MANCHESTER BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE Curriculum _ Instruction by wpr1947


               Curriculum & Instruction Committee Meeting
                            October 16, 2006

   The Curriculum & Instruction Committee met at the School Administration
Offices on Monday, October 16, 2006, at 7:00p.m. Present were Chairman
Labanaris and Committee Members Cote, Kruse, Langton, and Soucy. Non-
Committee Member Beaudry was also present. Present from Administration
were Supt. Ludwell, Asst. Supt. Bass, and Asst. Supt. Burkush. Ms. Murray, the
representative from the Auburn School District, was also present.
    Chairman Labanaris presided and called the meeting to order. The clerk
called the roll. There was no public forum.

  Comm. Cote made a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
Comm. Soucy seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

Introduction of New Teachers
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that a couple representatives from the elementary level
were at the meeting this evening. They are here to speak about their excitement
to be in the Manchester public schools.
    Principal Murphy, the principal of Beech Street Elementary School, came
forward. She introduced 2 of Beech Street School's wonderful new teachers.
The Manchester School District is very fortunate to have them. She introduced
Abby Brisson, a first-grade teacher, and Robert Pooler, a 3rd grade ELL magnet
teacher. Abby said she has always enjoyed jobs that have allowed her to work
with children as a teacher. She recently moved back to the Manchester area.
Her mother had been a teacher at Beech Street School for many years and Abby
is enjoying teaching at Beech Street School. Robert said that he teaches the 3 rd
grade magnet ELL class at Beech. This is his first year teaching in Manchester.
He chose Manchester because of the diversity that Manchester has and he
chose Beech for that reason also.
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that next month some of the new middle school
teachers would come to the Committee meeting.

Literacy Processing Workshop Series
   Asst. Supt. Burkush said that the Administration is proposing to provide 20
SPED teachers with training in literacy processing. The proposal is to offer 6
workshops designed to assist those teachers in bringing together the essential
elements of effective literacy practice for the children who find some part of the
process difficult or confusing and matching instructional methods and materials
to meet the needs of the individualized plans that these students might have.

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Christine Chase, a Reading Recovery teacher leader from the NH Department of
Education, would be the presenter. The different topics would include developing
a literacy process theory, 5 essential components of literacy instruction, taking
and analyzing running records, choosing and using texts to support successful
processing, using District assessments to identify and work with students'
strengths and needs, and maximing the reciprocity of reading and writing. This
idea came from Kristine Havales-Pelletier, an English Language Arts
Implementation Specialist in the District. She is very enthusiastic and she has
identified a need for kids with disabilities in the District that are having difficulty
with reading and the need to support the SPED teachers so they can augment
what is going on in the regular ed classroom.
    Kristine came forward. She said that Christine Chase felt it would be best to
work with a group of 20-21 teachers at a time. So they will look at getting teams
of people from some of the schools for the first round and then see if Christine
would be willing to do it again at some point. Some similar training has been
done at Wilson School over the past couple of years. They have found it
beneficial if team people are working together. With the sessions the teachers
will be immersing themselves in some theory and practicing the pedagogy and
then they will come back to talk about things. This is really necessary. In terms
of the reading process and writing process with SPED students this would be a
nice bridge for the teachers.
    Asst. Supt. Burkush said that this proposal would be going to the Finance
Committee and then to the Full Board with the hope of getting things going in the
month of November. The cost would only be for substitutes and that would be
paid through the IDEA grant.
    Comm. Kruse thanked Kristine for this initiative. He said this is the kind of
thing that makes this District special when there are people stepping forward with
ideas that can be put into action. He said “we'll look forward to seeing the results
of this down the road.”
    Comm. Kruse made a motion, seconded by Comm. Soucy, to approve
the request for the Administration to provide this staff training through the
Literacy Processing Workshop Series. The motion passed by unanimous

Secondary Staffing Request
   Asst. Supt. Bass said there are 2 requests before the Committee at this time.
Every year they look at the staffing patterns throughout the District at the
secondary level and they make determinations of where the greatest needs are.
Over the last 5 years there have been different needs. Some of those needs are
beyond the capability of the School District to meet completely; however, it
should be noted especially with Memorial High School the number of classes
with 30 or more students has decreased significantly. There was a time when 59
sections had 30 or more students in them. That is down dramatically over the
last couple of years.
   The staffing requests at this time center around 2 issues. One, speaking of
Memorial High School, is the Information, Communication, and Technology

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Program. The State has asked us to re-think how we're going to offer the
technology requirements for graduation. There are 3 different methods by which
a school can get that accomplished for its students. Principal Adamakos has
chosen to try to get all of this accomplished through the freshman program.
Students going through the freshman ICT Program would have this particular
graduation requirement out of the way and wouldn't have to worry about it down
the road. In so doing however there are many sections that have more students
in them then can be accommodated by the number of computer stations. With
this kind of program approach it is a science-lab approach and it is a hands-on
approach working with the students in the labs. Principal Adamakos' position
would be to get a half-time ICT teacher as that would help tremendously in terms
of bringing those numbers down. That would put things in a position whereby the
school could continue with the ICT Program for the remainder of the school year
and feeling comfortable in terms of addressing the needs of the students.
    The second issue is at Central High School where there are a number of labs,
actually there are 12 labs with more than 24 students in them. There are 2 or 3
with 28 students. The suggestion there is to have a 6th class for an existing
teacher at Central. It happens to coincide at a time when most of the other
physical science classes are over-burdened with labs occurring. Therefore that
teacher could pick up the extra lab students. There are 12 sections that have
numbers of 24 or greater.
    Asst. Supt. Bass said those are the 2 requests but he would stress that this
does not solve all of the problems in terms of staffing across the District. It would
certainly help tremendously. In talking with the principals these particular issues
would go a long way in getting through the year in fine fashion.
    Comm. Kruse referred to page 11 where the class sizes are listed. Under the
science for Central there is only one listed as over 30 but there are 12 with more
than 24. At Memorial and West is it the case that they have used the 24 number.
Asst. Supt. Bass said that was correct. Comm. Kruse asked “I wonder why we
would add a person at Central rather than West where there are 32 above
whereas Central has 12.” Asst. Supt. Bass said that West is an interesting
anomaly in that all classes at West that offer science are lab courses as far as
the Administration is concerned. There is a lab assignment built into each class.
The difference there with the other 2 schools is the lab assignment is an actual
lab class where there are lab stations. These classes have labs built into them.
The kids are at their desks and there might be a laboratory kind of an
arrangement. It's not quite the same thing as 24 lab stations with the safety
arrangements that we're used to with the other schools.
    Comm. Kruse said that at Central in the new area with the science rooms
there are the lab stations and the desks. He asked “is it there aren't as many of
those?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that there are lab stations at all 3 high schools.
Many of the classes are broken up with a lab on Mondays and Wednesdays or
Tuesdays and Thursdays for instance. The other 2 schools when they looked at
their freshmen and sophomore programs and some of their level I and level II
programs in the area of science don't have an actual lab station or lab class
attached to them. However, at West, practically every science class has a lab

