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, October 24, 2016

Collaborative PTO's and Great School Partners: 10/18 Citywide PTO

Quick visit with Supt. Taymore since she had another obligation, so the focus was on calendar sharing and our guest, Melrose Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lauren Grymeck.

Chamber Info
·               The Chamber wants to work more closely with the schools and recognizes how hard the PTO’s work. They know that the schools don’t always want to ask for support, but are doing good work and need their support. Perhaps another subset of City Wide PTO representatives and business owners could collaborate to partner as they did in the past. The schools should have a sense of what level of interest/capability different businesses have in terms of donations.
·               Reflection on and evolution of Victorian Fair: working towards more family-friendly environment.
·               Upcoming Chamber events: Trick or Treat on Main Street (10/28) and Home for the Holidays (12/2-3).

Birth to Five
In collaboration with Supt. Taymore, they are working with realtors to provide some highlights of our schools. We brainstormed ideas: “most improved” designation; five foreign languages at middle and high school plus immersion trips; Advanced Placement offerings and success; music and arts programming; elementary after school programming; free full-day K; before/after care; ECC; equity across all the elementary schools; Competency Based Education initiative; Melrose Education Foundation; Melrose Grad Night; Late Start initiative; high school learning pathways.

Melrose Education Foundation
Parent University is scheduled for November 19th. For more information click on http://melroseedfoundation.org/communityforums/. There will be three workshop sessions (a larger first session followed by two to three smaller sessions). Check-in will be from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and speakers will continue through noon with the event ending at 12:30. There will be childcare for elementary-aged children and they are working on arranging childcare for pre-K. Location is the MHS Learning Commons. Registration coming soon.

City Wide Band Night
…was held on October 19th. It’s an annual event and a way to generate interest in band for younger students. The kids bring their instruments, and are then grouped and matched with a high school facilitator who helps them learn a musical piece and march together under the lights – all in one hour!

News from the Middle School
·               MVMMS is “copying” MHS with a parent coffee on November 17th from 7:45-8:30.
·               MHS Interim Principal Jason Merrill will be meeting soon with 7th and 8th grade parents so they can learn more about MHS.
·               Tarzan is coming the week before Thanksgiving – another great musical production from our talented students and staff. More info here: https://melrosedrama.wordpress.com/shows/tarzan/. It’s helpful to buy tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.

Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
The first general meeting is Thursday, October 27th at the ECC at 6:30. All are welcome! For more information, click on http://melrosesepac.weebly.com/.

Election Info
·               Bake sales will be held in many schools, and volunteers should be aware that they must not wear political paraphernalia as it is against election laws.
·               The MHS AP Government class is organizing a school wide mock election coordinated by teacher Mr. Daly on Monday, November 7th.

Bridge Volunteers
…are over 1000 strong with registrations coming in every day. At the next City Wide meeting, we’ll hear about the K volunteer training sessions for those volunteers who will help support K classrooms in the absence of five of the original 15 para positions.

Next meeting: Tuesday, November 15th at 8:45 a.m. in the Supt’s Conference Room

Monday, October 17, 2016

Energy Efficiency and the Melrose Public Schools

The topic of the day was energy at last week’s Melrose Master Plan meeting, and ultimately “…the ramification it has on budgets, public health and global climate.” While utility and capital improvement costs don’t fall into the Melrose Public Schools’ budget, energy use in schools ultimately impacts our students and staff, since the more efficiently energy is used, the more city expenses are lowered and school services are improved.

