Saturday, February 27, 2010

Temple Grandin - "visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers"

We get our first view into the Schools budget during the School Committee meeting on 3/9/10. Apparently, the budget will initially focus on "level service" (based upon the update from the meeting 2/23/10).

Going from "level service" to "level funded" or less will be a challenge. This TED Talk by Temple Grandin is good at showing the different kinds of thinking we are capable of. The different kinds of thinking require different approaches.

Are we preparing a sufficiently challenging environment for all types of thinkers?

Are we prepared to fund it appropriately?

In the News - Cole's, state budget updates

Franklin police hope photo helps catch robber

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 


In one article meeting with librarians, Sen Richard Moore comments on the state budget:

The governor's budget includes revenue from his proposed soda and candy tax, which, Moore said, is not likely to pass, and Medicaid money from the federal government that Congress has not yet signed off on.

"So we already have to start making up for some money," said Moore. "It's not going to be a pretty picture ... This will be the worst fiscal year since I've been in office."

Read the full article here

Support for libraries urged

Moore says aid cut may be less than 5 percent


Friday, February 26, 2010

Four Changes to Law

Phillip K Howard spoke recently at the TED Conference and it was captured in this TED Talk.
The land of the free has become a legal minefield, says Philip K. Howard -- especially for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What's the answer? A lawyer himself, Howard has four propositions for simplifying US law.
What are the four propositions?

1 - Judge law mainly by its effect on society, not individual situations.
2 - Trust in law is an essential condition of freedom. Distrust skews behavior towards failure.
3 - Law must set boundaries protecting an open field of freedom, not intercede in all disputes.
4 - To rebuild boundaries of freedom, two changes are essential:
  • simplify the law
  • restore authority to judges and officials to apply law
I do encourage you to view the video (approx. 20 minutes) as the arguments Phillip makes are quite compelling. 

What do you think? Do we stand a chance of getting somewhere with these proposals?

In the News: Closing the gap, winter carnival

Rep. Vallee votes to close obscene messaging gap

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin High's Winter Carnival set for Sunday

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maguro House - Grand Opening Party

The Grand Opening Party is scheduled for Sunday, February 28th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Harlem Wizards return to Franklin!

The Harlem Wizards, one of the greatest basketball show-team organizations to ever “lace it up and let’em fly”, will play our own Sullivan Rockets. This will be an entertaining night for kids of all ages (and adults too)!

From Franklin Matters

Did you miss their visit last year?

Don't miss it this year!

Date:  Friday, March 19th, 2010, 7:00 PM
Doors Open 6:00, Game Time 7:00

Location: Tri-County Regional High School
147 Pond St, Franklin MA

Tickets: Click here to print ticket order form

Contacts: or

Sponsored By: Annie Sullivan Middle School PCC

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

live reporting - Superintendent report, closing

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
a. Ethics Laws
b. 2011-2012 School Calendar – 2 drafts
one drafted with a start before Labor Day, one drafted with a start after Labor Day
looking for review from School Committee, will be reviewed with principals Wednesday
will also be posted to the schools website for review
with a post-Labor Day start, the senior graduation day would have to be pushed back from the normal first Friday in June

• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
Building Committee - Mar 1 is meeting to vote and approve the selection of the OPM, which will trigger the effort on designers (architects) to get one hired by fall

Space Needs - will be reporting out at next meeting

Budget subcommittee - FY 11 budget tweaked, revised to be reviewed with the full committee on March 9th to review the level service needs

• School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Trahan - FEF Trivia Bee on Apr 29th

Glynn - with the current events around cyberbullying, are we planning to do anything
Mullen - yes, the subcommittee is working on it, the Superintendent has been keeping us informed

Roy - providing feedback from the Univ of Hartford on theater students coming from Franklin who have been doing very well there.

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

motion to enter executive session with no intention to return to open session
passed 7-0

Live reporting - Action items

4. Action Items

a. I recommend acceptance of the gift of an Electronic Snap Circuits educational kit by Elenco for the students at Oak Street. Value $65.00 kit that has over 60 pieces which allows the students to build over 300 electronic projects/experiments.
motion to accept, passed 7-0
b. I recommend approval of budget transfers as detailed.
motion to accept, passed 7-0

Note: the original item B was postponed for a future meeting per the agenda review at the beginning of this meeting

live reporting - policy changes

3. Discussion Only Items

Policy – First Readings (note follow the links to view the proposed policy documents)

1. EB – Safety Program
 motion to move policy EB to second reading - passed 7-0
2. EEA – Student Transportation Policy Services and Eligibility
 motion to move policy EEA to second reading, passed 7-0
3. EEB – Student Transportation Policy Services and Eligibility
 motion to move policy EEB to second reading, passed 7-0

