving training opportunities. * Spring, 2012 MCAS results (pp. 74-134 or here: http://www.melroseschools.com/administration/pdfs/MCAS%20Spring%202012%20Results%20October%209th%20Presentation.pdf) were carefully analyzed by the leadership team and findings by content area and grade were presented, including strengths and challenges. Action plans were also presented which will reveal themselves in continuing professional development choices, future budget recommendations, MVMMS and MHS course development and sequencing proposals, etc. * Updated, standards-based Grade 1-5 report cards were presented that clearly describe how students’ skills will be assessed (pp. 135-144). Note particularly the purpose of assessing students in this way, how the report cards will change, and what process was used to inform the changes (pp. 145-146).

Policy and Planning

ECC and Kindergarten enrollments were presented (p. 147). Supt. Taymore noted that the number of kindergarten classrooms is appropriate for the number of students (up from 245 last year to 272 this year). * In order to set appropriate salary expectations for staff, we added Policy #4122: Salary Schedules (p. 148), repealed Policy #4213: Professional Staff Salary Schedules (p. 149) and #4305: Support Staff Salary Schedules (p. 150), and amended/renamed Policy #4304: Support Staff Contracts and Compensation Plans (p. 151).

Well, apparently the leaves remain and the rake must reappear, so as we all carry on, please know how much we value the time you take from your busy lives to help a child. Although the leaves will soon be gone, your impact will last a lifetime………