Supt. Taymore kicked off this month's meeting with some facilities info: all schools are clean and looking great after summer efforts; work on the MHS HVAC system continues with the heat in and functioning, and the air conditioning in place and ready for next spring; unexpectedly (but happily!) Winthrop School was painted this summer and looks excellent; summer programs will now alternate between Lincoln and Roosevelt so that each can get a really thorough cleaning at least every other year (since it can't be done with children in the building during summer). She also spoke to comments by the new Visual and Performing Arts Chair who has indicated that our schools have an impressive array of programs; to the spring PARCC exams; and to the technology audit that will include upcoming surveys and focus groups involving parents (with the final report expected in January).
Safe Routes to School State-wide Coordinator Erin Reed, in conjunction with Melrose parent and liaison Liz Foulser spoke to how they are partnering to advocate for students walking and biking to school, as well as how to mitigate traffic challenges around our schools. City Wide representatives explained the issues particular to each of their schools, and Erin and Liz offered suggestions and considered how they could help those situations. Some interesting comments: the construction updates on the Mayor's blog have been helpful to parents who need to drive students to school; and PhotoVoice - a tool used in conjunction with the Melrose Mass in Motion grant - was employed this summer by five of our creative students (check it out here: http://mimmelrosewakefield.com/ai1ec_event/melrose-photovoice-gallery/) to help identify some safety concerns.
Notes: Horace Mann Pumpkin Fest this weekend, MAAV walk this Sunday at 4:00, ECC Cradles to Crayons fundraiser during October; Hoover PTO voted to fund Chromebooks for the school (with appreciation to City IT Director Jorge Pazos for clearly explaining the details); Melrose Kitchen Tour to benefit Robotics/VEX on 11/16; MHS Alumni reception before this Friday's last home game of the season in the MS cafe. Special thanks to Whole Foods and all who participated in the September fundraiser that generated enough money to greatly reduce assessments paid by school PTO's to pay for the accounting necessary for them to remain non-profit organizations (and help keep school money at each school!).
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.