Runkle School Council

Room 303

Meeting Minutes

November 15, 2011


Members Present:  V. Beauchaine, D. Dixon, C. Pelton, J. Katz, T. Gallo-Toth, V. Godhwani, D. Halwick, A. Hummel, R. McElroy, G. Sopel, S. Stern, M. Voros.


Members Absent: J. Shapiro


Meeting called to order at 4:10 p.m.


V. Beauchaine distributed list of members and days on which they would be responsible for taking minutes and keeping track of time.


I.   Approval of Minutes 10-11-11

Minutes were approved with seven votes, one abstention.


II.  Current Issues/Public Comment

Scott Murphy listed a few points for School Council attention including:

* concerns raised at the PTO meeting recently regarding disorder and noise in the hallways and the cafeteria particularly in the morning before school. V. Beauchaine said she would be following up on those concerns.

* request for clarification regarding policy for attendance by fans at school sporting events. V Beauchaine noted that a clarification of the policy had been posted in the Runkle News.

* question whether School Council had a meeting in September and whether minutes were available. V. Beauchaine said that the meeting in September had been for training of School Council members and was not a public meeting.

* question about how to identify changes made to Runkle Handbook issued this year. V. Beauchaine explained that the Handbook is not produced by the School Council.

* question about how the principal will use some additional funds allocated to the principals’ budgets town wide by the School Committee. V. Beauchaine said the principal’s budget had been addressed at the October meeting and that copies of the handouts discussed at that meeting are available in her office for review.

* concern that not all items in his letter to the Attorney General’s Office were addressed by the School Council in its reply. Discussion about whether some of the matters relating to personal matters were within the capacity of School Council to address and whether the letter from the Council had addressed all issues raised. V. Beauchaine said School Council would address any points not previously addressed.

* question as to status of anti bullying subcommittee. V. Beauchaine explained that this committee has not yet been formed and that progress of Runkle’s bullying prevention intervention plan would be addressed later in the meeting.


Discussion as to how to proceed during public comment period, specifically, whether there should be discussion of matters raised at the time or not. Different views expressed, but general consensus reached that School Council could follow the School Committee model, in which generally the public comment is mainly an opportunity for someone from the public to be heard and that further discussion would generally be deferred to a subcommittee or specific agenda item at a later date, but that explanations and dialogue may be appropriate on a case by case basis to help address or resolve an issue.


V. Beauchaine summarized the sports attendance policy as follows: at Runkle, all fans are welcome to attend volleyball and basketball games; no fans are allowed to attend indoor soccer games due to safety issues. At away games, Runkle has to follow other schools’ rules, and generally other schools do not allows fans other than parents and siblings to attend, and never for indoor soccer.


III. Updates

a.  School Council Guidelines V. Beauchaine handed out the final version of the guidelines and thanked everyone for their help.


b.  Literacy Collaborative

V. Beauchaine described recent trainings focusing on the BAS literacy assessment tools for K-5 teachers; the trainings for the 6-8 teachers will occur in January. Highlights include the Leslie College town wide two day training including 78 teachers, including librarians, teachers and reading specialists. V. Beauchaine and others who attended the trainings confirmed their usefulness and expressed appreciation for the town’s resources and commitment. There was also an in house literacy session covering various topics including titles to include in the book room and the new library. Discussion about BAS and how it will allow the teachers to look at reading ability over time, determine independent and instructional literacy, identify students at all levels, from struggling to advanced, and help teachers develop book lists and challenge opportunities. Goal is to have all students evaluated using BAS by year end. D. Halwick discussed team approach to literacy in Kindergarten, including Ms. Battaglia as a literacy coach, which is very successful. Discussion of Lasting Literacy Intervention program run by Amy Sweeney who works with small groups of students to focus on skill and concept gaps, which so far is very effective. Discussion of potential of BAS to help identify students who could benefit from ECS. Question about whether there is a mandate from the state or school district to provide ECS to students; V. Beauchaine stated that even without mandates the teachers use all tools to identify and support all students. Discussion about 6-8 training which will focus on ELA but be useful for other areas which include literacy.


c.  Transition Team

V. Beauchaine said that the newly formed transition team will meet on Thursday. Members include four seventh graders – Henry Morehouse, Fiona Burns, Laney Bachman, and Maya Williams, five teachers – M. Voros, D. Madden, T. Gallo-Toth, J. Guzzi, Anna MacIver and five parents – E. Dolbear, S. Costello, K. Leness, J. Shapiro, and J. Friedberg. They will identify topics to address, such as how to replicate the smooth early morning routines developed at the Old Lincoln site in the new building. General discussion about how to plan for use of the new building, focusing on educational environment, community input and procedures.


IV. Building Project

V. Beauchaine showed a slide show about a recent visit to the new building construction site and confirmed that August 15 is the new completion date and that there have been no recent changes to timeline including because of HVAC placement on roof. V. Beauchaine mentioned that the architect will try to address abutters’ concerns, and will present proposals at November 23 meeting, but that timing of project has not changed. Detailed discussion of procedure for moving to the new building, possible adjustments to the timing in the unlikely event of delays, such as moving in by Columbus Day, or making use of two week period between August 15 and Labor Day, assuming school will start as usual after Labor Day.


J. Katz read a letter she had prepared based on conversations with other neighbors about concerns for traffic and parking at the new building. V. Beauchaine agreed to present the letter to the head of the building project. General discussion about parking, traffic congestion, and safety.  Neighbor concerns include increasing safety of drop off and pick up of students, blocking driveways and walkways, and need for ticketing of cars parked in no parking zones on Chesham Road.  A proposal was made to look at how Lawrence handles similar parking and traffic issues. Consensus that this would be a good topic for the transition team to address.


V. Bullying Prevention Intervention Plan

V. Beauchaine described Runkle procedure for addressing incidents of alleged bullying, and the curriculum which is currently under consideration by School Committee. Bullying survey results were presented, with a focus on relatively high percentage of African American students who filled out the survey reporting having experienced bullying (5 of 12), high percentage (80-90’s) of teachers reported by students to be responding actively to bullying but also relatively high percentage (50%) of teachers reported by students to be ignoring bullying. Discussion of challenges in surveying younger students, perception of teacher response or lack thereof in part due to need for confidentiality and lack of understanding of procedures, parent perception, how much educating on bullying is effective and at what point are there diminishing returns, and the usefulness of a baseline of data as a starting point for discussions and programs.


VII. School Improvement Plan Updates

V. Beauchaine explained that SIP updates for November were distributed; there were no questions at that time. In the interest of time, it was agreed to address SIP updates more fully in the December meeting.


Meeting ended at 5:50pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Susanna Stern

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