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.

Monday, September 14, 2015

School Committee Meeting of 9/8/15

Our first meeting following the start of school was a busy and productive one. Here are the highlights (from my perspective as always):

Supt. Taymore’s announcements included the following: * A kindergarten update; * notification of an increase to the district in Title I grant funds which will be used for a tutor at Lincoln (with those funds by law only applying to Title I support), and some Title III grant funds (for professional development and assessment analysis), and she reminded us that these funds must not supplant, they can only supplement teaching and learning expenses; * congrats to MHS for being recognized by the MIAA as having no disqualifications in any sport at any level last year, which is unusual for schools; * a statement regarding an Office for Civil Rights investigation (as provided in my OCR post); * an upcoming recommendation regarding a proposed shift in educating students which she will describe in greater detail in 9/15’s meeting as part of the Strategy Overview.

Summary educator evaluation ratings were provided (as opposed to individual educator ratings). There are four standards and 288 staff members, meaning that there were 1152 (4 x 288) ratings. The report details what percentage of the ratings were exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory. Individual evaluation reports are considered personnel records and are by law confidential.

Policy KF: Community Use of Facilities was provided for review with no edits recommended. Reviewing this policy complemented the presentation by Director of Finance Jay Picone regarding facility rental rates. The presentation highlighted what facilities are rented, who uses them, what we do with the revenue, and recommended fee increases. Changes for this coming year include slight increases to the fees, and the elimination of the rental fee for PTO’s and Booster Clubs (although custodian rates still apply). Supt. Taymore and members expressed interest in developing a fund for facility repairs and maintenance, especially for areas like the MVMMS Auditorium given its high usage.

Ms. Thorp presented a proposed summative evaluation of the Superintendent which was approved, as was an increase in salary consistent with a step increase on the approved salary grid.

The Committee voted to support the override question on the 11/3 ballot and gave Ms. Thorp permission to draft and send a letter to the press stating that.  The delegate to the Mass. Assoc. of School Committees conference is Ms. Casatelli. Ms. Dugan reported on the Birth-to-Five group and referenced their recommended Kindergarten transition and registration changes and enhancements, after which I reported on City Wide PTO (as noted in my earlier blog post). The concussion report noted 11 concussions reported in the ’15 school year. (There were 21 in ’14 and 19 in ’13 – Supt. Taymore spoke to coaches being much more vigilant about student safety in this area.)

Remember that you can access all packet documents on the School Committee portion of the melroseschools.com web site, or watch the meetings on mmtv3.org. Next meeting is tomorrow, 9/15 at 7:30 (note time change due to Rosh Hashanah) in the Aldermanic Chamber.