Friday, December 6, 2013

Superintendent's Notes



Invitation to Discussion about the 3rd Grade Location in 2014-15

The School Committee 3rd Grade Location Advisory Committee was thoughtfully set up by the Maynard School Committee to facilitate additional parental and staff input on their upcoming decision about where the 3rd grade class should be located next year.  This is an important decision and the School Committee and Advisory Committee would like to state up front that we have the best interest of our children in mind at all times.

This advisory committee values the input of Parents and Staff.  The Fowler PTO has kindly included our topic to be discussed at their meeting on Wednesday December 11 at 6:30 at the Fowler Library.  This is an open invitation to parents from both Fowler and Green Meadow to share their concerns and generate data for the School Committee to consider when they deliberate.  

The School Committee 3rd Grade Location Committee began collecting questions from the school community.  We have developed a question and answer document to share as we move forward collecting more data and answering more questions.  Below is our first attempt to provide information in the form of questions and answers.

Q&A on the Location of 3rd Grade in MPS

  • Why is moving 3rd grade to Fowler being considered?
When the new High School was being proposed, the MSBA required the eighth grade to be included in the project to make the project large enough for them to consider.  There was discussion that Green Meadow was overcrowded at that time and perhaps they could occupy the vacant space at Fowler.

School Committee Assistant Chair Kohlman has kept his own enrollment data over the last 13 years and has done an analysis of his data.  He has compared the NESDEC enrollment projections to his data as a cross reference as well.  Dr. Kohlman’s analysis affirms a projection that moving 8th and 3rd grade will balance each of the three Maynard schools to a population of about 500 students.  Currently and historically Green Meadow has had a larger student enrollment than 500 students and balancing buildings would make it easier to balance resources.

  • Some Staff members have expressed a concern that if the High School ever got too crowded, would there be a need to shift the 8th and 3rd grades again?
Using the last three years of very high enrollment increases at all three schools, Superintendent Gerardi had queried whether the 8th grade would be able to stay at MHS if the enrollments continued to increase.  Dr. Kohlman’s analysis identified that the projections suggest that the new Maynard High school should be able to keep the 8th grade class at that location.  This should alleviate any concerns that we will be moving grades back and forth over the next decade.

  • What are the space “issues” at Green Meadow (Parents are looking for specifics in this area)?
Green Meadow Parking as well as pick-up and drop-off outdoor space is challenging.  Of all of our schools, Green Meadow has the least amount of parking for staff and visitors.  Green Meadow also has the most congested pick-up and drop-offs.

Currently the English Language Learners (ELL) Teacher does not have her own class and is sharing a classroom with the Excel Program.

The Preschool this year required the use of an additional classroom.

The EXCEL before and afterschool program has a limit of space.  This is considered a valuable program for parents who participate.

  • Which option will cost the district more money?
The committee has identified the cost to move the third grade to Fowler would include an additional bus, moving expenses and curricular materials. These costs would add up to approximately $65,985.

  • Parents would like more opportunities to have a voice in this decision based on professional and personal experiences.  They have also questioned if staff at both schools should have opportunities to have a voice in this decision?
 In addition to the PTO forum next week, the Advisory Committee will be developing surveys for parents and teachers in an effort to get more information.

  • What is the current status of places for children to play outside at Fowler (currently no playground and 4th and 5th and recess is generally in the field)?
The School Committee is aware of the lack of a playground at Fowler for the 4th and 5th grade students and asked Principal Mela to start a playground committee last year.  School Committee Chair, Amy Rebecca Gay, has written a CPC Grant and placed this request on the Maynard capital improvement plan for funding as of July1, 2014.  She and Principal Mela are doing this in advocacy for more play space for the 4th and 5th grade students.  If this playground is funded, it could be constructed in the summer of 2014 and ready for the next school year.

  • How would students dismissal and drop off? 
Like Green Meadow there are entrances and exits for lower and upper grade students.

  • Will the amount of recess and lunch time remain the same?
Yes, the same schedules at Green Meadow would be accommodated at Fowler. 

  • How will assemblies address the needs of this age range?
Fowler has whole school assemblies once in great while for special events.  During those events, students are seated by grade and their teachers sit or stand near them.  However it is more common for Fowler to have community meetings by grade level.

