BROOKLINE SCHOOL BOARD
Captain Samuel Douglass Academy
April 19, 2005
Michael Molkentine, Chair
David Partridge, Vice-Chair
Michael Dreyer, Secretary
Elizabeth Eaton, Co-Principal
Lorraine Wenger, Co-Principal
Kevin Stone, Assistant Principal
Kenneth DeBenedictis, Superintendent of Schools
Lee Ann Blastos, Business Administrator
Carol Mace, Curriculum Director
Ruth Bobich, Recording Secretary
Chairperson Mike Molkentine called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Everyone is in attendance tonight. Also present tonight is Rich Pike, who will be taking over as Superintendent of SAU 41 on July 1, 2005. Mike M. introduced him to everyone.
Interviews for the RMMS Principal Position
Mike explained the interview process of the two Final candidates to the audience. The interviews will be held in public, but there will be no public input during the interview process. Each of the school board members has 3-4 questions to ask each candidate. Ken and Rich may also have questions to ask the candidates. After both interviews are finished, the Board will enter into non-public session to discuss the candidates and the interviews. They will then return to public session and offer the job to one of the candidates.
The first candidate to be interviewed is Lidia Desrochers, from East Derry Memorial Elementary School.
Ernie: What do you see is the role of a school board, educationally and organizationally? Lidia answered that she sees it as a support system that will benefit the children.
Clay: Within your lists of accomplishments I see that you "recognized a need for more parent participation". Can you explain in more detail how you recognized that need, what the program looked like, how long it took to fully implement and how it was perceived by the parents. Lidia responded that this was before it was popular for parents to volunteer. Her program included training of the volunteers and ongoing communications with them, and that her program was well received.
Mike D.: In your listing of "Major Accomplishments" you have the following: "Applied leadership and management skills to influence the appropriate behavior of students resulting in a significant decline in disciplinary infractions." And in a letter of recommendation there is a reference to an "80% decrease in the number of disciplinary infractions during the past two years". Can you briefly expand upon this statement and provide additional information about this? Lidia said that it was realized that discipline needed improving. She organized committees to implement new ideas. This had faculty support, and made for a more positive school environment.
Mike M.: At last night’s Hollis School Board meeting they voted to begin a preschool program in the fall. There would be 12 children per class, 6 typical children and 6 special education children. Do you think we should do that in Brookline? Lidia responded yes, that there is a similar program in Derry now, and it works well for the transition of the children.
Dave: How do you view a Principal’s role from children’s viewpoints? Lidia answered that modeling should show what is expected.
Ernie: A situation arises concerning the treatment of students that is being handled by other administrators. The school board is not aware of the situation. What do you do? Lidia responded that she would do what was in the child’s best interests, and bring it to the Board if it was necessary to do so.
Clay: You will be replacing a well liked and respected principal. Can you summarize the qualities and strengths you have that will help you quickly gain the trust and respect of the teachers and staff in order to be an effective leader. Lydia says she brings with her all of her positive qualities, and will have open communications with the staff.
Mike D.: We are facing some difficult budgetary situations in the next couple of years with potential reduction in State funds for education. With this in mind, please describe a situation where you implemented a program or made a change with positive educational results with a minimal financial impact. Lidia responded that one of the things to be done would be to make do with the resources that are given, and to make sure that what is in place is working efficiently.
Mike M.: Could you describe to us your involvement with Special Education? Lidia said that she has had a lot of experience in this area. She is currently in the second year working on a new model that uses clusters and co-teaching, and that it is very successful. Professional development and teacher training is also an on-going thing.
Dave: How do you evaluate teachers? How do you gather your data? Lidia responded that she is accustomed to teachers having two options for evaluation. The first option would include being observed. There would be a pre-conference before the observation, with the objectives and standards that are being worked to asked for. Then there would be a conference after the observation with a formal evaluation. The second option is that teachers can set goals with the administration, discuss them and then practice them, and do a self-evaluation
Ernie: How do you measure success in education? Lidia answered that assessments are used, and success is communicated by the data results being shared.
Clay: Each year one of the most challenging tasks for a principal and the teaching staff is formulating the upcoming year’s student/teacher classroom roster. What has been your experience in handling parental requests for specific teachers and balancing those requests with current teacher recommendations on student needs? Lidia responded that she feels that the professionals best know a child’s needs. The outgoing and incoming teachers confer. Parents can voice opinions and give input, which is sent to the Principal for consideration. Case by case decisions are made when a parent is insistent.
