School Committee Meeting, 05 October 2016
Spotlight on Excellence
The focus on this meeting’s Spotlight was on the Summer Reading Program. A record 27,453 books were read and recorded by students across the Lowell Public Schools, representing an increase of 9,400 books over the previous year. Congratulations to all students and their parents participating in this vital program over the summer. For a list of recognized students by school, see page 10 in the Meeting Packet.
This is one of my favorite events to observe as the excitement of the students and their families is so contagious. Special thanks to the school administrators and staff who also attended last night’s ceremony.
Permissions to Enter
Several contract approvals totalling $849,542. See detail on p 30-31 of the Meeting Packet.
2016/391: Business Office Reorganization. Net reduction of staff was 1. Cost savings about $12.2K. Proposal by Mr. Frisch to apply a majority portion of this cost savings to the Facilities Director’s salary as this person is being asked to assume the duties of one of the eliminated positions (Energy Management) and has significant added responsibilities as the High School Building Project gets underway. Questions regarding the reporting structure, particularly why the Assistant Superintendent for Business was not a direct-report to Mr. Frisch. Suggestion to send the salary portion of this report to Personnel Subcommittee (with request from Ms. Martin for formalized job description noting the increased duties for the Facilities Director), while accepting the reorganization. 7 yeas.
2016/403 Approval of Reclassification of Position. Central Administration completed the requested revision of this person’s job description to reflect reality of the responsibilities. 7 yeas.
- 2016/397 District-wide Technology Plan (Mr. Gignac). This is a requirement from DESE. The currently posted plan (2015-2018 update found on the LPSD website’s technology page is based on survey and analysis of district needs and the state of each building’s technology inventory. With the state requirement for electronic test administration (starting Spring 2017), ensuring that technology needs are reflected in the plan are important as well as the analysis that will drive technology updates/upgrades at the High School during the High School Building Project. For more information about state-required technology reporting and requirements, see DESE’s Office of Digital Learning website.
The next 3 motions were postponed from the previous meeting. During the discussion of the Superintendent’s Evaluation, the Mayor’s microphone cut out.
- 2016/398 Community Service Learning Program (Mr. Gendron)
- 2016/400 Superintendent’s Evaluation Process (Mr. Gendron)
- 2016/399 Report to Facilities Subcommittee on plans to address the middle school population bubble. (Mr. Gendron)
Reports of the Superintendent
2016/390 2016 Student Assessment and Accountability Lowell’s testing results recently released by DESE show 7 Level 1 schools (highest category), 7 Level 2 schools, and 7 Level 3 schools. This is outstanding news, particularly since, despite expectation that switching from MCAS to PARCC last year would cause an expected drop in test scores (hence the state’s offer to hold schools & districts “harmless” from test ramifications). Lowell seems to have defied all the odds by actually doing better on a brand new test instrument. Superintendent Khelfaoui attributes some of this to the schools’ focus on teaching to standards, not teaching to the test.
School Committee suggests that this news is celebrated in both the schools and perhaps a future school committee meeting. The Committee also requests a deeper evaluation to ensure that any achievement gaps are continuing to close. The report begins on p 51 of the Meeting Packet.
2016/393 Homeless Liaison. Appointment of Jane Mosher-Canty to replace Fred McOsker who is serving as an Assistant Principal of the Morey School.
Three additional reports, 2016/394 Personnel Report details resignations, retirements, and hiring, 2016/395 List of Eligible Teachers, and 2016/402 Home Education were presented.
There were three items under New Business:
- 2016/387 MCAS 2.0 Computer Base Testing. Recommendation from the Superintendent that all testing for all grade levels participating in state-wide assessment be done online (MA DESE requirement is only for Grades 4 and 8 this year, with rolling inclusion of additional grades each year). When asked if the District was ready, Superintendent Khelfaoui replied yes.
- 2016/389 Acceptance of $75.00 donation to BRIDGE program
- 2016/392 Budget transfer to support Community Based Organizations at elementary and middle schools (see p 83 of Meeting Packet).
Convention and Conference Requests (3) were all approved.
Meeting Packet can be found here.