  • How will the administration address the needs of such an age range in terms of posters, decorations, bathroom facilities, height of water fountains etc.?
As we toured Fowler, we noticed that most of the wall hangings are student work and any other posters tend to be motivational and appropriate in nature.  In regard to the facility, Principal Mela reminded us that Fowler was never built as a Middle School.  It was designed as a school that houses two schools within a school and has always operated that way.  All of the bathrooms have low and lower facilities to accommodate both elementary as well as middle aged students. 

  • Should mixing 8 year old students with 12 year old students on the bus and during unsupervised times before and after school be concerning for families?

The younger kids are assigned to sit in the front of the bus and the older kids are assigned to sit in the back.  Principal Mela gets on bus and reminds students of this regularly.  Principal Mela identified that it is human nature to have some disciplinary issues in any school, which is why Assistant Principal’s are needed to help educate students to be good citizens and school community members.   His experience during the last 12 years at Fowler as an Assistant Principal and Principal is that on the bus or in the halls, the older students tend not to interact with the younger students. During most of this time the range of student’s ages were 9 to 13.

  • If 3rd grade moves up to Fowler, does the 5th grade move to a wing that is more like a middle school?
The 5th grade would be physically moved upstairs but would still be isolated in one wing and still be run as an elementary model for instruction, supervision, and management.

Boys and Girls Club of Assabet Valley Ski and Snowboarding Announcement

Nashoba Valley Ski/Snowboard Program
Join us for another exciting year of skiing with Maynard Rec and Nashoba Valley.
Early Bird Discount!
Register before December 13th and take $5 off.
Registration Deadline - Friday, December 27th.
Lift Ticket is ONLY available to children in the 6th Grade or above that have skied or snowboarded before.
Students must provide their own transportation to and from Nashoba Valley.

SATURDAYS
January 4th - February 8th
Lesson Time: 9:00am
Lesson and Lift Ticket Price: $230
*Lift Ticket Only Price: $190
Rental Equipment: $100
Helmet Rental: $40
Helmet Purchase Price: $55

THURSDAYS
January 2 – February 6th
Lesson Time: 5:30pm
Lesson and Lift Ticket Price: $200
*Lift Ticket Only Price: $170
Rental Equipment: $100
Helmet Rental: $40
Helmet Purchase Price: $55
*Lift ticket only is for students in 6th grade or above

If you have any questions, contact:

Wendy Allegrone-Leslie
Executive Director
Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley
212 Great Road
Maynard, MA 01754
978-461-2871
www.bgcav.org
"Great Futures Start Here"

Important Events and Reminders:    
                                                                                                   
In an effort to streamline these notes, I will remind the Superintendent’s Notes readers of important upcoming events with a reference to the blog where more information can be found.

The 4th Annual Winter Social

The Maynard SEPAC invites Maynard Special Education students, parents and siblings to its 4th Annual Winter Social on Monday, December 9th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Green Meadow School Cafeteria.   This event will have lots of crafts, activities, and fun for the whole family!  Students from the High School Best Buddies program will also be there to help with crafts and activities.

This event is free and open to the whole family for students receiving Special Education services in Maynard. Please contact Jennifer O’Leary with any questions or to RSVP at sepacchair@maynard.k12.ma.us or 978-897-2705.

Learn more about The Maynard Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) at http://SEPAC.maynardschools.org.

Maynard Cadette Girl Scout Troup 72595 will be Gift Wrapping

Greetings all holiday shoppers! Are you stressed, thinking about all of the gift wrapping you still need to do? Maynard Cadette Girl Scout Troop 72595 is offering its services this holiday season to earn money for troop activities. Members of the sixth grade troop will be located in the Fowler School lobby on Wednesday, December 11th from 2:30 - 6 PM, ready to wrap all of your holiday treasures. Stop by any time that afternoon! We are requesting a $1.00 donation per item. We had many happy customers last year who got most or all of their holiday wrapping done at once! Please come visit us on the 11th! Happy Holidays!

The Official Maynard High School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Maynard Community is cordially invited to attend the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at Maynard High School on Saturday, December 7, 2013.  Reception and Tours will be from 12:00p.m. – 2:00 p.m. the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will be from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at         1 Tiger Drive, Maynard, MA  01754.

All Community Winter Concert! Wed. Dec. 18th

If you play a band instrument or sing and would like to be part of this special event, please e-mail Mrs. Blanchard at CBlanchard@maynard.k12.ma.us so that we can get the music to you. We welcome all alumni and anyone living in the town of Maynard or having a connection to the town, to come and perform with us!

More Details can be found on the October 11th blog



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