Approved December 4, 2008

Holliston Public Schools

Holliston, MA  01746

 

School Committee Meeting

November 6, 2008

 

Present:            Mrs. Emmons, Mrs. Galeaz (Chair), Mr. Gray, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Murphy,

Mrs. Pennypacker, Mrs. Plunkett (Vice Chair), Mr. Jackson, Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Cornely, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Buday, Business Manager, Mrs. Colarusso, Student Services Director

 

Absent:             None

Call to Order

Mrs. Galeaz called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm.

 

Minutes

On a motion made by Mr. Gray, seconded by Mrs. Pennypacker, the Committee voted to approve the minutes of the October 16, 2008, School Committee Regular Session, as presented.

Vote:    Favor:   5          Oppose: 0        Abstain: 2 (Mrs. Emmons/Mr. Jones)          Absent: 0     

 

Communications

School Committee Individual Comment

Mrs. Plunkett said that 400 students attended the Adams Middle School Dance.  It was a fun dance and thanks to all who participated.  Youth and Family Services is sponsoring Dr. Peter Doyle, Northeastern University, to speak on the perils of what is in your medicine cabinet.  The talk is entitled, “Definitely Not What the Doctor Ordered.”  He will be speaking on Wednesday, November 19 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm in the Holliston High School Library. 

 

Mrs. Pennypacker thanked all who worked on the HEPO Book Fair.  The next HEPO meeting is November 12 at 9:15 am in the Cafetorium with Erica Plunkett speaking on the function of the School Committee and the fundraising results will be discussed.  The Fall Fundraiser generated about $12,500 in profits.  Thanks to all who participated. 

 

Mrs. Emmons encouraged the community to attend the High School Football game tomorrow night at 6:00 pm. 

 

Central Office Administrator’s Comment

Mr. Jackson announced that on Thursday night, November 13, there will be the first annual “State of the Schools” discussion in the High School Auditorium at 7:00 pm.  He described the content of the presentation and noted that there would be a question and answer section.  It will be broadcast on Cable TV.

 

Opportunity for the Public to Address the School Committee

There was no public comment.

 

Presentations

A.      MCAS Results and Preliminary Analyses

Placentino and Miller Elementary Schools

Mrs. Linda Weene, Principal, Placentino Elementary School and Mr. David Keim, Principal, Miller Elementary School, presented their MCAS results in a combined format.  Mr. Keim and Mrs. Weene reviewed the scores, noting the areas of success and areas of focus in each grade level and subject area.  Mr. Keim noted that the Holliston scores are well above the State scores.  Mrs. Weene said that the overarching goal for all of the children at the early childhood level is increased literacy competency to create the building blocks to be successful in other curriculum areas. 

 

Mr. Jackson said that this is a reminder about how incredibly complex elementary instruction has become through the years.  Today we differentiate within the classroom and focus all students on high order thinking skills and developing the ability to critically analyze information.  The rigor of the statewide Curriculum Frameworks is undeniable.  The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks are the most rigorous in the country as proven by research.  The support of the community is needed in order for the teachers to do this incredibly hard work.  School Committee discussion occurred. 

 

Robert Adams Middle School

Mr. Peter Botelho, Interim Principal, presented the Adams Middle School MCAS results.   He commented on the energy of the students and the staff this year resulting in a great start to the year.  He stated that they looked at the cohort data for the most useful information and reviewed the various levels of proficiency for this report.  He highlighted the strengths of the students and the focus areas.  The Adams Middle School has strong MCAS scores, good quality instruction, and a strong curriculum.  Mr. Jackson said that Mr. Botelho has challenged the staff to look critically at their own teaching methods netting remarkable results.  School Committee had a general discussion following this presentation.

 

Holliston High School

Mr. Michael Cournoyer, Principal, Holliston High School, highlighted the results for the high school.  He said that for the past two years, 100% of mainstream students passed the MCAS.  He analyzed the scores and discussed the positive results and the areas that would need some additional concentration.  Mr. Jackson said that these scores happen because we have a faculty and administration that focuses on excellence.  It is noteworthy to remind everyone of the incredible changes happening at the high school in terms of graduation requirements.  This is essentially the biggest change in standards based education since the Ed Reform Act of 1993 that required the students to pass the MCAS in Math and ELA in order to graduate. In two short years, the State has doubled that requirement to include the Social Studies and the Science Curriculum.  It is important to note that from a K-12 perspective, the incredible importance of a Curriculum Specialist to improvement efforts that we are undertaking here in Holliston.  This work is driven not only by the Principals and Administration, but by the Curriculum Specialists in the K-8 level and the Department Heads in the 9-12 levels. They are an essential piece in our improvement efforts.  School Committee discussion occurred.

