Westwood School Committee
September 22, 2010
John Antonucci, Superintendent
Dr. Avalin Green
Meeting Called to Order at 7:30 P.M.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mr. Antonucci began the meeting by commenting on the smooth opening to the school year.
Mr. Petracca discussed the proposed Thurston repaving, curbing and landscaping project. The project went out to bid in July, he said, but there was only one bid, and the bid was too high. Another bid is planned to go out in the spring.
Mr. Antonucci commented on this year’s enrollment, noting there were no “big surprises.” He said there were some class sizes that were “not ideal” at the Martha Jones school, but there was an executive decision to place full-time aides in those classes to accomodate the large number of students. Mr. Antonucci then discussed the class sizes at Thurston and noted that budget money will be allocated to addressing those needs first.
Finally, Mr. Antonucci announced that Westwood schools have recently been spotlighted in the Great Schools website as well as Boston Magazine.
Summer Program Update
Dr. Green began the presentation by describing how busy Westwood’s schools, teachers and students were over the summer. For example, 155 teachers worked on curriculum projects, 22 new mentors were trained and 709 students were enrolled in various programs. Major projects included curriculum reviews in math, ELA and science. Professional learning for teachers included workshops, courses and the mentor and induction program. Student programs included extended school year services for students with IEP’s, the K-8 enrichment program which enrolled 563 students, a math review and MCAS prep course for middle school students, and Running Start, an orientation for new Metco students. Ms. Jowdy asked Dr. Green if other districts have mentor programs. Dr. Green responded that mentor programs are mandated by the state, but Westwood’s program is “gold star.” Ms. Jowdy asked if it helped in recruiting new teachers. Mr. Antonucci responded that it did help in recruiting new teachers, especially during the interviewing process. He added that the program included all teachers who
are new to Westwood, not just first year teachers. Ms. Lewis asked if new teachers were mentored during the summer. Dr. Green responded that the bulk of mentoring is done during the summer, but it also continues throughout the year.
Ken Aries, Facilities Director, presented an update on projects, maintenance and new equipment including the high school security system which has been updated to a web based camera system. Also discussed was the outdoor classroom project which will begin this fall at Sheehan. The project was fully funded by grants and will include garden plots for each grade level.
Emily Parks, high school principal, discussed the Teacher Evaluation Development Team, a partnership between the Westwood administration and the WTA to review and revise the process for teacher evaluation. She described TEDT’s guiding mission, history, and process. Currently, a second try-out is planned for 2010-2011 that will have expanded participation, rubrics for staff, feedback from participants and improved training for evaluators.
Mr. Antonucci added that Westwood is “ahead of the curve” in the evaluation process, and the current goal is to promote growth.
Steve Ouellette was introduced as the new technology director of Westwood Public Schools. His presentation included how technology has changed our lives as well as education, what technology currently looks like in Westwood’s classrooms, and his vision/plan for technology in our schools. This includes researching best practices to enhance and support instruction, providing professional development, and looking at a continuum of students’ experiences to be sure there is a clear and logical progression of skills.
FY’11 Budget Update
Mr. Antonucci described the changing landscape of the budget and detailed the additional funds that were received since the school budget was approved at Town Meeting in May. In July, an additional $548,000 was received from the state. In August, an additional $287,000 was received from the federal government. Mr. Antonucci’s recommendation to allocate the additional state funding included eliminating Medicaid offset and the ARRA (stimulus) offset, funding the FY’11 teachers’ contract and purchasing an additional school bus. The federal funds, a one-time revenue intended to be used to save jobs, can be used in FY’11 or FY’12. Mr. Antonucci recommended to bank those funds for FY’12.
The Committee then voted to accept knowledge that the budget had increased to $33,488,686. Ms. Mason made the motion. Ms. Lewis seconded. All in favor. Next, Mr. O’Brien made a motion to accept Mr. Antonucci’s recommendations for allocation of the new funds. Ms. Mason seconded. All in favor.
Approval of High School Trip to France
A motion was made by Ms. Mason to accept the proposal of a February trip to France for 30-40 high school students. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion. All in favor.
Harry Clapsis, a Westwood High School senior, noted that there was a gap in the security camera view at the high school gym and that the security gate at the entrance of the high school was not secure. He also gave support to on-line classes. Finally, he asked Mr. Antonucci about Westwood’s participation in Race To The Top. Mr. Antonucci responded that he will discuss more details at October’s meeting about the participation in Race To The Top, but that it appeared that Westwood would not receive funding from the program and it would cost the district money to participate.
Motion to Adjourn at 9:55 P.M.
All in favor.