June 14, 2012: School Committee Meeting
by Erica Plunkett 6/23/12
Opening comments of this last meeting for the 2011-2012 year were primarily focused at congratulations to all students, faculty, and staff for a successful year in school.
The Committee and the Administration would particularly like to send best wishes to all those students who are transitioning: 2nd graders, 5th graders, and 8th graders, as they move on to their next schools. Many of the in-school ceremonies can be found on HCAT, so you can watch as many times as you want J
Three students from the High School also shared their thanks and gratitude to Joe Lordan, HHS Music Teacher and Band Director, as he moves to another school further west in the state and closer to family. We echo their thanks and wish Mr. Lordan well.
The presentations of the evening were the annual ones by the Presidents of the Parent groups, all of which do so much to support the Holliston Public Schools:
Leslie Dooley, President of Holliston Music and Arts Parents Association (HMAPA), shared a few highlights of the year. Funds for HMAPA are raised primarily through dues and two fundraisers: citrus sales and pizza and cookie dough sales. At the elementary level, where most of their membership comes from, HMAPA provides chaperones for concerts and band field trips. Most of the grants this year went to elementary school teachers for percussion equipment and general music materials. As well, $800 was donated for a kiln and materials for a start-up clay program. At the middle school, HMAPA provides chaperones for the Memorial Day parade, as well as rehearsal chaperones. They funded a baritone saxophone along, with MSPTSA. At the High School, HMAPA supports the teachers, which this year, included the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival. HMAPA granted $1200 for purchasing cameras and equipment for a new Cinematography course, as well as graduating senior scholarships. HMAPA also supports the Pops concert in January, and the wonderful capstone, Art Saves Lives in June which features K-12 artwork. HMAPA very much hopes that enrollment in music electives will increase so that the .5FTE position being hired currently, due to the departure of Mr. Lordan, will return to a full time position in the 2013-2014 school year. HMAPA hopes to begin fundraising efforts towards refurbishing the out-of-date music computer lab, so that new electives may be developed which will appeal to additional students.
Patty Osten, President of the Holliston Athletic Boosters Association (HABA) was pleased to report that the organization raised over $36K this year to support athletic teams, special funding requests, and senior scholarships. Funds are raised through dues, donations, Thanksgiving Day raffle, and Superbowl Squares. Their primary focus this year has been the concession stand building project. HABA is extremely grateful to labor and materials donations from Ashland Lumber, Brumber Excavating, Chipman Electric, Green Plumbing and Heating, Clinton Design, ME Dellicker Construction, and GLM Engineering. HABA’s achievements this year include increased liaison participation (25 out of 27 teams were represented at HABA); doubled revenue from increased membership; a HABA newsletters; and, an overhauled HABA website launching in a few weeks.
Annalisa Michielli, President of the Holliston PTSA, reported on their achievements for the year. The PTSA is Holliston’s largest parent group, and Mrs. Michielli was very pleased to share that PTSA has raised over $107K this year. $95K went directly back to the schools in the form of Culture Connection activities, technology grants, senior scholarships, teacher grants, and parent education forums. The PTSA supports Destination Imagination teams, the all night graduation party, the ski and snowboard program, the Reflections Art contest, and numerous social events, like the 4th and 5th grade sports night, family bingo and movie night, and 6th grade dance lessons.
Additionally, Mrs. Michielli thanked Elementary School PTSA president, Donald Gray, Middle School Co-Presidents, Kathy Cheever and Dawn Waddell, and High School President, Sally Calhoun. The PTSA cannot accomplish all this with volunteers, so please be sure to check their website www.hollistonptsa.org and find a space for yourself on their volunteer form. Kids whose parents are involved in their educational experience do better in school.
Lastly, Jayne Jones, President of the Holliston Education Foundation (HEF), reported that HEF took a hiatus from their usual programming this year. They needed to evaluate the mission, grant programs, teacher awards, fundraising, and future plans. They would like to re-build the Foundation, but need parents, teachers, and community members to do so. They are committed to the Teacher Intensive Study Grants and this year have awarded Jesse Conant, a Social Studies teacher at RAMS, a $9,500 grant to explore a partnership with Primary Source in Brookline, a non-profit that promotes history and humanities education by providing seminars, institutes, and resources for educators in the Boston area. As well, Mrs. Jones, after nine years as President, is turning over the reins to Annalisa Michielli, who will serve as the next President. This leaves an opening in the PTSA, and there are several interested individuals.
(Editorial note: there are so many ways to join in and support the schools. There is an event or activity that fits every parent talent, expertise, time, and interest, so please, join the fun! Your kids want to know that you are a part of their education.)
The School Committee then voted to appoint the School Attendance Officer (Officer Dave Gatchell) for next year, voted on the revised School Committee meeting calendar (moving the September meetings to the 2nd the 4th Thursdays, to accommodate the primary election), and signed the Conflict of Interest form.
Finally, Dr. Ahern shared an overview of the summer curriculum work. While students are not in the schools in the summer, the schools are vital and energetic places, as faculty and staff engage in planning, professional development and curriculum work. This year, Building Principals, Technology Integration Specialists, and Teachers submitted proposals for summer work. Projects were approved based on their match with School Improvement Plans, the Strategic Plan, and the use of summer hours to accomplish work that is not easily completed during the school year, Dr. Ahern indicated. Proposals emerged in the four following areas (If you have any questions on specific work, please contact Dr. Ahern directly):
1. Transition to 2011 Mass State Frameworks in ELA and Math and WIDA standards for ESL.
2. Implementation of recommendations from previous curriculum reviews
3. Student support services and the promotion of safe school environments
4. Strategic implementation of technology into the curriculum
As well, Holliston Public Schools has put out a brochure of Professional Development regarding the technology integration offerings for teachers this summer. These will range from classes on using Google Docs for education, to Learning Management Systems (Moodle) to Web 2.0 Tools, to SmartBoard technology and document cameras, to website development.
The next School Committee meeting is Thursday, August 23. Central to the agenda will be a Opening Day preview and sub-committee assignments. While School Committee Office Hours have ended for the school year, as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Central Office or any member of the School Committee.
Chair, Holliston School Committee
DID YOU KNOW?... that all four schools and the Superintendent’s Office are open daily (except July 3rd and 4th) from 8:00 am-3:00 pm during the summer?
Posted in Schools.