School Committee Meeting 07 December 2016

School Committee Meeting 07 December 2016

2016-nov-26_cityoflights_lhsbandSix 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 hereOn 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.

Subcommittee Report

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.


School Committee Meeting, 16 November 2016

IMG_0794School Committee Meeting 16 November 2016

Six present, Mayor Kennedy Absent (SC Gendron presiding)

The attention of the School Committe was on the Middle School Report (Item 12) and Joint Subcommittee Minutes.

Special Order of Business

SC Gendron introduces both Principal Carmona of the Lincoln School and Francey Slater from Mill City Grows to speak about the recent Lincoln School Garden construction; a project video can be found here.  The garden, located  between the Lincoln School and Lincoln Street in what had been an eyesore and abandonded lot, is visioned as a place for extended learning and discovery. Along with the school garden, the space will become a community gardening space.

Permissions to Enter

$9,534 in expenses approved. See detail in the Meeting Packet.


Two motions were presented; both by SC Doherty

  • 2016/456 (J. Doherty): request Superintendent meet with stakeholders to develop/plan for adequate nursing coverage in all schools. SC Doherty points to the important role of nurses in each school for students and staff. Concerned about compliance with state law regarding coverage and high turnover. SC Martin mentions substitute nursing coverage for absentees and school trips should be included (friendly amendment).
  • 2016/457 (J. Doherty): requests Superintendent work with School Committee and City Council Facilities Subcommittees to establish monthly meeting dates to address ongoing maintenance issues. Motion to show solidarity to work with the City regarding issues of building maintenance. By scheduling dates in advance, members not on the subcommittee will have adequate notice and can arrange to attend. Building maintenance ($55 million number includes more than maintenance).  SC Gendron says that misunderstandings arise from miscommunications; would like to change the motion to “bi-monthly” from “monthly”. SC Doherty would like to see more frequent meetings to address critical needs (mentions heat issues in schools) and then possible shift to bi-monthly.

Mr. Hoey speaks about costs charter schools (net school spending for charter schools is $14 million – not all of this is maintenance). For the City Public Schools Mr. Frisch confirms $400,000-$500,000.

Subcommittee Report

The Joint Facilities Subcommittee report from November 2, 2016 and Item 12 (2016/450 Middle School Report) were taken together. SC Martin takes chair as this is SC Gendron’s report. See notes on this meeting here (11/2) or Meeting Packet p 30-32 and Middle School Report on p 71-73 of the Meeting Packet.

See report in the Meeting Packet. Maintenance already addressed. Superintendent Khelfaoui through Mr. Frisch reports on middle school crowding and a plan requested by SC Gendron for addressing the middle school bubble.

Four classrooms needed at STEM Academy (1 year solution for 2017-18) for grades 5-6. Recommendation for a permanent solution for a middle school solution after that time. Notes that class sizes of 26-30 students per class are lowered when considering pull-out students in Grade 5 (pull-out services for 60% of the day).  Mr. Frisch will confirm his understanding that 150 Grade 5 students across the City are pulled out for some portion of the instructional day.

As much as possible, under the law, there is a requirement that students are instructed using the Least Restricted Environment (LRE). Sometimes this involves adaptations of the instruction planned by the “regular education” classroom teacher working with a special education teacher, and sometimes, as determined through Special Education evaluation testing and collaboration between the team (educators, parents and specialized therapists/instructiors) the student’s need requires more intensive instruction or pull-out instruction.

Under the pull-out model for special needs, students go to locations other than the regular classroom for specialized instruction as outlined in each students Individualized Education Plan or IEP. Students may be pulled out for intervals during the school day up to 60% of the total school day. The remaining 40% of the day, the students are with their peers in the regular classroom setting. For example, if a student’s need is determined to be only in the realm of mathematics, the student may go to a separate space to receive the instruction that is needed for academic growth for just the mathematics portion of the school day instruction and will remain in the regular classroom for all other instruction and activity during the day.  

Mr. Frisch is pointing out that in considering the class sizes at the Middle Schools the size of each instructional class can be somewhat lower due to the numbers of students who receive this smaller group or pull-out instruction.

Mr. Frisch detailed the costs of adding classroom space at the STEM Academy for 2017-18.  These costs include: four teachers (approximately $480,000), an additional custodian ($55,000), guidance counselor ($80,000), and supplies/furnishing which will total $440,000.  Mr. Frisch is still calculating the costs associated with the permanent solution of a new STEM Academy.

