2006-03-02 / Front Page

Island schools send out teacher pink slips this week

By Donna K. Drago

School Committee members met Monday night for a short agenda that included approving the notification of eight teachers that their contracts may not be renewed for the coming school year.

Superintendent Kathy Sipala said that by state law teachers must be notified by March 1 if their job status is to change. Once all letters of resignations and retirements come from the current teaching staff, some of these teachers on notice may be recalled or allowed to bid on another job at the schools’ June job fair, Sipala added.

The committee’s vote was unanimous to approve notice to the teachers whose contracts may not be renewed.

Three of the teachers put on notice are not tenured. They are Kristen DeSantis, who teaches grade 8 English; Nicholas Alfred, in grade 7 math; and Patricia McDevitt, a special education teacher in the autism program.

Julie Calise, a pre-school teacher, was notified because she does not have the required special education certification to continue in her current position.

Three teachers coming off oneyear appointments to replace teachers on leave were notified. They are Thomas Carney, in grade 7 English; Erin Covell, in grade 3; and Carole Melucci, a grade 2 special educator.

Faith Kaplan, the Lawn Avenue music teacher, was notified that Karyn Kauffman will be returning from her leave next year.

Sipala said that all notifications went out by mail. She also spoke to the teachers personally, and the teachers’ union was notified of the non-renewals, she said.

Sipala noted that the annual job fair would be held a little later in June this year. “We want to put it off until we see our numbers more firmly,” she said.

Having spoke to an administrator at the Naval War College recently, Sipala said that they should have their student numbers and family profiles for the fall semester by May, which would give Jamestown an idea of how many transient military children would be in the area next year.

In other business, the School Committee:

• Discussed under correspondence that some parents have expressed concern over the content and use of the so-called “social” Web sites, like MySpace.com.

Committee member Jim Filkins asked if something could be added to the upcoming Educational Awareness Day, scheduled for March 11, and if information could go home to parents in the Warrior, the Jamestown School newspaper.

William “Bucky” Brennan, the father of two teenage girls, said about the Web sites, “It’s unbelievable what’s on there.”

• Discussed briefly, under upcoming meetings, a presentation that Brennan will make to the North Kingstown School Committee about the Lawn Avenue School with the intention of encouraging North Kingstown to send students here during the future reconstruction of the Wickford Middle School. Brennan said the students would be displaced or have to be taught in trailers and the Lawn school would be a good alternative to that.

He will make that slide show and presentation at the March 8 meeting, Brennan said.

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