News you can use:
·               Of the top ten energy consuming municipal buildings in FY15, school buildings take the top eight spots.  The high school and middle school complex consumes almost 50% of total building energy in Melrose.
·               Between 2009 and 2016, school building energy use decreased by 3% while
o   adding significant technology;
o   increasing building use to accommodate before and after school programs; early-late weekend use for sports, etc.; and vacation and summer programming; and
o   making dramatic improvements to ventilation and fresh air exchange in all schools which benefits occupants but requires much more energy.
·               Many energy conservation measures have been completed in schools, often with Green Community Grant and utility incentive funding
o   MHS white roof and R30 insulation ($156K provided): 2011
o   Winthrop School EMS & ventilation upgrades: 2012
o   Six elementary schools: interior and exterior lighting upgrades ($233K provided): 2012
o   MHS science wing renovation ($11K provided): 2013
o   MVMMS gym light replacement ($12K provided): 2013
o   MHS HVAC upgrade ($345K provided): 2014
o   All schools: classroom lighting, LED parking lot lighting, insulation and air sealing, energy controls, comprehensive heating and ventilation system fixes, IT and vending machine controls ($315K provided): 2014
o   MHS Learning Commons renovations ($26K provided): 2016
·               The solar panels on top of the MHS and MVMMS roofs supply about 10% of the buildings’ energy.
·               DPW staffing and their training and technology has evolved
o   Melrose now employs a Building Systems Supervisor to manage the city’s increasingly sophisticated HVAC systems (no more “set-it-and-forget-it”).
o   Building temperatures can be managed by a DPW staff member from a device, making it unnecessary, for example, to travel to school buildings in dangerous weather to turn down the heat on snow days to save energy.
·               The concerted focus on energy in the city led to employment of an Energy Efficiency Manager in 2011, who has written grants and developed partnerships that have resulted in funding deferred maintenance challenges that would otherwise remain stalled.
·               Future challenges include managing increasing space (e.g. modular classrooms at Hoover and Winthrop) and adapting to climate change.
·               Future priorities include targeting the largest energy users (MHS, MVMMS, Lincoln, and Roosevelt), including retrofitting lighting, replacing outdated energy management controls at Lincoln, converting MHS cafeteria kitchen appliances to energy efficiency models, etc.

Infrastructure isn’t always headline-making or glamorous (and many of them we can’t even see), but improvements can significantly affect the health, safety, and learning environment for students. Thank you to the taxpayers, who through your tax dollars invest in and support positive changes like these!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Modular Classroom Study Funding Approved

This evening, the Appropriations Committee of the Melrose Board of Aldermen took up an order to “Bond in the amount of $400,000 for Design and Management Services for Modular Classrooms at the Winthrop and Hoover Schools and Renovations to the Horace Mann School.” Notes as follows (and edits and errors all mine):

Mayor Dolan: This was a lengthy and inclusive process. There is an immediate need for more classrooms. City and school project collaboration has already resulted in more classrooms, etc. but we still need more. There was a demographic study last year verifying this. A well-attended community meeting was held and the community spoke clearly regarding their interests. The plan has been reviewed and approved by the Permanent School Building Committee (PSBC). The School Committee has done a full review and unanimously recommended this plan. We have re-confirmed approval of the educational model as it stands (grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). This request is for money for the architectural team to proceed with drawing up the plans. This PSBC has worked together for a long time and has partnered with school staff. It’s the best proposal for education, and provides additional improvements equity and ADA compliance.

Architect Charlie Hay of Tappe Associates: Hoover, Winthrop, and Horace Mann have been identified as sites for modulars. Hoover rear, at the site of the Community Garden, is the ideal location for the classrooms. With modular construction, classrooms could be provided in time for installation by next fall. This plan allows for three classrooms to be added, with fully accessible classrooms including bathrooms, etc. Would need to relocate garden, which would be sited along the fence line and would provide improved accessibility compared with its current location. At Winthrop, the decision was made to employ two additional classrooms at the existing green space since the only spot that’s level with the first floor. That means some displacement of green space but also calls for some asphalt space to be changed to green space for students. Classrooms would make for a four-K strand at the front. As the student cohort advances up the grade ladder, there may be some changes to the grades housed in those classrooms. At Horace Mann, after much discussion, it became evident that the site doesn’t have the capacity to employ an addition because of the parking and recreation space configurations. There are significant accessibility issues at HM (there are stairs at each viable entry). The best approach is not to increase capacity, but it was determined that if the interior were reconfigured, there could be permanent library and art/music space which would allow for improved equity around those spaces. A new entrance would be created that would be safer than the current entrance.

Mayor Dolan: It’s important to note that we have to do something. There are no rooms that we can use. The idea of moving the 8th grade to the high school, displacing administration, and other changes, rivals the cost and educational shake-up of this model, and was clearly not the wish of the community.

Ald. Zwirko: This takes what we have and improves it. The plan is well thought out. Approves of plan as proposed.

