2008-05-22 / News

Jamestown students to exhibit at national showcase in New Orleans

By Michaela Kennedy

The Jamestown School Committee unanimously agreed to allow a team of Lawn Avenue students to attend a conference in New Orleans at the School Committee meeting on May 15.

Teacher Maureen McGuirl and four of her eighth grade students were selected to represent Rhode Island at the Project Citizen National Showcase in New Orleans, July 22 to 25. The school committee asked McGuirl to discuss Project Citizen, a federally-funded education program that teaches students about government and public policy. McGuirl said the students will present a portfolio of work in a public hearing showcase, in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Meeting. The trip is paid for by the Center for Civic Education.

In other business, committee chairwoman Cathy Kaiser and Superintendent Marcia Lukon reported that collaboration with the Narragansett School Department might be possible. Together with Town Administrator Bruce Keiser and Town Council President Julio DiGiando, they met Narragansett Town Manager Jeff Ceasrine, Superintendent Kathy Sipala and School Committee Chairwoman Ann Masterson on April 23. The group brainstormed on possible collaborative efforts, including a review of special education programming in both districts in order to identify opportunities to serve students or eliminate duplication of services.

In the superintendent's report, Lukon thanked Melrose Avenue school nurse Renie Sullivan for her outstanding work in initiating and organizing wellness activities and programs for Jamestown teachers and staff. Because of Sullivan's efforts, the Jamestown School Department has been recognized by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, which selected Jamestown to receive the Achievement Worksite Health Award.

In her report, Lukon said she received a request from a student to attend Narragansett High School in order to participate in that school's agri-science program. The committee is scheduled to vote on the request at the June 5 meeting.

In the principal's report, Kathy Almanzor noted that the school panel received copies of the Melrose School Accountability of Learning and Teaching report. The Lawn SALT report has not yet been released by the Rhode Island Department of Education, but is expected by June's workshop meeting, according to Almanzor.

In a discussion about the upcoming budget, the committee agreed to explore avenues of funding the capital budget with less reliance on the unreserved fund. The committee also agreed to send an invitation to the Town Council to join committee members for a work retreat in August.

In a wellness committee report, liaison Julia Held said that, rather than adding tobacco use to the substance abuse policy, a separate policy for tobacco was considered. Also in the wellness report, school committee member Julie Kallfelz suggested the panel members meet with the Town Council on June 9 to review Rolling Agenda's final plans for infrastructure improvements in and near the school grounds.

In a legislative report, Kaiser said that she submitted written testimony opposing House Bill 7957, a funding formula under which Jamestown and eight other school districts would receive no state aid.

Early in the meeting, the school board heard a reading of the Jamestown Town Council Proclamation Commemorating Teacher Appreciation Week. The proclamation urged the community to "pay tribute to our teachers," from May 4 to 10.

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