Budget to Actual
 no questions

Live reporting - presentations

2. Guests/Presentations

a. Summary of Ethics Laws – Maureen Sabolinski
Ethics laws required for every municipal employee, online training required, approx. 20 minutes
signature page to be printed and kept in a file with the Town Clerk
working to do the online training during staff meeting time
elected officials are required to sign off on receipt of the update packet

b. Update Strategic Plan and District Improvement Plan – Maureen Sabolinski
This is the first of the scheduled updates on the Strategic Plan (disclosure, I worked on the team to develop the Strategic Plan Vision, Mission Statement and Core Values in a collaborative manner)

developing a systemic learning community based upon feedback
implemented the writing center at the high school, an assessment and report to NEASC is required
coordinated program review, received preliminary report, received many commendations, need to focus on English language learners (no surprise based upon self evaluation)
exploring the use of Google translator to help with translations of documents

utilization of data, part of growth model pilot program
Franklin is far and above other districts in use of data
data team, teacher driven, is moving forward
this group will develop the next district improvement plan based upon the data analysis
using MCAS and the growth model data
principals using the data to modify the instructional program as required
a week of intensive training in Natick sponsored by a collaborative

reading specialists and math CETs are working on developing enhancements for teachers in the classrooms to address the needs of low income and disabled students

building a local base of assessment data to add to the MCAS data

Student success team, kids that are at risk to drop out.
develop a protocol to look at their records, for similarities
developing strategies to get ahead of the curve to address these students

The Ropes Course at the high school is being looked at to get it licensed for use as an instructional tool for leadership training, also to be used in FHS Summer program

MassInsight training, a shift in instructional program, added rigor, getting students to be ready to take advanced placements courses at the high school

Teenangels, getting to the point where the teenangels will take their information and training on the road within the district.

handbook updates scheduled for May School Committee meetings
work to begin with principals to prepare the drafts to be ready

lockdown training to include the pool of substitute teachers

school community relationships
Hockomock Y - nutition detectives
did walk a through with all the cafeterias
supplements the loss of health in the overall program

Community Health Council (meeting Thursday, March 4th)

Dean partnership, exploring ways to partner with Dean on how to work better together

transparency on budget items
MSBA, just submitted another update on enrollment projections
on agenda to approve the hiriing of the OPM which would then get to hiring the architect
should all be done by March 1

Q - How is open circle going?
A - All the elementary schools are using it, building based training currently in place

Q - the acceptable use policy is in the handbooks in the personnel section, should it be moved?
A - yes, we can address that as we get into the acceptable use for the adults, using the Town acceptable use policy

Q - what are we doing on those at risk for dropout, are we bringing in the parents?
A - we have done some work at the high school due to some data and have made some changes there, we need to extend that work throughout the system

Q - We there any ah-ha moments?
A - Yes, there were several, one of them at the high shcool was the detention and punishment policy. The kids were amazing, we did focus groups and they provided the feedback on who was engaged and interesting. The feeling of being connected to the school community. How do they get involved so that they can build the emotional connection and remain.

Live reporting - School Committee

Present:  Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent:  none

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments  none

Review of Agenda  Add an action item for budget transfers, remove original action item B for discussion at a future meeting

Minutes: I recommend approval of the Executive and Open Session minutes from the February 9, 2010 School Committee Meeting. - motion to approve, passed 7-0 

Payment of Bills                    Mr. Glynn
motion to pay warrants - passed 7-0

Payroll                            Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence:  none

Rail Commuter Lauds "Real-Time" Information

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 2/23/10

MBCR Train Real-time arrival information now available along the MBTA commuter rail network is making a positive difference for commuters.
After taking the Fitchburg Line home earlier this month, customer Selena Tan told the T, "the new GPS notification of train arrival at the platform is excellent!  It makes all the difference to know whether to scramble to catch a connecting bus around the corner or just wait patiently because the train is a little late.  Thanks!"
The installation of Global Positioning Satellite equipment on the Commuter Rail network allows the MBTA to provide customers waiting on the platform with a six-minute countdown displayed on electronic message boards.

Real-time arrival information became available on the Fitchburg line on February 11 and is now available on all MBTA commuter rail lines with two exceptions.  The Newburyport & Rockport line will receive the service next week, and the Providence/Stoughton line on March 9. 
Visit MBTA on the web and learn more.


Things you can do from here:

"What I hear is, protect education at all costs"

Selectman Richard Dunne asked the lawmakers if a 5 percent cut is realistic, or if the town should consider a 10 or 15 percent cut to local aid instead.
"Wait even just a few weeks," said Spilka. "If we don't hear anything by then ... it could be 10 percent."
Vallee said he is optimistic that Chapter 70 education money will be level funded.
"What I hear is, protect education at all costs," said Vallee.
While these comments are from a meeting with Medway, the State picture likely would apply to Franklin as well. The Governor's budget was already announced, The House and then the Senate versions are forthcoming before we get to the final numbers.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here:

Legislators say 5 percent cut in aid likely

from The Milford Daily News News RSS