Office of the Superintendent of Schools Memo To CC by eminems

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									                                                             Office of the
                                                      Superintendent of Schools


Memo
        To:     School Committee
        From: Dr. Denise Messina, Acting Superintendent of Schools
        CC:     All Staff, Website
        Date:   May 21, 2008
        Re:     Superintendent’s Report


HATTS Off…
(Highlighting Accomplishments and Talents of Teachers and Students)

   •   I am pleased to announced that the following students have had their poems accepted for
       publication in the Spring edition of A Celebration of Young Poets: Jessica Willis for
       “Humanity” (12th grade); Melinda Blankenship for “The Broken Heart Blues” (9th grade);
       and Joe Martin for “Time Gone By” (9th grade). In addition, our former student,
       Danielle Catuccio was chosen for her poem ‘True Love.” Jessica’s acceptance was her
       second this year.

   •   Special Congratulations to the 2008 Distinguished Service Award Recipient
       Roseann Chojnowski, one of our High School English Teachers.

   •   Thank you to all staff that assisted with and supported the “Random Acts” assembly
       programs and follow-up discussion groups. The two assemblies on May 2nd (grades
       9-10 and grades 11-12) were coordinated by Ms. Scully and the Bullying
       Committee at MHS. “Random Acts” was performed by the Chester Theatre
       Company, a professional group located out of the Berkshires. The play examines
       the personal damage that can be caused by bullying and hazing in the school
       setting. The performance was outstanding and relevant. After each assembly, the
       students returned to homerooms where faculty members facilitated follow-up
       discussion.

   •   Kudos to Maryanne Malinowski and Michelle Loglisci for securing the Mass.
       Department of Elementary and Secondary Education state-funded competitive
       grant to purchase transportation routing software for our district. This grant is for
       $11,725 and of the 64 districts that applied, only 34 were recommended for
       funding.




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   •   Michelle Loglisci spoke to the attendees (business officials & transportation
       managers) of the MASBO meeting held on May 13th. Danny Tassinari attended the
       meeting with her. Michelle’s presentation was about owner/operator transportation vs.
       contractor. She shared information on the benefits and obstacles, and the information
       needed to present an owner/operator budget proposal to administration and school
       committee for consideration as an option to contracted transportation. She also
       provided handouts to support this information. Karen Wentworth has copies of these
       handouts if you would like one to review.


   •   Sharon Rondeau will be honored as the recipient of the Sullivan Award by the
       Commonwealth of Massachusetts Middle Level Educators at their Scholar Leader
       Banquet on May 29. The Sullivan Award is given by COMMLE for a middle
       level educator who exhibits tireless dedication to middle level education and
       outstanding commitment to young adolescents.

       In addition, two students from each middle level school in MA who have
       distinguished themselves in terms of outstanding scholarship and leadership will
       also be honored at this same dinner. The two students from Granite Valley
       Middle School are 8th graders Lindsay Redman and JordanWhittemore.

   •   Congratulations to all the retirees honored at the annual Monson Teacher’s
       Association Retiree Dinner on May 16th at Tony and Penny’s Restaurant in
       Ludlow. Retirees recognized for their time with our district were:

               o   Donna Bellefeuille
               o   Roseann Chojnowski
               o   Desiree Dewey
               o   Ronald Lemanski
               o   June Slozak
               o   Daniel Tassinari


Budget Info & Updates
Monson’s Annual Town Meeting was held on Monday, May 12th with the residents in
attendance approving the district’s budget dollar amount requested by the School Committee
plus the additional $180,000 requested by the Selectman/Finance Committee.


School Committee Info & Updates
The Hillside revenue RFP’s have been completed and mailed to various day-care providers such
as HEC, The Learning Factory and Youth Services Department of Springfield. In addition, ads



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will be running in the Journal Register on May 22nd, and in the Goods and Service Bulletin on
May 26th. Bidding opens on May 27, 2008 and closes on June 16, 2008.

The Quaboag Highlanders have expressed interest in renting space for $300/month, and this will
be factored in after they supply the requested proof of insurance.

Hillside Offset Feasibility

As you know I have met with one educational collaborative and one day school program
interested as potential tenants of Hillside. As of today, the day school program has let me know
that they are not interested in relocating at this time. The educational collaborative is still
pursuing the option with the appropriate authorities in their organization. If our own students
participated in programs at this organization, we would also benefit from a savings in
transportation in addition to the building usage revenue.

Community Event
Monson Free Library presents The Piatigorsky Foundation featuring guitarist Jack Sanders.
This one hour music event is free and is being held on May 21st at 6:30 pm at the library.
Attendees will be able to meet the artist afterwards.

