School Committee Meeting 07 December 2016
Six present, Ms. Martin Absent
Prior to the beginning of the regular agenda, SC Gignac makes a motion to refer Item 13 to Negotiations subcommittee. Item 13 was a report of the Superintendent for the Policy on Admission of Children of Non-resident School Employees . Public input and/or comment will be allowed during the subcommittee’s meeting when that meeting is scheduled.
Spotlight on Excellence
Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary School recently was recognized by National Title I Association for closing the student achievement gap and is one of two Massachusetts receiving recognition for their achievements. Principal McLean described the collaborative culture at the Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary School that brought this school from the 11th percentile (meaning 89% of all other schools performed better) to the 57th percentile over 5 years. The school’s achievement is impressive and national recognition of the school is well deserved. A large contingent of PMES teachers also attended last evening’s meeting. Over February School vacation, members of the school faculty have been invited to attend the annual Title I meeting in California where they will receive national recognition.
A second spotlight on excellence highlighted the United Teachers of Lowell’s FirstBook “Books on Wheels” event where over 450 educators and 2,000 students received free new books. A video of the event can be found here and the introductory remarks for the video here. On a personal note, we’d like to thank the cast of thousands who made this event come together. The Books on Wheels event exceeded our expectations by every measure and we are looking forward to planning for the next round after the first of the year. If you would like to be part of our early planning, please let us know.
Permissions to Enter
$319,023 in expenses approved, including a $0 expenditure for Middlesex Community College to provide a dental hygiene program for Lowell Public Schools.. See detail in the Meeting Packet on p 29-31. 6 yea, 1 absent – approved.
Four motions were presented
- 2016/460 (S. Gendron): School of the Month Program. Once every month a school is highlighted with a brief presentation during which students in attendance from the school will lead the Committee in the Pledge of Allegiance. (approved)
- 2016/461 (C. Martin): Science Fair Opportunities at the LPS and plans for expansion(s) during 2017 or 2018. (approved)
- 2016/468 (R. Hoey): Letter of Appreciation to Moody School for Veteran’s Day Presentation on 11/17. SC Hoey notes the excellence of the music program and the program honoring veterans. In discussion, SC Descoteaux notes that the Butler School’s Veteran’s Day performance is also exemplary and Mayor Kennedy notes the excellence of the LHS Choir during the City Hall Open House. A suggestion was made to recognize all three schools’ groups for their excellence.
- 2016/469 (R. Hoey): Previously taken during Spotlight on Excellence.
Meeting notes of the Lowell High School Subcommittee (2016/464) were presented by Mr. Gignac, chair of the committee. The subcommittee addressed specific language necessary to include School Committee participation by a student representative from Lowell High School (for the balance of 2016-17 the representatives would rotate between LHS Sr. Class President and Vice President). While a non-voting position, this member would provide advisory role especially during discussions relating to Lowell High. Following a roll call vote, Ms. Onotse Omoyeni. LHS Senior Class President was invited to join the committee for the remainder of the meeting as student representative. (Meeting Notes, pages 40-41).
Reports of the Superintendent
There were five items under Reports of the Superintendent, including 2016/470 which was taken out of order (motion to refer to Negotiating Subcommittee) during prior to the Spotlight on Excellence.
- 2016/470: Policy for Admission of Non-Resident School Employees This report has been referred to the Negotiations Subcommittee.
- 2016/476: LPS Strategic Plan Presentation The LPS Strategic Plan was presented by the Accountability Office. The work on the plan began in September 0215 and included community input. Subgroups analyzed data and generated reports and recommendations throughout the process resulting in a vision (Inspire-Engage-Empower).
The Pillars of Urban Excellence support the vision and values of the Lowell Public Schools:
- Pillar 1: Teaching and Learning (broken down to 4 objectives)
- Pillar 2: Students Learn in a Respectful and Joyful Community that Attends to the Whole Child
- Pillar 3: Students Learn from a Highly Qualified, Expert and Diverse Workforce
- Pillar 4: Every Educator Engages Parents, The Community and Partners
- Pillar 5: All Schools Have Adequate, Equitable and Safe Facilities and Resources
To make the plan a meaningful document, there needs to be accountability, not as a punishment tool, but as a support structure. How do we get to where we want to be. The LPSD is establish targets and benchmarks (in the process of developing this) through a “data dashboard”. Test scores will be part of the data dashboard and can be changed based on test scores and other measures of student achievement. A Human Resources dashboard will enable the District to monitor efforts toward meeting the District’s goals for a diverse teaching staff. There will also be capability to track, using real-time tracking, class sizes and enrollments.
The plan was well received with some suggestions and thoughts to aligning the district plan and goals to data gathering and evaluation. Accepted as report of progress.
- 2016/472: Disposal of Surplus Supplies See pages 49-58 of the Meeting Packet. (6 yeas, 1 absent approved).
- 2016/475: Request to Reschedule the April 5, 2017 Early Release Day A substitute early release alternative date would be to move this early release to Wednesday, March 29. The original date of April 5 had been developed prior to the state’s MCAS window publication. (6 yeas, 1 absent, approved).
- 2016/477: Health and Wellness Policy Advisory Committee SC Doherty was nominated and appointed to this advisory committee.
Convention and Conference Requests (2) were all approved.
Due to the proximity of the next meeting (12/21) to the Christmas holiday, the regular school committee meeting of 12/21 is cancelled. There will be a special meeting, the date for which is to be determined, to discuss/approve items related to the Lowell High School project.
Meeting Packet can be found here.