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					Approved Minutes by the School Committee November 7, 2005




        REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                         OCTOBER 3, 2005

The regular meeting of the Fitchburg School Committee was held in the Library Media
Center of Memorial Middle School, 615 Rollstone Street, on Monday, October 3, 2005.
Chairperson Mylott called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m.

Present
Mayor Dan H. Mylott, Chairperson
Mr. Dave Clark, Vice-Chairperson, arrived at 7:15 p.m.
Mr. Glen Capone, arrived at 7:35 p.m.
Mr. James Connors
Mr. James O’Donnell
Mrs. Lisa Moison
Mr. Patrick Magnan

Also Present (Administration/Staff)
Mr. André Ravenelle, Superintendent
Ms. Paula Giaquinto, Assistant Superintendent
Mr. Thomas Sugrue, Business Manager
Mrs. Dianne Reardon, Recording Secretary

I.      SALUTE TO THE FLAG
        The meeting opened with a salute to the flag.

II.     APPROVAL OF MINUTES
        None

III.    COMMUNITY CONCERNS/INPUT
        None

IV.    COMMITTEE/INDIVIDUAL REPORT
       Alicia Allen, representative from Fitchburg High School, spoke on the start of the
school year and recent/future events at FHS. She spoke on the MWCC College Fair on
September 21, 2005, as well as the well attended parent open house on September 28,
2005. Alicia also shared the upcoming events calendar which included the October 10-
14 Spirit Week, the October 14th pep rally, the homecoming game on October 14th, and
the October 22nd costume dance from 7-10 p.m. November 2nd is the Mr. FHS contest.
November 3rd is the Powderpuff Football Game at Crocker Field. No questions were
asked, and Mr. Mylott thanked Ms. Allen.



School Committee Minutes                                                       P. 1
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005


    V.     SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT
       Recognitions:
            Student of the Month, Reingold Elementary
       Mr. Ravenelle introduced the principal of Reingold Elementary, Mr. Spencer Riley.
Mr. Riley addressed the committee and introduced teacher Katie Solan.

        Ms. Solan spoke about Brittany Velez, a fourth grader in the PALS Two-Way
Bilingual program at Reingold, and had been a part of the program since the first grade.
Brittany started the program with her language dominance being English, and is now
proficient in both English and Spanish. Brittany is a conscientious, hard-working
student, always willing to lend a helping hand. Her kind and patient manner makes her
well liked by all. Outside the classroom, Brittany enjoys art and participates on a soccer
team and cheerleading squad. She also adds much to the lives of the resident she
visits at the nursing home where her handicapped aunt resides. Brittany is the
daughter of Mary Lee Velez and Miguel Velez, Jr., as well as the younger sister of
Miguel Velez, III.

         Mr. Mylott presented Brittany with a framed certificate.

          Student of the Month, Memorial Intermediate School
      Mr. Ravenelle introduced the principal of Memorial Intermediate School, Mr. Fran
Thomas. Mr. Thomas addressed the committee and introduced teacher Sean Walker.
Mr. Walker spoke about Paige Newsham, a 7th grader.

        Paige is an exceptional young lady, having achieved Special Honors for every
term in both the 5th and 6th grades, meaning she has never earned a grade below an
“A” since she has been enrolled at Memorial. This has continued into 7th grade, as she
is currently doing “A” level work in all her courses. In addition to her academic
achievement, Paige is a polite, personable and respectful young lady, whom every adult
enjoys.

         Paige says math is her favorite subject, and that she finds it interesting.

       Outside of the classroom, Paige’s passion is basketball, which is, by far, her
favorite sport. She played for both the school team and the city league, and she
excelled for both. Currently, she is a member of the Fitchburg Middle School Field
Hockey team, and she plays softball in the city Lassie League as well.

       Paige cites her older sister, Kat, (who was in attendance) as one of her role
models, because she knows how to treat people and has always been there for her.
Paige aspires to attend and play basketball for Duke University, and to study law.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of having Paige in their classroom or school has no
doubt that these goals are within her reach and that she will be successful wherever
she goes. Memorial is proud to name Paige Newsham as their student of the month.

Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                                 P. 2
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005


        Mr. Mylott presented Paige with a framed certificate.