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       3                      October 16, 2006
component built into it therefore you see the higher numbers. There are not lab
stations as one would normally associate it with. Comm. Kruse asked “so they
can accommodate a higher number of students than the class at Central can?”
Asst. Supt. Bass said that was correct.
    Comm. Kruse said “broadly speaking, I look here and we've got a couple of
requests for new positions and I know we had extensive conversations about the
Resource Officers at the last Full Board meeting. What I wanted to find out is
whether these requests reflect the District Administration looking across the
board at all levels of schooling and class size issues and position requirements
so that these really are the most compelling needs at this time and there aren't
others that maybe rise to a higher level of importance in your estimation?”
    Supt. Ludwell said “we looked at all levels; elementary, middle, and high
school. Dr. Aliberti feels that he has adequate staffing at the elementary level.”
    Comm. Beaudry asked about the Central teacher taking on an extra class.
He asked how this teacher would find time to take on an additional class. Asst.
Supt. Bass said that it is a voluntary arrangement. He said that usually teachers
would give up a duty in a homeroom to pick up the 6th class. There is a quid pro
quo in terms of how that is arranged. He said that they are looking at in the
future how to go forward that would make the most sense for all parties
concerned. That is the past arrangement that they have. Comm. Beaudry asked
who would take over this teacher's homeroom. Asst. Supt. Bass said that he
doesn't know who the individual teacher is who would pick up the assignment but
he does know in talking with Principal Rist and Ms. Cunningham, the BLIC in the
area of science, that an individual has come forward and voluntarily approached
the Department saying they would be interested in teaching that class. Mr. Rist
has made the necessary accommodations in regards to duties and homeroom.
    Comm. Beaudry referred to page 11 and the listing of the core areas. He said
that with the number of sections equal to or over 30, Central has 12 not counting
the arts, Memorial has 42, and West has 83. He said that former Comm. Gatsas
used to raise this issue all the time. He asked “why wouldn't teachers be
transferred or moved around so that we could accommodate West and Memorial
to try to reduce their numbers so that all of the schools would have maybe 20
instead of one having 12 and another having 83?” He said that he doesn't think
that is fair to the other schools that have high numbers over 30.
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that in fairness to all 3 schools the schedules are put
together and students are moved around in a manageable way as best as
possible in terms of trying to accommodate where those rises and falls may exist.
Once the school year is underway they don't really get to this point until after
October 1. Now to take a teacher and move them after students are already
used to a particular teacher makes it very difficult. It's the same rationale to
hiring an additional teacher at this point in time because students are reluctant to
leave the current class configuration that they're in to start with someone new.
That's something that we shy away from for those reasons. We prefer to look at
things in the spring and summer going into the following year to hopefullly come
up with better prognostications in terms of where our teacher shortages exist.
    Comm. Beaudry said “maybe it's too simple for me.” He said “if you look at

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       4                     October 16, 2006
the student population coming in in the core subjects, for example with English,
and you have 10 teachers with 100 students in one school but you have 10
teachers with 300 students in another school, wouldn't you realize that that one
school that has the 10/100 is going to have much smaller class sizes so maybe
somebody should be moved to the other school to accommodate that school. “
He said that for the 5 years he has been on the School Board it seems that it is
the same school every year that the numbers are down but Memorial and West's
numbers are always up.
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that it is true that the numbers are high at Memorial and
West however it is not true that the numbers are higher than they have been in
the past. Memorial's numbers have come down. West is experiencing a huge
bow at this point in time but we know that is going to dissipate rather quickly. As
far as Central is concerned there are numbers that are high there as well. When
talking about 30 or more that is one set of circumstances. There is another set
where you have a whole bunch of classes at 28 or 29 students so things are right
on the cusp of being crowded in that particular area. To the question of moving
teachers around there is another issue that comes into play. That is, with the
current bargaining unit agreement with the MEA it is very difficult for us to move
someone in the middle of the year. All of those transfers, so to speak, have to be
negotiated or administered before the close of school in the preceding year so
that makes it somewhat difficult too.
    Comm. Langton said that scheduling at the high schools is generally done in
the springtime. She said “so you'd have some idea how many kids would be in
the classes. It seems unacceptable to me that we would have 83 sections at
West with over 30 kids and 42 at Memorial. I'm a little baffled by that.” She said
“to use the term 'teacher shortage' we just took away 6 middle school teachers
and those teachers can be moved around from middle to high school. We cut
those positions.” She asked “this teacher that is going to take over this science
class, is that teacher just doing the labs or will that teacher do the course and the
lab?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that it would end up being one contact period. That
would alleviate the overflow in the labs. Comm. Langton said “so there could be
multiple teachers for the student to get their grade.” Asst. Supt. Bass said “it
would occur at the same time, periods A and B, and they're all physical science
teachers so the conversation has already occurred between all of the teachers in
terms of how the students would be juggled around and how that extra class
would be constructed.” Comm. Langton said “I'm concerned there could be
misunderstanding or conflict when you're information from one teacher and
another teacher may not be clear so it would be better if we could have the same
teacher doing that. Is that not possible? Also, with information technology there
is a credit that students can get in the middle school for high school. Is that the
same course?” Asst. Supt. Bass said it is a bit different. In the past, students
could get credit from the middle school appropriation of Information,
Communication, and Technology but those rules have changed. Now students
must demonstrate that ability at the high school level in order to get the credit.
There are 3 ways in which they can do that. In the very simplest way would be
for the student to actually take the course and that way the student has satisfied

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       5                      October 16, 2006
all of the various issues or components that the State is asking for. Comm.
Langton asked “will this be a new criteria for the kids in the high school and they'll
have to take this course so the course in the middle schools will not count for
their high school credit?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that the course in the middle
schools will be another issue. Also now there is a ruling from the State that the
middle schools are going to have show competency in that area as well. So the
middle schools are going to have come up with something. At the high school
level, all 3 schools will have ICT of some form or other very quickly. Memorial
happens to be the 1st to have actually put that into operation and asks that all
freshmen take the class.
    Comm. Langton said she would like for Supt. Ludwell to share his thoughts as
far as the 83 and 42 sections being above 30 and whether there is a plan for the
future so that this won't exist. Supt. Ludwell said “I think one of the silver linings
behind Bedford's withdrawal is that obviously when you lose 450 students you're
going to lose quite a number of teachers. Or rather than losing teachers it may
allow the Board an opportunity to look at re-distributing their teaching
assignments thereby alleviating these situations. Hopefully with Bedford's
leaving we can address that and we won't be discussing this year after year. I do
think if we can get through this year that opportunity is clearly there for next
year.” Comm. Langton asked “what about Memorial, they have 42 classes over
30.” Supt. Ludwell said “again, if you think about a high school with 450 students
I'm guessing the minimum of 25 teachers and if you were able to re-distribute
those teachers at the other 2 high schools I think that would eliminate the over-
crowding completely.”
    Comm. Soucy said “to clarify, this doesn't include the number of classes that
are significantly lower. For example, 25 or below where we may have one high
school that has a significant number of large classrooms they may also have a
significant number of smaller groups of students within the class.” Asst. Supt.
Bass agreed. Comm. Soucy said “as I recall we also have an inconsistency
within the 3 high schools in terms of the drop/add in that some high schools are
more willing to allow it so that we have very early and very late periods that have
fewer students but mid-day classes tend to be more crowded.” Asst. Supt. Bass
said that was also correct.
    Comm. Kruse asked “could Dr. Bass speak a bit about weighing the lesser of
2 evils and the moving of a teacher during the course of a year and that being
fairly disruptive to students and putting aside the contractual component of that.
Is it your sense from your experience that the disruption of moving a teacher and
re-shuffling those students has a greater impact on the student's educationally
than having the larger size class? When you make that calculation is it your
notion that that is so disruptive that that has a worst impact on the student than
being in a larger size class?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “when you have a class
where there are 32 or 33 kids in the class and you decide to pull out 6 or 7 kids
from the class to create a new class with another teacher coming in to teach
them, our experience has told us that those kids are reluctant to do that. There is
a loss to a certain degree to who the new teacher is, they're coming in from the
outside in many cases. So they have to come up to speed. That's not to say

Curriculum & Instruction Committee        6                     October 16, 2006
those kids won't catch up at some point but there is a reluctance to want to make
that move. As far as moving teachers internally, teachers don't like having to be
moved from one building to the other. If we do it we should do it in the spring
and get them ready for that move. That makes for a very difficult transfer time for
them going to another building and then picking up the procedures and rules and
regulations at that building and coming into the particular staffing pattern that
they have there and working with those particular students. So there is
somewhat of a loss there. I think those things should also be taken into
   Comm. Soucy made a motion to approve the secondary staffing
requests . Comm. Kruse seconded the motion. The motion passed by
majority vote; Comm. Cote voted in opposition to the motion.

PLATO Recovery Program
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that the PLATO Recovery Program was talked about
with the Committee last year. There was talk about the opportunity to work with
students in the building as opposed to being outside of the building. It is a
chance for students to catch up on lost credits and a chance for them to maintain
their sense of identity within their home school. They are looking for the
opportunity to purchase the necessary equipment and software and the licensing
to be able to put this program into operation. Lastly the concern was in getting
the monitoring and support for the program. They are now at the threshold of
being able to put the program into operation. The hope is to have the program
up and running as of November 1 of this year or somewhere in that close vicinity.
Principal Adamakos was asked to come to the Committee to speak on behalf of
the 3 schools and their determination to get the PLATO Program up and running
and why it is so valuable in terms of drop-out prevention.
    Mr. Adamakos came forward. He said it is only a few weeks away from the
implementation of the program and people are very excited. There is support
from the guidance counselors and the students and they have been anxiously
waiting to get started, at least at Memorial High School. The reason of wanting
this program back 3 years ago was the fact that if kids can be kept current on
their credit status rather than having to be demoted or having to go to summer
school or to adult ed the feeling is they can hang on to those students.
Memorial's drop-out rate is down to 4% and it's hard to get to that 2% or 1%. So
for those students who have little access to being able to make up their credits
because they have to work during the summer or whatever. With this program
students will be taken out of their free period or study hall period during the
school day and go into the Credit Recovery Room monitored by people from City
Year. They'll use the PLATO Program which is a self-directed program and get
back and recover the credit that they failed in a required subject. To qualify to be
in the Room the student would have to do similar things if they were to go to
summer school. They can't be absent for more than 24 days so they have been
in the course and they could not have a grade below a 50 numerical average.
They can't show up every day and get a zero and have that count as well. This is

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       7                     October 16, 2006
a recovery program based on remediation and it is not meant to re-teach
anything. It would allow the kids to demonstrate competency in that subject area
so they can get their credit reinstated.
   Mr. Adamakos said that the next day at Memorial the instructional
coordinators and others will be getting together to look at the software to
determine what modules will meet the credit recovery status for those individual
required subjects. There are 15 stations at each of the locations. This will be
available 10 periods a day; before school, during the 8 periods of the school day,
and after school. Right now it is going to be on a 3-day a week basis with City
Year volunteering to monitor the program. At Memorial they have identified
those seniors first. They are the people most in danger of not graduating. So
they're going to start with the seniors and juniors first to make sure they're caught
up on their credit status in order to be able to be graduates and walking in June
with the new 20 credit requirement. The existing seniors and juniors are still on
the 20-credit system. Later there is the new requirement of 22 credits for
   Comm. Kruse asked how many students, approximately, will participate in the
program. Mr. Adamakos said that it differs by grade. There is a counselor at
each school that is responsible for the program. At Memorial Mr. Robitaille is
very excited about this program and he has the numbers. Mr. Adamakos said
that he is not certain of the number but they already have full sections with
seniors and juniors to start off with. There may even be a few sophomores. He
said he would say it is in the 30 range for the senior group and the 40 range for
the junior group.
   Chairman Labanaris said that ultimately the goal is to have this room open 10
periods a day for 5 days a week but presently it will only be for 3 days a week.
Mr. Adamakos said that was correct and those 3 days the program will be
available for all but the first period of those days. Mr. Adamakos said it is a
program that has been successful in other school districts. The model that
Manchester will be using is closest to the model used in the Dover School
System where students can be involved in the program during the school day.
He said “I think that is the best thing for us because of access and allowing
students to make things up rather than sitting idly by in study hall.” Chairman
Labanaris said “if it helps us with the drop-out rate and it helps us with the
graduation rate we really are doing what we want to be doing in our District and
that is focusing on getting as many students as possible to graduate from the
Manchester School District. That is contrary to what Mr. Bramante said in the
newspaper the other day that a large proportion of our students drop out of our
classes in the Manchester School District. Based on your statements earlier that
Memorial's rate is 4% even if you multiply that times 4 it would only be 16% and
not the 20% and 25% numbers that are bandied about by people. So Mr.
Bramante really ought to get his facts straight before he says things about our
district that make us sound like every 4th child is dropping out of school” Mr.
Adamakos said “if that was the case there would be 500 fewer students every
year.” Chairman Labanaris said “we just want to get things straight right here at
the Curriculum & Instruction Committee.” Mr. Adamakos said that once the

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       8                      October 16, 2006
seniors and juniors are out of the way it's the sophomores and freshmen that are
most at risk in terms of dropping out that we will be able to deal with on a yearly
basis and that's where we're going to see great benefits. Chairman Labanaris
said “I think you're doing an exemplary job working with this kind of students and
we appreciate it.”
    Comm. Kruse asked “what is the current drop-out rate for the District?” Asst.
Supt. Bass said he would hazard a guess. He said that at Memorial it is as low
as 4.2% and at Central it is high as 5.5%. Those are the latest figures as of last
year. He said “we are finally now in sync with the State in terms of how the
numbers are actually computed. We've gone round and round year after year
and the numbers have always come out differently. Finally we're in a position
where our numbers are the same as their numbers.” Comm. Kruse asked what
are the issues that make it difficult for us to know what the numbers are for sure.
Mr. Adamakos said “for one thing they were double counting our PASS Program
students. Everyone that goes to PASS or any of our alternative programs are
already on the rolls of each school. What was happening is we were counting
them and they were also counting them down there. So the State was double
counting some of those individuals. That could be a change of 10 people per
school so that's a full percentage point. That is why the numbers never matched
until we found that out last year for the first time. We were artificially higher than
we should have been because some students were counted twice.” Asst. Supt.
Bass said “the high school principals as well as myself and the secretaries
responsible for attendance gathering have talked about this and we've made
absolutely certain that the numbers that go in to the State are the exact numbers
we have for the total District. Then we wait for the State to contact us with their
numbers and we work the process backwards so that we're absolutely certain.
What Mr. Adamakos was talking about occurred in the past but now that should
no longer occur. Plus there was a difference in terms of formulas such as when
is the cut-off date and are you allowing from the past year to come back and
when are they counted or not counted. That has been cleared up. Going
forward I think we're going to see very clear numbers that are the same from the
State as well as from the Manchester School District.”
    Comm. Kruse asked “when does the State give us their estimated number
and how are they calculating that number?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that the last
report from the State came out in May or June of last year for '05. Comm. Kruse
said “so we assemble our numbers based on attendance figures that we get from
each of the different schools from the secretaries and principals and we calculate
what our drop-out rate is according to the data that we have. We submit that
data to the State and they do their own numbers-crunching and they spit out a
number. Are they using the same data or are they drawing statistics from
another source?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “no, they're using the same data that we
are using. All we're doing now to make certain is we're cross-referencing the
numbers they have. We check each and every block that they might have. What
may slow the State down this year is the new State identification numbering
system that is currently going into operation. September 30 is the final day on
which our drop-out rate can be counted. I don't know when this new numbering

Curriculum & Instruction Committee        9                      October 16, 2006
is going to come out from the State but rest assured the numbers should be the
same.” Comm. Kruse asked “and the percentage difference that has been
shaved off of our drop-out rate just by virtue of calculating the figures in a
consistent fashion between Concord and Manchester is estimated to be about
1% or 2% or whatever and is that making up a pretty significant chunk of our
decrease in the drop-out rate?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that there are other issues
to consider. One is how are you counting them. In other words, are you allowing
students who dropped out to come back. Which year are they being counted in;
this year or last year. And making sure that everyone is consistent on that
application. He thinks that would account for some of it and also the State's
ability to tell us how they're doing it and what they're doing is some of it. Maybe
when putting all those things together it may add to between 1 and 2% in terms
of where those numbers are coming from but I really don't know for certain.
Comm. Kruse said that it is very confusing . He said “the drop-out rate is a figure
that a lot of attention is placed on and it is certainly one of those dashboard items
that any good management system will have in front of it. If it's a figure that we
can't readily calculate for reasons beyond our control or even for reasons within
our control, that's going to make it awfully difficult for us to really determine are
the programs we are using decreasing the drop-out rate. If our drop-out rate
goes down but it's really a matter of changing how we count the number, that
doesn't necessarily tell us the program is were or were not effective and it is
going to be awfully hard to improve something that we can't measure. I assume
that other districts are in the same boat we are where calculating that rate is very
difficult and I don't know how districts can improve their performance if they can't
even measure what the amount is.”
    Chairman Labanaris said “as I recall, 3 years ago when Lionel Tracy was in
Portsmouth he did a very long and thorough analysis of the drop-out rate and
what he came up with was astounding as far as the numbers he was able to get
from his own statistics and what the State was saying about the Portsmouth
School District. I'm hoping that now that he is Concord at the State level he will
also focus on drop-out rates and the accuracy of those numbers and the
percentages the way he did when he did his own thorough research in
    Comm. Beaudry asked “with the new numbering process that the State has
and every student is going to have an identification number, will that allow us to
track the students better? My understanding is that a lot of immigrants come in
and then they move out and they're actually going to school in another location,
sometimes even out of State, and we're not getting notified. That wouldn't be
considered as dropping out would it?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “there are huge
issues with what was just raised. This new State-identification system will
certainly go a long way in ironing a lot of that out. Again, the State is just in the
process of getting that system up and running. We're very busy here in the
District training our people to make sure that we understand all of the codes and
how they are to be accessed and how to retrieve information. It will probably
take the better course of the year to get in a position where both the District and
the State are in sync with the new identification numbering system.” Comm.

Curriculum & Instruction Committee        10                     October 16, 2006
Beaudry asked “if a student starts in school in September and drops out in
November but comes back in February then drops out again in April, is that
considered 2 drop-outs or one drop-put?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that is only
counted once. Chairman Labanaris said “by us but we don't know how the State
counts it.” Asst. Supt. Bass said “but now it would only be counted once. We're
reporting to the State and we would make certain that they don't double or triple
count.” Chairman Labanaris said “but in the past we don't know how they came
up with their numbers.”

Channel One Program Update
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that there has been a lot of discussion about the
Channel One Program. It has been a long-standing issue in the Manchester
public schools. He asked Mr. Adamakos to come in to talk about the history of
the program; how it came to be and how it is being utilized. There has been an
interesting twist as to the operation and success of the program.
    Mr. Adamakos said that Channel One has been in the District since 1991.
Prior to that there used to be homeroom twice a day; once before school and
once after school and then it was homeroom once before the periods began and
then again there was a time when the homeroom was in the middle of the day
because people used to not go to homeroom because it wasn't a class.
Ultimately they went to what is called an expanded period where there are the 8
periods in the day and the announcements are done at the end of the longer
period. In 1991 the Wittle Communications came forward and approached
school districts across the Country about running their news-capsule program
called Channel One News. It lasts 12 minutes long with 10 minutes of program
and 2 minutes worth of commercials. If you signed up you got the broadcast and
also television sets in all of the rooms where there is a homeroom in or a
gathering in along with a system where you can download the broadcast from the
satellite. A lot of kids didn't watch the news and they weren't reading
newspapers and we live in a visual age now so the broadcast was great to have
for the students to watch in their homerooms. Of course now we have the
Internet. With our 3 high schools we have large buildings but we don't have a
location where all of the school's students can be in one location at one time. So
it was nice to be able to broadcast events that occurred in the gymnasium or in
the auditorium or anywhere in the building and then be able to broadcast them
later in the day. It was also great for the video production courses because they
could tape a featurette if you will and play that either as a public-service
announcement or what have you.
    At Memorial they are on the advisory schedule. What they have done is they
have shown Channel One before school. It is interesting that more people are
watching Channel One before school than they had when they had it shown in
their homeroom. He said there is a contractual obligation that they show
Channel One 91% of the school days while in session. They never run it during
exam periods or when they have asemblies in the school. The one biggest
concern that people had back in 1991 was the 2 minutes worth of commercials
and whether they would negatively impact the kids. Mr. Adamakos said

Curriculum & Instruction Committee      11                     October 16, 2006
“honestly, nobody remembers the commercials and what they're showing or
whatever.” He said that he watches them along with the broadcasts but they're
not something that he remembers or takes notice of. The program is a well done
informational broadcast on timely issues that relate well to the current news and
to kids. It's not a bad thing. The schools have benefited from the fact that
they've had the equipment in the buildings. It does depend on the diligence of
the people running the equipment and the principal of the building on whether the
equipment works or not. He said that he insists on checking out that all of the
sets and the repeaters all work at Memorial. He said “when you have 110 sets
all coming on at the same time you want to make sure that everything is working
well.” He said that the equipment is now 15 years old. Probably 80-90% of the
TV sets at Memorial are still working. They only operate for 12 minutes during
the course of the day. They're 19 inch units. The cable system is hooked up to
the TVs and when there has been an event of some significance that has
occurred, for instance 9/11 students were instructed to turn to channel 42 and
watch the CNN broadcast.
    Comm. Kruse asked what would happen if tomorrow we told the Channel One
folks we don't want to have their broadcast any longer. In other words, does
having the television sets and having the capability to broadcast things such as
the different events or performances that can be shown later, I assume that all of
those things could occur whether or not we continued with the Channel One
broadcast. We already have the equipment and the capability. Mr. Adamakos
said “Wittle owns the equipment. If we terminate our contract with them the
question would be up to them if they would want to come in and rip out all of the
co-ax cable that goes throughout the building and take down the sets. We'd
have plenty of holes in the walls where the brackets are. That would be a
question that the Wittle people would have to answer.” Asst. Supt. Bass said “I
have asked that question and Wittle has said they would take all of the television
sets back.”
    Chairman Labanaris asked “shall we continue with Channel One in your
opinion?” Mr. Adamakos replied “yes. The reasons for me are because #1 it's
nice to see the kids watching the news, I don't think they do that often enough.
Number 2, the sets in the rooms are a great benefit to us. You can hook up a
VCR to the existing sets and use that internally as your broadcast of a VCR tape
you're using. The thing that would be tough would be things like the National
Honor Society induction ceremony or Class Day or anything that we hold in the
gym or the auditorium we can only hold so many students so half to ¾ of the
school would not be able to view live significant events that we would hold. I'm
being a bit selfish because I know we use this more than for just showing the
Channel One broadcasts.”
    Chairman Labanaris asked how much this costs the District annually and
does the District have any other business with Wittle Communications. Do they
just provide the District with Channel One? Asst. Supt. Bass said “that's it. As
far as costs are concerned there aren't any costs at this point in time that the
Manchester School District has to pay.” Chairman Labanaris asked “what is the
benefit to the company to have the Channel One in our schools, that 2 minutes of

Curriculum & Instruction Committee      12                     October 16, 2006
advertising?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “that's it.” Chairman Labanaris asked “are all
sets working in all of our buildings? According to Mr. Adamakos all 110 sets at
Memorial have been checked and they are working. I have some information
that in half of our buildings that fewer than half of the sets are working.”
     Asst. Supt. Bass said there is an individual from Wittle Communications who
is close to the District and we rely on that individual to help us with running
cables and getting sets into place. This gentleman is contracted to come into the
schools. There was some problem with the Gilbane construction with the
mounting of some of the TV sets. Gilbane had pre-set all of the mounts but
Wittle had changed the TVs to 27 inch sets so they didn't fit on the brackets.
There was a lot of scrambling around to try to figure out how to accommodate
that. There was also an issue about carts and the replacement of them.
Chairman Labanaris asked if some type of an audit could be done to find out
which TV sets are working and which are not in each of the buildings. Asst.
Supt. Bass said that he could do that. Chairman Labanaris asked “who buys
new sets if we need them?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that under the current
agreement with Wittle if one of the TVs that we currently have is not working they
will fix it or replace it. They give us a certain number of sets according to the
school population and if we want any additional then we need to purchase those
on our own. Chairman Labanaris asked “if they replace them since 19 inch TVs
are no longer purchase-able then what?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “there hasn't
been one to be replaced recently so I can't say, it would probably come in as a
27 inch set.” Mr. Adamakos said that would create a problem because they won't
fit on the brackets. Chairman Labanaris said “I think we ought to spend a little
time with the company deciding how we're going to go forward if we're going to
continue with Channel One so we can find out what size televisions will be
replaced etc.” Comm. Kruse said “there are plenty of TVs sold that people buy to
put under kitchen cabinets. I don't think that the minimum size is 27 inch that you
can buy nowadays.” Asst. Supt. Bass said that they have explored that issue.
They asked the company if the District could go to Home Depot for instance to
purchase 100 19 inch TVs and then set them up. We can't do that because
those are specially wired. We went the route to try to by-pass that. We're stuck
with getting the TVs from Wittle and they have to be that 27 inch size. Comm.
Kruse asked “will they pay the expense of moving brackets and re-configuring
rooms, it's sort of their fault that they're forcing us to make do with 27 inch sets
versus that being our fault.” Asst. Supt. Bass said “unfortunately we did address
that with them as well. We talked to them about Gilbane and the brackets etc.
and they said they were sorry but that was not part of their purview.”

Middle & High Schools Class Size Update
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that there has been a lot of discussion about the middle
schools. The Committee has been provided with the October 1 numbers. A lot
of the discussion has been about Parkside. With the additional teacher for the
EL class they now have 26 as the average in the three and the rest of the

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       13                     October 16, 2006
numbers at Parkside are certainly within range. They go from as low as 22 to as
high as 26. At Southside, there were no core teachers taken out of that school.
Their numbers are pretty respectable as well. They are as low as 21 in one case
and as high as 29 in another. Most are in the 24-25 range. Hillside lost 3 core
teachers but they still have very good numbers. They range from 22 to as high
as 24 but most are in the 23 range. So that remained quite a good situation.
And at McLaughlin there were no teachers taken out of that school. Their
numbers are a bit on the high side.
   Comm. Kruse asked “does this mean that if the average class size is 26 that
some of the classes are going to have more of that and some will have fewer?”
Asst. Supt. Bass said “actually not, because of the configuration of the middle
schools and the teams you're taking the number of teams and dividing by 4.”
    Comm. Langton said that she has concerns about McLaughlin and Southside.
In 7th grade the average is 30-31 kids. At McLaughlin there are 272 7th graders
in 11 classes. That's pretty high. It seems like there should be 12 teachers
there. She knows that some of the other schools lost teachers. They need to go
where there are children for the student/teacher ratio. Looking at McLaughlin, all
of the 7th grades except for the ELL has 30-31 students in the classes. That's
extremely high. Asst. Supt. Bass said that he has spoken with Mr. Albert, the
principal at McLaughlin, and he asked him about that. He asked him if in the
best-case scenario the Board were to say they'd like to have another teacher at
McLaughlin how would that help with their numbers. He said that actually that
wouldn't help at this point in time. He would need to re-constitute all of the teams
and reconstruct the whole paradigm in order for it to make a difference. So an
additional teacher at this point would not really alleviate the issue. Comm.
Langton asked “we didn't know in the summertime that there were going to be
that many students? The increase from grade 6 to 7 would rise that much and
they had no idea there would be that many students in the 7 th grade?” Asst.
Supt. Bass said that back in June he did report that the numbers at McLaughlin
were indicating that they would actually rise where with the other schools they
were going down. That is a reason why the choice was not to take any teachers
out of McLaughlin. Now the numbers went up a bit more than we had anticipated
but nonetheless we were aware of the fact that they were going up. Comm.
Langton said “we did take 6 teachers out of the middle schools so it seems like
we should have put one over there.”
    Chairman Labanaris said that Hillside looks great. She doesn't see any
problems there and “if we're running a true middle school program and we need
fewer than 100 students they certainly fit the bill.” She said that she had a
question about the number of teachers on a team when there are 3. How does
that work? Does one teacher teach 2 subjects? For instance 6J at Hillside.
Asst. Supt. Bass said that in that particular case there would be one teacher
teaching 2 classes. Chairman Labanaris asked “so a teacher might teach
English and Social Studies in that team?” Asst. Supt. Bass agreed. Chairman
Labanaris said that Parkside looks pretty good also. They have 100 kids in some
of their sections also. Looking at Southside, they have 119 students in some of
their groups, 7A and 7C for example, with students in their classes. That really

