PTA Meeting Minutes 4/27/17

2017-18 School Year Changes: there are presently 21 general education classrooms and they are all at maximum or over max capacity. The 2017-18 school year will have the following 23 general education classrooms with the following configurations: 4 kindergartens, 4 first grades, 3 second grades, 3 third grades, 1 2/3 combined grade classroom (Jen Greenstein), 4 fourth grades, and 4 fifth grades.

In order to accommodate the two additional classes, the following moves will be made. In the first grade wing, a classroom currently used by 3 ELL (or other specialist?) teachers will be made into another first grade classroom, with those three teachers moving to a smaller space.

The music room will be moving upstairs to the teacher’s lounge/lunch room, and the teacher’s room will move to a smaller space by the gymnasium.

Superintendent Mary Czajkowski is carefully tracking enrollment across the district and assigning incoming families to schools that have space for those particular grade levels so that any one classroom at a given school isn’t burdened with being over capacity. This will continue moving forward.

Multi-grade class, grades 2 and 3: Jen Greenstein is a seasoned teacher and has taught a multi-grade classroom before. There will be 10/10 configuration of 2nd graders and 3rd graders. There have been other successful multi-grade classrooms in the district in the past, at Hastings, Bridge, and Bowman. The measures of success will be the same as always, looking at growth, confidence in students, etc. The 2/3 combined classroom may or may not continue into the new Hastings building.

Letters were sent to all 1st grade parents and all of Jen Greenstin’s current student’s parents to inform them of the new configuration and to allow them to opt out. The response deadline is Tuesday, May 2. There will be a range of learners in the classroom, though not an incredibly wide range. Science and social studies curriculum will alternate between second and third grade, with the class being taught 3rd grade topics first, and the following year, 2nd grade topics. There will be a lot of small group instruction for math and ELA. This model will provide the opportunity to not only have the same teacher, but facilitate small group learning and cater to those who will benefit from upper grade curriculum and lower grade curriculum. Recess will include both 2nd and 3rd grades (longer recess and lunch with third grade, shorter recess combined with second and third) so kids can see their grade-level friends. Field trips go along with the curriculum, so this year the class would likely attend the third grade field trip destinations.

Executive Committee Elections:

Co-Presidents, Nicola  Rinaldi and Kate Criniti

Secretary, Candice Dancer

Treasurer, Julia Weng

VP Planning & Board Development, Amee Desjourdy

VP Communications, Audra Myerberg

VP Technology, Mahesh Kulkarni

VP Fundraising, Elizabeth Lin

Voting: all unanimously voted in

 

Other:

Outdoor storage shed: presently not large enough to hold supplies for the annual Halloween party, BBY, Harvest Run, etc. Also, the shed is falling apart and animals are getting in, leaving waste, etc. Further, a lot of stuff (about 20%) is lost each year due to the changing of hands, etc. A new shed is needed and the land has to be prepared (leveled, etc). With the new Hastings being underway, it’s a good time to put aside space for the footprint of the new shed. The cost will likely be somewhere between $6,000-8,000 for a 20×24 shed. Should there be a dedicated fundraiser for this? One to two volunteers are needed spearhead the project.

Voted unanimously for the PTA to undertake the new shed project.

Sidewalk on Lincoln Street (Hastings and Bridge districts):  A group is supporting the construction of a sidewalk on Lincoln St. south of Marrett Rd. and the organizers of the project have asked for our PTA support. During discussion, points were made that more information is needed. For example, we should have someone from the Sidewalk Committee give a presentation. The Hastings Site Council has two members who have a wealth of information on sidewalks that we could contact. We should become more informed before agreeing to provide our support since it is a town-wide issue and impacts many residents. (There are also groups supporting sidewalks for both Cedar Street and Hill Street.) Concerns were raised about getting involved in a political issue.

Voted unanimously to indefinitely postpone discussion of Hastings’ PTA support of sidewalk projects.

PTA versus PTO: PTA dues are approximately $1,500 per year and we don’t utilize the services provided, essentially paying in solely for the PTA to cover us a non-profit for our tax exemption. There is a cost associated with the transition to PTO and we have to file independently to become a non-profit entity for tax exemption. Other schools in the district are PTOs (LHS and Fiske included). The transition money has already been budgeted. The paperwork process takes about one month to complete and will be done by Kate Criniti. According to our by-laws, the EC has to vote to dissolve the PTA and then issue a 30-day notice to all PTA members to vote whether or not to dissolve the PTA and transition to a PTO. Nicola will email all EC members for the initial vote.