Mike D.: What is your plan for the first 90 days if hired as a principal in the Brookline School District? Lidia said she would need to get to know the "culture" of the school first. She would stay with what is currently in place until she determines that something else is needed.
Mike M.: How would you work with staff to provide a wide range of student needs? What does differentiated instruction mean to you? Lidia responded that ongoing professional development is necessary, as well as open communications. The needs of all need to be provided for, on a multi-level multi-sensory basis.
Dave: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Lidia sees herself being a highly successful Principal in Brookline in 5 years.
Rich Pike: Can you summarize why open communication is so important? Lidia: To avoid misunderstandings.
Ken: One year from now the Chair of the Board says the year was successful. What would you say shows that? Lidia: Comments and feedback from students, parents and the community.
Mike D.: Open communications is important to the Board. Would you provide a list of goals to the Board at the beginning of the year? Lidia: Yes.
In response to other questions, Lidia indicated that she has worked on budgets, worked with the "SNAP" program to identify students with special needs, recently visited other schools to see what they have in place, has one year of experience with a multi-age classroom (grades 3 & 4), and has had experience with grades 1 – 5. She also feels that she has the qualities of a successful educator.
Lidia was thanked for interviewing for the position, and she thanked the Board for giving her this experience. She was informed that she will receive a telephone call later tonight to tell her the Board’s decision.
Long-Range Planning Committee Update
Ernie updated the Board on the long-range planning committee at this time, since the second interview is not scheduled to begin yet. This committee was established at the March meeting. Ernie is the representative from the Board. The committee has of the following volunteers: Don Edson, Peter Cook, Gabe Elkin, Cathlin Daley-Munhart, Maggie Kerkoff, Jon King and Tom Solon. An Administrator is still needed for this committee. Administration will get back to Ernie on this after tonight’s decision on the new Principal. The first meeting of this committee, an organizational one, will be held next Thursday. Ernie also said that he will be the Board’s representative on the Town CIC committee, since it overlaps with this committee.
Continuation of Interviews for Principal
The second candidate to be interviewed is Dr. Anthony Luzzetti, from Spaulding Memorial School in Townsend, MA.
Ernie: What do you see is the role of a school board, educationally and organizationally? Tony responded that the Board sets policy, procedures, and works with the Superintendent.
Clay: I noticed in a letter of recommendation that you were involved in introducing a full day kindergarten within the North Middlesex Regional School District. Did this evolve from a shorter program and if so did the benefits of going to a full day outweigh any additional costs: Tony answered that the program did evolve from a half day kindergarten program. The school did both full day and half day kindergarten classes. The benefits of the full day were that there was more time for activities, and that more activities could be done. Informal evaluation did not show any educational differences between children who attended the half day or full day program.
Mike D.: In a recommendation letter provided by you, an individual writes the following: "One of the qualities I admired most about Dr. Luzzetti was that he was not easily swayed by educational trends. He always encouraged teachers to be eclectic in their teaching methods. He also took into consideration the individual learning abilities of various students." Can you discuss with us briefly your preferred approach to establishing, implementing, and/or working on an educational curriculum for elementary students? Tony said that his approach is not to "jump on the bandwagon" when something new comes out. He prefers to research it first, forming study groups, discussing the pluses and minuses. Then he makes improvements where necessary. Professional development is also important to include.
Mike M.: At last night’s Hollis School Board meeting they voted to begin a preschool program in the fall. There would be 12 children per class, 6 typical children and 6 special education children. Do you think we should do that in Brookline? Tony said he has worked with such a program, and it is an effective one.
Dave: How do you view a Principal’s role from children’s viewpoints? Tony responded that he enjoys interaction with the children, and that the need to connect with children in ways besides academically is important. He likes to meet children coming off the bus in the morning. He enjoys going outside during recess time, and has seen good relationships develop from that.
Ernie: A situation arises concerning the treatment of students that is being handled by other administrators. The school board is not aware of the situation. What do you do? Tony said that he would want to know all of the details, and would call the superintendent and discuss it with him, if necessary, to see what direction to go in.
Clay: You will be replacing a well liked and respected principal. Can you summarize the qualities and strengths you have that will help you quickly gain the trust and respect of the teachers and staff in order to be an effective leader. Tony answered that he would need to earn the respect of others, and that they are all here for the betterment of the children.
