Two substantive presentations with discussion on Tuesday night that encompassed initial impressions and evaluations by Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair Deb DiFruscia and MVMMS Principal Brent Conway. (You can catch their presentations either on MMTV or from their web site.)
Ms. DiFruscia said she was impressed by, and then spoke to, the amount and types of fine and performing arts opportunities that are afforded in the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities by grade (for elementary) and by level (for middle and high school). She teaches two sections of Music Theory in addition to her administrative duties, and talked about a couple key changes to programming this year: the opportunity for group band instrument lessons in 3rd grade, down from 4th grade (consistent with group lessons for string instruments); and the addition of recorders for students as part of the elementary music curriculum. Ms. DiFruscia indicated that her wish list would include the ability to teach music technology and/or music composition.
Mr. Conway had the good fortune to spend time with outgoing MVMMS Principal Brow in the spring to see the middle school model model in action in Melrose. His three-page memo to Supt. Taymore on pp. 85-87 of the packet (on IQM2) details his initial findings as well as some considerations for next year. If you have a 5th through 7th grader, you can see what your child might study next year here:http://2xw9sk1hupt936lwl12eccwk14x5.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2014/08/Melrose-Veterans-Memorial-Middle-School-course-descriptions-14-15-as-of-8-13-141.pdf.
We covered a lot of personnel policies and began discussion of policies related to students, and also voted a self-evaluation tool for this year (with that process occurring on November 18th with a summary submitted on December 9th). We voted to sell some 6th grade math textbooks that had been purchased a short time ago since a newer edition was published and provided to the district at no charge. (There was a very short time window between our initial purchase and the republish). Finally, we voted on elements of Supt. Taymore's evaluation; we'll do a mid-year and then end-of-year evaluation of her work in the district.
Hope you are having a wonderful fall and getting those apples and pumpkins picked and enjoyed!
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.