2009-05-14 / Front Page

School committee considers party policy banning outside food

By Eileen M. Daly

The School Committee closed its May 7 meeting with a first reading of a school parties and celebrations amendment to the student nutrition policy.

School committee members anticipate a possible resistance to this amendment, which prohibits people taking food into the school for school parties or celebrations, such as cupcakes or birthday cakes brought in by a parent.

The committee asked that a statement of the rationale for prohibiting food at parties or celebrations held during the school day be added to the amendment. The second reading of the amendment will be held at the June 4 workshop and will be advertised in the Warrior to allow for parental input.

Students of Melrose school art teacher Jan Kraus gave a show and tell to the committee about a recent assignment that combined art with real-world solutions. The children were asked to imagine the array of difficulties a person with a disability might encounter during an average day at school. The students then had to develop a solution for these difficulties. They were not to attempt to "cure" the disability, Kraus said, but instead develop methods of rectifying the problems they identified. The students were also asked to develop tag lines and logos to accompany their inventions.

Five students shared their advertising posters and logo designs with the committee while explaining their various inventions. Using the logo of a hand touching a computer screen, Eliza Kallfelz, 10, began the presentation with an invention to assist the blind. Blind students would feel the vibrations on the screen and be able to follow the lesson, Kallfelz said.

Isabelle Piccerelli, 9, followed Kallfelz and presented her Math Writer idea, a device that would allow deaf people to type back and forth with the teacher in order to communicate. Her tagline was "Touch and Feel."

Marco Greco-Byrne, 10, then presented his Rolling Ramp, a device designed to help wheelchair bound students participate in out- door activities. "The wheels lock into the ramp so they can glide down," Greco-Byrne said. He used two capital Rs as his logo design.

Madeleine Hirsch, 10, wanted to assist blind students in the lunchroom. "I invented a Speaking Food Identifier," Hirsch said, "and I used a hamburger on a plate for my logo." Her invention would identify various foods for blind students by having them press a button located near the available food choices in the lunchroom. A voice would then identify the foods for them, Hirsch said.

Finally, Wells Gregory, 10, presented his R-claw, a device designed to assist wheelchair bound students. "My problem was that kids in wheelchairs can't reach things that are too high or bend too low to reach things," Gregory said. The R-claw, a retractable claw like device, would allow these students to reach things, Gregory said.

After seeing Gregory's presentation, School Committee member B.J. Whitehouse quipped, "When will it be available? I could use one of those."

Without missing a beat Gregory responded, "I'll be making them at my house and they will be available soon for $29.95."

At the close of the class presentation, Superintendent Marcia Lukon commended Kraus for creating an excellent lesson.

In other business:

Town Councilor Mike White read a proclamation declaring May 3 through May 9 "Teacher Appreciation Week." The proclamation urges all citizens to pay special tribute to teachers during this week.

The committee completed first readings of policies on employee illegal harassment, student sexual harassment and dating violence, and kindergarten admission. Second readings will be held at the May 21 business meeting.

The next business meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be held on Thursday, May 21. The next workshop meeting will be held on Thursday, June 4. All meetings are held in the Lawn School library at 7 p.m.

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