- Budget Information
- Business Office
- General Information
- Human Resources
- Information Systems
- Policy Manual
- School Committee
- Teaching and Learning
- English Language Learning
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
- School Year Calendar
- Section 504
- Special Education
- Summer School
- Contact Us
Minutes for the Pelham School Committee Meeting of September 8, 2011
Submitted by WestmorelandD on Mon, 09/12/2011 - 2:44pm.
Pelham School Committee
Regular Meeting of Pelham School Committee
September 8, 2011
Community Room, Pelham Library
Kathy Weilerstein, Chair
Maria Geryk, Superintendent
Rob Detweiler, Director of Finance and Operations
Lisa Dejarlais, Pelham Principal
Debbie Westmoreland, Recorder
1. Welcome 6:37 p.m.
A. Call to Order—Ms. Weilerstein called the meeting to 6:37 p.m. and reviewed the agenda. Ms. Foley asked to add a brief discussion about the Amherst Education Foundation to the agenda, and Ms. Weilerstein asked that she address the topic during announcements and public comments. Ms. Weilerstein noted that she wants to talk about decisions regarding joint meetings during the calendar review.
B. Approve Minutes—There were no minutes for approval.
2. Announcements and Public Comments 6:38 p.m.
Ms. Foley reported that she was contacted by Erika Zekos, President of the Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) and Kristen DeBoer regarding AEF grants. Ms. Zekos would like to discuss ways in which Pelham School may benefit from these grants. Ms. Weilerstein suggested that Ms. Foley meet with Superintendent Geryk to learn about the districts’ history with AEF prior to meeting with Ms. Zekos and Ms. DeBoer.
3. Superintendent’s and Principal’s Update 6:43 p.m.
DOCUMENTS: Memo to the Pelham School Committee from Maria Geryk regarding Superintendent’s Update dated September 8, 2011
Ms. Geryk reported that the Pelham School’s Special Education program has received the highest possible rating from DESE for the 2010-2011 school year. She briefly explained what indicators are considered by DESE in making these determinations. Ms. Weilerstein stated that this rating reflects the program under the first year of Ms. Dejarlais’ leadership, which she wants to acknowledge. Additional information about the Special Education program ratings is available at the following link: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/spp . Ms. Geryk reported that Project Backpack and the First Day celebration were both very successful. Ms. Weilerstein asked if Pelham organizations such as the Pelham Lion’s Club were aware of Project Backpack. She believes that many Pelham organizations will be interested in participating each year.
Ms. Dejarlais reported that the first day of school was very successful, with the only glitch being a problem with the new telephone system. An all-call message was sent to parents notifying them of the problem, which has now been corrected. Ms. Dejarlais then distributed and reviewed the current grade-level break-down of Pelham enrollment, including School Choice students and their sending districts. She noted that Pelham School had their first ever safety walk, which included Ron Bohonowicz, Director of Maintenance and Facilities, Gary Thomann, Pelham Police Chief and David Slovin, District Special Education Administrator and Safety Coordinator. In addition, a new traffic-flow pattern has been implemented in the Pelham School parking lot and the lot has been repainted. Ms. Weilerstein noted that many students access Pelham School through the library parking lot and asked about the possibility of having it repainted as well. Ed Martin, Selectman, noted that the Town of Pelham is responsible for upkeep on the library parking lot. Ms. Geryk suggested asking the Select Board to consider repainting the library parking lot to increase safety. Ms. Dejarlais distributed copies of the new Pelham Crisis Response flipchart for review, noting that there will be one in each classroom to serve as a reference for teachers. Ms. Weilerstein asked where students will go in case of severe weather. Ms. Dejarlais said she has walked the building and has designated areas for each teacher to move their class in such scenarios. Ms. Weilerstein noted that if dogs are not allowed on the school playground, a sign needs to be posted on both sides of playground to ensure people will see it. Ms. Dejarlais noted that the Sneaker sculpture has been installed on the Pelham School grounds, and sign at the front of the building has been freshly painted by the Maroulis family. The School Committee members expressed gratitude for both and plan to send a thank you letter to Maryann Lombardi for donating the sneaker and to the Maroulis family.
