Lincoln School Committee
Minutes of May 15, 2003
Hartwell Building, Lincoln MA

  1. Greetings and Call to Order
    The meeting was called to order by Sue Hollingsworth, Chair, at 7:05 p.m.
    Members present included: Sue Hollingsworth, Chair; Ashton Peery, Vice Chair; Jan Nyquist; Jurrien Timmer; and Mark Smith, Hanscom Representative.
    Also present were Michael Brandmeyer, Superintendent; Jeanne Whitten, Assistant Superintendent; and Dave Jack, Business Administrator.
    Members absent: Mark Masterson; Sherice Horton METCO Representative; Michelle Gardner-Ince, and Ron Deak, Hanscom Representatives.

  2. Chairpersons and Members report
    Sue Hollingsworth announced with great regret that the School Committee has accepted the resignation of Mark Masterson who has served on the Committee for almost three years and will officially resign as of July 1, 2003. Mr. Masterson is the Superintendent of Maynard Public Schools and is quite busy.

    The Committee also accepted the resignation of Jurrien Timmer who will be moving this June to Manchester- by- the Sea.

    Ms. Hollingsworth encouraged anyone who is interested in serving on the School Committee to submit a letter of intent to her, care of the Superintendent’s office along with their qualifications by the deadline set forth in the press release submitted to the Lincoln Journal.

    Interviews for the interim members will be held at the June 19th meeting and the Board of Selectmen from the Town of Lincoln and the remaining members of the School Committee will vote to appoint new members. The candidates selected will serve until March of 2004 until the next Town meeting and ballot election takes place.

    Sue also announced that the School Committee is also accepting letters of interest for the Lincoln Public Library appointee position, a three year term.

    Jan Nyquist gave a report on the first planning meeting for the METCO Forum. Dr Wu facilitated this first meeting. The hopes and objectives of the group are to have a respectful discussion about METCO, to poll and survey the community, then educate the community prior to the community- wide forum. They hope to have the survey go out to the community by the end of June. The committee consists of members of the League of Women Voters, PTA, METCO Coordinating Committee, a representative from the Lincoln Sudbury School Committee, the Superintendent, Mr. Brandmeyer, and Jan Nyquist from the Lincoln School Committee. The Forum will be moderated by an outside facilitator.

    Sue Hollingsworth added one last comment. She wanted to thank Mr. McDonough for the great job he does coaching the girls’ Middle School softball team. She stated that Mr. McDonough is a very positive and encouraging person and is a wonderful coach to the girls.

  3. Superintendent’s Report
    Mr. Brandmeyer reported that the process for the Assistant Superintendent search is down to the two finalists, Ann Koufman-Frederick and Paul Naso. The School Committee will call a special meeting to interview the finalists and they are tentatively looking at May 27th.

    The Superintendent also reported on the following school related activities:

    1. Eighteen students from Dianne Romano’s Spanish classes were winners of the National Spanish test. The students in grades 6-8 will be honored at a ceremony on May 19th at Regis College.

    2. Allan Royal, seventh grade math teacher at the Lincoln School, enrolled a sixth and seventh grade team of students to compete at a state wide Math Competition at the JFK Middle School in Hudson, MA on May 3rd. Lincoln teams took 3rd and 7th place.

    3. Lincoln School’s fourth grade celebration and performance “Crows” was very entertaining and enjoyable. Nikki Hu, the artist in residence, does an excellent job working with the children. The program is sponsored by various donations and grants such as the Ramsey McCluskey Foundation gift, and the Lincoln PTA’s donation.

    4. On May 7th Hanscom Middle School students performed at their Spring Concert. Students read a story titled “The North Star” then performed a piece written entirely by the students.

    5. A fundraiser will be held at the Pierce House on May 29th at 7 p.m. to help fund the Lincoln Instrumental Music program.

  4. Public Comments
    No Discussion

  5. Time Scheduled Appointments
    1. Discussion on Class Size
      Mr. Brandmeyer gave a brief overview on the history of the current class size policy. During the development of the FY04 budget the School Committee indicated it wanted the administration to consider the recommendations of the Task Force such as:
      1. keep small target class sizes

      2. maintain the current maximum class sizes

      3. consider strategies to achieve target class sizes by smoothing out fluctuations

      4. achieve target class sizes by combining classes at the middle grades in particular subjects, lengthening the period of instruction, reducing the number of periods per day, and other organizational ideas.

      The FY04 Budget Proposal approved by the Lincoln Town Meeting included reduction of sections at both grades 3 and 6 which increased class size in an attempt to come closer to the target established by policy.

      Mr. Brandmeyer noted that many parents are concerned with this decision and they have submitted a significant number of letters asking for reconsideration of the decision.

      Patty Spencer represented the concerned parent group and spoke to the School Committee via a power point presentation. The focus of the presentation was on maintaining the current small class sizes, to preserve or add direct service to the students as a first priority and to revise and update the class size policy to align with the preference of the parent community.