Mike D.: We are facing some difficult budgetary situations in the next couple of years with potential reduction in State funds for education. With this in mind, please describe a situation where you implemented a program or made a change with positive educational results with a minimal financial impact. Tony responded that professional development is very important, and can help balance it out. The better prepared the staff is, the better that budget cuts can be dealt with.
Mike M.: Could you describe to us your involvement with Special Education? Tony has had a lot of experience here. You need to work with the parents also so that they are aware of what is going on. Communications with the special education staff is important. What’s done in the classroom for the child is important. Everyone needs to be working as a team.
Dave: How have you reviewed and evaluated teachers? Tony responded that this year alone he has done over 70 evaluations, working with student teachers. He observes in the classroom to know what is going on – what programs have been instituted, what activities are used, among other factors. He takes notes, and conferences with the teacher to review their strengths and weaknesses. He stated that this is a continuous process, and sees it as a positive thing.
Ernie: How do you measure success in education? Tony answered that standardized tests can be used, as well as informal assessments and administrative observation in classrooms. He feels that a variety of assessment tools are needed.
Clay: Each year one of the most challenging tasks for a principal and the teaching staff is formulating the upcoming year’s student/teacher classroom roster. What has been your experience in handling parental requests for specific teachers and balancing those requests with current teacher recommendations on student needs? Tony said that he has put a notice in a newsletter to parents for them to write what they feel they would like for their child. He tries to avoid having the parents name a specific teacher. Teachers at each grade level develop the new class lists, looking at many things. He has had experience with not approving all requests.
Mike D.: What is your plan for the first 90 days if hired as a principal in the Brookline School District? Tony said that he would first want to review the curriculum, meet with the faculty and review what’s been ordered. He wants to spend time with the current Principal to get oriented, and would consider doing this before July 1. He wants to review projects going on over the summer, and also meet the Police and Fire Chiefs.
Mike M.: How would you work with staff to provide a wide range of student needs? What does differentiated instruction mean to you? Tony answered that flexible grouping is important, as well as targeting instruction for a particular group of children, since children are not always in the same place.
Dave: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tony sees himself continuing on, since he enjoys what he does in elementary schools.
Rich Pike: What mechanisms do you use to enhance communications? Tony responded that he uses newsletters, does walk-throughs in school before school starts, has tours for grandparents, and uses an outreach program, parent conferences, curriculum nights, and other things that engage parents.
Ken: Regarding Differentiated Instruction, what could be done to give more opportunities to those who need more challenge? Tony replied that enrichment activities could be used, the library should be incorporated, as could programs such as the Great Books and Inventors programs. He would work with the staff to bring these things about.
Ken: Why should the Board select you for the Principal? Tony answered that he has a range of experience over many years and in different settings. He’s worked with many different challenging programs – outreach, pre-school programs, and sign language being a few mentioned. He also has an excellent educational background. These past two years have also been an enriching experience for him. He’s always learning.
Mike D.: Open communications is important to the Board. Would you provide a list of goals to the Board at the beginning of the year? Tony said that he would work under the direction of the Superintendent, who could review and adjust the goals, and he would work towards them. He would willingly do a goals list.
Ernie asked Tony about his budget experience. Tony has had a lot of budget experience, including revising and reducing budgets, and budget presentations.
Mike M. thanked Dr. Luzzetti and informed him that he will receive a telephone call later tonight to tell him the Board’s decision.
Dave motioned for the Board to enter into non-public session as per RSA 91-A:3II (b),"The hiring of any person as a public employee". Mike M. seconded the motion. By a roll call vote the motion carried 5-0. The Board adjourned into non-public session at 7:55 PM.
The Board returned to Public session at 8:55 PM.
Ken nominated Dr. Anthony Luzzetti for the next Principal of the Richard Maghakian Memorial School.Ernie motioned to offer the position of Principal of the Richard Maghakian Memorial School to Dr. Anthony Luzzetti. Clay seconded the motion. There was no discussion. The motion carried 5-0. Ken thanked Carol Mace for all of her work chairing the search committee. Mike M. seconded that, and also thanked Maggie Kerkoff and Beth Lukovits for all the work they did today for the on-site visits of the two candidates.
There was nothing tonight for Open Forum.