            Student of the Month, Fitchburg High School
      Mr. Ravenelle introduced the principal of Fitchburg High School, Mr. Rich
Masciarelli. Mr. Masciarelli addressed the committee and spoke about Danielle Gibbs.

        As a member of the senior class, Danielle brings her passion for learning and her
caring, outgoing personality to enrich our high school community. She is the daughter
of Melvin and Kwajalein Gibbs (staff member at B.F. Brown M.S.) and sister of two older
brothers, Joshua and Melvin (FHS graduate of 2004). She moved to Fitchburg from
Fort Devens at age two and has attended Fitchburg Public Schools for her whole
academic career. Danielle is a special honor student whom takes learning seriously.
Her favorite subject is history, while her best subject is English. To her, these subjects
go hand in hand. She enjoys exploring the literature and primary source writings of the
historical era that she is currently studying, and understands how the content of one
perspective can illuminate the other. Math, however, is more challenging for her. She
says that she has finally begun to “think out of the box” and look at things differently.
This has helped her to feel that she is really starting to “get” math this year.
Additionally, Accounting I and II and Business Finance have been a focus for her
planning a future college major and career.

       Being of service is a major value for Danielle. She serves FHS as an active
member of the African-American Club and as member of the Christian Youth Group. In
the community, she has acted as a teaching assistant at the First Church after school
program by helping younger students with their homework and generally aiding the
lead teachers any way that she can.

       She is a Youth Leader at Beautiful Gate Church of Christ, teaching Sunday
School, leading activities, assisting with children’s church, and generally being a positive
role model for the younger ones. She sings in choir, plays the drunks and is the studio
production person for her church. She is also the youngest member of a Gospel group
that performs at various churches in our region.

        Danielle’s goal for college is twofold: to gain knowledge and to train for a career
that is fulfilling, which will allow her to live a comfortable life. Accordingly, she is
interested in pursuing a major in business and, in combing it with a minor in music and
audio production if possible. With her solid values, goals, work ethic and upbeat
character, Danielle has contributed much to our school and our community. We know
that in the future she will represent us with honor in whatever she chooses to do and
wherever she chooses to go. We are pleased to recognize her as student of the month
and congratulate both Danielle and her family.

        Mr. Mylott presented Danielle with a framed certificate.


Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                                P. 3
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

        Mr. Mylott called for a three-minute recess.

        The meeting was re-adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

       Communication:
           Appointment of Recording Secretary
       Mr. Magnan commented on the appointment of a new recording secretary. He
spoke about Patti Piekarz, and the wonderful job that she did as recording secretary in
the past. He suggested that a letter and/or token thank you gift be drawn up to thank
her for her services. Mr. Ravenelle agreed and will take care of it.

       Discussion Items:
            Expanded Year Learning Grant
       At the September 19, 2005 meeting, Mr. Ravenelle spoke on applying for the
expanded year learning grant. He needed a letter of support from the FTA, and, since
he was not provided with this letter of support, the deadlines have passed and we will
not be able to apply for this grant.

       Mr. Magnan thanked Chad Raddock, FTA President, for providing the information
so quickly. He also wants to see the detailed letter from the FTA.

       Mr. Connors asked why our FTA would not sign on and support this grant when
other communities are looking into the expanded day.

      Mr. O’Donnell read that 20+ cities/towns applied for this grant, which will
lengthen the school year. Chad Raddock’s letter puzzled him.

       Mr. Clark asked Mr. Ravenelle if the longer day grant is “vague” and does it need
“toning up”.

         Mr. Ravenelle replied that approximately 20 communities have applied, but 45
communities had investigated. All or nothing was one of the problems. We inquired
about just applying this to kindergarten, and that was not an option. This aspect made
it difficult. It had to be grade level, district-wide and there were time limitations.
These issues could have been explored if we entered the exploration process. Funding
was another issue. The investigative year would have answered some of these
discrepancies.

      Mr. Clark suggested that we keep an eye on the communities that are going
through with the expanded year.

        Mr. O’Donnell asked for the count on the vote from the FTA.

        Mr. Raddock replied that it was unanimous of executive board.


Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                             P. 4
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005




           Enrollment Update
       Ms. Giaquinto presented a 2004/2005-comparison document on enrollment. She
noted that the enrollment is running a little higher from 2004 to 2005. She noted that
the Pre-K class at Goodrich makes a difference in their count. Also, she spoke with Mr.
Silverman at Academy Middle School and he has adjusted his Mascot Team staffing to
keep class sizes down. The enrollment is finalized on October 1, 2005. The comparison
Ms. Giaquinto presented is still unofficial, as it is dated 9/30/05.

        Mr. Magnan asked when the final numbers would be available.

       Ms. Giaquinto replied that usually the enrollment numbers are finalized by the
end of October. There is a clarification process that needs to be done with the SASIDs
(Student Assigned State ID #), and this is usually accomplished by the end of October.

           School Coffees
       Mr. Ravenelle shared his comments on the school coffees that have begun. He
has had one at Academy Middle School and McKay Elementary School so far, with
others scheduled as follows:

        Crocker Elementary           Wednesday, October 12th at 1:45 p.m.
        B.F. Brown Middle School     Thursday, October 13th at 9:00 a.m.
        Goodrich Kindergarten        Tuesday, October 18th at 9:15 a.m.
        Memorial Middle School       Friday, October 21st at 9:00 a.m.
        Reingold Elementary          Tuesday, October 25th at 8:30 a.m.
        South Street Elementary      Tuesday, November 1st at 9:15 a.m.
        Fitchburg High               Wednesday, November 9th at 7:45 a.m.

      Mr. Ravenelle stated that ConnectEd is used the night before the coffee to notify
parents, however, feedback has been to have the phone calls more in advance so
parents can take care of childcare needs, excused work time, etc. Mr. Ravenelle will
now make sure these calls are at least two days in advance.

      Mr. Ravenelle spoke of the need for a good web site for the Fitchburg Public
Schools where lists of activities, such as these school coffees, could be posted and
updated. These are the types of items he would like to see readily available on a web
site.

        Budget Items:
            Grants
        Kate Martin provided handouts on four grants.



Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                           P. 5
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

       Kate needs the School Committee’s recommendation to SUBMIT the following
collaborative grant:

        Title:                  Interventions and Practice Research Infrastructure
                                Program
        Funding Source:         National institute of Health
        Fiscal Agent:           Cambridge Health Alliance
        Partners:               Cambridge Health Alliance, Fitchburg Public Schools,
                                Malden Public Schools
        Funds Available:        Maximum of $400,000 per year for five years
        Target Schools:         Memorial Middle School
        Type of Grant:          Competitive
        Purpose:                Provide evidence-based mental health care in community
                                settings that is sensitive to the patients’ social and
                                cultural needs.
        Highlights of
        Proposal:               - Develop a school-based infrastructure that links
                                immigrant and linguistic minority children and families
                                in need of mental health services to appropriate services.
                                - Will provide a part-time social worker at Memorial School
                                to work with limited English-speaking students in need
                                of services.
        Status:                 In process.

       Kate needs the School Committee’s recommendation to SUBMIT the following
collaborative grant, which Kate added, will enable children to work on reading
achievement levels in high school:

        Title:                  Striving Readers Program
        Funding Source:         US Department of Education
        Fiscal Agent:           Fitchburg Public Schools
        Funds Available:        TBD
        Target Schools:         Memorial Intermediate School, B.F. Brown Middle School,
                                Academy Middle School, Fitchburg High School
        Due Date:               November 14, 2005
        Type of Grant:          Competitive
        Purpose:                Seeks to raise the overall level of reading achievement in
                                middle and high schools by improving the quality of
                                literacy instruction across all subject areas.
        Highlights of
        Proposal:               - Will provide intensive targeted intervention for
                                struggling readers
                                - Participants will work with the Education Development
                                Center (EDC) supported Literacy Team in support of the
                                major components

Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                                 P. 6
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

        Status:                 In process.



