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, September 24, 2014

School Committee Meeting of 9/23/14

Supt. Taymore and Asst. Supt. of Teaching and Learning Margaret Adams presented the district-wide MCAS results last evening, with every member of the Melrose Public Schools' Leadership Team in attendance (filling all seats on one side of the Aldermanic Chamber). The documents for review included an opening letter indicating the Leadership Team's expectations about the results going into the tests, a summary of results, implications, and next steps. The letter also noted the dates and times for individual school MCAS presentations. The powerpoint presentation covered essential questions, findings, and results in each content area (ELA, math, and science) by grade over time. Supt. Taymore also provided a Glossary of Terms and a review of Massachusetts Accountability Measures in the packets to help us interpret the language the state uses to report.

The main meeting provided a look into MHS athletic participation numbers for the fall compared to prior years, showing that 383 students were involved. (My note: using the projected enrollment number of 933 students from the 8/26 meeting, slightly over 41% of MHS students participated in school athletics this fall.) The district is working purposefully and intentionally in partnership with parents to decrease the incidence and consequences of student concussions. Statistics were provided showing that football concussions have decreased from 14 to 5 from last year, while girl's soccer, ice hockey, and track athletes have suffered three concussions each compared with zero in the prior year. Supt. Taymore noted that she is working with City of Melrose Recreation Director Frank Olivieri to support the Rec. Dept.'s adoption of parallel concussion protocols to those of the schools, including parent education/awareness, reporting, etc.

The School Wellness Advisory Committee Annual Report was provided as well as an updated Strategic Overview. Summer program financial results are in and we have come pretty close to break-even in the tutoring and Students Without Borders programs, and we more than covered expenses for Campus Kids.

We continue to consider updates to our Policy Manual. For information purposes only, last night's packet included proposals for a policy on Animals in Schools (for teaching and learning as well as for assistance) as well as a full review of personnel policies. They will be discussed at the October 14th meeting.

Please take a look at the documents from last night's meetings on the melroseschools.com website under School Committee and IQM2, and if you possibly can, please try to attend the MCAS results meeting at your child(ren)'s school(s). (All MCAS results meetings will be posted and open to the community-at-large.)

Hope you can enjoy these beautiful New England fall days with a stop into a school sporting event or band competition - keep an eye on the website for events that are great for families!