      Jan Nyquist stated that the analysis shows that it costs approximately $90,000 to $125,000 to add a new section to a grade level. Her intention is to create a policy to put in place for the next 9 to 10 years. She also mentioned the 70% of the taxpayers who do not have children in schools and the burden we place on them when the School Committee continues to ask for overrides.

      Ashton Peery stated that building a budget involves trade-offs. The current budget had input from administration, faculty and the community.

      Mr. Brandmeyer suggested that a sub-committee of the School Committee be formed to take a look at the class size policy. This will allow the Committee to solve problems and find solutions in a flexible and creative way.

      The Superintendent stated that the current policy provides the opportunity to add a section if necessary in the summer.

    2. Presentation and VOTE on Lincoln School Improvement Plan for 2003-04.
      Jerry Schultz presented the Lincoln School’s Improvement Plan for 2003-2004. The goal listed in this plan is to determine whether the present K-8 model best meets the needs of the students, staff and school community.

      A steering committee composed of faculty, administrators and Advisory Council members will guide a year long study of the K-8 model.

      Jan Nyquist stated that she liked the “ground-up” approach and that this was a very ambitious plan and work of tremendous value.

      Mr. Brandmeyer liked the focus on the Curriculum work in the plan.

      Ashton Peery moved to approve the 2003-2004 Lincoln School Improvement Plan. Jan Nyquist seconded. Approved 4-0. Hanscom Representative concurred.

    3. Accept Gift of Books
      A Lincoln family donated books to the Lincoln School.
      The donation is intended for use in the School Library and Grades K-3 classrooms.
      Sue Hollingsworth moved to accept the donated books. Ashton Peery seconded. Approved 4-0. Hanscom Representative concurred.

  6. Curriculum
    1. Update on K-5 Math Curriculum
      Dr. Jeanne Whitten reviewed the district’s implementation of the TERC Investigations (K-5) mathematics program. Dr. Whitten reported that teachers met with Rita Trotta to talk about the strengths and areas in need of improvement in the program.
      • Assessment was one area looked at and it was found that there is no consistent pattern of assessment. Teachers use a variety of materials as well as informal tests, quizzes and check-ups. The Hanscom Campus teachers indicated that they try to use the same assessments at the same grade levels in the primary grades.

      • Lincoln’s math program needs to be aligned with the Massachusetts Framework forMathematics.

      • Issues to be resolved are in the area of professional development for new teachers. Dr. Whitten recommends that there be summer programming for newly hired teachers and on-going professional development.

    2. Update on Curriculum Review Process
      Dr. Jeanne Whitten presented a historical view of the work done by the Curriculum Director in Lincoln in the 80’s and the work that the administration and teachers took over when the director retired. Once Dr. McQuillan arrived in 1994 he brought a four year Curriculum Renewal Plan with him. This plan is still in effect today but there is still a need to work on the following goals for the future:
      1. Improve teaching and learning to enable all students to achieve high standards of performance.

      2. Provide safe, nurturing school environments where students receive the support they need to succeed at the highest levels.

      3. Engage parents and the community in school improvement efforts through a unified collaborative structure and regular effective communication.

      Sue Hollingsworth complimented Dr. Whitten on the report, stating that it is very well written.

  7. Policy
    1. Field Trips: Third Reading and VOTE
      Jan Nyquist moved to accept the revised FIELD TRIP (ICCA) and FIELD TRIP PROPOSAL (ICCAE1) policies; and that the ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINES FOR PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OR FIELD TRIPS (IICA-R) be deleted from the policy book. Ashton Peery seconded. Approved 4-0. Hanscom Representative concurred.

  8. Budget and Financial
    1. Warrant Approval
      Jan Nyquist moved to approve the warrants in the amount of $598,062.16 Ashton Peery seconded. Approved 4-0. Hanscom Representative concurred.

  9. Old Business
    1. Confirm June 5th Meeting to be held at Hanscom
      Mark Smith, Hanscom Representative, stated that exercises are happening on the base the week of June 5th. He will check to see if it is possible to have the School Committee meeting held on the Hanscom Campus on June 5th.

  10. New Business
    No Discussion.

  11. Approval of Minutes
    Ashton Peery moved to approve the minutes of May 1, 2003
    Sue Hollingsworth seconded. Approved 4-0. Hanscom Representative concurred.

  12. Information Enclosures

  13. Adjournment
    Ashton Peery moved to adjourn the open meeting to reconvene in Executive Session, for the purpose of negotiations, not to return to open session. Sue Hollingsworth seconded. Approved on a roll call vote. Sue Hollingsworth, Yes, Ashton Peery, Yes, Jan Nyquist, Yes, Jurrien Timmer, Yes, and Mark Smith, Hanscom Representative; concurred.

    The open meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by
Stephanie Brown