Thursday, April 27, 2005
Hartwell Multi-purpose room, Lincoln

Members present: Julie Dobrow, Laurie Manos, Dennis Picker, Cathy Rogers, Pam Borgert (Hanscom Representative).
Also present: Mickey Brandmeyer (Superintendent), Paul Naso (Assistant Superintendent), Dave Jack (Business Administrator), Teresa Watts (Director of Special Education).
Absent: Sandy Hessler, Corie Cruise (Hanscom Representative).
  1. Greetings and Call to Order
    Ms. Dobrow called the meeting to order at 7:02 P.M.


  2. Chairperson’s and Members’ report
    Ms. Dobrow reported that she and Mr. Brandmeyer have written a letter in support of increased funding for METCO which they are sending to State Senators and Representatives. Ms. Dobrow also said that the School Committee members have received notice of a rally to be held on May 10th supported by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and EDCO. Ms. Dobrow said that she has contact information for those interested in attending.

    Ms. Rogers said that she and Laurie Manos attended the Curriculum talk given by Mr. Naso and that it was excellent. Ms. Dobrow suggested that the next presentation on curriculum could be televised to bring this information to a wider audience. Mr. Naso said that he is looking to create a package for the fall with grade specific and subject specific templates. By next year he plans to put together exemplars of student work to go with the templates.

  3. Public Comments

  4. Consent Agenda

  5. Time Scheduled Appointments
    1. Report on Department of Education Mid-cycle Program Review
      Ms. Watts provided background and reported on Special Education portion of the review. Ms. Watts said that the Coordinated Program Review took place in 2000 and that the report on that review was written in 2001. The 2001 Department of Education Report said that the District was in partial compliance of some measures. All the issues on non-compliance were addressed and currently the District is in full compliance with the 2001 report. In prior years, the Mid-cycle Review simply looked at areas where there had been issues of non-compliance but, because of changes in Federal law and State regulations, this Mid-cycle Review had more areas of review. It focused on three areas: Special Education, English Learner Education, and civil rights. In Special Education, it focused on compliance with implementation of state and federal regulations, the IEP process and procedures and verifying corrective actions in response to the 2001 report.

      Ms. Watts clarified the letter dated March 29, 2005 received from the Coordinated Program Review Follow-up Chairperson. Specifically, she said that there are no outstanding areas of non-compliance from the 2001 report. The one area of non-compliance referred to in the letter was criteria 18A. When the 2001 report was issued, there was only one criteria 18. 18A and 18B were added in response to changes in the regulations. In the Mid-cycle Review just completed the District was found to be out of compliance with criteria 18A regarding listing the type of staff who would provide services required under IEPs. All teachers have now been trained in this and Ms. Watts will send a report out to the Department of Education explaining the corrective actions taken. Other than this, the District was found to be in compliance with all other areas of Special Education and in English Learner Education and Civil Rights.

      Ms. Watts said that Department of Education officials said in informal talks that they were very impressed with the articulation of goals and the measurable indications of progress toward goals in the IEPs.

      The Committee discussed the fact that the District now has four separate data sources: the Mid-Cycle Review, the report of the independent consultant, the PAC survey of parents, and the parent feedback within District and that these data sources indicate a strong Special Education program. Mr. Brandmeyer said that it is unusual to go through a mid-cycle review and to be in full compliance. They discussed the integrated education model, the challenges of identifying and recordkeeping at Hanscom because of frequent transfers, the need to report on Special Education program at the May 19 Boston meeting, the need to communicate with parents regarding the eligibility criteria and accessing Special Education, and parent perceptions regarding the 5th grade co-taught classroom and the planned 6th grade co-taught classroom. Ms. Dobrow and Ms. Manos will work together on an article for the Lincoln Journal to report about this year’s assessments of the Special Education program. Ms. Watts will be forming a committee of parents, teachers, and administrators to synthesize the four sets of data regarding Special Education and to collaborate in evaluating the model and develop a program improvement plan.