 

Policy

A.      Revise Policy KF – Use of School Facilities – and KF-P – Procedures

Mrs. Pennypacker reviewed the changes in Policy KF, Use of School Facilities and KF-P, Procedures. 

 

On a motion made by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Gray, the Committee voted to approve Policy KF and Policy KF-P as presented and amended.

Vote:    Favor: 7                        Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0

 

Personnel - None

 

Old Business

A.      High School Energy Project

Mr. Jackson said at the last meeting options were presented for the $25,000 in capital money.  Based on the School Committee questions from the last meeting, options are still being evaluated; NSTAR has not ruled out another partnership this year.  Mr. Jackson asked the Committee to allow this item to remain on the agenda for a future meeting.

 

B.      Revised District-wide Field Trip Permission Form

Mr. Jackson said that the Holliston Schools does not have a district-wide field trip permission form and he said that this could be a liability.  He discussed the trip consent form presented to the Committee this evening. He noted that this is not a change in policy, but contains stronger language. Discussion followed.

 

On a motion made by Mr. Gray, seconded by Mr. Jones, the Committee approved the use of the “Day/Extended Long Distance Trip Consent Form, Release from Liability & Indemnity Agreement” form, as amended.

Vote:    Favor: 7                        Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0

 

C.      Draft 2009-2010 District School Calendar

Mr. Jackson reviewed the 2009-2010 District School Calendar, Draft 1.  Mrs. Galeaz discussed the possibility of combining February and April vacation weeks to one week in March.  There was a survey in Holliston a few years ago which resulted in an overwhelming negative response to combining the vacation weeks.  By combining the two weeks, only 3 days are actually gained. She spoke with other communities about their experience with combining the vacation weeks and only one community had taken that step and ultimately returned to the two separate weeks.  Mrs. Galeaz recommended that Holliston maintain the two separate school vacation weeks.  Discussion occurred.  It was decided to postpone action on this calendar until the first week in December.

 

New Business

A.      November 4th Professional Development Day Review

Mr. Cornely recapped the events of the November 4th Professional Development Day.  The sessions were led by the Principals and Curriculum Specialists in all of the schools. He reviewed the topics covered in each of the schools, commenting that it was a busy and successful day.

 

Warrants

On a motion made by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Gray, the Committee voted to approve a school bill warrant in the amount of $507,861.83.

Vote:    Favor:   7                      Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0         

 

On a motion made by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Gray, the Committee voted to approve a cafeteria revolving account bill in the amount of $26,685.87.

Vote:    Favor:   7                      Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0         

 

On a motion made by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Gray, the Committee voted to approve a student activity account replenishment request for the Miller School in the amount of $2,910.00.

Vote:    Favor:   7                      Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0         

 

Items of Information

A.      Elementary Essentials

 

Future Meeting Dates and Agenda Items

The next meeting is scheduled for November 13, 2008, State of the Schools Address – 7:00 pm – High School Auditorium.  The December 4, 2008, meeting agenda items will include High School Energy Project; the Middle School Parents’ Group would like to make a donation to the schools, needing Committee approval; continuation of the 2009-2010 calendar discussion and an overnight field trip approval request from the high school and any other business that comes up.

 

Adjournment of Open Session

Mrs. Galeaz announced that there would be a need for an Executive Session to discuss collective bargaining from which the Committee will not be returning to open session.

 

On a motion made by Mrs. Plunkett, seconded by Mrs. Emmons, the Committee voted to adjourn to Executive Session at 9:48 pm for the purposes of discussing collective bargaining.  The Committee will not be returning to open session. 

 

Roll Call vote: Mrs. Murphy, yes; Mrs. Emmons, yes; Mr. Gray, yes; Mr. Jones, yes;

Mrs. Pennypacker, yes; Mrs. Plunkett, yes; Mrs. Galeaz, yes.

 

Vote:                Favor:   7          Oppose: 0                    Abstain: 0                     Absent: 0         

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryl A. Kelly

Recording Secretary