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, November 21, 2014

School Committee Meeting of 11/18

Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting began with Melrose Chief Information Officer Jorge Pazos commenting on “Technology Guidelines for Internet Safety.”  He spoke to what the schools are doing to keep students safe online. We then discussed a recommendation around Gifted and Talented testing submitted by Supt. Taymore, and approved eliminating testing at the elementary level to focus more efforts at the middle school level. (The elementaries will continue to improve the practice of differentiating instruction based on students’ knowledge and progress.) The featured speaker at the meeting was Asst. Supt. of Teaching and Learning Margaret Adams, who presented on “Aligning Standards, Assessments, and Instruction.” (Find the video at the bottom of the page here: http://melroseschools.com/families/curriculum-and-instruction/.)

The Committee began discussion around the school calendar for 2015-2016, and the Supt. provided a memo explaining her recommendations. If approved at the 12/9 meeting, the school year would begin for students on September 1st and end on June 16th with no snow days, and June 23rd with five snow days.

The Committee conducted its annual self-evaluation from which we may amend/adopt goals for the coming year. A summary report will be presented on 12/9 for consideration. We reviewed recommended policy changes on the instruction of students, and all policy updates were approved with a second vote planned for 12/9.

Chairman Thorp presented recommendations for artifacts to be used when evaluating Supt. Taymore next year and those were approved.  Ms. Thorp also presented the results of the school finance survey (along with all comments – names redacted of course). The survey will be referenced as we begin to think about the budget for next year. The draft rolling agenda for next year’s meetings was presented so the community can see some thoughts on plans for next year.

We briefly discussed the MASC conference, and it was announced that Ms. Thorp was honored at a closing banquet with an All-State School Committee award which is “…intended to honor school committee members who, during the previous year have made a significant contribution to their community or their school committee either through specific action or as an inspiration and role model for their peers and constituents.” Congratulations!

As always, the full agenda and related packet documents can be found on melroseschools.com under “School Committee” under “IQM2.”

Wishing you all the happiest of Thanksgivings – our schools are incredibly thankful to have you as parents, partners, and volunteers!