      Mr. Naso reported on English Language Education (ELE). He said that there are 18 criteria in this area but only 2 were addressed in the report. The laws are new and the regulations are still evolving. The District is in compliance and heading in the right direction. Among other things, the State wants to know that the District has a well articulated process to identify students in need of this service, that the District is conducting yearly (sometimes twice yearly) evaluations of English language learners, and that the District is communicating with parents about the program and about their rights and their children’s rights. ELE instruction is provided through a combination of in class instruction and pull out instruction. The State is still creating and redesigning training for teachers in sheltered English instruction. Anita Sepp is the ELE teacher in the District. She works in all three schools and helped to put together the material for the evaluation. Five District teachers have been trained in Level 2 sheltered English instruction this year. There are 19 students in ELE spread through various grades. Twelve different languages are spoken at home in the District with 9 to 10 languages represented among the 19 ELE students. Parents receive a notice stating in multiple languages that if they need information about the Lincoln Schools in another language to contact the office of the Assistant Superintendent. Ms. Watts maintains a list of translators who are familiar with Special Education procedures. Translators are needed for IEP meetings as well as for IEPs, progress reports, report cards, and other documents.

      Mr. Brandmeyer reported on the Civil Rights aspect of the Mid-cycle Review in which the District was found to be compliant. The district provides annual awareness training for staff.

    2. Establishment of and Appointment to Lincoln Campus Facilities Committee
      Ms. Dobrow said that she has contacted the Finance Committee and the Selectmen regarding representation on this Committee and that she has not yet heard from them. Ms. Dobrow will ask to be placed on the agendas of the Selectmen, Finance Committee and Capital Planning Committee to talk about creation of this Committee and representation. Ms. Dobrow moved to vote to establish a Lincoln Campus Facilities Committee. Mr. Picker seconded the motion. All members voted in favor with Ms. Borgert concurring. The Committee’s first job will be to clarify its charge and to recruit membership. Mr. Brandmeyer said that Mr. Jack and Gian Criscitiello will represent the administration. The Committee will advertise the need for members of the public with building project expertise to serve and will select among applicants. It is contemplated that there will be two slots for members of the public, one selected by the School Committee and a second selected by the Selectmen. These two slots can be used to create balance. The School Committee will ask the Committee to look at the timetable to determine whether it needs to be changed.

    3. Update to Enrollment Projections of 2005-2006
      Mr. Brandmeyer presented a spread sheet of Lincoln School enrollment projections updated to April 21, 2005. The spread sheet showed the K through 8 numbers for 7 lines: (1) projections from FY06 budget, (2) current enrollment as of April 1, 2005, (3) adjustments to current enrollment, (4) revised projections for 2005-2006 based on actuals, (5) class size policy – comparison to target, (6) proposed METCO enrollment for 2005-2006, and (7) adjusted proposal 2005-2006 as of April 21, 2005. Mr. Brandmeyer said the he is still tracking Kindergarten, that at this time he projects 55 Lincoln students, and that four sections are fine. Mr. Brandmeyer said that he has had one request from an employee to enroll a Kindergarten student, that the numbers would permit this to be done, and that at the next meeting he will ask the School Committee to approve this enrollment.

    4. Proposed METCO Enrollment for 2005-06
      Christina Horner explained she is starting to work on METCO placement and that it is important to begin as soon as possible. One of the two placement specialists at METCO, Inc. has recently left to take another job and so there is only one placement specialist who is spread very thin. She explained that the placement process takes about eight hours and involves informing parents about the Lincoln program, meeting the children, reviewing registration materials and conferring with parents about the parents’ decision. Ms. Horner said that she has eight students for Kindergarten (three of eight are siblings) and a ninth who is on a waiting list. She said that sometimes siblings are a good fit and sometimes they are not. Mr. Brandmeyer’s initial recommendation was to enroll 91 METCO students with eight new METCO students in Kindergarten, three in first grade, one in third grade, and two in fourth. Mr. Picker moved to approve enrolling 91 METCO students next year with discretion on grade placement left to the administration in line with the distribution originally proposed. Ms. Dobrow seconded. All members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert concurring.

  6. Superintendent’s Report

  7. Curriculum
    Mr. Naso reported that Lauren Sepp, a student at the Hanscom Middle School, received notification that her essay won $250 in a Credit Union essay contest. Mr. Naso also provided the School Committee with copies of handouts from his talk on curriculum.

