School Committee Meeting, 21 September 2016

2016-Mar-01_0051School Committee Meeting, 21 September 2016

6 present, Mr. Gendron Absent

The items on tonight’s agenda were mostly routine. Business completed in just a few minutes beyond the one-hour mark. 

Permissions to Enter

Three contracts approved for total of $120,200.

Motions

While four motions were listed originally on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, only one was considered due to Mr. Gendron’s absence. Mr. Gendron requested the 3 motions he submitted be considered at the next meeting (October 5, 2016).

2016/365 Mr.Gignac requested coordination between the City and LPSD in dedicating a POW/MIA chair. This coordination of efforts is already underway so that the dedication can take place during Lowell High School Homecoming.

Reports of the Superintendent

There were 5 reports from the Superintendent in response to requests and motions.  The first 3 items were accepted as Reports of Progress; the last 2 were approved on roll call.

2016/367 Monthly Budget Report. Mr. Gignac questions and receives confirmation that the amount attributed to a Budget Analyst was in reality a temporary holding account (reminds the body that the Budget Analyst position had not been budgeted for). The amount charged in the account in question is zeroed out on a monthly basis as grant funds allocated for the position (grant manager?) are expended.  Ms. Martin reiterates her request for an Organizational Chart for Central Administrative positions. This request was put into the form of a motion. Report detail starts on p 39 in packet.

2016/375 STEM curriculum at Lowell High School. Martha Cohn and Paula Bransfield walked the committee through the STEM activities beginning with Kindergarten and percolating through Grades 10-12.  Several successes were highlighted: Project Lead the Way, Idea Camp, STEM clubs. The District has received quite a number of grants and been awarded funds and support from both the business and academic world.

This would have been a terrific Powerpoint to include in the packet.  Ms. Cohn and Ms. Bransfield highlighted the cross-curricular activities that have been developed, particularly at early grades. The activities and explorations used to develop engineering skills and process are inquiry based. That is certainly something that has been lacking in recent years and I am excited to see it return.  In using inquiry, students are presented with a problem and possibly some criteria for its solution. Through critical thinking and scientific process, they find solutions without the instructor telling exactly what to do – the words “no-tell zone” describe this perfectly. The instructor becomes more a facilitator and less of a lecturer. Good to see this returning to education!

2016/379 Opioid Abuse Prevention and Awareness. Mr. Gignac expressed some disappointment with the University’s feasibility study associated with this report as it lacked detail for effective awareness. Given the current crisis of opioid abuse, there is an urgency in this area for recommendations to impress upon students (children) the gravity of opioid addiction. While the partnerships cited are a step in the right direction, the progress toward addressing this issue throughout the grades is taking too long. Ms. Durkin offered that the report contained in the packet was an excerpt and that there is a meeting scheduled for Thursday, 10/22 with the University. At that time, Ms. Durkin hopes to have some of the questions about the feasibility study answered and receive some more specific recommendations for moving forward.

2016/380 Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan Revision and 2016/376 Home Education both passed on roll call.

New Business

There were five items under New Business:

  • 2016/362: Approval of an Educational Research Request. Ms. Martin requests further information (would like to see the survey instrument). Passes (1 absent, 5 yea, 1 present-Ms. Martin).
  • 2016/364: Vote to accept Grant award of $2,000 to Bridge Program (1 absent, 6 yea)
  • 2016/373: Approval of Expenditure Transfer. See p 92-93 of Meeting Packet (transfer to make year-end correction for FY2016. (1 absent, 6 yea)
  • 2016/377:  Reclassification of Position. See p 95-97 of Meeting Packet. Substitute Motion made by Ms. Doherty to delay until next meeting in order to receive further description of the position and update the position description. (1 absent, 2 no-Mr. Hoey & Mr. Descoteaux, 4 yea).
  • 2016/381: Vote to Approve Title Change. DESE requires a School Business Administrator to hold license in school administration; when a replacement for the prior business administrator was being sought, there was an effort to (locally) use the title CFO in order to attract strong business administrators who may be from out-of-state. Mr. Frisch, current holder of this position, applied for and received all the requisite licenses; the SBA title can be restored without changing salary or job description. The School Business Administrator is the title to which DESE refers. (1 absent, 5 yea)

Convention and Conference Requests (3) were all approved.

Meeting Packet can be found here.

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