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.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tech Plan Update, Personnel Appointments, Campus Kids, and More: January 10th School Committee

We kicked off the first meeting of the year with Lincoln School Principal Allison Donovan and PTO Co-President Becky Fuentes, as they talked about social emotional learning (including proactively teaching expectations) and the contributions that the PTO has made in this area. They also host a number of annual events, focusing on affordable family fun for their school community. Their next event will be an international night that celebrates culture and diversity. The parent English language training has been very popular (and includes many grandparents).

Supt. Taymore spoke to progress made on the Technology Plan. She noted that:
·               She thought there would be slow growth in tech use, but it was very fast.
·               The goal was a 3:1 student/device ratio, but it’s fast approaching 2:1. MHS is almost 1:1 because most students have smartphones.
·               The most important tech issue now is ensuring that h/w, bandwidth, etc. are up to speed for testing in the spring. (All districts face this challenge.) Students are doing online test practice now, but when it’s actually being given, tests will be cached and downloaded.
·               Tech needs to be used purposefully, and that’s happening in the MPS.
·               We are in a better place than a year ago on bandwidth.
·               MHS has a Helpdesk that is an actual class, and when students aren’t troubleshooting, they do projects like instructional videos.
·               DESE released their Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards in June, and this content is embedded in all courses (not silo’d in a class because it needs to be “fluid” for students).

Other Supt’s updates:
·               A second district school resource officer has been appointed (middle school).
·               Interim MHS Principal Jason Merrill has been officially appointed to the Principal position.

Dr. Heather Josephson provided an overview of Ed Stations and Campus Kids recommending that Campus Kids be eliminated beginning this summer. (No other programs are under discussion for change or elimination.) The Committee asked for more information and will continue the discussion on January 24th.

The Committee reviewed the summary of our self-evaluations and will work to incorporate recommended elements over the next year in order to improve our practice. We also reaffirmed our Norms and Protocols document (an annual practice).

Next meeting is Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00 in the Aldermanic Chamber.