SC Gendron states 27.25 students this year and the STEM solution 26.66 for 2017-18.  Mr. Frisch notes that an additional 60 students could possibly transition to a Charter School in 2017-18 which would result in a further reduction.  This does not, however, take into consideration that any students who transition to a Charter School would result in lowered per pupil monies received by the City from the Commonwealth.

The new classroom spaces would be obtained through reuse of the home economics and office space conversion . Mr. Hoey notes there could be six possible spaces when considering some spaces he noticed during a recent tour (removal of TV Studio for example).  He notes that the increased student population (over 700 students) may necessitate the need for an addditional Assistant Principal. Mr. Frisch asserts that the District would prefer to avoid moving children in a CSA classroom (CSA means Children on the Spectrum of Autism).

Superintendent Khelfaoui points to the transition from Grade 5 to 6 is not as easy a transition as it is for students coming from Grade 4 to the middle grades, Grade 5.  Charter School increased capacity (32 fifth graders anticipated to move to Charter Schools) may impact the configuration of the short-term plan.  School Committee and District will need to come to a decision about whether the STEM Academy become K-8 or is divided into 2 schools (K-4 and 5-8). Many middle schools are reaching the 700 student population – whether or not that threshold triggers the need for a new assistant principalship will become a decision impacting more than just the STEM School (Sullivan School for example is already at close to this threshold).

SC Martin states that the original intent of the STEM school model was predicated on the Stoklosa being built with the STEM curriulum and focus in mind. School Committee will need to address the “what’s next” for STEM facilities in the near future. Superitendent Khelfaoui reminds the Committee that there is no longer any capacity to transition STEM Academy students back into all the other Middle School buildings; there is no additional physical space to include Grades 7 and 8 at the Rogers site on Highland Street.  The conversations for addressing capacity with the City (building, leasing space, etc.) has not yet been started. When the High School project is completed there will be a possibility of addressing the capacity for the seventh grade (in 2018-19) will be less problematic, but that is a long way off.

SC Martin speaks to the original intent of creating a STEM school had been in conjunction with building a new middle school.  Reconfiguring the grade structures could have unintended consequences that the School Committee and Administration needs to examine carefully and thoughtfully. A longer term solution will need to take place now as opposed to 6 months from now.

SC Doherty suggests looking at other options such as centralizing all Grade 8 students in one location (or, as previously suggested, putting all the Pre-Kindergarten in one location).  Superintendent Khelfaoui states that adding students to Lowell High during construction will be more than difficult to manage. The School Department and City will need to meet collaboratively to form the ultimate solution.

Accepted as a Report of Progress.

Reports of the Superintendent

There were four items under Reports of the Superintendent, including 2016/450 which was taken out of order during Public Participation.

  • 2016/445: Youth Summit Report See page 34-35 of the Meeting Packet for details.
  • 2016/446: BRIDGE Annual Report. See pages 37-62 of the Meeting Packet. This is an alternative education program which has been directed through Middlesex Community College and which will be transitioned to fully under the auspices of the Lowell Public Schools.
  • 2016/449 : Monthly Budget Reportt.  See pages 64-70 of the Meeting Packet.

A donation of 60 books to the Office of Student Support Services and the Convention and Conference Requests (2) were all approved.

Meeting Packet can be found here.

School Committee Meeting, 02 November 2016

IMG_0794School Committee Meeting

Six present, Mr. Descoteaux absent

Along with the prior meeting’s minutes, the minutes of the Special School Committee Meeting held on October 27, 2016 were approved. The October 27 meeting topic was Superintendent Khelfaoui’s evaluation.

Permissions to Enter

$51,060 in expenses approved. See detail in the Meeting Packet.

Public Participation

Otse Omeyeni, Lowell High School Senior Class President, spoke in favor of Agenda Item 2016/437, a proposal that would include a non-voting student representative in the School Committee.  After this presentation, the School Committee decided to take this item (Number 11 on the Agenda) out of order in order to facilitate discussion.

The Committee members were generally in support of this agenda item; however, because of several corrections necessary to the proposal as worded (clarification that student representatives would not participate in Executive Sessions, for example), it has been referred to the Lowell High School Subcommittee for clarification.


Two motions were presented; both by Mr. Gignac

  • 2016/432 (R. Gignac): Requests the Superintendent write a formal letter of thanks to members of the Lowell Fire Department for their generosity in providing winter coats for Lowell Public Schools students under their Coats for Ann Program.
  • 2016/433 (R. Gignac): Request that Lowell Public Schools participate in the Massachusetts Youth Summit on Opiate Awareness taking place at the Tsongas Center.

