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.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5/13 School Committee Meeting

An especially nice to start to our meeting last night......National Honor Society Board members Lilah Drafts-Johnson, Caroline Kerwin, and Charlotte Hoff provided an overview of the activities of this year's cohort. Please take a look at their Powerpoint presentation on our website to see how our students are giving back to their fellow students and the community!

Our business part of the meeting touched on the following:

* Announcements of the Supt: 1. ECC registrations are 292 (compared to an enrollment of 280 this year) and K registrations are 280 (compared to an enrollment of 279 this year). Supt. Taymore suspects enrollments to increase; 2. All three Roosevelt principal candidates will have interviewed in the district by Friday and she expects to render a hiring decision by the middle of next week; 3. Supt. Taymore announced that she will appoint an interim principal at Lincoln Schools for the FY15 school year since it is late in the hiring season and she wants to start early next year to invite the most attractive candidates.

* Supt. Taymore spoke to summer programming, including the Extended School Year (ESY) program for special education students, the middle schools' Students Without Borders program (that includes 5th graders), and the fact that, unless we receive a grant to support an on-line opportunity (we'll know at the end of this month), students seeking credit recovery will need to enroll in another district's program since our program is not financially viable.

* Summer school work expectations were presented by the Supt. and are available for all to see. This document is intended to provide parents with an opportunity to preview how summer reading, etc. can be supported so that when students return in the fall, they are as prepared as possible for the next years' work.

* Asst. Supt. for Pupil Personnel Services Patti White-Lambright presented a comprehensive overview of special education programming and services for each level, including early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school. She spoke to the current opportunities and challenges as well as what she sees for the future.

* Supt. Taymore and Director of Finance and Administrative Affairs Jay Picone updated the Committee on the FY13 End-of-Year Financial Report that is submitted to the Dept. of Elem. and Secondary Ed. There were two minor findings, and amendments have been filed to correct both.

* A variety of policies were placed on the agenda for information purposes only, including Financial Management, Bullying Prevention, Background Checks/Fingerprinting, and School Enrollment. They will be presented for a first reading at the next meeting.

* The calendar of 2015 School Committee meetings was presented and approved. 

* Our district's overarching goals were set, of which there are four. They address student achievement, staffing and development, community engagement, and fiscal issues. Supt. Taymore will use these to propose her own goals, and those can be used as guidance for Site Councils as they develop their School Improvement Plans for next year as well as by PTO's to consider where they might best spend their generous dollars to support student academic progress.

* We talked about how we can advocate to our state and local legislators around issues that are important to Melrose and  posited that the unfunded mandate of purchasing and maintaining technology is a serious concern in our schools. Rep. Brodeur has been especially helpful in this area. We will build a timeline with his support and bring it, along with some advocacy ideas, back to the Committee.

An excellent meeting with  lots of good discussion! To all the mothers out there - hope your day was a happy one, and wishing you all a reflective but enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend!