Thursday, June 24, 2010

Green with a little green!

Susan sent me an email with the text and picture attached. Comments don't allow pictures so I am posting this separately:
Buzz has planted what he calls his "two dollar garden" - left over lattice strips and seedlings that were on sale a couple of weeks ago - all less than $2.

See, something green can be accomplished with just a little green!

Franklin, MA

"a NO vote is being penny-wise but pound-foolish"

How about this from the Boston Globe:

'If we had data on all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, the exact impact of the simulated override might vary, but the overall results would be similar. By not passing the override, homeowners in Hull would save on their property taxes over the next five years. But for every tax dollar they save, Hull homeowners would likely forfeit close to four dollars in home value when they sell their homes.
Before pulling the lever in the voting booth, residents across Massachusetts considering a Prop 2 override to help fund local schools might be wise to consider whether a no vote is being penny-wise but pound-foolish.'

Read the full article here

And the School Committee blog post (which pointed me to this) here

Franklin, MA

Green front porch

The Franklin Food Pantry has taken the food revolution to their front porch. The greenery growing in the pots are flowers and edible plants (i.e. vegetables).

Do you have space for a planter to grow something for your table?

Franklin, MA

Reminder: The question is open until midnight on June 25th

Based upon the discussion around the article in the Milford Daily News on Tuesday 6/15/10, a new poll question has been added to the center column of Franklin Matters.

The question asks if the override question had been phrased differently would the results have been different. In particular the question is:
If the override was split into 2 separate questions, would you have approved the school override? Q1 - $2.1 million for schools   Q2 - $900K for roads/the town

The article and full comment stream can be found here:

 Franklin, MA

"Morris stood out from the crowd"

By Ashley Studley, Daily News staff
Posted Jun 24, 2010 @ 01:22 AM
The School Committee Tuesday welcomed a new addition to the district's administration team, incoming Parmenter Elementary School Principal Tom Morris.
On July 1, Morris will replace Judi Bassignani, who is retiring.
A music teacher for Newton public schools, Morris is looking forward to his new position.
"I'm thrilled to be coming to the Franklin public school district," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

This was reported in real-time from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday evening here:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee

Present: Hardesty, Roche, Cameron, Bartlett, Whalen, Rohrbach, Zollo
Absent: Morrison, Trahan, Mason, Nutting, Sabolinski

What is the next thing we can do to have an incremental effect?

Update forecast, provide an estimate on next years shortage
How do we control costs going forward, esp with 80% of our costs in employee compensation

How many towns have passed overrides around us?

need to re-do the report to make it more easily understandable, i.e. what impact does it have on me!

(Roche left)

Town of Wakefield Chap 70 inequity example

Norfolk, MA failed their override 6/22/10
The override did not pass. 1,806 votes, which is 29% of registered voters. Yes 571, No 1,235

what are the spending priorities over the next several years?
solicit input on the level of services and what services should be kept
what is the spending priority list?

Franklin, MA

Brainstorming Rules

Rules for brainstorming? Are you sure?
Yes, most definitely. Every game has rules even if they are made up along the way.

Is brainstorming a game?
If we treat it as such, with rules, then the best ideas will win. Note: the ideas win! Not the people who play, the ideas!

The Rules

  1. Generate as Many Ideas as Possible
  2. Encourage Wild and Exaggerated Ideas, No Matter How Crazy, Ridiculous, or Farfetched the Idea Might Be
  3. There will be No Detailed Discussions about an Idea, Except to Provide Clarification
  4. Assign Someone as the Scribe. The Scribe Should Write Down Every Idea – No Screening
  5. Keep a Copy of the Rules in Plain View (That's called transparency!)
  6. The Brainstorming List Must Be Visible to Everyone (also transparency!)
  7. Snowballing on Other Ideas is Encouraged
  8. Postpone and Withhold Judgment of Any Idea (Yes, this will be a tough one)
  9. Leave Your Titles at the Door (and likely the hardest!)
  10. The Optimum Number of People is Between 8 And 12, with One-Third of the Group Being Outsiders

Would you like to play?