 


School Committee Meeting – January 19, 2016

School Committee Meeting – January 19, 2016 Meeting Notes

 
Reading Packet

The reading packet for the 1/19 School Committee meeting can be found at
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/19Jan16SCAgendaPacket.pdf

Announcements

Bridge School was evacuated on Tues 1/19/16 due to gas leaks and children were evacuated to LHS (they had to walk there).  Lots of parents voiced concern about recurring gas/heating problems, evacuation plans/procedures (especially given cold temps), and emergency notification procedures (email vs. text).  School Committee and Superintendent are working with Pat Goddard about facilities issues and School Committee will be working with parents to get input as to evacuation and communication protocols.

METCO Scholarship Fund

It is the 45th anniversary of the scholarship; there is now online giving and METCO facebook page.  Trying to expand fundraising to help METCO students through college, and not just getting into college.   Can get to METCO site from LPS site.

Planning Board

Charles Hornig from Planning Board spoke about a proposed zoning change to create a new “Governmental – Civic Use” district to rezone property in Lexington that is owned by government that is proposed to be used for non-residential purposes (currently the school buildings are zoned as residential).

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Anonymous survey done at LHS in Spring 2015; done every 2 years in Feb/March since 1995 and first time in 2015 for middle schools

Stress (through homework and planning for college/future) is a big issue at LHS and stress / suicide is also an issue in middle school

For more detail, see the Executive Summary of the survey in the School Committee meeting packet at
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/19Jan16SCAgendaPacket.pdf
For more information about the Youth Coalition (that is working to address student stress and wellness) email lexcoalition@gmail.com.

Permanent Building Committee Appointments

Will be additional seats open on PBC for modulars at Fiske, Bowman and Bridge (total of up to 6) and Hastings

2 appointments each for Clarke and Diamond (total of 4) were announced.

  • Mr. Goodell (Hastings/Diamond parent) and Bill Hurley (School Committee member)– Diamond
  • Mr. Hobbs and Ms. Chase (both Clarke parents) – Clarke

Extended Day

Desire to do before school in elem school and after school in middle school, but not feasible currently due to limited space / other activities competing for limited space and construction happening (and World Languages being discussed which would extend the elementary school day)

FY Budget 2017 Discussion

The School Comm meeting this Saturday will also include a hearing for input on the budget. 
Presentation can be reviewed at:
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/365/FY17%20Budget%20Presentation_Final%207.pdf

If budget hearing for this Sat gets cancelled due to snow, alternate dates for 2nd hearing are Tues, Jan 26, 2016 7 pm and Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 10 am

Special Announcements

Several neighboring towns received bomb threats at schools on 1/19 but Lexington schools did not.
Please submit your family census information, even if your child does not attend Lexington public schools.

Next Meeting
Next Meeting on Sat, Jan 23, 2016, 10 am at LHS Auditorium and is public hearing on Superintendent’s budget (pending snow).


School Committee Meeting – December 15, 2015

School Committee Meeting Notes from December 15

The agenda and corresponding information packet for the meeting can be found here.

  • Capital Projects update (post special town meeting #1) – by Dr. Czajkowski – modulars at Fiske, Bowman and Bridge (and possibly Estabrook) are to provide relief only and not an opportunity to redistrict students into those modulars.
  • Placement and distribution (how many modulars per proposed school) by the end of January 2016. Pat Goddard confirmed that date.
  • Redistricting for fall 2016 could affect the number needed at each school. While consultants may not have their finding completed before January, Pat Goddard stated there would still be time to change quanties per location after January.
  • Elementary World Language reintroduction (cut in 2006) was discussed with a new timetable, budget line item request and needed committees were suggested. The School Committee expressed their concerns with costs but also excitement about world language enrichment for our elementary students.  Public comment was expressed in favor of program. 3-2 voted in favor of a position to be created to work with the Superintended to formulate an Elementary World Language program.

School Committee Meeting – December 1, 2015

Agenda for the meeting can be found here.

At the School Committee Meeting on Tuesday, December 1 the School Committee discussed the multiple school projects being considered as part of the capital plan. The Committee spent time with the Superintendent and Director of Public Facilities preparing for and clarifying their motions and recommendations for the Special Town Meeting #1 and the Board of Selectman meeting to be held Wednesday, December 2.

