2006-03-23 / News

NK parent hopes towns will share special education services

By Donna K. Drago

A member of the Special Education Local Advisory Committee (SELAC) from the town of North Kingstown addressed the School Committee at their March 16 session, asking the Jamestown board to consider sharing special education services with the neighboring town.

Sharon Schubert, a co-chairwoman of the SELAC, wrote to the School Committee, and her letter was discussed under correspondence. Schubert was in the audience and said that she had recently seen a presentation by William "Bucky" Brennan, the Jamestown liaison to the North Kingstown School Committee, that extolled the benefits of the Lawn Avenue School at that committee's March 8 meeting. Brennan was making a case for taking in some of North Kingstown's junior high students if they make potential major renovations to the Wickford Middle School.

Schubert, the parent of a special-needs student, said that she had recently observed the co-teaching class at the Melrose Avenue School, and she had found it to be a different approach to the special education services offered in North Kingstown. She asked if Jamestown would "tuition-in" special-ed students from another town.

"How can we get the talks going?" Schubert asked the committee.

Sipala told Schubert that there was currently no policy to either accept or not accept tuition-paying students from another district, but the request would have to come from the North Kingstown administration.

She advised Schubert and her SELAC to make a pitch to NK school superintendent.

"This would take awhile," Sipala said, but added, "It's not impossible."

In other business, the school board:

+ Approved the retirement request of grade 2 teacher Mary Lou Dudley, appointed Glenn Hopkins the Lawn baseball coach, and approved a twoyear professional leave of absence to Sara Sweetman, who wants to participate in the GEMS-NET teacher-in-residence program.

+ Unanimously approved the third and final reading of the "Family Vacation Policy," which "discourages vacation time beyond that already provided within the school calendar." The policy goes on to say that for any families choosing to take vacations outside the allotted times, advance requests for make-up work "will not be honored."

+ Approved the 2006-07 school calendar that will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and end on Tuesday, June 19. The holiday break will be from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, and there will be three no-school days for teacher conferences and professional development on Nov. 7, Dec. 1, and March 16.

+ Learned from the superintendent that the current enrollment at Melrose school is 267, Lawn, 247, and there are 242 students at North Kingstown High School.

The next School Committee workshop is April 6 and the next business meeting is on April 27.

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