4. New and Continuing Business 7:09 p.m.
A. School Improvement Plan
DOCUMENT: Pelham School Improvement Plan 2011-2014
Ms. Dejarlais distributed the Pelham School Improvement Plan for 2011-2014 (SIP), noting that it was developed in collaboration with the Pelham School Governance Council over the course of last year. Ms. Weilersten stated that the plan is very comprehensive and clearly a great deal of work went into it. She asked for clarification of the timelines, noting that she does not fully understand all of them. Ms. Dejarlais reviewed the timelines, noting that she will revise them to clarify the start dates and projected end dates for each goal area. Ms. Foley asked for clarification of goal area1C: “Examine schedules to support the intensive use of school staff to provide students with interventions in literacy and math in an RTI tiered model.” Ms. Dejarlais explained that each student will receive support based on MAP data, including extensions and enrichments for students who do not have any identified areas of support. The staff worked with her to develop a plan to provide this block of time in the schedule, which will be called the Enhancement Block. Ms. Gould asked what the term “co-teaching model” means in goal area 1B. Ms. Dejarlais explained that co-teaching model in this context means the Special Education and classroom teacher team. Ms. Weilerstein stated that when we talk about co-teaching models we are defining everyone’s role in the classroom, including those of the staff with one another and the students with staff members. She suggested that Ms. Dejarlais consider documenting the work and role of paraprofessionals in the school as a part of the SIP. With regard to goal area 1G, Ms. Weilerstein asked for more information on the current Homework Club. Ms. Dejarlais explained that fifth and sixth grade are currently served by the Homework Club, and the teachers rotate staying after school. She noted that teachers do not receive compensation for this work, and she would like to find a way to compensate them if at all possible. Ms. Gould requested that Ms. Dejarlais determine what the cost would be to pay the teachers for their work with Homework Club so it can be considered at budget time. With regard to Goal 2: Enhance communication among Pelham School staff, parent groups, and the Pelham School Community, Ms. Weilerstein suggested involving students more in reporting in the Pelham Press. Ms. Geryk reported that the districts’ Volunteer Coordinator, Kim Stender, is working to develop reporter partnerships between community senior citizens and high school students to write stories and film them for Amherst Media. Ms. Weilerstein asked where the Literacy Book Closet referenced in goal area 3A will be located. Ms. Dejarlais noted that she plans to make one of the two storage closets the literacy closet. Ms. Foley has worked as a literacy coordinator, and she volunteered to help set up the closet. Regarding goal area 3D, Ms. Weilerstein asked how Ms. Dejarlais will determine who needs professional development to meet the goal. Ms. Dejarlais explained that she inventoried each teacher’s training/skill level, and there is not a great need for training other than the continual learning all teachers require. Ms. Geryk said the goal is to have content-specific training at all of the districts’ schools over the course of this year. Ms. Gould said she believes Pelham School has a very safe, supportive school environment and asked what Goal 4 “Provide a social skills program and a school climate that promotes district multi-cultural goals in order to maintain a safe and supportive school environment” is seeking to address. Ms. Geryk noted that the goal is to have a cohesive, district-wide way of supporting students through PBIS. Ms. Dejarlais noted that PBIS focuses on school climate and consistent expectations so students, staff and parents are all on the same page, district-wide. Ms. Gould requested that PBIS be included as an item on an upcoming agenda for a more detailed presentation. Ms. Weilerstein asked that the report include what is being done in the meantime while PBIS is being implemented. Ms. Weilerstein asked that Goal 5 be edited to simply read “Solidify the long-term outlook and viability of the school.” In addition to other minor wording changes, Ms. Weilerstein asked that goal area 5B be deleted since it is addressed within goal area 5A.
B. FY11 Budget Final Report
DOCUMENTS: Pelham Elementary School FY11 Consolidated Operating Budget Final Report
Mr. Detweiler distributed and reviewed the final budget report for the Pelham Elementary School FY11 Budget, noting that the budget year ended with $29,200 remaining. These funds will be left in the School Choice Revolving Fund for future budget support. Ms. Gould asked how much choice revenue was taken in last year. Mr. Detweiler does not have that figure with him at tonight’s meeting, but can provide it later. Ms. Weilerstein noted that a recurring question in the annual school choice discussion is whether the sending towns are reimbursing the district for special education services at the same rate as our district’s expenses. Mr. Detweiler stated that in some cases the reimbursement does cover district expenses and in others it does not, due to a variety of reasons such as the cost of staffing. He stated that it would be beneficial to do a case study of a few students, noting that he believes it balances out fairly well. After discussion, it was agreed that this is important data to have but it needs to include choice reimbursement as a whole, not just specifically special education reimbursement.
C. FY12 Budget
DOCUMENT: Pelham Elementary School FY2012 Budget
Mr. Detweiler distributed the final version of the Pelham Elementary FY12 Budget, noting that the adds and cuts have been integrated in the appropriate lines within the budget areas. After a brief review, School Committee members suggested a few minor corrections.
D. Regionalization Update
Ms. Gould reported that a planned Regionalization meeting was canceled due to loss of power in Shutesbury and has not yet been rescheduled. There is nothing new to report since the last Pelham School Committee meeting.
5. Math Update—If Lingering Questions Since Regional Meeting 8:57 p.m
Ms. Weilerstein noted that she believes there are levels of topics that should be addressed at joint meetings with the Regional School Committee and levels that are specific to the elementary districts, and she believes that mathematics is one of those topics. Ms. Geryk noted that the difficulty is having a staff member attend four meetings per month to speak on multiple topics. Ms. Gould said she agrees that it makes sense for reports that are being presented for the first time to be done at one joint meeting with any necessary follow-up at individual School Committee meetings. Ms. Weilerstein stated that some elementary-specific topics could be done in joint meetings of the Amherst and Pelham School Committees. Ms. Geryk suggested that the Pelham School Committee review the report schedule to determine which reports they believe would be beneficial to present at a joint meeting.
8. Calendar 8:57 p.m.
The next Pelham School Committee meeting is September 21 with Regionalization as the only agenda topic.
5. Adjournment 9:10 p.m.
Ms. Gould made a motion to adjourn at 9:10 p.m. Ms. Foley seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
Last updated October 13, 2011