       Kate needs the School Committee’s recommendation to ACCEPT the following
collaborative grant:

        Title:                  Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for
                                Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)
        Funding Source:         US Department of Education
        Fiscal Agent:           Mount Wachusett Community College
        Partners:               Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg Public
                                Schools, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Boys and Girls
                                Club, Latino Coalition
        Funds Awarded:          $769,565.00 year one – Total awards over six years –
                                $4,459,965. Matching funds total $4,571,484.
        Type of Grant:          Competitive
        Purpose:                Increase academic performance and preparation for
                                post-secondary education, increase the rate of high
                                school graduation and participation in post-secondary
                                education and increase students and their families’
                                knowledge of post-secondary education options,
                                preparation and financing.
        Highlights of
        Proposal:
                                th     th
                Begins with 6 and 7 grade for the 2005-2006 school year and
                  continues through graduation
                Develop effective and enduring alliances among schools, colleges,
                  students, parents, government and community groups
                Grant allows up to a maximum of $800 per student; FPS and MWCC
                  matched funds dollar for dollar (in-kind matches are acceptable)
                Includes significant professional development
                Funds full time Math Curriculum Coordinator position for the first three
                  years
        Status:              Awarded
        Comments:
                In June 2005, FHS completed a six-year Gear Up grant with the 2005
                  senior class.
                Gear Up will present a formal presentation to the School Committee.

        Kate added that the Fitchburg High School class of 2005 was the last class that
utilized the Gear-Up grant. They are currently in the process of hiring a director. Once
that director is hired, they will make a formal presentation to the committee.

        Mr. O’Donnell questioned whether we had previously approved this grant.

Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                               P. 7
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005


        Kate replied that we were looking for a vote to ACCEPT it.



       Kate needs the School Committee’s recommendation to ACCEPT the following
collaborative grant:

        Title:                  Competitive Academic Support Services –
                                Work and Learning Programs
        Funding Source:         Massachusetts Department of Education
        Fiscal Agent:           Mount Wachusett Community College
        Partners:               Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg Public
                                Schools, North Central Workforce Investment Board
        Funds Awarded:          $35,372.
        Type of Grant:          Competitive
        Purpose:                Provide intensive instruction in English Language Arts and
                                mathematics through Work and Learning programs to
                                students in the classes of 2003-2007 who have not yet
                                passed the 10th grade MCAS
        Highlights of
        Proposal:
                Students will participate in in-school MCAS tutorials while also
                  completing a rigorous strand of career and college exploration
                  activities.
                Students will participate in a six-week, thirty-hour internship designed
                  to provide students with an intensive experience in the field they are
                  choosing to enter upon graduation.
                A part-time Academic Counselor will tie in the academic and career
                  strands.
        Status:               Awarded

      Kate added that this grant would work with students who have not yet passed
       th
the 10 grade MCAS.

      Mr. Magnan questioned Mr. Ravenelle about the part-time counselor position and
whether it would be a new position.

        Mr. Ravenelle’s reply was yes.

        Mr. Connors asked about grants for English teachers to learn Spanish.

        Kate replied that she would investigate it.



Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                                 P. 8
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

       Tess Mayer, Principal of B.F. Brown Arts Vision School, spoke about “The Bitty
Foundation” grant. She explained how the person in charge of this grant came into the
school regarding an issue and was impressed by the way it was handled. In turn, this
parent recommended the school for this grant, and the grant was awarded to B.F.
Brown Arts Vision School.

       Ms. Moison, seeking clarity, asked if someone simply walked into the school and
offered $20,000 for needs of the school.

       Ms. Mayer replied that he was in a meeting and he was impressed with the
attitude of the school and after that meeting, called Ms. Mayer and discussed how the
money would be used, and decided to award this grant to B.F. Brown.

        Ms. Moison remarked that we should send this person a thank you note.

       Mr. Magnan remarked at how pleasant it was for a grant to come to us instead
of us chasing it down.

       Mr. Clark asked what the grant would be earmarked. He wanted assurance that
it would not be used to pay salaries, etc.

      Ms. Mayer replied that the grant would be divided between Science, Math and
Technology.

        Mr. Clark asked if there was a time frame in which the grant had to be spent.

        Ms. Mayer replied yes, one year, and there will be no problem spending it.

       Mr. Ravenelle mentioned that we don’t give ourselves enough credit when we do
positive things. Someone comes into this school, likes what they see, and we end up
with this grant.

      Ms. Mayer added that we also learned that we never know what our actions
might bring us.