District Calendar

   •   May 15 – Bus Evacuation Drill – All Schools in the morning when buses arrive
   •   May 16 – MTA Friends of Education Retirement Dinner
   •   May 20 – MHS/GVMS Faculty Combined Meeting – 2:30 pm – GVMS Auditorium
   •   May 21 - 22 – MCAS Math Testing – High School
   •   May 22 – 23 – Final Exams – High School Senior Class
   •   May 28 – Graduation Awards Night – 7:00 pm – High School Cafetorium
   •   May 29 - Scholar Leader Banquet (DCU Center, Worcester, 6:00 pm)
   •   May 29 – Baccalaureate Service – 6:30 pm – First Church of Monson
   •   May 30 – Graduation – 7:00 pm – High School Gymnasium
   •   June 2 & 3 – Grade 4 students tour Granite Valley Middle School
   •   June 3 – 4 – MCAS Science Testing – Grades 9 – 10
   •   June 4 – Teaching and Learning Council meeting
   •   June 5 – Athletic Awards - 6:00 pm reception – 7:00 pm awards
   •   June 5 – Grade 3 State Fair presentations from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
   •   June 6 – Student Leadership Day – High School
   •   June 9 – Special Olympics field trip – GVMS – Sarah Krasowsky’s class
   •   June 10-12 – Final Exams for grades 9 – 11
   •   June 11 – An Evening with Dr. Messina – 5:30 pm – Monson Senior Center
   •   June 12 – Grade 3 Fun night – 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
   •   June 13 – Grade 9 – 11 Awards Program – 8:45 am – High School Cafetorium
   •   June 16 – Grade 8 “Send-Off Celebration – time TBD
   •   June 16 – Last day of school – half day for students / full day for staff



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Field Days
Quarry Hill – May 29th Grades K-2 (Rain date 6/5)
               June 11th Grade 3-4 (Rain date 6/12 or 13)
Granite Valley Middle School – Dates TBD

Professional Development, Curriculum Info & Grant Updates

       Conferences and training attended by staff:

       Joyce Daigneault - Working Effectively with Adolescents with The New England Center
       for Children - May 2

       Lori Hess, Melissa Kopec, Melissa Miller, Laurie Petsche, Jennifer Smith, and Sam Walas
       – Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training with Kim Evans and Officer Kristen
       Marciniec. These staff members completed 12 hours of training and are certified in this
       program. Working in the PeAK program, they have a unique opportunity to use these
       skills regularly.

       During April and May, Melissa Mannello gave 1 hour presentations at each of our schools
       for all staff regarding Response to Intervention, Progress Monitoring and Curriculum-
       based measurement. These are general education initiatives which support multi-tiered
       intervention and remediation, targeting all school-aged students with a focus on reading,
       writing, math and behavior.

       Don Smith and Sharon Rondeau attended Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary
       Education Circuit Breaker Training on May 20th in Springfield. This training will help
       them better understand how Circuit Breaker funding is calculated and how it benefits the
       district each year.

       Advancing Parent and Professional Leadership in Education (APPLE) - training held
       May 15 – 17th in Marlboro, MA. This three day Institute was grant funded by the
       Federation for Children with Special Needs to enhance district and Parent Advisory
       Council (PAC) collaboration and support and to help develop parent leaders. Attendees
       from our district included:

           •   Pam West, PAC parent
           •   Corrina Wicslo, PAC Parent
           •   Kate Mun, PAC President
           •   Denise Messina, Special Education
.
       DTLC

       The District and Learning Council (DTLC) met for the final time on Thursday, May 8th.
       After a brief sharing of announcements and updates, the council broke into 4 small groups to
       answer the following questions:


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1. What has happened over the past year at either the DTLC or your building based TLC that
   you feel has most benefited your school/colleagues?

2. What aspect of the role of a team leader may be maintained in the absence of the structure
   of scheduled meetings?

3. What ideas can we generate to continue to support academic achievement and student
   performance with the expected fiscal cuts and restraints?

    Each group then shared out their thoughts and suggestions with the entire group.
    Some comments and ideas were:

      •   The district-wide curriculum day held in October was the best professional
          development in years.
      •   The team leaders have been critical in facilitating communication within both the
          school and district.
      •   Perhaps some grant funds can be used to maintain a portion of the team leaders’
          responsibilities.

Technology Advisory Committee

Members of the technology committee met on Wednesday, May 14th to accomplish two main
goals:

•     to review the final draft of the technology plan, and
•     to determine how to best meet our tech support needs.