President Conn: Any financial analysis re: the proposals? Ran rough estimates of the nine proposals evaluated and they are available. It was almost as expensive to reclaim office space, etc. as it was for modulars. 8th grade academy model was $1.5M for accommodation but that didn’t include a new home for administration (maybe $2M). Cost is about $1.7M for renovations + lost revenue + new administrative staff (and other operational expenses). What was the process for selecting architect? There was a publicized RFP and then proposals were collected. Two firms submitted bids and Tappe was the most qualified firm. What do we anticipate the cost of the project to be? If today, $4.4M is a good figure. The issue that’s different from other projects is the modular market because there is a run on modulars around the country. We can’t predict that so that’s the concern financially and time-wise. The intention is to get bids and come back to the Board for the financial balance of the project. Are they viable for the long term? This is an actual building that’s attached to the school – a true structure. Modular companies would say this is a 20-year building (compared with a 50-year building that’s traditional). Modulars are very simple – flat roof with simple siding, dry walls, acoustical ceiling tiles, good windows, etc. and will feel to a student like a conventional classroom. The only real difference is that the outside will be less handsome than a new brick building. There will be community meetings, etc. to talk to parents and community members about the project. What % of project would  the renovation of HM would be? A little over a third. It would be treated as a separate project from the modulars. What are terms of the bond, etc.? 20- year note. 5% interest. 30-year model for debt for general fund. 2/3 of city’s debt service will be paid off in ten years. We won’t exceed 4% of limit any year so we have capacity for future projects in future years. What is the timeline? Want project out to bid by end of year or early January. Modulars fabricated in factory, while in spring there will be site work. At HM, the time available is a challenge because the hope is to finish it in the summer months. Whether all construction can be completed in ten weeks is unknown and would be a challenge.

Ald. Lemmerman: I'm a member of the PSBC and heard a lot of public input. In other communities people say they fight to be in the modulars because they’re so beautiful. Elaborate on how planning was not for too much, but allowing flexibility for the future. Came to the conclusion that being conservative was the best approach: building a little less than originally planned. In demographic studies, MSBA underpredicts and NESDEC overpredicts, so they went with the conservative side. In 2021-22, prediction is for 88 classrooms but during the timeframe of the study, we never fall below 84 classrooms. With this plan, there may be a couple years where there is art-on-a-cart in a couple schools but that shouldn’t last. Our problem is equity, not just capacity. Libraries are different in the elementary schools as are art rooms, etc. Rooms have been divided in some schools to meet educational needs. (When many of our buildings were built, the programs we’re now required to offer did not exist. With special education, intervention, ESL, and the student-centered model, we need new configurations.) While we can’t replicate Lincoln and Roosevelt, we want students to have the best possible spaces at the other schools. Talk about the impact on the school of change in the K corner of HM. There are multiple impacts: 1. Moving library to classroom, putting it into a central site, close to where people come in. 2. Address some of the ADA regulations with respect to accessibility. (Except for the all-purpose room, all entrances have stairs that can’t be open to the public because of voting, lunch, etc.) 3. Security: all glass, increased camera visuals at Hoover now, whereas at HM someone can be well into building before there are necessarily eyes on that person; 4. In the past, library was a classroom that is equal or bigger than some other classrooms in the building so now that it’s a K room, it will be consistent with other rooms.

Ald. Boisselle: What’s the difference between modular units and modular construction? Proposal is purpose-built units specifically for a foundation constructed on a site that is connected to a main building. 90% complete when they arrive and they are in two pieces per classroom, each piece being narrow enough to travel on a roadway for delivery. After 15 years there could be higher serviceability, does that burden DPW? There will be traditional square footage to current rooms. Many will connect and also connect to current services. Custodial service may increase slightly resulting in higher costs but there are no plans to hire additional staff. Does city have to go before city Planning Board for this project? No. Is there a phase-out plan after 20 years? They may last more than 20 years. There is now no phase-out plan in 20 years. This community must start having a preliminary conversation about a bigger Winthrop School. Winthrop is coming to the end of its useful life – it’s not there yet but it’s coming. Winthrop has a community garden. This project doesn’t impact that.

Ald. Forbes: Often, modular building is better than other kinds of external construction. Modulars at Hoover – are they individual or separate? Six sections resulting in three classrooms. Hoover & Winthrop there will be some brick and mortar construction? Yes, but the modular contractor will be responsible for that (flashing, etc.). Doesn’t have concern about the project and thinks it will be good investment for the community.

