Liaison bows out, test scores down
With the Town Council canceling all but one of its meetings leading up to the Nov. 6 election, Councilor Mike White followed suit and told the School Committee at its Sept. 20 meeting that he would no longer attend meetings as the council’s liaison.
“I emailed [School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser] and told her I would attend all the meetings until my term ran out,” he said. “But that’s useless because nobody can really do anything.”
The reasoning for White’s decision is the same rational behind Town Administrator Bruce Keiser’s recommendation to cancel the Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Nov. 5 council meetings. Instead, the lame-duck council will wrap things up on Monday, Oct. 15.
Also, a joint meeting between the School Committee and the Town Council that was scheduled for earlier this week was postponed. The two panels are expected to discuss other post-employment benefits once the new council is seated.
“I’m honored to have served with all of you during the five years ... and I regret that I can’t do that anymore,” said White.
White did make one request before exiting his final meeting as the Town Council liaison: that he be a representative of the community when a strategic planning committee is established. White left to a round of applause and echoes of “thank you” from School Committee members.
In other news, administration shared its disappointment in science results from the latest New England Common Assessment Program report. A detailed analysis will be prepared for the committee’s Oct. 16 meeting.
Fourth-grade scores showed no increase compared to last year’s scores, while eighth-grade scores have gotten worse. There are now fewer students scoring proficient than in 2011. Curriculum director Kathy Almanzor said that administration is taking the drop “very seriously” and will look into the data to identify contributing factors.
In the superintendent’s report, Dr. Marcia Lukon said that the number of mandatory sessions for professional development required by the state Department of Education has been a challenge because of the small administration in Jamestown. The meetings, which have focused on software and technology that will be used in implementing new evaluation procedures, has made it difficult to ensure that there is proper administrative coverage at the two island schools.
Also, the committee looked at data from Ken Duva, director of student services, in regard to the Extended School Year program. The program is for students who need extra work to maintain the progress they have made during the school year. It’s not summer school – students don’t have the option to retake a class they failed. For students to be eligible, they must have a diagnosed disability that results in an Individual Education Plan, which is a series of goals and objectives for a specific student.
Over the summer, 30 of the 35 students recommended for the program attended. Another eight students joined ESY programs in another school district.
In other business, Julia Held, liaison to the North Kingstown School Committee, reported that the panel appointed Larry Ceresi as the new assistant principal of teaching in North Kingstown. Also, North Kingstown School Committee Vice Chair Dick Welch resigned so he can run for Town Council, and the ninth-grade curriculum at NKHS will be changed to include physics.