       District and School Performance:
            MCAS results
       Mr. Ravenelle discussed the MCAS scores. He expressed his need for some
history regarding the scores in this community. He can say, however, that this staff
cannot work any harder, but they must work better. Staff needs materials and
professional development opportunities in order to achieve this. He mentioned that
some areas are successful and some are not, and questioned that. There is a flattening
of scores that is statewide. Ms. Giaquinto is looking back at the last few years and will
come back to the school committee with a more in depth look at the MCAS scores.


Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                             P. 9
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

      Ms. Giaquinto spoke on the MCAS scores and provided a Preliminary Status
Report. Highlights included:
       McKay Campus Elementary School, testing in grades 3 and 4, achieving AYP
         in English Language Arts and Mathematics for all cohorts, removing the
         school from identification as a school in need of improvement.
       Memorial Intermediate School, testing in grade 5 in Science and
         Technology/Engineering and grade 6 in Mathematics, achieved AYP for all
         cohorts.
       District-wide, at grade 6, in Mathematics, students achieving Advanced
         increased from 3% to 6%; Proficient increased from 11% to 23%; Needs
         Improvement increased from 35% to 40%; Warning decreased from 51% to
         32%, since 2003.
       District-wide, at grade 10, in Mathematics, students achieving Advanced
         increased from 16% to 29%; Proficient decreased from 24% to 20%; Needs
         Improvement increased from 26% to 31% and Failing decreased from 34%
         to 20%, since 2003.

        The challenges are:
         Three schools identified as schools in need of improvement: B.F. Brown
           School; Memorial Intermediate School (sub-groups only); Fitchburg High
           School (sub-groups only).

      Ms. Giaquinto remarked at how it only takes one student’s test that doesn’t
“bubble in” correctly, and this can throw off the entire score for that sub-group.
However, if this is resolved, the sub-group status will be erased.

        Mr. Magnan asked what we were doing to catch these kinds of problems.

       Ms. Giaquinto replied that we do discrepancy reporting. We have two
opportunities to do this reporting. One is done in August. We have asked for copies of
the tests as well.

       Mr. Magnan asked if there was a way we could be sure that the test is complete
before the test is over, and before the student leaves the classroom.

        Ms. Giaquinto pointed out that there are 1800-2400 documents in each school
and it is very difficult to keep papers in line. She added that it only takes a very small
problem that can cause this to happen. They do have barcodes to help bubble them
correctly, however we need to be highly vigilant.

        Ms. Moison remarked that during testing time the staff is drained and she asked
if there was any extra money for added staff.




Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                               P. 10
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

      Ms. Giaquinto replied that there was no money for added staff, but some schools
give motivational snacks, etc. This test has to be taken in one day and it is untimed.
The seriousness of this test is definitely known to the students.

           One school identified as in corrective action: Academy Middle School.

      Ms. Giaquinto remarked that since there is a new principal at Academy, the
Department of Education is giving us time to get the school on track.

           Three elementary schools did not achieve AYP, although Crocker had
            achieved AYP since 2000, and South Street’s previous AYP was recognized
            recently by attaining Compass School status.
           District-wide, throughout grades 3-10 in Reading and English Language Arts,
            the improvement rate for scores is flat. This is similar in Mathematics at
            grades 4 and 8.

       Ms. Giaquinto remarked on the improvement rate being flat in grades 3-10. She
explained that we need to examine the root causes.

           Attendance at FHS impacts on district attendance data towards achieving
            AYP.

       Ms. Giaquinto added that attendance in FHS is not included in their AYP, unlike
the elementary and middle schools.

       Mr. Connors asked if attendance at FHS take into the consideration of the
seniors’ absence due to graduation?

       Ms. Giaquinto stated that no, the seniors are taken into consideration and their
absences do not get recorded against FHS. She added that the attendance rate at FHS
is 89-90% and the goal is 92%.

       Mr. Connors asked how attendance is recorded regarding being tardy or early
dismissal. He questioned whether a 16-yr-old that is considering quitting school and
takes a month to decide, are his absences recorded against the school.

      Ms. Giaquinto replied that tardy or early dismissals are still marked present for
attendance. Absent is only for someone who never comes in for that day. Yes, if
someone is absent for a month prior to quitting school, those absences are being
considered as absences.

      Mr. Magnan asked what we are doing to raise the attendance levels at the high
school?



Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                             P. 11
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

       Ms. Giaquinto replied that they are restructuring courses for 9th grades to have
more academic success. Mr. Masciarelli is looking into program and grant opportunities
for students. There is also an active PTO at the high school now.

        Mr. Ravenelle added that he would like to investigate the Renaissance program.
He spoke to PTO members regarding this and it was something they are interested in.
He also mentioned that the ConnectEd has an attendance piece to notify parents when
children are not in school. This frees up staff also. Involvement of the home will be
the difference in attendance.

           District-wide, performance compared with the state targets or improvement
            targets were not met for all subgroups except white students in ELA, and for
            African American, Asian and white students in Mathematics.

        Ms. Giaquinto mentioned the need to examine the performance in MCAS for
every group of 40 or more. Some schools don’t have large enough numbers of each
sub-group, but most have the different cohorts. These schools have 90 days to revisit
their plan to help these groups improve.

      Mr. Magnan complimented that our school district was doing a great job in
maintaining our scores, especially with budgetary cuts and more demands on staff.

      Mr. Connors questioned whether the sub-groups all take the same exam, even
SPED and ESL students.

       Ms. Giaquinto answered yes. There is one group of SPED students that do not
take the same exam, but they have to be specified able to take that exam. There is 1-
2% self-contained and very disabled, which will take an alternative assessment.

      Mr. Connors asked whether, even with accommodations, is the test still taken in
one day.

       Ms. Giaquinto replied yes. It is an untimed test, but if it’s started today, it needs
to be finished today.

      Mr. Connors mentioned the importance of knowing that whether the student is in
advanced placement or is ESL, the same exam is taken.

      Mr. Ravenelle added that more diversity could work against you. He added that
40 or more students is considered a sub-group, and their scores are considered totally
separate. However, if the number is below 40, it is blended into the whole cohort. If
you have all subgroups in your school, it puts you at risk for falling AYP, and it shows
another aspect.



Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                               P. 12
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

           Short answer and open response questions posed the most significant
            challenge for students in Mathematics and Science, Technology/Engineering
            all grades.

       Ms. Giaquinto mentioned item analysis: Individual student and by subject.
Among multiple-choice questions, for the most part, our students answered similar to
the state answers. We have a number of non-answered questions on the tests in open
response questions. Multiple-choice questions are almost 100% completed; yet the
open response questions are more common to be left blank.

           The writing prompt/long composition in ELA poses the most difficulty. Within
            the writing task, topic development vs. the use of Standard English
            conventions (mechanics, grammar, punctuation, etc.) has attained the lower
            scores points.

      Ms. Giaquinto remarked that our students score better in Standard English
conventions than in topic development.

The Improvement Initiatives are:
       The District will continue providing technical assistance to schools in need of
         improvement through PIM training. Test Wiz training, CSR grant, MMSP
         grant, and SEI , SpEd and Title 1 professional development to assist in
         deeper root cause and item analysis.

       Ms. Giaquinto mentioned the Fall classes: The “.5” Math class. This is the 6th
class we are offering here and presenting about in Harford. Approximately 125
teachers have been involved.

           The District will continue to provide technical assistance to and monitor
            implementation of improvement activities at Academy Middle School, which
            was identified for corrective action. Corrective action taken: School
            Structure – Restructuring the internal organization of the school; new
            principal in place.

       Mr. Ravenelle added that there was a meeting the following day at Academy
Middle School. The school is under corrective action and they have the support of the
entire school district. No need to pit school against school. We need to focus on unity
of school district.

           Restructuring of the middle schools to a grade 5-8 configuration was
            accomplished.
            The District will examine student performance issues and continue to align
            professional development with identified needs. Ex: CSR grant-funded Math,
            grade 5-8 benchmarking and progress monitoring (Gallileo assessment);
            MMSP Edutron/MIT Mathematics courses and Mathematics conference.

Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                            P. 13
               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005


       Ms. Giaquinto mentioned that math is still a challenge area. Math/Science
partnership is on track. There are three district-identified staff attending leadership
training. They are Paula Giaquinto, Kathy Brady and Eileen Spinney. Mr. Lamey had
enrolled them prior to his retirement.

           For 06-07 budget development, the Superintendent will initiate a process to
            begin – early in the year – aligning identified needs to potential resources.
           District-identified staff will continue the 2-year training program through NISL
            and work with the Superintendent who will coordinate Leadership training for
            all administrators.