Subcommittee Report

The Finance Subcommittee met on October 26, 2016 to develop a policy for “permission to enter”  and a policy for budget transfer.  The details for these policies are found in the Meeting Packet on p 33-34

Reports of the Superintendent

There were five items under Reports of the Superintendent, including 2016/437 which was taken out of order during Public Participation.

  • 2016/434, Community Service Learning See page 36-37 of the Meeting Packet for details submitted by each school.
  • 2016/437: LHS Representative Proposal. Taken out of order under Public Participation.
  • 2016/435: School Site Councils. See pages 45-49 of the Meeting Packet for each school’s Council make-up and schedule of meetings. A suggestion was made that in the future, whether the member is part of the faculty or a parent of a student would be helpful.
  • 2016/436 LHS Atheltic Rule 53 Waiver Request.  Mr. DeProfrio spoke about the value of including students from the middle school in programs such as hockey not only help to build an individual sports program, but to enable students who might not have financial means o afford the expense of early instruction in a sport to more fully participate.
  • 2016/438 MASS EEC Fiscal and Program Compliance Review. Reports starts on p 54 of the Meeting Packet.

Convention and Conference Requests (3) were all approved.

Meeting Packet can be found here.

School Committee Meeting, 19 October 2016

IMG_0794School Committee Meeting, 19 October 2016

All present

Spotlight on Excellence

The focus on this meeting’s Spotlight was on the Summer Math Program. Students complete math “packets,” calendars of activities that focus on thinking mathematically throughout the summer. Each school was represented by 3 students at tonights meeting. For a list of recognized students by school, see page 9 in the Meeting Packet.

Just as with the Reading Spotlight on Excellence, the Math Spotlight is a great school event which brings proud families to the School Committee meeting.  What a memorable time for each student to receive recognition for effort over the summer months and be applauded for that effort!  Once again, special thanks to the school administrators and staff who also attended last night’s ceremony.

Permissions to Enter

Mr. Gignac requested clarification of the amount for North Reading Transportation. The amount of $336,440 appears to be a change in the contracted amount.


Three motions were presented; one by Mr. Hoey and two by Ms. Martin.

  • 2016/413 (R. Hoey): During a visit to Lowell High School, Mr. Hoey spoke with a junior who asked whether there could be a consideration made to allow food trucks on occasion at the High School along with a stage for students to showcase talents during lunch hours.  While several school committee members agreed this was an interesting suggestion worth exploring, there were some concerns expressed by school committee members:
    • the short lunch period would make this impractical
    • the need to keep students contained on campus
    • those students receiving free/reduced lunches would be excluded

Mayor Kennedy pointed out that when allowing food trucks in the vicinity of the high school was discussed at a recent City Council meeting, Councilor Samaras (former Head of LHS) did not think this would be a good idea.

  • 2016/417 (C. Martin): Presentation by Curriculum Department on an initiative that is successful. If I remember correctly, these presentations formerly were made only in front of the Curriculum Subcommittee. There was decision several meetings ago to include the School Committee in entirety in these presentations.
  • 2016/418 (C. Martin):  A request to provide the full committee with more detailed accounting, including salaries and FTE information for each grant.  There was a good bit of discussion regarding a partial list of grants provided to the Committee right before the meeting. Mr. Frisch has suggested he include the requested information as part of the monthly budget report.

Subcommittee Report

As a result of the October 5 Finance Subcommittee report, Mr. Gignac made two motions resulting from Agenda Item 1, Purchasing Policy (see pages 39-40 of the Meeting Packet). The first motion revised the language within the purchasing policy and the second motion detailed bid requirements. The Finance Subcommittee was unable to discuss Item 2 on the subcommittee agenda, and postponed discussion of same to a future meeting.

As a point of personal privilege, Mr. Gendron spoke about a Subcommittee Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 1 at 7 pm in the Little Theater of Lowell High School. This meeting will discuss the middle school population “bubble” and plans to address the same. In addition, there will be a report on the Lowell High School project by the project management and architects.  The public is invited to attend and there will be an opportunity for questions/discussion.

Reports of the Superintendent

There were five items under Reports of the Superintendent:

  • 2016/406, Quarterly Report on Motions. Starts on p 42 of the Meeting Packet.
  • 2016/414: Massachusetts DESE 2015-16 Chronic Attendance. Noted that in prior years some absences were coded incorrectly (for example, students who were hospitalized yet receiving in-hospital tutoring), correlations between a high rate of absenteeism and struggling schools, and the higher rates of absenteeism at alternative schools (with a note that this needs to be looked at as possibly a need to address wrap-around services).  Positive comments noted improvements made to attendance rates in most schools.
  • 2016/415: Monthly Budget Report. Discussion over handling of the encumbered $1.9 million from FY 2016 as a “carry-over”. The auditor closes City books earlier than the state-allowed closing of expenditures in school budgets. The $1.9 million in the category was encumbered from previous year’s budget. Invoices now received and the money spent – the net effect will be that the approved FY 2017 budget is not changed, although the addition of this line makes it look as though it has. The handling of the line item was agreed upon by the City auditor.
  • 2016/419 and 2016/420 Personnel Reports and Lists of Eligible Teachers.