They approved a broad motion for the Town Meeting asking for $5,386,000 for the design, engineering, and architectural plans for new school buildings and additions, including the purchase of up to 6 modulars for elementary school use. Continued planning for a new Hastings is included in this amount. There was conversation about whether the Committee wanted to recommend leasing or purchasing the modulars. The ultimate consensus was that they would recommend purchasing the modulars as the more fiscally responsible and flexible option. The Superintendent requested that the School Committee allow school administration to come back to them with a specific recommendation for how to best use the additional spaces at elementary schools. The Superintendent expressed comfort, in general, with asking for up to 6 modulars.

The Chairman also asked if others were interested in reconsidering a brick and mortar possibility at Harrington. This included conversation about LCP and the considerations around whether or not LCP should have a free standing building or be part of an elementary school. Interest was expressed in asking to receive additional design and schematics for a brick and mortar addition to Harrington. There were concerns that without this consideration the town may not be addressing the overcrowding at the elementary school level. Director of Public Facilities, Pat Goddard, requested that the Committee wait until they receive the Harrington report due from DeNisco in December. Once they have that report in hand, they can consider what additional work they might want to consider.

There also was conversation around the middle school needs and the options presented at the Nov 17 meeting. The middle school principals both encouraged the School Committee to recognize that choosing the second option, which did not include additions to Clarke, meant endorsing middle school class sizes at both schools of 28 – 29 students. They suggested the optimal class size to be 22 – 25 students. There also was recognition that some of the class size tension Lexington experiences is, counter intuitively, due to the plethora of class offerings (ex. choice of world languages, math levels, etc), in addition to the team sizes.

The Committee formulated a request to the Board of Selectman for the release of previously approved funds to continue work on plans for Diamond and Clarke, begin design work for purchase of 6 modulars, and the reallocation of funds to study redesigning central office space for LCP use.

 


School Committee Meeting – September 8, 2015

Meeting Notes – September 8

School committee meeting 9/8/15 Agenda and meeting packets (including enrollment information) at http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/08Sep15SCAgendaPacket.pdf

Superintendent/School Comm Member Announcements:

  • Dr. C to meet with DA to talk about what Middlesex partnership for youth can offer
    Lextended day at Bridge to start in October, 60 slots.
  • Top 3 issues from parent survey – overcrowding, stress, parents.
    Homework policy will be brought forward at next admin council meeting. Next meeting 10/7.
  • National Park Service has a program for all fourth graders – download form off National Park Service website – go into national parks for free. DC art is also participating.
  • Dr. C to look into mitigation of excessive heat (and cold in the winter) in the high school and follow up with Pat Goddard.
  • Everyone in town should have received fall recreation bulletin and lex community ed bulletin – sign up
  • 9/24/2015 is the first safe routes to school room meeting 237 9:30am
  • Please bring in emergency forms. Medication, allergy, contact information needs to be at every front office / nursing office.
  • The parent academy was well-received last year and will occur again this year at Clarke, topics to include stress, cognitive development, sexual abuse.
  • The chair of the permanent building committee, Dinisco, Pat Goddard and the Capital committee reviewed applications from 9 firms who have indicated interest in diamond, Clarke, fiske etc. construction – selected 6 to be interviewed at end of September.
  • Interviews are underway for a new SC secretary. Minutes from meetings since April are not on the website but available as hard copy if you contact SC – will be on web soon.
  • Large community meeting for Lexington Youth Coalition on 10/7 6:30-9:30.

Funding of outdoor classroom construction at Bridge:

  • The Bridge school seeks to conduct three fundraisers for their proposed outdoor classroom and are asking for SC approval. Plan would be for stadium style seating, handicap accessible, for a single class or whole grade, possibly for community use – approx. cost 20-30K. Fundraising would include a fun run, auction, and spring fling. Passed unanimously.

2015-2016 enrollment numbers:

  • Projected vs. actual difference of 6 fewer students, versus Dr. Ash forecast in 2014. Overall increase of 2%. School by school projections – EWG working on more reliable school based projection to have numbers for 10/1.

Budget:

  • Timetable for budget approved, budget guidelines approved. PTA presidents happy to have per pupil expenditure included.