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       14                     October 16, 2006
goes against the middle school philosophy if we are abiding by that philosophy
because of the large sizes in these classes. She asked “what are we going to do
to rectify this situation? I know we can't do anything this year but as we go
forward how are we going to address these problems that we have in the middle
schools?” Supt. Ludwell said “I would say again what I mentioned earlier that
with the departure of Bedford that will give us that latitude to address these
concerns.” Chairman Labanaris asked “do you mean taking teachers from West
and putting them into these middle schools?” Supt. Ludwell said “just as we
sometimes take middle school teachers and put them up to the high school
level.” Chairman Labanaris asked “the 27.33 plus 11 in 7B and then with 8A and
21 plus 12, what does those plus numbers indicate?” Asst. Supt. Bass said that
those are the self-contained programs. Chairman Labanaris said “McLaughlin
and Southside don't look like middle schools to me.”
      Comm. Kruse said he had a follow-up question on the Bedford piece. He said
that he knows there isn't a decision yet on what the model will be for West. If it
were the model discussed in the paper where it is a magnet school, would the
number of students served by that magnet school still be the same number of
students who would be left after Bedford has departed? In other words, would
we really have the savings in teachers?” Supt. Ludwell said “yes, you would
because even if you were to draw students from other schools that would reduce
the student population of the other school. Any way you look at it we're losing
450 students next year alone.”
      Comm. Beaudry asked “is the Administration taking into consideration people
that are going to be retiring? It was said there would be approximately 25
teachers once we lose the 450 students but if there are going to be 41 teachers
retiring we're still going to have hire teachers.” Supt. Ludwell said that there are
a lot of issues there. One they won't know who is going to retire so how many
until December. Right now he has received one letter. Second, he is not trying
to paint a Pollyanna picture as it is not always that clean. You may lose art
teachers and need math teachers or vice versa. There is going to have to be a
lot of adjustment work done in that area. It's too early right now to look at. They
can look at general numbers but not specific assignments. Comm. Beaudry
asked “what we read in the paper isn't etched in stone is it as far as having West
a magnet school?” Supt. Ludwell said he prefers the word 'academy'. He said
“I'll put a plug in for the committee and I think they made a pretty compelling
presentation as to an option but no the next step is to present it to the whole
Board. Ultimately it is the Board's decision to decide that.” Comm. Beaudry
asked “when we will have the opportunity to ask questions. We were talking
earlier about students leaving one school to go to West. Will that be their school
full time? It's not going to be if you have a class at West that you want to take
you wouldn't go over there for one class?” Supt. Ludwell said “ultimately I would
think if it's an academy that would be that student's home school for the 4 years
of their education.” Comm. Beaudry said “the concern that I have and I was
talking with someone earlier that if that is going to be an elite school and you
have all of the students looking for AP classes going over to West what is that
going to do for the AYP in the schools that they're leaving because that is going

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       15                     October 16, 2006
to take all of the smartest kids to West High School and also teachers. If you
have this elite school then you're going to have teachers go to teach over there
so what is that going to leave in the other schools for the rest of the population?”
Supt. Ludwell said “I think if you look at it the committee was just setting forth a
concept. Clearly a lot more work would have to be done. I mentioned at the
meeting there is a lot of work to be done in the area of finance and what is the
cost of this going to be. We as a Community hasn't even identified what
academies would be over there. I think it is even too early to say it is the elite. If
you read the paper it talked about increasing the ROTC Program and it talked
about a lot of other areas. I think that part would be a gradual increase. The
areas that that academy might specialize in haven't even been identified yet.”
Comm. Beaudry said “so we may be able to put our alternative programs over
there?” Supt. Ludwell said “perhaps we could, yes. I think the Ombudsman
Program, typically that particular student population works better away from the
traditional high school because those students typically don't succeed in the
typical traditional, comprehensive high school. There is a lot of opportunity over
there and we're at the earliest stages.”

    Asst. Supt. Bass said he would now refer to the high school numbers. He
said that Comm. Soucy brought up a good point. The numbers presented here
are strictly on the overages. Obviously that is always an area of concern for us
and trying to figure out how to assuage high numbers in particular areas and
what kinds of remedies are available to us. However the contrast is quite evident
as well and that is we do have many classes that are low in numbers and that
could be for a variety of reasons whether it's Advanced Placement and the
capstone course in a foreign language or in mathematics. There are a lot of
courses that also have numbers anywhere from 15-20 to 20-21 but certainly far
below the high numbers of 28-32 that we keep talking about. So that should also
be kept in mind to some degree. It makes it seem as if when we talk about the
high numbers that the whole school is like but that is certainly is not the case.
   He said that he used the same format as was used in past years. It talks
about the number of teachers per building. One can see that we're getting very
close in terms of parity among the 3 schools in terms of the number of teachers
per department and the total number of teachers per school. It may not be exact
but it is getting better. He would note that West High School has surged ahead
in terms of population. They are now at 22,087. Memorial is down to 22,046 and
Central is at 23,005. So the schools are very close in terms of their total number
of students and it is not like it was a few years passed where there may have
been a difference of 250-300 students per building.
    Back to the point, these number of teachers per area do seem to be evening
out. If one looks at the class ratio, there was quite a long discussion about this
last year. The question is what do you mean by the class average. Asst. Supt.
Bass said that he may have to come back next month with a breakdown showing
where all of the 24s are and where the 27s are by actual levels and by class.
That way one can see where the thrust of the overages are as opposed to the
ratios. Under these student class ratios it does become somewhat misleading.

Curriculum & Instruction Committee        16                       October 16, 2006
In short, looking at the numbers they all look pretty good for the most part but we
do have a number of classes that are on the high side. If one were to look
across the District to see where are the areas of concern he would say point
blank they are in the area of art and the area of foreign language and in the area
of physical education. They are concentrating on the core areas; the areas they
are responsible for in terms of State testing so that is where things lead in terms
of class sizes at the high school level.
    Comm. Soucy said she feels it would be very helpful to get a more
comprehensive view. As was said, the AP classes tend to be very small and the
honors classes tend to be very small. She said “I think it might actually be telling
to look by grade level and by course level to determine these sizes.” She said
that she took out the numbers that had been produced for the same chart for
November of 2005 and there is actually quite a bit of similarity. There is some
discrepancy but last year at this same time it looks like West High School science
had 35 sections over 30 yet this year they only had 32 and with only 2 less
students. It's very hard to determine looking at just sheerly at averages and it's
challenging for us to determine where there really are problems and issues in
each of the different schools so perhaps a little more detail might help to get a
better handle on the numbers.” Asst. Supt. Bass said that he would use the
same form that was used last year. It has those areas broken out so one can
see where the concentrations exist in particular areas. Comm. Soucy asked
“would it also be possible in doing that to look at time of day. We did have a
discussion at the November meeting and I did pull out the minutes from that
meeting and each of the 3 principals spoke. Obvously the emphasis is on drop-
puts and trying to accommodate students and trying to do it in a meaningful way.
But it seems where Mr. Adamakos, to his credit, is very accommodating of his
students; Mrs. Thompson for her reasons was less accommodating of changes.
She said that the school hours were set as school hours. So I wonder what
impact that has on the schools and on the various class sizes and I think it may
have some difference. We may want to look at maybe providing some more
consistency. Each one of the principals has to run their school yet we also have
to in accommodating their staffing requirements look at data that at least is
comparing the same types of scenarios.”
    Asst. Supt. Bass said “you tease out an interesting point. That is, students
who are going to be available for the period H class or students who are
available for the period A class and what are some of the competing interests
they may have when those periods come into play. I know for example there are
situations where we have talked about creating an additional class in period H
because it is not a heavily-laden block of time for a lot of classes. But getting
kids to move into that arena is very difficult. And what are the issues that they
have and forcing them to be in the period H or the period A. I'm talking about
jurniors and seniors. What has been done in terms of their position within the
school? Those are issues that you have to tease through. Every principal tries
to balance that as best as possible and to create a situation in which students
want to be at the school but at the same time they have a responsibility to be at
the school for a larger measure of the day. So to answer your question we will