Ald. Medeiros: Are there any grant opportunities? No, not a Mass. School Building Authority project since it’s not a major building project. Not aware of any disability grant programs. Expectations around population growth: still need six-eight classrooms? By reconfiguring how we use space, that’s how they’ve come to the recommendation. Have already taken two classrooms at Lincoln and Roosevelt and others at other schools. At Hoover, the room that was built out two years ago might need to be configured back depending on enrollments; flexibility to manage capacity is important. Number of classrooms today? 82. For many years, had a 12-strand grade, then creeping to 13-strand grade, now a 15-strand K (this and last year). In today’s dollars, what would it cost to remove the modular (asking to have for next meeting)? If we were to bond for full project, what would it cost? Using $4M for round number (with warning that the purpose of the $400K request is to complete fact-finding), only one year does it touch 4% of bond limit. Will the modulars have warranties? They’ll likely last longer than 20 years. Usually get a year and sometimes five for warranties. Will these meet the green building code? They have to meet the stretch limit. Will staff parking at Hoover be negatively affected? No, and green space will actually be improved.

Ald. Infurna: It’s the best of the best plans. Did have concerns about ADA compliance but they were addressed tonight. Please look into ADA grants. If needed another modular classroom, could it be added later? Yes, there is room. With flat roofs, are there snow concerns? They are built to withstand snow like any other construction.

Ald. McAteer-Margolis: Bonding – would we roll this bond and the future bond together? Yes. Additional $4.4M would keep us below capacity? Yes. Class size –will this project help in that area? Depends on enrollments. That’s why we have intra-district school choice rather than neighborhood schools. Pleased with ADA compliance. Will the systems be self-contained but tied into the building? Plumbing and electrical will probably tie back to school building services now in place. Until systems are completely explored, they won’t know all details about what services will be required.

Recommended for passage to the full Board of Aldermen.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Senator Lewis and Commissioner Chester Discuss Public Education in MA

Last Wednesday, October 5th, State Senator Jason Lewis held a Community Conversation at Melrose's Memorial Hall with Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester. The evening began with a back-and-forth between Senator Lewis and Commissioner Chester, and then Senator Lewis opened the floor to questions from the audience. (Edits and errors mine....)

Conversation with Senator Lewis:

What is the future of public education in MA? We are the top-achieving state in the nation. How do we know that? Our students participate in an assessment that is nationwide and there are also two different international assessments (in both of which we score up with the top tier nations in the world). The US alarmingly doesn’t come in the top tier, but in the mid-ranks. The challenge is that not all students reach that level of success resulting in the achievement gap. The achievement gap is based on how groups of students compare with other groups. Groups are broken down in many ways – not everyone is succeeding at the same level (lower income, students of color, English Language Learners). Gaps are found based on tests, persistence in graduation, college readiness, etc. Another gap to focus on: whether K-12 is preparing students well for opportunities after college. It’s a mixed record in MA. Of matriculating kids, more than a third end up in remedial classes and on two-year campuses, at a rate of 2/3. Often students who attend two-year schools are challenged (e.g. first in family to go to college). They’ve done what we’ve asked and have no reason to think they are underprepared, but they are.

Why are they not successful? Their program of study is not aligned with the skills and abilities they need for college and work (problem solving, communication, etc.). There is still a wide variation in what students experience in schools (quality of instruction, etc.) Regarding assessments, the Board of Education voted 8-3 to transition to MCAS 2.0 in 2017. Please share your thoughts on testing and where are we headed with MCAS 2.0. I’m a believer in strong, high-quality statewide assessment. It’s important to have a marker of expectations at certain grades. As parent, I rely on what teachers tell me, but want another measure (determining whether the child is where he/she needs to be), but it must be high quality. There is concern from teachers about testing but most assessment is not coming from the state. The state is asking whether assessments are providing useful data. We’ve had high-quality assessment in MCAS (in place 20 years now with little change). But a lot has transpired and evolved with learning, assessment, and technology. Children overwhelmingly prefer on-line MCAS. MA helped develop PARCC, but ultimately made the decision in Nov. to take the best of MCAS and PARCC with significant input from various stakeholder groups (student accommodations, etc.) Tricky thing with assessments – everyone wants them to be really useful but really short, and those are at odds.

Using results of standardized tests to evaluate teachers: where is that going? It’s critical to look at how students are learning. Each district should have a say in how students are learning. Observations, discussions about meeting student challenges, and test results should all be part of the equation.