Note: the rules come from Mark L Fox and his book DaVinci and the 40 Answers

Franklin, MA

School Committee - 06/22/10

The posts live reported from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 can be found here

Franklin, MA

"Finding interested and qualified candidates has been difficult"

Franklin school decisions explained

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

"the EPA should come up with the money"

Officials estimate businesses could spend $6,000 to $120,000 per acre on systems used to redirect stormwater.
"The benefits (of cleaning the river) are grossly overstated and do not justify the expense," said Franklin Director of Public Works Robert Cantoreggi.
Cantoreggi argued that legislation should be sought to control sources of the phosphorous, such as lawn fertilizer. He also said "social research" should be conducted to see if there is support within the communities to fund phosphorous control systems.
"Let the people decide where their money goes," Cantoreggi said.
Read the full article on the EPA Stormwater regulations here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live reporting - Closing

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

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

Trahan - best of luck to all the students for the summer

Glynn - Mendon, Upton, Attleboro and others have adopted the resolution we put forward thus far

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

motion to go to executive session, not to return

8. Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Foreign language (Latin, Spanish)

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
a. Foreign Language

eight Latin teachers hired in last several years, great turnover
one resigned, another indicated intention to resign
leave request from a HS Latin teacher (maternity leave)
currently employing .5 of a Latin teacher, looking for 5 Latin teachers

3 were fully qualified and will be bringing in for interviews
most of the others h ad been interviewed before and were not hired
decision was to proceed with reducing Latin and alleviating part of the problem
the middle school teachers will move to the high school (they are all certified K-12)

Memo to committee May 12th
Memo on June 4th
Discussion on June 8th
and proceeded accordingly

We will be continuing to look at Foreign language overall to see what we are offering, what we could offer
middle school students get 65 sessions during their school year, not enough
we will be pursuing the study more fully in the coming year and coming up with a plan

Mullen - School system suffering the death of a thousand cuts
made a philosophical decision to go with Latin, we are not making a pragmatic decision to remove it from the middle school
My youngest daughter would have taken French but French got cut, so she took Latin
Most communities were offering only one language, Spanish

Michelle Kingsland-Smith
out of 32 districts, 4 of the 32 had an elementary program, only 7 had Latin, and in the middle school

Cafasso - 177 schools teach Latin, 32 middle schools, 140 schools within the state, if that helps
info from the DESE was obtained today and would be forwarded to the Committee and to the administration

Sabolinski - having a license doesn't make a teacher effective, it is step one
There is a way to equalize class size and class instruction; some of the Latin classes were smaller due to less demand, some of the Spanish classes were larger due to demand.

Sabolinski - had intentions to get to three times a week for foreign language but cut it to 2 due to budget, the opportunity to focus on the MetroWest health results (BMI, bullying,etc.) we have requirements to implement with no resources to do so. The current program wasn't enough.

Kingsland-Smith - districts will be required to provide the curriculum in cyber-bullying, they have specifically said curriculum, not a separate program, 

Sabolinski - we (administration team) are going tomorrow to a workshop to review what they are providing 

Cafasso - (pressing issue on an administration decision to go this way and replace the language program with the health effort)

Perry - in terms of recruiting teachers, it is not a selling point, 

Cafasso - there are a lot of kids who are impacted by this, we never asked them, we just announced it on the last day of school. What is the plan to help the students with one year left?

Perry  - we have talked about summer classes, we have talked about online learning, we have talked about a traveling roll. We only have one person and a class size of sixty and you can't collapse the two sections

Wittcoff - We are really here because we lost these Latin teachers, in Math and Science the nation has programs to foster growth in those areas, they are not doing that for Latin. The pragmatic decision is to change the offerings

Perry - what could it look like? all the schools could offer Spanish, with an integration of the subject into other subject areas.

Bergen -  The students who had a chance to try the foundation language, Latin, and then pick up one later. It becomes exploratory because we no longer have the intensive program. Language moved off the core subjects unless we could keep the hour. Can we add an hour to the school day? I don't see that happening.

Kingsland-Smith - due to AYP issues, we focused on the core and made progress. It was at the expense of the language.