March 22, 2005 BSB Meeting:Ernie motioned to accept the minutes of the March 22, 2005 BSB meeting as written. Mike D. seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Non-public, sealed minutes from the March 22, 2005 BSB meeting:Dave motioned to approve and leave sealed the non-public minutes from the March 22, 2005 BSB meeting. Ernie seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
March 31, 2005 non-public minutes:Dave motioned to accept the minutes of the non-public March 31, 2005 meeting as written. Clay seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
·Nicole Wooley is currently in a Grade 2 interim position. She is being recommended for the new Grade 2 position with 2 years experience, B, Step 3, at a salary of $32,129.
·Susan Patz is being recommended to replace B. Burgher as a part-time school nurse, 3 days/week. She has 3 years experience. The recommendation is for (85% of) B, Step 4. Salary is $27,335/185 = $147.75 per diem
Dave motioned to approve the two recommended staff appointments. Clay seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Sick Leave Bank Committee
Mike D. asked Ken if this committee has been formed yet. Ken responded that Pam Shaw, President of the BTA, has requested that the committee be formed. It needs a representative from the Board and one from the Teachers’ Association. Ken will follow up with Pam to see who their representative will be, and get the committee organized.
Business Administrator’s Report
Lee Ann explained the Expenditure Report to the new Board members. She said that next month she will have a forecast of the unreserved fund balance.
Lee Ann needs the signature of Mike M., the new Chair of this Board, as the second signer on the checking account. She will get the paperwork together for Mike and the bank.
Mowing Contract: Lee Ann talked with Bill Dutton, who broke down the costs using acres to be mowed. CSDA has 8 acres to be mowed, at$120.00 per mowing, 28 mowings, for a total of $3860 for CSDA (this total also includes the charge for fertilizing the 8 acres). RMMS has 4 acres to be mowed, at $80.00 per mowing, 28 mowings, for a total of $2440 for RMMS (this total also includes the charge for fertilizing the 4 acres). The total for the Brookline School District for their part of the mowing contract would be $6300 for the season. Since this amount is over $4,000 bid policy DJC needs to be waived by the Board for this contract to go through.Clay motioned to waive Bid Policy DJC and to use Bill Dutton and his bid for the mowing services for this season. Mike D. seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Warrant Article for the fire and smoke alarms at RMMS: Lee Ann got more vendor information, and also talked with Assistant Fire Chief Scott Knowles. She gave Scott the quotes that she has received. Scott suggested a few more vendors that he has dealt with. Lee Ann will get in touch with these vendors and will get back to the Board on this subject in May. She also mentioned that Scott has requested that everything be completed by August so that he can do an inspection before school opens.
The Food Services deficit is only $4,000 right now, as compared to $18,000 last year at this time. Lee Ann will report about this again in May.
Expenditure Report: 1) On page 1, line item 1100-112-01 (RMMS):the remaining amount of $52,994.53 is due mainly to $11,000 budgeted for lane changes that were not realized, $20,000 when a Master’s position was replaced with a Bachelor’s, and $19,000 saved from a leave of absence. 2) Line item 1100-112-02 (CSDA): The remaining $29,946.73 is mostly due to the un-needed 6TH Grade classroom that was budgeted for. 3) On page 3, line item 1123-615-01 shows a remaining amount of $38,363.61. A credit memo was issued in error, so a debit memo is coming to offset this amount. 4) Bob Kelly will be explaining the Special Education budget at another time. 5) On page 6 the School Board expenses show negatives. These are due to salaries for 2 additional Board members, advertising is over due to the Principal search, Board Expenses because of the policies being updated, and dues. 6) Page 7, line item 2318-301, Legal Services: Special Education legal costs are the bulk of this negative amount. 7) Page 8, Custodial, line item 2600-431: heating in the cafeteria in RMMS and other heating issues at RMMS are largely responsible for this negative number. Lee Ann was thanked for all her work and efforts in getting the information the Board requested of her.
Mike D. asked Lee Ann about two outstanding balances of money.
$32,000 has already been received back from bonds. This is unanticipated revenue, and cannot be spent.
There will be approximately $32,000 received back due to funding errors made last year. Lee Ann does not know when this money will be received. She does not know if we will be able to spend it. If not, it also will go into the unreserved fund balance.
Lee Ann had one item for Mike D. to sign from the Manifest.
Ernie motioned to adjourn the meeting. Dave seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.The meeting adjourned at 9:45 PM.