New Elementary Literacy Program Presented at School Committee Meeting

The new Fountas and Pinnell Elementary School literacy program was a featured presentation during Thursday night’s School Committee meeting.

Approved during the May Town Meeting, the $300,000. curriculum is presently being implemented in 6 classrooms designated as labs—a learning lab, so to speak.  Fourteen staff members are presently working with the new curriculum and its materials.  As this curriculum represents a change in instructional practices, professional development assists teachers to construct and implement the reading workshop model in their classrooms. 

L-R Principal Jaime Slaney and Consultant Cynthia Merrill

Consultant Cynthia Merrill and Placentino principal Jaime Slaney shared prepared a video of Holliston’s teachers working with and speaking about the new curriculum.  All were very enthusiastic about the opportunities for children to read at appropriate levels according to their strengths and abilities.  The Fountas and Pinnell Program is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Video of Placentino ‘Lab’ classroom

Dr. Brad Jackson, Superintendent, announced that the Statement of Interest (SOI) sent by Holliston Public Schools to the MA School Board Association (MSBA) did not advance to the next level.  (They were not invited into the “eligibility pool.”)  Of 61 SOIs submitted, only twelve communities were accepted.  Chair Stacey Raffi said, “We anticipated that the SOI would need to be submitted several times,” as seldom does a first submission result in acceptance. 

Lisa Taylor

During Public Comment, Lisa Taylor, Vice President of Holliston Music and Arts Parents Association (HMAPA), encouraged both parents and students to volunteer for training by HCAT (Holliston’s cable access station) to assist during musical events and concerts.  Taylor and her husband have volunteered for several years and are planning to “retire” from this service at the end of the school year.  Contact HCAT if interested.

Old business included the approval of the 2020-21 School Calendar as well as a vote to maintain the School Start Times approved during  May 2019 School Committee meeting.  Jackson presented the accumulated data and details gathered by the administrative team to judge the “viability” of each of two options that had been brought forward between the May 2019 vote and the November 14, 2019, meeting of the School Committee.  For information, see website: School Start Times Subcommittee

New business focused on two policies: the revisions to “Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services,” and presentation in the form of a first reading of “Educational Opportunities for Children in Foster Care.”  Information about both was presented by Cynthia Listewnick, Chair of the Policy Subcommittee.  Meg Camire, Director of Student Services answered questions from Committee members.

Keith Buday, Business Manager, presented the December financial report.  This current projection identified a $146,219 budget balance.  All warrants were approved. 

The next meeting of the School Committee is January 16, 2020

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Yvette Cain

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