        Museum Partnership School Repairs
       Mr. Mylott presented a report and cost estimate of work to be done on the
Museum Partnership School, which is estimated at $925,000.00. Mr. Mylott requested
that everyone looks this over and returns a recommendation on how to move forward
at that school. There have been structural problems repaired, but nothing permanent.

       Mr. Ravenelle mentioned that he has looked into this problem in the past couple
of weeks. He has no history regarding the building, but that is not at question here. It
must be a safe place for students and teachers. Are there resources to address what
needs to be done? What are we looking for as a final result? Are we looking for
alternative settings?

        Ms. Moison remarked that the cost is well over the $800,000 mark. The program
is priceless. The students and teachers need to be in a healthy environment that is in
close proximity to the Art Museum. She would be interested in an alternative if it could
meet the criteria of maintaining the integrity of the program as well as the close
proximity to the Art Museum. The program will be looking to expand in the future. She
also mentioned that at the open house of that school, most parents’ questions were
regarding the safety of the building.

        Mr. Connors added that this building is historical and that there are possible
grants to renovate a historical building. He has also been a proponent of the “campus
environment” between this school, B.F. Brown and Academy. There is a unique
situation in their close proximity and that we should consider that as an option. If it
takes $1 million, then we have to do that.

       Mr. Mylott appreciated Mr. Connors support, but the $1 million price tag may not
cover the entire project to bring the building up to the level the students deserve.

       Mr. Magnan added that Mr. Lamey had told us last year to get a new roof due to
the leaking. Windows were also an issue. This is a LOT of money and he is not sure if
the taxpayers will want to sink money into this building. He believes in the campus
environment also, but we need to begin with the roof.

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               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005


     Mr. O’Donnell questioned whether the MPS School had lost its objective and has
become a school of “elite”.

      Mr. Clark assured Mr. O’Donnell that this isn’t the case. His own two children
attended the school.

       The issue of convening a Building Needs Committee was discussed. Also,
discussed was the possibility of purchasing McKay from Fitchburg State College.

       Mr. Capone added that he worse thing we could do is to NOT repair the current
building. This building has been in use since 1869 and, regardless of what students are
in that building, it needs to be fixed. We will not get the city to build another school, in
his opinion. The idea of purchasing McKay is a good idea, but abandoning this building
is NOT a good idea. Back in 1972 it should have been fixed, but now it is $1 million to
fix. Back in 1999, had we built a bigger high school, we wouldn’t have this problem.

      Mr. O’Donnell mentioned that around Academy Street there used to be two
elementary schools. One was demolished to make a parking lot. This one is not
salvageable and should also be taken down.

      Ms. Moison commented that we have an immediate need for action on this
program, but we also need a building committee convened in the long term. She
agrees that $1 million is just the tip of the iceberg. She also added that all kids are
accepted that apply to this school.

      Mr. Magnan made a motion to form at a subcommittee for building issues and
make a priority list.

     Mr. Connors remarked that there need not be a motion for the formation of the
committee.

        Mr. Mylott will set up the committee.

      Mr. O’Donnell asked why the students couldn’t go into B.F. Brown to do their
academics?

        Mr. Ravenelle does not mind looking into alternatives, but has a split committee
at this time. He is trying to assure students, staff and parents that the building is safe.
There will be costs to move the classrooms into even an existing facility. He expressed
his need to address short and long term safety issues. He is looking for direction from
the committee.

      Mr. Mylott mentioned that the school is safe, but it cannot stay the way it is.
The children cannot occupy this facility all year. $40,000 is just to replace the beams in

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               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

the lobby. We need to make a good decision regarding the $40-50k just to fix this
problem.

          Mr. Clark asked how many children are attending the school.

          Mr. Ravenelle replied 189 students as of today.

          Mr. O’Donnell likened the school to the “big dig”.

          Mr. Ravenelle will come back to the next meeting with a plan.


