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.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

School Committee Meeting Notes of November 14, 2012

Looks like we’re moving quickly from fall to winter. We’ve already eaten our turkey - which tasted especially good this year with the Red Raiders’ win over the Wakefield Warriors! Playing a little catch-up, so here’s the scoop from the November 14th meeting; check the minutes for the official version, but here are the highlights from my perspective. (Remember – the page numbers in red are those associated with documents from the 11/14 agenda packet in the IQM2 portal on the School Committee page of our web site.)

Announcements of the Superintendent

Supt. Taymore reviewed her final 100-day plan (pp. 3-4), focusing on her four main objectives (Improve Teaching Effectiveness Through Better Use of Student Data; Evaluating Teacher Performance; Common Core Implementation; and Communication and Discourse). * She reviewed her process and timeline for the MHS Principal Search (p. 5), proposed a School Committee – Superintendent retreat (p. 6), and offered an update on the MHS NEASC process and progress (p. 7). * Commenting on decisions regarding next year’s school calendar, Supt. Taymore indicated that she is working in partnership with our union to address the challenges presented by mid-week winter holidays and time needed to adequately prepare for the next phase of the Educator Evaluation tool.

Announcements of the School Committee Chair

Ms. Thorp has reviewed agendas from 2012 and used them to prepare a draft rolling agenda for 2013 (pp. 8-10). * We discussed the fact that the Committee will be moving to entirely electronic documents by our first meeting in December. (All packet documents will be available to the community on Mondays from now on, but since we are going paperless there won’t be printed copies in the Alderman’s Chambers any more. You can access them on-line from your wireless device or bring printed copies from home.) * Our School Committee recording secretary, Ms. Carol Rogers, will be leaving in late November, and Supt. Taymore’s assistant, Mrs. Diane Hogan, will be taking over. * We discussed Victorian Fair expenses and a small expense reimbursement for Committee members (p. 11). * Ms. Thorp indicated that she and Supt. Taymore were working well together and for that reason, she would ask the Committee for consideration regarding retaining her Committee Chair seat for the coming year. (An initial vote will be taken at the December meeting.)

Consent Agenda

We ultimately approved the Minutes of 10/23; the Monthly Budget Summary (pp. 12-17); the Monthly Maintenance Report (pp. 18-36); the Personnel Report (p. 37); a second vote on the By-Laws Amendment (p. 38); and the Warrants (pp. 39-114).

Policy and Planning

School Improvement Plans were presented by Hoover (pp. 115-133), Horace Mann (pp. 134-160), and Roosevelt (pp. 161-176) Principals. * Mr. Lehman offered an update on the 2012 School Committee (p. 177) and presented a proposal for Policy #6208: Committee/Superintendent Relationship (pp. 178-179), discussion on which was postponed until 11/27.

Finance and Facilities

Supt. Taymore announced a pilot program to be implemented at MVMMS with respect to realizing cost off-sets to electricity expenses (pp. 180-209). The program was researched and evaluated by Energy Efficiency Manager Martha Grover and will be overseen by Facilities Manager Max French, DPW Business Manager Ann Waitt, and DPW Director John Scenna. * Supt. Taymore indicated that this year’s budget process will identify each school as a cost center in order to reflect building-based needs more clearly. It will be a level-service budget focused on being educationally appropriate for students.

Collectively we think of this season as one of giving, and our schools are always grateful for all that you give to our children………..