Sen. Lewis pushing to update the education funding formula. Now there’s not a strong correlation between the amount spent per student and student performance. There’s an $800M shortage for what we should be providing students vs. what we actually provide. Are the findings of the Foundation Budget Review Commission accurate and how do we move to implement these recommendations? The Commissioner was a member of that commission. Special education and healthcare costs are running far ahead of what was anticipated. Thoughts: it’s important to think about being willing to examine what we’re doing with the dollars we have. MA identifies students as needing SPED second only to RI in country (17%); the national average is 12%. Asking districts to think about whether a student has a disability, deciding whether we’ve tried everything we can before we make that decision is important because it’s hard to lose that label. The message isn’t to deny students services, but to provide them without special education services.  Separately, healthcare costs are escalating at a rate that is significant.

English Language Learners: we have more and more students who are refugees and don’t speak English and may not have had a formal education. The Senate wants to revisit educating students who don’t speak English. How are we doing? We’re gravitating to the phrase “English Learners” (their proficiency in English is not enough for them to be fully on their own in classes). 80% of ELL’s have grown up in MA – coming from households where little if any English is spoken. Most have been in our system since pre-school or K. A 2002 ballot issue passed that said that Sheltered English Immersion should be the framework - not a bilingual setting. This is a national challenge. Doesn’t see research that shows that one method is better than another – any can be done well and any can be done poorly. The ballot issue dealt with students who were in separate classrooms all day. The biggest casualty from ballot issue was denigrating the value of bilingual proficiency.

Behavioral health – often referred to as Social Emotional Learning. K-8 school in Malden revealed one week’s worth of issues: hunger, trauma, homelessness, incarcerated parents, domestic abuse, etc. Share your thinking across state agencies to support students and staff around social emotional issues. All educational associations have taken on this issue. At DESE, they’ve restructured to support these needs and there are many situations that need immediate attention. We need a staged approach; more and more districts ensuring that teachers have more support as part of the classroom program. In specialized situations, need good connections (social worker, school nurse, community agency) to provide services. Virtually every community in the Commonwealth is trying to improve in this area. DESE is exploring Affordable Care Act financing that could come to school, inquiring whether there are ways to employ its monies.

What are DESE’s plans for informing students about gender identities? Proud of educators who do this every day to make families feel protected and welcomed. Schools have risen to the challenge. Will there be materials in the curriculum about gender identity or gender non-conforming to treat the topic respectfully? The DESE website has materials. DESE is working closely with other departments and doesn’t dictate materials but does act as a source for them.

On charter schools: Sen. Lewis has made his position clear (no on Question 2) given issues around funding, differential treatment, accountability. In 1993, charters were designed to be laboratories and best practices should be brought into traditional public schools. Is that what we’ve done or are we building a parallel public school system? Where are we headed, what is the role of charters, and where are we going on the concerns? Back to enabling legislation: to be a laboratory of innovation is one purpose, choice as a value, other multiple purposes. What may not be well known is that MA does a very good job holding charters accountable (getting and keeping charters). DESE hasn’t closed any public schools. One reason MA maintains the high bar is because there is only one authorizer while in other states, there are many. Not sure there are concerns about accountability. Very concerned about the aftermath of Nov. 8th election because there will be people upset. Encourages people not to sulk after the vote. His interest: how do we give every family good options? Voc/techs and school choice (with some districts cannibalizing each other) also play a part. One of his dreams is to create an environment to bring charters in to take over existing low-performing schools. (In Lawrence, three charters operate under management contracts.) Would love to see legislation entertaining charters as a district opportunity to turn around low-performing schools.

Q&A from the audience:

Discipline in charter schools is significant and a problem. In any school that’s suspending a significant percentage of kids, it’s a problem.

Malden cut $2.5M in budget last year. Is there any way to see what programs they have in place to earn that funding so the “minimum number” vs. “padded number” goes to them? Has anyone gone back to “low-hanging fruit” in the Foundation Formula? The school district decides how to send funds to schools; will see more school-level funding.

What have you done about implementation of ESSA (federal education law) and is there any working group info? Feedback and suggestions are on-line. What kinds of changes might be coming from ESSA? There are lots of aspirations for what this law will do. (End testing and accountability? Not end testing and accountability?) It will allow more equilibrium – return some prescriptives from the federal to state level. What will remain are academic expectations, testing programs, issuance of report cards for every school in the state, an intervention plan for schools that are struggling the most, a school quality indicator (which MA is taking input on). Senator Warren became a powerful voice in the discussion; she wanted a strong federal requirement for equity and excellence.

