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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

School Committee Meeting: 2/18/15

Lots of good discussion at last Wednesday’s Committee meeting. Here are some highlights:

In her announcements, Supt. Taymore explained:
1. “The Melrose Public Schools will be profiled by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as one of four districts in the state that are leaders in ensuring that their educators have access to high quality professional development through the thoughtful use of Educator Evaluation data or the Massachusetts Standards for High-quality Professional Development or both.”
2. The data dashboard is up! Find it here: (http://melroseschools.com/administration/districtdashboard/)
3. College/University partnerships (including UMass Boston, Bunker Hill, and Salem State) with the Melrose Schools are growing and changing to help support opportunities for student coursework, college students training in Melrose, and professional development. 

The SEEM Collaborative report was approved. SEEM rents two Melrose school buildings (Ripley and Beebe) and is a school home to a number of our special education students. Supt. Taymore sits on their board.

Campus Kids fees for this summer were approved with some small increases.

MHS is exploring enrolling a small number of foreign students in FY16 with the intention of bringing more diversity and revenue to the district. Administrators were granted initial approval to pursue this opportunity and will return to the Committee with more information before final approval is given.

The FY16 Budget Process and Timeline were approved. Budget information can be found on the Budget page of the Committee section of the MPS web site. A mid-year update of the FY15 budget was provided and we are expected to finish the year on target.

Programs of Studies: Principal Conway indicated that he is interested in producing a Middle School program of studies for the benefit of students and families. The MHS program of studies will include a variety of new courses this year, and also includes an important section on “Resources and Supports” that identifies ways that students get needed help for a variety of challenges.

Policies were approved in the areas of student attendance and discipline, student activity accounts, and gifts and contributions to schools. At the next meeting, we’ll take up field trips, bidding requirements, and domestic violence leave (for staff) policies.

Later start times for secondary students was presented as a topic for future discussion as the Committee has received a letter of recommendation from the Board of Health. Supt. Taymore indicated that while the evidence corroborating this recommendation is unquestioned, we must be cautious about ensuring that anything that is implemented doesn’t have unintended consequences, and that logistical issues are worked out to the best of our ability.

Next meeting (with FY16 Budget presentation and Superintendent Taymore’s Mid-Cycle Evaluation) scheduled for 2/24 at 7:00 in the Aldermanic Chamber.