Proposal to move Hastings ILP to Diamond:

  • Currently students in the Hastings ILP go to Clarke middle school, the director of the special education department wants to build capacity at Diamond for Hastings ILP to go to Diamond instead.
  • Clarke does a great job of transitioning students – but this has been an ongoing issue, not moving with building peers. Social connections are part of the hallmark of the autism disability – disappointing to ES that the social connections from Hastings are lost.
  • Would like to request additional capacity at Diamond (possibly two more classrooms, $2M, discussed with Dinisco) for this program. Two classrooms going into courtyard.
  • SC received email from Lex SEPAC/SEPTA – shared with committee – express support for proposal outlined by ES to change feeder patterns for ILP.
  • Concern about how the transition would happen – recommendation to move one grade at a time, only rising sixth graders.
  • Plan – additional 3385 SF, $2,054,000 cost. Two classrooms between new construction and wing built in 2007. Two floors. Efficient, centrally located, both near stair and elevator.
  • No financial savings at Clarke, but would gain one more classroom / better educational space.
  • Additional discussion on long term view for the ILP program, use of rooms, sharing of resources between intensive ILP and ILP.
  • Motion to consider moving ILP from Clarke to Diamond and provide space needed, in context of looking at both middle schools without incurring cost of $2M. Passed 3-2

Fiske brick and mortar construction:

  • Discussion as to whether to propose at summit meeting on 9/16/2015 to move forward with design of a 26-classroom addition vs. 24 or 27. Vote to propose 26-classroom addition as ideal cost/benefit.

Other projects:

  • Vote to propose moving forward with design plans for cafeteria relocation at Diamond rather than expansion of existing space.
  • Vote to fund a study of mechanical systems (steam, hot water) at Diamond to have information before moving forward with design of addition.
  • Vote to request construction funds for replacing temporary partitions at Clarke with permanent walls to increase acoustical privacy and significantly improve the educational experience.
  • Vote to study renovation and upgrades to science rooms to support current educational paradigms at Clarke and Diamond – both are original furniture and designs.
  • Vote to propose approval of construction funds for renovation of current LCP rooms at Harrington to be appropriate for additional elementary classrooms, assuming LCP moves. Plan is to have ready for 2016-2017 school year.
  • Vote to approve funds to complete study of costs and opportunities for additional classrooms at Harrington.

The superintendent presented her draft goals for the 2015-2016 school year. She will meet with SC members, then finalize goals at the next meeting.


School Committee Meeting – Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Report on School Committee Meeting
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Full agenda and materials available at: http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/28Apr15SCAgendaPacket.pdf

Several important items were discussed at the School Committee meeting on April 28, 2015.

  • Permanent building committee looking for members: The school committee has the opportunity to appoint members to this committee to focus specifically on the large school building projects. A letter is available on the Lexington Public Schools website (http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/4/PBC%20Invitation%20to%20Apply.pdf). Please consider applying if you are interested in contributing to this important (and time-consuming) process!
  • Update on building planning, including Hastings:
    • The process has begun in earnest to implement the planning process approved at special town meeting. The same architect and project manager used for the Estabrook project have been hired. The architect has already met with various stakeholders at each school and presented their initial thoughts to Dr. Ash and the central office staff. The architect is starting to consider different options and determine what is feasible. One initial finding is that it would be feasible to build a Hastings School that includes a preschool on the existing Hastings land, but it is possible this would mean losing the baseball field. Dr. Ash emphasized that all of these explorations are in the early stages.
    • A series of three meetings with the public will be held to continue the exploration process. These meetings will be part of the process leading to a more substantial report at the June 16 School Committee meeting.
  •  May 4, 7pm @ Clarke MS: To focus on the middle schools
  • May 5, 7pm @ Fiske: To focus on Fiske, Bowman, and Bridge
  • May 12, 7pm @ Hastings: To focus on Hastings
  • Hill & Co., the project manager, will manage a website about the project. This will be linked by next week to the Lexington Public Schools site and is expected to be updated every two weeks.
  • Roundtable about Lexington Youth: Roundtable about Lexington youth to be held on June 2. This will be an opportunity for multiple town committees to join together to discuss goals regarding young people that might take multiple perspectives. This roundtable might lead to the creation of a Lexington Youth Commission.
  • Discussion of 2016-2017 school calendar: The committee voted to start school before Labor Day in 2016. (This is also the plan for next school year, 2015-2016. The calendar for the upcoming school year was previously approved and is available at: http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/4/1516Calendar27may14.pdf)
  • Technical report on redistricting: The School Committee was presented with a technical report about redistricting approaches. This was not intended to be used for any immediate action but was to start gathering information. Using GIS software and conversations with other local districts, the report focuses on three approaches to redistricting, including their pros and cons. The committee and superintendent emphasize that this is merely to inform discussions. The report is available at: http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/28Apr15SCAgendaPacket.pdf
  • Decision made to address Fiske overcrowding in 2015-16 school year: The committee unanimously approved converting an art classroom into a general education classroom for next year. This was chosen over the option of assigning incoming kindergarten students without an older sibling at Fiske to Estabrook. The Fiske PTO, superintendent, and principal all supported this option.

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