Is it time for DESE to consider history being formally assessed? Yes – very concerned about students’ knowledge of basic civics and how government works. Lack of knowledge doesn’t bode well going forward. The state board is committed to this issue and will start reviewing frameworks in January, which is the starting point for the assessment issue.

Some people feel that the federal government is not doing their job, that the state doesn’t either, and responsibility comes down to the local level. <Listed all the things a teacher must do in one class.> (All in the room – including Commissioner Chester, were impressed and amazed at the list.)

On the merits of charter school and opinion on the funding formula – state leaders must come together. There is a claiming process and accountability. Issues are costs for that student returning to a district; marginal cost doesn’t decline. In suburban districts it’s a much bigger issue that students are going to voc/techs.


School Committee in September: Fall is Here!

Three meetings for the Melrose School Committee in September as we’re back in full-time action. Notes from our meetings:

September 13th
The schools had a smooth opening day in late August and students and teachers kicked off the year on the accelerator. Italian and Spanish exchange students visited, sharing their cultures with our community. Supt. Taymore held a safety summit with the DPW and Melrose PD to ensure preparedness for any issues.

Ribbon cuttings were held for the building projects at Hoover (windows) and MHS (Learning Commons, administrative office suite, and maker space). All that remains are the punch lists; any remaining monies will be allocated in December. The maker space may be the recipient of tools funded by a grant.

Supt. Taymore is planning to assemble four working groups this year (elementary instrument lessons, activity fees, focus groups for web site redesign, and Competency Based Education/Curriculum Materials Working Group) to advise her on issues for which she’d like input.

Initial enrollments saw increases close to those expected, with MHS currently hosting 992 students. 100% of Kindergarten students (of those not requiring placements for special education, ESL, or other services) received their first choice of school placement. Specialists (art, music, etc.) are needed at the elementary level as their class sizes are high, and this issue will be reflected in next year’s budget.

Concussion reporting to the state was submitted with numbers creeping up to 21, reflecting more elementary reporting (which is not required, but which Melrose engages in to be more proactive in protecting students).

September 24th
The Committee held a three-hour retreat to work on goal setting for the year ahead. MASC Field Representative Dorothy Presser led discussion and activities in the areas of Committee roles and responsibilities, priority setting, and reflection on improving Committee work. We agreed that another retreat would help us bring this work closer to fruition, with another Saturday session preferred.

September 27th
Asst. Supt. for Teaching and Learning Dr. Margaret Adams and Humanities Director Angela Singer reported on the mid-cycle review for English Language Arts. The intent of the review was to “evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in English Language Arts grades preK-12 as measured by student achievement, student work, curriculum alignment, instructional practices, and by teacher, student, and parent surveys. Seventeen educators engaged in this effort, and in their Statement of Impact they noted: “By outlining current programming, an action plan can be developed to meet identified areas of need and also build upon existing strengths of the program.” The team will present its final report in the spring of 2017.

Rental rates were approved for the new MHS Learning Commons, which will only be offered to school groups and Melrose non-profits for the FY17 school year in order to monitor the use of equipment and maintain the cleanliness of the space.

The Committee heard a final presentation by representatives from the Permanent School Building Committee regarding siting and placement of the pre-fabricated classrooms discussed and agreed on in June. The PBSC is recommending a fiscally conservative approach and has analyzed all impacts (parking, green space, connection to the main building, etc.). Three classrooms were recommended at Hoover and two at Winthrop. Horace Mann can’t realistically accommodate additional on-site classrooms, but key issues of equity for all students and student safety resulted in the renovation recommendation. The price tag is expected to be around $4.4M. The Committee voted to “accept, endorse, and approve” the plan. Next step: the Appropriations Committee of the Board of Aldermen is expected to vote on funding $400K for design and project management services on Thursday, October 13th. If approved by the full board at a later meeting, parent meetings will be held in late fall in the respective schools and the plan will move forward.


As always, our packet documents are posted at melroseschools.com under School Committee, and you can find videos of our meetings at mmtv3.org. Our next regular business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18th at 7:00 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chamber at City Hall.

(Reminder: official minutes of the Melrose School Committee can be found on the melroseschools.com web site following approval by the Committee. The above are my notes, and edits and errors are mine alone.)