Sabolinksi - we are looking at other options, after school clubs, etc. Not this summer though.

Cafasso - to hear tonight that language is no longer a core subject for this district is concerning.

Kingsland-Smith - when we think about a core, a core is an everyday item, the state has defined those four frameworks (math, science, social studies, and ELA) language was once but is no longer.

Douglas - I'd like to see if we could do something for those students that have already have had two years

quick survey of the schools, about 80 at Remington, 40-50 at Keller, and another 70 at Horace Mann. It would be one full-time but two bodies due to the schedule issue amongst the three middle schools

Perry - studies from the 1980 show shortages on the Latin teachers, it is not a new problem

Glynn - have you pursued other languages to compliment Spanish?

Sabolinski - we have not been able to find qualified teachers? we have looked for Mandarin Chinese and Arabic back even when Mr Lucas was here we were exploring programs to bring teachers here

Glynn - have you found anything on the e-learning front, perhaps were several schools could combine? perhaps a rhetorical question

Roy - I have no doubt that we are all desiring to see Latin at the middle schools. As a practicality, I don't think we can.  I don't think we are second guessing the plan or decision.  I support that wholeheartedly, looking at Mr Cafasso's suggestion to examine the whole language program.  Language is a hot topic in my household. NoChildLeftBehind is what defines a core subject, we are not loosing foreign language in Franklin, we are loosing one subject matter. We are in the middle of a set of tough choices. The community spoke and said no, so we need to move accordingly to make tough choices.

Bergen - we have no general music left due to the budget, and elementary music is lost

Mullen - I want to follow up on what is left for those kids who would be going into 8th grade. 

Sabolinski - we did not go at this capriciously, we sat down with Kristy Yankee, the language lead who had actually received the student when we did this with French the last time. It just did not work, it was not an effective instructional model for students. Her plea was to shore up the high school program. We are excited to be offer high school AP Latin for the firs time.

Light - what was the impact on French when we stopped French at the middle schools? We don't have enough French teachers at the high school. In terms of pure numbers, we don't see an impact. We are offering French AP next year due to enough demand for it. How do you come up with a good comprehensive 4-year program?  We are looking to keep the programs competitive. How do we help them come into Latin (after having spent sometime in another language)? Early acquisition skills are what we are looking at.

Mullen - We are in this unenviable position of cutting and we hear you of expanding something, making the best of a lousy situation.

Glynn - don't leave the student out?
Roy - yes, we will let the audience have their say when the committee had completed their questions

Sabolinksi - we have provided a lot of data in our last foreign language report, what else are you looking for?

Cafasso - it has been a discussion for years, as well as a goal of the superintendent to improve the foreign language program. I'd like to see the plan that I have been asking for for five years?

Sabolinski - I have the plan, we have reviewed the plan, but we are not able to fund it.

Cafasso - You have made it clear tonight that this is not a budget decision, this is another decision. The Committee is supposed to set the guidelines. I don't believe we have done so.  It wasn't ever clear that this was a decision, it was just a proposal. It's done. I'd like to see it come back in some formative way. I'd like to see something be done for the students who spent two years studying and won't be getting into Peter's program yet.

Rohrbach - This is the result of budget constraints and unfunded mandates. Thank you for coming here and providing your thoughts.

Texeira - now a sophomore at Northeastern. Youth soccer coach with youth soccer leagues, head through his soccer players, to confirm what has been said tonight. Kids have talked to me in Spanish, French and Latin. Tested out English at college due to his preparation from Franklin HS.  I think it would be a big mistake to cut Latin. I understand you having trouble finding teachers. 

Sabolinski - we have been aggressive in pursuing teachers for the past five years.  

Texeira - I wanted to stress the importance of Latin. It impacted almost everything else we did. It is much better to have students and graduated students with a background in languages is better than being less than competent and capable in languages. Most of the languages are derived from Latin.

b. Interim Principal HMMS
Michael Levine - interim principal, hired today
experienced retired principal, will keep the wonderful things that Dr Bergen has started
he will be scheduled to come to the School Committee sometime during the summer

Cafasso - hat is the gender breakdown at HM?
Bergen - approx. 50/50. 

