2010-08-19 / News

Jamestown schools offer new policies, methods and looks

By Sam Bari

Melrose and Lawn Avenue schools offer a wealth of change for the better as students prepare to return to the classrooms.

Jamestown School Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lukon said that she was happy to announce that the school committee has adopted a new school volunteer policy that will be in effect at the beginning of the school year in September.

A volunteer is any person who offers to assist teachers, mentor, go on field trips, or perform a service where they are in contact with children, Lukon said.

All school volunteers will be required to submit to a criminal background check before they can volunteer in the schools. “This policy reflects our commitment to provide the safest possible environment for the children of Jamestown Schools,” Lukon said in a letter addressed to parents.

In order to volunteer in Jamestown Schools, two items are required: an approved background check and a signed confidentiality agreement.

The new policy and implementation procedures can be viewed on the Internet at www.jamestownri. com/school/attachments/ Volunteer%20Application%20 Procedure%20and%20Forms.pdf and at the district website.

Background check release forms and confidentiality agreements are posted on the school website, are available in the school offices, and were distributed to parents.

Those wishing to volunteer in the schools should complete these forms and submit them to either school office, the superintendent said.

The release forms will then be forwarded to the Jamestown Police Department for processing. There is no charge to volunteers for this background check.

“The new policy was generated by the school committee in the best interests of safety for our students,” Lukon said. “It is not a state or federal mandate. We are in step with other school districts throughout the state that have adopted similar policies.”

Lukon said that she has received tremendous positive feedback from parents and teachers alike. “So far, we have had no opposition to the policy, and I don’t really expect any,” she added.

“I discussed the matter with Police Chief Thomas Tighe, and he said that the department is happy to help,” Lukon said.

Melrose School

Melrose School Principal Carole L. Melucci said that the school has been accepted to participate in the Positive Behavior Support Participation in Cohort IV (PBIS) program.

“PBIS is a systems approach enabling schools to support and educate all students. It is a proactive approach to school wide discipline which is based on three levels of prevention/intervention to support all students,” Melucci said.

She went on to say that it is not a curriculum, but rather a process for individualized and sustained decision-making, planning and problem solving.

PBIS will be introduced at Melrose School when the students return to classes in September.

Lawn Avenue School

Lawn Avenue Principal Kathleen Almazor said that students would complete the last phase of the summer reading program when they return to class.

At the end of the 2009 spring semester, enclosed in each student’s report card envelope was a copy of “The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success” by Mawi Asgedom.

This book was chosen as the book all students and teachers at Lawn School were to read over the summer. The book was designed to help students set their own goals, overcome challenges in their lives and build strong, positive friendships.

When they return to school on Sept. 2, the students and their advisors will re-visit the book and complete activities from it.

On Sept. 15, with the help of a generous grant from the Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund, Jamestown students and the students from Thompson Middle School in Newport will host a visit from the author, Mawi Asgedom. He will be at Lawn Avenue School on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to speak to all the students. He is a national motivational speaker who provides inspiration to over 100,000 people each year, Almanzor said.

Parents were encouraged to read and discuss the book with their children during the summer. Almanzor said that she hoped parents would see the importance of Mawi’s message to our students.

Building and grounds Director of Buildings and Grounds Lewis Kitts said that the summer has been busy with improvements, repairs, and overall maintenance programs.

Kitts expressed his thanks to the Highway Department for building a new stairway to the playing fields from the Melrose School playground area.

He also reported that the driveway and parking lot at Lawn Avenue has been resurfaced. In the gym at Lawn Avenue, new curtains were installed on the stage and a new sound system was installed. The gym floor has also been resurfaced, Kitts said.

The Melrose school office was divided into two parts, with administration and special education on one side, and school offices on the other.

New Smart Board connections were installed in the Lawn Avenue classrooms and technology stations were installed at the Melrose School for the new computers that should be arriving shortly.

Kitts added that new coats of paint have been applied where needed as part of the overall continuing maintenance program, and that more improvements are in the works as budgets allow.

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