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       17                     October 16, 2006
come back next month with more data on periods H and A.”
    Princpal Adamakos said “time of day is not relevant to the discussion. What
the problem is is this. Before scheduling you need to look and see what the size
of your sections will be when they're all even. That is where the problems are. If
you look at my data that is supplied to Dr. Bass, a lot of my sections are at 31.
Teachers have agreed to take the 31st student. With me it's teacher load. If I
have a 120 students and I have 30 in one period but I have 20 in another that's
not an unfair advantage because I've accepted that. Because of that situation, I'll
take the 30th kid if I can accommodate their schedule that way. For us a problem
has always been art because every course is over 24 and we can't have that.
But there are only 24 seats in a lab situation. And with foreign language,
particularly with Spanish, I have multiple sections that are at 36. They were at 36
to start the scheduling process. Those are what the problems are. Once you
shuffle the deck and let the seats fall as they may the time of day is really
irrelevant. Most of the students, if you look at the numbers and percentages, are
sophomores and freshmen and they're all there 8 periods a day. So the classes
are going to be just as full at the beginning of the day as at the end. If you're
looking at juniors and seniors you might find some discrepancies but it's really
the teacher load that seems to be pretty even. As long as a teacher says they
don't mind have the 31st person and they're going from one period to another and
we're able to accommodate them because they need to fit another course in
we're going to do that and we're going to make that change. So it's the teacher
load you might want to look at and not the time of day. And it's also the numbers
prior to bulk scheduling that are the telling issues. For Memorial it's always been
Spanish and art. Those numbers aren't even showing up in great supply. I think
we have 7 sections of foreign language that are over and all of those have 33 or
higher. When you look at some of the other sections like English almost all of the
overages are at 31 and not 30 because we've just made that threshold. It's a bit
misleading once the deck is shuffled because there could be misinformation. If
you have 25 sections at 31 that's not bad as opposed to having every section at
36 or 35.”
    Comm. Kruse said “the teacher load is the item that I am most concerned
about. Yes, the individual class sizes are important and certainly as we get
beyond a certain number then we're past the reasonable threshold. But as I look
at the teacher/student ratio, for example with English at Central it's 104.8 and at
Memorial it's 121.8 and at West it's 119. To me that's where the real disparity is
because we're telling a teacher at Memorial they've got to handle 122 kids but
we're telling a teacher at West they've got to handle 119 and at Central they only
have to handle 105. That's a big difference to try to keep track of all of those
students and try to give them the kind of attention that they need to have. As I
look at this, realizing it's not as simple, for example at Central there are 21
English teachers. At Memorial there are 19. And at West there are 19.2.” He
said “if you took one teacher from Central and move that person in this particular
example to Memorial at Central the teacher/student ratio would be 110 and at
Memorial it would be 116 and at West it would be 119. That's a closer parity than
before. You could also take that English teacher and move it to West and

Curriculum & Instruction Committee      18                      October 16, 2006
achieve a similar situation. If you look at math, at Central if you move 1 teacher
out of Central and put that teacher at West you would now have at Central 111.5
and Memorial would remain at 123.6 and West would be at 119. West and
Memorial would see a bit of a decline and Central would go up a bit and still be
lower than the others. It is the case that year after year Central has more
teachers with fewer students. Dr. Bass is right that certainly we've made a lot of
progress at Memorial in particular with trying to get those class sizes down and
we've put in 24 new rooms that has enabled us to do some of that. And we have
made some progress at West but it looks like we might be reversing. But the
historical trend has clearly been that Central has had more teachers than West or
Memorial in certain subject areas and the population differences seem to still be
in the favor of Memorial and West. To me that is a persistent issue and while we
can't always get the numbers early in the semester it seems to me at this point
after many years of this similar experience it is time to say that next year at
Central we're going to have fewer teachers and we're going to have more
teachers at Memorial and depending on what West looks like we might need
more or fewer there.”
    Comm. Langton said that she has had a concern of the comparable teacher
load from school to school or teacher to teacher. As Comm. Kruse was saying, a
math teacher at Central has an average of 105 kids while at West they have 127.
So that teacher at West has almost another class if you think about it. As far as
what Comm. Soucy was saying she has a good point. This is really hard to see
the numbers as 32 could mean you're over by 1 or over by 10 so we can't really
tell. I know that our current scheduling program can provide a print-out by staff
or by course and it can give us the number of students in the course period or
any other kind of data that you request. It's a pretty succinct document. That
might be more specific and more of what we're looking for. Asst. Supt. Bass said
“to Comm. Kruse's point, what we can do is look at a department, for example
the English department, and we can compare Memorial and Central. But be
mindful that this is the total number of students that are taking an English class
throughout the entire school and that divided by the number of teachers gives
you your average. It would be interesting to see how that plays out in terms of
actual loads. So let me also do that and make a comparison between the
schools in terms of how those loads are set up. I think that will also be telling to
the Committee in terms of where those relative equalizations occur or not.”
    Comm. Langton asked “MST, those numbers aren't reflected here as a
specific school so are the MST students part of their sending school or is there a
number for MST if that is their high school? And with the monthly enrollment
sheet, I used both sheets to make sure that the numbers match. So are the MST
students reflected in their sending school?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “yes.”
Chairman Labanaris said “but they're not double counted and they're only
counted in their home school.”
    Comm. Kruse said “to follow up when looking at the numbers of students, is it
the case that a student might be taking more than one English class for example
and therefore shows up twice in that number?” Asst. Supt. Bass said “that's an
excellent point. Yes, there are many students who will take more than one

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       19                     October 16, 2006
English class especially if there are a lot of electives. You may also find that the
case in the area of Social Studies as well. That's why it will be interesting to see
how it plays itself out.” Comm. Kruse said “I would imagine that even if you have
let's say the same student taking 2 of your courses the load still equals 2
students essentially because you're grading that student in 2 totally different
areas in twice as much homework.” Asst. Supt. Bass agreed.

