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, November 8, 2016

ELL Grant, French Exchange, Wellness, Technology, FY17 Goals, and More!

Lots happening in the month of October in the Melrose Public Schools! The School Committee met for the first time on October 18th. Check the minutes for the official account, but here are my notes:

The district was awarded a Title III (federal) grant that will be used to develop and conduct an English as a Second Language class for parents and caregivers of ELL students. The classes will be held at Lincoln, once a week, for two hours. Supt. Taymore noted: “Efforts will also be made to integrate parents into other opportunities available at the individual schools and at the district level.”

The MHS French exchange will allow our Saint-Witz partners to visit in October 2017 and for our students to travel in February 2018.

The food service program, run by Chartwells and managed by Mr. Ken Dolce, continues to generate a profit (unusual for school lunch programs given their many state and federal requirements).

Asst. Supt. of Pupil Personnel Services Ms. White-Lambright and Athletic Director Mr. Fogarty presented on how Youth Risk Behavior Survey results are impacting wellness teaching. Topics included drug prevention, using prescription drugs, and opioids. Survey results indicated that parents want more training. Next steps include a closer read and review by the School Wellness Advisory Council (SWAC) and implementation of the Adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) tool by staff to “…detect risk for substance-use related problems and to address them at an early age in adolescents.”

Surplus equipment, including tables, chairs, filing cabinets, etc., was approved for sale.

Asst. Supt. of Teaching and Learning Dr. Adams, along with City IT Director Neal Ellis, reported the latest work of the District Technology Committee. They addressed curriculum initiatives (including the state’s new Digital Technology Standards); using technology in a personalized learning environment; and teacher goals related to employing technology within national curriculum frameworks and using technology “…to collaborate and communicate with students, parents and fellow teachers on a consistent and on-going basis.”

Supt. Taymore updated the district’s Strategy Overview for 2016-17, identifying the district’s three main foci as: improving social emotional learning and behavioral intervention and supports; building capacity for inclusive practices; and increasing digital literacy and technology skills for students and staff.

The School Committee voted three goals for ourselves in the coming year: framing roles/responsibilities around communication to improve sharing; crafting a revised vision statement; and re-working the FY18 budget process.

The Committee voted four goals for Supt. Taymore: supporting diverse learners’ needs, addressing student behavior issues; working with the Committee to identify resources for student academic, social, emotional, and behavioral well-being; and provide training for teachers to increase capacity to provide more effective instruction.

Notes from October 25th coming soon!