2010-12-09 / News

School panel ok’s stimulus funds for ‘bookroom’

By Tim Riel

The Jamestown School Committee voted unanimously in a workshop meeting on Dec. 2 to purchase kindergarten through grade six books with stimulus funds that will allow teachers to select appropriate reading materials for their students based on reading level scores.

The books, to be purchased from the Scholastic Classroom and Library Group, will be kept in a resource room – the “bookroom” – at Melrose School. The books will range in genres in all “areas of non-fiction, realistic fiction, informational text, fantasy, and traditional literature,” according to the School Committee Action Notes (SCAN).

Carole Melucci, principal of the Melrose School, and Gwenn Spence, director of student services, reported that the reading materials should be on-site and ready for use by January.

Also on the agenda was an update from the school liaison officer at the Naval War College, Janet McCarthy, on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The goal of the compact is for schools at state and local levels to offer the same opportunities for educational success to children of military families. Since military students often change school districts on a regular basis, the compact seeks to make sure their education is “not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals by inflexible administrative and bureaucratic practices.”

McCarthy provided military enrollment figures to the committee and also reported that Mark Allard, a school social worker, attended a two-day conference on the transition process. She also complimented “the Jamestown administrative team on its collaboration to resolve transition issues for military families” and on the school’s development of a two-part registration procedure to ensure early notification of the planned enrollment of military children, according to SCAN.

The School Committee received an update from Spence on the upcoming Title 1 compliance review, which centers on improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged. The upcoming review by the Rhode Island Department of Education will focus on Jamestown for the Jan. 12 review. Spence received notice of the evaluation in November, stating the compliance review is a process that “includes a long checklist of preparatory tasks required prior to the review.” These reviews must take place every five years, according to federal regulations.

Spence also said that she, along with four Jamestown parents, attended a recent statewide meeting for the Special Education Local Advisory Committee (SELAC). Jamestown’s SELAC is currently planning a forum in February, which will focus on bullying, and is “designed to help special needs students understand and accurately interpret unexpected behavior.” The group will also plan a yoga workshop for special needs children in April.

Lastly, the committee responded to questions from Superintendent Marcia Lukon concerning their preferences for budget design and parameters. Lukon said that the “budget process will be complicated by the need to present line items in the newly required Chart of Accounts format.”

Committee members supported a zero-based budgeting process, which is a “budget that maintains programs that align with the strategic plan and contribute to student achievement; and a budget that provides the resources identified by the administration as necessary for the implementation of the new statewide regulations and evaluation requirements.”

Lukon scheduled budget workshops for Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, Feb. 15 and Feb. 17.

The next school committee meeting will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at Lawn Avenue School. The committee will also hold a joint session with the Town Council on Dec. 20.

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