Cafasso - Why an interim for this position?
Sabolinski - we were not able to find a suitable candidate in the initial search process earlier this year. We started late, did have an number of applicants but weren't able to move quickly enough, a good number ended up going elsewhere. We intend to start again in August.

Cafasso - Curious on your philosophy about the male/female issues being addressed at the middle schools
Sabolinski - one of the new counselors coming to Horace Mann is a female. 
Wittcoff  - there should be a team approach, some students will connect with one or another.

Trahan - I think it is on the student to have a level of confidence with who they can go to

Douglas - I commend you on not hiring a permanent too quickly

Sabolinski - thank you

Roy - general theme tonight has been to go attract the best and brightest

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the Budget Transfers as detailed.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from Natalie Brunelli for the John A. Brunelli Memorial Scholarship at FHS.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Elaine Costello for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Mary Ann Bertone for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS. recommend to accept, passed 7-0

e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from the Franklin Country Club for the Franklin Country Club Scholarship / Hall of Fame Award at FHS.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,700.00 from the Shayne Cabino Foundation for the Let Us Never Forget LCPL Shayne Matthew Cabino Memorial Scholarship at FHS.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Lonnie Grillo for the Class of 1960 Scholarship at FHS.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

h. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,000.00 from Franklin Youth Lacrosse for a Space Camp field trip for Horace Mann students.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

i. I recommend acceptance of 3 checks for $50.00 each from Mr. Lima, Mr. Folan and Mr. DiLorenzo for the FHS Scholarship Fund.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3,000.00 from the Horace Mann PCC for in-house enrichment.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

k. I recommend approval of an increase in athletic fees to $450 for Hockey, $175 for Track, and $200 for all other sports.  recommend to accept, passed 6-1  (Glynn no)

l. I recommend approval of an increase in extracurricular fees to $50 annually.  recommend to accept, passed 7-0

m. I recommend adoption of the FY11 budget of $49,875,000 as detailed.  recommend to accept, passed 6-1  (Cafasso no)

Budget discussion
The foreign language changes are budget neutral. The only significant changes were to the reduction of the collaborative services where we believe we can insource those positions and save money.

There are reductions in the seven elementary and eight middle school teachers, the retirees are factored in in that others were able to keep their positions.

BICO - (BiCounty collaborative) occupational therapy, speech therapists, we believe can hire at a savings, we have hired six OT thus far, we will still need some services contracted out but we can see savings this way. The savings thus far are about $58,000 or the equivalent of another position. The people we have will be working on our schedule.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - FY 2011 budget

3. Discussion Only Items
FY11 Budget

15 teachers
3 buses cut
Working to shorten the elementary day
If the shortened day does not pass the teachers union, it would require 3 additional teacher positions to balance the budget.

Did discuss a family cap, did not calculate that in the budget, therefore there would be a recommendation to not have a family cap. (hence, all families would pay full for all students in the family).

Pandora's role shifting, one to have Brad Sidwell try and generate some additional revenue
two, to try and build some additional strategic alliances

Cafasso - just because we did not plan this well does not mean we should not consider a family cap. I would consider it but I haven't had access to the budget dollars to see what difference it would make.

Students with free and reduced lunch are exempt from paying the fees
If families are having problems with the fee structure, the family should reach out to the principals and Brad Sidwell who can work out an accommodation.

Franklin, MA Public Schools - FY2011 Overview2

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to view the document attached

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Best Buddies 'Don't Use the R Word'

b. ASMS Best Buddies Officers – “Spread the word to end the R Word”
1. Casey Lazarek, Lindsey Baryluk, Lauren Altobelli, Gabby Kane, Nathalie Loreiro, Maggie Streeter, Alex Wolfe and Marta Versprille. Ashley Monterotti is unable to attend.

The presentation used for this meeting:

The presentation is a collection of photos and comments expressing what the Best Buddies and ASMS teachers feel about the "R" word. Quite moving!

Not all the teachers had time to provide a response, during the summer the project will continue to build up what has started. The presentation will be used for the 6th grade orientation in September.

The power of words, civility can make a difference!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to view the document attached

Franklin, MA