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.

Friday, March 14, 2014

School Committee Meetings of March 11th

We had two meeting segments this past Tuesday night........

First, we met with our facilitator from the Mass. Assoc. of School Committees, Dorothy Presser, to continue reflecting on the kind of work we do, and making it more efficient and effective. A template has been built to help presenters construct more concise and useful presentations, and we talked about keeping our agendas focused on student achievement. In June, we'll have more in-depth discussions about district overarching and SMART goals, from which we will approve goals for Supt. Taymore that are in alignment with those for the district. (That will allow School Councils to then think about their work with respect to what the district is doing, and then encourage PTO's to focus their always-generous support on those areas in each school. We will all be working separately - but also together - to help each student in the district to improve.)

Second, our regular meeting continued the budget discussion in the area of supplies and materials. A few items of note:

* This budget is intentional around matching needs of instructional materials with educational needs.
* Music and art supplies are calculated on a per-pupil basis.
* Supply expenses went up for some schools and down for others, partly depending on how quickly each school has exhausted their current supplies.
* Supt. Taymore hopes to purchase as many science materials as necessary and appropriate, given the evolving science standards.
* We may need to purchase some materials for the new course offerings at MHS depending on how enrollments shake out.
* The Band-Aiders have been very generous with their donations in the area of instruments, etc. and as such, there is no additional budget for those items. (Thank you!)
* Melrose is behind other districts in what we budget for supplies and materials, but we aren't that different from other middle class communities. 
* Professional development is just as important (or more) than materials since it's the person who stands before students that has the most positive correlation to student achievement.

Next week we'll explore technology; and curriculum, instruction, and professional development. We'll also learn more about gifted services. Finally, we're moving the Public Budget Hearing from March 25th to April 2nd. (The revised budget calendar is in the IQM2 packet for 3/18.) Please let us know if you have questions and/or suggestions, and thanks so much for following this process!