    VI.       ACTION ITEMS

           A motion was made by Patrick Magnan and seconded by Glen Capone to
            approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to accept the grant of $20,000
            from a private foundation called “The Bitty Foundation”. This foundation is in
            the Memory of Elizabeth Amory Jasmine McClellan. Motion passed 6-0.
           A motion was made by Patrick Magnan and seconded by Glen Capone to
            approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to accept the grant titled:
            Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR
            UP). Motion passed 6-0.
           A motion was made by Patrick Magnan and seconded by Glen Capone to
            approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to accept the grant titled:
            Competitive Academic Support Services – Work and Learning Programs.
            Motion passed 6-0.
           A motion was made by Patrick Magnan and seconded by Glen Capone to
            approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to submit the grant titled:
            Interventions and Practice Research Infrastructure Program. Motion passed
            6-0.
           A motion was made by Patrick Magnan and seconded by Glen Capone to
            approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to submit the grant titled”
            Striving Readers Program. Motion passed 6-0.

    VII.      DISCUSSION ITEMS

          Level 3 Sex Offender at FSC
           Mr. Magnan noted that it was reported in the newspaper that there was a
 level 3 sex offender registered at Fitchburg State College. Mr. Magnan asked about
 the security of the children that attend McKay.

          Mr. Ravenelle has been in conversation with the college. Starting in
September, the safety concerns were brought up. It is very difficult to secure a
building on a college campus. The college may install card swipe locks. The movement
of students who use the “A” building has been rerouted. There are TV monitors of the

Fitchburg School Committee Minutes                                             P. 16
                REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                 OCTOBER 3, 2005

hallways in the Asst. Principal’s office. There are 4 hallway points that were identified
as isolated from the college if 4 doors were locked from the outside. There is a college
security person at McKay while school is in session. Mr. Ravenelle feels comfortable
with the security.

             Mr. Capone noted that in last week’s packet from Mr. Ravenelle, Governor
Romney’s Education Reform Package included an appropriation of $54 million to equip
each middle/high schooler with a laptop that they can take home. He found it curious
that $54 million could go further with textbooks.

    VIII. COMMUNICATIONS

            None.

    IX.     OLD BUSINESS

      Mr. O’Donnell mentioned that in the packets he received a form from the
Superintendent entitled “Superintendent’s Evaluation Form” that he could not read.

       Mr. Ravenelle replied that the copy was from a FAX and that clear copies would
be forwarded to the committee.

    X.      NEW BUSINESS

          None.

    XI.     COMMUNITY CONCERNS/INPUT

       Chad Raddock, President of the FTA, responded to the tone in which the
teachers were referred to regarding the Expanded Year Learning Grant. There were
serious concerns regarding the longer day. The facts did not answer added salary
benefits or questions the teachers raised. As a teacher, there are good and bad
funding times. The Executive Board is NOT opposed to a longer school day. They need
to see professional development, and who will pay when/if the grant runs out? He will
return with numbers of supplies, resources and textbooks needed by teachers. They
need more information.

         Margaret Serpa, educator and resident of Fitchburg, spoke on the needs of new
facilities and improvements on existing facilities. She has been here for 13 years. She
noted that we have paid over $700,000 each year for a rental of McKay and portable
classrooms. She wants to be considered for the Building Committee.

       Yvette Cooks – running for School Committee and resident of Fitchburg – spoke
on how small things are more dangerous at the schools than the big things. She also
noted that regarding the MCAS results, overall the teachers are doing an outstanding

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               REGULAR MEETING OF THE FITCHBURG SCHOOL COMMITTEE
                                OCTOBER 3, 2005

job. She added that MCAS has no history because it hit us so fast. She asked if we
were helping out one another. She questioned whether we were incorporating MCAS
into the curriculum. She asked about technical assistance.

       Mr. Magnan responded to Mrs. Cooks’ question regarding mechanisms used in
teaching. He mentioned that he uses a recorder since he has attention deficit. Some
children cannot write, listen, etc.

      Mr. O’Donnell also added that Ms. Serpa forgot to add the $100,000 to rent two
rooms in the Art Museum

    XII.    EXECUTIVE SESSION

         None.

    XIII. ADJOURNMENT

       Motion was made by Mr. Clark, seconded by Mr. Capone, to adjourn the meeting
at 9:10 p.m. The motion was approved unanimously 6-0.

                                              Respectfully submitted by,

                                              André Ravenelle
                                              Secretary to the School Committee, and
                                              Superintendent of Schools
AR/dmr




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