Convention and Conference Requests (2) were all approved.

Meeting Packet can be found here.

School Committee Meeting, 05 October 2016

2016-sep-22_btubooks2School Committee Meeting, 05 October 2016

All present

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.

Unfinished Business

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.

New Business

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.

07 September 2016: School Committee Meeting

IMG_0794School Committee Meeting, 7 August 2016

6 present, Ms. Martin Absent

Tonight’s meeting, the first after the start of the academic year, is the beginning of the regular twice-a-month meeting schedule.  The agenda was short and to the point – under 1 hour. Some of the Superintendent’s remarks were lost due to a faulty microphone. However, from what I could surmise, the topic will be revisited at a future meeting.  

Permissions to Enter

Contracts for both Deputy Superintendent Jeannine Durkin and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Robin Desmond were approved.  $56,000 to SEEN collaborative for out-of-district Special Education service was also approved.

Public Participation

Jonathan Richmond,  Chief Executive and Founder of the charitable organization Takeoff Space spoke to the School Committee regarding the decision process and communication resulting from a proposal he had brought to Lowell High administration, and ultimately, to the School Committee. The program, Takeoff Space, is meant to encourage and mentor top performing disadvantaged students to matriculate to top tier colleges. Mr. Richmond formally registered a complaint that his program was dismissed without due consideration. The High School made the decision not to participate in Mr. Richmond’s program because this need was being addressed through another previously established initiative.

Subcommittee Reports:

  1. Facilities Subcommittee: Approval of Meeting of August 11, 2016. The content had be discussed at the August 17 meeting. Minutes accepted as report of progress.
  2. Finance Subcommittee:  3 topics were on the agenda:
    1. Fiscal 2016 year end financials (including Apple hardware purchases and transfers to make up for loss of state funding for Kindergarten grant (paraprofessionals))
    2. Schedule/timeline for independent audit
    3. Fiscal 2017 year to date financials.  A motion was made and approved to develop a timeline for dealing with year-end surpluses so that the School Committee can decide how to allocate such funds.

3.  Lowell High Subcommittee meeting to discuss 4 motions by Mayor Kennedy.

Reports of the Superintendent

There were 12 reports from the Superintendent in response to requests and motions.  Two of these prompted short discussion:

2016/338 Lowell High School Graduates Attending College.  During this report, most of the discussion could not be heard because of a faulty microphone.  The District provided a report stating that 83.5% of Lowell High graduates are attending either a 2-year or 4-year college this Fall.  That compares favorably across the state.  The Committee had a couple of lingering questions. One of these was the data presented show that many students are attending either a 2-year school such as Middlesex Community College or a state 4-year college (University of Lowell).  There was a question from Ms. Doherty as to whether students are receiving sufficient guidance and encouragement to apply for “reach” schools, such as the Ivy Leagues.

I attended state schools through post-masters work and have never for one moment thought that I didn’t get a superior education. It was “on me” to take advantage of classes and study, the value of my degrees came from the hard work I put into school, not from the name on the front gate. I also understand, on a parental level, what a financial burden attending a private university poses. Attending post-high school is a decision that only the student and his/her family can make, and while I would hope that Lowell High students are given information about grants and opportunities to attend their school of choice, I would hope the value of a public college or university will not be lost.

2016/346 Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan Revision. There has been significant revision to this plan due to new regulations implemented by the Commonwealth. One new feature is that the incident report will be available online and includes drop-down selections which will make reporting more efficient.  Ms. Doherty suggested that some clarification is needed regarding the timeline of responses. The Plan was approved and changes to include more precise language will be added at the next meeting.

New Business

There were four items under New Business:

  • 2016/340: Permission to Post: PALS Program Head Coach. As explained by Ms. Durkin, the PALS program is funded through the university. University students provide mentor support for high school students.
  • 2016/341 Permission to Post: Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) Data Manager
  • 2016/342 Permission to Post: PALS Program Assistant Head Coach
  • 2016/353 Approval of a Study Grant

All passed.

There was no Executive Session and the meeting adjourned at 7:27 pm (noted by Mayor Kennedy). Meeting Packet can be found here.