  8. Policy
    1. Restraint Policy: First Reading
      Mr. Naso presented the revised restraint policy. Revision is necessary because the existing policy does not incorporate essential elements of state regulations. The revision has been submitted to legal counsel and it is anticipated that their comments will be available for the second reading. Ms. Dobrow asked that legal counsel be requested to comment specifically on the complaint procedures and on documentation of parent complaints.

  9. Budget and Financial
    1. Financial Report: FY05 Third Quarter
      Mr. Picker reported that he and Ms. Manos met with Mr. Jack to go over the financial report. Mr. Jack assured them that the conversion to the new town accounting system is working well. Mr. Picker said that the actual numbers for Lincoln and Hanscom are in sound shape. $430,324 has not yet been committed in Lincoln and this will be spent down prudently. Mr. Picker noted that for line 52050, out of district tuition, some placements that were planned did not happen and that the money set aside for the placements can be used for other special education expenses which will result in less expenditure from the circuit breaker account. For Hanscom, roughly $228,000 in encumbrances are the result of a clarification from the federal government on how certain money from a prior contract should be paid back to the federal government. For the Hanscom budget unspent money rolls forward and it is either used by the end of the five year contract or lost. It is necessary to maintain some continuing balance in case of unanticipated expenses. Mr. Jack said that there is often a lag in the base’s billing for utilities at Hanscom which explains the available budget for heating. The Committee commended Mr. Jack on the sound financial status.

    2. Warrant Approval
      Mr. Picker said that he and Ms. Manos reviewed the warrants and found them to be in order. Mr. Picker moved that the School Committee vote warrants in the amount of $647,426.43. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. All members voted in favor with Ms. Borgert concurring.

  10. Old Business
    Mr. Brandmeyer distributed the official contract and teacher evaluation packets to the School Committee. The Lincoln Teachers Association has asked the administration to consider reimbursement for graduate courses taken this coming summer. Mr. Brandmeyer will want to bring forward at the next meeting a side letter with the Lincoln Teachers Association permitting reimbursement for graduate courses to begin as of July 1, 2005.

    Ms. Dobrow asked members to email her with their availability for a School Committee mentoring workshop in May. She also asked members to send her their ideas for discussion in Boston.

    Ms. Manos brought up the School Committee coffee scheduled for May 11. The Committee discussed the desirability of having this meeting be a discussion of School Committee goals. The Committee discussed whether a School Committee coffee should discuss School Committee goals before the School Committee has agreed on them, whether this runs the risk of becoming a defacto School Committee meeting, low attendance at School Committee coffees, the many opportunities for public comment at Lincoln School Committee meetings, and that under current procedure School Committee goals will be discussed at three meetings and agreed to at the third meeting. The Committee determined to draft a letter to be posted on the web site regarding the upcoming School Committee goals discussions. The Committee considered postponing the School Committee coffee until later in May and canceling the one scheduled for June. They considered framing the topic more broadly as an opportunity for informal conversation and open ended discussion with School Committee members rather than a discussion of School Committee goals.

  11. New Business
    1. Proposed SC Meeting Dates for 2005-06: First Reading
      Mr. Brandmeyer presented the proposed 19 School Committee meeting dates for next year. There usually will be two meetings per month with less in February and April and more in March. Space is left in case additional meetings need to be added. Mr. Brandmeyer said that holiday weeks present challenges for the staff to get the packages out the School Committee members and adjustments have been made in the calendar. Mr. Brandmeyer said that the staff would be able to prepare for a first meeting in the first week of school even though this is early. The last meeting, scheduled for June 22, would be after school closes. A vote on the calendar will be taken at the next meeting.

  12. Approval of Minutes
    Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee approve the April 14 minutes as amended. Ms. Rogers seconded the motion. All members voted in favor with Ms. Borgert concurring.

  13. Information Enclosures

  14. Adjournment
    Mr. Picker moved that the meeting adjourn. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. All members voted in favor with Ms. Borgert concurring. The meeting closed at 9:25 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Sara Rolley, School Committee Recording Secretary