We discussed a couple of items in the technology plan; minor changes will be made
and the plan sent out to Advisory Committee members for approval. An up-to-date
technology plan is required in order for the district to qualify for e-rate and many
grants.

Once the approval is received, the technology plan will be forwarded to the
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for review and
then placed on our website.

The second discussion revolved around methods to support our technology needs. It
was agreed that our contract with SysNet has not provided the support needed. We are
now looking at the two options: 1) changing consultants, or 2) hiring one person to be
on-site. While the committee agrees that full-time, on site tech support would be most
beneficial, we also realize that this may not be feasible at this time.


The recommendation of the committee was to pursue negotiations with another
consulting firm that appears to be a better fit with our district. UniCom, has a strong


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      educational background, as well as a wide variety of skill levels to better match
      specific tasks and will be submitting a proposal us for review.

      The committee also agreed to meet a minimum of four times a year. The next meeting
      will be held in September 2008.

      Update: 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant

      The Council meeting for the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant will be held
      on Thursday, May 22nd at 2:30 p.m. at Hillside. Members who have committed their time
      on the Council include:

      •     Cheryl Clarke – Assistant Principal of Granite Valley Middle School
      •     Sharon Rondeau and Kelley Bostwick – Special Education Representatives
      •     Deborah Nevill – General Education Representative
      •     Pam Gustafson – Business Representative (Junior Achievement)
      •     Ruth DiCristoforo – Title I Representative
      •     Linda Shorette – Community Outreach
      •     Fran Rourke/Hope Bodwell – Monson Free Library Representatives
      •     Kelley O’Malley– Scantic Valley YMCA Representative

      At our first meeting we will be reviewing the Granite Valley Middle School’s School
      Improvement Plan and decide how to best integrate it with the proposed afterschool and
      summer (2009) program.

      A needs-assessment survey for parents/guardians will be going home with Granite Valley
      students in grades 5-7 on Wednesday, May 21st. The survey may also be accessed at
      www.monsonschools.com in the announcements section. This grant has huge potential for
      our district and input from all parties is necessary in order for submission.


Pupil Services / Special Education
          Extended School Year (ESY) Special Education Summer Services

          Planning is underway for MPS Extended School Year (ESY) Special Education
          Summer Services. Summer Services will be offered to QHCS and GVMS students
          (up to rising 7th grade) on Individual Education Plans (IEP) who meet the district
          criteria. Qualifying students must have documented regression and ESY in the IEP or
          be in warning category on MCAS ELA and / or Math and on an IEP.

          All programs will be held at QHCS. Staff and rooms are yet to be determined.
          Summer services will start July 7th. Letters detailing the program and registration
          forms have been provided to parents / guardians of qualifying students.




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         Parent and School Partnership Survey

         Research shows that schools that are good partners have better outcomes for the
         students they serve. Massachusetts schools are interested in learning how well they
         are promoting good partnerships with parents, and your opinion will help us to make
         this determination. Massachusetts Department of Education has contracted with
         Macro International and Ashton Associates to distribute and collect parent surveys.

         Parent/guardians of a child receiving special education services in grades
         kindergarten and above in Massachusetts have received surveys over the last weeks.
         The purpose of the survey is to reflect how well the child’s school is partnering with
         parents and promoting parent involvement in your child’s educational program. It is
         not intended to measure schools’ compliance with special education law and
         regulations.

         Survey results will provide summary information to us on parent involvement in
         special education. This summary information will be reported to the public and used
         to highlight strengths and identify areas for improvement.

         Measuring Early Childhood Special Education Outcome in Massachusetts.
         Our district is designated to be a Department of Education Cohort for Measuring
         Early Childhood Special Education Outcome in Massachusetts. We are now
         collecting data on the progress of our preschool students who have an IEP.
         Preschool parent reported information about the child’s functioning plays a critical
         role in this data collection. A preschool developmental checklist has been provided
         to our parents.

         As part of combined data collection, service provider and educator observations and
         informal assessment are considered as well as formal evaluations. This information is
         to be utilized to determine program effectiveness, improve programs, and the need
         for technical assistance. Additionally, it will support continued or increased funding.


Administrative Leadership Team / Schools

Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) has continued to discuss the implications for the reduction in
force. In preparation, ALT has begun planning a summer leadership retreat. The focus of our retreat
will be on Leadership in Times of Challenge. We will concentrate on how best to do our best with less:
ways to support staff, services and students with limited district resources.



Ending Thoughts…….

“What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul”……Joseph Addison
                                                *********


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