District Improvement Update
    Asst. Supt. Bass said that an update was provided in the agenda material.
Mrs. Lecaroz is present at the meeting to answer questions.
    Mrs. Lecaroz said there are some big things that have taken place over the
past month. The science curriculum team met and they have begun the
alignment process for a new science curriculum that will be aligned to the new
grade-span expectations for science literacy. The curriculum team has also met.
They have a draft curriculum development process and they have made
amendments to that process based on the science curriculum team's
involvement with that so far. That is why they're using it with the science
curriculum team this year so they can work out the bugs with it. They also began
a curriculum-review cycle to create a 5-6 year plan so that curriculum will be
reviewed on a regular basis as well as evaluated on a regular basis as well as
having resources looked at on a regular basis. Finally, they also talked about the
core competency requirements for all high schools within the State.
   She said that as she was writing up her report she realized she had a lot to put
in the delivery of curriculum because now is where things are happening. They
did a lot of planning last year. The elementary language arts implementation
specialist has been working with the reading supervisors in 2 areas both on the
implementation of the elementary language arts curriculum and also on the
implementation of the language arts assessment plan. There is a plan as part of
the whole assessment calendar that the assessment team is working on and
they also have math and science in that calendar they have drafted. The
elementary and middle school math coaches have begun working with the
teachers within the District to help them understand the curriculum and help them
align their instruction to the new curriculum. All elementary classroom teachers
participated in professional development specifically geared towards the new
curriculum for mathematics on the September early-release day. The secondary
math teachers, both middle and high schools, will be involved in professional
development in October on that curriculum. The last major highlight is the
professional development team has created a draft master plan that went to the
monitoring committee and to the principals for their feedback. It will then go back
to the team again for revisions based on the recommendations that the principals
and the monitoring committee gave to them on that document. It is considerably
different from what we've seen in the past. The new State regulations for the
staff development master plan are significantly different from what they were in
the past. What's interesting about it is when you look at the requirements that
the State has they match up to the vision statement that the professional
development created and they created that vision statement before the

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       20                      October 16, 2006
requirements from the State came. Both of the things are based on best
practices and research that is out there on what is the most effective professional
development strategies to use.
    Comm. Beaudry said that he had an opportunity to go to some of the schools
last week and he spoke with several teachers. Getting back to the curriculum
mapping they don't see where that is going to be a useful tool for them and they
feel it is a waste of their time. Also, from his understanding of talking with several
teachers is we don't have the computer hardware to actually support the software
that you need for this program. So they really think it is a waste of their time. He
said that he would like to know how many other districts are using curriculum
mapping and how many districts were using it that dropped it.
    Mrs. Lecaroz said that she knows there has been some conversations
between Dr. Bass and a number of districts and the number is up to 26 different
districts in the State of NH that are currently using curriculum mapping. Also,
NEASC which is the accreditation agency for the high schools has just sent out a
letter to all high schools and all superintendents indicating that they recommend
the use of curriculum mapping for developing core competencies. So not only
are there 26 districts in the State that are using it but now we're looking at a
nationally accreditated organization that is recommending that we use it. Comm.
Beaudry asked “do you know of any districts that were using it and that dropped
it?” Mrs. Lecaroz said “personally, I don't.” Comm. Beaudry said “I'd like to
know if there is a way to find that data out. This was not just one teacher but it
was several teachers within our District that feel this is a waste of their time and
they don't know how that is going to improve the education process.”
    Asst. Supt. Bass said “we did contact all of the districts throughout the State
of NH and asked them to respond to us in terms of their use of the curriculum-
mapping program or their intent. All of the responses that we got were two-fold.
One was that they were using the curriculum mapping in some form or fashion
whether at the elementary, middle, or secondary level. Some of them were using
it entirely within their system. The other comment we got was they are moving
forward with it and they were very excited by it and they were looking to expand.
The Superintendent and I also had the opportunity to go on the Internet and get
some information from around the Country relative to curriculum mapping. I
believe the state of South Dakota has adopted curriculum mapping and the state
of Michigan was very close to doing that if they haven't already done so. So it is
a very fast-moving program opportunity that seems to go hand-in-hand with
developing the competencies that we're going to be required to do for all of our
major courses.”
    Comm. Beaudry asked “how do we address the concern of the hardware not
supporting the software for this curriculum mapping. What is the District doing?
Our IT Dept. is stressed out right now. If we don't have the hardware where are
we going to get the money to buy it?” Mrs. Lecaroz said “I will say that hardware
is an issue depending on the school that we're at. This is the 4 th middle school
she has been at and she has found that all 4 middle schools are significantly
different with the hardware that they are able to use with curriculum mapping.
Some schools are better equipped than others. The curriculum team has

Curriculum & Instruction Committee        21                      October 16, 2006
discussed this issue and it has talked about recommendations that they're going
to make as a result of the hardware issue. It is not something that we're ignoring
and we do realize that it is happening. It depends which school you're at with
where they're at.” Comm. Beaudry said “but we're implementing a program
without giving the proper tools to support the program.” Asst. Supt. Bass said
that he was not aware of that but he would be meeting with the secondary-level
principals the next day and he would discuss this issue. Mrs. Lecaroz said that
every school has the ability to do curriculum mapping. It is the logistics of access
to the computers or how comfortable people are accessing a computer that is not
sitting in their classroom. Some people are very comfortable doing that in for
instance in the library but others are not. In some schools it is common practice
for teachers to go in to access computers in other areas of the building but in
other schools it is not common practice so they're uncomfortable with it. So it's
different as to what school you're in.
     Chairman Labanaris said “but I do think if we're looking for our stakeholders to
buy into this curriculum mapping and if we are going to use computers then we
have to make them accessible and we have to make teachers comfortable with
whatever they need to do in order to make a map.” Asst. Supt. Bass said that as
he said he would explore that issue with the principals and he will get back to the
Board in an upcoming Board update.
     Supt. Ludwell said “also, yearly there is the Districtwide LODI survey. When
you look at that, hand in hand with the software and the hardware is the level of
comfort some teachers have. Looking at the report one could see the District still
has a number of teachers who aren't very comfortable sitting down and utilizing
the computer on an everyday basis. So we've got to be working gradually in that
area also. It's improving every year but we still have a ways to go.”
     Comm. Soucy said “perhaps the differences in the schools could be taken up
by the climate and culture committee. It seems to be a different climate in each of
the schools amongst the professional staff.” Mrs. Lecaroz said “to be honest, I
don't how the climate and culture team can take on anything else on their plate.
They have so much sitting there right now. It is something that can be brought
up.” Chairman Labanaris said that it seems like such an elementary and basic
issue to the success or failure of the program. So whatever is on the plate has to
be taken aside so we can really deal with the main issue here.
     Comm. Langton said “you mentioned that curriculum mapping is
recommended at the high school level but we don't currently do that in this
District.” Mrs. Lecaroz said “correct, right now we're at the middle school level.”
Comm. Langton asked “why did we start with the middle schools if the high
school level is what was recommended?” Mrs. Lecaroz said “3 or 4 years ago
the middle school principals chose to begin curriculum mapping because they felt
it would be beneficial to improve the academic achievement of students so they
took it on as one of their middle school initiatives before District improvement
even existed. So that is why it started there.” Comm. Langton asked “and in
those 4 years has there been data that shows that it does improve?” Mrs.
Lecaroz asked “within our District? I think what our issue is in our District is that
we do not have data and that is the where the District improvement team is

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       22                      October 16, 2006
creating data so that we can begin to track those things.”

   Chairman Labanaris asked if the summer school update would be ready for
the November meeting. Asst. Supt. Bass said that it would be. Chairman
Labanaris said that in talking with a couple of teachers who teach summer school
they related that the curriculum is not written anywhere. She is hoping that in
November the Committee will talk with Mr. McGeough about writing a curriculum
so the teachers will have something to work with. Asst. Supt. Bass agreed.

   Comm. Kruse made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Comm. Soucy
seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote. The meeting was
adjourned at 8:40p.m.


Suzanne O. Sears
Clerk of the Board

Curriculum & Instruction Committee       23                  October 16, 2006
Curriculum & Instruction Committee   24   October 16, 2006

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