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 2, 2015

School Committee Late Spring/Summer Meeting Highlights

In the months of June, July, and August, the Committee convened four times: 6/9, 6/23, 7/28, and 8/18. A broad variety of topics were reviewed and discussed, and here are the highlights (from my perspective, as always!):

June 9
·      Lincoln School was nominated as a National Blue Ribbon School as a result of 2 years as a commended school for closing the achievement gap.
·      Class of 2015 senior awards/scholarships, and college applications/ acceptances/attendance choices were provided.
·      A Fine and Performing Arts presentation was provided by Director Deb DiFruschia and included highlights of 2015 and plans for 2016.
·      Action items for Committee goals were discussed and approved.

June 23rd
·      The Start Time Task Force presented their findings and next steps.
·      The Director of Foreign Languages, Dr. Kim Talbot, and her team are at the half-way mark in their review of the department (called a “Mid-Cycle Review”), and they spoke to their findings to date.
·      Asst. Supt. Dr. Margaret Adams and the Social Studies team, led by Director Bryan Corrigan, presented their Final Program Review.
·      The Strategy Overview – one of the district’s most important guiding documents - was updated and presented.

July 28th
·      The pre-meeting included a review of each school’s 2016 School Improvement Plan, crafted by respective School Councils, and can be found on each school’s web site.
·      The Foundation Budget Review Commission, enacted by the state to review the formula used to determine how much each school district receives yearly, produced their initial report dated June 30th.
·      A high school Wellness teaching position was changed from part-time (.8) to full-time and another .4 Wellness teacher was added. A Science teacher was changed from part-time (.8) to full-time. Funds from school choice tuitions were used to pay for the changes.

August 18th
·      Supt. Taymore announced that the technology bond for the schools will come before the Aldermen in Sept.
·      Dr. Adams and members of the staff presented a review of assessments including how they are used, etc.
·      The 2016 Elementary Handbook was reviewed and approved.
·      Melrose City Planner Denise Gaffey provided a progress update on the MHS Learning Commons Project, indicating that abatement continues and will be completed prior to the opening of school.
·      The Committee performed its annual evaluation of the Superintendent. Chairman Thorp will draft a summary of the evaluation for consideration by the Committee at the next meeting.

Don’t forget that you can access all agendas and minutes at http://melrosecityma.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx and you can watch at http://www.mmtv3.org/index.php?categoryid=28.

The next meeting will be held on September 8th. The first part of the meeting will begin at 6:00 and include a panel discussion and questions about “School Committee Roles and Relationship with District Administration.” The regular business meeting will begin at 7:00.

Hope everyone is having an excellent start to the 2016 school year!!